Most U.S. banks are boring. The average annual interest rates for savings and checking accounts that pay interest are just 0.06 and 0.04%.
And CD rates aren’t much better. Plus, you can only deal in dollars.
But not all banks are the same. How would you like to have all the usual savings, checking and loan products, plus be able to…
- Immediately get 1.4% on your checking account
- Open savings accounts in numerous foreign currencies
- Open a money market account guaranteed to be better than 95% of banks
- Buy CDs guaranteed to be better than 95% of other banks (a promise based on the data published by Bankrate Monitor National Index)
- Buy foreign currency CDs
- Open precious metal accounts
- Quickly get an actual person on the phone when you call (in my experience).
- Scan and deposit checks with your phone
- Automatically get reimbursed for any fees when you access your account at another bank’s ATM
EverBank has all this and more. The bank also features a discount brokerage for trading stocks, a no-lose CD that lets you bet on foreign economies and even an account that provides FDIC protection for way more than the usual $250,000 limit (if you have that wonderful problem).
What is EverBank?
I’ve banked here on and off for years. My short review: Good service from an innovative bank.
EverBank Financial Corp is a privately held bank holding company headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. With approximately $11.5 billion in assets, $8.9 billion in deposits, approximately 2,000 employees, and over 700,000 customers nationwide, EverBank is one of the industry’s fastest growing, high performing bank holding companies.
They rate the bank a “B+” based on everything from fees, rates and customer reviews to financial health.
Bank Tracker notes that a scarcity of physical locations keeps the rating down. If you want a physical branch at which to do business, this probably isn’t the bank for you. EverBank specializes in online banking, and a bank location list shows they only have branches in Florida.
I opened an account long before I moved to Florida, and did so because they showed up in an online search as the bank with the best interest rates at the time.
What Makes EverBank Different?
Here’s a quick rundown of some of EverBank’s offerings, starting with two accounts I’ve had there…
The bank guarantees an interest rate in the top 5% of banks.
At the moment, the rate goes from 0.30 to 0.61%, depending on your balance. But if you’re a new customer, you can get 1.40% on any balance for the first six months.
You get the same “top 5%” guarantee and 1.40% on any balance for six months as a new customer. The rate is 0.61% on any balance after that.
Again, they promise rates in the top 5% of banks. The minimum to open a CD is just $1,500. But these are ordinary CDs, unlike…
These various CDs come and go. At the moment, the FDIC insured 5-Year MarketSafe Future Economies CD lets you bet on the currencies of emerging economies (six countries in the mix).
You might make 10%, 100% or nothing, but you’re guaranteed not to lose a penny. Minimum to open: $1,500.
Choose from many currencies. For example, you can get a three-month Brazilian real CD that pays 9%! Other CDs pay no interest and are pure speculative bets.
These are FDIC-insured against bank insolvency, but you can still lose money if the currency you choose loses value against the dollar. Minimum investment: $10,000.
You can chose from various baskets of currencies depending on your goals. These are also FDIC insured, but you can lose money from currency fluctuations.
Choose from 20 currencies. Some pay nothing, while others pay as much as 8% interest. For example, a Russian ruble account with a balance of about $12,000 will get you 5%.
Of course, even though these are FDIC insured against bank insolvency, you could lose money quickly if the ruble drops again.
Not sure if you trust currencies? You can invest in precious metal bars and coins with $7,500 or more. These aren’t FDIC insured, and can fluctuate in value.
Your metals are stored for you, although TrustableGold.com notes that “The gold or silver is stored by third-party repositories, but it is contractually not defined where the precious metals are stored geographically and by whom.”
Not only are the commissions reasonable ($9 for up to 10,000 shares with domestic online equity trades), but you can trade stocks in more than 25 foreign markets.
If you have the fortunate problem of having too much money for FDIC insurance (which is limited to $250,000), EverBank has a “CDARS service” which will distribute your millions between CDs in various banks so all of your money is insured.
Here are a few more things to consider:
- Opening an account online is easy (that’s how I started).
- Customer service is OK, but not perfect.
- EverBank is a little slow with wire transfers (in my experience).
- With few physical locations (mostly in Florida) you’ll have to connect your EverBank accounts to your checking account at a local bank for easy access via transfers.
- Transfers to and from your local bank can take a few days.
So yes, there are a few drawbacks to an EverBank account. In fact, when I once wired money for a real estate closing, I caught an error they made that would have delayed closing the deal.
And, no, EverBank didn’t pay me to write this. In fact, I don’t even have an account there at the moment because I found a better interest rate at My Savings Direct. But I’ll probably be back with EverBank at some point.
You might want to consider this bank. Where else can you put your money into an Indian rupee CD and invest in the German stock market?
Your Turn: Have you ever had an EverBank account?
Steve Gillman is the author of “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” and creator of EveryWayToMakeMoney.com. He’s been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).