CIT Bank Review 2021

When it comes to banking, most of us are just looking for something convenient and free … but it’s that much better when your checking account can actually help you earn money, too. For that, CIT Bank is your answer.

If you’re willing to move to an online banking system — that is, one where your account is entirely online and you don’t have access to a brick-and-mortar banking location — CIT Bank offers both checking and savings accounts with no monthly fees and high interest earnings potential. There is a minimum opening deposit of $100, though it’s pretty reasonable given the bank’s high rates.

Although foregoing the in-person franchise can be a little daunting, CIT Bank makes it that much easier by offering up to $30 in third-party ATM fee reimbursement per month, and you’ll never be assessed an ATM fee on their end. However, if you’re looking for a bank that also offers small business accounts, you’ll want to keep looking (try these business checking accounts); CIT doesn’t have business checking or savings accounts available.

Here’s what we love about each of CIT Bank’s online deposit accounts and what we think could use some work.

CIT Bank Checking Account

CIT Bank has one checking account option which has a lot of perks, including no monthly fees and the ability to connect the account with the high-yield savings account. CIT does still charge overdraft fees but they can be avoided if you sign up for the protection plan.

CIT Bank eChecking Account

Best for Digitally-Savvy Users
Key Features
  • Interest earning
  • Connects with high-yield savings
  • Charges overdraft fees
4 out of 5 Overall
CIT Bank combines the best of both possible worlds when it comes to checking: an account with no monthly fees and the ability to earn interest. Their eChecking account earns up to 0.25% APY on balances with $25,000 or more, and 0.10% APY on balances less than that. (That’s better than the average savings account interest of 0.03% APY, per the FDIC.)
CIT Bank eChecking Account
APY
Up to 0.25%
Monthly fees
$0
ATM access
None, but reimbursement up to $15
Minimum starting balance
$100

The checking account requires a minimum opening deposit of $100, and certain fees can be assessed under specific circumstances. For instance, if you make an outgoing wire transfer and carry an average daily balance of less than $25,000, it will cost $10. CIT Bank’s insufficient funds fee is $30, and no daily limits are advertised.

Still, these fees are relatively easy to avoid, especially given CIT Bank’s free overdraft protection option. They also avoid charging their own ATM fees when you withdraw money, and you can receive up to $30 per month in third-party ATM fee reimbursements.

When you sign up, CIT Bank will send you a complimentary debit card with EMV chip technology, but if you’re looking to use physical checks, keep moving. The mobile app allows you to easily deposit checks made out to you, but doesn’t allow you to write a check from this account.

Finally, we love the way the eChecking account connects with CIT Bank’s new high-yield savings account, Savings Connect Account, to maximize your savings. We suggest you take a look at signing up for both simultaneously.

CIT Bank Savings Accounts

CIT Bank provides customers with three savings account options:

  • Savings Builder
  • Money Market
  • Savings Connect

All carry a minimum opening deposit between $100 to $200, but none assess monthly fees.

CIT Bank Savings Builder

Best for Monthly Savers
Key Features
  • No monthly fee
  • Daily compounding interest
  • Up to .40% APY
3.5 out of 5 Overall
The Savings Builder account allows account holders to earn up to .40% APY depending on their average daily balance and/or monthly deposit behavior; if you keep a balance of at least $25,000 or make at least one monthly deposit of $100 or more, you’ll earn the .40% APY maximum. Interest compounds daily to maximize earning potential, and deposits and transfers can be made through the mobile app.
CIT Bank Savings Builder
APY
Up to 0.4%
Monthly fees
$0
ATM access
None
Minimum starting balance
$100

The Savings Builder account is a decent option for a high-yield savings account, boasting rates over 6X the national average.  If you jump through the tiered interest hoops, then you can walk away with 0.40% APY, but if you’re looking to just put your money in and sit, you’ll most likely receive the lower-tiered rate of 0.28% APY (unless your balance is more than $25,000).

Basically, if you need motivation to save money monthly for a goal like a house or college, the reward of earning higher interest with a Savings Builder account might be just the trick. In fact, right now, the Savings Builder account offers the higher-tiered interest as a special introductory rate for your first period regardless of balance or savings. So if you’re thinking this is the right savings account for you, you’re at least guaranteed 0.40% for one cycle.

Overall, however, we think CIT Bank’s other savings accounts are worth taking a look at for slightly higher APYs and a little less fuss.

CIT Bank Money Market Account

Best for No Fuss Saving
Key Features
  • No monthly service fee
  • Up 0.45% APY
  • Scheduled bill pay feature
4 out of 5 Overall
The Money Market account earns 0.45% APY without any fees regardless of account balance or deposits, and its interest, like the Savings Builder account, is also compounded daily.
CIT Bank Money Market Account
APY
0.45%
Monthly fees
$0
ATM access
None
Minimum starting balance
$100

Coming in at 0.45% APY, CIT Bank’s Money Market account is definitely a strong contender among online banks’ savings options. Unlike the Savings Builder account or Savings Connect account, Money Market has no hoops to jump through. You just put your money in and receive the 0.45% APY. Combined with no monthly fees, we love the ease of earning it offers.

Unlike some other money market accounts, CIT Bank’s Money Market account is limited to electronic transfers only. You can arrange a direct deposit, bill pay, and check cashing on its great mobile app, but there’s no corresponding debit card or checks.

Like the Savings Builder account, the Money Market account is also limited to six transactions a statement cycle with a $10 for each additional excessive transaction. But we think for most, these little inconveniences are worth the high annual percentage yield.

CIT Bank’s Savings Connect account has no monthly fees and a solid APY. You have to open a Savings Connect account and an eChecking account and CIT Bank will link them. If you already have an eChecking account, then CIT Bank will link them automatically.

CIT Bank Savings Connect Account

Best for eChecking Users
Key Features
  • No monthly service fee
  • Up 0.50% APY
  • Linked to eChecking account
5 out of 5 Overall
CIT Bank’s new Savings Connect account allows you to connect this savings account with your CIT Bank checking account—again, with no monthly service fee. To qualify, you must open a Savings Connect account and an eChecking account and deposit $100 in each. Once connected, Savings Connect account holders can earn up to 0.50% APY with a qualifying monthly deposit of $200 to their checking account.
CIT Bank Savings Connect Account
APY
Up to 0.50%
Monthly fees
$0
ATM access
None, but reimbursement up to $30
Minimum starting balance
$100

From there, to earn the highest tiered APY, you simply have to set up an automatic deposit of $200 or more into your linked checking account from your Savings Connect account. This monthly deposit locks in 0.50% APY for the cycle. If you don’t meet this requirement, you’ll still bring home 0.42% APY for simply having the linked accounts, which is a more than respectable APY.

Besides a good APY, a linked Savings Connect account gets you access to a debit card and overdraft protection. For the debit card, the same rules apply as before with no CIT Bank ATM fees and other ATM fee reimbursements up to $30 a month.

