TIAA Bank Review – Benefits For High Deposits

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TIAA Bank Review

About TIAA Bank

The bank claims to have an enduring history of service in the financial industry although the TIAA Bank brand came into existence only in 2018. This is because the bank was borne in 2017 out of a sale of EverBank, a bank that has been in service since 1998. In 2018, they rebranded EverBank together with TIAA Direct to come out with the new TIAA Bank.

The bank has a primary focus to cater to the financial needs of non-profits, institutions, and educators in the country. This is understandable because the bank’s owner is the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association. Their bank products aim to help their customers regardless of what life stage they are in. TIAA Bank is a Fortune 100 company.

Although the main headquarters is in Jacksonville, the bank has a nationwide reach because of its online and mobile banking capability.

Customers can remotely access and manage their accounts through digital technology or in-person at financial centers all over Florida or home lending offices scattered across the U.S.

You’d find that TIAA Bank strays somewhat from the usual mold of an online bank. When most online banks have no or little minimum opening deposit requirements, the bank asks for a steep initial deposit for many of its accounts. For example, you must shell out $5,000 to open a Yield Pledge Checking account.

TIAA bank review

On TIAA's Secure Website

Account Types

Minimum Deposit

PROS

CONS

Great CD Rates, Low Rates On Savings Account

The high minimum requirement for some of the accounts gives depositors an advantage. The bank stays true to its promise to give APYs that are among the 5% of the highest in the industry.

They have great CD rates that compensate for the fact that you have to keep a large balance in your account.

The rate they give for a Yield Pledge Checking account is one of the best in the U.S.

However, not all accounts have good rates.

Their savings account rates are within the low industry averages despite the prevalence of other online or mobile savings account that comes with higher interests. This comes as a surprise for a branchless bank that offers loan products since you want to source funds from the low-cost deposit products.

Customers can access their money through 80,000 ATMs all over the country without paying a fee.

If they meet the minimum deposit balance for each type of account, the bank will reimburse any ATM fee that a network may charge against their account. However, if they don’t meet the minimum deposit, the reimbursement will be only up to a minimal amount. 

Here are the main products TIAA bank offers for savers:

Savings Account

$25

Initial Deposit

None

Minimum Balance

0.55%

APY

The bank’s Basic Savings account is indeed basic – it is good for those who want to start building a savings history.

Although it doesn’t match up very well with other online banks’ savings accounts in terms of interest rates, it has standard features that would sit well with a first-time depositor.

For those looking to earn more with their money, they might be better off keeping their accounts in other online banks that give as high as 2.0% APY.

 

Checking Account

$100

Initial Deposit

None

Minimum Balance

0.12%

APY

FeaturesBasic CheckingYield Pledge Checking
Minimum deposit$25$100
APYnoneVariable
Monthly feeMust maintain $25 minimumnone
ATM reimbursementsAvailableAvailable
Online and mobile bankingAvailableAvailable
Overdraft protectionAvailableAvailable
NSF Fee$30$30
Returned deposit fee (except NY/Vermont residents)$10$10
Stop Payment fee$25$25
Account closing feenonenone

Depositors can choose from two types of checking accounts according to their ability to meet the minimum deposits.

The features are almost identical except that the Yield Pledge Checking account pays interest on the deposits. Clients must maintain at least $5,000 in their checking accounts to enjoy unlimited ATM fee reimbursements.

Although there is an attractive intro APY for the Yield Pledge Checking, the regular rates are not as awesome as what you can find in the market today.

CDs

$1,000

Initial Deposit

3 months - 5 years

CDs Terms

0.25 - 0.90%

APY

Features Yield Rate Bump Rate CDARS Service
Minimum to open $5,000 $1,500 $1,000
Terms 3 months to 5 years 3.5 years 3 months to 3 years
Monthly account fee none none none
IRA eligibility Yes Yes Yes
APY range 1.90% to 2.05% around 2.0% 1.11% to 1.42%

TIAA is proud to say that their CD rates are one of the best in the industry – but that’s more applicable for their Yield Rate CD.

They don’t land on the top ten but they’re close enough. There’s nothing extraordinary about their CDs but they did win GOBankingRates’ 10 Best CD Accounts Award three years in a row.

A major plus is that the Yield Pledge comes with a promise of a high rate when opening or rolling over a CD

Money Market Account

$500

Initial Deposit

None

Minimum Balance

0.50%

APY

The Yield Pledge Money Market account is just about an average product when you place it side-by-side with other banks’ money market account.

It’s easy to notice that TIAA asks for a higher minimum deposit but offers a decent return for your money.

It also comes with a Yield Pledge promise just like the Yield Pledge CD account.

TIAA Rewards Credit Card

The TIAA Rewards Credit Card is a client credit card which means that for you to be eligible to get the card, you have to have an account with the bank.
Here are its main features:

  • No annual fee
  • APR from 11.50% to 25.25%
  • Cashback or reward points available
  • Mobile payments available
  • Free access to FICO Scores

It is Visa-powered and provides cardholders the opportunity to earn cashback or get reward points from their purchases.

Eligible gas and grocery purchases earn the highest rewards per dollar spent while eligible purchases at wholesale clubs come in second.

The best thing about this card is that the bank does not collect an annual fee and gives customers free access to FICO Scores. Military servicemen are also eligible for military relief options under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) through this card.

