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Emigrant's New Internet Bank: DollarSavingsDirect


Update 4/22/11: Dollar Savings Direct's yield has fallen from 1.00% to 0.90% APY. Emigrant Direct's yield has fallen from 0.90% to 0.80% APY.

Emigrant Bank has started a new online savings account at DollarSavingsDirect with a yield of 3.75% APY. This DollarSavingsDirect replaces the BancoFortuna website. Emigrant launched BancoFortuna last year with the same features as EmigrantDirect with the intention to target Spanish speaking people in the US. I don't even see a Spanish link at DollarSavingsDirect, so I guess Emigrant has given up with that plan.

Difference Between EmigrantDirect and DollarSavingsDirect?

DollarSavingsDirect appears to have all the same features as EmigrantDirect except one important difference. A minimum balance of $1,000 is required in order to earn the top yield (currently 3.75% APY). If the average daily balance falls below $1,000 during a statement period, the yield drops to 1.00% APY. EmigrantDirect has only one yield for all balances (currently 3.00% APY).

I asked the CSR if there's any guarantee to how long this 3.75% may last. As is typical, it can change at any time. A minimum balance requirement probably will allow Emigrant to pay a little higher rate, but the very competitive yield of 3.75% is probably intended to attract new customers. I wouldn't be surprised for DollarSavingsDirect to become less competitive with time.

Existing EmigrantDirect and BancoFortuna Customers?

Readers who are BancoFortuna customers forwarded me an email that they received from BancoFortuna yesterday informing them of this change. According to the email, BancoFortuna customers will be awarded the higher yield without having to create a new account. However, there is a one-time enrollment process that must be done.

For EmigrantDirect customers, you'll have to create a new account at DollarSavingsDirect. According to the CSR, this account will be separate from the EmigrantDirect account. At least there's no hard credit inquiry in the application (according to the CSR). It would have been better if EmigrantDirect just raised its rate to 3.75% so both existing and new customers could easily take advantage of this higher rate.

Important Account Features

Account features of DollarSavingsDirect (which appear to be the same as EmigrantDirect) are listed in their Account Disclosure and in their FAQ page. Some of the important features include:

  • No minimum balance fees
  • ACH transfer system available for deposits and withdrawals
  • Only two checking accounts can be linked for ACH transfers
  • Only checking accounts can be linked, and it requires mailing in a voided check
  • Hold time for ACH deposits is 5 business days
  • Fast ACH transfers. My past experience indicates EmigrantDirect transfers complete in as little as one day.
  • Disclosure states that the only acceptable way to withdraw funds if by logging into their website and initiating an ACH transfer (can't officially debit by initiating from an outside bank account)
  • Beneficiary can be added to the account. Refer to the chart mentioned in this FAQ to see how to extend your FDIC insurance.

Emigrant Bank Overview

DollarSavingsDirect and EmigrantDirect are divisions of, Emigrant Bank which has been FDIC insured since 1934 (FDIC Certificate # 12054). The bank's financial ratings aren't too strong: 3 stars (adequate) at BauerFinancial and 2 stars (below peer group) at Bankrate.com. Both are based on 3/31/08 data. As I recommend with any bank, it's best to keep below the FDIC limits.

Thanks to the readers who notified me of this new account

Dollar Savings Direct Rate History:

  • 04/22/11: 0.90% APY
  • 01/21/11: 1.00% APY
  • 09/21/10: 1.10% APY
  • 05/12/10: 1.20% APY
  • 03/03/10: 1.30% APY
  • 02/09/10: 1.40% APY
  • 12/04/09: 1.50% APY
  • 10/20/09: 1.60% APY.
  • 07/15/09: 1.70% APY.
  • 04/28/09: 2.00% APY.
  • 03/17/09: 2.05% APY.
  • 03/07/09: 2.25% APY.
  • 03/03/09: 2.50% APY.
  • 02/21/09: 2.65% APY.
  • 02/12/09: 3.05% APY.
  • 02/05/09: 3.20% APY.
  • 01/23/09: 3.50% APY.
  • 10/08/08: 4.00% APY.
  • 08/08/08: 3.75% APY.

