Popular Direct Savings Review - Everything You Need to Know

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Popular Direct is an online bank that offers savings account and CD products with competitive interest rates. It is a good bank for those customers who may already have a primary checking and savings account but want to see better returns on their cash savings and don’t require branches or ATM access. The bank does have a high minimum deposit of $5,000 on savings accounts and $10,000 on CDs. Thus, it may not be an appropriate bank for people with smaller amounts of money saved.

offers an online Product Selector Tool to help customers determine which products are most appropriate for them, as well as a 1-800 number for customer service. Popular Direct is a subsidiary of Popular, Inc., a publicly traded full-service financial firm based in Puerto Rico. 

Pros

  • Simple and streamlined

  • Among the nation’s best interest rates on a savings account and CDs

  • All deposits are FDIC-insured up to $250,000

  • Online and mobile banking with mobile deposits

  • Customers can go paperless and access up to 18 months of statements online

  • Interest compounds daily on savings accounts and CDs

Cons

  • No checking account and just one savings account option

  • No branches or ATMs

  • There are a few fees to watch out for

  • $5,000 minimum deposit on savings accounts and $10,000 minimum on CDs

Types of Accounts

Popular Direct offers the following types of accounts in the U.S.:

  • Savings Account
  • CD Accounts

All bank accounts and CDs are FDIC-insured up to $250,00, and Popular Direct offers leading online security measures through 128=bit Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology. All accounts are accessible through the PopularDIrect.com website, as well as through smartphone apps available via the Apple App Store, Google Play, and Amazon.

The Popular Direct mobile apps allow customers to check balances, transfer funds between internal accounts, and deposit funds. Accessing e-statements and transferring funds between external accounts can only be done on the website. Enrolling in e-statements can be done on the website, though customers can still get paper statements if they choose.

To help customers decide on the accounts best for them, Popular Direct asks two questions inquiring as to how close the customer is to their savings goal, and whether they most value stability, earning potential, or flexibility.

Savings Accounts

The Popular Direct Plus Savings Account is the only savings account offered by the bank. It requires a $5,000 minimum deposit to start. As of January 2019, the account offered a 2.36% annual percentage yield, which is one of the highest rates of any bank in the United States. All interest on the Popular Direct Plus Savings Account is compounded daily.

Customers can deposit money online or via a mobile app. To deposit a check, all customers need to do is take a picture of their check and follow the on-screen prompts. A same-day check deposit made via the mobile app can be made as late as 8 p.m. ET. Funds are usually available within 1 to 2 business days. There is no ability to make a deposit at a branch or ATM, but they can also set up automatic transfers from another bank.

It’s possible to have a Popular Direct account and pay little to nothing in fees, but there are some to look out for. Most notably:

  • $4 charge if your account balance drops below $500 at any point during the month
  • $5 charge if you exceed 6 transfers in a month
  • $25 charge if you open an account and close it within 180 days
  • $7.50 charge for a returned check
  • $30 charge for a stop payment request
  • $5 per month charge for a dormant account (inactive for 12 months.)

Popular Direct encourages customers to link to external savings accounts. To do this, customers can log into online banking on Popular Direct’s website and select “External Transfers” on the “Pay and Transfer” tab. Customers are then asked to provide information on the external account. Most accounts are accepted as long as they are checking, savings, or money market accounts located in the United States. External Account changes can’t be made before 60 days have passed. 

CD Accounts

Those customers who want to get additional income from their savings can open certificates of deposit, which offer higher interest rates in exchange for having your money tied up for a specific length of time. The longer term you are willing to commit to, the higher interest rate you’ll get. With Popular Direct, all CD’s require a minimum deposit of $10,000.

The CD’s offered by Popular Direct are as follows:

CD Account Offers
Term Interest Rate APY
3 Months 2.128% 2.15%
6 Months 2.323% 2.35%
1 Year 2.811% 2.85%
18 Months 2.908% 2.95%
2 Years 3.005% 3.05%
3 Years 3.247% 3.30%
4 Years 3.296% 3.35%
5 Years 3.537% 3.60%

If a customer were to deposit $10,000, they would earn anywhere from $53 to $1,934 depending on the length of the term.

With Popular Direct, CD’s automatically renew at maturity unless the customer intervenes. There is a 10-day grace period on renewals. All deposits are FDIC-insured, and interest is compounded daily.

There are penalties for withdrawing money early from CDs. The interest charges for early withdrawals are as follows:

  • Under 12 months: 120 days simple interest
  • 12-36 months: 270 days simple interest
  • 36-60 months: 365 days simple interest
  • Equal to or greater than 60 months: 730 days simple interest

To get a sense of how much you can earn from a CD, the Popular Direct website features a CD calculator that allows customers to enter starting balances, CD terms, and interest rates to determine how much balances can grow over time. 

About Popular Direct Savings

Popular Direct Savings is a subsidiary of Popular Inc., a full-service financial services provider that has been in business since 1893 and operates in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean. It is publicly traded on the NASDAQ with the ticker symbol BPOP. Popular is based in San Juan, Puerto Rico and has more than $40 billion in assets and employs about 8,000 people. Popular Direct offers an online savings account and certificates of deposit with competitive interest rates but relatively high minimum balance requirements.

 

The Bottom Line

BENEFITS Popular Direct is a simple bank that’s perfect for people who have sizable cash savings but are looking for the best interest rates available. Rates on CDs and savings accounts are some of the best in the nation. The bank offers convenient access to accounts online or via a mobile app.

DRAWBACKS Popular Direct offers just a single savings account and eight CD terms. It does not offer a checking account or any other services or products that may be offered by more full-service financial institutions. Customers can not access their accounts from an ATM. While interest rates on savings and CD accounts are high, so too are the minimum deposit requirements. 

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