May 23, 2018

Charles Schwab Bank Review: Account Good for You?

Read more about Charles Schwab Bank
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Charles Schwab is more than a brokerage. It also offers high yield checking and savings interest rates that might far surpass your local bank. Read on to learn the pros and cons.

Many people don't realize that the household name for investment brokerages also offers a couple of banking options. While their options are simple - just checking and savings, they do pack quite a punch. You'll have to be tech savvy as you can only access your funds online, which can make the task of making deposits interesting for some.

Charles Schwab does offer some beneficial bank account options that may help you save more than the penny or two that you'll save at your local bank.

Services Offered

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If you're looking for a wide selection of account options, you won't find them here. Charles Schwab keeps it simple with just a high-yield checking and high-yield savings account. Both accounts are strictly online, but if you have a branch near you (there are 340 in the United States), you can try to conduct your business there. Not all branches are capable of handling banking tasks, though.

You can open the high-yield checking account online in a matter of minutes. There is a catch, though. In order to open a checking account, you have to first open a Schwab One Brokerage account. You don't ever have to do anything with the account, but they make you open it and then automatically assign you a checking account with a separate account number.

In order to open the savings account, you have to download the application, complete it and mail it to Charles Schwab. It will take a little longer to get the account up and running since you have to wait for the snail mail, but the process is simple.

How to Access Your Money: Once you deposit your money in the online checking or savings account, you need to be able to access it. Schwab gives you a few ways to spend your money:

  • Withdraw the funds at any ATM using your Visa debit card
  • Pay bills online via the Schwab Bill Pay Service
  • Transfer funds to a non-Schwab account electronically via your computer or mobile device

Reasons We Like Charles Schwab Bank

  • You don't have to pay any monthly fees. You might be able to find higher interest rates elsewhere, but you will be hard-pressed to find another online bank that doesn't charge monthly fees. The lack of fees can make up for the slightly lower interest rates.

  • You don't need a minimum balance. It's always a nice feeling when you don't have to worry about carrying a minimum balance or risk getting charged a fee. Charles Schwab doesn't require a balance for either their checking or savings accounts.

  • You can get your ATM fees refunded. If you've dealt with the frustration of getting charged to take your own money out of an ATM, you'll love Charles Schwab's ATM refund policy. If you withdraw the funds using your Schwab Visa debit card at an ATM that accepts the Visa debit card, Schwab will refund you the ATM fee. There is no limit on the number of refunds you can get either.

  • You can make mobile deposits. Making deposits without a physical branch to visit might seem complicated, but Schwab makes it simple. After you open your account, apply for Schwab Mobile Deposit. Once approved, you take a picture of your check with your smartphone and upload it to the Mobile Deposit service.

  • You get free standard checks and a free ATM card. Free standard checks and a free ATM card are two more ways you can save money with Charles Schwab's banking service.

  • You can set up direct deposit for checking or savings. If you want to simplify the funds transfer process, set up automatic deposit into your checking or savings account. These deposits are available the same day, unlike ACH transfers from another bank.

  • You can use Schwab's free bill pay service. Rather than transferring your funds here, there, and everywhere, you can take advantage of Schwab's free bill pay service. Paying your bills right from your high yield checking account can alleviate some of the headache of transferring funds.

  • You can use contactless payments such as Apple Pay and Android Pay. Just link your checking account to the eligible device and you can easily and securely pay vendors and retailers.

  • You have FDIC coverage. Your deposits (up to $250,000) are protected by FDIC insurance. This means should something happen to Charles Schwab Bank, your money is still safe.

  • You can have free overdraft coverage. If you have available funds in an eligible Schwab brokerage or online savings account, Schwab will cover your overdrafts in your checking account at no charge. This isn't a green light to make overdrafts, but at least you know you have the coverage should it happen.

Reasons You May Want to Look Elsewhere

  • Your deposits or money transfers can take a long time. During the first 30 days of owning the account, any checks you deposit that aren't cashier's checks or government-issued checks are held for five business days before the funds become available. Some deposits made with Schwab Mobile Deposit after the first 30 days may also be held for an extended period (Schwab notifies you of the exact waiting period after the deposit).

  • You have to bank online even if you have a Charles Schwab bank in your area. The point of an online checking or savings account is for you to handle your transactions online. This decreases the amount of overhead required for the bank to offer these accounts, which results in higher interest rates. Not all Schwab branches have the ability to accept deposits or help with any banking transactions, leaving you to operate online.

  • The only type of account you can open is checking or savings. The only two banking options you have are the checking or savings accounts, both of which offer minimal interest compared to other options, such as CDs. If you have long-term savings needs, you may want to look elsewhere to make more interest.

How to Contact Customer Service: You can contact Charles Schwab Bank via phone at 1-888-403-9000, 4 AM to 8 PM PT, Monday-Friday and 6 AM to 7:30 PM Saturday and Sunday. If you lose internet access and want to check the status of your account, you can call 1-877-824-5625 for 24/7 account access. You can also chat with a representative online.

How it Compares

Charles Schwab Bank vs Ally: Schwab and Ally Bank both offer online banking, but the similarities end there. If you are looking for more than checking or savings, Ally Bank has more options, including money market accounts, CDs, and IRAs.

 Charles Schwab BankAlly Bank
 Learn MoreLearn More

Charles Schwab Bank

Ally Bank

High Yield Investor Checking – Unlimited ATM Rebates - Learn More

Online Savings Account - Learn More

High Yield Investor Checking – Unlimited ATM Rebates

Ally Bank: Pricing information from published website as of 6/15/2018

Charles Schwab Bank vs Capital One 360: Capital One 360 also offers more products than the Charles Schwab Bank offers. If you want more than checking or savings, you can open a money market or IRA account. They also have Capital One branches, known as cafés, located throughout the US.

 Charles Schwab BankCapital One
 Learn MoreLearn More

Charles Schwab Bank

Capital One

High Yield Investor Checking – Unlimited ATM Rebates - Learn More

Capital One 360 Checking - $25 offer - Learn More

High Yield Investor Checking – Unlimited ATM Rebates

Capital One: Pricing information from published website as of 8/7/2018

Charles Schwab Bank vs Barclays Bank: If you are strictly looking for savings accounts, Barclays offers a high-yield savings account as well as CD options. They do not require a minimum balance or charge monthly service fees for the CDs.

 Charles Schwab BankBarclays
 Learn MoreLearn More

Charles Schwab Bank


High Yield Investor Checking – Unlimited ATM Rebates - Learn More

Online Savings Account - Learn More

High Yield Investor Checking – Unlimited ATM Rebates

Barclays: Pricing information from published website as of 8/1/2018.

Bottom Line

If you want to make a little more interest than your local bank offers and can manage your money online, Charles Schwab Bank can be a good option. If your goals are more long-term and you can tie your money up for a few months to a few years, you may want to look at other online options that offer CDs and money markets, as you can often get higher interest rates with those products.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy financial decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

Disclaimer: This content was first published on May 23, 2018. Information including rates, fees, terms and benefits may vary, be out of date, or not applicable to you. Information is provided without warranty. Please check the bank's website for updated information.

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