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Fintech Launches SaveBetter, an Online Savings Marketplace

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Updated 5/16/2022: This post was originally published on 2/5/2021. Major updates have been made for a more accurate review of SaveBetter and its products.

In 2020, the German financial technology company Deposit Solutions (now Raisin GmbH) launched an online savings marketplace in the US called SaveBetter.com. The website is intended to make it easy for customers to open and manage accounts at multiple banks. The SaveBetter website allows customers to complete just one registration that can be used to open accounts at multiple banks without having to go through different registrations at each bank website. In addition to only having one registration, customers access the online accounts and statements at the different banks from the SaveBetter website.

Multiple FDIC-member banks partner with Raisin to be included at SaveBetter.com. These partner banks will hold the deposits which will give the deposits FDIC insurance up to the FDIC coverage levels. When customers make deposits and withdrawals, the funds are transmitted through a custodian bank, which is also an FDIC member. According to the SaveBetter’s FAQ, “your funds are held at a federally-insured bank at all times.”

We’ve verified that Raisins is a legitimate company that controls SaveBetter.com via its U.S. based company, Deposit Solutions LLC. You can read about Deposit Solutions, Raisin and SaveBetter.com from this 2020 Reuters article and this 2021 Reuters article.

The following is an updated review of SaveBetter.com and its products. This was last updated on 5/16/2022.

SaveBetter Money Market and Savings Accounts

The following is a list of all the money market deposit accounts and high yield savings accounts with current rates that are listed at SaveBetter:

APYMINMAXINSTITUTIONPRODUCTDETAILS
2.75%$1-mph.bankMoney Market Account via SaveBetter
2.50%$1-Liberty Savings BankHigh Yield Savings Account via Savebetter
2.50%--Ponce BankMoney Market Deposit Account - via by SaveBetter
2.25%$1-Patriot Bank (CT)Money Market Deposit Account Via SaveBetter
Rates as of September 27, 2022.

SaveBetter High Yield CDs

The following is a list of all the High Yield CDs with current rates that are listed at SaveBetter:

APYMINMAXINSTITUTIONPRODUCTDETAILS
3.10%$1-mph.bank15 Month High-Yield CD via SaveBetter
3.00%$1-The State Exchange Bank13 Month SaveBetter High-Yield CD
2.90%$1-mph.bank10 Month High-Yield CD via SaveBetter
2.75%$1-The State Exchange Bank9 Month SaveBetter High-Yield CD
1.71%$1-The State Exchange Bank60 Month SaveBetter High-Yield CD
1.61%$1-Ponce Bank48 Month High-Yield CD via SaveBetter
1.51%$1-The State Exchange Bank36 Month SaveBetter High-Yield CD
1.36%$1-The State Exchange Bank24 Month SaveBetter High-Yield CD
1.31%$1-Ponce Bank13 Month High-Yield CD via SaveBetter
1.21%$1-Ponce Bank11 Month High-Yield CD via SaveBetter
1.10%$1-The State Exchange Bank7 Month SaveBetter High-Yield CD
0.55%$1-The State Exchange Bank4 Month SaveBetter High-Yield CD
Rates as of September 27, 2022.

SaveBetter Money Market and Savings Account Features

The available liquid account products from the SaveBetter banks include money market deposit accounts (MMDAs) and high yield savings accounts (HYSAs). Each product listed at SaveBetter has its own Product Terms page with account details. Except for the rate and offering bank, there are essentially no differences in the product terms between the MMDAs and HYSAs that are currently listed at SaveBetter. Sometimes money market accounts have check writing capabilities, but that is not the case with the SaveBetter MMDAs. Check writing is not allowed for both SaveBetter MMDAs and HYSAs.

Currently, all the SaveBetter MMDAs and HYSAs have a minimum opening deposit of only $1, and the listed APYs apply to all balances. There are no monthly service fees. There’s also no fee for excessive withdrawals. According to the Products Terms documents, the accounts would normally be limited to six withdrawals during a monthly statement cycle. However, enforcement of this limit is suspended until further notice (The Federal Reserve allowed banks and credit unions to do this starting in 2020).

ACH Bank-to-Bank Transfers

As is typical for online banks, little information is provided about the bank-to-bank ACH transfer service. That was the case last year, and it remains the same. By phone, I confirmed the details that I learned last year. First, the initial funding link is retained to make additional deposits and withdrawals. According to the CSR, there is no dollar limit on the transfers. Many new online banks have small limits like $5k. Only one link can be established. They don’t allow multiple links to multiple banks.

