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Ken Tumin founded the Bank Deals Blog in 2005 and has been passionately covering the best deposit deals ever since. He is frequently referenced by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications as a top expert, but he is first and foremost a fellow deal seeker and member of the wonderful community of savers that frequents DepositAccounts.

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TIAA-CREF Launches New Internet Bank with Top Savings Account Rate

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Update 2/25/2012: I spoke with another CSR today. I was told it had been limited to TIAA-CREF employees, but it was recently transitioned to allow anyone in the nation to apply. About beneficiaries, I was told there was a problem with the beneficiary option, and it's currently not available. However, they are supposedly working to fix it.

Update 2/22/2012: Some readers have reported being told by TIAA-CREF officials that accounts are currently only available to TIAA-CREF employees. However, other readers have reported being able to open accounts online even though they were not employees. I again called TIAA Direct at (855) 842-2372, and I was again told anyone can apply. I was also told that you can apply by phone. It appears they have not done a good job at planning the TIAA Direct rollout. So right now, opening an account may be a "Your Miles May Vary" (YMMV) situation.

TIAA-CREF has entered the internet banking market last week with its launch of TIAA Direct. It was a quiet launch with no apparent press release. I learned about it from a reader's email (Thanks!). The new internet bank offers CDs, checking, savings and money market accounts. The savings and money market accounts are the most noteworthy due to the very competitive rate. It's 1.25% APY on all balances as of 2/20/2012. I was told by the customer service representative (CSR) that this is a promotional rate. It is subject to change at anytime.

Both the money market and savings accounts require only a $25 minimum initial deposit. There is no minimum balance requirement and no monthly fee. The money market account appears to have all the features of the savings account with the additional benefit of limited check writing (up to 6 checks are allowed per month). Below is a short summary of the checking, savings and money market account features:

Account Opening:

  • Accounts can be opened online or by phone
  • Accounts can be funded by ACH transfer or by check
  • $25 minimum initial deposit
  • up to 4 POD beneficiaries allowed (per CSR) Update 2/25/12: I was told by a CSR that the beneficiary option is currently not working. They are supposedly in the process of fixing it.
  • Update 2/25/12: Readers have reported they do a hard pull via Equifax. CSR claims they only do a soft pull for ID verification purposes (Note, CSRs are often wrong on this issue)

Noteworthy Features:

  • No monthly fees or minimum balance requirement
  • Remote Deposits from your iPhone
  • Free ATM card
  • No ATM fees when used at an ATM in its nationwide ATM network
  • Free first set of checks (MMA & checking only)
  • Debit card & online bill pay (checking only)

ACH Fund Transfer Features:

  • Links to external accounts verified via trial deposits
  • No limit on the number of links (per CSR)
  • No limit on the size of transfers (per CSR)
  • Transfer speed and hold times depend on deposit size (per CSR)

They have a decent FAQs section, but it didn't have many details about the ACH bank-to-bank transfer service. These details were also absent in the disclosures so I had to call their customer service for more information. I was able to connect with a customer service rep without any problem.

TIAA-CREF Bank Overview

TIAA Direct is a division of TIAA-CREF Trust Co, FSB. Deposits at TIAA-CREF Trust Company, FSB are insured by the FDIC to at least $250,000 per depositor. You can verify the FDIC membership at this FDIC page. It has been a FDIC member since 1998.

The bank has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 5 stars (out of 5) based on September 2011 data. Please refer to our financial overview of TIAA-CREF Trust Company, FSB for more details.

TIAA-CREF is short for Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund. It's the leading retirement provider for people who work in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields. More details about the company are in TIAA-CREF Company Stats and Facts page.

Is a New Internet Savings Account Worthwhile?

TIAA Direct's savings account rate is currently the best savings account rate available nationwide. It's currently 10 basis points over the previous leaders. You can see how it compares to other accounts in my last weekly summary.

Is the rate high enough to interest you? Is rate chasing on savings accounts worthwhile these days? I've been asking this question since 2010. With interest rates so low, there's not much difference between this and the rate of an average internet savings account like ING Direct Orange Savings (0.80% as of 2/20/2012). Even if that spread is large enough to be worthwhile, there's the question about how long the competitive rate will last.

We have seen many new internet savings accounts over the years that started out as competitive. Most become average or uncompetitive after one to two years. The latest example is UFB Direct which started out with a very competitive rate in August 2011. After 5 months, the rate has plummeted to average status (and may still be falling).

Since a large institution like TIAA-CREF is behind this new internet bank, my guess is that they will keep the rate competitive for several months. So if you get in early, it could be a worthwhile deal. It will very likely be better than any 3-month and 6-month CDs that are available today.

For those only interested in a savings account for the long term, it's hard to say if it will remain competitive. One thing that makes me a little skeptical is its current CD rates. They are below average as compared to other internet banks.

