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United Community Bank Review

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We maintain strict editorial integrity in our writing and assessments. This post contains links from our advertisers, and we may receive compensation when you click these links. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone. | Advertiser Disclosure
United Community Bank Savings
0.02% APY

United Community Bank is a large bank, but only has branches in four states: South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. It’s a full-service bank that has been around since 1950. Aside from traditional checking and savings accounts, United offers credit cards, IRAs and financial planning and investment management. It also has home, auto and personal loans. This makes it a solid option for any potential customers that want to combine all of their finances at one bank.

No bank comes without its faults, though, and United’s materialize in the form of its annual percetage yields (APYs). These rates rarely top 0.50%, which puts this bank in the same category as some of the major national banks like Chase. If you want to try and reach the best rates that United has to offer, you must maintain large account balances, which is difficult for many.

Products Offered

Product Key Details
Checking Accounts
  • Many options, including student and relationship options
  • Unlimited check-writing
  • Free debit card
  • Courtesy overdraft protection
  • Free access to United and Publix® Presto! ATMs
Savings Accounts
  • Low minimum balance requirements
  • Multiple options to manage
  • Have an HSA option
Money Market Account (MMA)
  • Better interest rates as your balance rises
  • Can withdraw money as much as six times per statement cycle
Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
  • Tiered interest rates depending on terms
  • $500 minimum deposit
  • 3- to 60-month terms available
Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)
  • As low as a $50 opening deposit
  • Tiered fixed and variable interest rates based on balance
  • Traditional and Roth IRAs available
  • Monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual interest payments

United Community Bank Interest Rate Comparison

United Community Bank Overview

Founded in 1950, United Community Bank offers a full array of personal and business banking services. These include not only all types of checking, savings and retirement bank accounts, but also investment and financial planning, credit cards, personal loans, mortgages and even auto loans.

J.D. Power has rated United to have the best customer service experience of any bank in the Southeastern U.S. every year since 2014. Forbes named it one of the top 100 banks in America five straight years.

United Community Bank Premier Checking Account

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $100
Access to Your Account Branches, online, mobile & ATMs
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law
Fees $10 monthly service fee; waivable by maintaining a $2,500 minimum daily balance or having a combined $10,000 between deposit accounts and loans
Current Terms and Rates 0.05% APY

United employs six checking accounts, which gives it an extremely well-rounded account portfolio for new customers to choose from. Only the Premier Checking account and Golden Premier Checking accounts earn interest though. They each come with unlimited check-writing capabilities, a Mastercard® debit card, as well as waivable monthly service fees. The Golden Checking account also includes these features, minus the ability to earn interest. Aside from this, though, it has no minimum balance requirements and monthly fees are completely nonexistent.

The Relationship Checking account is the most conventional checking offer that United has. It has an $8 monthly service fee that is waived so long as you maintain a meager $500 minimum daily balance, have a combined loan/deposit amount of at least $5,000 or receive a direct deposit of $200 or more once a statement cycle.

Students age 22 and younger can take advantage of the Student Checking account with just a $100 opening deposit and no monthly service charges. Account holders will receive their own debit card, have the opportunity to apply for a no annual fee credit card, be able to write unlimited checks and utilize mobile/online banking.

The United Investment Checking account is possibly the most intriguing offer United has. This account is meant to reward those who keep a large amount of money at the bank with solid interest rates. New customers get a small safety deposit box for free for a year, among other perks, but make sure your balance doesn’t fall too low. If your balance drops to less than $10,000, a $25 monthly service fee will be enforced.

Compare United Community Bank to Other Competitive Offers

United Community Bank Savings Account

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $100
Access to Your Account Branches, online, mobile & ATMs
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law
Fees $5 quarterly service fee; waivable by maintaining an $100 minimum daily balance
Current Terms and Rates 0.02% APY

The United Savings account is the standard savings option for customers of the bank. You only need $100 to open an account, and if you can manage to maintain that balance, the $5 quarterly fee will be waived. Unfortunately, though, the APY for this account tops out at 0.02%, no matter the balance.

The bank’s student option, the United Student Savings account, allows students 22 and under to start saving for the future with as little as $5. All monthly and quarterly fees have been eliminated, so whatever you save stays in your pocket. But because it’s a savings account, the federal government only allows you to withdraw from it a maximum of six times per quarter.

High-deductible health insurance plans are a sad truth for many Americans today, but health savings accounts, or HSAs, at United are here to help. They allow an individual or family to save ahead of time for medical costs without incurring taxes. These are not connected to your employment whatsoever, giving you ultimate freedom in how and when you use it.

United Community Bank Money Market Account

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $1,500
Access to Your Account Branches, online, mobile & ATMs
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law
Fees $12 monthly service charge; waivable by maintaining a $1,500 daily balance
Current Terms and Rates
  • Rates are tiered based on account balance:
    • $0 - $99,999: 0.10% APY
    • $100,000 - $249,999: 0.30% APY
    • $250,000 - $499,999: 0.35% APY
    • $500,000 and up: 0.40% APY

United’s money market account is a slightly different take on a typical savings account, as it earns interest at tiered rates depending on your balance. APYs start at 0.10% and go as high as 0.40%, but only if you have at least $500,000 in the account. This is a tough proposition for most Americans, leaving the overall legitimacy of the account in question. Although there is a $12 monthly service charge for the account, you can waive it if you keep no less than $1,500 in the account.

