How To Add A High-Yield Savings Account At Washington Mutual Bank

Washington Mutual quietly rolled out a new high-yield savings account bundled together with the WaMu Free Checking account. When you click on ‘Start Now’ you’ll get both applications at once. You should then see this:

altext

It may not be the very tip-top highest rate, but the convenience may be worth it for current WaMu customers. If you already have an account with them, you definitely won’t want to miss this. You must apply online for both the checking and savings to get the 3.30% savings account. Walk into a branch and they’ll feign ignorance (they are not allowed to tell you about it). But, since the checking is free with no inactivity fees or minimums, there is no harm in getting another one. You can transfer instantly back and forth between them and maximize your interest. You even get one free overdraft a year with WaMu in case something goes wrong.

Finally, if you already do online banking with WaMu, you can do it all in 5 minutes! I just did it myself.

Here’s the process:

1. Go to the online application page.
2. Click on ‘Start Now’ and apply for a Free Checking account.
3. Apply for both another Free Checking and the 3.30% Savings (you should see both). Where they ask you ‘Do you have an online ID?’ click Yes and type in your existing username and password.

4. Fill in the usual personal information and answer some identity verification questions. Since you logged in first, most of it should be filled out already for you, saving time.
5. Here’s the cool part, you can fund it instantly with your existing WaMu accounts! Here’s a screenshot:

altext

I just transferred $1 from my existing checking account into the new one.

6. You should get this message:

Your WaMu Free Checking and Statement Savings accounts have been created and will be available online in the next 10-15 minutes. Please log in to www.wamu.com at that time.

Print out the sheet with the new account numbers for your records.

7. Wait a few minutes, and log back in. Voila! :) You should see your new 2nd checking account and new savings account. To verify that you are getting the higher rate, on your left menu bar go to View my accounts > Account details. You should see the 3.30% rate.

8. If you have money sitting in other WaMu accounts that wouldn’t mind some extra interest boost, start moving money there! It’s instant. My old statement savings account only paid 0.25% – let’s just say it’s empty now :)

There you go. Nothing to sign, nothing to mail in, no deposits to wait for. Money that was previously earning essentially nothing is now earning a lot more. This could also work well with 0% balance transfers if you don’t like dealing with other online-only savings accounts.

Comments

  1. Do they do a hard credit pull?

  2. Thank you, Jonathan! This is fantastic.

  3. Can we do transactions in the branch after opening it online?

  4. At last! I was getting tired of waiting a few days before I could use money moved from my EmigrantDirect account.

  5. Worked fine for me. I’m a current Wamu customer. It was easy.

  6. Isaac Harris says:

    Is there a time limit on how long the interest is offered.

  7. No hard credit pull when I applied online last time, I think they use those Equifax identity questions to check your identity instead.

    Yes, you can do transactions in branch.

    No idea on how long the interest is offered, I see nothing about it being a temporary or promotional rate though. But with Citibank offering their e-Savings account at 5.00%, I bet they were feeling some pressure. I just wish Bank of America would follow suit.

    I’ll probably try to close down the extra checking account in a few months, and see if they let me do it while keeping the savings account.

  8. Awesome! Thanks, Jonathan!

    With my ING account still sitting at 4.35%, and since I already have a WaMu account, this was an easy decision to make! Just signed up and got the confirmation email. Yay!

  9. Get on with it people!
    HSBC 5.05% APY and Citibank 5.00%.
    The rates were higher a month ago, when they were competing with each other.

  10. Thanks for another great entry, Jonathan. I am a WAMU customer and this took no time at all. I am sure that WAMU would not have emailed me about this offer, so I am glad that I routinely check out your website. Keep up the good work.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Lovely Jonathan – thanks. Between this and their 6% CD right now in NY, WaMu must be hard up for deposits. Good for us though!

  12. LongBeachCentaur says:

    It’s kind of funny when banks and credit unions brag about their high rates for investors with $10,000 or more considering how terrible a deal they are.

    If you have several thousand dollars, or even just $1,000, why put it in a low interest bank account when the federal government pays a higher rate? You can purchase treasury bills/bonds/notes in $1,000 increments with terms ranging from 28 days, 91 days, 182 days, and 1-30 years. Interest from these investments is free from California income tax (9.3% marginal rate for most folks). The current investment rate is 5.166%. Because it is not subject to CA taxes, the equivalent rate compared to banks is about 5.6%. Find a bank offering anything close to that with a term of any length.

    http://www.treasurydirect.gov/RI/OFBills

    Deposits are not covered by FDIC insurance. So what? If the treasury defaults on loans, what makes you think it can cover FDIC losses or that foreign investors will ever lend money to the U.S?