Cannot Initiate ACH Transfers from Other Banks

I also asked if they would allow ACH transfers that were initiated by the customer’s external bank or credit union? According to the CSR, they do not allow this. The following FAQ confirms this since it states that “SaveBetter accounts do not have bank account or routing numbers.” These numbers are required if you want to be able to link an account at another bank. Here’s the full contents of this FAQ:

Does my SaveBetter account have a specific bank routing or account number?

SaveBetter accounts do not have bank account or routing numbers. You can access your account with your email address and SaveBetter password. Your linked bank account is the source of all deposits and the destination for all withdrawals.

The reason why you don’t have access to a bank account or routing number appears to be based on how the SaveBetter deposits are held at the partner banks. From what I can understand from the SaveBetter Terms of Service (ToS), you don’t actually hold individual deposit accounts at a partner bank. Instead, you hold a piece of a large deposit account, what the ToS refers to as an “omnibus custodial deposit account.” This appears to be set up like a brokered CD. I have more details on this arrangement in the “Common Features” section below.

SaveBetter CD Features

SaveBetter used to list two types of CDs: Fixed Term CDs and No Penalty CDs. That has now changed, and the only CDs listed are called “High Yield CDs”. The High Yield CDs are the same as the Fixed Term CDs. It appears SaveBetter decided the term “High Yield CD” was more inline with other online banks. I’m sorry to see SaveBetter remove No Penalty CDs from its product line. Last year, some of the SaveBetter no-penalty CDs had been competitive.

The High Yield CDs are conventional CDs with fixed rates and terms that range from three to 60 months. Each High Yield CD listed at SaveBetter has its own Product Terms page with account details. Except for the rate, term and offering bank, there are essentially no differences in the product terms between the High Yield CDs.

All the SaveBetter CDs have a minimum opening deposit of $1. At maturity, the CD will automatically renew unless you log into your SaveBetter account and elect to pay-out and close the CD before the maturity date. You have a 7-day grace period at maturity in which you can cancel renewal without an early withdrawal penalty.

Early Withdrawal Penalties

Partial early withdrawals are not allowed. Only a one-time full withdrawal of the CD is allowed. There is no language in the Product Terms that gives the bank the right to refuse an early withdrawal request. Being able to do an early withdrawal is an important feature for CDs when interest rates are rising fast. Below is the early withdrawal penalties (EWP) that are included in each High Yield CD Product Terms:

CD Term = “Less than 12 months”

    Early Withdrawal Penalty = “90 days simple interest on the principal at the rate in effect for the CD”

CD Term = “12 months to 5 years”

    Early Withdrawal Penalty = “270 days simple interest on the principal at the rate in effect for the CD”

CD Term = “Greater than 5 years”

    Early Withdrawal Penalty = “365 days simple interest on the principal at the rate in effect for the CD”

Note, there is a big increase in the EWP from 11 months to 12 months. That’s an important issue to consider when deciding between a 10-month CD and a 15-month CD.

Withdrawing CD Funds

In my phone call with the CSR, I learned additional CD details that I couldn’t find online.

First, interest from the CD will only be added back to the CD (credited monthly and at maturity). There is no option for the interest to be paid out by check or to another account.

If you choose to have the CD automatically renew at maturity, the original principal is included in the new CD along with interest accrued from the previous matured CD.

If you choose to have the CD closed at maturity, your only option to receive the funds is an ACH transfer back to the linked external account that was used to fund the CD. You can change this linked external account, but this requires contacting a CSR. They do not provide an option to transfer funds to another SaveBetter account (which seems to reduce the usefulness of providing access to multiple banks for CDs.)

If you choose an early withdrawal, you must contact a CSR. An early withdrawal can only be done with the help of a CSR. The transfer of funds back to the linked account typically takes one to three business days.

Common Features for All SaveBetter Products

The benefit that SaveBetter is promoting is added simplicity in being able to access accounts at multiple banks by using one website and maintaining just one online account. Also, instead of receiving multiple year-end tax statements from each bank, SaveBetter will consolidate these into one year-end tax statement as long as you earned $10 or more in interest at SaveBetter during the calendar year.

