Popular Direct Review 2020

Published March 2020 by Mary Wisniewski

AT A GLANCE
4.2
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Bankrate Score

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Rates Trending Up

High APYs

Popular Direct is best for anyone itching for a new savings account or CD paying more interest than the average brick-and-mortar bank. If you don’t have thousands of dollars that you’re ready to park in an account, you’ll be happier at another bank.

  • Savings
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    4.8
  • CDs
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    3.6
  • MORE HIGH-YIELD OPTIONS
    MORE HIGH-YIELD OPTIONS
    Goldman Sachs Bank USA

    Member FDIC

    CD

    1.10 % APY

    1 yr

    Term

    $ 500

    Min. deposit

    Goldman Sachs Bank USA

    Member FDIC

    CD

    1.10 % APY

    1 yr

    Term

    $ 500

    Min. deposit

    Radius Bank

    Member FDIC

    Checking account

    0.15 % APY

    $ 100

    To open

    $ 0

    To avoid fees

    Overall

    4.2

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    Bankrate Score

    Popular Direct serves mobile and online banking customers who are hungry for some of the best interest rates available to savers across the country.

    What we like

    • Popular Direct offers some of the highest nationally available rates on deposit products.

    • Any fees that are charged are relatively easy to avoid.

    What we don't

    • Minimum deposit requirements for CDs and savings accounts are high.

    • Customers cannot visit a physical branch.

    • Product offerings are limited.

    Savings accounts

    4.8

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    Bankrate Score

    Popular Direct offers one of the highest APYs available with a $5,000 minimum deposit. While the $5,000 minimum deposit is higher than some other banks, this is one of the highest APYs around. You can also deposit checks electronically using your mobile device. Popular Direct doesn’t have an ATM card available for its savings account. So you’ll need to make an external transfer to access the funds if you need them.

    What we like

    • One of the highest APYs around.

    • Reasonable minimum balance for such a high APY.

    • Interest compounds daily.

    What we don't

    • There are lower minimum balance accounts elsewhere.

    • No ATM card access to your savings.

    CD rates

    3.6

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    Bankrate Score

    OTHER CD OFFERS YOU MAY LIKE
    Goldman Sachs Bank USA

    Member FDIC

    CD

    1.10 % APY

    1 yr

    Term

    $ 500

    Min. deposit

    Popular Direct offers CDs across various terms with highly competitive rates. The minimum deposit, however, is $10,000. The average saver may struggle to meet that threshold.

    Early withdrawal penalties vary depending on the length of the CD term. For example, for a 12-month CD, the penalty for an early exit is 270 days of simple interest. For a 5-year CD, the penalty is much steeper: 730 days of simple interest.

    What we like

    • Interest is compounded daily.

    • Yields offered are some of the best rates in the nation.

    What we don't

    • Compared to other banks, the minimum deposit is higher.

    • A harsh early withdrawal penalty applies for long-term CDs.

    Bank experience

    At Popular Direct, you won’t have cash access at ATMs and you won’t have access to checks. However, you will have access to mobile deposit capture.

    You can also search your transactions on its mobile banking app  —  a feature many banks have yet to add.

    You can also call a customer service representative 24 hours, seven days a week.

    About Popular Direct

    Popular Direct is an online bank that was launched in July 2016 in an effort to use digital platforms to simplify the process of opening and maintaining a bank account. The institution offers certificates of deposit (CDs) and a saving account. Both types of accounts are opened through Popular Bank, a community bank and subsidiary of a leading financial services firm with federally insured deposits.

    Popular Bank was known formerly as Banco Popular North America. Its parent company, Popular Inc., was founded in 1893. The financial institution serves customers in the United States, Puerto Rico, Latin America and the Caribbean.

    Mary Wisniewski Twitter Created with Sketch. @MARYMWISNIEWSKI

    Mary Wisniewski Twitter Created with Sketch. @MARYMWISNIEWSKI

    Mary Wisniewski is a banking editor for Bankrate and occasionally writes on a variety of fintech and banking subjects. Previously, she covered fintech for American Banker and edited op-eds for the publication's BankThink section. She was also a blogger and editor at Bank Innovation and served as a fashion editor for National Jeweler, where she reported on fashion shows and jewelry news. Mary grew up in the Michigan suburbs and now lives in Los Angeles with a maltipoo, a record player and an espresso machine.