Some people might find opening two accounts a bit annoying, but the high APY makes it a great option for most who are looking for a fully online banking experience.

Other CIT Bank Products

While we mostly come to CIT Bank for the savings and checking accounts, it doesn’t stop there. Check out the other services available from CIT Bank  that might fit your needs below.

Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

CIT Bank offers three different CDs for new customers seeking to hit their savings goals:

  • Term CDs
  • No Penalty, 11 Month CDs
  • Jumbo CDs

CIT Bank’s CDs work pretty much like other standard CDs with varying rates and lengths. The Term CDs offer between 0.30% to 0.50% APYs depending on the CDs term. There’s no maintenance or opening fee, but it does have a $1000 minimum.

The No Penalty 11 Month CDs also have a $1,000 minimum but can be accessed early with no penalty—that flexibility, however, costs you a little APY with rates of 0.30% APY.

With a $100,000 minimum, the Jumbo CDs are definitely channeling a specific type of customer. These term lengths are longer—between 2 to 5 years—and have 0.40% – 0.50% APYs depending on the length.

It is worth just mentioning that previous customers do continue to have access to their RampUp CDs, but they’re not offered to new customers.

So do we believe CIT Bank CDs are worth it? CIT Bank’s CDs are a solid option for CDs; however, there are CDs on the market with better rates and lower minimums, so we’ll probably stick to CIT Bank’s savings and checking accounts.

Pro Tip

Check out our current list of bank promotions for a chance to gain a monetary bonus when signing up for a new bank account.

Home Loans

CIT Bank offers home loans with relationship pricing options:

  • .10% with 10% of the loan amount in new deposits
  • .20% with 25% of the loan amount in new deposits.

Plus, you can get $525 cash back deposited into your CIT Bank account after you close on your new home loan with CIT Bank.

CIT Bank Custodial Accounts

If you’re looking to grow wealth for a minor, CIT Bank can help you open a Custodial Account. You can set up most of the savings accounts in the minor’s name for them to gain control of at 18. With some federal tax benefits and no maximum limit, it makes a great place to save for the future.

Small Business Banking

CIT Bank focuses on personal accounts and doesn’t offer small business checking and savings accounts. They do have some small business financing options, specifically focusing on Equipment, Working Capital, or Franchise financing. The terms vary in length and rates, but all can be funded in as fast as 1 day.

CIT Bank Mobile App

Like most online banking options, CIT Bank’s mobile app provides digital solutions to help its members access and manage their funds from the convenience of their smartphones. Its mobile apps are well received, with ratings of 4.2 stars on Google Play and 4.6 stars on the Apple App Store.

The apps allow users to make transfers between their own accounts (and to others using third-party platforms like Zelle and Samsung or Apple Pay), as well as to make mobile check deposits using the onboard smartphone camera.

Pros and Cons of CIT Bank

So what’s the breakdown of CIT Bank overall? Below, we’ve laid out the pros and cons of CIT Bank to help you streamline your decision.


Pros
  • Free eChecking account earns interest at a rate higher than the average savings account.
  • No monthly fees on any of its deposit accounts.
  • Free overdraft protection.
  • Competitive APYs.
  • Low minimum deposit requirements.
  • Refunds ATM fees up to a certain amount.

Cons
  • Insufficient funds fee of $30 per transaction item.
  • No physical locations and no ATMs for the actual service.
  • No small business banking option.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About CIT Bank

Still have a few questions? Below we’ve tracked down the answer to the most common questions people ask about CIT Bank.

Is CIT Bank FDIC Insured?
Absolutely. All CIT Bank savings and checking accounts are FDIC insured against bank failure and theft. You should feel safe and secure using CIT Bank, knowing it’s backed by the FDIC.
Does CIT Bank Offer Loans?
CIT Bank does offer home loans and small business financing with relationship pricing mortgages and competitive rates.
Who Owns CIT Bank?
CIT Bank is owned by the CIT Group Inc, a North American financial holding company.

Jamie Cattanach and Whitney Hansen are contributors to The Penny Hoarder. Both are experienced writers in personal finance, banking and investing.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

M1 Finance Review: Pros and Cons

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M1 Finance is a fee-free way to invest that lets you be as hands-on or hands-off as you want to be. The M1 Basic account is completely free (minus the typical fees associated with investing), but you can unlock even more potential out of M1 Plus, which is free for the first year and then $125 thereafter. Supported investment accounts include individual and joint taxable accounts, retirement accounts and event trust accounts.

Both M1 Basic and M1 Plus go beyond traditional investment accounts with cash management options like Borrow (loan) and Spend (checking) accounts that fit in nicely with the portfolio. M1 Plus members even have access to the special Owner’s Rewards Card by M1, with the annual fee waived.

In our M1 Finance review, we’ll start with a quick comparison of M1 Basic and M1 Plus, then dig into each of the components of an account: investing, retirement, checking, loans and the credit card.

M1 Finance Basic

Best for Basic Investing
Key Features
  • No annual fee
  • 1 ATM reimbursement per month
  • $100 minimum investment
4 out of 5 Overall
The M1 Basic account through M1 has no monthly management fee and is great for beginners. If you aren’t sure that M1 is right for you long term, start with this account and upgrade to M1 Plus down the road if you’re satisfied.
M1 Finance Basic
Trading commissions
$0
Borrow rate
3.5%
Checking account APY
0%
Credit card
n/a

The no-frills M1 Basic account from M1 Finance boasts $0 trading commissions with an AM-only trading window. With M1 Basic, you can still open a checking account (Spend) and take out a personal loan. You just miss out on lower borrowing rates, checking account rewards and the rewards credit card.

The Borrow account comes with a 3.5% rate and requires a $5,000 minimum balance. The Spend account has a $0 minimum balance requirement, 0.8% to 1.0% international fees and one monthly ATM fee reimbursement.

If you just go with M1 Basic, this will serve you well as an investment account (the lack of fees is the big appeal), but you should seek out personal loans and a checking account elsewhere.

M1 Finance Plus

Best for Account Extras
Key Features
  • $125 annual fee
  • 4 ATM fee reimbursements per month
  • $100 minimum investment
4.5 out of 5 Overall
The M1 Plus account through M1 may cost $125 a year (first year is free!), but the perks that come with the account are well worth the cost for those who will take advantage of them: cash back debit card, lower interest rate on personal loans, larger trade window and rewards credit card.
M1 Finance Plus
Trading commissions
$0
Borrow rate
2.0%
Checking account APY
1%
Credit card
Owner’s Rewards Card by M1

When you upgrade to the M1 Plus account, you’re getting far more than a basic investment platform; you’re getting a banking experience that rewards you for spending (plus more competitive borrowing options).

