FNBO Direct Online Checking and Savings Accounts: Review
Review of FNBO Direct's Online Bank Accounts
FNBO Direct is an online-only bank offering checking accounts, savings accounts, CDs, and other financial services. The accounts are best for customers who bank virtually, performing transactions via the web instead of at a brick-and-mortar branch.
About FNBO Direct
Although it is an online bank, FNBO Direct is part of the First National Bank of Omaha, which is a subsidiary of First National of Nebraska, a banking institution with over 160 years of history. Opened in late 2006, FNBO Direct follows a model similar to other online banking giants: high interest and low fees.
FNBO Direct Account Offerings
Checking and savings accounts are the main attraction at FNBO Direct. The bank also offers CDs, which work like long-term savings accounts. You can open any of these accounts entirely online and fund the account electronically (via ACH) from an existing bank account that allows for electronic withdrawals. Customer service is all handled online or by phone.
All of these accounts come with free online banking and free mobile banking through the bank's official mobile app. Online banking lets you do things like pay bills or view statements. Mobile banking lets you access your account or make mobile check deposits on the go. In addition, the individual accounts come with several unique features, which we examine below.
FNBO Direct Online Checking Accounts
FNBO Direct offers a free online checking account. You can open the FNBO Direct Online Checking Account with a minimum deposit of just $1. There is no monthly service fee or monthly minimum balance requirement, and the account offers several handy features, including:
- Free online bill payment
- Alerts by text or email to keep you up to date
- A debit card for in-store or online purchases (and cash withdrawals)
- Access to surcharge-free ATMs nationwide (which you can locate online)
- Free P2P payments using PopMoney
- Direct deposits into your checking account
- Free incoming wire transfers
- Free stop payment service
You’ll also earn interest on your checking account balance, which allows you to grow your earnings without having to transfer from your checking account to a savings account. As of November 6, 2019, the interest rate is higher than the rate at either Ally Bank or Capital One 360 (unless you maintain a large account balance at those banks).
Even for low balances, FNBO Direct is still a good option given its lack of monthly service fees. Plus, checking accounts are more about gaining easy access money than growing your earnings, and you’ll probably spend money about as quickly as it comes in. If you want to juice up your rate, consider the FNBO Direct Online Savings Account or CDs.
FNBO Direct Online Savings Accounts
FNBO Direct also offers a free online savings account that you can open for $1. Like the FNBO Direct Online Checking Account, the Online Savings Account account has no monthly maintenance fees or monthly minimums. It also comes with convenient features such as:
- Free P2P payments using PopMoney
- Direct deposits into your savings account
The savings account pays more interest than the checking account, which makes for a nice bonus for people who plan to stash a sizable sum in the account. As of November 6, 2019, the interest rate on the FNBO Direct online savings account is higher than the rate at Ally Bank and on par with the rate at Capital One 360. If you have both a checking and a savings account with FNBO Direct, then you can instantly transfer money from the checking account to the savings account to grow your earnings even more.
However, keep in mind that certain transfers out of savings accounts are limited to six per month. If you have a number of monthly expenses, plan ahead, or consider using a checking account to pay for them.
FNBO Direct CDs
To earn even more than you would on the FNBO Direct online savings account, use a certificate of deposit (CD) from the bank. These accounts lock your money up for a certain amount of time in exchange for a higher interest rate. FNBO Direct CDs come in term lengths ranging from six months to three years, and require an opening deposit of $500 to be eligible for interest.
Choose the CD with the term length that makes the most sense for you, keeping in mind that withdrawing money from a CD before it reaches the end of the term can cost you. Early withdrawal penalties might add up to more than you’ve earned, meaning you could walk away with less than you started with. If there's a chance you'll need to access your money before the CD matures, it may be better to go with a savings account.
Choosing CDs with a shorter term length reduces your interest rate but keeps your money more liquid. CDs with a longer-term length come with high interest rates but also lock up your money for a longer period of time.
PopMoney is a P2P payment service included with FNBO Direct online checking and savings accounts. If you frequently pay friends and family, you might appreciate that “standard” PopMoney payments are free. Expedited payments cost extra. However, this might not be a major deciding factor: Other P2P services, including PayPal and Venmo, are also free for personal payments.
Is FNBO Direct a Good Deal?
Based on our review of FNBO Direct's checking and savings accounts, the bank offers competitive interest rates at low prices. For a simple online savings account (or interest-bearing checking account), FNBO Direct is a good option.
If you receive the occasional check, the mobile check deposit feature offered in the app also provides a valuable service for making quick deposits. This means that you don't have to go to the trouble of depositing a check at a physical bank and then transferring it to your FNBO Direct account.
For all the benefits of the bank's savings account, higher interest rates are available on online savings accounts at other banks. If you prefer to shop around for other banks, The Balance offers a comprehensive review of the best savings account interest rates. We teamed up with Bankrate to survey approximately 4,800 banks and credit unions nationwide. Depending on how much money you’re looking to deposit, this list will show you some of the best options available today. All of the banks and credit unions listed are insured by the FDIC or NCUA.