Upgrade Savings Account Review 2023
Now that interest rates are rising, it’s time to reconsider where you are keeping your savings.
While many savings accounts at traditional banks continue to pay little to nothing in interest on customer balances, the APYs on online high-yield savings accounts have gone up significantly.
The Upgrade Premier savings account is one way to earn an interest rate that is much higher than the national average if you have a balance of at least $1,000.
What’s more, it has no account fees and offers same-day transfers.
Keep reading to find out if the Upgrade savings account is right for you.
Upgrade Premier Savings Account At-a-Glance
Which Banks Have the Best Savings Account Rates?
Finding the bank with the best savings account to meet your needs is simple. We’ve compiled some of the top banks and accounts into a list you can use to find your high-interest savings account.
Pros and Cons of Upgrade Premier Savings
Sometimes, the easiest way to determine whether a savings account is right for you is to consider its pros and cons side-by-side.
- High APY for balances at or greater than $1,000
- No account fees or transfer fees
- Same-day online transfers
- Easy online application
- FDIC insurance on deposits of up to $250,000
- No interest on balances less than $1,000
- Not available to current Rewards Checking Account customers
- No ATM card to access money
Compare to Other Savings Accounts
Upgrade isn’t your only choice for a high-yield savings account.
Several online institutions now offer savings accounts that pay interest far exceeding the national average.
Here’s a look at a couple of options and how they compare to Upgrade Premier Savings.
CIT Savings Connect
Like the Upgrade account, CIT Savings Connect doesn’t charge any monthly or ongoing maintenance fees.
It also offers a competitive interest rate and pays interest on all balances, although you will need to deposit $100 to open an account.
While Upgrade is a financial technology company that has partnered with a bank to offer savings accounts, CIT is the online division of First Citizens Bank.
American Express® High Yield Savings Account
American Express® customers may find it convenient to open an American Express® High Yield Savings Account.
As with Upgrade Premier savings, there is no minimum balance to open an account and no monthly account fees.
Deposits are insured by the FDIC as well. With the American Express account, though, interest is earned on the entire balance.
That differs from Upgrade, which only pays out interest on balances at or exceeding $1,000.
Bread Savings has no monthly account fees or hidden costs.
It has an APY that is comparable to that offered by the Upgrade Premier Savings, but you’ll need to deposit at least $100 to open a Bread Savings account.
Once the account is open, the entire balance deposited with Bread will begin earning interest immediately.
Who Is Upgrade Premier Savings for?
If you’re tired of earning next to nothing on savings held in a traditional bank account, an online account might be right for you.
The Upgrade Premier savings account is an especially good choice for those who:
- Want to earn one of the highest savings APYs currently available
- Plan to keep at least $1,000 in their savings account
- Don’t want to pay monthly account fees or transfer fees
- Are comfortable banking online
From a savings perspective, Upgrade only makes sense if you will keep at least $1,000 in your account.
Otherwise, you don’t earn any interest. In that case, you may be better off going with an account such as the Barclays Savings Account, which pays interest on any deposit amount.
It’s also worth noting that while Upgrade offers rewards checking and a variety of cards that can be used to earn rewards or finance purchases, the Premier savings account is intended as a stand-alone product.
If you have an existing rewards checking account, you aren’t eligible to open a Premier savings account although you may have the option for a different companion high-yield savings account.
Top Features of Upgrade Premier Savings
If you’re looking for a high-yield savings account, here are a few of the factors that help make Upgrade Premier savings stand out.
Perhaps the most attractive feature of the Upgrade Premier savings account is its stellar APY.
As of this writing, the account pays an APY that is 16 times greater than the national average.
If you are hoping to make some money off your emergency fund, this is a good place to do it. But again, the caveat is that balances less than $1,000 don’t earn interest.
No Monthly Fees
Another top feature of Upgrade Premier savings is its lack of fees.
You won’t pay a monthly maintenance fee for this account, regardless of your balance amount. Upgrade also doesn’t charge any transfer or transaction fees.
Easy Online Transfers
External bank accounts can be linked to the Upgrade Premier savings account, and same-day transfers of up to $100,000 can be made between accounts.