For starters, M1 Plus gets you AM and PM trade windows, rather than just AM. The minimum balance for the Borrow account is still $5,000, but the rate drops to 2%.

The Spend account is far more attractive with M1 Plus. For starters, you’ll get 1% APY on your checking, which is more competitive than most banks’ savings accounts. On top of that, you will pay no foreign transaction fees, get four monthly ATM fee reimbursements and can send paper checks from the M1 app. And did we mention 1% cash back on debit card purchases? With checking rewards this good and your own investment account, you could do away with a traditional savings account altogether.

M1 Plus members can also apply for the Owner’s Rewards Card by M1, a rewards credit card that incentivizes shopping with merchants that you’ve invested in. The $95 annual fee is automatically waived as long as you keep your M1 Plus account active. Cash back rewards range from 1.5% to 10% with a maximum reward value of $200 per month (or $2,400 per year). Those rewards are then automatically reinvested in eligible accounts.

Sign-Up Bonus

M1 Finance is currently running an enticing sign-up bonus. When you open a new M1 account and make a qualifying deposit within the first two weeks, you’ll get a bonus ranging from $30 to $500.

M1 Finance Bonus Breakdown

Deposit Amount Bonus Amount

$1,000 to $4,999.99

$30

$5,000 to $9,999.99

$75

$10,000 to $29,999.99

$150

$30,000 to $49,999.99

$300

$50,000+

$500

This promotion is running through the end of 2021. It is likely that M1 will run a similar promotion in 2022, but M1 has not released details on the bonus amounts for various deposits yet.

The bonus is only available to new M1 customers. If you have opened an M1 investment account previously, you are not eligible for the bonus payout.

M1 Finance Fees

The M1 Basic account has no annual fee while the M1 Plus account costs $125 a year (the first year is free). While other investment platforms often charge you commissions on trades, M1 Finance is truly fee-free.

However, you will pay fees for some less common tasks, like paper statements, account transfers and account inactivity. These are all very transparent on the M1 site, and it is not likely the typical customer would be paying these fees.

The full rundown on M1 fees.

M1 Finance App

As an online robo advisor, M1 Finance offers a great online platform that is relatively easy to use once you get used to it. Even more important, M1 offers a mobile app that is ideal for tech-savvy investors

Within the app, you can buy and sell individual stocks, mutual funds and ETFs; set up smart transfers (rules that automatically move money within your account); and manage your Borrow and Spend accounts.

At the time of publishing, the M1 mobile app had nearly 36,000 ratings on the Apple App Store with a star rating of 4.6. On Google Play, it has almost 17,000 reviews and a 4.5 star rating.

M1 Finance Customer Support

M1’s client success team is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET on any day the U.S. stock market is open. The limited access to customer support agents can be difficult, especially for those accustomed to 24/7 customer service.

Because M1 is a robo advisor, you cannot contact financial advisors for investment advice or personal finance advice. If you need more tailored investment advice, consider a company with physical locations or real human advisors.

M1 Finance Review: Key Features

Below, we’ve spelled out the fine print of each part of an M1 Finance account. Look for Our Take at the end of each section for a quicker read.

M1 Invest

The M1 Invest platform includes automatic rebalancing of your accounts, which means the investment platform will automatically manage your investments (selling and buying various individual stocks, mutual funds, bonds, etc.) to keep your account proportioned how you want it (based on your risk tolerance, preferred asset allocation and investment goals). The auto rebalancing feature also includes tax loss harvesting.

While automatic rebalancing is a common feature among robo advisors like M1 Finance, the option for fractional shares is a little more unique and a hard sell. Fractional shares allow you to buy into part (i.e., a fraction) of stocks and ETFs (exchanged-traded funds) that might otherwise be too expensive for you to invest in.

The selling point of an Invest account with M1 is “The Pie.” This is M1’s solution for easy portfolio management. You can create custom pies via an interactive dashboard that lets you browse 6,000+ stocks and ETFs to truly customize your investment portfolio. But if you don’t have the time or knowledge to customize your portfolio, you can select from “Expert Pies” that the M1 Finance team has “baked.” With more than 80 curated Expert Pies, there is likely to be one or more that suits your investment strategy and risk tolerance.

Some examples of Expert Pie categories include:

  • General Investing
  • Plan for Retirement
  • Responsible Investing
  • Income Earners
  • Hedge Fund Followers
  • Industries & Sectors
  • Just Stocks & Bonds
Community Pies allow you to find and share portfolios that align with personal values. You can build and invest in pies that focus on publicly traded companies led by Black, female, or LGBTQ+ leaders.

You can make your portfolio as diverse as you’d like with M1, with access to stocks, bonds, mutual funds, index funds, exchange-traded funds and options. If most of this goes over your head, however, you will benefit from the Expert Pies already fresh out of the oven and served up for you.

Note: There is a $100 investment minimum for M1 Invest.

Our Take: For those who want hands-off investing through a robo advisor, rather than a real human financial advisor, M1 Finance is a great platform. And if you learn more about the market and want to play a more direct role in your investment strategy, the customizable Pies allow you to do so without needing to close your M1 account. If you simply want the investment aspect of M1 (and don’t care about the Spend, Borrow, or credit card portions), we recommend the free M1 Basic account.

M1 Retirement

The M1 Invest platform is designed for investing in the stock market for goals of any length, but you can also specifically open tax-advantaged accounts for your retirement. M1 has options for an IRA, a Roth IRA and even a SEP IRA.

These accounts share the same benefits of a traditional investment account with M1: access to Expert Pies, fractional shares and auto rebalancing. If you already have an IRA or 401(k) elsewhere and would like M1 to manage it, you can roll over your account.

Our Take: Try out M1 Invest first to make sure you are satisfied with the platform. If, after a few months, you find this robo advisor is the right match for you, roll over your retirement accounts to keep them under one roof. But if you are happy with how your retirement account portfolio is being managed elsewhere (and the fees are negligible), it’s perfectly fine, albeit a little more confusing, to have the accounts managed separately elsewhere.

M1 Borrow

M1 Finance is a portfolio line of credit, meaning it offers its customers a flexible line of credit that is borrowed against their own investments. Use it to start a business, fund a wedding or as a down payment on a house. There is no application involved and no payment schedule, and it takes just three clicks to borrow.

You can borrow up to 35% of your account value. Rates are 2% for M1 Plus members and 3.5% for M1 Basic members. This is an ideal scenario if you have high-interest loans, like student loans or credit card debt, that you would like to pay off; then you’d have a more manageable loan to pay off via M1.

This could also come in handy if you do not have the means to save toward an emergency savings fund. Instead, take out a low-interest personal loan through M1 Borrow to avoid high-interest medical debt or credit card payments.

Our Take: Never borrow unless you have to. Don’t take out a loan just to have some cash to play with. That said, if taking out an M1 Borrow loan can eliminate monthly payments on predatory loans, take advantage of this option.

