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Bank of Internet USA Review

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by Lauren Perez Updated
Bank of Internet USA

Bank of Internet USA (BofI) offers a great online bank option for customers who don’t mind banking without physical branches. You have access to a variety of bank accounts from a simple savings account to an IRA CD. Each account is free since BofI does not charge a monthly fee. Only three accounts require a minimum deposit, too. 

In terms of interest rates, Bank of Internet has some of the best. Online banks typically offer the highest rates in the industry, and BofI is no exception. Just determine whether you’ll need to meet certain conditions or minimum balances to earn at the highest rates. You can still find some better rates at other online bank competitors, however. 

Products Offered 

Product Key Details
Savings Accounts
  • Competitive interest rate
  • No minimum deposit or monthly fee
Certificates of Deposit
  • Seven term options from three to 60 months
  • $1,000 minimum deposit
Money Market Accounts
  • ATM card and check-writing abilities
  • Competitive interest rate
Checking Accounts
  • Five account options, three are interest-earning and one earns cash back
  • Cash Back Purchase Rewards feature
IRAs
  • Roth and traditional options
  • Regular savings account and CDs 

Bank of Internet USA Interest Rate Comparison

Bank of Internet USA Overview

Entirely online, Bank of Internet USA uses its branchless banking model to provide some of the best savings to its customers. It brands itself as a bank that will maintain its focus on its customers and their financial goals. This is certainly made easier with its 24/7 access to your accounts and many ways to access a bank representative. 

Bank of Internet USA Account Features

is easily accessible both online and on mobile. This makes it easy to transfer funds through Popmoney, an electronic money transfer service. You can even deposit checks into an account on your smartphone. BofI bank accounts don’t require minimum balances or monthly fees, making accounts more accessible to customers and easier to maintain.

Plus, the bank’s checking accounts also offer a couple tools to make managing your money even easier. The MX Money Management tool helps you set up budgets and stick to them. The Green Dot® Reload @ the Register feature allows you to use your Bank of Internet USA debit card at registers to deposit money into a BofI account. 

Bank of Internet USA compounds interest daily on its interest-earning bank accounts. This means that today’s balance will earn interest which will in turn earn more interest tomorrow and so on. This allows your account to grow even faster than if it were to compound monthly, for example. 

Bank of Internet USA Smart Savings Account

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $0
Access to Your Savings Account Online, mobile and over the phone.
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 
Fees None
Current Terms and Rates 1.30% APY

The Bank of Internet USA Smart Savings account is the bank’s approach to a simple, but high-yield savings account. You won’t have to worry about meeting any minimum amounts or paying a monthly fee with this savings account. That way you can really take advantage of the account’s competitive APY.

You can easily access your Smart Savings account online or on mobile. This allows you to check your balances, deposit checks on your phone, make transfers and more. 

Bank of Internet USA CDs (Certificates of Deposit)

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $1,000
Access to Your CD Online and mobile.
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 
Fees No monthly fee, but you’ll face a penalty for early withdrawal.
Current Terms and Rates
  • 3 Month: 0.55% APY
  • 6 Month: 0.75% APY
  • 12 Month: 1.00% APY
  • 24 Month: 1.20% APY
  • 36 Month: 1.30% APY
  • 48 Month: 1.40% APY
  • 60 Month: 2.25% APY

If you’re unfamiliar with certificates of deposit, or CDs, they are timed deposit accounts that allow you to save at competitive rates. You choose the term length that best fits your savings goals, whether short- or long-term, and make your deposit into the account. After that, you cannot touch the account without incurring a hefty penalty until it reaches the end of its term, or maturity date. Then you can renew the account for the same term length or you can withdraw your earnings. 

Bank of Internet offers seven different CD terms from three to 60 months. Each term has pretty decent rates, especially when compared to bigger bank rates. You can still find higher CD rates at other online banks, however. 

