Popular Direct, Banco Popular North America’s newest internet division, celebrated its first anniversary in August. The first Popular Direct account I wrote about was the Popular Direct Savings. Its initial rate of 1.26% APY was short-lived, dropping to 1.15% APY sometime in December, and was quietly removed from the Bank’s website soon after. At about the same time, Popular Direct began promoting a new account, the High Rise Savings that earned 1.15% APY.
In what seems to be becoming an accepted industry practice, Popular Direct phased out the High Rise Savings account in August, replacing it with a new account - Plus Savings (1.21% APY). Over the weekend, that rate was raised to 1.40% APY.
As DA reader, iamarco, stated in an August Forum post,
Popular Direct needs to be much clearer and fairer in their rates on savings. 1.21% is for new accounts only old money remains at 1.15%. It took a phone call to find out that information as the posting on their website did not clarify. This is a deceptive practice in my opinion. Everyone should be eligible for the new rate.
The Plus Savings account disclosure contains a lot of helpful information, such as,
- Minimum opening deposit is $5k
- $4 monthly service fee if the balance on any day is below $500.
- $25 early closing fee if account is closed within 180 days of opening.
- $5 monthly dormancy fee if there has been no activity for 12 months.
- Withdrawals only allowed via an external account, internal transfer to another Popular Direct account, or ACH.
- $5 fee for each additional debit exceeding the limit of six per statement cycle.
- Deposits only allowed via an external account, internal transfers to another Popular Direct account, ACH, or Popular Direct mobile app.
CSR supplied the information I couldn’t find on the Bank’s website.
- There is an ACH transfer service that customers can log into and initiate a transfer to/from outside accounts.
- Initiating ACH transfers is fee-free.
- There is a $10k maximum for incoming and outgoing transfers.
- Only one external account can be linked and it cannot be changed during the first 60 calendar days following the linking.
- The hold period for ACH deposits is five days.
Thanks to DA reader, Carpline, for spotting this new savings account rate leader.
Popular Direct CDs
In the past year, I’ve written six blog posts about CDs offered by Popular Direct, which continue to offer competitive rates. Earlier this month, the 2-, 3-, and 5-year CDs had rate increases that placed their APYs in the top five for their respective term lengths. The minimum deposit for any Popular Direct CD is $10k.
|2.40%||$10k||-||Popular Direct||5 Year Popular Direct CD|
|2.05%||$10k||-||Popular Direct||3 Year Popular Direct CD|
|1.85%||$10k||-||Popular Direct||2 Year Popular Direct CD|
The one downside to these CDs is the heavy-handed Early Withdrawal Penalty (EWP). As stated in the CD Disclosure, the EWP reads as follows:
For terms equal to or greater than 12 months but less than 36 months, the fee is 270 days simple interest.
For terms equal to or greater than 36 months but less than 60 months, the fee is 365 days simple interest.
For terms equal to or greater than 60 months, the fee is 730 days simple interest.
As an online division of Banco Popular North American, Popular Direct’s website states,
All Popular Direct deposit products are offered by, and will be opened through, Banco Popular North America (BPNA). BPNA is a Member FDIC institution and a New York state chartered bank.
Opening any type of account, including the Popular Direct Plus Savings, must be done online.
Popular Direct/BPNA has an overall health grade of "A" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas ratio of 6.602% (excellent) based on June 30, 2017 data. In the past year, the Bank has increased its total non-brokered deposits by 939.44 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 18.53%. Please refer to our financial overview of Popular Direct/BPNA (FDIC Certificate # 28934) for more details.
BPNA was also the holding institution for E-LOAN, but on May 15, 2017, all E-LOAN deposit products became Popular Direct products. BPNA is currently the 14th largest bank headquartered in New York, with assets in excess of $8.9 billion and more than 243,400 customer accounts.
Note: This past June, The New York Times ran an article about Santander’s takeover of the failed Spanish bank, Banco Popular. The similarity in names caused a DA reader to express some concern about BPNA. To quote myself from a Forum post,
Popular Direct is a division of Banco Popular North America, which is a subsidiary of the Puerto Rico-based bank holding company, Popular, Inc. I can find no connections between Popular, Inc. and the Spanish Banco Popular.
How the Direct Plus Savings Account Compares
With the line between Savings and Money Market accounts becoming more and more blurred, I’ve chosen to use both in this comparison. When compared to the 204 Savings Accounts and 172 Money Market Accounts tracked by DepositAccounts.com that are available nationally with similar balance requirements and balance caps, Popular Direct’s Plus Savings APY currently ranks second.
|Interest Rate||Account Name||Credit Union/Bank|
|1.41% APY||Money Market Savings (no min)||UFB Direct|
|1.40% APY||Popular Direct Plus Savings (no min)||Popular Direct|
|1.35% APY||eOne Savings (no min)||Salem Five Direct|
|1.31% APY||Yield Pledge Money Market (no min)||EverBank|
The above rates are accurate as of 9/25/2017.
To review the top Savings and Money Market accounts, both nationwide and state specific, please refer to our Savings Account rates table, Money Market Account rates table. To search for the best accounts in your area, please refer to our Rates Map page.