Bank5 Connect Online Bank Review
You can find some of the best interest rates with online banks you’ve probably never heard of like Bank5 Connect Online Bank. Here is a full review on what this bank has to offer and why you may want to take five and open an account.
- Low fees
- High interest rates on savings products
- Earn points on debit card purchases
Bank5 Connect may seem like a banking newcomer since it was technically launched only in July, 2013. However, it’s actually the online-only extension of BankFive, a long-established bank founded in 1855, and based in Fall River, Massachusetts. The bank itself has a dozen offices in Massachusetts, plus two in Rhode Island.
But Bank5 Connect was created to be strictly an online bank. The absence of physical branches, and a complete online operation, enable the bank to keep operating fees low, and interest rates paid on deposits high.
Bank5 Connect offers the full line of banking products, including checking accounts, savings accounts, and CDs. All pay unbelievably high interest.
Deal of the Day: CIT Bank has a 1.80% APY on their Money Market Account. $100 minimum deposit required and all deposits are FDIC insured up to the $250,000 per depositor maximum.
Bank5 Connect offers all the basic features consumers have come to expect from online banks, plus a few more.
UChoose Debit Rewards program. Earn points with your Bank5 Connect Visa Debit Card. They can be redeemed for thousands of items online, including vacation packages, gift cards, electronics, and other items, through the UChoose Rewards website. You earn 1 point for every $2 you spend, on point-of-sale or online purchases.
The Visa Debit card can also be added to Apple Pay to make purchases available on any compatible Apple devices.
Pay People. This is Bank5 Connect’s person-to-person payment system. You can send money to family and friends by email, text, or phone. When you transfer money using this method, no bank account information is shared.
ATM Network. Bank5 Connect is an online bank, so it doesn’t have local branches (outside Massachusetts and Rhode Island). But they participate in the SUM Network which has thousands of ATMs around the country. As a Bank5 Connect customer, you won’t pay a fee to use network ATMs.
Educational resources and planning tools. Bank5 Connect offers a variety of calculators to help you make decisions on loans, investments, and retirement planning. For example, it offers a car affordability calculator, how long it will take to pay off a credit card, what your investments will be worth in the future, traditional IRA versus Roth IRA, and how long your retirement savings will last. There are dozens more.
Account protection. All Bank5 Connect accounts are protected by FDIC insurance for up to $250,000 per depositor.
Bank5 Connect offers checking and savings accounts, as well as certificates of deposit.
This is Bank5 Connect’s interest-bearing checking account. It’s currently paying 0.76% APY on balances over $100 (as of December 2018). The account comes with checks and a Bank5 Connect Visa Debit Card.
Connect Checking comes with the following features:
- Minimum opening balance, $10
- No monthly service fee
- Online Banking, Bill Pay, and monthly eStatements
- Mobile Banking
- Your first order of basic checks is free
- No charge for use of an ATM, and you will be reimbursed up to $15 per statement cycle for ATM fees charged by other banks
You’ll also find that Bank5 Connect has some of the very lowest checking account fees in the banking industry. From the table below, you can see that return deposited items are just $7, while the insufficient funds charge is just $15. Most banks–even online banks–charge anywhere from $32 to $39 for the same fees.
Notice their fee for paper statements is just $1. That applies to statements for either checking or savings accounts. This is considerably lower than the typical paper statement fee, which ranges between $3 and $6 per statement, even with other banks.
Bank5 Connect High-Interest Savings Account
Bank5 Connect High-Interest Savings Account is currently paying one of the highest interest rates available on savings in the industry. The current rate is 2.05% APY on balances of $100 or more (as of December 2018).
Bank5 Connect High-Interest Savings Account features the following:
- Minimum opening deposit, $10 (though you need a minimum of $100 to earn interest on the account)
- Free Online Banking and eStatements
- Mobile Banking
- Account can be used to provide overdraft protection on your checking account
- Funds can be withdrawn by online funds transfer, telephone transfer, check request, or through the Bank5 Connect Visa Debit Card linked to the account
- As with all bank savings accounts, you are limited to no more than six withdrawal transactions per monthly statement cycle. If you exceed this limit, there will be a charge of $10 for each transaction in excess of the limit.
Bank5 Connect CDs
Bank5 Connect CDs come in six different terms: 6, 12, 18, 21, 24, and 36 months. They earn interest that’s at the top of the range, even for online banks.
Bank5 Connect CDs have the following qualifications and features:
- Minimum opening balance, $500
- There are no monthly service fees required on Bank5 Connect CDs
- The Bank5 Connect Investment CD is a 24-month term, currently paying 2.70% APY (as of November 2018). You can transfer funds into this CD at anytime from an outside checking account, or even combine it with your Connect Checking account. You will earn the original CD rate on the additional funds.
Rates on Bank5 Connect CDs are as follows (as of December 2018):
Early withdrawal penalties. The penalty is three months interest if the CD has a term of less than one year, and six months interest for a term of one year or greater.
