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TIAA Bank Review

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by Nina Semczuk Updated
TIAA Bank

In June 2017, TIAA Bank officially acquired EverBank. As of June 2018, EverBank has rebranded as TIAA Bank. 

TIAA Bank may appeal most to customers who are able to meet its high account minimums. Most TIAA Bank savings accounts require a minimum deposit, ranging from $1,000 for a basic CD to $5,000 for a Yield Pledge checking account. TIAA Bank also offers special kinds of CDs, like one based on the London Interbank Offered Rate or their CDARS for clients with large amounts of money.

If you are able to meet TIAA Bank' high minimums, you’ll have access to a large variety of savings options. TIAA Bank has some of the most options of any bank we review.  It also has some of the highest interest rates available. 

It’s important to note that TIAA Bank only has physical locations in Florida. To access your accounts elsewhere, you will be limited to its website, mobile app or over-the-phone service.

Products Offered

Products Key Features 
Yield Pledge® Checking Account
  • No monthly account fee
  • $5,000 minimum to open
Yield Pledge® Money Market Account
  • $5,000 minimum to open
  • Mobile check deposits
  • IRA eligible
Yield Pledge® CD
  • 10 different CD lengths offered
  • $5,000 minimum deposit
  • IRA eligible
  • No monthly fees
3.5-Year Bump Rate CD
  • Optional one-time rate bump
  • $1,500 minimum deposit
  • IRA eligible
CDARS®
  • FDIC coverage on millions in deposits
  • $10,000 to open
  • No account fees
Basic CD
  • $1,000 minimum deposit
  • Terms from three months to five years
  • IRA eligible
Basic Checking
  • $25 minimum deposit
  • Mobile check deposits
Basic Savings
  • $25 to open
  • IRA eligible
  • Mobile check deposits

TIAA Bank Overview

TIAA Bank traces its roots back to 1918 when Andrew Carnegie founded the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA). It was designed to provide pensions for professors. In June 2017, TIAA Bank acquired EverBank and Everbank, in turn, began rebranding all its services as TIAA Bank in June 2018. Much of EverBank's products and systems remained the same. 

TIAA Bank operates a full suite of retail banking services online as well as in its Florida locations. Home lending offices can be found around the country as well for mortgage clients. 

At TIAA Bank you can choose from an extensive variety of CDs, savings and other banks accounts that offer competitive interest rates. 

TIAA Bank Savings Summary 

You have all sorts of options at TIAA Bank, such as the typical retail bank offerings of checking and savings accounts and CDs. On top of that, you can choose from a variety of specialized TIAA Bank CDs such as the CDARS or bump rate CDs. Also available are checking accounts with interest and money market accounts with more interest than the bank's more basic offerings. Many of the bank's accounts have higher-than-average minimum deposits, which is something to note if you’re a newer saver and don’t have much money to start with.

TIAA Bank Yield Pledge® Checking Account

Features Details
Minimum Deposit $5,000
Minimum Daily Balance $5,000 to get ATM charge reimbursement.
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law.
Current Terms and Rates
  • 1.21% annual percentage yield (APY) for the first year on balances up to $250,000.
  • After one-year introductory period:
    • Account balances $0 - $9,999.99: 0.25% APY
    • Account balances $10,000 - $24,999.99: 0.46% APY
    • Account balances $25,000 - $99,999.99: 0.61% APY
    • Account balances $100,000 - $10,000,000: 0.71% APY 

While most checkings accounts don’t earn interest, you actually can earn interest with TIAA Bank's Yield Pledge® Checking account. You need at least $5,000 to open the account, and once you do, you’ll have the advantage of a one-year introductory interest rate. After the intro offer ends, your interest rates will drop. The higher your account balance, however, the less of a drop in interest. 

TIAA Bank promises to keep interest rates in the top 5% of competitive accounts once your intro period is over. 

Since this is a checking account, you will have an ATM card and have free bill pay with the account. You’ll receive unlimited ATM fee reimbursements if you keep your minimum balance over $5,000.