BofI CDs do require a minimum deposit of $1,000. This may seem like a high amount to potential customers. It certainly is when compared to the $0 or $500 minimums of other banks. This amount still doesn’t reach as high as other CD minimum deposits which can climb to $10,000. Plus, having a higher CD deposit means you have more money to grow throughout its term and more money to withdraw at maturity. 

Once your BofI CD reaches maturity, you have 10 days to make any changes or withdrawals. If you don’t take any action within this grace period, your CD will automatically renew for the same term length. 

Bank of Internet USA Smart Money Market Account

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $0
Access to Your Money Market Account Online, mobile, over the phone and debit card.
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 
Fees None
Current Terms and Rates 1.05% APY

Bank of Internet also offers its Smart Money Market account, a sort of mix between a standard savings account and a checking account. Money market accounts typically have higher rates than their standard savings account counterparts. The BofI Smart Money Market account earns at a solid APY, although a lower rate than the bank’s Smart Savings account. 

The Smart Money Market account offers customers a little more flexibility in accessing their account with a Bank of Internet USA Visa® Debit Card and free check writing. You are still limited to six outgoing transactions, however, including transfers and withdrawals. 

Unlike the Smart Savings account, this account includes free bill pay abilities and free online check images. 

Bank of Internet USA Rewards Checking Account

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $0
Access to Your Checking Account Online, mobile, over the phone and debit card.
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 
Fees None
Current Terms and Rates
  • With monthly direct deposits totaling at least $1,000: 0.4166% APY
  • Use your Bank of Internet USA Visa® debit card at least:
    • 10 times per month (minimum $3 per transaction): 0.4166% APY
    • 5 more transactions, totaling 15 times per month (minimum $3 per transaction): 0.4166% APY
  • Meet all conditions: 1.25% APY

The Rewards Checking account is the first of BofI’s interest-earning checking accounts. You can earn interest on this account in an interesting conditional system. For every condition you meet, you earn at a 0.4166% APY. If you meet two conditions, you can earn at a 0.8332% APY. Then when you meet all three, you unlock the highest rate of 1.25%. 

Not only does this account earn interest, but it also gives you the opportunity to earn Cash Back Purchase Rewards. This program gives you different cash back offers that you can choose from depending on what you’re interested in. Once you’ve made your choices, you can use your BofI debit card to make purchases within those offers and earn cash back for each purchase. 

Luckily, you can focus your energy on meeting the rate and cash back conditions rather than any balance minimums or monthly fees, since the Rewards Checking account doesn’t implement either. Without any ATMs of its own, BofI allows you to use any ATM nationwide for free. BofI will also reimburse any and all ATM fees you get charged by out-of-network ATMs. 

You can access your account online and on mobile. You can also set up email and text alerts. BofI checking accounts also include the MX Money Management tool and the Green Dot® Reload @ the Register. The MX tool helps you manage your budgets. Green Dot® Reload @ the Register makes it easier to deposit money into your BofI accounts by allowing you to make deposits using your debit card at cash registers. 

Bank of Internet USA Platinum Checking Account 

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $0
Access to Your Checking Account Online, mobile, over the phone and debit card.
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 
Fees None
Current Terms and Rates Account balances of $5,000 and over: 0.71% APY

If you’re unable to meet the Rewards Checking account’s interest rate conditions, or you’re simply uninterested in jumping through hoops to earn interest, you might be more interested in the Platinum Checking Account. This checking account earns at a lower interest rate, but it’s easier to qualify for this rate. You just have to maintain an account balance of at least $5,000 to earn interest. 

This account still offers the ability to participate in BofI’s Cash Back Purchase Rewards program. That way, you can earn interest on your account balance and earn cash back on certain purchases at the same time. 

You’ll never face a monthly service fee, nor fees for overdrafts or non-sufficient funds with the Bank of Internet Platinum Checking account. The bank will also reimburse foreign ATM fees up to $8 per month. Plus, this account also includes the MX Money Management tool and Green Dot® Reload @ the Register™ feature. 