Customer Service

Another benefit is that you’re dealing with just SaveBetter customer service instead of different customer service from each bank. You can access SaveBetter customer service 9 am to 4 pm ET from Monday to Friday by phone (844-994-3276) or by SaveBetter’s online chat service.

In my contact with customer service, my first call went to voicemail. I was instructed to leave my name and number so that a representative could call back. After 90 minutes without a call back, I called again. This time I was able to get through to a knowledgeable CSR.

Important Deposit Account Details

An important issue regarding going through a middleman company like SaveBetter to open and manage deposit products is if there is any time when the funds may not be held at a FDIC-insured bank. Here’s a relevant FAQ on this issue:

Since SaveBetter is not a bank, where are my funds held?

SaveBetter customers’ funds are held in a custodial account with the bank that is providing your selected savings product(s). All banks involved in the SaveBetter platform are FDIC insured, so your funds are held at federally insured bank at all times.

Details about how the partner banks (the Product Banks) interact with you and SaveBetter are described in the SaveBetter Terms of Service (ToS) document. In addition, the ToS describes the “Service Bank”:

To process your Transactions, the Service uses an intermediary bank (referred to as the “Service Bank” and, together with each Product Bank, the “Banks”).

Note, the ToS defines a “Transaction” as “your deposit to or withdrawal from a CD or MMDA via the Service.” According to the small print on each SaveBetter page, “Central Bank of Kansas City, Member FDIC, d.b.a. Central Payments is the Service Bank.”

In the above FAQ, it refers to a “custodial account.” The ToS provides more details on this account:

Each of these omnibus custodial accounts is referred to as a “Deposit Account.” Each Deposit Account at a Product Bank will hold only funds of customers participating in the Service who choose to deposit money with such Product Bank and will be used solely for the purpose of the Service. Deposit Solutions will keep records of your beneficial ownership of funds in each Deposit Account.

As I mentioned in the section on money market and savings accounts, the SaveBetter deposit account arrangement sounds like the arrangement used for brokered CDs. For the case of brokered CDs, the brokerage firm keeps records of the customer’s ownership of funds in the brokered CD. An important consequence of this is that adding beneficiaries may not increase your FDIC coverage as it would when you directly own a deposit account at a bank. To play safe, you may want to keep your total deposits at any one of these banks below $250k.

As I mentioned above, this custodial account arrangement is likely the reason why you cannot initiate ACH transfers into or out of your SaveBetter account from another bank. This also would prevent you from making deposits via direct deposit. The following FAQ mentions another consequence of this custodial account arrangement:

Can I link my SaveBetter account or selected savings product to a third-party app?

You cannot currently link your SaveBetter account to a third-party app, but we may offer this feature in the future. For now, you will not be able to link your selected savings product to a third-party app even if the bank offering that product does so outside of the SaveBetter platform.

Joint Accounts, IRAs and Trust Accounts

One positive change from 2021 is that they now allow joint accounts. However, they still don’t offer IRA accounts or trust accounts.

Designating Beneficiaries

Beneficiaries cannot be designated in the application. However, the CSR said that a customer can call to add beneficiaries after the account is opened. There is no limit to the number of beneficiaries that can be designated. Only equal allocations are allowed. Also, only persons are allowed to be designated beneficiaries. Charities and trusts can’t be designated. Only the last four digits of a beneficiary’s social security number are required.

No Hard Credit Pull

Regarding a hard credit inquiry in the application, the CSR said that they do not check your credit. They only confirm your identification in order to comply with federal law.

Miscellaneous Details

Lastly, here are a few additional details regarding SaveBetter and the SaveBetter accounts from the FAQs:

Interest is compounded daily and posted to your account monthly.

The SaveBetter platform uses multi-factor authentication

banks set the rates for the products they offer independently and may take into consideration facts like market conditions or their individual funding needs.

New Account Bonus

SaveBetter has regularly offered cash bonuses for new accounts with the size of the bonus being based on the amount that the customer deposits. When available, bonus offers have typically been listed at the SaveBetter.com homepage. They have been known to expire before listed expiration dates.

Availability

To be eligible to open an account through SaveBetter, you must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident alien with a U.S. social security number, who resides in the U.S. Also, you must have an existing deposit account that you maintain at a bank or credit union in the U.S. That deposit account will be used to fund your SaveBetter account and to receive the funds from a SaveBetter account. In the online application, you’ll need to provide the routing and account number of the funding deposit account.

