Brilliant Bank Debuts Competitive Money Market Account

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Deal Summary: Money Market Account, 2.61% APY, $1k min/$500k max deposit and/or balance.

Availability: Nationwide, with the exception of portions of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.

As I noted in yesterday’s Latest Liquid Bank Account Summary, Kansas-based Brilliant Bank is one of two internet banks offering the current top rate (2.61% APY) on nationally available money market accounts.

APYMINMAXINSTITUTIONPRODUCTDETAILS
2.80%$1k-Brilliant BankMoney Market Account
Rates as of October 3, 2022.

Brilliant Bank is a very young bank, having opened its virtual doors in May, with the Money Market Account added to the product line little more than a month ago. Two Forum posts (August and September) on the Brilliant Bank Money Market Account by DA reader, rockies, are insightful and contain a lot of information, which is quite helpful because the Brilliant Bank website does not provide a detailed FAQs or Truth-in-Savings disclosure. The information provided on the Money Market Account landing page is minimal, at best. The following was obtained in a conversation with a CSR. (NB, some of what I was told, e.g. $500k max balance, differs from what rockies was told.)

  • Minimum opening deposit is $1k
  • Minimum $2k balance to avoid $10 monthly service charge
  • Maximum deposit/balance of $500k
  • Interest is credited monthly
  • Unlimited check writing
  • ATM/debit card is available, with no ATM fees nationwide
  • Free online banking and mobile banking
  • Initial and subsequent funding can be done by ACH, wire, or check (mobile deposit)
  • No dollar amount limit on outgoing/incoming ACH transfers initiated by Brilliant Bank*
  • Unlimited beneficiaries can be designated and Social Security numbers are not required.

*I do not have a lot of confidence in the statement about no limits on ACH transfer initiated by Brilliant Bank. After the conversation with CSR ended, I read the following on the Money Market Account landing page, making me wonder if this was what she was referring to:

Can I Transfer Money From A Money Market Account Into A Different Checking Or Savings Account?

You can transfer money from a money market account to another account via your Brilliant Bank mobile app, which gives you full control over your finances.

Availability

As the new internet division of Equity Bank, Brilliant Bank offers its product line through an online banking platform to U.S. citizens/resident aliens (18 years or older), who live anywhere in the U.S., with the exception of portions of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma (determined by the online application using Zip Code as the determinant).

Opening a Money Market Account (referred to as the “Electric Money Market” on the application) must be done online.

Recent reviews of the account opening process by two DA readers, whawk and aloo, are on opposite ends of the satisfaction spectrum:

Open Account Without Issues And FDIC Checked

I opened an account with Brilliant Bank with[out] any problems. The process actually went better than other banks that I applied.

I also checked with FDIC where the customer service informed me that Brilliant Bank is insured by FDIC.

I am happy and just set up ACH to transfer funds to start earning higher interests than other banks.

Crappy Service

I started an application few days back but put it on hold looking at some reviews. Decided to finish it today, but they denied it saying they can't find my information in Chex systems which I thought was very weird. Called them and got a very rude agent kept repeating like a broken record that your application is denied. Good riddance with this bank.

There is often a tradeoff between great rates and easy account management/well-trained customer service. New and small players often have many more issues as compared to the well-established online banks. Caveat emptor.

Bank Overview

As an online division of Equity Bank, Brilliant Bank operates under Equity Bank’s FDIC Certificate and shares its financial history.

Equity Bank/Brilliant Bank has an overall health grade of “A” at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 5.39% (excellent), based on June 30, 2022 data. In the past year, the Bank has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $525.64 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 15.44%. Please refer to our financial overview of Equity Bank/Brilliant Bank (FDIC Certificate # 25858) for more details.

With assets in excess of $5 billion and more than 152,000 customer accounts, Equity Bank is currently the fourth largest bank in Kansas. Established in 1985 as the National Bank of Andover, the bank rebranded as Equity Bank, A National Association in 2003, with the Equity Bank name adopted in 2012. Between 2006 and 2021, Equity Bank acquired 14 banks in four states: Kansas (7), Missouri (3), Oklahoma (3), and Arkansas (1).

How the Money Market Account Compares

When compared to the Money Market Accounts and Savings Accounts tracked by DepositAccounts.com that are available nationwide and do not require large balances, direct deposit, or have small balance caps, the Brilliant Bank Money Market Account APY currently shares the top spot with the UFB Direct Rewards Savings Account and Rewards Money Market Account..

