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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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Review of Scottrade Bank Free Checking Account


It has become common for brokerages to offer free checking accounts. These provide another option for those who want to leave their megabank. Last year the brokerage firm Scottrade launched Scottrade Bank to offer deposit accounts to it brokerage customers. According to last year's press release the bank was rolled out to only certain parts of the nation. I just confirmed that customers in any state can now open accounts. The bank offers checking and savings accounts, and CDs. However, the checking account will probably be the only account that's appealing to most people since the interest rates are so low. The interest rates are only listed for customers when they're logged in. The customer service representative (CSR) provided me the rates of the savings account. Since they're so low, I'll only provide the high-tier rate: 0.13% for balances from $100K up to $250K (as of 4/11/2012).

If you have a Scottrade brokerage account, Scottrade Bank and its free checking account may allow you to dump your local bank. The only reason that you may still need a local brick-and-mortar bank is for cash deposits. Below are some of the important features of Scottrade Bank's checking account:

  • No monthly service fees
  • Free ACH funds transfers
  • Free online bill pay
  • Free checks and ATM/debit card
  • ATM fee reimbursement program
  • FDIC insurance

The ATM fee reimbursement program provides unlimited ATM fee refunds for cash withdrawals. There are no refunds for currency exchange fees.

Before you can open a Scottrade Bank account, you must first have a Scottrade brokerage account. The brokerage account requires an initial deposit of just $500 for all of our brokerage account types, but they do not require you to maintain a minimum balance.

New account bonuses are common at brokerages. Currently, there isn't anything that great at Scottrade. One minor bonus is a ReferALL promotion. If you are referred by a friend or relative to Scottrade, you will both receive three free online trades. These free trades are good for up to six months. They are also currently offering a promotion to reimburse the transfer-out fees charged by other brokerages when you transfer to Scottrade. They will reimburse transfer-out fees up to $100 for transfers of $10,000 or greater.

Scottrade Bank is a sizeable bank with over $12 billion in deposits. It has an overall health score at of 5 stars (out of 5) based on December 2011 data. Please refer to our financial overview of Scottrade Bank for more details. The bank has been a FDIC member since 2008 (FDIC Certificate # 58656).

How Does The Checking Account Compare

Other popular brokerages that offer free checking accounts include TD Ameritrade (Online Cash Services), Fidelity (Fidelity Cash Management) and Charles Schwab (Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking). All of these offer FDIC-insured accounts, no monthly fees, free checks and ATM fee reimbursements. Your decision about which one to choose will probably be based on the brokerage features rather than the checking features.

  Tags: Scottrade Bank, checking account

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Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
ING has sold ShareBuilder to Capital One. I think ING Direct was part of the deal but am not certain.

Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
I have been a scottrade customer for over 10 years. I took them up on their advertisement to open a checking account. Big Hassle! Not worth it. Despite being a long time customer, they needed to see proof of identification, including a utility bill. When I brought that into the nearest branch (almost 20 minutes away) they then told me I needed to bring in my Social Security card or a 1099 with my social on it. When I told them I could only provide the 1099 I received from my Scottrade brokerage account (I am a stay-at-home mom), they said they couldn't accept that one.

Going online into my account, they suggest transferring money to my new checking accout and sent a debit card to my home address. However, they won't let me transfer money from my brokerage to my checking account.

To sum it up, Scottrade Bank doesn't seem ready to handle regular online banking. Here I thought it would be a logical place to open a checking account, but it was a pain to a ridiculous extent.

Comment #14 by anoncc (anonymous) posted on
I've had accounts with scottrade for many years now and had no problems of any kind. They always reimburse. Transfers work like they should. They have reason, I suspect to question previous commenter because he/she is full of s***.  

Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
According to Scottrade web site it is possible to tranfer money between any internal Scottrade accounts (checking , brockerage, ect) and between Scottrade checking and any external account (different bank). 

Comment #8 by Victor P. (anonymous) posted on
Victor P.
I opened Scottrade Checking specifically for using ATM for withdrawal foreign currency abroad.  I was informed that they are not charging foreign transaction fees and operates the same way as Charles Schwab Bank.  A month ago I used it in Italy 3 times.  At the same time I used two other cards with the same options: Capital One and Charles Schwab.  All Scottrade transactions rates were exactly 1% higher than Capital One and Charles Schwab rates.   

Comment #9 by Anonymous posted on
In response, to the abroad ATM fees, and Trasaction rates. Was Scottrade better than Schwab and Capital one

Comment #10 by Anonymous posted on
In my experience Charles Schwab has a very solid checking account.  Foreign Transaction Fees and ATM fees do not exist (verified by use) and real people answer the phone 24 hours a day, real people like financial advisors that know what they are talking about.  As someone who does a lot of international travel I highly reccomend their services.

Comment #11 by O.L. (anonymous) posted on
Regarding Schwab checking, I have had the same experiences as the other posters.  No foreign transaction fees or ATM fees when used abroad.  Schwab has a good interest rate and will let you see canceled checks (front and backside imges) online.

Comment #12 by Anonymous posted on
Closed my account with Scottrade Bank today because it's been over a month and I never received a debit card. I called them a week ago, and they said I was supposed to request one. Request a debit card??? Why wouldn't that be automatic? Then they said it could take 3-5 days to get it... wrong again... Somebody is definitely asleep at the wheel. The brokerage couldn't even contact their own banking representatives. What a joke. 

Comment #13 by Anonymous posted on
Was gonna open account but if it's a hassle in the city, what will it be like in the country. ?