TIAA Bank Review - Everything You Need to Know

Online-only banking meets nationwide home lending and top-notch customer service

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EverBank was bought by TIAA in July of 2017 and rebranded as TIAA Bank in June of 2018. TIAA Bank has a unique Top 5% Yield guarantee and a commitment to strong customer service as well as a diverse workforce.

Who Is TIAA Bank Best For?

TIAA Bank has a unique blend of online-only banking with nationwide home lending offices to help consumers with their mortgage needs. It is a good fit for people who want:

  • Peace of mind that they are getting high returns on checking, savings, money market accounts, and CDs
  • A huge network of over 80,000 free ATMs across the United States
  • Up to $15 in reimbursements for out of network ATM fees per month
  • Mobile check deposits using TIAA Bank’s secure app
  • In-person options for home mortgage lending

The Top 5% Yield Guarantee applies to TIAA Banks Yield Pledge branded checking, money market, and CD accounts only.

Pros

  • Highly competitive APYs on savings, checking, CD, and money market accounts

  • Nationwide offices for home mortgage loans

  • 24/7 customer support

  • Competitive rewards/cashback credit card

Cons

  • No physical banking locations

  • No auto or personal loan options

  • Must have at least $5,000 to deposit to get the best rates

  • Best rates on checking and money market accounts only last for your one-year intro term

Types of Accounts

TIAA Bank offers the following types of accounts:

  • Checking Accounts
  • Savings Accounts
  • Money Market Accounts
  • CDs
  • Credit Cards
  • Mortgage Products
  • Precious Metal Services
  • Foreign Currency Services

Learn more about each type of account TIAA Bank offers below.

Checking Accounts

TIAA Bank offers both a Basic Checking Account and their exclusive High-Interest Checking Account which is guaranteed to produce yields in the top 5% of competitive accounts. These accounts also include monthly ATM reimbursements up to $15 on out-of-network ATMs, and if you have a minimum balance of over $5,000, then you'll get unlimited ATM reimbursements.

Both accounts come with specific purchase protections when using your debit card including:

  • Extended warranty protection
  • Price protection
  • Return protection
Checking Accounts
Type of Account Amount Needed to Open Monthly Maintenance Fee APY
Basic Checking $25 $5, or waived with $25 minimum balance 0%
Yield Pledge Checking $5,000 $0 1.21% 1 year intro, then .25% to .71%

If you have at least $5,000 to open your checking account with then the Yield Pledge Checking is a better deal. After the intro rate, it pays interest of .25% on balances up to $9,999 (even if they are under $5,000) and goes up from there according to your balance. This account has no fees.

The Basic Checking is a standard functional checking account where the fees are easy to avoid — simply keep a $25 minimum balance — and doesn’t require a lot of money to start out with. It’s a good choice for people who prefer not to keep a lot of money in checking or who are building their balances up.

Savings Accounts

Surprisingly, TIAA bank offers a single savings account option — their Basic Savings.

Advantages of this account include:

  • Just a $25 minimum deposit to open
  • The $5 monthly account fee can be waived if you maintain an average daily balance of $25
  • IRA eligibility
  • FDIC insured up to $250,000 per depositor

This account is perfect for people who want to start saving and build their funds. This account does pay interest at a rate of .61% APY. While this isn’t a terrible rate, there are many other online-only banks — such as SFGI Direct — that pay interest of around 2% APY on accounts starting at just $1.

For savers with more than $5,000 to deposit and who want liquidity, a TIAA Bank Money Market is a better choice than basic savings account as it offers a much higher interest rate.

Money Market Accounts

TIAA Bank offers just one money market account, their Yield Pledge Money Market Account. Money market accounts function in much the same way as savings accounts, but with better interest rates, and the Yield Pledge Money Market Account holds particularly attractive interest rates. In order to open this account, you'll have to make a $5,000 or more opening deposit.

Yield Pledge Money Market Account advantages include:

  • IRA eligibility
  • Yields in the top 5% of competitive accounts
  • No monthly maintenance fees

After the initial one-year APY of 2.15%, interest rates vary depending on the amount of money you deposit.

