EverBank FreeNet Checking: Intro 1.10% APY + $50 To Leave

Everbank Logo

Multiple people have now contacted me about how the Everbank FreeNet Checking Account offers a good high-interest checking account with a lot of great features. I admit that I didn’t know much about them because their regular interest rates (currently 0.70-0.86% APY) are lower than my main checking account bank, Presidential Bank (4.50% APY Checking, 5.12% APY Savings). But if you ignore the interest rate difference, it truly does have the makings of a good main checking account. Right now I use a combo of Bank of America (deposit checks + ATMs) and Presidential (higher interest rate + bill pay).

Here’s a brief review of what it offers:

Intro Rate of 1.10% – To start you off, they offer you 1.10% APY for the first six months. After that it drops off to the regular interest rates of 0.70-0.86% APY depending on your balance. That’s still much better than most banks. In fact, they “pledge to keep the yield on your FreeNet Checking Account and Yield Pledge Money Market Account in the top 5% of competitive accounts as tracked in the Bank Rate Monitor National Index? of leading banks and thrifts.”

ATM rebates, No monthly minimums, No direct deposit requirement, Postage-paid deposit envelopes – These are all features that Presidential does not have. ATM rebate details:

EverBank will even reimburse you for up to $6.00 a month in surcharges levied by ATM operators (simply use one of our convenient bank-by-mail envelopes to mail EverBank your ATM receipts within 90 days of the transaction)!

Finally, they even partner with other banks to waive ATM fees and make deposits. In my area, they partner with US Bank, which has a pretty big network here.

More Details – Free initial 50 checks. Minimum opening deposit $1,500. Account closed within 30 days of opening – $25.00 fee. $1,500 minimum balance for free Online Billpay.

EverOne Financial Center – This online account aggregation product sounds a lot like Yodlee. I hear it stopped working for Emigrant and Capital One 360 recently after their new security upgrades, but hopefully it’s just a matter of time before that’s fixed. (Edit: Emigrant access is reportedly fixed)

Guarantee: $50 to close your account – If you open the FreeNet account, keep it open for 3 months, pay at least 3 bills online, and still close your account within 30 days of the 3-month anniversary, they will send you a check for $50. Giving you an incentive to leave, that’s new :)

Overall, that is a pretty outstanding feature set. I don’t know of any bank that offers the above and decent interest. If you just want the money, think of it as 1.10% APY for 6 months + a $50 bonus. Add in the claims of good customer service, and I may just have to give Everbank a try sometime.

(Side note: Somebody also mentioned City National Bank. CNBT also has a high-interest checking account with no minimum fees, but you need direct deposit and it has this really weird requirement of using their check card 10 times every month for purchases or else you lose the interest. That’s just way too annoying.)

Comments

  1. Z from SD says:

    Dime Savings Bank has a 3-month promo MMA at 6%. (That’s better than a 3-month promo 5.51% from Everbank).
    If you open a perfectly free checking account with this MMA you get the first set of checks for free and you have an easy access to your money……

  2. Sounds great! How about free ACH in? That’s what keeps me from leaving FirstIB.

  3. That account at everbank has 1500 minimum for billpay to be fee-free, if not – the charge is $4.95/month

  4. How good is their online bill pay? BofA keeps my checking account business mainly because I really like theri online bill pay and it is free even though it pays no interest. No balance minimums with BofA. Does this bank offer e-bills?

  5. I used Everbank for my recent mortgage and will never use them again. It was maybe a one time incident, but they never accepted fault for the problems that it caused with delaying closing, and months late they still have not paid out certain funds from closing. This is just my one experience, but be aware.

  6. Emigrant Bank linkage with Yodlee has been fixed.

  7. I used Everbank for a mortgage a year ago and had very few problems. A couple of fees disturbed me, but usually the mortgage part is separate from the internet banking part of a bank anyway. Overall, I was pleased with the 5.25%, 20 year fixed mortgage I received. Looks great now when I can make a better rate in their free checking. I will definitely check this out.

  8. Credit check?

  9. I personally really enjoy by Everbank account. The intro promo rate will soon expire, but I’ve actually enjoyed it enough to not cancel for the $50. Besides, I’d probably have to go back to interest-free checking, which is just no fun.

  10. Is this an editorial Advertisement? (like they sneak in magazines as articles)
    Frankly 4.4 doesnt sound so hot that it would take so much space in ur blog :)

  11. I agree with Ram — sounds like a paid advertisement, with not that many great features (notice the referral id in the URL).

    Oh well, everyone has to make $$$…

  12. I’m using everbank and I really love it. I actually didn’t know much about yodlee until I started coming to this blog and I have to admit yodlee is horrible compared to everbank. I used a few different version and nothing compared to everbank.
    As far as emigrantdirect, I emailed them and they said they are working on fixing it right now.
    I really don’t like chasing intrest on my checking account as their pay bills and ACH transfers are really nice, plus since I can use any ATM, it’s another added benefit.