M1 Spend

You can also utilize cash management account features via M1, which is a more recent addition to the platform. The M1 Spend account is ideal if you are an M1 Plus member because of the extra perks. We do not recommend the Spend account as a checking account alternative to those using M1 Basic.

M1 Plus customers with a Spend account will get the following cash management features:

  • 1% cash back on debit card purchases
  • 1% APY on your cash balance
  • Four ATM fee reimbursements each month
  • 0% foreign transaction fees

Other notable features of the Spend account (for both M1 Basic and M1 Plus) include early direct deposit access and a $0 account balance minimum. Both accounts come with the M1 Spend Visa Debit Card, but again, only M1 Plus members get the 1% cash back perk.

M1 Plus members can also set up smart transfers; if your cash balance in the Spend account hits a certain threshold, M1 will automatically transfer and invest it.

Because M1 is not a bank but a brokerage, it partners with Lincoln Savings Bank to service its checking account.

Our Take: This Spend account is much better than a lot of the high-interest checking accounts from other online banks. However, you do have to pay to get these perks. If the cash back and APY will more than cancel out the cost of the account, this is a must-have for M1 Plus members.

M1 Credit Card

The Owner’s Rewards Card by M1 is a standout feature of the M1 Plus account. You can earn cash back on purchases with brands that you’re invested in; the standard cash back is 1.5%, but select brands offer 2.5%, 5% or even 10% cash back.

Some of these popular brands include Apple, Amazon, Walmart, Target, Spotify, Netflic, Peloton, Popeyes, Victoria’s Secret, Converse, Delta and Starbucks.

You can even choose to reinvest this cashback into your portfolio for continued growth.The credit card account comes with a contactless metal card with tap-to-pay.

Our Take: If you want a rewards credit card and plan to invest with M1, this should absolutely be on the top of your list. Even if you have another rewards credit card, the 10% cash back on select merchants is too good to pass up. Since the fee is waived for M1 Plus members, you could even open this credit card and only use it when you’ll get the 10% cash back if you have another rewards credit card to utilize in other scenarios.

M1 Finance Pros and Cons

If our M1 Finance review has not given you a clear decision on whether to invest quite yet, check out these pros and cons of M1 Finance.


Pros
  • Automatic rebalancing for preferred asset allocation
  • Fractional shares
  • Hands-off investing for beginners
  • More customization for advanced investors
  • Cash back debit and credit cards
  • High-interest checking account
  • Low-rate loans

Cons
  • No savings account
  • No checking account perks for M1 Basic account
  • $125 fee for the M1 Plus account
  • No access to human financial advisors

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About M1 Finance

Still have some questions about M1? Here’s what other readers like yourself are asking — and the answers to those questions:

Is M1 Finance Trustworthy?
M1 is a trustworthy automated investment platform. M1 is a registered broker/dealer with FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) and a member of SIPC (Securities Investor Protection Corporation).

In addition, your funds in the Spend account are insured by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation).

What are the Cons of M1 Finance?
M1 Finance’s pros far outweigh the cons; however, we have determined a few downsides to M1:

1. There is no savings account.
2. There are no checking account perks for an M1 Basic account.
3. To unlock the checking account perks, you must pay the $125 fee for the M1 Plus account.
4. There is no access to human financial advisors.

Is M1 Finance Good for Beginners?
Because of the Expert Pies that allow users to choose among investment portfolios curated for their specific needs, M1 Finance is great for beginners. Even better, the M1 Basic account is free and has no commission fees.
Is M1 Finance Really Free?
M1 Finance is a free automated investing platform. The M1 Basic account is free, and there are no commissions on trades. However, the M1 Plus account is $125 a year, though the first year is free.
Should I Get M1 Plus?
If you plan to take advantage of the M1 Borrow loan, the perks of the M1 Spend checking account and/or the cash back from the M1 credit card, paying $125 a year for an M1 Plus account makes a lot of sense.
Is M1 Finance a Bank?
M1 Finance is a brokerage account, but it also operates a digital bank account with cash management account features like a checking account. The checking account is interest bearing if you pay for an M1 Plus account. However, you cannot open a savings account with M1, nor can you apply for auto loans or home loans. In that sense, it does not operate like a traditional bank account.
Does M1 Finance Offer Tax Loss Harvesting?
Yes, M1 offers tax loss harvesting. Tax efficiencies are built into the M1 robo advisor platform.

Timothy Moore covers bank accounts for The Penny Hoarder from his home base in Cincinnati. He has worked in editing and graphic design for a marketing agency, a global research firm and a major print publication. He covers a variety of other topics, including insurance, taxes, retirement and budgeting and has worked in the field since 2012.

Investing in securities involves risks, including the risk of loss. M1 Finance LLC is an SEC registered broker-dealer. Member FINRA/SIPC.

Borrow rate may vary. Borrowing involves additional risks, including the risk to lose more than deposited. Not available for retirement, custodial, or trust accounts.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

SigFig Review 2021: Pros and Cons

SigFig is unlike robo-investors in that it works with partnering brokerage companies — Charles Schwab, Fidelity and TD Ameritrade. If you have existing funds with the first two brokerages, SigFig will manage your assets there. Otherwise, SigFig will open an account for you at TD Ameritrade.

What Is SigFig and How Does it Work?

SigFig is a robo investing platform partnering with third-party brokerage firms — Charles Schwab, Fidelity, and TD Ameritrade. If you have current assets invested at any of these three brokerages, you’ll keep the money there and SigFig will manage them. Otherwise, if you want to open a brand new account, then SigFig will open a managed TD Ameritrade account for you.

To start, you’ll sign up for their account management service and SigFig will go to work analyzing your portfolio and make suggestions on what asset allocations are best. It’ll also continue to monitor and improve your portfolio by diversifying investments and automatically rebalance them.

The goal is to ensure you’re getting affordable advisory services and options to make your portfolio align with your financial goals. Aside from low management fees, SigFig aims to find investors’ exchange traded funds (ETFs) with low fees with the selected asset classes to help save money — average expense ratios range from 0.07% to 0.15%.

SigFig Portfolio Account

Best for Passive Investors
Key Features
  • Invests in a mix of four different Vanguard ETFs
  • Portfolios monitored daily
  • Low fees
3.5 out of 5 Overall
SigFig monitors your portfolio from your linked partnering brokerage accounts and automatically rebalances your asset allocation to help minimize fees and reduce risk. Other tools include a free portfolio tracker, where you can see all of your investments in one place, and access to unlimited meetings with financial advisors.
SigFig Portfolio Account
Minimum opening deposit
$2,000
Management or advisory fees
None for the first $10,000 invested; 0.25% afterwards
Accounts offered
Taxable (individual and joint) and IRAs with partnering brokerages
Prime perk
Free portfolio tracker

Important Features

Portfolio Tracker

This free feature allows you to link other brokerage accounts (whether or not it’s with partnering companies) so you can track how your investments are faring. You’ll get a weekly email on items such as an overall view of your portfolio’s performance, current investment news, and the week’s top securities.