One thing nice about these accounts is that they don't have a minimum balance requirement. You should be able to easily move your money if the rates fall too low.

  Tags: savings account, money market accounts, checking account, TIAA Direct

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Comments
106 comments.
Comment #1 by dmprisk (anonymous) posted on
dmprisk
and they compound the interest Daily!

1
Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I filled out the online application.  It wouldn't complete, so I called the number with my Application ID#.  A very nice Rep reported that I would receive a call back tomorrow am.  Wonder what the hold-up is?

2
Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
A good deal until enough people apply that they drop it like a rock.

9
Comment #6 by I hate Fort Knox CU (anonymous) posted on
I hate Fort Knox CU
Since their promo CD rates are way below other good banks/cu, clearly this mma rate won't last long.  They have no intention of offering high rates in the future.

9
Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Thanks much Mr. Tumin. This account is an AWESOME find!
Word on the street in the industry is that TIAA-CREF is doing quite well, so I'm thinking they won't drop rates quite that quickly. For one thing, they're certainly not in the same league as say,.. AmTrust Bank.

Re: Comment #2 ;; had a similar problem on the phone;; was caused by those stupid random security questions. The Reps don't even seem to have any idea how they are generated. I politely asked for a supervisor who said he would escalate the problem and call me back by 8:00PM.

4
Comment #8 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
They just did a HARD credit pull on me at TransUnion and Equifax.

18
Comment #9 by Shorebreak posted on
Shorebreak
Good institution and a good rate. However, for a 'temporary' gain of less than half a percent yield, a possible hard credit pull and more applications, it's not worth the effort for a liquid account. Especially if one has a good account established already at another institution and are satisfied with their service. I think I'll pass on this one today. Thanks for finding it anyway Ken.

7
Comment #10 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
A few words of annoyance with this bank's POD/beneficiary policies and procedures.  I tried to add 3 POD beneficiaries to my account.  The information they want  for each beneficiary is NAME, SSAN, DOB, ADDRESS, TELEPHONE #, and MOTHER's MAIDEN NAME!  (I don't even know my wife's mother's maiden name!)  I asked them what they could possibly need a mother's maiden name for and all they could respond is 1) security and 2) it's simply bank policy.  I asked a supervisor why they would need more information about my beneficiaries than they need from me, the primary account holder.   He said he didn't know why, but it's bank policy.  I have opened dozen's of bank accounts in my life with POD beneficiaies, and not a single one has ever asked for that info.  The manager couldn't explain how the bank would verify that info if my beneficiaries ever tried to claim possession of the account.  (One of them is my 5 year old daughter--how would she confirm her mother's maiden name?)  This is just an example of bureaucracy run amok, erecting mindless barriers.  Some overpaid nitwit decided that the more questions they ask, the more "secure" the account is.  More likely, they just don't want to pay out the balance of an account, so they throw every stumbling block they can to make it more difficult to follow my wishes, which are to give my money to my loved ones if I die.  I guess I will limit the amount of my account to the basic FDIC limits.  When I told the manager their stupid policies are going to cost them $500,000 in additional deposits, he seemed unconcerned.

12
Comment #13 by km (anonymous) posted on
km
They offer the same rate for interest savings and checking. Is there any reason not to go with checking?

1
Comment #14 by km (anonymous) posted on
km
OOPS! I should have said high yield savings and money market in that last post (not checking). Again is there any reason not to go with the money market which has the same rate checks.

1
Comment #15 by Rosedala (anonymous) posted on
Rosedala
It's strange that having an IRA account with them I wasn't notified of this promotion (par for the course now that banks and such have the upper hand?).  I was looking for a better-than-average savings or MM account for some liquid money to be spent throughout this year, so this comes in very handy even if they, as all other financial institutions, will certainly reduce it...even with a vengeance!  lol!

2
Comment #16 by Rosedala (anonymous) posted on
Rosedala
Oops i forgot to thank you so very much, Ken Tumin, for this good announcement with your usual excellent pros and cons and good common sense.  i dont comment often but I read all your announcements some of which I forward to my 2 lists, and hold my thumbs up for you!  :-)  

1
Comment #17 by Rosedala (anonymous) posted on
Rosedala
Hi again...I'm sorry to carry some bad news now.  Not wanting to waste time filling out the online application and encounter problems as some of the commenters here did, I called to open by phone and...the clerk didn't know about this promotion!!!  I insisted and he put me on a long hold then said it's only for direct TIAA-CREF employees, etc.  I insisted to speak with the manager or at least with a supervisor.  A Ruth (Ext. 73770, 800-842-2733) came to the phone and explained the same thing.  I asked what about your open-to-all online promotion?  She said "I'm sorry ma'am.  This is only for our employees". 

I'm shocked as I always thought of them as a self-dignified, well established and serious organization.  I don't know what to think of them now.

