UFB Direct Money Market Account Review 2023
Interest rates have been rising on savings and money market accounts at banks across the country. But you’d be hard pressed to find a better APY than that currently offered by the UFB Direct money market account.
Plus, this money market account comes with convenient banking tools, and extra insurance is available to those with high balances.
UFB Direct Money Market Account At-a-Glance
Here’s a brief overview of what you get with the UFB Direct money market account.
- One of the highest APYs currently available
- High APY available on all balances
- No monthly maintenance fee with a $5,000 balance
- ATM card and check-writing privileges
- FDIC insurance plus the option for expanded protection with UFB Direct InsureGuard+ Savings
- 24/7 account access and digital banking tools
The UFB Direct money market account is a strong contender for anyone looking to maximize the interest on their savings. Its highly competitive APY is one of the best currently available, and the account comes with 24/7 account access and convenient digital tools, including SMS banking.
If you have a $5,000 balance, you’ll avoid monthly maintenance fees, but otherwise, this account costs $10 per month. For those with small balances, the fee may be more than the interest earned, and in that case, there may be better savings accounts for you.
Overall, there is a lot to like about the UFB Direct money market account, but no account is perfect, and some existing accountholders warn of customer service concerns.
Pros & Cons of UFB Direct Money Market Account
Compare to Others
While the UFB Direct money market account has many positives, it’s always best to consider all your options before opening an account. Here’s a look at how UFB Direct compares to other money market options.
Like UFB Direct, Quontic Bank is an online institution without branches. Both offer convenient mobile banking tools though. You’ll need at least $100 to open a money market account at Quontic Bank, and it limits users to six monthly transactions.
While Quontic Bank has an above average APY for its money market accounts, its rate is not as high as UFB Direct, as of this writing. On the plus side, Quontic doesn’t charge overdraft or monthly fees, regardless of your account balance.
First Internet Bank
As another highly rated online institution, First Internet Bank offers a money market account that comes with many of the same mobile banking tools as UFB Direct. However, it structures its account differently.
With First Internet Bank, you’ll need at least $100 to open a money market account. Then, your interest rate is determined by your balance. If you have less than $1,000,000 in your account, your interest will be lower than that currently offered by UFB Direct. However, if your balance exceeds $1 million, you can earn more interest at First Internet Bank.
There is a $5 monthly fee for First Internet Bank money market accounts, but you can avoid it if your balance is greater than $4,000.
If you want to avoid any possibility of fees, you could open a money market account with CIT Bank. This online institution requires a $100 minimum opening deposit but then doesn’t charge anything for the account.
The downside is that the interest paid on the CIT Bank money market account is significantly lower than that offered by UFB Direct. What’s more, the account doesn’t come with check-writing privileges although you can deposit checks through the account’s mobile app.
Western State Bank
Both UFB Direct and Western State Bank pay the same APY to accountholders regardless of their balance. And while UFB Direct has a slight edge over Western State Bank in the amount of interest it pays, the two have comparable rates.
At Western State Bank, you’ll need $5,000 to open a money market account, but there is no minimum balance requirement after that. Accounts are limited to $10,000,000.
You can open an account at either institution online, but you’ll have to speak to a representative of Western State Bank on the phone to finish your application.
How the UFB Direct Money Market Account Works
A money market account is similar to a savings account, except that it may come with a checkbook or debit card. In the case of the UFB Direct money market account, you’ll get check-writing privileges that will make it easy to make payments from your account or access cash by writing a check to yourself.
To earn money with the UFB Direct money market account, you simply deposit money into your account via electronic transfers or mobile check deposits. Then, each month, any interest you earn is automatically applied to your balance.
Who Is the UFB Direct Money Market Account For?
A money market account from UFB Direct is an especially good choice for people who fall into the following categories:
- Have at least $5,000 to deposit and save in the account
- Are comfortable banking online and using digital tools such as mobile check deposit
- Want to maximize the interest earned by their savings
- Would like check-writing privileges to access their money
Rating the Features
Let’s take a closer look at the various features of the UFB Direct money market account, based on our own experience with the site as well as online customer reviews.
The user experience with the UFB Direct money market account seems to be a mixed bag. While the company’s website is straightforward with an easy application process, many online reviewers report problems, including delays in funding their account and receiving customer support when necessary.