Emigrant Direct Rate History:

  • 04/22/11: 0.80% APY
  • 01/27/11: 0.90% APY
  • 05/12/10: 1.00% APY
  • 02/09/10: 1.10% APY
  • 12/04/09: 1.20% APY
  • 09/10/09: 1.30% APY
  • 07/15/09: 1.40% APY.
  • 05/20/09: 1.55% APY.
  • 03/18/09: 1.65% APY
  • 03/10/09: 1.80% APY
  • 03/03/09: 2.00% APY
  • 02/17/09: 2.05% APY
  • 01/20/09: 2.40% APY
  • 01/06/09: 2.50% APY
  • 12/16/09: 2.75% APY
  • 07/31/08: 3.00% APY
  • ??/??/??: 2.75% APY
Related Pages: DollarSavingsDirect, savings account

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  |     |   Comment #1
that's just stupid creating multiple websites.

Make EMIGRANT RATE higher or make some tiers to earn more like:

3% $0-$999
3.5% $1000+
  |     |   Comment #2
Similar to how AmTrust created an e-Savings account in addition to e-Money Market. Same features.. leaving old account holders with a lower rate. Annoying.
  |     |   Comment #3
Can the DollarSavingDirect account be used to earn the 1.4% cash back on ED credit card?
  |     |   Comment #4
Called today and CSR said they don't do a hard or soft inquiry, only ChexSystems. Not sure if this is true though since read that Emigrant Direct does a soft pull - can anyone confirm?
  |     |   Comment #5
Another important difference with EmigrantDirect is that they only offer E-Statements and ED allows paper.
  |     |   Comment #6
I was able to establish a ACH link between my EmigrantDirect account and this new account for my initial deposit using the routing number 226070319. The account linked for your initial deposit does not have the requirement of sending a voided check, so you may be able to link to other online savings accounts as well.
  |     |   Comment #7
I tried to link my EmigrantDirect account and the transfer was reversed. I also received an email explaining that only checking accounts can be linked.
  |     |   Comment #8
Just a warning:
They take back the initial small verification deposits. So when you first open the account, they will make two small deposits to your external account, followed by two withdrawals, followed by a third withdrawal for your initial funding for the new account.

If your external account has a monthly limit on withdrawals (like the typical six from money market accounts), these three withdrawals will make quite a dent in your monthly quota.
  |     |   Comment #9
The number of initial w/ds from the external account won't be a problem if you follow the DSD terms which clearly states the external link must be a CHECKING account (which has no number of w/d restrictions).
  |     |   Comment #10
DollarSavingsDirect. They withhold interest on account if zero balance at end of the month! I had an external link account to an online savings account. You are allowed to have only ONE linked online savings account. The other linked account has to be a checking account. Never to do business with them again!
  |     |   Comment #11
Banking Guy, you mentioned above about this account having a fast ACH transfers system. I don't have this account, but I see in reading their FAQ that the bank says its ACH transfers typically will take 2 to 4 days to process -- apart from hold times on newly deposited funds. That's NOT particularly speedy, especially compared to GMAC or Countrywide. Even dawdling HSBC typically does ACHs in 3 business days time.
  |     |   Comment #12
I recently opened an online savings account with DollarSavingsDirect. I had a good experience in the past with an online savings account with EmigrantDirect (I closed that account only because the interest rate went too low).
I signed up on the DollarSavingsDirect website and put in my routing info for ACH transfer. According to the instructions 2 small test amounts would be deposited and withdrawn from my linked account in 2 days, I am then to login to DollarSavingsDirect and verify the 2 amounts. I did not receive any email confirmation after opening the account, I like to get an email confirmation when I am going to give someone my money. Two days later I checked my linked account I saw the 2 small test amounts deposited and withdrawn but I was surprised to see the full amount I was funding the account with was also withdrawn on the same day. I don't know why they bothered with the 2 small test amounts if they transfered the full amount before I could verify the 2 test amounts. I had the money available in my linked account so it wasn't a problem and I was glad there wasn't an additional delay of a day or two waiting to verify the 2 small test amounts. I was also pleasantly surprised that the interest rate increased from 3.75 % to 4.00 % right after I opened the account. I received a confirmation letter in the mail a week later.
  |     |   Comment #13
Can anyone who opened the account please confirm that there is no hard credit inquiry?