Could it be that it's not availablel to the general public only in certain states, which i forgot to ask and certainly the clerk should've clarified to me?

 

2
Comment #18 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Personally, based on experiences I've had as an employee and with the management of my retirement accounts, I just do not trust TIAA-CREF anymore. Dinosaur management and a convulted internal structure (registered rep side vs admin side) minimizes accountability and pretty much guarantees slow problem resolution for any transaction out of the ordinary. They don't change because they don't have to given their captive customer base and not-for-profit status. 

2
Comment #19 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Only 6 external accounts allowed to be linked.

2
Comment #20 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
It seems to be limited to certain states.
When I called to open an account, the first thing they asked me where I live and the zip code.

7
Comment #21 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I believe the initial rollout was for employees as a step prior to a mass launch. Hence no communications. If you want to help them beta test the product it sounds like a good rate! We'll see.

3
Comment #22 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I origially commented here as #2. I received a call-back today regarding my application.  The application was declined due to the fact that I am not an employee of the bank.  I spoke to a supervisor and told her that the advertisment on TIAA Direct does not mention a thing about employees only.  She followed up with another call after talking to someone higher up and still "no go".  I'm wondering if anyone that is not an employee managed to open the account? If nothing else, this is very poor advertisment!

1
Comment #27 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
#22 commentator.. After reading the comment from @26 I decided to try again this morning.  TIAA Direct has now changed their tune, and I was directed to an executive.  Even though they now say anyone may join, I was still denied and I should wait for an oncoming letter that will fully explain their reasoning. 

 I guess after talking to Banking Guy, Ken, they decided they had better change thier policy of only employee's  eligible to open account.  To bad for those of us that applied earlier!

1
Comment #23 by NYCDoug posted on
NYCDoug
Like Anonymous #2, I, too, got stuck with an unspecified error at the conclusion of my online application -- before specifiying the funding account -- which I called them about yesterday. Never received the promised call-back "within 24 hours" and so phoned them again this evening. Just a few minutes ago I was told that my application had been rejected; that they would be mailing me an explanation. "No other information available" due to "security."  Posts above hint at possible reasons why . . . Caveat Bankor!

1
Comment #24 by Lillian (anonymous) posted on
Lillian
I simply adore higher rates. 

 

Thanks for the article.

2
Comment #25 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Boo-hoo...anonymous #22, you are correct sir.
Apparently, TIAA-Direct has only been in existence since last week? That's weird. Anyhoo, the snapperheads that put up the web-site failed to mention that this IS ONLY for employees initially;; but they plan to make it available to everyone in the next couple of months. Anyone that got this account otherwise caught the early worm. I was infuriated with the supervisor to the point where I almost accused him of being somewhat less than forthright about these accounts. Seems to be true, though..

Ken, I think you need to adjust the content of this article.

1
Comment #26 by S_S (anonymous) posted on
S_S
@#17, 22, 23,

I'm not an employee of that bank but I was able to open the a/c online, in 5 min, no issues, funding with ACH from other bank. Everything went fine. Even getting login/passwd on website, setting security questions, seeing alerts on main page after logging etc. So far so good.

4
Comment #28 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
#26 you must be the only lucky one that got thru, I can't get thru the phone system either

1
Comment #29 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Be careful people, they do hard credit pulls, looking for people with Fico score of over 750 and not many activities at your personal Chexsystems.
It may also be limited to certain states and zip codes.

According to CSR Supervisor, they approve on average about 10% of all applicants.
If rejected, do not apply again, your application will be automatically rejected again for the next  90 days.

11
Comment #30 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
They must be doing credit hard pulls to see who could be "rate chasers" and therefore, would be undesirable customers.

1
Comment #31 by S_S (anonymous) posted on
S_S
@ 27, 28, 

I really feel bad that others are not able to get in. Strange. Now I'm wondering how I got through and that too in less than 5 min. Literally.

I don't think I'm any special although I know, my credit history is generally good, my FICO score would be around or above 750. I do chase rates 1-2 times a year. I do have several checking, savings, MMA a/c s and if I recall correctly, once once I have been rejected by some institution saying they saw too many credit history and/or credit card pulls (some of them hard, some soft) within 3 months. Thats possible, depends on timing of my applications. I've personally not bothered such denials. Its their loss not necessarily mine.

I'm guessing TIAA has some other criteria and screening method/policy which might be filtering and rejecting few applications. 

2
Comment #32 by R.R. (anonymous) posted on
R.R.
SO what does this mean, then?

They are making up the "employee" excuse as a cover? That's total B.S.

And discriminatory to boot...these aren't credit cards we're applying for; we're

GIVING them our money, Completely ridiculous.