  13. For those interested in more about T-Bills, also check out my Treasury Bills category. I think you’ll like it, Centaur :)

  14. There is really no need to close the old account since I have already set up link to it at Virtual Bank.
    WAMU has also added ACH transfer but that seems to be only one way.

  15. didn’t work for me. I keep getting errors and crap. They say I need to make new account that they can’t add to my current one, and I try doing that, but it just gets stuck on either verifying the account or when I’m making a new account… I’m using firefox, not sure if that’s a problem, but I’m gonna stop now in case I end up with 8 new wamu accounts…

  16. As stated in the last part of the disclosure. I believe the APY will change if you close your checking account.

    The Annual Percentage Yield (APY) is effective as of 8/23/2006. Rates and APYs are variable and may change at Bank’s discretion at anytime without notice. Minimum balance to open checking and savings account is $1 for each account; minimum balance to earn APY on savings is $1. Fees may reduce earnings. The above APY applies to Statement Savings only when opened online with WaMu Free Checking?. If your checking account is closed for any reason (by you or us), or transferred to another kind of account, standard APYs/rates will apply.

  17. Good catch RichC! I thought they might be linked, at least until this savings account is rolled out to everyone.

  18. EmigrantDirect.com is still the best savings account to have at 5.15% with no minimum requirements. Plus, I’m not tied down like a CD. The only drawback is that it can take up to 7 days before your money is posted or up to 7 days to transfer money back to your linked account.

  19. Hey There! Not sure why, but I live in WA state and when I signed up for this (thanks to you) the savings rates are 4.89 Interest Rate / 5.00 A.P.R.. A bit higher than what you are getting. Huh? Not sure why… but this is why I read your blog every morning! You are helping me realize my own “Get out of debt” journey! My accounts are growing daily and my debt is shrinking! Lova Ya to bits!

  20. Thanks for the kind words and the update!

    Yes, it’s 5.00% APY for me too! Looks like they raised it for everyone. Sweet.

  21. I’m sorry to sound like a dork but whats the diffent between the 4.83 interset rates and the 5.0 APY? And how does it affect my cash balance? I just know the higher it is the better. hehe.

  22. Anonymous says:

    The 4.89% rate is the actual coupon rate that WaMu is paying you. If you deposited $10,000 and took out your interest every month you would have been paid $489. But if you left your interest in the savings account and let it accrue 4.89%, you’d get an extra $11 (the interest paid on your $489 interest on principal) and a compounded total of $500, or 5.00% APY

  23. Is there a 300 dollar requirement that needs to be in your savings account to not be charged a service fee? If so, then if you had two savings accounts you would still have to keep 300 in both?

  24. With the original “statement savings”, there was a $300 minimum to avoid fees. But this one specifically says no monthly fee.

  25. I have been a WAMU customer for a long time. After reading about this on your blog I went to my local branch with printout in hand and asked they upgrade my account. They said they couldn’t give me the 5% rate on my savings (I was earning .4%), so I went home and opened the account. During the sign up process they ask if you already have an “Online ID”, which is your username and password to access your WAMU account online. I said Yes and gave them that info which allowed me to fund the new accounts using my existing WAMU accounts. I am going to leave $1 in my new checking account and never use it and close my old savings account. This is a hastle free way of earning a higher return on your money.

    Thanks for posting this!!!!!

  26. Kevin – If you are concerned about maintaining the $300 minimum in your savings account – I have the solution. If you agree to let WAMU transfer a minimum of $25 from your checking to savings every month (you can pick the date) they will refund the $3.00/month fee that occurs when your account drops below the $300/month minimum.

    Everyone else – be careful about letting your savings balance drop below $300 you could get hit with the $3.00/month fee. If it drops below $300 at any time during the month they will charge the fee at the end of the month.

  27. THERE IS A CREDIT CHECK I CONTACTED THEM AND THEY TOLD ME THAT IT WAS PART OF THE PROCEDURE

  28. Wow that was cool. I had the Wamu new free checking because I thought the 1 overdraft free and 3 cents back for every debit buy was cool but that was such a hassle to get. I had to delete my old account and get a new one and then make the proper transfers blah blah blah. Was stuck with a teller for about an hour. Now this was easy.