This tracker won’t actively manage all parts of your portfolio, only ones with partnering brokerages you’ve opted into.

Other features of the Portfolio Tracker include life chat and phone support, reporting dashboards, and analysis of external portfolios.

Commissions and Fees

Managed accounts won’t be charged advisory fees for the first $10,000 SigFig managed for you. Once you exceed this amount, the annual advisory fee is 0.25% of your invested amount.

Of course, you’ll also have to pay fees on the assets in your portfolio — aka expense ratios for index funds, ETFs and mutual funds. These usually range from 0.07% to 0.15%. SigFig aims to get you the lowest expense ratios possible so you can keep more money towards your investments.

Portfolio Mix

SigFig helps investors with creating a diversified portfolio designed to help you reach your goals. Your money will be invested in a mix of various funds based on factors such as your risk tolerance level.

Some of the assets you may find in your portfolio (represented by ETFs) include:

  • U.S. Stocks
  • U.S. Bonds
  • Developed markets stocks (international)
  • Emerging markets stocks
  • Short-term U.S. treasuries
  • Treasury inflation-protected securities
  • Municipal bonds
  • Emerging market sovereign debt
  • Real estate

The portfolio management company likes ETFs that don’t have commission fees — ones from Vanguard, iShares, and Schwab are chosen. Your exact portfolio mix depends on the brokerage accounts you currently have, since there may be ETFs that are only held at one partnering company.

Since it partners with Fidelity, TD Ameritrade and Schwab, you’ll also be able to see a breakdown of the types of funds you may be able to invest in. You can see this list on SigFig’s website.

To find out more about your suggested portfolio allocation, you can log into your SigFig account and head to the “Guidance” section. The asset allocations are based on your answers from the questionnaire SigFig provided when you opened your account.

The questions are designed to help to figure out your financial goals and risk tolerance. Recommendations will change whenever you change your risk level or when you want to edit your asset allocation.

If you’re ever unsure about the process or why SigFig made certain recommendations, you can speak to a customer representative. During their business hours, you can receive a free 15-minute consultation to talk through your investment options.

Plus, you can look up more information on each underlying investment by looking at one-year historical trends to see how their portfolios performed (you can find it on their website).

Human Financial Advisors

The point of robo-advisors is that you can trust the brokerage to help you make investment decisions on your behalf using their proprietary algorithms. However, there are options if you still want the advice of human financial advisors.

Plenty of robo-advisors offer this feature, though it can come with higher account minimum requirements or to upgrade to a higher tier offering. That’s why SigFig offering unlimited financial counseling for all paid clients is a breath of fresh air.

Once you’ve signed up for SigFig’s portfolio management services, you can sign up for free consultations as many times as you want — you’ll need to schedule an appointment. Taking advantage of this service means you can get additional investing insights and other advice tailored to help with your financial well-being.

In selecting the 8 best robo-advisors of 2021, we looked at fees, account minimums, ease of use and other key features of each platform.

Portfolio Management

SigFig manages your portfolio based on asset allocations and asset classes it believes will best suit your financial goals. As mentioned before, SigFig will gain insight into what you want by looking at the answers you provide from the initial questionnaire.

It’ll also analyze your existing portfolio to see what your current allocations are. Then, if there are any discrepancies, it’ll highlight potential problematic parts of your portfolio and recommend an approach that’s more optimized towards your goals.

For instance, if you have existing funds that are too conservative, SigFig might recommend a more aggressive allocation, or highlight securities that have high expense ratios. It’ll also automatically rebalance your portfolio whenever it deviates from your target allocation.

Tax Loss Harvesting

SigFig offers free tax-loss harvesting for customers, no matter how much it is invested. This investment strategy helps you to minimize taxes by selling assets that have capital losses to offset gains made.

Customer Service

You can speak with a representative during SigFig’s office hours from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST via phone, live chat, or email.

SigFig at a Glance

Feature Details More Details

Financial tools

Portfolio tracker

Free advisor sessions

Portfolio Mix

9 ETFs

Mix from 9 asset classes

Automatic Rebalancing

Yes

Free for all accounts

Tax Loss Harvesting

Yes

Free for all accounts

Account Types

Individual/Joint Taxable

Five IRAs

Pricing and Fees

0% fee for 1st $10,000

0.25% above $25,000

Customer Support

Phone, email and chat

9 a.m.-6 p.m. EST, M-F

Pros and Cons of SigFig

SigFig may be a good fit depending on what features are important to you.


Pros
  • SigFig charges some of the lowest fees amongst available robo-advisors. For one, you don’t have to pay any management fees for the first $10,000 invested, and it’s a low 0.25% once it exceeds that.
  • Anyone who invests through SigFig can get the help of financial advisors for free — you have unlimited appointments.
  • If you have assets invested with partnering brokerages and don’t want to move them, you can keep them where they are, saving you time.

Cons
  • The $2,000 account opening minimum may be off-putting to some, considering other competitors have much lower requirements.
  • While you can open taxable and retirement accounts, those who want other options, such as assistance with their 401(k) accounts need to look elsewhere.

Is SigFig Right for You?

SigFig is a good fit if you have an existing brokerage or IRA account and don’t want to manage it yourself. It’s also a good fit if you want to pay as little in management fees as possible, since you’ll pay exactly 0% for your first $10,000 invested.

However, if you don’t have accounts with Fidelity, Schwab, TD Ameritrade, you technically won’t be able to have SigFig manage your funds — though they may add more partner companies in the future. That means if you want to stop paying high management fees and potentially transfer fees, then keeping assets with partner companies is a smart choice.

If you’re opening a new brokerage account, be sure you like what’s on offer with TD Ameritrade, as your funds will be held there.

The free portfolio tracker is a nice tool to help you monitor external portfolio accounts, and the access to human financial advisors isn’t too shabby either.

Overall, SigFig is a fair contender based on the fact that you’ll pay low fees with automatic rebalance and tax loss harvesting services. Plus, if you don’t have $10,000 or more invested, you’ll pay even less.

However, if you want more flexibility in your choices of assets, and want your entire portfolio (such as your 401k account) managed, then SigFig may not be the best option for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About SigFig

We’ve answered some of the most common questions about SigFig, the robo-advising platform.