 

2
Comment #33 by Apache (anonymous) posted on
Apache
What's so wrong about being a "rate chaser"?  "They" force us to be with these ridiculous savings rates!  I would love nothing better than to go to my local bank and get even 2.50% for a FIVE Year CD!  Yet I have to go miles away to find the ONE bank I can muster from hours of researching on the internet to get such a crummy rate!  Rate chasers??  I would like to chase the butts of Bernanke and all those forcing this upon us straight into Hell! 

6
Comment #34 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
You're right RR.  We want to give them our money! I spoke to a Supervisor about the rejection of my  deposit of $200K. She went back to check on my application with someone else before calling back with the "employee's only" garb.  Yes, it's their loss but I think it's false advertisement & there's no getting around that! Perhaps, they do not want "rate chaser's", but this kind of false advertisement should be followed up.

1
Comment #35 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
So far only one person commented on this, but it sounds like this results in at least one hard credit pull. Those of you who already applied, can you confirm?

Thanks!

1
Comment #42 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
#35 Update- I received a phone call letting me know that I was approved. I was able to add an external link to begain trail deposits.

2
Comment #36 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
To Anonymous - #35,

I applied and got turned down.

Equifax shows hard pull.

3
Comment #37 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
 

I just applied, and got an error “We could not process your request” and I called the 855-242-2372 phone number and give them the application id and she resubmitted and would let me know either today 2/24/2012 or 2/27/2012 the status.

 

NOTE: I have not been a rate chaser and I have a high credit score- at least I was told back in December.

 

2
Comment #38 by Maecl posted on
Maecl
I just completed an application and was turned down. 

We have a small joint mutual fd account there.  All of our IRA was moved to Vanguard.  It took them forever to move money to Vanguard which became a loss. By the time money got to Vanguard the market was higher.  Many mutual fund companies do a quick electronic transfer.

I don't think I will call to ask why we were denied.

1
Comment #39 by R.R. (anonymous) posted on
R.R.
To Anonymous #35;; I'm sure they did a hard pull on mine as well. 

On my initial phone application the rep paused, saying there was a security question issue. When a supervisor called me back, it was the "employees only" excuse. I'm sure there was a credit check....why, I have no idea.

1
Comment #41 by meadler posted on
meadler
After taking the time to open an account on line, I got the following message: "We could not process your request. Sorry. We couldn't process your request. Please contact us toll-free at 855 842-2372 for assistance." I called, and the rep couldn't get it to work either, so now I have to wait for them to call me back. Although the rate is good, I have to warn you that there are a couple of important concerns. The rep told me that you CANNOT add a beneficiary to the account. This is terrible!!! If you die, the account will pass to your estate, instead of being done the normal way of being able to designate a beneficiary. PLUS, they do not allow you to open the account in the name of a Trust or for your children if under 18 through a UGTMA. Again, great rate, but lots of limits!

It is interesting comment #10 above, because it is directly opposite of what they told me.  Not saying 10 is right, but the bank doesn't know what they are doing here.

1
Comment #43 by CaptDngr (anonymous) posted on
CaptDngr
Thanks for all the details, folks. Due to the shot in the dark nature of this bank (with respect to application acceptance) and the garaunteed hard credit pull, I'm going to pass.

2
Comment #44 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
APPROVED!

1
Comment #45 by thinkingreenhelps (anonymous) posted on
thinkingreenhelps
Thank you for the updated information on TIAA Direct. I reblog your post.

Charlotte @

http://thinkingreenhelps.blogspot.com/

1
Comment #46 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
On their website, it says: Investment, insurance and annuity products on TIAA-CREF.org are not offered or guaranteed by TIAA Direct and are not insured by the FDIC.

Does that mean my money on the savings account with them will not be insured?

1
Comment #47 by R.R. (anonymous) posted on
R.R.
Approved as well! Finally.....

it was a security question issue for me. Apparently,

either Transunion or Equifax have some bad information about my identity. Uh-oh....

1
Comment #48 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
from #10 to meadler #41

At first, when I tried to add a beneficiary, I was told the same thing you were--beneficiaries were not allowed.  I persisted and told the rep to please check this with a supervisor, as I didn't think it was correct.  She came back on the telephone and told me that beneficaries were, indeed, permitted.  During the course of my conversation with the rep, she had to check with someone else for virtually every question I asked her, so I agree with you that the CU seems to be disorganized and have reps that are not properly trained.  I think if you had persisted, or if you call back again, you are likely to be allowed to add a beneficiary.  In my case, I finally had to abort the conversation without adding my wife as beneficiary--not because beneficiaries weren't allowed, but, rather, because I didn't know my wife's mother's maiden name (see my #10 post above)!  Again, I encourage you to try again, and talk with a supervisor.  Good luck!

