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UFB Direct Review – Online Banking With High Yields

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At a Glance
Ufb Direct Logo
3.8 / 5
Rating

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UFB Direct

  • Accounts: UFB Direct High-Interest Savings, UFB Premium Money Market
  • Bonuses: None
  • Monthly Maintenance Fees: $10 monthly maintenance fee on the money market account (waived with minimum balance)
  • Minimum Deposit Requirements: See terms and conditions for details
  • Benefits: Free P2P transfers, mobile check deposit, FinanceWorks

UFB Direct is a subsidiary of Axos Bank, a diversified financial services firm that administers deposit accounts and credit products for everyday consumers, small businesses, and commercial enterprises. Anyone with a U.S. address can make deposits and apply for loans.

UFB Direct has a limited but distinctive lineup of deposit accounts, including a savings and money market option. Like many other U.S.-based online banks, UFB Direct provides FDIC insurance up to $250,000 on all deposit accounts. In addition, the bank offers some nice value-added perks, including enrollment in Quicken’s FinanceWorks, a free, powerful budgeting and money-management tool, and MyDeposit, which lets you make check deposits right from your home or office desktop computer.

UFB Direct also offers mortgage loans for single-family home purchases. Its site does list more exotic mortgage products, such as multifamily mortgages and reverse mortgages, but these are actually available only through BofI Federal Bank.

Key Features

UFB Direct High-Interest Savings Account

This account requires a minimum opening deposit of $100. There’s no monthly maintenance fee or minimum balance requirement after that. The yield is 0.00% APY on balances up to $10,000, and 0.40% APY on balances above that amount. When you open your account, you get a free ATM card, but mind the legally mandated limit of 6 withdrawals in a statement cycle. If you exceed that limit, you’ll pay a $10 fee for each additional transaction.

UFB Premium Money Market Account

This account requires a $5,000 minimum opening deposit. There’s technically no minimum balance requirement, though the only way to waive the $10 monthly maintenance fee is to maintain a minimum daily balance of $5,000. The yield is 0.40% APY on balances of $25,000 or greater. Like the UFB Premium Savings Account, the UFB High Yield Money Market Account comes with a free, optional Visa-branded debit/ATM card and free optional checks, though the same monthly withdrawal limits and excess transaction fees apply.

Mortgage Loans

UFB Direct offers a wide range of home loans through BofI Federal:

Person-to-Person (P2P) Transfers

UFB Direct lets you make free person-to-person (P2P) transfers from your checking account using Popmoney, a third-party service. This feature is useful if you need to split the bill at lunch or settle a small debt on the go and don’t have enough cash on hand.

UFB Direct also integrates with third-party mobile wallet apps like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay. These services have their own idiosyncrasies and may charge transfer fees, so be sure to read the fine print.

Customer Support

UFB Direct’s customer support team is available by phone on weekdays from 6am to 6pm Eastern Standard Time. There’s no weekend availability, though automated phone banking features such as balance checks are available 24-7. Emailed queries typically produce a response within one business day.

Mobile App

UFB Direct has a mobile app that works with Android and iOS operating systems and has many of the features and functions available on the desktop site. You can also use its Mobile Deposit feature to make mobile check deposits from anywhere with a cellular connection. Simply snap a photo of the front and back of your check and follow the prompts, and the deposit appears in your account.

FinanceWorks

UFB Direct integrates with FinanceWorks, a dashboard system that lets you see all your financial accounts in one place. FinanceWorks’ cash flow analysis tools show you how you’re spending your money and can help identify opportunities to tighten up your budget.

Advantages

1. Deposit Checks From Anywhere
These days, mobile check deposit is pretty much standard at online banks, and UFB Direct is no exception. With UFB Direct’s Mobile Deposit feature, you simply snap a couple of photos with your phone, follow the online prompts, and watch your account balance rise. There’s also a cool desktop check deposit feature called MyDeposit – the likes of which isn’t available at many other online banks. It functions much the same as Mobile Deposit, except you scan your check instead of photographing it.

2. Free P2P Transfers Are Nice
UFB Direct lets customers make free P2P transfers through Popmoney, a third-party service. Popmoney is a great way to handle informal cost-sharing situations, such as splitting a restaurant bill, without using cash.

Many online banks don’t offer P2P transfers at all. Others levy charges for certain types of transfers.

3. Reasonable Excessive-Transaction Fee
Due to federal restrictions on how frequently one can withdraw funds from a savings or money market account, virtually every online bank imposes an excessive-transaction fee for withdrawals above the 6-per-month limit. At $10 per transaction, UFB Direct’s fee is pretty reasonable. For comparison, Synchrony Bank charges $20 per transaction.

4. FinanceWorks Is a Nice Extra Perk
UFB Direct provides FinanceWorks, a Quicken-powered personal accounting program, to every depositor at no additional charge. If you’re looking for an easy way to organize your finances without creating your own spreadsheets or investing in potentially costly accounting software, it’s hard to do better. Some popular online banks, including Ally Bank, don’t see clear to offer FinanceWorks or any similar program as a fringe benefit.

5. Solid Money Market Yields
UFB Direct’s money market account has a pretty solid yield, though it does require a high minimum balance to obtain.

Disadvantages

1. No CDs
There’s a major gap in UFB Direct’s deposit account offerings: it does not offer CDs. As CDs are relatively safe and predictable – and typically come with higher yields than savings, money market, and interest-bearing checking accounts – this is a big drawback for savers. Some competing online banks typically have at least a handful of CDs of various yields and term lengths.

2. No Retirement Options
UFB Direct also doesn’t offer tax-advantaged retirement accounts, such as IRAs. This is a significant disadvantage for long-term savers looking to shield their nest eggs from federal taxation. Many online banks, including Synchrony Bank and Nationwide Bank, allow customers to structure money market accounts and CDs as traditional, Roth, or SEP IRAs, and occasionally as more novel retirement products.

3. High Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements for High-Yield Accounts
UFB Direct’s money market and savings accounts both have high minimum balance requirements to open and/or earn yield, burdening rank-and-file customers. For comparison, Ally Bank doesn’t require any minimum balance in its money market account, and never charges a maintenance fee.

4. Very Limited Credit Offerings
Aside from mortgage loans for single-family home purchases, UFB Direct doesn’t have much in the way of credit products. You can’t get a personal loan, auto loan, student loan, home equity loan or line of credit, or even a home refinance loan.

Other online banks have a much better selection of credit options. For example, Discover Bank has an impressive lineup of branded credit cards, while Nationwide Bank boasts personal, auto, and specialty vehicle loans.

Final Word

UFB Direct has a small but impressive lineup of high-yield deposit accounts. It’s a great resource for well-heeled depositors seeking above-market returns on liquid cash. A checking account or two would be nice, as would a fuller range of loan products, but UFB Direct is great for what it is.

Verdict
Ufb Direct Logo
3.8 / 5
Rating

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UFB Direct

UFB Direct‘s best feature is its above-average savings and money market yields. Value-added perks such as FinanceWorks and free Popmoney transfers help around the margins, as does mortgage loan access. However, high balance requirements are a problem for customers without ample liquid reserves.

High yields are great, as are free P2P transfers. But no CD or retirement options and restrictive money market and savings account policies detract from the overall picture.

 

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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