BankDirect Review: Competitive Rates, Nationwide Coverage

4.4
Our Take: BankDirect products are limited to deposit accounts. But if you're looking for an online financial institution to do basic banking without sacrificing competitive rates on higher balances, BankDirect is worth considering.
  • Mobile App/Digital Experience
    4.0
  • Fees
    4.5
  • Accessibility
    4.5
  • ATM Availibility
    4.5
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Competitive rates
  • Telephone banking
  • Extensive free ATM network and four out-of-network fee reimbursements per month
  • State-of-the-art security
  • Serves customers in all 50 states

Cons

  • No physical branches
  • Low $500 ATM withdrawal limit per day
  • No weekend customer service
  • Slow account opening process requires customers to mail a check for opening deposit and wait up to 10 days to receive a welcome pack with debit card

About BankDirect

As its name suggests, BankDirect is a direct bank — that is, an online-only bank with no physical branch locations. It was founded in 1999 to give customers the convenience of banking whenever they want, from wherever they want. The financial institution is headquartered in Dallas and serves as Texas Capital Bank’s national internet division. As such, it serves customers in all 50 states.

This BankDirect review takes a detailed look at the bank’s products and services to help you decide whether this might be the right bank for you. Another thing to note is that GOBankingRates has ranked it as one of the Best Money Market Accounts of 2021 in its annual rankings list.

Sponsors of

BankDirect Products

All the products BankDirect offers are deposit accounts, meaning you won’t find credit cards, loans or investing options. Still, you can use some savings products as individual retirement accounts.

TYPE BEST FOR
Checking Accounts Competitive rates on balances of $2,500 or more
Savings Accounts Basic savings with free ATM card
Money Market Accounts Competitive rates on balances of $10,000 or more
CD Rates Most competitive rates on 12-month, 18-month and 24-month CDs
IRAs No-risk, tax-advantaged retirement savings

BankDirect Checking Accounts

BankDirect offers two simple, straightforward checking accounts, one of which earns interest ranging from 0.05% to 0.10% annual percentage yield, depending on the balance tier. Both accounts come with a free Visa CheckCard and free bill pay.

Features

  • $100 minimum to open Smart Checking
  • $500 minimum to open Checking with Interest
  • Interest compounded daily on applicable accounts
  • Checks available upon request
  • $15 monthly service fee on Checking with Interest account waived with $2,500 average daily balance

Pros

  • Higher interest with Checking with Interest account balance of $10,000 or more
  • No charge for the first order of checks
  • No monthly service fee for Smart Checking
Sponsors of

Cons

  • High opening deposit requirements
  • No interest on Checking with Interest until balance reaches $2,500
  • $5 monthly inactivity fee for Checking with Interest after 90 days without a debit or credit to account

BankDirect Savings Accounts

There’s just one savings account at BankDirect, but it provides everything many customers are likely to need.

Features

  • $100 minimum opening deposit
  • Interest compounded daily
  • Two free withdrawals per month
  • Free ATM card upon request

Pros

  • Four ATM fees reimbursed per month, up to $2.50 per fee
  • Competitive 0.10% APY
  • ATM transactions don’t count against Regulation D six-withdrawal limit
  • No monthly service fee

Cons

  • $2 per transaction after the first two
  • High minimum opening deposit

BankDirect Money Market Account

You don’t need to invest an arm and a leg to just open a money market account at BankDirect, but unless you do, your money won’t earn interest.

Features

  • $500 minimum opening deposit
  • Interest compounded daily
  • Interest paid on balances of $10,000 or more
  • Check-writing privileges

Pros

  • No charge for the first order of checks
  • ATM withdrawals don’t count against the six-withdrawal Regulation D limit
  • Four ATM fees reimbursed each month, up to $2.50 per transaction
  • Competitive 0.60% APY on balances eligible for interest
Sponsors of

Cons

  • No interest earned on balances under $10,000

BankDirect CD Accounts

If you plan to save $10,000 or more for a specific period of time, a CD might be the way to go. BankDirect CDs come in a variety of terms, and you have flexibility in determining how to use the interest that accrues. However, you might earn higher interest with one of BankDirect’s other accounts.

Features

  • Minimum deposit of $10,000
  • The choice between reinvesting interest or transferring it to another BankDirect account
  • Terms ranging from 90 days to 60 months
  • Tiered interest rates

Pros

  • A competitive  APY of 0.60% on the 1-year CD; the 18 and 24 month CDs are similar
  • Ability to transfer interest to BankDirect checking, savings or money market account

Cons

  • High $10,000 minimum opening deposit
  • Low rates on 90-day and 48- and 60-month terms

BankDirect IRAs

You can open a traditional or Roth IRA certificate of deposit or IRA money market account for risk-free, tax-advantaged retirement savings.

 Features

  • No monthly fees
  • Interest compounded daily
  • No BankDirect-imposed penalty for withdrawing IRA money-market funds
  • $100 minimum opening deposit for IRA money market account
  • $1,000 minimum opening deposit for IRA CD
Sponsors of

Pros

  • Tax-advantaged contributions
  • Can make additional deposits into IRA money market account in $100 increments
  • Risk-free, FDIC-insured savings, up to $250,000 per depositor

Cons

  • Possible penalties for early withdrawals
  • Low interest
  • High minimum deposit for CD

Banking Experience

BankDirect makes branch-free banking easy, with digital banking and bank-by-phone services you can use for nearly any task you’d typically perform in a branch location. Cash deposits are the exception — you’ll need to use an ATM for those.

Customer Service

Customer service availability is one of BankDirect’s weakest links. Representatives are only available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST from Monday through Friday. There’s no live assistance on weekends or bank holidays. You also can request assistance using the secure messaging system accessible by logging in to online banking.