TIAA Bank Yield Pledge® Money Market Account

Features Details 
Minimum Deposit $5,000
Minimum Daily Balance No minimum
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 
Current Terms and Rates
  • Intro 1.50% APY for the first year on balances up to $250,000.
  • After one-year introductory period:
    • Account balances $0 - $9,999.99: 1.05% APY
    • Account balances $10,000 - $24,999.99: 1.10% APY
    • Account balances of $25,000 - $49,999.99: 1.15% APY
    • Account balances of $50,000 - $99,999.99: 1.25% APY
    • Account balances of $100,000 and over: 1.35% APY

If you want to earn interest on your money at a higher rate than what the Yield Pledge® Checking account offers after the intro offer expires, you might find a money market account to be useful. While you can’t execute as many transactions with this type of an account as it’s more akin to a savings account, you can still access funds easily. You have six transactions per month with TIAA Bank's Yield Pledge® Money Market account. 

The introductory offer will give you a year's worth of interest earnings at a higher rate, and after that you’ll be in what TIAA Bank deems the top 5% of competitive accounts. This number is derived from Bankrate’s monitor national index survey from the last week of each month. The number will generally be lower than your intro offer.

TIAA Bank Yield Pledge® CD

Features Details 
Minimum Deposit $5,000 to open
Access to Your CD Online, mobile or phone access 
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law.
Fees No fees, but there are penalties if you choose to withdraw from a CD prior to maturity.
Current Terms and Rates
  • 3 Month: 1.51% APY 

  • 6 Month: 1.66% APY

  • 9 Month: 1.80% APY

  • 1 Year: 2.35% APY

  • 1.5 Year: 2.45% APY

  • 2 Year: 2.50% APY

  • 2.5 Year: 2.06% APY

  • 3 Year: 2.70% APY

  • 4 Year: 2.80% APY

  • 5 Year: 2.90% APY

Curious as to what exactly a CD is? It stands for a certificate of deposit, which is a deposit you buy from a bank and is offered for set lengths of time, known at terms. Most CDs have a minimum deposit amount which you’ll need to meet in order to open one. Interest rates can change throughout the years depending on the economy, but once you pick a CD term length and fund the account, your interest rate is locked in. It won’t fluctuate throughout the years or months that you have the CD.

TIAA Bank offers a variety of CD options. This option, the Yield Pledge® CD, is advertised as having very competitive interest rates. You’ll need a minimum of $5,000 to open an account. The shortest term you can choose is three months, and the longest is five years. If you have the funds, you can open multiple CDs for differing lengths so that not all of your money is locked up at one time. CDs are best if you plan ahead and factor in that the money will be tucked away and untouchable for a certain amount of time. But if you do find you need to withdraw funds prior to the maturity date, you’ll have to pay a penalty fee for doing so. 

TIAA Bank 3.5-Year Bump Rate CD

Features  Details 
Minimum Deposit $1,500 
Access to Your CD Online, mobile or phone access 
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 
Fees No fees, but there are penalties if you choose to withdraw from a CD prior to maturity.
Current Terms and Rates 2.70% APY on all balances up to $250,000

This specialty CD has the option of a one-time rate bump. The benefit to opening this CD is that if interest rates rise, you won’t miss out. If interest rates rise during your CD’s term, you can request to use your bump. For the rest of the term, you’ll earn that higher rate. In addition, if interest rates lower past your initial rate, you will still keep your higher interest rate.  There’s only one term for this CD, which is 42 months, but the minimum deposit is only $1,500. 

TIAA Bank CDARS® Service

Features Details 
Minimum Deposit $10,000 
Access to Your CD Online, mobile or phone access 
Security FDIC insurance up to millions.
Fees No account or setup charges, but there are penalties if you choose to withdraw from a CD prior to maturity.

 

Term APY Funding Limit
3 Month 1.27% $12.5M
6 Month 1.39% $12.5M
1 Year 2.02% $12.5M
2 Year 2.05% $2.5M
3 Year 2.12% $1M

TIAA Bank partners with the Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service (CDARS) to offer clients a way to protect large amounts of money with FDIC insurance. If you exceed the $250,000 FDIC limit at any one bank, you lose out on keeping your money protected in case of a bank failure or other negative event. 