If you initiate a deposit externally or through a wire transfer, money should be available immediately upon receipt.
However, if you initiate the deposit through Upgrade, money may be held for three business days before it becomes available.
Convenient Account Management
While Upgrade doesn’t have any branches, it makes account management easy through its user-friendly website and mobile app.
They make it simple to check balances, move money between accounts, and even set alerts.
And unlike bank branches that are only open at certain times, the Upgrade app is available 24/7.
Upgrade is one of several financial technology firms that offer banking products.
Since these companies are not banks themselves, it’s important for customers to understand how and where their money will be held.
With Upgrade, deposits are maintained by Cross River Bank, which is a member of the FDIC.
That means customers with Upgrade can rest easy that their deposits are insured for up to $250,000.
How to Get Started
If you are ready to open an Upgrade Premier savings account, the process is simple and can be done entirely online.
There is also the option to open an account over the phone.
Existing Upgrade members can log into their accounts to open a savings account.
Otherwise, the first step for new customers is to enter their email address and create a password. Then, you should expect to provide information including:
- Phone number
- Social Security Number
- Government Identification
Upgrade notes that opening a savings account will result in a soft inquiry on your credit report, but that shouldn’t affect your credit score.
A driver’s license or similar identification is required by federal law when opening a bank account.
As part of the application process, you will also be asked to link an external bank account that can be used to fund and withdraw money from your Upgrade Premier Savings.
You can also wire money into your savings account or set up direct deposit from an employer.
Rating the Features
Not all banking accounts are the same, and here’s a look at how well the Upgrade Premier Savings Account performs in some key areas.
For those comfortable managing money online, the Upgrade website and mobile app should be intuitive and easy to use.
The online sign-up process is also simple and requires relatively little time and information from you.
If you run into trouble, you can call Upgrade for assistance. While phone support isn’t available 24 hours a day, it is offered seven days a week.
A lack of fees is one of the biggest selling points for the Upgrade Premier Savings Account.
You won’t pay monthly, annual, transfer, or transaction fees. It’s hard to beat a totally free account.
The rates on the Upgrade Premier savings account are a mixed bag.
On the one hand, the account’s APY is one of the highest available right now.
On the other hand, you only get that great APY if you have at least $1,000 in your account.
That means that this savings option is best for those who have a larger amount of money to deposit and don’t plan to spend down their balance.
For some people, the simplicity of the Upgrade Premier savings account is part of what makes it attractive.
Everyone gets the same account features: the same high APY for all deposits greater than $1,000 and no fees.
It is also a stand-alone product. However, if you were hoping for a savings product that might be more customizable or that will allow you to select complementary accounts, this might not be the best choice for you.
Customer support can be accessed by either emailing or calling Upgrade.
Online chat is currently available for some lending products, and the company says it will be coming soon for banking customers.
Upgrade also supports its customers by offering additional money management resources, including a comprehensive collection of credit health articles.
Any U.S. resident aged 18 or older can open an Upgrade Premier savings account, so long as they don’t already have an Upgrade Rewards checking account.
While Upgrade doesn’t operate branches, they do have a website and mobile app that make it easy to check account balances and manage money.
With interest rates rising, now is the time to consider moving your money to a high-yield account such as the Upgrade Premier savings account.
This account is great for those who want to avoid fees and earn one of the most competitive APYs available today.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Upgrade is a legitimate company, but it’s not a bank. Instead, it is what’s known as a financial technology, or fintech, company. These companies often excel at making money easy to manage through user-friendly mobile apps, and they partner with banks to keep customer deposits safe. For instance, money deposited into Upgrade Premier Savings Accounts is held by Cross River Bank, which is a member of the FDIC.
According to Upgrade, whether you are applying for a Premier Savings Account or a personal loan, only a soft inquiry will be made to your credit report. This should not affect your credit score.
Money can be added to an Upgrade Premier savings account through either a wire transfer or a transfer from an external bank account. Accounts can also be set up for direct deposit from an employer. Since Upgrade doesn’t provide an ATM for these accounts, cash deposits are not an option.