United Community Bank CDs

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $500
Access to Your Account Branches, online and mobile
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law
Fees None
Current Terms and Rates
  • Rates are tiered based on term length:
    • 7-month: 2.05%
    • 13-month: 2.35%

With as little as $500, you can open a certificate of deposit (CD) with United Community Bank, regardless of the term you’ve chosen.

United also allows customers whose CD has recently matured to reinvest the money right back into another CD.

United Community Bank IRAs

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $500
Access to Your Account Branches, online & mobile
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law
Fees Fees only if you withdraw money prior to retirement
Current Terms and Rates
  • Rates are tiered based on term length:
    • 3-month: 0.10% APY
    • 6-month: 0.10% APY
    • 12-month: 0.10% APY
    • 18-month: 0.15% APY
    • 24-month: 0.15% APY
    • 36-month: 0.20% APY
    • 48-month: 0.20% APY
    • 60-month: 0.20% APY

Because individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are heavily governed by law, there isn’t much variation in how they work on a bank-to-bank basis. In general, though these accounts are divided into traditional and Roth IRAs.

Roth IRAs make the account owner pay taxes on contributions to the fund as soon as they’re made. While this might seem counterintuitive, it makes it so once you begin taking payments in retirement, there are no income taxes due. Traditional accounts, on the other hand, are tax-deferred. So while your IRA balance will be untouched by taxes in the short-term, all retirement payments you receive will be taxes as normal income.

Interest rates are variable, and depend on the term length of the IRA, which can be anywhere from three months to 60 months. APYs start at 0.10% and go as high as 0.20%.

Where Can I Find United Community Bank?

United Community Bank offers around 150 branches throughout four states in the southeast. These include North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. Beyond this, you can also manage your accounts online, via mobile devices or over a 24/7 phone line.

What Can You Do Online With United Community Bank?

The online account management services of United Community Bank include the ability to review your current assets, spending trends and cash flow. To aid you in managing your money, you can also categorize you purchases, create a budget through the bank’s website, take advantage of bill pay and make mobile check deposits.

Both Apple and Android users can download the mobile banking app from United Community Bank. They average a 3.5-star rating and are consistently updated for bug fixes and new features. Essentially everything that can be done through United’s website is also available through the apps. These include money transfers, account balance and transaction histories and online bill pay. However, a few mobile-centric additions have been made, such as a nearby branch and ATM tool and mobile check deposit.

No matter which virtual method you choose to handle your United accounts through, they’re all backed up by specific fraud and security protections. Most notably, phone- and text message-based secure codes are used so you can select which devices are able to access your accounts. This makes it rather difficult for outside devices to gain access without your consent.

How Do I Access My Money?

If you live near any of the branches within United Community Bank’s network, feel free to visit and make withdrawals, deposits, open a new account or transfer funds. Lucky for you, there are also many other ways to manage your money with United.

The bank’s mobile app and online banking website are another simple way to check your account balances or transfer money, but if you need cash, use the ATM/branch locator. The majority of accounts offered by the bank come paired with a Mastercard® debit card that you can swipe for cash at any United or Publix® Presto! ATM, which can be found at 1,170 Publix stores throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. This card can be used to pay for things like a credit card or to get cash at an out-of-network ATM as well.

Popmoney®, the money transfer system used by United, is the easiest way to pay anyone who’s phone number or email address you know. If you’ve ever used an app like Venmo, you’ll find Popmoney to be extremely similar.

How Can I Save More Money With a United Community Bank Account?

Interest rates are undoubtedly the best way to determine how well your money will grow when you’re opening an account with a bank. Unfortunately for customers at United Community Bank, rates are lacking, as they top out only around 0.35%. While this clearly doesn’t leave much room for growth, the rates at major banks like Chase and Bank of America are equally underwhelming, or worse.

The only way to achieve the top interest rates that United has to offer is to keep inordinately high balances in your accounts. For example, to earn at the 0.35% rate listed above, you’ll need no less than $500,000 in your personal money market account.

What’s the Process For Opening an Account With United Community Bank?

United Community Bank allows you to open an account either via a phone call or by visiting a branch. The forms that are required to open an account can be downloaded on United’s website and pre-filled out to save you some time.

Either way you do it, you’ll need your Social Security number, driver’s license and any minimum opening deposit amount throughout this process. Should you choose to open an account over the phone, you can call 1-800-UCBANK1.

What’s the Catch?

The largest area where United Community Bank is lacking is in its interest rates and APYs. Although interest rates are down across the banking market in general, United’s rates are especially low.

While you can open the majority of the checking and savings accounts at United with just $100, the minimum daily balances necessary to cancel monthly service charges are sometimes significantly higher. In fact, the Relationship checking account calls for $500 to avoid an $8 monthly charge, while the Premier and Golden Premier checking accounts call for $2,500 each to avoid a $10 monthly charge. On top of this, $1,500 is needed to open a money market account.

Simply put, if you don’t live anywhere near at least one of the about 150 branches in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina or Tennessee, there’s virtually no reason to choose United over any of its competition. The same goes for its ATM network, as it’s centered around that area of the U.S., too.

Bottom Line

The number of branches that United Community Bank runs and the states that it’s located in technically qualify the bank as a national financial institution. At the same token, though, if you’re a California resident, there’s virtually no reason that you’d want to open an account with United. But should you find yourself considering joining this bank, it’s worth noting that it appears to combine the usual resources of a large bank with the attention of a smaller bank.

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