What Products Does SigFig Offer?
The two main offerings of SigFig’s business is their portfolio tracker and asset management services. The portfolio tracker is a free tool where you can aggregate your investment portfolio (even external ones) so you can see how your investments are performing. SigFig’s asset management services will balance your portfolio and ensure its diversified based on factors such as your risk tolerance and other financial goals. The management fees are low.
What Does SigFig Recommend for my Investment Portfolio?
SigFig recommends assets based on answers provided in your questionnaire that relates to factors such as your risk tolerance, desired financial goals and time horizon. It’ll recommend asset allocations based on different asset classes within ETFs and can include securities such as stocks, bonds, real estate, treasuries, and inflation-protected securities.
Are There Downsides to Using a Robo-Advisor?
A robo-advisor allows you to experience hands off investing by having a brokerage automatically invest your money into allocations based on your risk tolerance and financial goals. However, investors may not have as much flexibility, depending on the robo-advisor. While some allow investors to customize some of their portfolios, others may not and only have limited securities offerings.

Contributor Sarah Li-Cain is a personal finance writer based in Jacksonville, Florida, specializing in real estate, insurance, banking, loans and credit. She is the host of the Buzzsprout and Beyond the Dollar podcasts.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Accredited Debt Relief Review

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For people who are drowning in credit card debt and dodging phone calls from creditors, it’s easy to feel trapped. Helpless.

The truth is, many Americans are in the same predicament. But there are ways out, including debt relief.

Take Kerry Smith, for instance. He was a Green Beret who did four combat tours in Iraq and four more in Afghanistan. He fought terrorists and insurgents, dodged grenades and roadside bombs.

After he retired from the Army due to combat wounds, Smith, now 42, tried his hand at real estate. But he got overwhelmed with $84,000 worth of debt from deals that went south.

Looking for help, he found a debt relief company called Accredited Debt Relief. He was wary of scams and ripoffs, but he decided to give it a try because of its A-plus rating from the Better Business Bureau.

In this Accredited Debt Relief review, you’ll find out how this company works and why this retired vet has been floored by how much of a difference it’s making.

So, What Is Accredited Debt Relief?

Accredited Debt Relief creates custom debt consolidation plans for people who have serious debt and have trouble making payments. The company works with each client to create a personalized repayment plan.

While Accredited Debt Relief can help consolidate your debt into a single monthly payment, their debt relief services don’t require a good credit score or personal loans.

If you have at least $10,000 in unsecured debt, meaning there’s nothing your lenders can repossess, such as a car, this debt relief company can help. You can get help paying off payday loans, credit card debt, medical bills, personal loans and other unsecured loans  — student loans are excluded.

The only other requirement for Accredited Debt Relief’s debt consolidation program is a stable source of income. You’ll need to consistently make your monthly payments in order to qualify for their debt relief options.

If you meet the basic requirements, you could notice your credit score start to rise after you start making consistent payments through Accredited Debt Relief.

How Does It Work?

Everyone’s debt is unique, and paying it off involves a lot of strategy.

An Accredited Debt Relief debt specialist reviews each person’s individual situation — the initial consultation is free — and figures out the best path out of debt, whether that’s a debt settlement or one of their debt-relief programs.

They’ll explain all the options and spell out a strategy for lowering your payments and maximizing savings.

This debt-relief program is all about setting people up for future success. That’s why it’ll have you open a savings account in your name that you’ll control. That’s where you’ll send monthly deposits that’ll go toward paying off your debts.

You’ll also need to stop using credit cards or drawing on that line of credit. This will help the debt relief program negotiators build your case.

Then, the negotiators will work with the creditors to secure a settlement, a lump sum that’s less than the owed amount. That’s how they save people money. Once you approve the deal, you’ll pay the settlement out of your savings account.

Pros and Cons of Accredited Debt Relief’s Service

There’s a lot to like about Accredited Debt Relief’s service, but why should you go with them instead of one of the other debt relief companies? Check out the pros and cons of this service, compared to other debt relief companies, to see why you should pick their pathway out of serious debt:

Pros:

  • They work with a wide variety of unsecured debt: medical bills, payday loans, debts owed to credit card companies and much more.
  • Accredited Debt Relief’s clients get out of debt in 46 months on average.
  • They offer free consultations on debt relief.
  • They have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and are accredited by the American Fair Credit Council.
  • Debt settlement with Accredited Debt Relief may be as low as 50% of what you originally owed.

Cons:

  • Secured debts and student loans aren’t eligible for Accredited Debt Relief’s program.
  • You’ll need to owe at least $10,000 in order to qualify for debt relief.
  • It’s not available in every state.
  • Not everyone qualifies for a debt settlement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this a debt-settlement program?

Yes, Accredited Debt Relief’s certified debt specialists will work with your creditors to negotiate a lower amount on the debt you owe.

What if a creditor won’t work with Accredited Debt Relief?

Your monthly payments won’t go to any creditor that declines to work with you on debt settlement. Many other debt-relief companies ask for payment before an agreement is reached.

How much will a debt-relief program cost me?

Fees range from 15% to 25% of the debt you owe. Accredited Debt Relief won’t charge you until after you’ve been enrolled in the debt settlement program and your creditors have come to terms.

How This Green Beret is Saving $700 a Month on His Debts

When Smith retired from the U.S. Army after 21 years, he was ready to try something different, so the married father of three got into real estate investing.

He bought and started remodeling a duplex in Olympia, Washington. To save money, he tried doing it himself with a home renovation loan, but he still ended up owing tens of thousands of dollars to his Home Depot and Lowe’s credit cards.

Then his dad got sick, and the family moved to North Carolina to take care of him full-time.

“I started missing payments, and then it was a massive snowball,” he says. “It was just a maelstrom of different things in my life.”

In retrospect, he would have done things differently. But hindsight is 20/20.

“That’s how I got into this spot,” he says. “It wasn’t that we were out buying Gucci or designer threads or anything like that. I was just trying to do right by my family.”

By the time he reached out to Accredited Debt Relief in late 2019, he was $81,000 in the hole.

Accredited Debt Relief is working with him on a debt-settlement plan and has been negotiating his credit card balances down by 50%.

“They’ve been able to negotiate these accounts that were $15,000 or $20,000 down in half, and that’s just something that I can’t do on my own,” Smith says.

The company charges for its services. For debt settlement, it typically charges 18% to 25% of the total debt, which is standard in the industry.

Still, it’s worth it for Smith and his family and is a huge relief. He’s making his monthly debt payments to Accredited Debt Relief instead of his creditors, which leaves him more money to take care of his family.

“I give them $960 a month, which is $700 less than I was paying before,” he says. “We haven’t been getting any more phone calls from creditors — which is nice.”

Getting Started With a Free Consultation

Accredited Debt Relief generally works with people who owe more than $10,000. The idea is to help people out of debt without declaring bankruptcy.

How long this process takes varies, but the average person enrolled in the program is debt-free within two to four years.

Accredited Debt Relief’s reviews are overwhelmingly positive, and the numbers don’t lie — this company has a track record of getting people out of serious debt in just a few years.

If you or someone you know is in serious debt, Accredited Debt Relief deserves serious consideration. If you qualify, it can help turn finances around and help you reclaim your life from debt.

