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Popular Direct Review of Savings and CD Rates

Posted July 30, 2018 5:07 p.m. EDT
Updated September 4, 2018 6:00 p.m. EDT

Year Established1999 Total Assets$9.5BLEARN MORE on Popular Direct’s secure website

Popular Direct is a division of Popular Bank, which has been around for 122 years. Popular Direct offers some of the best interest rates on deposit accounts on the market today. Currently, they offer just two account types: a savings account and certificates of deposit (CDs).

Popular Direct is an online-only bank, so you will not be able to make any transactions in person. However, the bank does operate a 24/7 call center which may be more convenient, especially if you have a hard time conducting bank-related transactions during working hours.

As of this writing, any new account will be subject to a 60-day hold on withdrawals, which, the website mentions, is a security step. Balances during this period will continue to earn interest. The hold may be modified by contacting their customer service support line.

If you don’t mind dealing with some of this inconvenience, then continue to read on. In this review, we’ll cover their high-yield savings accounts and CD offerings, and tell you how they work so you can decide if they’re right for you.

Popular Direct’s Most Popular Accounts

APY

Account Type

Account Name

Compare Rates from Similar Accounts

1.85%

Savings

Popular Direct Popular Direct Exclusive Savings - New Account Rate

1.85%

Goldman Sachs Bank USA High-yield Online Savings Account

LEARN MORE Secured

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

2.50%

CD Rates

Popular Direct 1 Year Popular Direct CD

2.50%

Ally Bank High Yield 12-Month CD

LEARN MORE Secured

on Ally Bank’s secure website

3.00%

CD Rates

Popular Direct 3 Year Popular Direct CD

2.70%

Synchrony Bank 36 Month CD

LEARN MORE Secured

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

3.25%

CD Rates

Popular Direct 5 Year Popular Direct CD

3.10%

Goldman Sachs Bank USA High-yield 5 Year CD

LEARN MORE Secured

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

In this article, we’ll cover:

Popular Direct savings account options

Popular Direct’s CD rates

Overall review of Popular Direct’s banking products

Popular Direct savings account options

[PopularDirectPlusSavingsAccount]Popular Direct Plus Savings Account[/PopularDirectPlusSavingsAccount]

This account offers a high interest rate, but it also comes with a high amount of hidden fees.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

2.00%

$0.01

  • Minimum opening deposit: $5,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $4 if your balance falls below $500
  • Overdraft fee: If the amount of the overdraft is less than $5, you will not be charged an overdraft fee. Otherwise, it’ll be $10 per occurrence, up to five occurrences per day. If your account stays overdrawn for more than seven days, you’ll pay a $5 “extended overdraft fee” per day after that, for up to 15 days (so, a potential total of another $75).

This account will require a hefty sum to open: a minimum of $5,000. After that, you can drop the balance as low as you like. However, if you drop the balance down to $500 or less and it stays that way by the end of any business day of the month (i.e., you don’t make a deposit to top off the balance above $500) you’ll pay a $4 account fee for that month.

Another limitation of this account is that there is no ATM access. You can only access your money via online banking, or by contacting Popular Direct.

Finally, there are a lot of hidden fees with this account. If you close the account within 180 days of opening it, you’ll pay a $25 “early account closing fee.” If you don’t have any activity on your account for a year or more, you’ll pay a $5 “dormancy fee” every single month. There’s also a $5 “excessive withdrawal fee” if you make more than six preauthorized or automatic withdrawals in a month. If you go over this amount frequently, Popular Direct may even close your account.

How to get the Popular Direct Plus Savings account

You can open the account in just a few minutes online. You’ll need your personal information, such as your name and Social Security number, as well as a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license.

When you open your account, you’ll need to designate an “External Account” — i.e., an account at another bank where the opening deposit will come from. Choose wisely, because you can’t change the External Account for at least 60 days after you open your account. Finally, also keep in mind that Popular Direct is currently placing a 60-day hold on funds in new accounts for security purposes. It may not be a good idea to put your money here if you think you may need to access it within the first 60 days.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Popular Direct’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How Popular Direct’s savings account compares

Popular Direct does offer one of the highest interest rates around on savings accounts. However, we’re left unimpressed by the large number of hidden fees and stipulations that come with this account. Furthermore, the $5,000 minimum opening deposit precludes a lot of people who are just getting started on their savings journey.

If you’re after a high interest rate, a lower minimum opening deposit, and a more fair fee structure, we recommend exploring these other top-performing savings accounts as well.

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Popular Direct’s CD rates

[PopularDirectCDs]Popular Direct CDs[/PopularDirectCDs]

These CDs offer fantastic rates, but require a hefty investment on your part.

Term

APY

3 months

0.75%

6 months

2.05%

1 year

2.50%

18 months

2.80%

2 years

2.95%

3 years

3.00%

4 years

3.05%

5 years

3.25%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $10,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: None
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • For the 3-month CD, you’ll pay 89 days’ worth of interest.
    • For the 6-month CD, you’ll pay 120 days’ worth of interest.
    • For the 1-year, 18-month, and 2-year CDs, you’ll pay 270 days’ worth of interest.
    • For the 3-year and 4-year CDs, you’ll pay 365 days’ worth of interest.
    • For the 5-year CD, you’ll pay 730 days’ worth of interest.

If you’ve got spare cash laying around — at least $10,000, to be exact — you can open a CD with Popular Direct.

These CDs are simpler products than the bank’s savings accounts, with fewer hidden fees. Still, you may get socked with a substantial fee if you make an early withdrawal from the account. For example, making an early withdrawal from the 3-month CD will cost you 89 days’ worth of simple interest — basically all of the interest you would have earned had you left it untouched.

While these CDs automatically renew at maturity, this bank gives you a 10-day grace period to make any changes to the CD or withdraw the money, if you choose.

How to get Popular Direct’s CDs

You can easily open a CD with Popular Direct online with the click of a few buttons.

One thing to keep in mind is that the bank is placing a 60-day hold on all new accounts after they’re opened. This shouldn’t be a big deal since most people don’t make withdrawals until the CD matures anyway. But, it’s just something to keep in mind in case you might need to make an early withdrawal within the first 60 days after opening.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Popular Direct’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How Popular Direct’s CD rates compare

Popular Direct also has some of the highest CD rates on the market currently. But, you’ve got a high bar to pass to get those high rates, with a minimum opening deposit of $10,000. If that’s not something you can afford, or if you want to see what else is on the market, we recommend checking out our current top picks for CD rates.

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Overall review of Popular Direct’s banking products

To be sure, Popular Direct is offering some of the best rates on the market with their savings and CD accounts. However, we’re not a fan of the high threshold for minimum opening deposit. This precludes a lot of people from opening an account at this bank.

Furthermore, we’re not fans of their complicated rules and fee structures, especially on their savings account. This bank may work for you if you’re careful and know your way around these restrictions. But for most other people, we’d recommend checking out other banks first.

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