2
Comment #49 by Donald (anonymous) posted on
Donald
I wish somebody would get through to TIAA-CREF and interview someone about TIAA Direct.   I personally had no real problems setting up an account although it did take 2 phone calls to Customer Service.  I have an excellent credit score and an existing account with TIAA-CREF so apparently that counts for something.  If they are restricting access based on unusual criteria, they should make that clear from the start to prevent the waste of everyone's time. That said, I'm glad to have an account with them as I intend to bail out of ING Direct before Capital One ruins them.

3
Comment #50 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I read all the above post and got a bit concerned about opening an account with this bank.  Since I was opening a few other accounts this week, I figure I try this one as well.  To my surprise, this was the easiest and smoothest transaction out of the all the banks (24 ) that I've ever had previously.  The whole process from application to credit pull to account creation all took less than 5 minutes.  This truly looks automated and no manual intervention at all.  I did call and speak to a CSR before I took the plunge and asked about the credit pull.  He did say is was "soft".  I will that is true.

2
Comment #51 by Maecl posted on
Maecl
Because of the rate drop at American Ex and Discover I decided to call to find out why my application couldn't be processed.  The rep said he couldn't find an error in my application and would get back to me within 24 hours.

1
Comment #52 by Maecl posted on
Maecl
My account is opened. The problem was with my husbands user ID.  I now just hope the rate stays up.

3
Comment #53 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Opening the account went smoothly. I had to verify the external accounts through trial deposits, but once that was done, the ACH moved the money out of UFB and into here in a day. Very pleeased so far. They even sent an ATM card. I don't recall asking for one or what ATMs I can use without charge, but this looks like a great bank if the rate remains competitive.

4
Comment #54 by Zack Jones (anonymous) posted on
Zack Jones
Applied yesterday and like others I got an error message. Called and the lady assisted with issues and set us up for remote deposit. So far so good.

2
Comment #55 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
does it still cause a hard pull?

1
Comment #56 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
YOU MAY HAVE A PROBLEM SETTING UP ALERTS IF YOU USE IE 8 FOR YOUR BROWSER. IE 7 WORKS BETTER.

2
Comment #57 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Does anyone have problems with deposit and transfer? Can you move funds within accounts from/to external accounts? schedule deposit/payment? Their system has been frozen for me past few days.

1
Comment #58 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Don't care what the rate is if there online app won't work. It's telling my drivers license in not valid. Wrong. Also, no mention of a Quicken download interface, this is a much have for me.

2
Comment #59 by stpete1954 posted on
stpete1954
Just open accoumt. Try to make online transfer, did not work ,called customer service They say someone will call me in 24 hours to see what the peoblem is. Right now this bank does not look too good

2
Comment #60 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I have trasferred money online via ACH into my TIAA account from four other savings accounts with no problem. Transfer was quick-credited within a business day.

3
Comment #61 by TT (anonymous) posted on
TT
Yeah, I also had problems with the security questions and had to call in to speak to a rep. They needed some additional information from me, which I sent, but I have yet to hear back from the rep I spoke with. I was going to pursue it further until I read some of these comments. I didn't realize TIAA-Direct had just started, so I'm sure the curent rate will not last (like the AMEX HYS I just opened). Also, I didn't know banks accessed your credit report for savings accounts, and I'm peeved that they may have done that AND have not been communicating well. Think I will keep my money where it is and not go rate-chasing. Curious when and if the CSR will get back to me...

1
Comment #62 by OC Steve (anonymous) posted on
OC Steve
I called TIAA Direct Customer Service this afternoon (3/19) and got some additional information as follows:

Account Vesting Issues-

Beneficiary and Living Trust designations not yet available, but are working on; not sure when they will be available.  Even after opening accounts on-line, would not be able to add beneficiary or change vesting to a Living Trust at this time via mail or by phone request.

  
Account Links-

Will allow up to 6 external account links.

TIAA Direct accounts will accept ACH dr/cr's originated from other Banks without limitation as to amount (per CS).  Also can generate ACH dr/cr's at the TIAA Direct site to other Banks without limitation as to amount (per CS).

  

Free Initial Order of Checks allowed when accounts opened (if requested)-

Checking product-150 checks
Money Market product-40 checks



Customer Service (US Based)-

Service available by phone M-F 8AM-8PM, ET; Sat & Sun 9AM-6PM, ET

 

New Account Openings-Volume

Very rapid growth at this time, so expect some problems--YMMV (consistent with prior postings above)

2
Comment #63 by TT (anonymous) posted on
TT
Update! So, a week later a representative did get back to me to tell me that my account was successfully opened.

2
Comment #64 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
It's been a month and the promised letter explaining why my account could not be opened never arrived.

1
Comment #65 by NYCDoug posted on
NYCDoug
I got my letter a few days ago -- which, in truth, explained nothing . . . just stated the obvious "we are sorry to inform you" blah blah blah . . .  but no actual reason given! Most unsatisfying ;-(

Fortunately, in the interim, I had applied again (by phone, after once more getting the foolish onscreen error message) and successfully opened my account several weeks ago. I've been loading it up with all manner of day-to-day cash from other sheepish institutions (including ClearSky, currently down to .85% APY) that is approaching $10K, and have been quite pleased that TIAA's 1.25% APY seems to be holding steady, at least for now . . .