If you have at least $5,000 to deposit and maintain in your account, you won’t have to worry about paying any monthly account fees. However, those with balances of less than $5,000 will need to pay $10 monthly to maintain their account.
In terms of other fees, overdraft protection transfers are offered free of charge as are ATM transactions. Eligible account holders will be provided a complimentary ATM card, and checks can be ordered at cost.
Interest rates are where UFB Direct really shines. It offers one of the best rates available on money market accounts today. Although UFB has a tier system in place, it currently pays the same high interest rate to balances in all tiers.
Existing customers have noted that when rates increase, they need to contact the bank to request an increase in the rate on their account. The rates on existing accounts apparently do not increase automatically.
UFB Direct doesn’t mention any minimum deposit requirements on its main website. However, according to its April 2023 deposit account agreement and schedule of fees, a $5,000 minimum deposit is required to open a Premier money market account.
This minimum deposit amount ensures new accountholders will be able to waive the monthly maintenance fee. But it also may place this account out of reach for those who are just starting to save.
Tools and Extras
UFB Direct customers can manage their accounts via the bank’s website or a mobile app which is available for both Apple and Android devices. Both will allow you to check account balances, transfer money and connect with Evo, the UFB virtual assistant. They also contain information and charts that display and track account trends.
Other tools include the option to conduct banking transactions via SMS/text messaging and mobile check deposits. The UFB website includes several videos that can walk you through the process of registering an account, transferring money and sending wire transfers.
Finally, UFB provides educational articles on its site that cover topics such as building credit, avoiding scams and preparing for retirement.
According to online reviewers, customer service seems to be the area in which UFB Direct falters. The bank offers a chatbot – its Evo virtual assistant – and a toll-free number to call for assistance. However, customers say they haven’t always been able to use these support channels successfully. In some cases, people say it has been difficult to connect with a human representative, and at other times, they say representatives haven’t been knowledgeable.
As an online institution, UFB Direct doesn’t maintain any physical locations outside its San Diego headquarters. You’ll need to use the bank’s website or app to conduct all transactions and connect with customer service, when needed. UFB Direct is also part of a network of 91,000 ATMs that are free for customers to use.
Safety and Security
UFB Direct uses a 128-bit SSL encryption to secure customer log-ins and applications. If a customer logs in but then is inactive for a period of time, UFB Direct will automatically log out the account to minimize the chance of someone gaining unauthorized access. Finally, UFB Direct monitors accounts for fraud and has anti-virus and firewall protections set up on its network.
How to Get Started
Applying for a UFB Premier money market account is an easy online process that takes about 15 minutes. To open an account, you must be 18 years old, a U.S. citizen and have all the following:
- Social Security Number
- U.S. driver’s license or state ID
- U.S. cell phone
- U.S. address (not a P.O. Box)
- Valid email
During the application process, you’ll be asked to first create your online account before providing personal information such your Social Security Number and proof of identification.
You can start an application and return to it later if needed. Existing customers can log into their UFB Direct account and apply for a money market account from there.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the downside of a money market account?
There is very little downside to a money market account. They typically come with higher interest rates than savings accounts and often provide either an ATM card or check-writing privileges.
Still, they may have higher deposit requirements than savings accounts, putting them out of reach for some people. Plus, some money market accounts may limit the number of transactions you can make each month.
Is UFB Direct a legitimate bank?
While it may not have any traditional branches, UFB Direct is a legitimate online institution. Its accounts are offered through Axos Bank which is a member of the FDIC. That means money is insured up to $250,000 per depositor. Those with larger balances can receive additional coverage through UFB Direct InsureGuard+ Savings program.
How We Rate Accounts
At MoneyRates, our methodology is designed to provide consumers with unbiased and comprehensive evaluations of various banking products. We rate a range of banking products, including savings, checking, CD, money market, investment, retirement accounts, and loans.
For each account we evaluate, we assign a star rating ranging from 1 (poor) to 5 (perfect) based on a set of key factors. These factors include interest rates, fees, accessibility, customer service, user experience, money management tools, and technology.
By considering all these factors, we aim to provide consumers with a clear and accurate picture of the products they are considering, allowing them to make informed decisions about their finances.