    I’m a little conserned about having two checking and savings accounts though. Is there a way to minimize it without going to the bank personally?

  29. “Based on the answers you provided to the preceding questions, we are unable to verify necessary information and therefore are unable to process your application.”

    this is what i got… :( why?
    we have good credit and are banking with boa and wellsfargo….

  30. Just like Itzy said, my application keeps getting rejected. I have tried over 10 times on different occasions trying different answers to the security questions and those bastards still won’t give it to me.

    I’ll have to talk to a banker in a branch and see if they would (or have the authority) to match that offer on the savings account.

  31. I just signed up for this. I was already a WaMu customer, and it went through pretty easily. It did take me a little while to find the correct link to send me to the sign up page though. Thanks for the info!

  32. Do you know that CountyWide is also a bank? they hold my mortgage, but I also bank with them … they have great CD rates as well…

    Check them out: https://bank.countrywide.com/CWBRates.aspx?tab=sl

  33. Thanks for the link and instructions to open this 5% Savings acct at Wamu. I’m going to close my UBOC account which pays nothing!

  34. my friend told me it’s not good to have 2 checking accounts. is it true?

    g.

  35. This is awesome! Thanks so much for blogging about this. I’m an existing WaMu customer and just signed up for the two new accounts. As a result I’m now instantly earning 5% instead of a pathetic 0.25% on my savings!

  36. Ben Hurrrrr says:

    Wa-la?

    Izzat anything like “Voila!”?

  37. Thanks a bunch for blogging about this! I had a WaMu account that I wasn’t doing much with since I use Wachovia as my primary bank. Wachovia offers a paltry APY, so I followed your directions and opened another account with WaMu.

    This will make life so much easier – a higher yield on my savings and the ease of being able to transfer money from my checking account. This might give me the push I need to drop Wachovia!

    Cheers!

  38. I have 6 checking accounts, 1 savings. I budget by putting my income in one account, one account only for writing checks which i then immediately put the money into, one for my debit card, and the others for holding money that I am budgeting for. it works well because I will never bounce a check, guaranteed since it doesnt matter if they wait even a year, the money will still be there

  39. WOW thank you so much for this post! I bank with WAMU and knew nothing about this…almost opened an emigrant account today but somehow was lead to your blog and this posting instead!! I cant thank you enough!

  40. L. Matas says:

    Thanks for all the info!

  41. Be careful because that “no minimum” checking account requires you to keep at least $.01 in there otherwise they will close your account in 10 days without notifying you. I understand that that may seem trivial since you’re probably not moving money out of there any time soon, but when I was moving my money around and consolidating all my accounts they closed the account without telling me.

  42. MSMomsmoney says:

    Jonathan,

    Thank you so much. Your site provides great ideas.

    I am an existing WAMU customer, opened the new checking and savings, did the $25 per month transfer, leaving $1 in my new checking account and closed my old savings account.

    Thanks!!!

  43. I have an existing wamu free-checkings account already, but no savings, would you suggest opening the combo, transferring funds to the newly opened free-checkings account and cancel the old? Or should I just keep the funds where it’s at and have a few dollars needed to be in the newly opened checkings account?

    Thanks in advance for the advice!

  44. David – Yes, that’s exactly what I did. See my WaMu Review for more details.

  45. First, LOVE your blog! I’m learning so much, and it’s easy to understand…

    I just tried the Wamu deal and it didn’t work for me. I got a generic screen telling me there was a problem and to call the 800 number, which I did and they couldn’t help me either. I talked to the main customer support, then account services, then Online banking. They weren’t very helpful, but did tell me that I can’t try again for 7 days!

    So I asked if I could doublecheck that whatever system they pull from had all the correct information that I was entering. Transferred me to Risk Operations and everything I typed in was correct in their database.

    I’m hoping that in 7 days I will be earning 5%APY!!!

  46. It looks like they may have made it easier for existing Checking customers. The website now states that if you are an existing customer you can just apply for the savings account.

    “If you currently own an active WaMu checking account of the following types [WaMu Free Checking, Free Checking, Gold Checking, Interest Checking, Platinum Checking, and Perfect Value Checking], you can still receive this Online Savings account Special Offer with higher interest and no maintenance fee as long as you keep your checking account open. Simply proceed with this application for a new savings account and link it to your existing checking account on the Summary & Disclosures page. Please make sure to log in with your Online ID.”