Moral: If at first you don't suceed, try, try again . . . The offer is still open ;-)

2
Comment #66 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
DO NOT OPEN ANY ACCOUNT! TIAA web software does not work.  You cannot transfer $ using their web. I reported the problem with my complete technical environment (operating system(s), web browser(s)) and yet they do not have a clue what's wrong with their web. See post #57 above. They will lie to you that they are currently not experiencing any problems, though.

Don't believe me? put down some $ to see for yourselves
 

1
Comment #67 by Turbo (anonymous) posted on
Turbo
Hmm...  I've been transferring money w/ no problems so far...  haven't tried in a couple weeks.  Let me check.

1
Comment #68 by Maecl posted on
Maecl
I haven't had any problem with transfers.  I last initiated a transfer on 3/19.  It was credited to my account on the 20th and withdrawn from my checking on the 21st.

2
Comment #69 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
This is a follow-up to post #57 and #66. The transfer function is now working for me. Bank away!

2
Comment #70 by Brad (anonymous) posted on
Brad
I had the initial account denied experience in early march, got a vague letter, call them up. They could not explain letter or denial. Said to reapply, which worked just fine. Account, set-up, funded it with an ACH transfer. My FICO is 790, and I am definately a rate chaser (have five accts opened in the last year or so).

I was impressed that they have US Passport as ID coded into their application process. Most online banks have something of fit f you use a US Passport as ID.

1
Comment #71 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Just signed up for checking and savings. Opening was a breeze..

2
Comment #73 by Anonymous77 (anonymous) posted on
Anonymous77
Re: BRAD's 3/31/12 comment:

"I had the initial account denied experience in early march, got a vague letter, call them up. They could not explain letter or denial.  Said to reapply, which worked just fine."

I had the same experience, though I haven't tried to reapply yet.  Brad's FICO is 790, mine's 776 and I have never had a bank account application declined.  Just got my credit report, also -- totally clean.  A bank CSR supervisor couldn't provide any explanation.

So, apparently, it's quite possible that you reapply with the same information that you entered on the original declined application and this time the application is accepted.

There's something very odd going on with this bank.

1
Comment #75 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I applied early on when you first announced the rate. 1.25% sounded so good, but I was denied because of the usual rubbish.  I have excellent credit, but I thought, oh well, forget it and threw away all the paperwork.  Then about a month later, I guess last week, I tried again.  I was approved this time, but makes me kind of angry, because I lost a month of interest. So any of you folks that were denied, should take another look.  Now, I need to see about benificiares.  Perhaps next week I'll work on that part of this deal.

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Comment #76 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
do to some weird error during an uncompleted, online enrollment of a joint-account, my account login has been blocked and the phone CSR's are unable to correct.

I have very low confidence in the skills of the people operating this online outfit.

For the small, temporary bump in interest, the risk is too high; move along.

1
Comment #77 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Thanks for all of your posts.  I have decided not to open an account with this online bank.  They sound too fishy, too suspicious.  I will keep my money with more reputable institutions.

2
Comment #78 by S_S (anonymous) posted on
S_S
> "The main question with TIAA Direct is how long will the 1.25% APY last."

Ken,

Why do you keep brining this question up ? We all know that uncertainty and readers of this blog have read it numerous times. Whats the point in keep on wondering about it ? Its like someone is doing good and we keep asking how long its going to last and why really he/she is doing good .. Let them do the good !

1
Comment #80 by Anon (anonymous) posted on
Anon
I applied for a joint account online, and after completing all the information I got to a web page saying I needed to call the toll-free number for assistance, which I did.  After answering 5 multiple choice questions, I passed, but my wife needed to answer some. We called back when she was available, but after a 10 minute search the agent still couldn't locate the questions for her, and asked us to call back.  

Although the terms and services described SOUND good, I've decided not to pursue the application, for several reasons:  too much hassle for 1.25%; the wisdom of the comment by someone on these pages that cash should not be regarded as an investment, but should be held for capital preservation; and, based on comments here and elsewhere, anticipation of other problems with setting up, managing, and withdrawing funds from the account.  I have not seen  comments from people who have withdrawn funds from their TIAA Direct account, which is understandable because it is new.  But I have seen on other sites accounts of difficulties getting payouts from TIAA-CREF's retirement accounts.  