  |     |   Comment #14
No Hard Inquiry.
Brian F
  |     |   Comment #15
Did anyone have any issues with the Dollar Savings Direct opening? I was going to open an account and wondered if the account can link to HSBC? Also wondering if the blurb about no restrictions in w/d if its linked to an external checking account. Someone please confirm....
  |     |   Comment #16
I just opened one yesterday, got the verification funds today for linking my account to it, and all is well. Very quick and easy.
  |     |   Comment #17
We open a joint account yesterday at 2:00pm. Today at 6:00am we had the welcome Email and the two verification deposit. I just comfirm them and the account is ready. Very fast account opening. So far so good.
  |     |   Comment #18
Very easy to set up and transfer.
  |     |   Comment #19
Hesitated after seeing terms that allowed them to hold funds for 60days. This info isn't up front and that bothers me. They can lower their rate at any time and lock up your funds for 60 days. Don't know if they deserve that much trust.
  |     |   Comment #20
Called the FDIC earlier this morning to confirm this account is FDIC insured....

Then called dollarsavingsdirect to ask about the 60 day thing.. they said that is only in the case the bank goes bankrupt..... (hopefully they wont)

Lastly i asked about linking it to a savings account. The CSR told me i could not do that.. although their computers won't detect if its a savings or checkings you are transfering money from.. lol

I transfered from my countrywide savingslink.. we'll see what happens....
  |     |   Comment #21
opened account...fast, easy and quick transfer online..I will stay with them as long as they offer a high rate..I just moved from Everbank.
  |     |   Comment #22
For the past 2 days i am unable to open the url https://www.dollarsavingsdirect.com ..anyone having the same issue? i am bit paranoid as i have all my funds in this account and can't access it.
  |     |   Comment #23

works for me, just tried it today and 2 days ago. No problems ever
  |     |   Comment #24
I haven't had any problems accessing the DollarSavingsDirect website. I also had an account with EmigrantDirect for several years and never had any problems there either.
  |     |   Comment #25
The Dollar Savings Direct rating is now 1 star looking at the Bankrate website. I guess that is why they are offering such a high rate in order to keep the money at the bank from leaving?
  |     |   Comment #26
I know it's FDIC insured, but 1 star scares me. Who wants to go through a possible bank failure and have to deal with FDIC recovery? Anyone ever been through it? Does anyone have any more info on this bank's future prospects? This bank went from 3 to 2 to 1 star.
  |     |   Comment #27
no one here has had to go through a FDIC recovery because none so far has gotten to that point in recent times....

Even people who have had money more than the FDIC limit at banks that have failed havent lost anything....
  |     |   Comment #28
I had deposits under the FDIC insured limits of course with Net Bank when they went insolvent and were taken over by ING. It was a smooth transition and my money was available after the weekend.
  |     |   Comment #29
Regarding recovering your deposit funds after the bank closed. I had the experience during the S&L crisis a few decades ago where my S&L (Dominion Federal Savings and Loan) actually shut down and did not find another buyer. During the S&L crisis, a few institutions were not absorbed by another buyer and just shut down. I got all of my money back (it was insured up to $100,000 by the FSLIC (Federal Savings and Loan Corporation). An agency of the Federal Government called the RTC (Resolution Trust Corporation) handled the process to liquidate the bad S&Ls across the country. The money that I had in that institution was just under $1000 so it was no big deal that it was tied up during the liquidation process. But, if you had a large sum of money and it is in a bank that closed and if it isn't taken over by another buyer, expect possible delays while the FDIC sorts things out which can take several months. One of the highest checking account rates is at Imperial Capital Bank which also has a 1 star rating now. Is it a good deal? Yes, but is it worth the risk? Low rated banks need to attract deposit money by offering higher rates. If they were not in the top tier in their rates, then customers would most likely look elsewhere to keep their money.
  |     |   Comment #30
Duly noted, I was too young during the S&L scandals to have any money or idea how corrupt a world we live in.