Bank of Internet USA CashBack Checking Account

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $0
Access to Your Checking Account Online, mobile, over the phone and debit card.
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 
Fees None
Current Terms and Rates
  • Average daily collected balances below $1,500: 0.50% cash back
  • Average daily collected balances of $1,500 and over: 1.00% cash back

This checking account focuses on earning cash back on purchases instead of interest on your balance. You can simply use your debit card associated with this account to make signature-based transactions to earn your cash back. There is a balance tier that determines how much cash back you earn. If your average daily collected balance falls below $1,500, you’ll earn 0.50% cash back. Any balances over $1,500 earn at the max of 1.00% cash back. Even better, you still have the opportunity to earn more cash back when you also sign up for BofI’s Cash Back Purchase Rewards. You are limited to $2,000 in CashBack Checking cash back per month. 

As always, this BofI checking account includes free access to the budgeting tool MX Money Management and Green Dot® Reload @ the Register™.

Bank of Internet USA Golden Checking Account

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $0
Access to Your Checking Account Online, mobile, over the phone and debit card.
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 
Fees None
Current Terms and Rates 0.20% APY

The Bank of Internet USA Golden Checking account is meant for customers aged 55 and older. All customers can earn interest regardless of their account balance. Again, you can also sign up for Cash Back Purchase Rewards for extra earnings in the form of cash back. 

Plus, since spending can be tough for seniors with limited income, this account still doesn’t charge a monthly fee or require any minimums. Golden Checking customers have free access to MX Money Management which helps set budgets and stick to them. BofI Checking customers can also take advantage of Green Dot® Reload @ the Register™ which allows you to deposit cash into your account with your debit card. 

Bank of Internet USA Essential Checking Account

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $0
Access to Your Checking Account Online, mobile, over the phone and debit card.
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 
Fees None

This is Bank of Internet’s simplest, no-hassle checking account. It is the only account that does not earn interest (or cash back) on its own. You can still sign up for and participate in Cash Back Purchase Rewards to earn extra cash back. You can also benefit from unlimited domestic ATM reimbursements. 

You won’t have to worry about overdraft or non-sufficient funds fees with this account. Plus, you’ll still benefit from free MX Money Management and Green Dot® Reload @ the Register™. 

Bank of Internet USA IRA/Roth Savings

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $250
Access to Your IRA Online, mobile and over the phone.
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 
Fees None
Current Terms and Rates
  • Account balances below $1,000: 0.15% APY
  • Account balances of $1,000 and above: 0.70% APY

Bank of Internet USA IRA/Roth Savings account is the first of the bank’s IRA options. You need to start the account with at least $250, unlike the bank’s regular savings account. From there, you’ll start earning interest depending on your balance. When your balance is below $1,000, you’ll earn at a 0.15% APY. Any balances above $1,000 earn at the higher rate of 0.70% APY. In that case, it would benefit you and your retirement savings to set up automatic deposits to get yourself to that higher APY more quickly. 

Bank of Internet USA IRA/Roth Certificate of Deposit (CD)

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $1,000
Access to Your IRA Online and mobile.
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 
Fees None
Current Terms and Rates
  • 12 Month: 0.60% APY
  • 18 Month: 0.70% APY
  • 36 Month: 0.75% APY

Bank of Internet offers three IRA CDs in 12-month, 18-month and 36-month terms. Each term offers a decent interest rate, especially when it comes to IRA CDs. Just like the standard CDs, you’ll need at least $1,000 to open and fund a BofI IRA CD. This ensures your account has something to grow.

Where Can I Find Bank of Internet USA?

As you might be able to tell from the name, you can find Bank of Internet USA online and on mobile. It operates entirely online without any physical branches. You can still access your accounts with a BofI debit card at any ATM or even at a cash register, whether using cash back or the Green Dot® Reload @ the Register™ feature. 

What Can You Do Online With Bank of Internet USA?