2
Comment #82 by Ron Scheurer (anonymous) posted on
Ron Scheurer
Is something else going on here? Suppose a bank did not want a lot of rate chasers, assumedly with disposable income, to earn even more money than they need, at the higher interest rate; than the small time depositor with a low credit rating and only 5 to 50 dollars a week to put away for retirement? Suppose the bank advertised that the most you could deposit in any one week was $50? Not worth moving small amounts of spare change around on a weekly basis. Rate chasers with enough cash could make better rates of return dealing with currency exchange fluctuations than the nickel and dime changes in saving account rates. Yes, the risk is higher, as with playing the stock market, but think of the challenge. It’s one the less than 30K annual wage slave can take.

 

It is laughable that a bank should think this way, but if, just IF, they did, how would they present the news to their current wealthy depositors? Or to their stock holders? Or board members? That may be the problem that TIAA-CREF has. I know! Fat chance.

1
Comment #83 by BrownJackC posted on
BrownJackC
There are two things one needs to know if opening a TIAA Direct savings account:
1) A beneficiary can not be named for a  "single-named" account. They say they are "working" on it. They make it sound like they are working on the Manhatten Project.

2) During the application process the website states a single-named account can have another name added later on-line or by calling. However another name can not be added on-line and the CSR said the website is wrong.

One can tell they don't yet have their act together.

 

3
Comment #84 by BrownJackC posted on
BrownJackC
The TIAA Direct website states that another name can be added on-line after setting up a single-named account. That is not true - the only way to do this is to call. CSR says the website is incorrect.

1
Comment #85 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
You can add another account under under the account home tab (Profile view) you can make joint account and a single account which boosts up ur FDIC insured money which is a plus.  HAVE HAD NO ISSUES WITH THE BANK . Been a member since Febuary.

3
Comment #86 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
so is it still a hard pull or soft pull? People on work visa can they apply?

1
Comment #87 by Miles (anonymous) posted on
Miles
Soft pull but not sure about the work visa. I would imagine as long as you can prove your identity by using a drivers liscense or other form of Government Issued ID.

2
Comment #88 by RichReg posted on
RichReg
Woo-HOO!

13 weeks and counting....gotta love it.

2
Comment #89 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I tried to open a savings account online, and after filling in everything, was informed I had to call. So I called. She said she couldn't help me, but I'd receive a call back in one or two business days. I waited for weeks and no one ever called! I got a letter stating they couldn't process my request. No reason given. I called again, and the person said they couldn't process it. She couldn't or wouldn't give me a reason even when I asked. I do not think very highly of TIAA right now!!

2
Comment #90 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I too had a similar experience, but no letter.  About a month after my initial attempt i tried again and the account was successfully opened. 

1
Comment #91 by Oldperson (anonymous) posted on
Oldperson
Cannot download account info into Quicken even though website offers "Quicken 2010 and later" as only download option. I asked why their website showed Quicken as an option if it was not available. CSR said she didn't know why. Problem may be that other sites use "Quicken web connect" for downloads rather than "Quicken 2010 or later."

Beneficiary problem is supposed to be solved late this summer. Can't figutre why they can't take AE Savings beneficiary form and adopt it with minor changes.

2
Comment #93 by BrownJackC posted on
BrownJackC
Today I got a paper statement from TIAA although my settings are for on-line statements. I called and they said only paper statements are available now and the stmt settings are not implemented yet.

When my TIAA savings account was initially linked to my checking acct I entered a couple test deposit amounts. On the same day of the successful link TIAA automatically moved $25.00 to fund the account. The transaction states it was a "requested" transfer so I asked a CSR about it. Their CSR said when I entered the test deposits that I would have entered that amount. Since my plan was to move a much larger amount later that day I would never have entered that amount. Then she said the system would probably have defaulted to that amount and it might not be obvious that it is being done -- which is it?

The lack of a beneficiary option and their web-site having other incorrect statements makes it is pretty obvious that other than the higher than average rate, TIAA Direct was not ready to roll out their new direct bank.  I guess they figure people will put up with the other stuff to get the high rate.

I am happy in the speed of transfers.

Jack

1
Comment #94 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I was limited to 6 linked accounts for ACH purposes.

1
Comment #95 by RichReg posted on
RichReg
Woo-HOO!
(sad as it may be to get excited about 1.25%)

...20 weeks and counting, still gotta love it!

1
Comment #96 by e90330i (anonymous) posted on
e90330i
Opened an account today. It was quick and smooth. I did notice some questions halfway through that hinted they had done a credit pull. Netherless, so far so good. About the best of rates out there! 

1
Comment #97 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Opened the Money Market demand account early June. Like the rate, don't think this is a "mature" operation - so hopefully the rate will last a while.

Received a welcome kit in the mail, a PIN in separate mailing, and another separate mailing of checks. What I never received was a signature card - so wondering how secure is that? Will they honor a check without having my signature? So, I call customer service and I ask. She tells me that when I did the online application, I would have used the MOUSE or the TOUCHPAD to draw a signature?!?!? WTF? Then, she tells me that if they don't have a signature, they will use the signature on the first check I write. WTF?!?!? Generally, I don't use checks - just ACH, but is this right? I will write/deposit a check to test this out - but if this is how they are doing things it doesn't seem right to me. Anyone could take one of my checks so long as it's the first one and they will then use that signature as the signature for the account? I can't find this kind of info anywhere on their site. And if they dishonor the check and I incur fees after I test this out, I'll be a bit upset.......