    I’ve read complaints about their mortgage, but I wouldn’t consider them for mortgage and also I wouldn’t consider them for savings either when there’s other competition out there that’s better. Personally I’m very very happy with everbank overall. 24 hour customer service that they pick up right away.

    The main reasons why I really like everbank is the free ATM that now I can go to any ATM that I wish for free with the rebates that are pretty quick. I actualy prefer the free envelope mailing in checks versus going through drive through. Their intrest is not bad and they promise to stay on the top 5% for intrested as it has been mentioned. To be honest I don’t see any competition yet as far as the whole package goes. Yodlee in my eyes doesn’t come close to everbank at least the versions I saw and all the benefits they have it’s hard for me to look at another bank.

    About the intrest, I don’t think you should keep that much money in your checking account, when you can make more in your savings account. Therefore the difference in intrest between the lowest 3.25% in everbank and presidentals 4.50% when calculated wasn’t going to be much difference and not worth swtiching for me, especially since presidental has less features and less benefits except for the higher rate.

  13. What's Ram & Joseph talkingabout says:

    Ram and Joseph: If you Google or do a search for EverBank, and you click on the link that says “Everbank.com”, you are directed the home page of the bank with http://www.everbank.com/main.a.....erID=11566 ; but, if you just enter everbank.com into your webbrowser, you get http://www.everbank.com/main.asp?affid=eb I dont think this person is gets anything. Try the experiment yourself.

  14. Call me the grinch, but…..

    I’m not sure of the value in constantly evaluating your checking accounts, money markets, interest bearing savings, so you can move money around to get the next big “deal”. It seems like a lot of wasted effort for very little return/marginally better return. Especially since between the taxes & the rate of inflation, your actual return is a big fat zero. In essence, the interest rate is merely insurance that sorta maintains your buying power, as you’re not actually earning “net new” cash.

    Of course, the inflation rate is SO contrived and lower than it should be that you’re really still losing money, but I digress.

    Personally, I’d rather spend that time reviewing stocks and looking at other investment opportunities that will generate more $ for me.

    I use a pretty simple account strategy (personally).

    1) BOA – My only local account, it’s just a reserve fund for emergencies if I need cash quickly, or need a place to wire money out of an online account for same.

    2) E-Trade Checking – they gurantee their Bill Pay service, will pay all fees and help you resolve problems if they screw-up. I usually have between 2 months expenses in this account. I have a money market attached (Pays about 3%) with another month as a quick hit economic shock/reserve fund. My concern isn’t so much interest generation, as it is knowing that if I were in a coma (god forbid) for two months, my bills would all still be paid.

    3) E-Trade Brokerage, I can move cash between the brokerage and the checking accounts instantly. I keep the rest of my fund for expenses, maintaining stability in case of income loss, etc – in this account. I have the money invested in a mixture of bonds, high-dividend stocks (REITs, Energy trusts, etc.). I look for high-dividend stocks of companies with a high cash balance, low debt and solid ROE & ROA ratios that pay around 7-8% or more. I’ll also invest in corporate paper if I like the company and the return.

    In essence, my return is a LOT higher than anything an interest bearing account will pay + the dividend tax rate is a lot lower than the tax on interest.

    Case in point, a portfolio or REITs and Energy trusts would’ve crushed any yields you got from ING and the like over the past 5 years. The latter is a stable cash cow and REITs aren’t as vulnerable to the housing market issues – as their revenue comes from rents on apartments, office buildings, hotels, etc.

    Just my 0.25

    4) I do maintain other money markets (Citi e-savings) mostly for saving up for specific things (like a vacation), attached it to a checking just for easy access.

    Other than that, I just don’t bother with looking at other interest bearing deals as that’s time I can spend finding higher yielding investments.

    -M

  15. I e-mailed about this bank – Is there any bank that gives more interest rate and also ATM rebates and no minimum balance? I would like to know cause I have not found one.

  16. The real bummer about Everbank is the time for an ACH Transfer. It is a full 3 days, and sometimes 4 to 5 days. Really bad. Also you can only transfer 10k out at a time. Not like most banks that let you transfer 100k at a time.

  17. Mark: you do have a point that with taxes and inflation it’s zero, but you can make the point with a savings account not chasing it. But with a checking account that money comes it and is compounded daily and then you have to write checks and pay bills, isn’t it better to make money on every day it sits there versus nothing? The features also make it worth another reason. Personally I love being able to use the first ATM I see and not worry about going to my bank’s ATM

    Ralph: I’ve experienced slow ACH also, but all I do is go to the place that’s receiving and use their service if possible, if not then I’ll use everbank.

  18. I don’t know how their online transfer works – is it based on CashEdge? It sounds like HSBC’s method. I also don’t know if they do a credit check, can someone else comment on this? I’d like to know too.

    The Everbank link is a referral link, but you can just type in Everbank.com directly if you want to avoid it. I don’t do PayPerPost type of stuff. Either referral or not, I only post deals that stand on their own merits. I don’t see how this isn’t a good deal – you can look at it two ways:

    1) If you don’t like it: 5.51% APY + $50 free after 3 months. Sounds like a decent bank bonus-type deal to me.

