Update 5/24/10: The promotion has expired. Please refer to this post for more details.
WTDirect has started a new promotion with a bonus of up to $500. Here's the link to the promotion page. You'll get a $100 cash bonus, up to $500, for every $10,000 that you deposit. You have to fund the account by June 15th and maintain your initial deposit for 3 months to receive the cash bonus.
In the promo page, they have a graphical calculator that allows you to see how much you will earn with a certain deposit and after a certain time. If you select $50K and 3 months, the earnings are shown to be about $642. This combines the $500 bonus with the earnings from their current interest rate for balances over $10K (1.16% APY). This results in an effective interest rate for 3 months of about 5.14%.
Here's the important small print of the promotion:
This offer is available to new WTDirect clients only. Primary account holder must NOT have held a WTDirect account in the past 12 months. WTDirect account must be opened and funded via electronic (ACH) transfer received by 6/15/10. Bonus is based upon the lowest daily balance during the promotional period of 6/15/10 – 9/15/10. Bonuses will be paid approximately 2 weeks after the end of the promotional period to clients whose accounts are open and in good standing. Wilmington Trust employees and their family members are not eligible. WTDirect reserves the right to cancel or modify this promotion at any time without notice.
Note, it states that they may cancel the promo at any time without notice. This is what happened in 2008 when they offered a similar promotion. I first posted on it on 8/23 and it ended on 8/25. WTDirect did honor the bonus for those who applied before it ended. So you may not want to wait too long to apply. After the promo ended, several readers reported receiving retention bonuses. So that was a surprise perk.
Update 5/22/10: A reader noted an important point. A promo code should be automatically prefilled in the promo code field of the application.
WTDirect Savings Account Review
WT Direct's standard rates haven't been great, but they have been fairly competitive for balances of $10K and above. The current rates as of 5/20/2010 are 1.16% APY for $10K and above and 0.16% APY for under $10K. The first 60 days, the entire balance earns the top rate. There are no monthly fees regardless of your balance.
Even though they don't have a history of the best rates, WTDirect has many features that make it a useful hub account. So it might be a savings account you'll want to keep even after the promotion. If you have accounts at several banks and credit unions, it can be useful to have an internet bank account to serve as your hub. The hub makes it easy to transfer money to and from those other accounts. Some important features for a hub account that WTDirect has includes:
- Maximum deposit transfer amount is $500K per transaction and per month
- Maximum withdrawal transfer amount is $200K per transaction and per month
- Maximum number of withdrawals per month is 6 with no deposit limits (withdrawals limited by federal regulation)
- After the initial deposit, subsequent online transfers of funds from another financial institution are available immediately upon receipt of funds in your account
- No limit on the number of accounts you can link to your WTDirect account
- WTDirect continues to pay interest on your transfer amount until and including the day the funds leave WTDirect.
All of the above features are described in WTDirect's FAQs which is one of the best internet bank FAQs that I've seen. In addition to many online bank features, the FAQs go into depth on issues like beneficiaries (you can add up to 3 beneficiaries).
Readers have reported that WTDirect does not do a hard credit inquiry in the application. It has also been reported that the trial deposits are debited from your funding account.
Update 5/22/2010: I have some more details about the promo and the savings account in this new post.
WTDirect is a division of Wilmington Trust FSB which has been a FDIC member since 1994 (FDIC Certificate # 33911). Deposits at WTDirect are FDIC-insured with Wilmington Trust FSB. Note, the web address, www.wtdirect.com, is listed at the FDIC page as the bank's primary internet web address.
Wilmington Trust FSB's ratings for safety and soundness are mixed: 3½ stars (good) at BauerFinancial and 1 star (lowest) at Bankrate.com. Both ratings are based on 12/31/09 financial data. The bank has $1.9 billion in assets and $1.3 billion in deposits based on 3/31/10 FDIC data.
Wilmington Trust FSB is under the bank holding company Wilmington Trust Corporation. Also under this bank holding company is Wilmington Trust Company which has $8.9 billion in assets and $6.8 in deposits.