  47. i am poking around the wamu website, but i cant seem to find anything that states that you can INSTANTLY transfer funds between the free checking account and the online savings account. can anyone confirm this? this will basically be the deciding factor between doing the wamu setup or just linking my existing checking account at another bank to an hsbc direct account.

  48. If you have an existing free checking account already at WAMU, you simply go through the process and upon completion you will be able to go to your “View My Accounts” online banking page and choose “Transfer Funds”. There will be drop-downs to select the From and To accounts and yes, your new 5% APY Online Savings account will be there.

    I just did this about 2 weeks ago and my biggest problem now is trying figure out how little money I can keep in my checking account and still make it through my daily life, as I have tried to put everything I can in the interest accruing account. I’m trying to keep about $300-$500 in my checking at any given time. I can’t wait until my first month is over and I can see the interest added!

  49. Hey all, I actually work for WaMu, and this is a really great promotion that I wish we could offer inside the branch. I just tell my customers if they want the 5% online savings to open the checking inside of the branch and set up online banking here too, and then go online and get the online savings account from there. This way, you get a real “personal banker” as opposed to “online tech support”. I’m at a branch in Illinois, so if anyone’s in the area and wants an account, let me know, and I’ll get you the hookup ;)

  50. Jonathan, I think I am in love with you. I was going to completely leave Wamu and now I don’t have too. :’) These are tears of joy! Im dutifully following all your other tips too. I’m a teacher. so I have lots of time to kill over the summer.

  51. Richard says:

    Does anyone know when WaMu Online Savings was first introduced? and Platinum Savings? I used to bank with WaMu and I was completely ignorant of these products!! People at the branches never told me about them. And I dont remember WaMu ever mailed me any brochure that had this kind of information. Neither they advertised anything like that at the branches. I feel like I had been blindfolded and cheated on since Oct 2003.

  52. I think the program started in August of 2006 so it wasn’t too long ago. No promotion was ever announced when the program was first brought out. I learned about it when I happen to jump on to this sight. Thank God I did. It was only way later, maybe sometime in April or May did they started to promote this 5.0 apy for a brief moment.

    Well atleast its better to know now then not know at all. I feel sorry for the other folks that still have the typical 0.25 apy savings account. There are also those people that still fear the internet and won’t apply fearing somebody might steal their identity since its only Online promo.

  53. I wish the CSRs at WaMu were all knowledgeable about the bank’s products, both in the branch and online. However, I do offer some good news.

    After getting conflicting stories from several CSRs about the ability to link my existing Free Checking account (the one I’ve had since 1996) to an online savings account and get the 5% APY promotion, I finally spoke to one who told me I was eligibile for the deal!

    The one I had spoken to right before had said that I didn’t qualify for the checking/online savings/5% APY deal because my checking account was “Free Checking” and not “WaMu Free Checking.” However, she should have read the WaMu Web site where it lists “Free Checking” as one of the eligible checking accounts for linking to the online savings — and I tried to explain this to her to no avail.

    I’m going to apply for the online savings account now. We’ll see what happens.

  54. I’m not sure about everyone else’s experiences, but when applying for WaMu’s online savings, I am unable to link to my existing Platinum Checking account despite the blatant claim on WaMu’s website that I should be able to do so. 5 phone calls and 6 email exchanges with WaMu customer service got me nowhere and I was basically told that I need to open a new checking account to obtain the 5% rate.

  55. I succeeded in opening up an online WaMu savings account that?s linked to my non-online WaMu checking account! For those of you with existing WaMu checking accounts who haven?t signed up for online banking, go to WaMu.com and do so BEFORE applying for the online savings account. This will seriously benefit you, as I can attest.

    I was one of those people who had no real urgency to view my account activity online because I always balanced my checkbook after every transaction and received a statement in the mail every month. Plus, I always called the 800 number to check my account for successful direct deposit of my paychecks.

    Anyways, just go to wamu.com and sign up for online banking. They will ask you your checking account number, Social Security number, a few personal questions so they can verify your identity and then you choose a user name and password. After the verification process, which takes less than a minute, you will be signed into your account and be able to view all transactions, etc. From there, you click on ?online accounts? or ?online savings? ? sorry, can?t remember exact verbiage ? and then it takes you to a page where you can open the online savings account. At the top of this page should be your existing checking account with a check mark indicating that it will be linked to your online savings to qualify for the 5% APY. Just go through that easy application form and select how much you want to transfer from checking (or another account) for your opening deposit, and in a minute you will have a high-interest-earning online savings account!