To open a Bank5 Connect account, you must be at least 18 years old, and either a U.S. citizen, or a U.S. resident alien.
You’ll need the following documentation to open an account:
- Social Security number
- A valid ID (driver’s license, state ID, military ID, or passport)
- Your current address, and previous address if you lived at the current one for less than two years
- A funding source for your account (This can include a credit card, debit card, checking account, or savings account.)
The entire application process takes place online. You will select the specific account you want to open, as well as any related account options. You will then be presented with various account disclosures and agreements, which you will have to acknowledge reading and understanding.
You’ll then have to provide basic applicant information (full name, date of birth, occupation, employer, and other required information).
You can fund your account through electronic transfers from external banks, mobile deposits, or by paper check sent by mail. And of course, once your account is up and running, you can add direct deposit.
You will receive your checks and your debit card within 10 business days of opening and funding your account.
Once your account is up and running, you can log into your account from the Bank5 Connect Homepage
Bank5 Connect uses 128-bit encryption to protect the transmission of your information between you and the bank. Encryption technology provides secure transmission of information when coding the transmitted data, using a mathematical formula to scramble the data.
The app has all the features of Online Banking, including Bill Pay. But the mobile app also adds mobile check deposit capability, as well as fingerprint login functionality. However, one weak spot of the mobile app is that it does not support external transfers.
The mobile app is available for download at the App Store and Google Play.
Bank5 Connect can be reached by phone, live chat, or email. Phone contact is available during the following hours (all times Eastern):
- Monday through Wednesday, 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM
- Thursday and Friday, 7:30 AM to 7:00 PM
- Saturday, 7:30 AM to 3:00 PM
- Sunday, 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
- Live chat is available Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Q: Why are Bank5 Connect’s fees so much lower than other banks?
A: Like other online banks, Bank5 Connect does not operate a network of physical bank branches. This saves substantial money on the cost of both staff and real estate, enabling the bank to charge much lower fees than traditional banks. This is the same reason why Bank5 Connect is able to pay interest rates on your deposit accounts that are so much higher than your local bank, and even some of the big money center banks.
Q: Does Bank5 Connect have any limits on ATM transactions?
A: Yes. Your daily ATM withdrawal limit with a Bank5 Connect Checking account is $500. The daily purchase limit is $1,000, but they may permit you exceed that limit if you call the bank.
Q: Why does Bank5 Connect limit savings account withdrawals to no more than six per monthly statement cycle?
A: It’s actually not Bank5 Connect–or any other bank–it’s federal law. Per Federal Regulation D withdrawals from savings accounts are limited to no more than six per monthly statement cycle. It’s largely to differentiate savings accounts and money markets from checking accounts.
Q: What’s the difference between a Bank5 Connect CD and an Investment CD?
A: The Investment CD has a term of 24 months only. But the most basic difference is that it allows you to add deposits to your CD, and earn interest at the original rate of the CD. Other Bank5 Connect CDs don’t offer this privilege.
Bank5 Connect Online Bank Pros & Cons
- CDs earn interest rates that are near the very top of the range, even for online banks.
- CDs require a minimum deposit of just $500.
- Bank5 Connect High-Interest Savings Account is currently paying a higher rate of interest than just about any other online bank in the country, let alone brick-and-mortar banks.
- Add additional funds to your Bank5 Connect Investment CD at any time during the 24-month term, and you’ll earn the same interest rate you lock in when you open the CD.
- Opportunity to earn points for using your Bank5 Connect Visa Debit Card, which can be redeemed for purchases at thousands of different retailers.
- The paper statement fee is just $1 per statement for either your checking or savings account. That’s well below the paper statement fee charged by most banks--just in case you still prefer paper bank statements.
- External transfer of funds can only be accomplished through Connect Checking. Funds from Bank5 Connect High-Interest Savings Accounts will need to first be moved to the checking account before being transferred to an external account.
- The mobile app doesn’t support transfers to external banks.
- Like many online banks, Bank5 Connect does not offer full-service banking. That includes lending through credit cards, car loans, and mortgages.
- No business banking services are offered.
- Bank5 Connect accounts are only available to U.S. residents and resident aliens.
In a word–definitely! Bank5 Connect isn’t one of the better-known online banks. They provide the perfect combination of very high interest rates on checking, savings, and CDs, while maintaining a fee structure that’s well below the industry norm.
You can do your normal banking activity through Bank5 Connect checking. And the ability to earn points toward purchases on your debit card activity is a nice bonus. But the primary attraction of this bank is the high interest rates they pay on all their banking products.
The disadvantage is that they don’t provide loans of any type, nor do they provide any business banking services. For that reason, Bank5 Connect will primarily be for your bank checking account activity, and high interest on your savings. Other banking functions, like credit cards, loans, mortgages, and business services, will need to be done at local banks.
If you’d like more information, or if you’d like to open an account, visit the Bank5 Connect Online Bank website.