UFB Direct Bank Review

Is UFB Direct a good bank?

Young woman with credit card and headphones
•••

 Getty Images

UFB Direct is a division of Axos Bank, which was formerly known as Bank of Internet USA.  UFB Direct is an online-only bank, and that means you won't be able to visit a local branch. However, the lack of physical locations allows UFB Direct to offer favorable interest rates on deposit accounts, as well as mortgages through its parent company. Keep reading for a full review of UFB Direct that'll help you decide whether or not the bank is right for you.

What We Like

  • Competitive interest rates on savings accounts

  • No minimum balance requirements or maintenance fees on savings accounts

  • Strong mobile and online banking tools

What We Don't Like

  • No branches

  • Few account options

  • High minimum balance required to earn interest

Who Is UFB Direct For?

As an entirely online bank, UFB Direct is best for people who are willing to sacrifice branch visits in exchange for low fees and competitive interest rates. This bank can work great for customers who don't mind the quirks of online banking. Before opening an account, make sure you're the kind of banking customer who:

  • Seeks out high interest rates on savings
  • Can maintain balances of $10,000 or more
  • Is satisfied with minimal account options
  • Prefers online banking over branch visits

What Does UFB Direct Offer?

UFB Direct has relatively few offerings, but the accounts and products it does offer come with competitive perks. Customers with UFB Direct can open a:

  • Savings account
  • Money market account

As with most banks, all UFB Direct bank accounts are FDIC-insured up to $250,000.

Savings Account

UFB Direct has just one savings account option for customers, but it offers some of the most competitive interest rates you'll find anywhere. As of May 11, 2020, UFB Direct's savings account comes with an APY of 1.51%. However, the account doesn't yield any interest until the balance hits $10,000. As long as you maintain a balance of at least $10,000, you'll earn 1.51% on your savings. Other account features include:

  • A debit card
  • No maintenance or service fees
  • Free transfers between direct deposit accounts

As with most savings accounts, customers are limited to six withdrawals per month. If a customer repeatedly exceeds those limits, the account could be closed or the funds could be transferred to another account that allows more frequent withdrawals.

Money Market Account

While UFB Direct doesn't offer a dedicated checking account, it does roll some aspects of a checking account into its money market account. The competitive interest rates on these accounts are tiered by balance, with the biggest yields kicking in once the balance hits $25,000.

Money Market Account Rates (as of May 27, 2020)
Account Balance APY
$0 to $24,999.99 0.50%
$25,000 or more 1.51%

Other features of the money market account include:

  • Check-writing privileges
  • Complimentary paid-postage envelopes
  • A debit card
  • Free transfers between direct deposit accounts

While your money market account will earn interest on any balance above $0, you will need to deposit at least $5,000 to open the account. You'll also face a monthly maintenance fee of $10 if your average balance falls below $5,000.

Other Financial Products From UFB Direct

Through its parent company, Axos Bank, UFB Direct offers mortgage loans to prospective homebuyers. Though these mortgages are processed through Axos Bank, UFB Direct customers enjoy $0 lending fees.

UFB Direct maintains a blog with tips and information to help customers with their savings goals. Articles address issues such as savings goals, cybersecurity tips, and more.

UFB Direct Customer Service

UFB Direct's customer service department is available all hours of the day, every day of the week. Customers in the U.S. can call 1-877-472-9200 and international customers can call 1-858-350-6200. Customer service representatives are also available to answer questions and concerns that come in through the online banking secure message system.

As an online bank, the bank's services are geared toward customers who log in online or through UFB Direct's mobile app. This bank also offers a unique SMS banking service. If a customer finds themself without an internet connection, they can fulfill their basic banking needs through text messages.

How to Bank With UFB Direct

Opening an account with UFB Direct is easy since the bank specializes in streamlining the banking process through digital services. Of course, anytime you open a bank account, prepare to provide personal information like your social security number and ID. Once you have that information ready, just visit ufbdirect.com, download UFB Direct's mobile app, or call 1-877-472-9200.

The Bottom Line

BENEFITS

UFB Direct is a solid bank for people who want competitive interest rates, limited fees, and a simple banking experience. While it lacks many of the offerings of a full-service bank, savings-oriented customers will likely find what they're looking for with UFB Direct. If you have enough funds to meet minimum balance requirements, it's tough to beat the APY offered here. It’s also uncommon for online banks to offer mortgages, so that's a nice perk for customers who prefer digital banking.

DRAWBACKS

UFB Direct customers will not have access to bank branches, so they must be comfortable with an online-only experience. While the money market account allows customers to write checks and make free transfers, the lack of a dedicated checking account will disappoint many customers looking for a "one-stop-shop" bank. The main draw of UFB Direct is its competitive APY on accounts, but customers who can't keep thousands of dollars stashed away in the bank won't enjoy those favorable rates.

Article Sources

  1. Axos Bank. "History of Axos Bank." Accessed May 11, 2020.

  2. UFB Direct. "About Us." Accessed May 11, 2020.

  3. UFB Direct. "UFB High Yield Savings." Accessed May 11, 2020.

  4. UFB Direct. "UFB Premium Money Market." Accessed May 11, 2020.

  5. UFB Direct. "Mortgages." Accessed May 11, 2020.

  6. UFB Direct. "Contact Us." Accessed May 11, 2020.