Porte Banking Offers Unique High Yield Savings Account

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Deal Summary: Savings Account, 3% APY on up to $15k, 0.50% for $15k+

Availability: Nationwide (via mobile app)

Porte is a brand of the financial technology company (fintech) Populus Financial Group that has partnered with MetaBank to offer unique checking and savings accounts. Like many of the new fintech bank accounts, Porte requires a mobile app to open and manage the account. You must first open the checking account, what it calls a demand deposit account. It’s a free checking account, but it pays no interest. Once you have the checking account opened and once you have a direct deposit, you can apply for the savings account. According to the Porte FAQ:

How do I set up the Savings Account?

Once you receive a qualifying Direct Deposit of $1,000 or more in a month, you become eligible for Porte’s Savings Account. Once eligible, the option to set it up will show up in your Porte app.

For savers, the savings account is the most attractive aspect of Porte. The savings account currently offers 3.00% APY on balances up to $15k. The portion of the balance above $15k earns 0.50% APY. Unlike reward checking accounts, there are no monthly requirements to maintain these rates. Once you qualify for the savings account by making the necessary direct deposit, you no longer have to maintain the direct deposit to continue to earn 3%. Also, there are no debit card usage requirements or other activity requirements.

APYMINMAXINSTITUTIONPRODUCTDETAILS
3.00*%-$15kPorteSavings Account
OTHER TIERS: 0.50% $15k+
Rates as of September 27, 2021.

There are several issues to consider.

First, there’s no guarantee that these rates will last. According to the small print of the Porte savings account page:

The interest rates and APYs of each tier may change. The APYs were accurate as of 1/1/2021.

Second, Porte doesn’t make it easy to transfer your funds into and out of the savings account. According to the small print of the Porte savings account page:

Savings Account funds are withdrawn through the Porte Account (maximum 6 such transfers per calendar month) and transaction fees could reduce the interest earned on the Savings Account.

Once your funds are in the Porte Account, you can’t use the Porte App to initiate an ACH transfer to your external bank account. As is common for many online banks, there’s no information about ACH transfer details at Porte’s website. Also, I wasn’t able to learn about these details by calling Porte. Only existing customers are able to connect with a CSR by phone. However, from reviews in their Apple App store, many customers have complained about the App lacking the capability of initiating ACH transfers. In one reply, the Porte representative wrote:

We've been working on adding the ability to transfer funds from your Porte account to other bank accounts

Even though you may not be able to initiate ACH transfers at Porte, you should be able to initiate transfers using your other banks. That will likely be the best way for savers to move money into and out of their Porte accounts.

Thanks to DA reader ichaelm who posted info on Porte in the DA Forum.

My Take

Like many of the fintech bank accounts, Porte appears to be targeting the millennials with a mobile checking and savings account. Thus, they probably don’t anticipate that a high percentage of their customers will keep large amounts in their savings account with little checking account activity. I have a feeling Porte will lower rates as the percentage of these types of customers increase. Until that happens, the savings account is a good deal. Even the rate for the portion of the balance above $15k is competitive when you consider many of the major online banks have lowered their savings account rates to 0.40%.

Availability

Porte accounts are available nationwide. According to Porte’s FAQs:

Porte accounts are available to anyone over the age of majority who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in one of the 50 U.S. states or District of Columbia.

You’ll need to download Porte’s mobile app to apply. It appears that there is no hard credit pull. According to the Mobile Banking section of Porte’s website,”

Apply for an account using the Porte app. No credit check required.

As I mentioned above, their customer service phone support (1-800-267-7080) appears to only handle existing customers. If you’re not a customer and are able to get through to a CSR, please leave a comment.

Bank Overview

Porte is a brand of the financial technology company (fintech) Populus Financial Group. Porte is one of several financial related brands owned by Populus. The fintech has partnered with MetaBank which actually holds the deposits of the Porte accounts. Funds in the Porte accounts are FDIC insured through MetaBank. For purposes of FDIC coverage, the funds in your Porte account will be aggregated with funds at all of your other MetaBank accounts.

As we saw with the problems at Beam Financial, banking with fintechs is not the same as banking directly with a bank. However, the fintech banking model used by Porte, in which the fintech partners with just one bank, is safer than the model that was used by Beam, in which the fintech uses a sweep account that distributes funds across a network of banks. Nevertheless, I believe dealing directly with a bank or credit union (whether it’s a brick-and-mortar bank or online-only bank) is generally safer than dealing indirectly with a bank via a fintech.

MetaBank has an overall health grade of "A+" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 4.31% (excellent) based on December 31, 2020 data. In the past year, MetaBank has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $1.24 billion, an excellent annual growth rate of 72.5%. Please refer to our financial overview of MetaBank (FDIC Certificate # 30776) for more details.

Meta Financial Group, Inc. is the holding company for MetaBank. In Meta Financial Group’s corporate history, it’s described how and when MetaBank transitioned from a typical community bank into its current state:

In 2004, prepaid industry leader Brad Hanson approached former MetaBank CEO Tyler Haahr with a vision for a new kind of bank. Together, they created the Meta Payment Systems division. In a few short years, we became a top collaborator with market-leading partners and one of the top card issuers in the prepaid industry. We continue to push the forefront of payments as we focus on prepaid cards, credit cards, electronic funds transfer and ATM sponsorship.

In addition to being one of the top prepaid issuers in the nation, MetaBank provides deposit account services for fintech/neobank/challenger banks. In addition to Populus/Porte, MetaBank provides deposit account services to MoneyLion.

