TIAA Bank Review 2020: Is It the Right Bank for You?

Depending on your needs, TIAA Bank could be the one for you.

TIAA Bank is the banking arm of Teacher Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA), a Fortune 100 financial services company. The TIAA Trust Company was founded in 1918 by New York State to ensure retirement income and life insurance for educators and has since become known for providing quality services to nonprofit organizations, institutions, professors and teachers across the United States. TIAA Bank launched in June 2018 after the merger of EverBank with TIAA the year prior, with the express goal of providing custom solutions for the unique financial needs of its clients through an online-only banking system.

If you enjoy an online-only approach and are looking for high returns on a variety of account types, TIAA Bank is worth your consideration. Continue reading to see what TIAA Bank may offer that suits your financial needs.

Who Is TIAA Bank Best For?

TIAA Bank is best for individuals looking for a modern, online-only banking experience and a nationwide network of fee-free ATMs. Those with qualifying balances may also be interested in the bank’s high-yield checking, money market and CD accounts.

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Pros and Cons of Banking With TIAA Bank
Pros Cons
Easy online banking via the TIAA Bank website and mobile app No physical locations for those who wish to bank in person
Over 80,000 fee-free ATMs available for TIAA Bank customers  Non-TIAA ATM fees only reimbursed for accounts with a minimum balance of $5,000 
Guaranteed high yields on qualifying checking, money market and CD accounts  Most attractive annual percentage yield (APY) rates are introductory and end after one year 

Customers who are comfortable without an in-person banking experience and appreciate guaranteed high returns should consider this bank. Though high returns are only guaranteed via the bank’s Yield Pledge® for certain checking, money market and CD accounts, that may be enough for customers with consistent balances that meet account requirements to choose TIAA.

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Who May Want To Skip TIAA Bank?

Those who appreciate in-person banking or who do not carry a balance of at least $5,000 in any checking account might want to bank elsewhere. With the exception of Florida residents, customers who enjoy visiting their bank to discuss home mortgages, CDs and other financial services should look elsewhere. TIAA Bank also does not provide personal or auto loans, making it a poor fit for customers looking to fulfill those needs.

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Types of Accounts Available

TIAA Bank offers a variety of account types. Depending on your account balance and other financial preferences, some account types are more worthy of your consideration.

Consider the account types, features, fees and rates before opening an account.

Types of Available TIAA Bank Accounts
Account Type Features Rates Fees Comparative Rates
Basic Checking Account
  • Online banking and mobile deposits
  • ATM fee reimbursements up to $15 per month when holding a balance of less than $5,000
  • Only a $25 deposit required to open 
These accounts do not accrue interest 
  • $5 monthly fee waived for accounts with a balance of $25 or more 
U.S. Bank’s Basic Checking Account carries .01% interest 
Interest Checking 
  • Free Checking: No Monthly Fee
  • Yield Pledge®: High Yields guaranteed to be among top 5% of Competitive Accounts
0.25%-0.55% APY
  • Free Checking: No Monthly Fee
  • $0 TIAA Bank ATM Fees
  • Non-TIAA Bank ATM fee reimbursement for accounts with a balance of at least $5,000
  • Minimum Deposit: $100 
Ally Bank’s Interest Checking account earns 0.10% APY for accounts with a balance below $15,000 and 0.50% APY for accounts with a balance above $15,000
Savings Account  Basic Savings Account  Variable, but 1.10% as of March 13, 2020  $5 monthly fee waived for accounts with a balance of $25 or more  Ally’s rate on all savings accounts is 1.50% APY 
Money Market Account 
  • Yield Pledge® Money Market Account
  • $500 minimum deposit to open
  • Up to six monthly transactions without any fees
1.01-1.55% APY  No monthly fee PNC Bank has a maximum APY of 1.10% across all money market account tiers 
CDs
  • Basic CDs
  • Yield Pledge® CDs
  • Bump-Rate CDs
  • All CDs are IRA eligible
1.15-1.90% depending on term length and type (3 months to 5 years) Basic CDs require a $1,000 minimum deposit to open. Bump-rate requires $1,500. Yield Pledge requires $5,000. Discover Bank offers a 1.75% APY on 12-30-month term CDs
Individual Retirement Accounts Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, rollover IRA  This depends on your investments  Early withdrawal fees may apply. There are no minimum fees to open or maintain these accounts. N/A
Investment (nonbank) Options 
  • Precious Metals
    • Coins and bars
    • Unallocated metals
  • Foreign Currencies
    • CDs
    • CD Baskets
    • Access Accounts
Rates vary based on market factors and unique customer preferences and choices Precious metals require $5,000-$7,500 minimum deposits to open. Foreign currencies require $2,500-$20,000 minimum deposits to open. N/A
Loans 
  • FHA and VA Loans 
  • Home Equity Line of Credit
  • Mortgage Loans 
  • Rates vary based on unique customer situation and market factors
  • Mortgage Loan: Annual percentage rates range from 3.43% to 4.25% for 15- and 30-year fixed-rate and 15- and 30-year fixed-rate jumbo
Fees apply depending on your unique plan and repayment agreement
  • Citibank: Mortgage Loan: 4.87% APR for 15-year fixed-rate loan

