Online Banks… Banking Online…and EverBank
Before I start talking about EverBank, specifically, I thought it made sense to talk about the difference between using the Internet to handle banking tasks and actually setting up accounts with an online bank.
You can engage in online banking without having an account with an online bank. I know that last sentence was just confusing enough to be annoying, so let me clarify.
Many traditional, brick and mortar banks allow you to perform a number of banking functions via the Internet. The often have proprietary interfaces that will let you schedule automatic payments, transfers between accounts and other banking basics.
Thus, you can “bank online” with the old-fashioned bank that sits on the corner of First and Main in Anytown, USA.
Online banks are different. These are banking options that don’t have traditional brick and mortar locations and instead focus on providing all services (and a necessarily greater level of access and options) via the Internet.
There are advantages to working with a local bank. It’s nice to develop personal relationships with your bankers and the people who are handling your dough on an every day basis. You can often receive a higher level of personal attention and the ability to get your bank to “work with you” on various needs more easily if you’re dealing with your real-life neighbors. If the brick and mortar bank in question is a locally owned and operated institution, there may be other reasons to keep your money there (I’ll stop short of hopping into the political argument for today, though).
However, the list of reasons to consider putting your money with an online bank are hard to ignore.
- The lower operational overhead may allow for higher interest rates on your accounts.
- You’ll have greater access to your money and more latitude in managing your accounts via the ‘Net.
- They may offer specific products and options that many old-school banks don’t.
- The lower overhead may allow them to charge less in fees and to have less stringent account standards in order to receive the best collections of perks and benefits.
The decision between banking online and online banking is yours to make, based on all of the individual factors that always arise in matters of money management. However, it is important to note that there isn’t any mutual exclusivity. You can maintain your relationship with a traditional bank while simultaneously putting some of your money to work in accounts with an online bank.
If you think it makes sense to explore online banking options (and, in my opinion, it makes all the sense in the world), you’ll need to decide on an online bank. There are many to choose from and one of the most recognizable is EverBank.
Why Does EverBank Stand Out?
EverBank does stand out among other online banks. Here a few reasons why:
EverBank is full-featured. They’re a ‘Net-based bank offering a full slate of account types and services. EverBank is not just a place to set up an online high-yield savings accounts. You can do that, but you can also investigate a mortgage, open up a foreign currency CD, buy into a pooled gold account, buy into a money market account, manage your checking account or do just about anything you’d expect to do with any fully functional bank–maybe more.
EverBank offers good rates. Many of their “pledge” accounts guarantees gains on par with the top 5% of similar accounts, based on national performance data. They have exceptional introductory rates and still maintain high interest opportunities after they’ve earned you business.
EverBank is innovative and growing. As a full-featured bank, they already do more than many similarly-situated options. At the same time, they’re constantly rolling out new and improved products and services. Here’s just one example: They’re making it possible for checking account holders to scan their checks remotely in order to effectuate instant deposit.
They’re stable. Their history, profit statements and earnings all point toward continued positive growth and strong overall stability. Many accounts are also afforded FDIC protection, which adds another layer of security to banking with EverBank.
They’re Recognized. I don’t want to put too much stock in any institution’s ability to collect awards and recognition. That being said, EverBank has been on the receiving end of some fairly well-respected honors that are worth mentioning. They’ve received a 4-Star ranking from Bauer Financial, which is at the top of their scale. Veribank gave EverBank a 3-Star ranking (their highest) and Money Magazine handed the online bank a “Best of Breed” award. In other words, they’re doing something right and they’re certainly not a “fly by night” operation.
What Does EverBank Offer?
Earlier, I mentioned the fact that EverBank offers a large variety of products and services. Here are a few specifics in which you might be interested:
FreeNet Checking Account: A high-interest, no-fee checking account.
Yield Pledge Money Market Account: You can put your money to work in a money market account that’s guaranteed to provide with a yield that rivals the top 5% of competitive accounts.
Yield Pledge CD: EverBank offers an assortment of CD options. The Yield Pledge account combines FDIC insurance with a yield that’s guaranteed to be part of that top 5%.
Precious Metals Accounts: You can buy and hold your own silver and gold or you can buy into a pooled account to avoid fabrication fees and storage expenses. If you’re on the gold bandwagon, EverBank looks like a credible way to invest.
Home Mortgages: EverBank offers a variety of ARM and fixed-rate mortgages.
What are Others Saying about EverBank?
Reviews of EverBank are generally positive.
MoneyNing’s review of EverBank’s Yield Pledge Money Market Account concludes:
Also, while the bank only limits you to three checks per month, I find that it is plenty in this day and age where I seldom write checks. For those that have at least $1,500 and want a safe place to keep your funds that offer one of (if not the) highest yield available, EverBank is definitely a bank you should seriously consider for your funds. I certainly would.
Bargaineering offers a positive assessment of EverBank’s checking option:
When you couple that checking rate with a 1-year CD rate of 4.15% APY (as of this writing), it’s a decent offer. I’m not yet ready to open up another bank account but if you’re in the market for a new account, you won’t be wasting your time taking a look at EverBank.
Bible Money Matters gives EverBank’s savings account options a thumbs up:
At the time that I wrote this, EverBank offers some of the highest interest rates in the country and all of their accounts are FDIC insured… Add to that their other solid account options, solid security and 24/7 customer service and you have a solid bank offering. If you’re looking for a good high yield savings account where you can put your money, I think EverBank should be near the top of your list. It’s definitely on the top of my list as I continue my search.
That’s not to say that everyone is madly in love with EverBank. It gets middle-of-the-road marks on ePinions.com. However, if you dig down and read the less-than-stellar assessments there, you’ll find that many of the rankings that pull down the overall score are specific to EverBank’s mortgage lending. I’ve noticed that every mortgage lender gets plenty of negative consumer commentary, which is probably due to the inherently annoying nature of the home-buying process. In any case, if you look at reviews of EverBank’s non-mortgage activity, they’re generally favorable, outside of occasional customer service gripes.
The Bottom Line on EverBank
If you’re ready to start working with an online bank, EverBank appears to be a solid option. Their reputation is strong, they feature a wide range of products and they offer very competitive interest rates.
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