With CDARS, your money will be spread across the CDARS bank network ensuring that you don’t go over the $250,000 limit at any one bank. The minimum is $10,000 to open, but most clients use this for assets in the millions. You will have limits depending on the term length you choose. The shortest term is three months, which you can fund up to $12.5 million. The longest term, three years, has a cap of $1 million.

Unlike most CDs, your CDs won’t automatically rollover if you use CDARS. You’ll have to call and request a rollover if you’d like one for your account. 

TIAA Bank Basic CD

Features  Details 
Minimum Deposit $1,000, shortest term is three months
Access to Your CD Online, mobile or phone access 
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 
Fees No fees, but there are penalties if you choose to withdraw from a CD prior to maturity.
Current Terms and Rates
  • 3 Month: 1.26% APY

  • 6 Month: 1.41% APY

  • 9 Month: 1.55% APY

  • 1 Year: 2.10% APY

  • 1.5 Year: 2.20% APY

  • 2 Year: 2.25% APY

  • 2.5 Year: 2.35% APY

  • 3 Year: 2.45% APY

  • 4 Year: 2.55% APY

  • 5 Year: 2.65% APY

If TIAA Bank's Yield Pledge CD options have too high of an account minimum for you, there are basic CDs that the bank offers for $1,000 minimums. You can choose from three-month terms all the way to five years. The only difference between a basic CD and a Yield Pledge CD is that the rates are a little lower with the basic option. You’ll still have FDIC-coverage, a 20-day maturity alert and automatic rollover with these accounts, so you won’t be missing out on much.

TIAA Bank Basic Checking and Basic Savings

Features Details 
Minimum Deposit $25
Fees $0 for New York residents, $5 for all others; no monthly account fee with $25 balance
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law.
Current Terms and Rates Basic Savings Account: 0.61% APY

TIAA Bank is a full-scale retail bank, so along with the premium savings options, you can also find basic checking and savings accounts. With the checking account you’ll get an ATM card and free online bill pay. If you keep your account about $5,000, you’ll receive ATM charge refunds. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay ATM fees as TIAA Bank only has locations in Florida. 

Earning at a 0.61% APY, the basic savings account has many of the typical features you’d find in a bank account: up to six transactions a month, mobile check deposits and FDIC insurance. Plus, you have the option of opening an TIAA Bank Basic Savings account as an IRA. All TIAA Bank accounts can be accessed through the website, mobile app or telephone, so you’ll never not have access to your account.

Where Can I Find TIAA Bank?

Florida is home to a number of TIAA Bank retail branches. But for most customers, you’ll access the bank online, either through its website or mobile app. The company operates online and offers its savings and other accounts through its website, so you never have to visit a branch unless you want to. You also have the option to call the bank’s phone line, if you don’t have readily available internet access.

What Can You Do Online With TIAA Bank?

TIAA Bank prides itself on its online presence. You can apply for its products online without having to call or mail in an application. Once you have an account, you can pay bills, transfer money, activate direct deposit and more through the site. The company offers a free download of Trusteer Rapport, a software to help keep your information secure on its site for customer use. If you want to chat with a customer service rep but don’t feel like calling, you can use the chat feature on the website. 

In addition to the website, you can download the Android or iPhone app TIAA Bank provides. With the mobile app, you can deposit checks, check balances, find an ATM, pay bills and more. You’ll be able to see the status of your account or accounts at any time with TIAA Bank's online system. 

How Do I Access My Money?

You have a variety of way to access money you have in an TIAA Bank account. If you have a checking account, you can use your ATM card to withdraw cash. With some accounts, if you keep your balance above $5,000 you’ll have all ATM charges refunded. 

For other accounts, you can withdraw money via electronic transfer. This means linking an external bank account and sending money to yourself from one account to another. At any time, you can check your balances using the mobile app or the website. And with the mobile app, you can transfer money internally.

If you need access to your money to pay bills, you can do so with TIAA Bank . You can also send money to friends and family by check, directly deposited to their bank accounts or through PayPal with TIAA Bank's People Pay. 

Florida residents can access their money in person, at one of TIAA Bank's retail banking locations. Other customers will have to use the website, mobile app or phone number to get access to funds. 

