May 23, 2018

Charles Schwab Bank Review: Account Good for You?

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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.

Overall Score

4.1

Savings

4.0

Checking

4.0

Customer Service

4.5

Mobile App

4.0
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • No account minimum
  • No service fees
  • Refund all ATM fees
  • Only checking or savings
  • Must do banking online

Bottom Line

Popular brokerage with a free checking account that refunds ATM fees

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.

If you're considering opening a personal checking or savings account, you must check out these promotions.

Services Offered

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

Compare Savings Account Promotions

Compare Checking Account Promotions

Reasons We Like Charles Schwab Bank

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  • 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 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.

You might also consider:

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.

Chase
Member FDIC

Chase Total Checking® - $200 Bonus

Expires 1/25/2023
  • New Chase checking customers enjoy a $200 bonus when you open a Chase Total Checking® account and set up direct deposit
  • Access to more than 16,000 Chase ATMs and more than 4,700 branches
  • Chase Mobile® app - Manage your accounts, deposit checks, transfer money and more -- all from your device.
  • Open your account online now
  • Available online nationwide except in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. For branch locations, visit locator.chase.com.
  • Chase Overdraft Assist℠ - no overdraft fee if you're overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the business day or if you're overdrawn by more than $50 and bring your account balance to overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the next business day*

*With Chase Overdraft Assist℠, we won't charge an Insufficient Funds Fee if you're overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the business day OR if you're overdrawn by more than $50 and you bring your account balance to overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the next business day (you have until 11 PM ET (8 PM PT) to make a deposit or transfer). Chase Overdraft Assist does not require enrollment and comes with eligible Chase checking accounts.

Citibank

Citi Priority Account - Earn up to $2,000 Cash Bonus

Expires 1/9/2023
  • Earn up to $2,000 cash bonus when you open a new eligible Citi Priority Checking Account with required activities
  • Within 20 days of opening, deposit the minimum amount of new-to-Citibank funds.
  • Maintain a minimum balance for 60 consecutive calendar days from the 21st day.
  • If your balance falls to a lower tier at any point during the maintenance period, the bonus changes.
  • Bonus will be paid within 30 days after you successfully complete all required activities.
CIT Bank
Member FDIC

CIT Bank Savings Connect - 3.60% APY

  • Earn 15x the national average
  • $100 minimum opening deposit
  • No monthly maintenance fee
Discover Bank
Member FDIC

Discover Online Savings - $200 Cash Bonus

To get your $150 or $200 Bonus: What to do: Apply for your first Discover Online Savings Account, online, in the Discover App or by phone. Enter Offer Code CY922 when applying. Deposit into your account a total of at least $15,000 to earn a $150 Bonus or deposit a total of at least $25,000 to earn a $200 Bonus. Deposit must be posted to account within 30 days of account open date. Maximum bonus eligibility is $200.

What to know: Offer not valid for existing or prior Discover savings customers or existing or prior customers with savings accounts that are co-branded, or affinity accounts provided by Discover. Eligibility is based on primary account owner. Account must be open when bonus is credited. Bonus will be credited to the account within 30 days of the account qualifying for the bonus. Bonus is interest and subject to reporting on Form 1099-INT. Offer ends 12/15/2022, 11:59 PM ET. Offer may be modified or withdrawn without notice. See advertiser website for full details.

Expires 12/15/2022
Bluevine

Business Checking - Up to 2.0% APY

  • 2.0% APY on your balance up to $100,000 for customers that meet monthly eligibility requirements
  • $0 minimum opening deposit
  • $0 monthly service fee
Banking services provided by Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC

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