How the Porte Savings Account Compares

Porte’s high yield on balances up to $15k is similar to the high yield of many reward checking accounts. Unlike reward checking accounts, there are no monthly requirements to maintain the rate.

There are other fintechs that offer similar accounts and rates. One is T-Mobile Money which offers a checking account that earns 4.00% APY on up to $3k when requirements are met. The portion of the balance above $3k earns 1.00% APY. All balances will also earn 1.00% APY if the requirements are not met.

The Porte Savings Account has similarities to the Superior Money Market at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union. The Superior Money Market Account currently earns 1.00% APY on balances up to $25k, and 0.15% for the portion above $25k. This requires ongoing direct deposit.

The Porte Savings Account also has similarities to the SmartyPig savings account. SmartyPig started out many years ago as a fintech that partnered with a bank. Now, it’s a product offered by Sallie Mae Bank. The account earns 0.70% APY on balances up to $10k, and 0.45% APY for the portion above $10k. There are no direct deposit requirement at SmartyPig.

The above rates are accurate as of 4/19/2021.

To review the best liquid bank account rates, both nationwide and state specific, please refer to our Savings Account rates table, Money Market Account rates table, Standard Checking Account rates table and Reward Checking Account rates table.

Related Pages: Sioux Falls savings accounts, savings accounts, checking accounts, nationwide deals, Internet banks

Comments
enduser
  |     |   Comment #1
The $37 monthly or $450 yearly interest generated by the savings account is not bad but you have to jump through a lot of hoops to make that happen. I'm a little uneasy about the lack of means of communication with a CSR, having to set up the account using the app exclusively, and the lack of documentation regarding fees and banking policies. I see they are related to NetSpend. This is a fee happy institution.

I located the Deposit Account Agreement.
Porte Account by MetaBank® Savings Account Agreement
https://tinyurl.com/24u79kp9

Compounding and Crediting of Interest
i) Frequency: Interest will be compounded on a quarterly basis and credited to your Savings Account quarterly.
enduser
  |     |   Comment #2
I have yet to locate the fee schedule for Porte.

A little more digging into this and I see that Netspend shows up all over the place on this Porte bank page small print at the bottom of the website. Porte issues a debit card just like Netspend does for the other accounts. I have 5 Netspend accounts earning 5% but the maximum balance on those is just $1000. Combined they generate $250 every year, and interest is paid quarterly just like on the Porte account. The Netspend debit checking pays no interest, nor can you write checks just like for Porte.

That debit card is loaded down with fees if you use it for any other purpose other then to activate the account. The way it works is you receive the debit card, and activate it. You will receive a separate checking account number with a routing number. The debit card is now linked to the checking account at Netspend. Once you activate the debit card you can now link an external FI to the Netspend checking account. Put that debit card away and do not use it for anything ever again or your account will be drained down with unimaginable fees.

Once you PUSH funds into the checking account it shows up as a balance on the debit card. When the debit card shows a balance of $1000 you can now activate the savings account for the first time and transfer all the funds from the debit card to the savings account. Do not use that physical debit card for anything other then to receive funds and transfer them to the savings account, or to transfer funds from the savings account, back to the debit card and PULL those funds out using the EXTERNAL FI. NEVER do a push or pull funds from within Netspend or you will be charged fees draining your account faster then the interest you will receive.

To keep the account from going dormant and being hit with inactivity fees you need to send at least $1 to the account every 90-days. I do this every month just to be safe. Money going into the debit card satisfies the inactivity rule, money going out from the debit card does not.

Note that I can't confirm that if these same rules apply to Porte since I can't find the fee schedule, but they certainly apply to Netspend which Porte is a part of.

Porte handles customer support issues via emails. This is the canned response given at the Google play site to irate customers. "Please contact our Customer Support team at [email protected]"

There seems to be no urgency in getting customers out of a bind when they can't access their money.
tightwad
  |     |   Comment #3
Thanks for all your work, enduser. This account is tempting but my spidey sense is telling me it might not be for me.

I still also have some of those old accounts with netspend, western union, brinks I opened way back when they had a $5000 max. They are a pita for such little return. I guess laziness is the only reason I haven't closed them.
enduser
  |     |   Comment #4
@tightwad, I agree Netspend is a PITA, but just make sure those Netspend accounts are not costing you money from inactivity. Remember it is the money going into the debit card that stops the inactivity clock from running. I set my external FI $1 push on autopilot and I just log in every quarter to move the interest earnings from the savings back to the debit card then pull them out using the external FI..
tightwad
  |     |   Comment #7
I just took a quick glance but not as bad as I expected. Might be easy enough to maneuver and avoid fees.

A couple things to note:
-Only 2 free debit card funding transactions a month.
-$15 dollar account closing fee to receive a check.

I will check things out closer later.

Thanks again enduser!
tightwad
  |     |   Comment #6
I do something similar to keep my Netspend accounts active.
enduser
  |     |   Comment #8
Financial panther has also done a quick review of Porte. Read the article here: Getting More From My Emergency Fund With 3% and 5% Interest Savings Accounts
https://financialpanther.com/getting-more-from-my-emergency-fund-with-3-and-5-interest-savings-accou...

Also there is a $50 bonus when you open the Porte account using a referral link included in the article above.
Svy
  |     |   Comment #9
There is a new $100 bonus from May 4 – September 4th, 2021 for the referred and referring parties, with at least a $500 Direct Deposit by the referred party. At the moment, Alliant ACHs appear to be working to trigger the bonus. You need to open the referral link from a mobile device for the bonus to track. Not sure whether I can post my referral, if not, Ken - pls delete: https://portebanking.app.link/ieqEOjI57fb

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