Accessibility and Branch Availability

Because BankDirect is an online financial institution, there are no branches. But in addition to online banking and bank by phone, you can use any of the more than 55,000 surcharge-free ATMs.

Mobile and Digital Experience

You can use mobile and online banking for paying bills and performing nearly any transaction that involves managing accounts — initiating a wire transfer or viewing statements and transactions, for example. Digital check deposits require customers to use the mobile app, which is available at the App Store and on Google Play. Both app versions have ratings of about 3.4 out of 5 stars. BankDirect uses the latest technology to ensure that your digital transactions are secure.

Sponsors of

Convenience and Ease of Use

The account-opening process is slow and old-school — surprising for an online bank. Once you’re past that, the online and mobile banking apps let you bank any time, from any place you happen to be.

How To Open an Account

Because BankDirect has no branch locations, you’ll initiate your account opening online. Use the “Open an Account” navigation link at the top of the BankDirect homepage, and then follow the instructions for submitting the new-account form electronically. Here’s what you do after that:

  1. Print a deposit agreement or request that one be sent to you by mail.
  2. E-sign the deposit agreement once you receive an email notification to do so.
  3. Mail a check with your opening deposit funds or initiate a wire transfer.
  4. Watch for your welcome kit to arrive within 10 days.

Key Information

Customer Service Number: 877-839-2737

Customer Service Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT

Routing Number: 111017979

BankDirect Fees

Although most BankDirect accounts have no monthly service fees, there are some bank fees you should be aware of.

Sponsors of
TYPE AMOUNT
Monthly Maintenance Fees $15 for Checking with Interest, waived with $2,500 minimum daily balance
Overdraft/Nonsufficient Funds Fee $45
Overdraft Protection Transfers $0
Wire Transfer
  • Domestic incoming: $0
  • International incoming: $10
  • Domestic and international outgoing: $35
Non-BankDirect ATM Fees $2.50 after the first four per month
Excessive Transactions $2 to $10
Inactivity Fee $5 a month with no activity on Checking with Interest account in previous 90 days

BankDirect vs. Competitors

Before you decide whether to bank with BankDirect, see how it stacks up against some competing online banks.

BANK BEST FOR
BankDirect High-yield money market account
Ally Bank Comprehensive range of financial products and services
iGObanking High-yield savings account
Axos Bank Rewards accounts

BankDirect vs. Ally Bank

Ally offers a greater variety of products, including checking and savings accounts, home, auto and personal loans, and investing. But although Ally’s money market rates are good, BankDirect’s are higher than Ally’s on a $10,000 balance — 0.60% compared to 0.50%.

BankDirect vs. iGObanking

The iGOsavings Plus account offered by iGObanking comes out way ahead of BankDirect’s standard savings account in terms of interest — 0.50% on balances under $5,000 at iGObanking vs. 0.10% at BankDirect. The scale shifts in BankDirect’s favor when it comes to account types — namely IRA accounts, which iGObanking doesn’t offer.

BankDirect vs. Axos Bank

It’s tough for most banks, including BankDirect, to compete with Axos Bank’s Rewards Checking, which pays as much as 1.25% APY, or with its selection of accounts overall. However, user-friendliness can make or break the online banking experience, and BankDirect has the edge there. Online banking information, for example, is much easier to find because it’s linked directly from the BankDirect homepage, whereas you must navigate through a couple of layers of support pages to find the same information on the bank’s website.

Final Take

BankDirect takes a back-to-basics approach in terms of the accounts it offers, but it presents them on a mature digital platform the bank has had more than 20 years to perfect. Just don’t wait until you need an account to open one. From the time you submit your new-application form, it takes at least a week to be fully up and running — and that’s if you wire your opening deposit.

Editor’s Favorite

The best thing about BankDirect is its very competitive rates on CDs with terms of 12 to 24 months. Even with the high minimum deposit, the 0.60% rate is competitive with high-yield CDs from other online banks, including Ally.

BankDirect FAQ

Here are answers to some of BankDirect's more commonly asked questions.
  • Is BankDirect FDIC insured?
    • Yes. BankDirect deposit accounts are insured up to $250,000 per depositor by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
  • Do BankDirect customers receive checks?
    • Checks are available by request for the checking and money market accounts. The first set of 50 you order is free.
  • How do customers get cash?
    • Customers can withdraw cash from any PULSE, Cirrus or ACCEL/Exchange ATM.
  • Can I Open a Checking Account With No Money?
    • Answer
  • Is BankDirect secure?
    • Yes. BankDirect uses state-of-the-art technology and best practices to secure your accounts and your personal information.
  • Does BankDirect offer free money for signing up for an account?
    • At present, there are no offers or promotions for signing up for an account. However, customers who opened an account previously offered by BankDirect earned American Airlines AAdvantage miles. Although BankDirect doesn't offer that account anymore, the promotion provides insight into the type of programs Bank Direct could add in the future.

Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Dec. 13, 2020.

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

About the Author

Daria Uhlig is a personal finance, real estate and travel writer and editor with over 25 years of editorial experience. Her work has been featured on The Motley Fool, MSN, AOL, Yahoo! Finance, CNBC and USA Today. Daria studied journalism at the County College of Morris and earned a degree in communications at Centenary University, both in New Jersey.

BankDirect Review: Competitive Rates, Nationwide Coverage
Close popup

Win $500 – and Start the New Year Right!

When you sign-up to receive bi-weekly email updates from GOBankingRates, you’ll automatically be entered for a chance to win our $500 #BestBanksBestYou sweepstakes. Sign up now!

Loading...
Please enter an email.
Please enter a valid email address.
There was an unknown error. Please try again later.

For official contest rules, please go to: gobankingrates.com/best-banks/official-rules/