I guess I could have pursued Capital One at 3.25%, but, for me, I am only putting 10% of my net worth into Dollar Savings Direct, so, if it were held up, I wouldn't be happy, but, would manage.

Thanks for sharing your experiences. Out of curiousity, how long was "your" money held up when your S&L failed?
  |     |   Comment #31
The account was funded in one business day and am told will take 5 days for funds to clear.
  |     |   Comment #32
There have been many incidences of bad financial scandals over this country's (or for that matter, the entire world as well) past history. The Bernie Madoff recent scandal is a good example. He supposedly used hedge funds to make money for his clients. He was able to generate a 1% return per month (or 12% average rate per year) for his clients. You can't get those type of returns in banks (not unless you go back to the 1980's). I never heard of this guy until he got arrested. But a lot of rich people and foundations gave him their money to invest.

I don't advise putting your money "in one basket" because if that one place had an issue, you are stuck and could possibly have your money frozen or worse, gone for good. The only investment that I regretted not taking advantage of was when 30 year Treasury bonds were offering over 12% back in the early 1980's. At the time, I thought inflation would never go down. I would still be earning that rate up until at least 2014!

That S&L branch was located right across from the White House. So much for your money being secure next to the President. I discarded all of the S&L statements from that time, but I recalled that it took around 4 months to close out the finance books at that S&L. FSLIC was also liquidated in the process. I had little money at that S&L, so I wasn't concerned about getting my money back even if it took a long time.

One day funding to the account is good. A lot of banks have hold periods for transferred funds. It is probably to prevent fraudulent transfers from being completed in case you illegally moved the money and then tried to move or withdraw it immediately.