    2) If you do like it: 5.51% APY for 3 months + a checking account that pays 3-4% interest that has no minimum balance, no direct deposit requirement, no activity requirements, postage-paid deposit envelopes, and ATM rebates. Name any bank with all these features and 3+% interest! :)

    Remember, this is a checking account with all the easy-linking capabilities to other more limited accounts but with higher interest like Emigrant Direct. Use this account as your main checking account, not your only bank.

  19. I’m not arguing against the account (in of itself), particularly if it serves your needs. After all, I use interest bearing accounts myself. Instead, my suggestion is to simply pick a bank, stick with it and focus on other things.

    My feeling on the matter is that I find a lot of people getting caught up in chasing savings yields, or finding the best checking account. Hence the reason why the various online banks are always trying to out do each other. The thing is, this uses up a great deal of time and effort. I’m thinking that a lot of people would get a better return by chasing investment returns elsewhere.

    Especially because you need to make a lot more than 5% to beat inflation and taxes, so you can truly build wealth.

    -M

  20. “My feeling on the matter is that I find a lot of people getting caught up in chasing savings yields, or finding the best checking account. Hence the reason why the various online banks are always trying to out do each other. The thing is, this uses up a great deal of time and effort. I?m thinking that a lot of people would get a better return by chasing investment returns elsewhere.”

    There’s a lot of people out there. While there are the “rate chasers” you suggest, there’s also people out there who have their day-to-day money at a random bank they may have chose long ago, paying ATM fees every month, paying to see a teller, paying for a checking account that requires a minimum balance that isn’t met, etc. Banks make money on those fees and there’s plenty of people paying them. So a post like this, that suggests “hey, maybe you should shop around, and instead of paying fees make a few bucks” could be useful for a number of people.

    Then there’s people like me, who have a reasonable strategy but review it from time to time, in my case I may make a change once a year or so but otherwise don’t spend a lot of time on things. I had a free checking account with direct deposit and savings at ING for awhile, but I’ve recently made a switch to a combination of HSBC free checking/online savings where I keep my money in savings and group all my monthly bills to pay on one day, and the day before that I make one withdrawal from savings to checking to cover the bills. This allows me to keep my day-to-day money in savings for as long as possible. I use the HSBC debit card for ATM purposes, but I try to make only one withdrawal a month and take enough cash to last the month – 95% of my purchases go on a rewards credit card so I don’t need daily access to ATM.

    I thought a little about Everbank, but I was turned off mostly on the $1,500 minimum balance for free Online Billpay and the overall setup doesn’t seem that much better than what I’m currently doing.

  21. Jonathan If you want to setup a transfer say from everbank to BOA for an example, well it sets it up just like emigrantdirect and the others that it will send a few pennies to BOA and then receive the money back and you have to login to BOA to see how much it was and then go back to everbank and type in the number. Once it’s setup you can then just enter in the figure you want to transfer.

    Honesty I found a yodlee that I like better than everbank, but still using everbank for all the other features.

  22. Mark I wouldn’t suggest chasing rates, but I wouldn’t suggest not getting any rate of return. I also wouldn’t chase other invetsments either as you have mentioned.
    Personally I’ve never chased savings and have stuck with emigrantdirect for my savings for well over a year and my checking account I’ve stuck with everbank for close to a year now also, even though presidental has a higher return. If you do the math and compare the rate at everbank to way BOA or Wamu it’s just free money each year. I’m also against chasing rate for half a percent or even a percent on your checking, but at least get 3%

  23. I’m already getting 3%, hence the reason I don’t bother looking for new rates.

    I don’t understand how looking for value stocks that pay strong dividends is a bad idea or an “Investment you wouldn’t chase”. We’re not talking about looking for 4% vs. 3.5%, instead we’re talking about investments that could potentially generate double digit returns for years and generate some serious wealth for you.

    It’s not even comparable to chasing savings yields.

    -M

  24. Everbank was also mentioned pn page. 102 of September’s Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, it reads almost exactly like this post. Wonder if they read it here first?

  25. Intro rate is now at 6.01%.

  26. I had accounts at everbank. They really screwed me over. It wasn’t worth banking with them to begin with, even before they screwed up. Well, I guess sometimes you just have to learn the hard way.

  27. Everbank held my deposit for 4 days without posting to my account on a 6% checking account. That in itself cost me nearly $40 dollars in interest.

  28. When I called to say that its not right to hold my money for 4 days without depositing they said they would close my account.

  29. Charles Wilkes says:

    I was interested in EverBank as I was told they allow accounts in other currencies in addition to the USD. I travel international from time to time, and this might be a convenience for me. Does anyone have any experience with them doing this? For example, every country has ATMs these days, and could I use one to withdraw cash in another country where I have an account in the native currency of that country? And would they pick up the ATM fees there like they do in this country?

    Actually I was pretty turned off by some of the comments i read above — especially the one where someone complained about the time to credit a deposit, and was then told to close the account — or maybe they did it themselves. That’s pretty arrogant and I would take them up on the suggestion immediately if they did it to me.

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