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WTDirect Review – Designed For Savers in Control

By David Bakke

I recently have had the opportunity to review quite a few different online banking websites. WTDirect seems to offer quite a few features and benefits that I have yet to see in my experiences. I am not saying that these benefits are strictly unique to WTDirect, but they are worth checking out as you won’t find them everywhere. Keep in mind that WTDirect was one of the first high-yield online savings accounts.

1.21% APY

The most attractive benefit to banking with WTDirect is the 1.21% APY (annual percentage yield). It is consistently among the top five rates in the country. To be able to take advantage of this rate, however, you must maintain a balance in excess of $10,000. Accounts with balances lower than this will receive an interest rate significantly lower. But for the first 60 days, you will get this 1.21% as an introductory rate no matter your account balance. The rate is variable.

The Basics

Next, let’s go through the basics. WTDirect offers a savings account where they state that “superior savings meets superior service.” The customer service that they offer truly is superior. It is seven days a week (although it is not 24 hours). Also, they offer three options for contacting them. You can call them directly, you can e-mail them, or they also have an option that I have seen popping up lately—they will actually call you back. Personally, I think this idea is ingenious. Although I have never called WTDirect, I have used this feature when trying to contact other companies and it’s great. There is nothing that I hate more than waiting on hold. With this option, you basically just type in your phone number, and they call you when their next representative is available.

No Mininimums, No Monthly Fees

There is no minimum balance required, although to take full advantage of their best savings rate, there actually is. They also don’t have any “monthly” fees, but does this mean that there aren’t any fees at all? We’ll get to that in a minute.

More Options, Federally Insured

WTDirect gives you many options with respect to transfer limits and ways that you can move your money. They offer some of the highest transfer limits that I have yet to see. You can deposit transfer up to $500,000 at a time (and per month), and you can withdrawal transfer up to $200,000 at a time (and per month). They put a cap of six on the number of withdrawal transfers that you can do in a month. However, the number of deposit transfers that you can do in a month is unlimited.

WTDirect offers next-day transfers for qualified clients and they allow you an unlimited number of transfer links to other bank accounts. You can also initiate transfers from another bank account if you wish.

They also offer more ways to move your money. You can move it between WTDirect and another financial institution. You can move it between them and another Wilmington Trust account (Wilmington is their “parent” company).  You can set up automatic direct deposit. You can wire funds for immediate availability. Finally, if your needs require a treasurer’s check, they can set that up for you too.

Their accounts are FDIC insured up to the maximum allowable limit of $250,000 and it is insured by Wilmington Trust. As I mentioned earlier, WTDirect is a division of Wilmington Trust, who has been around for over 107 years. This is a great aspect of WTDirect because you have the benefit of stability on your side as well.

Not For Everyone

WTDirect makes no bones about it: they are not for everyone. They state this exact point in no uncertain terms on their site. Their online savings account is designed specifically for savers in control of their finances who insist on higher standards. As a result, WTDirect clients keep much higher balances with them (though this doesn’t preclude you from having an account with them even if you don’t plan on depositing a significant amount of money).

Resources Page

They have a resources page on their website which I found to be quite useful. They have links there to a personal learning center where you can learn more about investing, retirement planning, and more. They offer a few online calculators to help you set up goals. They also give you step-by-step instructions on how to take advantage of their Mobile Banking option. And, in addition to a few other things, they offer a “Forms” tab, which is where you would go to retrieve all forms you may need to fill out to utilize any of their many services. I really liked this section. More often than not, simply finding the form I need on a website can sometimes take forever and even require a phone call. At WTDirect, it is all right there for you.

My Final Take

One of the key benefits of WTDirect (high interest rates) cannot be taken advantage of unless you can maintain a balance of more than $10,000. The rate they offer is one of the best in the country. But even outside of these interest rates, the options that they offer with regards to transferring money are second to none. Moreover, they offer superior customer service, which is something you would be hard-pressed to find at other online banking sites.

They offer the ability to move your money around with ease, and their website is set up in a fashion that is quite user-friendly and easy to navigate. Should you decide to take advantage of WTDirect, keep in mind that you won’t have the stock market risk or long-term commitments of less liquid accounts. They clearly state that if you want to close your account, they’ll help you do so quickly and easily.

The Rest of the Story

My research into other reviews and possible complaints about WTDirect did not reveal much. Most reviews that I read were very much on the positive side. They were a few specific complaints that I found, but they did not seem to be credible, recent, nor indicate any kind of pattern in my opinion. But I will state this. The website, on its first page, states that there are no monthly fees. Yes, while it is true that there are no “monthly” fees, there certainly are fees involved with your account depending on what you need to do. To me, phrasing it as no “monthly” fees is basically playing games with words, and a little misleading. I actually had to go back and read it again before I realized that it did in fact say no “monthly” fees.

Digging deeper into the site, I found fees for account reconciliation, excessive withdrawals, next day transfers, overdrafts, paper statements, stop payment, treasurer’s checks, and two types of wire transfers. With all that said, just about any bank will charge fees for the majority of these actions.

Overall, I think that WTDirect would be a great place to put your money especially if you can take advantage of their high savings rate. You have the benefit of simplicity, stability, ease, and quality customer service. I would strongly recommend them.

Have you had an experience with WTDirect that you’d like to share? Feel free to do so below.

David Bakke
David started his own personal finance blog, YourFinances101, in June of 2009 and published his first book on ways to save more and spend less called "Don't Be A Mule..." Since then he has been a regular contributor for Money Crashers. He lives just outside Atlanta, GA and most all of his free time is taken up by his amazing three year old son, Nicholas.

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