Like what you learned in this Accredited Debt Relief review? It takes less than a minute to sign up for a free initial consultation.

Accredited Debt Relief doesn’t directly service the following states: CT, DE, GA, HI, IL, KS, ME, ND, NH, NJ, OR, OH, RI, SC, VT, WA, WV and WY.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Current Review 2021: Online Checking Account

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Current is a newcomer to the world of mobile banking (arriving in 2015), but already, the company is making waves with its noble mission of making banking “accessible and affordable for everyone.”

Current seeks to entice new customers with benefits like no hidden fees, faster direct deposit, fee-free ATMs, automated savings and fee-free overdrafts.

Technically speaking, however, Current is not an online bank. It’s a financial technology platform, colloquially referred to as a neobank, but it still offers the same assurances of a traditional bank. That is, it offers banking services through Choice Financial Group and Metropolitan Commercial Bank, which are both members of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). That means money you put into a Current account is FDIC insured.

While the three Current accounts available are all basic checking accounts, they do come with varying amounts of “Savings Pods,” which allow you to organize your savings within the checking account. However, these Savings Pods do not earn interest. If you are interested in a savings account with a high APY, look elsewhere.

Getting Started with Current

Current says that signing up for an account takes less than two minutes. Simply download the Current app from the Apple App Store or Google Play and sign up for one of three accounts: Current Basic Account, Current Premium Account or Current Teen Account.

When you open the app for the first time, you’ll input your phone number and be sent a code. Just enter in the code and follow the prompts for the typical information (email address, legal name, birth date, etc.).

And like that, you’ve become a Current member.

Three Current Accounts

Current offers three unique accounts, but you wouldn’t know that immediately by browsing its website or even the mobile banking app. When researching this financial technology company, it took some digging to learn that there was more than just the Current Premium Account (and that the Premium Account had a monthly fee; despite Current’s promise for “no hidden fees,” the monthly fee info was challenging to find).

To make it easier for you, we’ve broken down each account below. After, we’ll explore each of the benefits that Current touts and detail which accounts those benefits apply to.

Current Basic Account

Best for No Monthly Fees
Key Features
  • No monthly fees
  • Access to one Savings Pod
  • 40,000 fee-free ATMs
3.5 out of 5 Overall
The Current Basic Account is the only free account offered by Current. However, the lack of the month fee means a lack of unique features. To truly get value out of Current, you should consider upgrading to the $4.99/month Premium Account.
Current Basic Account
Monthly fee
$0
Overdraft protection
Not available
ATMs
40,000 in-network
Savings Pods
One

Current Premium Account

Best for Unique Banking Perks
Key Features
  • Overdrive overdraft protection
  • Early access to direct deposit
  • 40,000 fee-free ATMs
4.5 out of 5 Overall
The Current Premium Account may cost $4.99 a month with no way to waive the fee, but with overdraft protection, faster direct deposits, three Savings Pods for easier savings organization, gas hold refunds, a cash back rewards debit card and the easiest method to deposit cash that we’ve seen from any online bank, the monthly service fee could be well worth it for many.
Current Premium Account
Monthly fee
$4.99
Overdraft protection
Up to $100
ATMs
40,000 in-network
Savings Pods
Three

Current Teen Account

Best for Teens Interested in Learning Personal Finance
Key Features
  • Instant transfer
  • Automated allowance
  • Ability to set spending limits
4.5 out of 5 Overall
From a parent’s perspective, the Current Teen Account may be the best option. It’s just $36 a year and gives you strong oversight into your teen’s account while they’re still learning the ins and outs of personal finance. With Current’s account for teens, parents can block specific merchants, set spending limits and even require certain chores be completed. Parents also have peace of mind thanks t
Current Teen Account
Monthly fee
$3 ($36/year)
Overdraft protection
Not available
ATMs
40,000 in-network
Savings Pods
One (plus one Giving Pod)

Current Review: Key Features by Account

Let’s explore each of the elements that Current touts as a benefit and identify which of the three accounts actually offer this benefit.

Faster Direct Deposit

Available for: Current Premium Account only

Increasingly, banks are promising earlier access to your paycheck if you receive your payments via direct deposit. Current is among those financial institutions.

To set up early direct deposit, simply opt in to that feature in the Current mobile app. Doing so will allow you to get access to your paycheck up to 48 hours early.

How? When your employer submits payroll, this hits the Federal Reserve, which sends this info to Current. Current is thus aware that the money is incoming, even if it will take a couple of days. Instead of making you wait, Current makes that money available to you immediately.

No Hidden Fees

Available for: All Current accounts

Current boasts that it has no hidden fees, but there’s an asterisk with that. If you look closely, there are out-of-network ATM fees. Current partners with Allpoint, meaning customers have access to 40,000 fee-free ATMs.

However, many of Current’s competitors offer ATM fee reimbursements (some unlimited); as of now, Current does not.

However, these out-of-network fees appear to be the only “hidden” fees associated with Current. Otherwise, the claim is pretty accurate: no monthly maintenance fees for Current’s Basic Account, no minimum balance fees and no overdraft fees for the Premium Account.

A woman smiles as she uses her debit card on her phone.

Mobile Banking

Available for: All Current accounts

Current is entirely digital. You won’t find brick-and-mortar locations anywhere, which means it needs a robust mobile app. Current delivers on this with an easy-to-use app that utilizes smartphone notifications to keep you on top of your own spending and potential fraud.

The iOS version of the app on the App Store has a 4.7 star rating based on nearly 100,000 reviews. Over on Google Play, the app has brought in even more reviews (106K+ at the time of writing) and maintained an average 4.6 star rating.

This is one of the top-rated apps of any online banks we review.

Add Cash

Available for: All Current accounts

How do you fund your Current bank account if there are no physical locations? Current makes this pretty manageable by partnering with more than 60,000 stores across the country. Just head to these stores (you can find them easily in the app) to fund your account.

Of course, you can also rely on the 40,000 in-network ATMs to fund your account as well for a grand total of 100,000+ physical locations to deposit cash to your Current account.

The ease of adding cash is a big selling point, even over more established online banks.

Mobile Deposit

Available for: All Current accounts

Mobile check deposit is another way to add money to your bank account. Just snap a picture of the front and back of the check within the mobile app; the money should be available within a few business days.

This is a pretty standard feature for online banks.

Automated Savings

Available for: All Current accounts

Younger customers who are still learning the ins and outs of personal finance will appreciate the automatic savings feature. This optional feature allows you to automatically round up the cost of any purchase to the nearest dollar. When you swipe your debit card, you’ll pay the merchant what you owe them and send the rest of that loose change into your Savings Pods, which you can create for various savings goals.