Money Market Accounts
Balance APY
$100,000 to $10,000,000 1.90%
$50,000 to $99,999.99 1.70%
$25,000 to $49,999.99 1.60%
$10,000 to $24,999.99 1.15%
$0 to $9,999.99 1.10%

These interest rates are much better than traditional brick and mortar banks, but not as good as the top online bank savings accounts. It’s also disappointing that after the one-year promo rate you must have at least $100,000 in deposits to get TIAA bank's best rates.

This account is limited to six transfers or withdrawals a month. Withdrawals and transfers above this limit will incur a $10 fee. This rule is not specific to TIAA Bank, but to institutions nationwide.

To get the best rates of return on your money, mark the expiration of any promo APYs on your calendar. Banks count on you to forget and just leave your money with them at the lower rate.

Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

TIAA Bank offers a wide range of CD terms to choose from. They are all Yield Pledge CDs and come with the TIAA Bank Yield Pledge. Overall, the rates are competitive and there is a minimum deposit of $5,000.

Yield Pledge CDs
CD Term for Yield Pledge CDs APY
3-month 1.90%
6-month 2.05%
9-month 2.20%
1-year 2.73%
1.5-year 2.77%
2-year 2.85%
2.5-year 2.85%
3-year 3.05%
4-year 3.10%
5-year 3.15%

At rates this competitive and with this many terms, TIAA Bank offers the ideal CDs with which to build CD ladders.

The only real downside is that each Yield Pledge CD requires a minimum of $5,000 to open. This can be a tough amount of money to come up with if you are just starting out. There are other CDs — especially at online banks like Capital One — that have no minimums to open and have comparable rates.

You can also get Basic CDs at TIAA Bank for the following terms and they only require $1,000 each to open, but have slightly lower rates:

Basic CDs
CD Term for Basic CDs APY
3-month 1.65%
6-month 1.80%
9-month 1.95%
1-year 2.48%
1.5-yeat 2.52%
2-year 2.60%
2.5-yeat 2.60%
3-year 2.80%
4-year 2.85%
5-year 2.90%

Finally, TIAA Bank has two specialty CD options:

  1. Bump Rate CD — This CD has a current rate of 3.05% APY, a term of 3.5 years, and the ability to bump your rates up once during the term of the CD.
  2. CDARS Service Since FDIC insurance only covers up to $250,000 per depositor, per bank, those that have more than $250,000 who want secure investments like FDIC insured CDs often have to put their money into several different banks. The CDARS service allows you to deposit all of your funds at a single bank and distribute your money automatically to CDs across a network of different banks.

The bottom line is if you have enough cash to open CDs at TIAA Bank, they are a good deal. But if you don’t, it doesn’t mean you can’t use CDs to save at great interest rates, it just means you need to shop around for banks that have lower minimums.

Credit Cards

TIAA Bank offers one credit card with a choice of reward structures. You can choose points or cash back. There are no annual fees on this card and the interest rates range between 12.00% and 25.75%.

Credit Card Rewards
Type of Purchase Points Program Cash Back Program
Gas and Grocery 3 Points/$1 Spent 3% Cash Back Credit/$1 Spent
Wholesale Club 2 Points/$1 Spent 2% Cash Back Credit/$1 Spent
Everything Else 1 Point/$1 Spent 1% Cash Back Credit/$1 Spent

Overall, this is a competitive rewards card — especially if you commonly use your card for gas and groceries. If you carry a balance, then the interest rates aren’t the best on the market and you may want to shop around.

Mortgage Products

Mortgage rates are highly dependent on the credit rating and income of the person applying for a mortgage. The higher the credit rating, the better the rate. TIAA Bank has a broad range of mortgage products including primary mortgages, refinancing packages, and equity loans.

Current fixed rates for those with qualifying credit are:

Mortgages
Term Rate
15 Year Fixed 3.750%
30 Year Fixed 4.375%
15 Year Fixed Jumbo 3.500%
30 Year Fixed Jumbo 4.125%

These are competitive rates, but when it comes to mortgages, it’s always a good idea to shop, as the smallest difference in rates can have a huge impact on how much you have to pay out in interest over the term of the loan.