How Can I Save More Money With an TIAA Bank Account?

One of the first things to mention is that TIAA Bank offers checking accounts that earn interest. That’s a difference to the norm, which is no interest whatsoever on most checking accounts. However, you’ll have to keep a high balance in the account for it to make sense. The minimum is $5,000 to open, and you’ll want to keep at least that much in the account if you want to avoid ATM charges. 

Let’s say you have a checking account you keep roughly $8,000 in. If that’s sitting in a typical no interest account, at the end of the year you’ll have the same amount of money (if you don’t withdraw or deposit any money into it). However, with an TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Account, you’d earn $97 in the first year from interest. That’s just by having the money in the account. If you keep large amounts of cash in your checking account, this type of account may be beneficial to you. 

If you still want to save money, and don’t need the features that accompany a checking account (such as ATM cards and unlimited transactions), you could also save similar amounts of cash with a money market account. TIAA Bank typically offers the same introductory offer for both products, which are decent ways to earn interest on money you already have. 

While you won’t make the type of gains seen in a brokerage account, with savings accounts you have the backing of FDIC insurance. You won’t lose money. However, that said, you may not earn as much as you thought. No savings rate is locked in stone other than CDs, so if you open a money market, savings or checking account, you’re not guaranteed the same interest rate. And with TIAA Bank, many of the rates go down after a one-year introductory offer. It’s something to keep in mind when comparing banks and products. 

What’s the Process for Opening an Account With TIAA Bank?

When you’re ready to open an account, you can get started right away using the website. The first step of the process is shown here. You simply need to choose which account, or accounts, you'd like to open. You’ll need your personal information, such as date of birth, Social Security number, address and a few more pieces of data depending on the account type. After you enter in the necessary information, you’ll review details, accept disclosures and submit your account application.

You can also apply by phone if you’d rather not use the online system. If you choose that option, you’ll need to provide the same information that you would online. 

You’ll need to fund your account once it’s opened. To do so, you can use a mobile deposit by capturing a photo of your check and sending it in via mobile app. One of the easiest ways is by linking a bank account. This will take a few days, as your account will have to be verified with a small test deposit and withdrawal. Once it’s linked however, you can transfer money each way with your external account.

Another option, albeit slower than mobile deposits or electronic transfers, is by mail. TIAA Bank has New York mailing address that you can use if you’d prefer sending a hard copy of your check. Wire transfers are another option. However, the banking institution you send the funds from may charge you a service fee. Typically this will range from $20 to $35. 

If you have a question during the process of account opening, you can reach out and call the phone number listed on the bank's website, or use the chat feature. 

Once your account is established, you can monitor and initiate transactions online or through the mobile app, which you’ll have to download if you wish to use it. 

What’s the Catch? 

It’s not really exactly a catch per se, but TIAA Bank has some of the highest minimums required to open many of its accounts. Many of the company’s best products are for those willing to drop $5,000 or more at a minimum. It’s not the most friendly for those with less money to save or those new to banking. 

However, if you do meet those minimums, the accounts do have some advantageous features, such as the CDARS CD or the Yield Pledge money market account. With the competitive interest rates TIAA Bank offers, some of its products stand to earn you a good amount of interest. However, some of the rates that TIAA Bank advertises are “introductory,” which means they only last a year. It’s something to keep an eye on when comparing account features. 

Lastly, if you’re planning for your children’s college or financial future, TIAA Bank doesn’t offer many options tailored to that need. You won’t find 529 college saving plans or UTMA/UGMA accounts. And for trusts or custodial accounts, you’ll have to call the bank directly. There’s not much information on those options on the website. 

Bottom Line 

For those with deeper pockets and more room to save, TIAA Bank is a decent option to get competitive interest rates. Many of the CD options are geared toward more affluent customers, such as the CDARS option. So if you fit the bill, becoming an TIAA Bank customer could be to your advantage.

However, if you’re just starting your savings journey, perhaps with not a whole lot of cash, you may be better served elsewhere. Plenty of other companies have lower minimums (or none at all!) for high yield savings accounts. The same for CDs and money market accounts – if you can’t afford the minimum deposits at this company, you can find just as good (if not better) interest elsewhere.

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