Savings Pods are easy to set up in the Current app, and they are a standout feature. Some banks don’t allow you to create these “sub” savings accounts that help you organize savings toward various goals. Being able to organize your money into various buckets (like house down payment, wedding and vacation) can be quite helpful.

With the Current Premium Account, you get up to three Savings Pods. The Basic Account and Teen Account each get one Savings Pod (and the Teen Account also gets you a Giving Pod for charitable donations).

However, please note: “Savings Pods,” though great for helping you set aside money toward a goal, do not have an APY. If you leave your money in a pod, you are leaving money on the table. If you are not at risk for overdrafting, you should instead move that money to a high-yield savings account.

Fee-Free Overdraft

Available for: Current Premium Account only

Current advertises fee-free overdrafts, which is mostly true. Most brick-and-mortar banks show no mercy when it comes to overdrafts while some online banks and credit unions, like Ally Bank and Alliant Credit Union, have done away with this dated, unfair practice altogether.

Current falls somewhere in the middle. With Current, you can overdraft up to $100 without incurring any overdraft fees, as long as you receive a qualifying direct deposit of $500 or more a month and enable Overdrive on the Current account.

But if you don’t receive direct deposits, haven’t enabled Overdrive or exceed the $100 threshold, be prepared to pay overdraft fees.

A caveat: You don’t immediately start with a $100 threshold. At first, Current caps you at $25. Over time, as you demonstrate responsible spending, Current will up the amount until you hit the $100 ceiling.

Note: Overdrive only works for debit card purchases. If you overdraft by transferring funds, writing a bad check or withdrawing more than you have in your Current account at an ATM, you do not have the same overdraft protection.

Cash Back

Available for: Current Premium Account only

One of the better features of Current is the cash back eligibility for debit card swipes. Use your debit card at one of more than 14,000 participating merchants to earn up to 15x points. These points are redeemable for actual cash in your Current account when you’ve earned enough.

The Current app makes it easy to find participating merchants (and how many points you’ll earn per debit card swipe).

Fee-Free ATMs

Available for: All Current accounts

Current advertises no hidden fees, and that’s mostly true. However, if you incur a fee at an out-of-network ATM, you will have to pay, and Current doesn’t reimburse this fee.

That said, you’ll be hard-pressed not to find an in-network ATM. As part of the Allpoint network, Current offers 40,000 fee-free locations. You can easily find these in the app.

Gas Hold Removals

Available for: Current Premium Account only

One of the more unique features of Current is the gas hold removal. Gas holds can be challenging, especially for those who live paycheck to paycheck. Current aims to take away that added stress by removing gas holds for all Current Premium Account holders.

What’s a gas hold? Gas stations often hold $50 or more in funds from your account until they are sure the transaction has gone through. This can often take up to 72 hours, according to Current. But Current members don’t have to sweat it, as the neobank instantly replenishes your account with the held funds.

Money Management

Available for: All Current accounts

The Current mobile app is chock full of various money management tools. With the app, you can track your spending insights, organize funds into Savings Pods and use budgeting tools to promote healthier financial wellbeing.

Current ~Tags

Available for: All Current accounts

Forget Venmo, Cash App and Zelle: Current lets you send and receive money within the app securely and quickly. And it’s free!

The only downside? You can only do this with other Current members. So until Current becomes a more popular financial institution, your options are limited for in-app transfers.

Current’s branding for the in-app cash sharing is ~tags. The tilde (~) acts like the at symbol (@) in most other platforms. Simply find other users with the ~ ahead of their username.

Security

Available for: All Current accounts

Current may not be a real bank, but it takes security seriously. Some of its security features include push notifications for instant fraud detection, EMV chips on all debit cards and biometric logins (fingerprint and face ID).

Lose your card? No worries. Within the Current app, you can easily pause and resume transactions with the push of a button.

Pros and Cons of Current

Still not sure if a Current bank account is right for you? We’ve weighed the pros and cons of using Current for your basic checking account needs.


Pros
  • The Current Premium Account offers fee-free overdraft up to $100.
  • The ATM network is extensive with 40,000+ through Allpoint.
  • Gas hold removals can make a huge difference for those living paycheck to paycheck.
  • Early access to paycheck means you don’t have to wait two-plus days for your money.
  • There is an option for a cash back debit card.
  • Automated savings is a great checking account feature for beginners.
  • Current makes it super easy to deposit cash to your account.
  • The Current mobile app is one of the best in the industry.
  • Current customer support is top-notch.

Cons
  • To get any great benefits, you must pay $4.99/month for the Current Premium Account.
  • Overdraft protection has a cap—and it starts low at $25.
  • There is no APY for the checking account, nor is there an APY for money in Savings Pods.
  • The promise of “no hidden fees” doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
  • There are no ATM reimbursements for out-of-network ATMs.
  • There are no options for savings accounts, loans or insurance.
Is Current a Bank?
Current is not a bank; it’s a financial technology company. However, it carries FDIC insurance just as a traditional bank would and operates as a standard checking account via banking services through Choice Financial Group and Metropolitan Commercial Bank. As an online-only bank, it is a minimal account focused on transparency and convenience but lacks some of the more nuanced traditional banking features.
What Are the Fees with a Current Account?
Current’s Basic Account has no monthly fees, but to upgrade to the Current Premium Account, you will be charged $4.99/month. The Current Teen Account costs $36/year.
Does Current Have a Required Minimum Balance?
There is no minimum balance requirement at Current.
Is Current Legit and Safe?
Though it is not an actual online bank, Current is a legitimate financial institution, much like Chime. In fact, Current aims to be more consumer focused than traditional banks. It offers several safety and security features, like debit card EMV chips, biometric logins (face ID and fingerprint), push notifications for instant fraud detection and easy pause and resume for account transactions.
Is Current Trustworthy?
Current has been around for more than five years. In that time, it has proven that it is a trustworthy institution. And never fear: When you deposit money in Current, you can trust that it is backed by FDIC insurance.
Is Current a Good Debit Card?
The debit card you get through Current depends on the account you open. If you open the Current Premium Account for $4.99/month, you will get a cash back debit card that earns you points at more than 14,000 merchants across the country. That makes this one of the better debit cards on the market.
Is Current a Reliable Bank?
Current is not a bank; it is a financial technology platform. However, it offers banking services through Choice Financial Group and Metropolitan Commercial Bank and carries FDIC insurance. It also offers a secure mobile application that is highly rated, and adding money to your account is easier than with many brick-and-mortar banks. For all of this, Current is a very reliable financial solution.

Timothy Moore covers bank accounts for The Penny Hoarder from his home base in Cincinnati. He has worked in editing and graphic design for a marketing agency, a global research firm and a major print publication. He covers a variety of other topics, including insurance, taxes, retirement and budgeting and has worked in the field since 2012 with publications such as The Penny Hoarder, Debt.com, Ladders, WDW Magazine, Glassdoor and The News Wheel.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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