In our SFGI Direct savings account review, we were frankly surprised at the high rates offered by this bank many have never heard of. It beats almost all existing online banks. Here are the details.
If you haven’t considered an online savings account before, here’s why you should now. Below we review the SFGI Direct Savings Account. And what it has to offer you that may beat your current bank.
Over the last decade, most banks have made a conscious decision to move their business online. As a result, some of the best interest rates and product features available today come from banks that have no physical presence. Are there any Ally Banks on your street? When is the last time you saw a sign that said: “Synchrony Bank parking only?”
SFGI Direct is a little known online bank that offers one amazing feature. The interest rate on their online savings account is a whopping 1.31%. That APY is one of the best of any bank, online or otherwise. SFGI Direct has just 30 branches, all located in West Virginia and Virginia. This allows the bank to increase the value it provides to you.
Let’s take a look at their online savings account and see if your money belongs with SFGI Direct.
SFGI Direct Account Opening Process
SFGI Direct is the online banking division of Summit Community Bank, based in Moorefield, West Virginia. Deposits at Summit and SFGI Direct are covered by the FDIC as you would expect for any legitimate bank in the United States. To open the online savings account at SFGI Direct, you will need to provide the typical personal information, including Social Security number and employment information. The account requires a $500 minimum balance, and initial funding deposits are limited to a maximum of $25,000.
For some people, SFGI Direct may be one of the fastest bank account opening processes from application to use. Like a small number of other banks, SFGI Direct allows “Instant Verification.” Most banks still offer only “Micro-Deposit Verification,” or the even more antiquated “Check Verification.”
Basically, once your application is approved, you can link your existing bank account right away. This feature is dependent on your current bank’s systems. But it can get you out of waiting two or three days for Micro-Deposit Verification. SFGI Direct will securely and privately confirm your account details with the external bank and allow you to immediately initiate your initial funding deposit.
SFGI Direct Savings Account
In September of 2017, SFGI Direct increased the interest rate on their savings account from 1.21% to 1.31%. The minimum to open an account is $500, but there is no minimum balance required to keep the account active. That said, SFGI Direct will impose a “dormant” fee on your account if there is no activity for a period of seven years. Each month following the seven year period, you will be charged a $5 dormant fee. Once you make a deposit or withdrawal, the clock starts over.
The Downside to SFGI Direct
SFGI Direct, while offering a terrific APY on their online savings account, is truly a one-hit wonder. They offer no other deposit products, and the way in which you can use your savings account is limited to transfers in and transfers out.
Here are some frequently asked questions from consumers that use the bank for their online savings account:
- Can I use checks with my SFGI Direct Savings account?
- Can I fund my account with a paper check?
- Are wires allowed in and out of SFGI Direct?
The answer to all of those questions is the same: NO. SFGI Direct will allow you to set up external transfers so you can bring money in and out of your account. But you cannot fund your account in any other way. You can’t use checks at all. And the bank does not offer CD’s, IRAs, or anything else you might find with another online bank.
Why Use SFGI Direct?
The answer to this question is as simple. SFGI Direct offers an interest rate currently in the top tenth of 1% of all banks in the United States. The 1.31% APY on a savings account is the highest we can find online, beating out banks like Ally, Synchrony, Barclays and others.
So long as you don’t mind waiting a couple of days to use your funds, SFGI Direct is one of the best places to actually park your money right now. Sure, they lack the features and flexibility to do other things. But does that matter? When I choose an online savings account, the primary factor is interest rate. I’m looking for a bank that will provide me the best return on my money. If I need money immediately, I can simply transfer it from my SFGI Direct account into my checking account in two business days. No muss, no fuss.
If you’re in need of a simple, straightforward online savings account with no minimum balance requirement, check out SFGI Direct and their 1.31% APY.
Published or updated October 9, 2017.