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New Fintech, HMBradley, Announces Unique High-Yield Bank Account


The new fintech, HMBradley, has launched a website describing a new digital banking platform that offers a deposit account with a 3% APY. As is typical with new fintech companies, there’s only a waitlist. Also, there are many details to qualify for the 3% APY. Just like last December when Robinhood received media attention for an announced 3% bank account, HMBradley has started to receive media attention. This Money.com article was published yesterday.

The unique thing about HMBradley’s proposed deposit account is the Savings Tiers which are based on how much you saved from your direct deposits. Here is an HMBradley FAQ that describes the Savings Tiers:

Savings Tiers are the way we measure and reward our customers. Your Savings Tier is calculated based on the percentage of direct deposits that remain in your HMBradley account at the end of a calendar quarter. Simply put: the more you save, the higher your annual percentage yield is (“APY”).

Our Savings Tiers have the following APYs:

  • Tier 1 - 3.00% APY: Saving =20% of direct deposits
  • Tier 2 - 2.25% APY: Saving 15% to <20% of direct deposits
  • Tier 3 - 1.50% APY: Saving 10% to <15% of direct deposits
  • Tier 4 - 1.00% APY: Saving 5% to <10% of direct deposits

You must have a direct deposit set up and save at least 5% of your quarterly deposits to qualify for a Savings Tier.

Another FAQ describes how direct deposits must be real direct deposits from an employer or agency. And another FAQ lists an important limitation: They only “pay interest on total account balances up to $100,000.”

As you can see, even if the deposit account launches as advertised, it’s not going to be that great of a deal. HMBradley is also advertising a sign-up bonus of up to $500. However, the bonus qualifications are even more complicated than the Savings Tiers. Here’s part of the FAQ on the “Waitlist Bonus Qualifying Terms”:

3% APY bonus paid on the total amount of direct deposits made in a new HMBradley account in the first 30 days from the first direct deposit and for the period between customer sign-up on waitlist until accounts are available on hmbradley.com (Bonus not to exceed $500).

Other Proposed Features

In addition to paying interest rates that are based on how much you’re saving, HMBradley describes additional features for its announced deposit account. First, they are promoting it as a single account that offers the benefits of both a checking account and a savings account. An FAQ describes this:

What is the benefit of having one single account vs. both a checking and savings account?

We believe banking should be simple. We also believe you should get paid interest on all your deposits. With us, you only need one account to earn interest.

Another FAQ identifies the deposit account as a Negotiable Order of Withdrawal (NOW) account. As this CFPB page describes, “NOW accounts are essentially checking accounts.”

I can’t find any mention on the HMBradley website of the account features. The Money.com article did say that “customers will have access to over 55,000 STAR Network ATMs,” and that online bill pay will be available. These features would be expected from a checking account.

Safety of HMBradley and Their Deposit Account

It’s important to note that HMBradley is not a bank. An HMBradley FAQ reads as follows:

Is HMBradley a bank?

HMBradley is not a bank. All HMBradley deposit accounts are opened by and held with a sponsor bank. These accounts are insured up to $250,000 per depositor.

It appears HMBradley will be partnering with a bank. Customers will go through HMBradley to open and manage the bank account, but the sponsor bank will be the one that actually holds the deposits. This is a common model that has been used by fintechs for many years.

It should be noted that there’s currently no mention of sponsor bank’s name. Before opening any bank account through a fintech, it’s important that you know the bank’s name. This allows you to confirm the partnership relationship and the FDIC coverage.

I’m a little concerned that HMBradley website has very little information on the company. There’s no “about” page. There’s no company history, and there’s no mention of the management and investors.

With so little information, I think it makes sense to wait before signing up on their waitlist. I’ll give them a second look once I see company information and the name of their sponsor bank.