  56. thanks for the heads-up!

    “Everyone else – be careful about letting your savings balance drop below $300 you could get hit with the $3.00/month fee. If it drops below $300 at any time during the month they will charge the fee at the end of the month….”

    If you link your existing checking account to the new savings account, then the $4.00 monthly fee is waived.
    If you close you Checking Account, then the fees are reenacted to your savings account.

  57. Too bad the rate just dropped to 4.75% APY. It’s still a good rate, but I JUST got my money in there, so I’m slightly depressed. But it’s far better than 0.25% or whatever at the other place…

  58. For those that mentioned they were having trouble in the identity verification stage- did you ever get this resolved?

    I’m having the same problem and it’s driving me up the wall. For numerous reasons, having a checking and savings account with WaMu would be great, but my identiy can’t seem to be verified by the online check. This sucks. Ideas?

  59. The ID verification system works off of your Equifax or Experian (I think Experian) credit report. So if you are having problems, I would highly recommend checking that report at annualcreditreport.com and correcting any errors.

    For example, if your credit report says you have a mortgage and you keep saying you don’t on the WaMu verification site, then you’ll never get through because that’s what it thinks is the truth. At least that’s how I interpret it.

  60. wow, that was super fast! I have a wamu acc. and all i had to do was sign up in less than 10 minutes and then transfer my money to get 4.025% (Note that interest amount has changed from the 5.00% since the Fed maid Interest Rate Cuts) Bye bye 0.25% APY

  61. I signed up for this account a year ago and about 4 months ago I started getting a $4 charge around the 10th of each month. I would call and ask them why, and they would say it shouldn’t have happened, let me reverse that for you…only to have it happen again a month later. Now when I look at the rate being earned it is down to 0.25%…something’s screwy here and I’ll probably end up canceling it and trying again to get the 4% back.

  62. I have what you want….alot of money to invest…send me your resume…I am looking for at least a 5.o% return. If you are straight up there will be no games…I will wait for your response, but I am betting a no show….prove me wrong…And not with questions but answers……Thank You Alan

  63. I opened the checking/savings online to get the 5% as well. I recently checked online and now I am only getting a 3.25% on my savings.

    Is this correct?! Seems absurd…..??

  64. I just found your web site and opened the WAMU savings account and checking account online. I’ve been a WAMU customer for years and never thought to check out what they offered online since I have branches all around me and easy to use.

    Thanks for the great info. I will transfer money from my old savings account to the new one which is now offering 3.75%.

    Someone else asked about needing to leave $300 in a savings account so that you don’t pay the $4 monthly fee. They are still doing that, so when I needed money from my account that would pull it below $300, I just pulled everything out.

    Great information on you site!

  65. Nancy, even if you pull everything out, they can charge you, your balance will show up as -$4. As people have said above, as long as you have the linked checking account, there should be no minimum. I had a problem with mine because they closed my checking account automatically after too much inactivity. That, in turn, lowered my rate to 0.25% and caused me to incur the $4/month charge. I eventually got them to reverse the charges(after 4 months) and just closed the account.

    I’ll take the no-hassle FNBO 3.5% over this crap any day.

  66. As if 1/5/09, the online apr for savings is only 1.50%, doesn’t seem worth the hassle now of opening new accounts now.

Trackbacks

  1. My Money Forest - Personal Finance, Investing, Business and more! says:

    [...] Automatic Deductions: Open a savings account at your bank and have money automatically deducted from your checking account once a month. You set the amount, you set the withdrawl date. Now that’s an easy way to save money! By the way, Washington Mutual offers free checking and now they offer high-yield savings accounts too! [...]

  2. [...] Speaking of good local bank account combos, if you have Washington Mutual banks in your area, combining their Free Checking and their new 5% APY Savings account (only available online) also makes a great option. You get the convenience of local branches and ATM withdrawals and deposits, plus the high interest rates and online fund transfers of online banks. [...]

  3. [...] and Mortar Accounts, No Minimum Balance Washington Mutual continues to top this area, with their WaMu 5.0% APY Saving Account. You have to open online, but after that it has all the advantages of a local branch savings [...]

Speak Your Mind

*