EmigrantDirect Bank Review

Is EmigrantDirect a good bank?

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EmigrantDirect is a division of Emigrant Bank, which was founded way back in 1850 by Irish emigrants. The primary product of EmigrantDirect is its American Dream Savings Account. This high-yield account offers competitive interest rates on savings without charging fees or imposing mandatory minimum balances.

Wondering whether to open an account with EmigrantDirect? Read through this review to get a better sense of whether an account with this institution is right for you.

What We Like
  • Competitive APY on savings and CDs

  • No account fees or mandatory balance minimums

  • Offers precious metals

What We Don't Like
  • No bank branches

  • Limited access to funds

  • No mobile app

Who Is EmigrantDirect Best For?

As an online-only institution, EmigrantDirect is best for customers who are comfortable independently banking from home. It may be a good fit for you if you:

  • Already have a checking account with another bank
  • Want a no-frills savings account you can "set and forget"
  • Seek high yields on your savings

What Does EmigrantDirect Offer?

EmigrantDirect offers just two account types for customers:

  • Savings account
  • Certificates of deposit (CDs)

AmericanDream SavingsAccount

The primary attraction of EmigrantDirect is its no-cost, no-fee, high-yield savings account, known as the AmericanDream Savings Account. As of July 16, 2020, this account earned 0.50% APY. There's no account minimum to earn interest, which means you'll earn 0.5% whether you have $10,000, $100, or just $0.01.

If you currently keep your savings at a brick-and-mortar bank, there’s a good chance you can earn more online with an institution like EmigrantDirect.

Before opening an account with EmigrantDirect, it's important to prepare for a very basic banking service. This account is designed as a place to stash away savings for a rainy day, not for regular transactions.

You'll be able to access your accounts online, but there's little to do other than request withdrawals or deposits. There isn't a mobile app, which means that if you want to deposit a check directly into your EmigrantDirect account, you'll need to send it in through the mail. Most customers deposit checks into a separate checking account, then they link that bank account to their EmigrantDirect account and transfer the funds.

Certificates of Deposit

EmigrantDirect customers have access to CDs with fairly competitive rates. You won't be able to pick the term of your CD as specifically as you can with some other banks, but you do have options. Take a look at the chart below for a full list of term options and the corresponding rates.

CD Rates by Term (as of July 16, 2020)
Term APY
6 months 0.75%
16 to 59 months 1.00%
60 to 120 months 1.10%

All of EmigrantDirect's CDs come with a minimum deposit of $1,000. Interest is compounded daily and credited monthly. As with most CDs, you will face a penalty fee if you withdraw money from a CD before it matures.

Other Financial Products From EmigrantDirect

EmigrantDirect only offers savings accounts and CDs, but there is a unique twist on these offerings worth mentioning. Unlike many online-only savings accounts, customers can buy and sell precious metals directly through EmigrantDirect.

Gold bullion bars and coins are available through EmigrantDirect, and some other precious metals are occasionally offered, as well. EmigrantDirect will store your gold for you or deliver it to your home. If you plan on later selling the metals through EmigrantDirect, you'll need to utilize the company's storage facilities. Storage comes with a 0.8% per annum fee that's charged monthly.

While EmigrantDirect is a safe, FDIC-insured bank, the value of gold is not FDIC-insured. Gold prices rise and fall, so you could ultimately lose money when you buy gold.

EmigrantDirect Customer Service

EmigrantDirect is available to answer questions and concerns seven days a week. Customers in the U.S. can call 800-836-1997 between 8 a.m and 11:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and customers abroad can call 1-914-923-6700. You can also send an email to CustomerService@EmigrantDirect.com. Unlike other online banks, you won't be able to chat with customer service representatives in real-time through chat apps or websites.

How to Bank With EmigrantDirect

Opening a bank account with EmigrantDirect is similar to opening an account with any other financial institution. Prepare to provide personal information such as a driver's license number. Also, since EmigrantDirect doesn't offer checking accounts, mobile check deposit, or direct deposit services, you'll have to link a separate bank account that you'll use to transfer money into your EmigrantDirect savings account.

The Bottom Line

BENEFITS

If all you need is a simple place to store your savings and earn interest, EmigrantDirect will help you accomplish those goals. The account's APY is competitive, and it will likely beat the rates offered by brick-and-mortar banks. There are no hidden fees to worry about avoiding, and you don't have to maintain a minimum balance to earn the best APY. For those interested in precious metals investing, the integration of precious metals trading and storage could be another benefit.

DRAWBACKS

If you're looking for a "one-stop-shop," you will be disappointed by EmigrantDirect. There isn't a checking account, so if you want checking services, you'll have to maintain an account with another institution. EmigrantDirect's website appears clunky and outdated, and the lack of a mobile app will be particularly disappointing to those accustomed to more tech-savvy banks.

While 0.5% APY (as of July 16, 2020) is nothing to sneeze at, it is far from the best yield available online. You may be able to find better rates from competitors like Capital One and Ally Bank. EmigrantDirect is even out-yielded by MySavings Direct, which is another division of Emigrant Bank.

Article Sources

  1. EmigrantDirect. "Open Savings Account Online – Learn More." Accessed May 12, 2020.

  2. EmigrantDirect. "Home Page." Accessed May 12, 2020.

  3. EmigrantDirect. "Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)." Accessed May 12, 2020.

  4. EmigrantDirect. "Certificate of Deposit." Accessed May 12, 2020.

  5. EmigrantDirect. "Precious Metals Information." Accessed May 12, 2020.

  6. EmigrantDirect. "Storing Precious Metals." Accessed May 12, 2020.

  7. EmigrantDirect. "Contact Information." Accessed May 12, 2020.