Eligible cardholders under this program can get reduced credit card rates. The card’s APR is a little higher than the industry average.

TIAA Bank  – The Benefits

We like the bank because it offers a wide range of products from checking and savings accounts, to CDs, money market and credit cards. They also have loan products and investment accounts. It’s good to have a bank that can provide the full array of common bank products that a typical customer might need. One does not have to open another account in another bank just because it’s not available in your primary bank.

The bank offers high-interest deposit rates for most of its products. This is a big thing for customers. And the fact that they have a Yield Pledge promise on some of their accounts makes it doubly interesting especially those who are very particular about interest.

We don’t mind parking a significant amount in an account as long as we get a reasonable return in interest.

Waiver of the monthly fees is the trade-off for maintaining a much higher minimum deposit. Although you can get this same benefit from other banks, we’re still glad that we don’t have to pay for many of the services.

TIAA Bank  – The Drawbacks

With its mission to cater to the educators, not-for-profits, and institutions, it’s perplexing why their savings account cannot compete with other online banks. One can’t help but feel that the product is there just for the sake of having one on the menu.

The high opening balances are also a turnoff. Immediately, the bank alienates a segment of the consumers with its high requirements. It almost seems like if one does not have that kind of money, the bank’s door is not open for you.

Although they have a nationwide reach, their own ATM network only covers the state of Florida. This means that you only get free ATM access if you use your card within the state. For other states, you can get an ATM fee reimbursement but it’s not 100% if you can’t meet the minimum deposit requirement. 

Alternatives Banks For Consideration

Here are our alternatives to TIAA Bank:

Synchrony Bank is a strictly online bank known for several financing packages such as business loans, auto loans, home loans, money markets, certificates of deposit and savings accounts.

The Bank offers high-yield savings account with a 12-month duration, $5,000 first-time deposit, and a 0.65% APY – account is fully managed online through the mobile application. Money markets accounts have an FDIC insurance coverage with the same initial deposit and duration as savings, but a 0.50% APY. CDs are also FDIC insured, with a minimum deposit of $2000 and an APY of 0.60% within 12 months. There is a 15-day window after account opening to fund, during which you will be offered the best interest rate. Synchrony bank enables easy transactions from the comfort of your home; the website can be accessed by most phone operators, including android and ios. Also, they have online customer care representatives working round the clock.

 The Bank has no physical office. Hence, there can be no in-person banking; it is only suitable for people who are comfortable with full online banking.

Like most banks working digital platforms, Synchrony Bank has witnessed tremendous business growth in recent times due to the pandemic and restricted movements for in-house banking. Reviews have shown a significant increase in online banking activities like never before.

Bank of America is a long-standing organization with a series of investment and loan plans such as checking, savings, mortgages, credit cards, auto and business loans.

Monthly fees may be waived for savings and checking accounts provided that the client meets certain conditions. Also, clients tend to gain increased interest rates, banking rewards and cashback deals. The checking account is very flexible and may be customized to suit your customers’ specific needs. The Bank also provides Certificate deposit accounts for featured and standard terms, with $10,000 and $1,000 minimum deposits, respectively. The company also provides a high-functioning website that is easy and convenient for clients to apply online from their homes’ comfort.

Some application requirements are needed to open an account like social security number, phone number, email, residential address and account sign-up info. These details can be provided via the online platform; however, clients depositing above $100,000 may need to visit any of the branches.

A downside to borrowing from the Bank of America is that branches are unevenly spread while some states have no branch offices while some have multiple.

In a 2019 retail banking advice study, JD Power awarded Bank of America with the top score among twenty-three American banks for customer satisfaction. Business Bureau gives the Bank an A1 for the organization’s overall operation.

Chime Bank is an internet banking platform in America and offers services through a mobile application. The site provides a savings account with an automatic saving feature to save as you spend and get paid.

The chime visa debit card rounds up the money in the account to the nearest dollar after each purchase, and the remaining cents will move into your savings account. For clients to save as they get paid, a percentage of each paycheck may be deducted and transferred into the savings account. Chime bank accounts have several debit card benefits: no hidden charges, no minimum deposits, free ATM charges, cashback, no monthly payments, no overdraft fees, and FDIC insurance coverage up to $250,000.

The site will request clients to fill in their personal details before they can open an account. it may include name, social security number, phone number, email, and account info; eligible clients must be US citizens, aged 18 years and above. The Bank is not for customers who like in-person services because there is no live office or physical building.

The Bank has a highly rated application best known for its high-quality graphic designs and interface that ensures a smooth running on most device operators like android and ios. 

Summary

TIAA Bank is one of those banks that primarily caters to a very select group but decided to expand its reach. However, it appears that only customers who can maintain higher deposits will be the ones who will receive better benefits from the bank.

The bank’s CDs could be their flagship products. Sadly, the savings account is a huge disappointment. Online banks usually offer an attractive rate on their savings accounts. TIAA has only their Basic Savings Account to offer – and it’s not even something that stands taller than other similar products from their competitors.

The full range of products makes it appealing for those who need a one-stop-shop bank. However, one should be ready and willing to put in more money into this bank.

Those who cannot afford the high initial and maintaining deposits can find more suitable options elsewhere.