In addition to the rates, fees and features, TIAA Bank also offers Home Rewards, a program connecting its customers to a professional team that will work with you through the purchase or sale of your home, with cash back awarded upon closure. 

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Checking/Interest Checking

TIAA Bank offers Basic Checking and Yield Pledge® Checking. The biggest difference between the two types of accounts is the high-yield guarantee of the Yield Pledge® Checking accounts, making it an attractive option for those planning to maintain an account balance of at least $5,000.

Features

  • Free Visa debit cards 
  • Mobile and online banking available
  • Access to all TIAA-affiliated ATMs 

Pros

  • Basic Checking has a $0 monthly fee for accounts with a minimum balance of $25 
  • Debit card comes with Price Protection and Return Protection, both up to $250 
  • Yield Pledge® Checking guarantees returns on par with the top 5% of TIAA Bank competitor returns based on weekly assessments

Cons

  • Basic Checking accrues no interest 
  • Account balance minimum is $5,000 in order to access unlimited ATM fee reimbursements

Consider these features, pros and cons against some of the best checking accounts out there.

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Savings

TIAA Bank has one type of savings account, its Basic Savings. It is the least customizable and most standard of all account types at TIAA. Its APY is favorably high compared to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.-stated averages, but other online banks offer higher rates with lower minimum deposits. Think of all the features and rates available to you from the best financial institutions’ saving accounts before investing in TIAA Bank.

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Features

  • Overdraft protection when account is connected to TIAA Bank checking accounts
  • Earns variable interest 
  • Mobile/online banking available 

Pros

  • High APY compared to institutional averages
  • No monthly account fee with $25 minimum balance

Cons

  • $25 to open the account

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Money Market Account

TIAA Bank’s Yield Pledge® Money Market Account has a high earning capability provided you maintain a $5,000 balance. It offers a high, one-year intro APR, as well as a tiered rate system based on your overall balance. It offers much more potential than the TIAA Basic Savings. 

Features

  • Easy access through online and mobile banking 
  • Fee-free overdraft protection when linked to a TIAA checking account

Pros

  • No monthly service fee
  • Yield Pledge® Money Market guarantees returns on par with the top 5% of TIAA Bank competitor returns based on weekly assessments
  • IRA eligible

Cons

  • Best APY rates require $100,000 
  • $500 deposit to open account

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CDs

TIAA Bank’s Certificate of Deposit accounts are a collection of award-winning CDs, ranging from its Basic to its well-regarded Yield Pledge®. CDs are a great way to earn high returns that are virtually risk-free.

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Features

  • Terms vary from 3 months to 5 years 
  • FDIC-insured 

Pros

  • Award-winning history of service 
  • No monthly account service fees 
  • Yield Pledge® CD guarantees returns on par with the top 5% of TIAA Bank competitor returns based on weekly assessments
  • Bump-Rate CD only requires $1,500 initial deposit

Cons

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Individual Retirement Accounts

TIAA Bank offers standard retirement plans that could make sense based on your financial situation. TIAA offers accounts with no fees to open or maintain, and no minimum initial deposits or balances are required.

Features

  • Traditional IRA: You can invest in this account, but not pay taxes until you withdraw. Contributions to this account are able to be tax deductible. 
  • Roth IRA: As you invest in this account your contributions will be taxed, so withdrawals from this account are tax-free. 
  • Rollover IRA: This is for people who need to roll their 401(k) into a traditional or Roth IRA. 

Pros

  • No fees to open or maintain account 
  • No minimum required balance or initial deposit amount

Cons

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  • As with other IRA accounts nationwide, penalties can be incurred upon early account closure.