APYAccount NameCredit Union/Bank
2.61%Money Market ($1k min/$500k max)Brilliant Bank
2.61%UFB Rewards Savings (no min/no max)UFB Direct
2.61%UFB Rewards Money Market (no min/no max)UFB Direct
2.60%Digital Money Market ($2.5k min/$500k max)TotalDirectBank
2.55%High Yield Money Market ($1k min/no max)CFG Bank
2.50%High Yield Savings Account – via SaveBetter ($1 min/no max)Liberty Savings Bank

The above information and rates are accurate as of 9/8/2022.

To look for the best rates on liquid bank accounts, both nationwide and state specific, please refer to our Money Market Accounts Table and Savings Accounts Table.

Related Pages: money market accounts, nationwide deals, Internet banks

Comments
remmymo
  |     |   Comment #1
Note: $2.55 charge for external transfers that are not initiated from the outside Bank
jack12
  |     |   Comment #3
What could their rationale be for this
P_D
  |     |   Comment #4
To raise revenue from unsuspecting depositors. It's another red flag that gives you insight into their policies. More rate chaser bait with no rate guarantees.
midas89
  |     |   Comment #6
If Brilliant charges indeed $2.55 for every transfer out that's initiated at Brilliant, this would eliminate using Brilliant as a Hub bank.
RichReg
  |     |   Comment #8
@ comment #1; Note: $2.55 charge for Extenal Transfers OUT only.
No charge for an Incoming ACH.

I would never use the losing Institution as the initiator for Transfers Out in the first place; mostly because they have a reputation of taking too long. Whereas if the money is coming IN, its quick.
P_D
  |     |   Comment #9
"I would never use the losing Institution as the initiator for Transfers Out in the first place; mostly because they have a reputation of taking too long. Whereas if the money is coming IN, its quick."

Another red flag, especially coupled with the ACH fee.

We are supposed to be the ones who play those games, not them! ;)
RichReg
  |     |   Comment #10
"Another red flag, especially coupled with the ACH fee."
Not sure what 'Another Red Flag' is. I have no experience with Brilliant's ACHs out, but I can tell you their ACH Transfers in are pretty quick. Plenty Plenty PLENTY of these online or otherwise banks, that are dangling these carrot rates, are dang slow sending money out. Or its a disjointed process. This is nothing specific to Brilliant.

"We are supposed to be the ones who play those games, not them! ;)"
Is Brilliant the only one who charges transfer fees? I don't think so. Find any bank using a 3rd party ACH service and there surely will be one. Or otherwise a processing time that will give you grey hair. I'm really not interested in playing any games, either..

This whole gripe reminds me of the "I don't want my funds on hold for 10 days" argument. I mean, why are you saving money if you plan on withdrawing it? Set aside & arrange deposited savings accordingly.

Finally there's checkwriting, so I can write a check if I really have to which is THE fastest way to move funds out. Plus these guys let you mobile deposit up to $500k if you want to ;; at 2.58% liquid that alone is worth the sacrifice of using ACH out via someone else.
P_D
  |     |   Comment #14
Of the last 50 banks and credit unions at least that I've had accounts at not one of them charged an ACH fee. And I didn't select them intentionally because they had no ACH fees, it's just so uncommon that I never came across one where I wanted to have an account. So it looks to me like a red flag.

Also internally initiated faster ACH pulls than pushes is unusual. I see it as another red flag.

You mention alternate means of moving funds like checks. That's a completely different point. I didn't say there weren't any workarounds, I don't know if there are or there aren't, I said there were red flags. I think anytime a bank has non-standard policies, particularly around fees and transfers, that raises a red flag. And a red flag means you should do additional due diligence before opening an account. The point being if they have those non-standard policies, you should find out what other non-standard policies they might have that may be a problem for you even if these things are not.
midas89
  |     |   Comment #15
Same here, P_D. I have double-digit bank-dealing like you, and not one of them charge for ACH withdrawals initiated at their bank. I know there are some banks that do, but more banks do not ask for ACH money than do. Also, $2.55 is a lot more than Brilliant pays for each transaction. I guess they having 5 billion in assets isn't enough.
RichReg
  |     |   Comment #16
@P_D ; I beg to differ.
Internally initiated ACHs may not necessarily be faster, just disjointed.
Meaning there is a day lag between the deposit & the withdrawal...Day 1 it leaves, Day 2 it arrives, etc. Efficiently processed ACHs come & go on the same day. I'm amazed you've never encountered these lags, ...or any ACH fees for that matter.

But I'd have to agree w/midas about the fees; probably a minority of banks do this, but those that waive the "carrot rates" are often the ones that do. Anyone going for the highest (or top-tier) rate on any of these types of accounts surely must have seen this? The bottom line is : whether this bank has 5 billion in assets or 500 thousand, they still need to make some kind of profit on this account base, and sadly that fee is one way. They ALL do. At least they openly disclosed it somewhere you could easily reference.