The one thing that I noticed regarding Emigrant's Bank rating is that the 1 star applies to this particular bank. There is also an Emigrant Mercantile Bank and Emigrant Savings Bank that have higher ratings. I don't know if they are affliated with each other.
  |     |   Comment #33
The fact that they're offering a 16-month, 3.50% CD makes me think that a rate reduction on their direct savings account is imminent. Why else would anyone want to have their funds tied up for 16 months and earning 3.50% if they could open a savings account today and withdraw the money a week later and receive 4%?? Of course, if they do reduce their rates, unless Broadway Federal follows suit, Emigrant will no longer be able to claim that they offer the nation's highest interest rate.
  |     |   Comment #34
Signed up 2 weeks ago. Nothing but good things to say about these guys. Added a 2nd linked account (to B of A) by photocopying the front page of my statement & a voided check to them. Their screens are easy to navigate and have lots of information. ACH transfers are processed next day with a 5 business day hold on the money.
  |     |   Comment #35
I opened a DollarSavingsDirect account after seeing that Onbank's rates kept falling. It fell to 1.90%. It is too bad, because Onbank was real nice and fast. DollarSavingsDirect is pretty good. Outgoing ACH transfers work fast. Incoming ACH transfers from my checking account have a hold of 5 business day, but that's not unusual. I hope that the bank remains sound and for at least couple more months, they do not cut their rates. I would recommend this account.
  |     |   Comment #36
Hmm... does the necessity of initiating transfers from DSD side actually mean I can't pay my credit card with the account from the CC side?
  |     |   Comment #37
Just logged onto Emigrant's DollarSavingsDirect, and saw that they just lowered their Dollar Savings Account from 4.0% to 3.5% apy. I opened up my account three days ago...
  |     |   Comment #38
I have been expecting the rate to drop but I thought it would drop to 3.75%. It is disapointing that it dropped down to 3.50% but the rate is still higher than most other banks savings accounts and CD's. I don't currently see another bank with more attractive rates to move my cash to.
  |     |   Comment #39
I have just opened accounts at DollarSavingsDirect and Savings Square (part of Kirkpatrick Bank in Ok.) All these are parasitic accounts (depend on links to another bank for withdrawals). I can now say
that I didn't loose interest on ACH transfers for those institutions, like I did for Capital One...crooks...eg. they say they received the money on Thursday but the sending bank says it was withdrawn on Mon.). I used premium transfers at Savings Square
(no charge)...Savings Square has a complicated setup (for transfers) but with patience and cordial telephone conversations with bank reps, it can be done.
  |     |   Comment #40
Yield has been lowered to 3.2% apy.
  |     |   Comment #41
SUCKS 3.2%%%%%%%%%%%% :(
  |     |   Comment #42
Can they still claim as being the highest rate in the US?
  |     |   Comment #43
They are still claiming to be America's Highest Rate*. Note the asterisk: *Highest Nationally Advertised Annual Percentage Yield for day of deposit to day of withdrawal savings accounts with no fees and $1000 minimum.
What this means is another bank can pay a higher rate but it will not count unless they 1) advertise nationally and 2) have a minimum that is exacty $1000 (not more and not less).
  |     |   Comment #44
dropped again...seemed 3.05% now.
  |     |   Comment #45
Another rate drop so soon is very disapointing. It looks like it's time to shop around for another bank. The rates at DoralBankDirect.com are looking more attractive now: 3.5% on savings guaranteed not to plummet for 3 months and 3.5% on an 11 month CD. I'm thinking locking in at 3.5% for 11 months is about the best nationally available deal these days.
  |     |   Comment #46
  |     |   Comment #47
Rate dropped to 2.65% today. They still show the "America's highest rate" motto. I don't agree.
  |     |   Comment #48
agreed...I got one month from them and I am pulling out at the end of this month :(

Three rate drops in Feb...time to move somewhere else.
  |     |   Comment #49
i leaving too.. dollars saving direct lame!!!!!!!! 2.65 = lame!!!
  |     |   Comment #50
I think they took away their minimum of $1k. I can't find it on their site anywhere anymore.
Banking Guy
  |     |   Comment #51
The account disclosure (link at the bottom of the Dollar Savings Direct page) still has the $1,000 requirement to earn the top yield:

In the event the average daily balance in your Dollar Savings Account falls below $1,000.00 during the statement period, your account will receive an APY of 1.00%.
  |     |   Comment #52
Three rate drops in less than a month. such a waste of time.
  |     |   Comment #53
2.50% SUCKSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  |     |   Comment #54
Too many rate drops in such a short period of time is unacceptable, I just closed my account. I'm moving my money to Danversbank.
  |     |   Comment #55
Wow, 5 rate drops in a little over a month. I wonder if that is a record or not?
  |     |   Comment #56
2.25% APY now!!!
  |     |   Comment #57
how low do you all think this will drop to?? i say 1.65%

Dollar Savings direct please STOP DROPPING
  |     |   Comment #58
Let it drop. I bet most customers are pulling their money out. The bank is wasting its own time.
  |     |   Comment #59
2.05 now.... Dollar Savings Direct = FAIL....

Where you guys taking your money to???
  |     |   Comment #60
down to 2.00 now..........
  |     |   Comment #61
I agree, the rate has dropped by a ridiculous amount recently, making this an unreliable option for savings.

I'm going with rewards checking from Farmers & Merchants Bank of Virginia until a savings account can come anywhere close (4% up to $50K, 1% thereafter).
  |     |   Comment #62
Down to 1.30%
  |     |   Comment #63
Down to 1.10%

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