Mortgage rates are highly dependent on your credit score. To instantly see your score for free and get tips on how to improve it, check out CreditKarma.com.

Precious Metal Services

This is an unusual service for an online bank to offer — and you should know that precious metals are not FDIC insured, so you buy them at your own risk — but TIAA Bank offers two basic options:

  1. Unallocated metals — This is where you buy physical metals and allow TIAA to store them for you. You can do this for as little as a $100 a month with a purchase plan.
  2. Coins and bars You can take delivery of actual coins and bars at home. Options include American Buffalos, American Eagles, Australian Kangaroos, British Britannias, and more. This option requires a $7,500 minimum purchase.

Many people find investing in physical precious metals to be quite rewarding, but it isn’t without its risks. Precious metal prices can go up and down and you can lose money. It’s a good idea to only invest money you're willing to lose.

Foreign Currency Services

Foreign currency investing is another unusual investment service that TIAA Bank offers. They offer three options:

  1. Access Accounts These accounts allow you to access the foreign currency market with as little as $100 a month, and it acts just like a savings account.
  2. Foreign Currency CDs These CDs require $10,000 to open and come in 3- to 12-month terms.
  3. Foreign Currency CD Baskets These CD baskets require $20,000 to open and have 3- or 6-month terms. They are an easy way to invest in multiple currencies and have up to six single-currency CDs in each basket.

It’s important to note that although these foreign currency accounts are FDIC insured, that insurance ONLY covers bank loss and does not cover loss from the volatility of the currency marketplace. So, you can lose money in these accounts and depending on the movement in the market, it can happen quickly. Any investments you make where money can be lost should be taken on with caution and a good understanding of what you are doing to minimize your risks.

How to Open an Account with TIAA Bank

You can start the account opening process by clicking the “open an account” button on most account pages of the TIAA bank website.

This will take you to a page where you can select all the accounts you want to open.

At that point, the account opening wizard will walk you through the process. It’s simple and easy, but if you get stuck there is 24/7 customer service available at 1-866-755-9143.

Customer Service

At TIAA Bank, customer service is easy to access and there all the time.

Customer Service
Customer Service For: Number Hours
Banking 1-888-882-3837 24/7
Credit Cards 1-800-738-2615 24/7
Debit Cards 1-888-882-3837 24/7
Mortgages 1-888-882-3837 8AM to 9PM (ET)

Customer service representative are knowledgeable and personable.

If you press 0 after calling, you will be connected to a real human.

You can also mail correspondence to:

TIAA Bank

11 Oval Dr., Suite 107

Islandia, NY 11749

About TIAA Bank

TIAA was founded with a $1 million endowment from the Carnegie Foundation in 1918. It was known by the name TIAA CREF until 2016 when it shortened its name to TIAA. The TIAA Bank is a division of TIAA.

TIAA has more than $1 trillion in management and offers many retirement services in addition to its banking operations. TIAA also has a strong commitment to diverse hiring practices and has excellent customer service with 24/7 access by phone.

The security features of TIAA Bank are industry standard and its accounts are FDIC insured, though precious metal investments are not.

The Bottom Line

BENEFITS

TIAA Bank offers highly competitive rates on checking, money market, and CD accounts through its Yield Pledge accounts. The Yield Pledge means that you can rest assured that your money is earning in the top range of returns across other banks for the accounts and terms you select. This can be great for peace of mind and ease of use. Yield Pledge accounts require a minimum deposit of $5,000. TIAA Bank also has real people answering their customer service line 24/7, so it’s easy to get the answers you need without having to speak to an AI answering service.

DRAWBACKS

While TIAA Bank does offer accounts with opening deposits of just $25, these accounts don’t have particularly competitive interest rates. You can get higher interest rates on both checking and savings accounts at banks like Bank5 Connect — even with deposits as low as $100. If you have less than $5,000 to deposit (the minimum for a Yield Pledge account), you may want to shop around for better rates.