Which brings me back to the point of our whole purpose here, which is to find higher $$ returns on our savings. I fail to understand why a 'red flag' comes into play; a sort of implication that something else might happen to your account or your funds because they need to limit withdrawals? At least its not BLATANT like CFG. The transparency to me is a plus, and there's no indication that this fee is a sign of bad business practices, now or later. And it CERTAINLY shouldn't hinder anyone from getting a 2.61% APY if so desired.
P_D
  |     |   Comment #17
"I'm amazed you've never encountered these lags, ...or any ACH fees for that matter."

Of course I have encountered ACH lags. Three day lags are common. And of course I have seen FI ACH fees. I just never saw an account at an FI that had them (the fees) that interested me. We are not differing, we are talking about two different points.

With most of the accounts I maintain I am primarily concerned with wires rather than ACH since I typically transfer large amounts. ACH efficiency interests me primarily for day to day accounts where there are smaller more frequent cash transfers.

And speaking of wires, I have observed a change in the quality of that method of transfer recently. It is mostly at a couple of large Internet banks that I have had accounts at for many years. Recently I had a wire fail 3 times and what should have been a same day transfer (which is typically why I use wires in the first place) turned out to take 4 days (even though I scheduled it days in advance!). In the end I told them to cancel it. All the problems were THEIR FAULT. It isn't the first time I have had problems with them on this. And another large Internet bank also had similar issues recently.

I think part of it is new security measures they have implemented most likely because of an increased incidence of crime and fraud that uses wires. It really makes it hard for legitimate retail transactions by wire. I could not believe how many fumbles have been made on some of my recent wire transfers. So far I was fortunate that none of them were time critical. But I can see the time coming when one of them will be and they will mess it up. I am bracing myself for that. I have one of those coming up in a few months with a multiple 7 figure transfer. They better get it right!
Choice
  |     |   Comment #18
Sounds like a discussion on inflation rates and CD rates, “we are talking about two different points.”
Mikey1
  |     |   Comment #2
Still enjoying the Treasury bill weekly ladder I started building in May. The 8 week rate according to today’s auction is over 2.8%. Until rates begin to decline any bank offering you less than 3% is a wasted CHEX pull.
rockies
  |     |   Comment #5
Mikey1 makes some really interesting points. 8 week was highest rate since it was introduced in October, 2018. Even 4 week Treasury investment rate was 2.54% in today's auction. This rivals the leading rate money market/savings accounts....and probably beats them if you look at after tax return, depending on your state. The more general theme across all durations seems to be that Treasurys are putting the pressure on banks and credit unions to increase their rates. Now, let's see how the banks and credit unions will react.
P_D
  |     |   Comment #7
Short-term treasuries are very different from an account where you can deposit and withdraw funds at any time. They are not directly competitive with savings and money market accounts. So I don't think you can compare the rates that way. You should expect a premium for tying up your money for one or two months versus the immediate availability of a savings or money market account. You are paying a price for the extra return. It's not apples to apples.
Mikey1
  |     |   Comment #11
Your statement would be true if a Treasury bill ladder were not in place. But with bills maturing on a weekly basis I can either reinvest or let the bill lapse and use the funds to pay bills, make major purchases, etc.

It may not be technically “apples to apples” but it’s pretty darn close.

I can also stop building the ladder when rates start to decline and THEN seek a high interest or reward checking account that offers something that well exceeds depressed Treasury rates.

Therefore, I don’t consider it “paying a premium” to only have to wait until the next Tuesday to access my funds. 
rockies
  |     |   Comment #13
I should have been more explicit. Yes, the weekly ladder and no ChexSystems pull are what got my attention. And, the recognition that a weekly ladder of 4 week Treasury bills has a maximum exposure of only 4 weeks (vs. a worst case scenario of 8 weeks exposure with a weekly ladder of 8 week T-bills.) I am definitely rethinking a few things. And, yes P_D, I agree Treasurys and savings/MM accounts are different. But, what was thought provoking for me was the opportunity to closely mimic savings/MM with the weekly ladders proposed by Mikey1.  And, the observation that short term Treasury rates are moving up fast.
Mikey1
  |     |   Comment #19
I also work 13 and 26 week bills into the mix. Today’s (9/12/22) 13 week rate auctioned at 3.142%. I already have ladder funds maturing each week in December. So I preselected my 13 week Treasury bill maturing Thursday to be reinvested as a 26 week bill paying 3.576% which should hold up reasonably well until March maturity.
Mikey1
  |     |   Comment #20
UPDATE: 9/15/22 auction:
4 week Treasury bill 2.71%.
jwwaz
  |     |   Comment #12
Despite info otherwise, this bank DOES NOT accept valid U.S. Person application, only U.S. citizen. Waste of time.

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