 

1
Comment #98 by Manias posted on
Manias
Thier website now does not allow new accounts:

We’ve just concluded a successful pilot of TIAA Direct. Before moving on to the next phase, we will be making enhancements to the customer experience. During this time, we will not be accepting new account applications.

5
Comment #99 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
These days, yield is hard to find anywhere, so even if this account offers only 40-50 basis points more than the next competitor, it's worth it if you do the math.  For example, our own emergency fund is about $60,000, so an additional half-point earns us $25 more per month. It doesn't change our lives but does buy a plane ticket or some more Xmas gifts by the end of the year. I'd rather get $750 per year in interest with TIAA than $480 with an account paying 0.80%. As for how long they'll pay it, no one has a crystal ball, but note that since the initial rollout was mainly for employees, they'd have to keep it high for some time once it was released to the general public. Meanwhile, you get more interest. Even if you have a smaller account and get only another $10-15 per month, isn't it worth that much just for clicking a few buttons on your computer?  I certainly think so.

2
Comment #100 by TrainerCary (anonymous) posted on
TrainerCary
NOT ACCEPTING NEW ACCCOUNTS - 8.1.2012 WEBSITE STATES THE FOLLOWING:



Important Notice[/H2]
We appreciate your interest in opening a TIAA Direct deposit account.

We’ve just concluded a successful pilot of TIAA Direct. Before moving on to the next phase, we will be making enhancements to the customer experience. During this time, we will not be accepting new account applications.

If you’re already a customer, you can still log in and manage your accounts as usual.

We look forward to serving you in the future.

 

 [/H2]


1
Comment #101 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I was one of the very lucky ones who opened my account before TIAA Direct stopped accepting new customers in August.  More tha nine months since TIAA Direct opened for business, the 1.25% APY yield is still in force.  Many suspected that the 1.25% would quickly fall.  For those of us with an account, TIAA Direct is still the best in the current marketplace.  TIAA Direct was easy to set up, and the interface is fairly easy to navigate.  Electronic deposits/withdrawals are easy to initiate -- remember, no more than six withdrawals per month allowed (Federal law).

1
Comment #102 by RIFSLAW (anonymous) posted on
RIFSLAW
Anon 101, I too opened a savings account and am currently earning 1.25%. I checked online today (November 1) and the rate has not changed. I assume if the rate drops, it likely will be at the start of a month as the earned interest is posted on the first, but am hopeful the next rate change is an increase, rather than decrease, in the current rate.

1
Comment #103 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I am still being told (after one year) by TIAA the beneficiary option is not working. They are still saying they are in the process of fixing it.

1
Comment #104 by O-Qua Tangin Wann (anonymous) posted on
O-Qua Tangin Wann
My Money Market TIAA-Cref account interest rate is now listed as .85%.

2
Comment #105 by NYCDoug posted on
NYCDoug
Mine, too -- sad, but true . . .

1
Comment #106 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
After my rate dropped to .85% APY, I tried to transfer money out, but was told by a TIAA rep that my account had become inactive because I had not made a deposit in over a year. This was despite continuing to earn interest, recently changing the account beneficiary and receiving statements regularly. No notice was provided to me before TIAA made my account inactive. I am required to reactivate the account before I can do an ACH transfer out and was told this would take at least 24 hours. I am moving my money elsewhere.

 

2
Comment #107 by O-Qua Tangin Wann (anonymous) posted on
O-Qua Tangin Wann
Anonymous Post #106 above is a great reminder to everyone that just because interest is credited to an account monthly, that credit does NOT count towards account activity.

Perhaps Ken can do a posting reminding people of this fact, since apparently many are not aware.

What I do is have $1 transferred via ACH from my Alliant CU checking account (not their savings, since their savings is restricted to 6 withdrawals) into any other bank account I want to make sure stays what the bank considers "active." There is no fee whatsoever for this $1 ACH transfer. You could also set up an ACH transfer that is recurring, which will make sure you do not forget.

Now, of course, you absolutely do not have to have acivity every month. Some banks (I think Incredible Bank is one of them) require at least one transaction at least every 6 months to keep the account marked as active. So, you could do the $1 ACH every three months just to be safe.

~O-Qua Tangin Wann

1
Comment #108 by NYCDoug (anonymous) posted on
NYCDoug
As of this morning, rate now down to .75% APY.
Happy May Day . . .

1
Comment #109 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
This rate change is NOT new. It has been 0.75% for the last 10 days.

1