Presidential Bank Premier Savings Account Review

[Update: This review still applies, but the rates are a bit old. Currently rates for this account can be found here. As of 4/3/06, it is 4.62% APY.]

Now that Presidential Bank has raised their Premier Savings Account rate even higher to 3.87% APY*, I thought I’d post a brief review of the account since I have one. I previously posted a review of the Presidential Bank Internet Plus Checking Account.

Pros:
Great Rate! They have consistently good rates, now beating Capital One 360 by 0.72%. I’ve found their customer service to be very satifactory. The interface is fine by me, although I’m a “Does it work like I want it to?” kind of guy, and don’t need too many bells and whistles.

Cons:
There are several. There is a minimum of $5,000 to open the account, and you’ll need to keep that $5,000 in there to avoid a monthly service charge of $7.50 (per their fee schedule). You can’t link it to an existing Capital One 360 or VirtualBank account because you need a check to do that, and this account doesn’t give checks. You can link it other ways if you have a bank that uses CashEdge transfers, but they usually charge a fee per transfer.

So, you basically need to open up a checking account with them if you want to treat it like a Capital One 360-style account. They have a good product in the previously-mentioned Internet Checking Plus Account currently paying a not-too-shabby 3.5%, but amongs other stuff it requires a $200 direct deposit every month. The alternative is their regular Internet Checking account, which has no direct deposit requirement, but only pays 1.25% APY interest. The good thing is that it only has a $500 minimum balance. Also, transfers internally between Presidential checking and savings account are instantaneous. Need to make a big bill payment? Just transfer over the money into checking and do it!

For the personal finance software users out there, Presidential offers Microsfot Money .OFX downloads and Quicken .QIF (not .QFX) downloads. Note that this means Presidential is completely incompatible with Quicken 2005. I still see this as Quicken’s fault. Finally, you get the standard .CSV format.

Finally, something common to all savings accounts and regulated by law is that you can only make six transfers out each statement cycle, and no more than three can be by check, draft, or debit card.

What do I do?
I have both the Internet Checking Plus and Premier Savings Account. I don’t transfer money around a whole lot, but when I do I have my VirtualBank account linked to the Prez Checking account and other accounts. I can write checks, do bill pay, and everything else using the checking account, and keep my cash in the Premier Account.

Should I open one?
Considering the pros and cons I listed above, I think the account makes the decision for you with its $5k minimum. If you have less than $5k to save, the extra interest this account gives you isn’t really worth it if you don’t have an account with Presidential currently. Comparing with ING, .72% times $5,000 over a year is $36 pre-tax, which to me really isn’t worth the credit check needed to open an account with them.

I’m personally happy with my account, since for my $17,322 I currently borrow from 0% balance transfers, I get $670 a year now!

* for balances up to $35,000. 2.62% for balances in excess. You can also put another $25k in their Internet Plus Checking account at 3.75% APY.

Comments

  1. TonySpero says:

    I have HSBC checking and online savings, I love that I can go to the local bank and withdraw money from the online account through the ATM, I see that HSBC does use CashEdge transfers, and their website shows: No transaction fees will be charged for HSBC OnlineSavings, Domestic Private Banking or HSBC Premier customers, So I’m thinking of opening a presidential account and linking it through HSBC.

  2. Try it, and let us know how it works out!

    For those that need it – Presidential Bank Routing Number: 255073345. It has worked for me for both Checking and Savings there.

  3. TonySpero says:

    On second thought, now with HSBC up to 3.50%, I don’t think it’s worth it, I have $18k in savings, I guess that works out to about an extra $66 a year, not worth the hassle, I’ll trade the $66 in exchange for having easy access to my money, now HSBC is offering $50 to sign up for their free checking, too bad i already have an account.

  4. ING now at 3.3%

  5. How do you link a Presidential Checking account to an external account like Bank of America checking? I just called customer service and I was told that they only link Presidential accounts, but not external accounts. Please help!

  6. Well, since it’s a checking account you already have many ways to access your money: Checks and ATMs. But to transfer online you’ll have to link both accounts through somebody like ING Direct.

    So the money would go Prez Checking -> ING Direct -> Bank of America Checking. Hope that helps.

  7. It’s a P.I.T.A. to link Presidential accts especially if you only have a Premier Savings, to an outside checking acct (BofA). Since Presidential’s website can’t initiate an external transfer, you have to use BofA’s website and get charged $3 for each “to Presidential deposit” transfer. Also, since the Presidential Premier Savings doesn’t give you checks to my knowledge, you can’t even link to other online savings accts, ie. Virtual, Emigrant. This all only applies to having a stand-alone Presidential Premier Savings. So it’s probably much easier if you also have the Internet Checking/ Plus accts with Preesidential.

  8. Anonymous says:

    any gifts for opening the account?

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