December 3, 2018 12:00 PM PT

BankDirect Review

Read more about BankDirect
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Think you can't earn airline miles from your bank account? Think again. BankDirect offers two accounts that allow you to earn American Airlines miles.

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BankDirect is an online-only bank that is a subsidiary of Texas Capital Bank. Anyone in the United States can sign up for an account since there aren't any physical branches you can visit. You electronically transfer/deposit funds and/or use an Allpoint ATM to conduct transactions. BankDirect has an affiliation with American Airlines and they have several bank account options for customers.

Keep reading to see if BankDirect is a bank you may want to consider.

Checking

  • Smart Checking: With $100, you can open the Smart Checking account that doesn't charge a monthly maintenance fee. Your first order of checks is free and it includes a free Visa CheckCard. This account doesn't earn interest.

  • Checking with Interest: This interest-bearing checking account requires a $500 opening balance. Your first 50 checks are free and it includes a free Visa CheckCard. ATM transactions at network ATMs are included and you may receive reimbursement for up to four non-network ATM fees per cycle. In order to waive the monthly service fee on this account, you'll need a combined balance of $25,000 in all BankDirect accounts.

  • Mileage Checking with Interest: This unique checking account allows you to earn airline miles. You need $500 to open the account and you'll receive your first 50 checks free of charge as well as reimbursement on up to four non-network ATM charges. You can then earn miles for various tasks, such as setting up Direct Deposit, using BankDirect's free bill pay service, and using your BankDirect Visa CheckCard.

Savings

  • Regular Savings Account: You need $100 to open this savings account, which earns a slightly higher interest rate than BankDirect's checking accounts. You may only make two "free" withdrawals per month. Each withdrawal after that will incur a charge. You can receive a free Visa CheckCard and use it at any network or non-network ATM. You may receive reimbursement on up to four non-network ATM charges per cycle.

Money Market

  • Money Market Plus: The Money Market Plus account is a high-yield savings account with the bonus of check writing privileges. You may only write up to six checks per cycle, though, per FDIC guidelines. You'll need $500 to open the account and you'll earn interest on balances over $10,000. You can receive your first 50 checks free of charge and a free Visa CheckCard. If you use a non-network ATM, you may receive reimbursement up to four times per cycle.

  • Mileage Money Market Account: This Money Market Account offers not only high-yield interest rates on balances $500 or higher, but it also offers the chance to earn airline miles. You may write checks from this account, but only six per cycle. You can receive your first 50 checks free of charge and obtain a free Visa CheckCard. You can earn airline miles by opening an account and by keeping a high balance in the account each month.

CDs

If you have $10,000 you can set aside and not touch for a few months to a few years, you may want to consider a BankDirect CD. You can choose from terms ranging from 90 days to 5 years. CDs at BankDirect automatically roll over into a CD with the same maturity if you don't withdraw the funds within 10 days after maturity.

IRA

  • IRA Certificates of Deposit: You can open an IRA CD with just $1,000. BankDirect doesn't charge an annual, closing, or distribution fee on IRA CDs. You can choose from a 12-month to a 60-month CD term. You must decide what to do with the funds within 10 days of CD maturity.

  • IRA Money Market: You can open an IRA Money Market with $100. You can also contribute to the IRA in $100 increments. You can open a traditional or Roth IRA account. You'll receive interest on your balances and you can withdraw the funds as you want, but you will incur IRS taxes and penalties if you aren't of retirement age yet.

BankDirect Customer Service:

1-877-839-2737.

Reasons We Like BankDirect

  • You can use more than 55,000 ATMs fee free. BankDirect's Visa CheckCard is a part of the Allpoint Network. You can find the ATMs freestanding as well as inside common retailers, such as 7-Eleven, Walgreens, CVS, and Kroger. This makes it easy to access your money without worrying about fees.

  • You can use ApplePay with your BankDirect Visa CheckCard. If you don't like carrying your Visa CheckCard with you, link it to your ApplePay and use your phone to pay at retailers that accept this form of payment.

  • You can set up free bill pay. If paying bills is a chore for you, let BankDirect take over the job. You just need to input the creditor's name and the amount you need to pay and BankDirect handles the rest. The preferred method is electronic funds transfer, but if the creditor doesn't accept electronic transfers, BankDirect will write a check and mail it for you.

  • BankDirect can send gift checks for you. If you send checks as birthday presents to family near or far, BankDirect can do it for you. You tell BankDirect who to pay and how much, and they will prepare and send the check for you.

  • You can set up automatic transfers between your checking and savings accounts. Create savings goals and then put the plan in action with automatic transfers. You set up the frequency and amount and BankDirect will automatically "pay" your savings account by withdrawing the funds from your checking account. Making this step automatic can help ensure that you do save.

  • You can access your bank account from anywhere you have an internet connection. You can use BankDirect online or through their mobile app. You can check balances, transfer funds, set up bill payments, or balance your checkbook from just about anywhere (assuming you have an internet connection).

  • You can accrue American Airlines miles. If you are an AAdvantage member and you open one of the three AAdvantage accounts at BankDirect, you may earn miles, which turns into free airline tickets once you accumulate enough points. BankDirect makes it easy to earn points as well. Just conducting your normal transactions may earn you miles.

  • You can use 24/7 telephone banking. If you lose internet connection or just aren't on a secure connection but need answers regarding your bank account, you can contact them via telephone banking any time of the day. You can check balances, transfer funds, and change your ATM pin over the phone.

  • You don't need a lot of money to open an account. Many of BankDirect's accounts require $100 - $500 to open. This makes it easy for even those with little money to open an account and start earning interest. You have to start somewhere, so this may be a good place to get established.

  • BankDirect is FDIC insured. Banking with an FDIC insured bank helps protect your funds should the bank go out of business. The FDIC insures balances up to $250,000.

Reasons You May Want to Look Elsewhere

  • You may not be able to get around the monthly maintenance fees. Many banks offer the option to waive the monthly service fee by meeting their minimum balance requirements. Only a couple of BankDirect's accounts offer this option. Even a $10 monthly fee can cost you $120 per year. That certainly adds up over time.

  • You need at least $10,000 to open a regular CD. Regular CDs often benefit beginning investors or those who have a little extra money they don't need access to at the moment. The fact that you need at least $10,000 to open a CD limits who can open one quite a bit.

  • You have to wait 7 to 10 days after opening an account to use it. Even though you sign up for the account online, you have to mail in the signed deposit agreement and your initial deposit. BankDirect will then mail you a welcome kit, which is when you can start using your account.

How It Compares

  • Citizens Access: Citizens Access is another online-only bank. They only offer an online savings account and CDs. They don't charge monthly maintenance fees, but they do have a $5,000 minimum balance requirement for their savings account.

  • Ally: Ally Bank is also an online-only bank. They offer checking and savings accounts as well as CDs and IRAs. They don't charge monthly maintenance fees on their products. They do, however, require you use only their ATM machines or you will pay a surcharge.

  • Capital One 360: Capital One 360 is another online bank with a variety of account options. They don't charge official service fees, but they have several other charges that can certainly add up. In exchange for the fees, they do offer a higher than average APR.

Bottom Line

BankDirect offers convenience and decent APRs, but their account offerings are minimal. If this is your first time using an online-only bank, they may be a good steppingstone. If you are looking for robust account choices and stellar customer service, though, you may want to look elsewhere.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy 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 December 3, 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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