You can do anything you need to do with your BofI accounts online. This includes simply checking on your balances, sending or receiving money transfers, opening a new account and more. 

If you don’t have an account, you can find all the bank’s information on its website. That way you can find the right account for you and your financial situation. 

There is also a live chat feature on the bank’s website that is open 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. PST from Monday to Friday. This feature is available to both customers and non-customers. Live chat is perfect for talking to a professional representative in the event you have a question about the bank’s offerings. 

How Do I Access My Money?

This image details Bank of Internet's mobile offerings.

You can most easily access your money online or on mobile. You can make deposits and transfers with these methods, although you cannot deposit cash. In that case, you can use any ATM in the U.S. or take advantage of the Green Dot® Reload @ the Register™ feature so you can deposit cash into your account with your debit card at a cash register. You can deposit checks with your smartphone, however, as long as you have the bank’s mobile app. 

You can also access your accounts through a representative with the secure message system on your account, over the phone, over fax or by sending mail (email and snail mail). 

How Can I Save More Money With a Bank of Internet USA Account?

You can definitely save more money with a Bank of Internet USA account due to its competitive interest rates and free accounts. Its interest rates grow your money at faster rates than many of its big bank competitors, especially with interest compounded daily. You can keep those earnings with BofI, too, since you don’t have to worry about paying or avoiding a monthly fee for any of its accounts. 

What’s the Process for Opening an Account With Bank of Internet USA?

This image details the first page to open a Bank of Internet account.

To open an account with Bank of Internet USA, you can start by clicking an “Apply Now” button on the website for the account you’d like to open. You’ll then need to provide your Social Security Number, valid U.S. driver’s license, and contact and personal information. This includes physical addresses, email addresses and phone numbers. You’ll also have to provide details of the account you’ll use to fund your new BofI account. 

If you plan to open a BofI account as a joint account, you’ll need to provide all the above information for each account owner. 

What’s the Catch? 

Bank of Internet USA is entirely online. While its online and mobile features making access your money convenient, it may not be enough for those who value having a nearby branch. BofI doesn’t have its own ATMs, either, although you can still use any ATM nationwide without a BofI fee.

Another downside to BofI is that you can still find better interest rates at other online banks. Online banks are known for having more favorable rates than big banks with thousands of branches. Bank of Internet certainly offers better rates than the biggest banks but it doesn’t quite keep up with its online-only competitors. 

Bottom Line

Bank of Internet USA is a solid choice in the online bank scene. Its rates aren’t the highest, but they still outperform many other and bigger banks. Plus, the bank doesn’t charge monthly fees and keeps any minimum balance requirements low. It’s a great option if you don’t mind banking mostly online and on mobile. Still, the bank makes up for its lack of branches with nationwide ATM access and convenient deposit options. 

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Best Places to Save

SmartAsset’s interactive map highlights the places in the country where people have the opportunity to save money. Zoom between states and the national map to see the best places to save.

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Rank County Median Household Income Cost of Living Purchasing Power Estimated Tax Rate

Methodology Where you live can have a big impact on how easy it is to save money based on several regional factors. Our study aims to find the most suitable places for people to save based on median household income, average living expenses and income tax burden.

First, we calculated the average cost of living in each county for a household with two adults (one working). We then created a purchasing power index for each county. This reflects the counties with the highest ratio of household income to cost of living.

To better compare income tax burdens across counties, we applied relevant deductions and exemptions before calculating federal, state and local income taxes for a family making $50,000 annual income in each location. Next, we created an effective tax rate index for each county, which reflects the counties with the lowest ratio of income taxes to the assumed $50,000 annual income.

Finally, we calculated the weighted average of the indices to yield an overall best places to save score. We used a three-fourths weighting for purchasing power and a one-fourth weighting for tax rates. We indexed the final number so higher values reflect places that are better to save.

Sources: US Census Bureau 2016 5-Year American Community Survey, MIT Living Wage Study