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Investment (Nonbank) Options

TIAA Bank offers several unusual investment options, at least as far as online banks are concerned. While other online institutions may offer mutual funds or digital portfolios, TIAA specializes in foreign currencies and precious metals accounts to diversify your investment portfolio.

Features

  • Precious Metals 
    • Unallocated metals — requires $5,000 or $100/month to open. Non-FDIC-insured, no annual account fee, includes a guarantee that you pay no more than 1% of the prices paid by TIAA Bank.
    • Coins and bars — requires $7,500 to open.  Non-FDIC-insured, includes a guarantee that you pay no more than 1% of the prices paid by TIAA Bank.
  • Foreign Currencies 
    • Access Accounts — requires $2,500 or $100/month to open with the ability to choose your initial currency. 
    • CDs — requires $10,000 to open with the ability to choose your initial currency. 
    • CD Baskets — requires $20,000 to open, with up to six single-currency CDs in a single investment. 

Pros/Cons

The pros and cons depend on your unique financial situation. Generally, since precious metals are not FDIC-insured, only those investors willing to take greater risks should seek out these types of accounts. Money can also be lost in foreign currencies accounts, though their FDIC-insured status assures slightly less volatility.

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Loans

If you are looking to move into your dream home, TIAA Bank has a variety of lending options to help finance your new adventure.

Features, Pros and Cons

  • FHA and VA Loans: Certain qualifying veterans and other individuals are eligible for these home loans. 
    • Pro: Low or no down payment for both FHA and VA loans
    • Con: Narrow scope of eligibility
  • Home Equity Line of Credit: This line of credit can be used for education, the repayment of medical bills or other large expenses. 
    • Pro: You can have a line of credit for up to $500,000.
    • Con: As with all home equity lines of credit, it is insured against your house.
  • Mortgages: You can refinance or mortgage a new home with TIAA Bank. 
    • Pro: You can choose between a conventional rate or jumbo rate mortgage.
    • Con: You may be able to find better rates depending on your financial preferences.

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How To Bank With TIAA Bank

Banking with TIAA is easy and accessible via its website and mobile app. There are two major ways to bank with TIAA and one option to bank in-person for those living in Florida. 

  1. Mobile app and online banking 
  2. Call a customer service representative at 888-882-3837.
  3. For Florida residents, there are four main financial center locations within the state for in-person banking.

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Technology

Since TIAA Bank does not have physical locations for most of its customers, the company prides itself on easy online banking and mobile app usage. Both allow money transfers, 24/7 access to your funds across the globe and the mobile app allows you to deposit checks. 

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Fees

There are a range of fees depending on what type of account you are looking to open with TIAA. Many can be waived by keeping an account minimum balance.

Checking:

  •  Basic Checking 
    • $5 per month
    • Waived with minimum account balance of $25
  • Yield Pledge® Checking Account 
    • No monthly fee

Savings

  • Basic Savings Account
    • $5 monthly fee
    • Waived with minimum account balance of $25
  • Money Market Savings
    • No monthly fee

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Availability of Funds

The availability of funds depends on how, when and for how much you deposit into your account.

  • Immediate, same business day availability of receiving deposit
    • Cash deposit
    • Direct deposit
    • Checks deposited on 80,000+ TIAA Bank ATMs
    • Wire transfers

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In Conclusion: TIAA Bank

TIAA Bank is a great option for those customers who value high yields and diverse options over in-person banking. Customers with more liquidity and enough money to open TIAA’s Yield Pledge® accounts, whether in checking, money market or CDs, may find the bank’s rates very competitive. They do require higher minimum deposits of $5,000, however, so if you are not flush enough for that initial deposit, you may want to look elsewhere for more attractive basic account rates. TIAA Bank’s variety of high-yield CDs are a great way to grow your money with up to five-year terms. While auto and personal lending options are not offered as of yet, TIAA offers mortgage loans, home equity lines of credit and, if you’re a veteran, VA homebuyer loans. If you fall under any of these categories, consider TIAA Bank when exploring your new financial opportunities.

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More on TIAA Bank

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Rates are updated periodically and subject to change. All other information on accounts is accurate as of March, 19, 2020.

This content is not provided by TIAA Bank. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by TIAA Bank.

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About the Author

Jared Nigro

Jared Nigro is a writer based in Los Angeles. His experience includes covering a range of personal finance topics for GOBankingRates, specializing in offering actionable advice for banking customers. In addition to writing about personal finance, he has written for environmental and socioeconomic organizations like The Daniel & Susan Gottlieb Foundation and InsideOUT Writers.

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