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Emigrant Direct Pays 4.50% APY for Your Savings, and Its New CD Offering

Contributed by mm | March 16, 2006 11:15 AM PST

(As of July 2006, EmigrantDirect is paying 5.15% APY at its savings account. Read PFBlog's review and take a try!)

To defend its marketing slogan of "America's Highest Rate," Emigrant Direct finally bumped up the yield of its AmericanDream Savings Account to 4.50%. It has been almost 14 months since I became an Emigrant Direct customer. While its online banking interface is rather simplistic, Emigrant Direct delivers on its mission to consistently maintain one of the highest savings account rates in the country. At one point of time, I had almost under $100,000 in the account (that was after I sold my house and before I started to make stock and mutual fund investments). Still, EmigrantDirect allows you to open an account with $1, and does not charge any extra fees whatsoever.

By the way, Emigrant Direct is also launching another innovative product called "My Way" CD for current savings account owners (shown at the bottom of the page). "My Way" CD pays out 5.00% APY for any term of your choice between 18 months to 10 years, with a minimal balance of $1,000.

The 5.00% APY is already competitive: as of today, shows the top yield in CD products of similar length to be 5.20% for 18-month and 2-year, 5.22% for 3-year and 5.25% for 5-year.

The most important feature of "My Way" CD is probably the ability to lock the rate for 10 years, and to back out of the deal any time in the next 10 years for an early withdrawal penalty of six months' of interest. With Fed almost at the end of the rate hiking cycle, if one predicts the long-term rate will start to level off or coming down, it might be wise to load up some long-term CDs at attractive rates today.

This Post Has Received 21 Comments. Share Your Opinions Too.

eDave Commented on March 17, 2006

HSBC Direct seems like a better choice at 4.8%. I did a lot of research and read personal reviews comparing ING, Emigrant, and HSBC. I settled on HSBC for a variety of reasons, one of which was the higher rate.

MM Commented on March 17, 2006

HSBC's 4.80% APY is temporary until 4/30. For the record, I never believe a big bank can be a leader in the game ... they need to worry about not pissing off too many existing customers.

Latin Guy Commented on March 17, 2006

eDave, does HSBCDirect charge for bank-to-bank transfers? By reading the fineprints, I thought they would charge $3 fee for any transfers. Let ma know.

Paul Commented on March 20, 2006

I believe it says in the fine print that for the Online Savings account, there is no transfer fee.

Latin Guy Commented on March 20, 2006

Tks. I just called HSBC to check that, there is no fee to fund the account, however any time you want to take money out of the account, there will be a $3 fee per transaction. In this case, it would only make case to bank with HSBC if you want to centralize all your finances with them (which you cannot do with INGDirect, which does not offer ATM, check, and other banking products).

Making Our Way Commented on March 21, 2006

I'm glad that Emigrant finally raised their rates. I think hsbc and the other banks really did a good job teasing current Emigrant customers when the rates were 4.25%.

A friend of mine swears by Umbrella bank, saying they are the most aggressive rate wise, however, they don't have convenient EFT access.

In my blog ( on march 9th and march 17th I posted some comparisons between emigrant, gmac (which has a higher rate and seems tempting) and umbrella bank. I've also included a copy of their dialogue with me regarding funding. They are paying about 4.61% as well.

I like the idea of a long term CD that you can break. Most banks I've talked to sacrifice a quarter rather than a half year of interest. I'd hold off locking for a while. I think more interest rate hikes will come.

Making Our Way

AR Commented on March 23, 2006

There is NO transfer fee if you have the online HSBC savings account. From their terms and conditions:

"The following Service Charges apply to all Consumer Checking and Savings Accounts when completing a transfer from HSBC to another financial institution. These charges do not apply to a customer that owns an OnlineSavings Account, HSBC Premier, or Domestic Private Banking account.
Fee Transaction -- $3.00 per transaction."

I have had the account for three months with many transfers, and can confirm that there is indeed no transfer fee.

Scott Commented on March 25, 2006

I have had a emigrant direct account for over a year now and have no complaints. I also have a GMAC account and have been impressed with their service. Both have high interest rates. GMAC has a $500.00 minimum balance to avoid a monthly fee, where Emigrant Direct has no minimum balance. GMAC offers a slightly better interest rate. Either way, I think you will be very pleased.

Mario Commented on March 27, 2006

I like INGDirect. I know the rate is slightly lower but it's interface and ease of use makes up for it IMO. It's good to see emmigrantraise their rate though because we'll likely see an increase from ING shortly.

KJ Commented on March 29, 2006

Looks like Citibank came out with e-savings account with 4.5% as well.

Benji Commented on April 13, 2006

Spoofee actually covers this topic pretty well. Emmigrant is not the best.

Article Link. Best is Umbrella with 5.25%

Roland Commented on April 30, 2006

I was looking for a bank that would offer a debit card with access directly to the e-savings account. Haven't found it yet but I could swear I saw it somewhere. Anyone know?

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