SaveBetter and Partner Banks Overview

The first SaveBetter FAQ has the best overview of SaveBetter. The following is an excerpt:

SaveBetter is not a bank. It’s a New York-based financial technology company (“Fintech” for short) that provides the digital “storefront” where banks can promote their deposit products.

SaveBetter.com is operated by SaveBetter LLC, a 100% subsidiary of Deposit Solutions LLC (Deposit Solutions). Headquartered in New York, Deposit Solutions provides a proprietary open architecture platform for deposits products. Deposit Solutions helps banks improve their deposit funding by offering national reach for their retail deposit products, and provides savers with better access, more choice and higher convenience when evaluating savings products from FDIC insured banks.

Deposit Solutions LLC is a 100% subsidiary of Raisin GmbH, a trailblazer for open banking in the deposits and investments space.

When I first reviewed SaveBetter in early 2021, they were part of Deposit Solutions. A few months after my review, Deposit Solutions and Raisin announced a merger. According to this June 2021 Reuters article:

Under the name Raisin DS, the merged company will work with around 400 banks and have a deposit volume of around 20 billion euros ($24 billion).

The deposits are held at the partner banks, and thus, the financial health of the partner banks should be considered when deciding to open an account via SaveBetter. The following is the list of the current partner banks. Click the name of the bank name to view the financial details and DA’s current health grade for the bank:

Note, mph.bank is a brand of Liberty Savings Bank, FSB. It’s also a website with the “.bank” TLD which offers an app-based mobile checking account.

Related Pages: savings accounts, 1-year CD rates, 5-year CD rates, nationwide deals, Internet banks
Comments
Ratesaver
  |     |   Comment #1
O boy another way to spread your money out and eventually end up with less.. Sure they may be interesting for a short time but like Ken said above watch out.. May be if more banks get involve and offer a good rate for 10yrs or so .... Hang on to your wallet:
Rickny
  |     |   Comment #2
I was interested in this with the bonuses but after Ken's interactions with the rep I have many reservations. I don't believe you will lose money if their are problems, but I feel it would be difficult to get your funds in a timely manner. I'll pass on this one.
P_D
  |     |   Comment #3
After considering the bonuses I came to a similar conclusion RickNY.

Recent experience with fintechs seems to indicate that they make it very convenient to get your money in, but not so much getting it out. That's a classic red flag, but not the only one.

I too considered the bonus deals. Assuming you can get both the SaveBetter and the Ponce Bank bonus on the same deposits (assumption not confirmed):

On a $25,000 deposit you get a $45 bonus from SB after keeping the balance for 30 days and another $50 from PB after 90 days for a total of $95 in bonuses.

On a $50,000 deposit you get a $70 bonus from SB after keeping the balance for 30 days and another $100 from PB after 90 days for a total of $170 in bonuses.

The bonus formula is a little more convoluted than typical, but the disclosure statements seem pretty clear.  And I think that the chances of earning a current market base rate on your deposits (it's currently 0.50% APY) are decent.

But the bottom line is that it's a fintech in uncharted regulatory waters, a middle man, a start up with a questionable business model and few associated banks and there are limited options for getting your money out which is almost always a deal killer for me. And the bonus is nothing special plus even if the two bonus option is available, you have to deal with collecting two bonuses for it to add up to the equivalent of one typical bonus. Sometimes it's hard enough to collect one bonus.  In the end you are talking about a bonus equal to about 3 tenths of one percent of the money you have at risk.  Not worth the above average risk and hassle.

For these reasons I also decided to pass...which is disappointing because bonuses that don't require direct deposits are few and far between and I am enjoying the bonus game during the pandemic and have some free cash to play.  Looking for more no DD needed deals.
BANKGUY1964
  |     |   Comment #4
I opened an account at Ponce bank, but it ended up being at Savebetter.com (I guess for the .5%). Online signup never told me this during the signup process. After setup, my bank had rejected a subsequent transfer from them (something about it looking suspicious, though that reaction was a little too dramatic for my taste), but instead of the money being returned to Ponce, it has vanished. It has been over a month. Ponce refers me to Savebetter (hell if I know why if they have the money), who seems unable to find the money or correct the situation. The only saving grace is that it was a small sum (I was testing this type of savebetter banking model), and I am writing off my loss to experience. Their customer service is atrocious and unprofessional for a financial company.

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