Related Pages: savings accounts, nationwide deals, Internet banks
  |     |   Comment #1
Not five handles yet, but moving in the right direction.
I'll Wait
  |     |   Comment #2
I agree with Ken. I wouldn't put my money into a "ghost" bank, not knowing who it is or if it truly even exists. Perhaps Enron has been resurrected and has gone from utilities into banking. Perhaps another house of cards. I'll pass on this one.
George G
  |     |   Comment #5
Predatory Depositor
  |     |   Comment #7
Suggested strategy for this account is to put $1 in so that you can join the class action lawsuit when it comes. Potentially nice settlement check.
deplorable 1
  |     |   Comment #10
Have you seen this site PD? I have made a tone on these class actions and I wouldn't even have known about them if it wasn't for this site. https://topclassactions.com/
Predatory Depositor
  |     |   Comment #12
Thanks dp1, yes I am familiar with that site although I have never pursued any of the leads.

I worked in Manhattan for many years and used to often eat lunch in this sushi restaurant. There was this young lawyer who worked in one of the big class action specialist law firms who also ate there often. He always spotted me and bent my ear about how he was looking for places to sue and to let him know if I had any ideas. Then one day he actually asked me if I could think of any reason why my own firm might get sued. I kid you not. He was looking for me to give him reasons to sue the firm I worked for! That was crossing the line. It left me with a bad taste for that kind of thing. These lawyers are real bottom feeders. They give a profession that already has a reputation problem a real reason to justify it.
deplorable 1
  |     |   Comment #15
I'm not a big fan of needless law suits and have never sued anyone personally except for a small claims once. Never the less these consumer lawsuits are going on all the time and many times for good reason as some companies do take advantage of consumers. You have to qualify and provide proof in most cases and I figure if they are handing out cash one way or another I may as well join the ones I qualify for.
Commie Sympathizer
  |     |   Comment #18
"Consumer lawsuits" reek of rank communism to me.
  |     |   Comment #17
I got $35,000 in one of these cases that dealt with overtime. I also got $600 due to a stock price issue. My wife got a $200 check for a call made to her when she was on the do not call list. These were all proven and deserved (The call amount was crazy high).

Most of these cases are like you imply.. bogus. You get a $2 because a package had some air in it. Now that they are listed on sites and you require no proof of purchase the payouts are small and many cases unwarranted. The lawyers and companies that process claims make some nice coin.
  |     |   Comment #8
I have been putting my wage payments via direct deposit, so this would be a good option. However, the $100K limit is a no go for me. When I saw the name, I thought it was connected to Milton Bradley. I was thinking along the lines of investing for fun and games.
Laura Lez
  |     |   Comment #9
Heart breaking to hear. :-(
  |     |   Comment #11
What is the harm in signing up for the wait list right away? If you are unhappy with the sponsor bank when it is announced, then do not deposit any money. I can see this type of account being useful with a little manipulation by the saver.
Predatory Depositor
  |     |   Comment #13
What information do they ask you for when you sign up? One thing that I have not heard mentioned about this kind of operation is the lack of regulatory control over the ghost bank. If it's not a bank then it may not be subject to federal or state banking regulations. With that in mind, how secure is the confidential information you give to them, for what purposes may it be used, with whom may they share it and what regulatory agency oversees it? (among other concerns)
  |     |   Comment #19
I signed up and believe I gave them my email address and perhaps my phone number only. I was asked the question of how much I planned to direct deposit every month, but that number was just for displaying your potential bonus calculation. You are given the option to skip that question and I skipped it.
Jim Hasbro
  |     |   Comment #14
Isn't HMBradley the board game and toy company?
  |     |   Comment #21
Hatch Bank is the host for HMBradley. Both look solid to me.
  |     |   Comment #22
Aspiration, HM-Bradley, Current, T-Mobile Money, Varo, and Save, among others, have what in common? Starting with Fintech disclosure issues, Jason Zweig, the author of “Unpleasant Truths About Savings Apps” article in today’s WSJ concludes with that famous quote ignored (by Ponzi, bitcoins, etc. “investors “) or seeming forgot or… “return of your money (trumps) return on your money.”

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