November 25, 2018

FirstBank Review

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What do you look for in a bank account? Do you prefer simple, no-frills accounts or do you need all of the bells and whistles? If simple bank accounts are your cup of tea, you may find that FirstBank has just what you need.

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FirstBank offers no-frills checking and savings accounts that have low account minimum requirements and straightforward fees. Many of their services do cost extra money, though, so you'll want to be careful before signing up for an account. Know what you need and which services you use, and then you can decide if it makes sense to sign up with FirstBank.

In the meantime, read this review to see how FirstBank stacks up to help you decide if it's right for you.

Checking

FirstBank's checking accounts all come with access to online and mobile banking, 24-hour banking over the phone, and text/email alerts.

  • Anywhere Account: If you are looking for an account that doesn't require a minimum balance and doesn't charge a monthly fee, you've found it with the Anywhere Account. You manage your money via the mobile app. Note: There are no check writing privileges with this account.

  • Anywhere Account with eSave: This checking and savings account combination comes with a FirstBank Visa Debit card. You also have access to online banking. A unique feature of this account is you can set up automatic deposits into your savings account every time you use your Visa debit card or pay a bill. You specify the dollar amount or you can request that FirstBank round your purchase up to the nearest dollar to deposit into your savings. Note: Only the first three checks you write from this account are free. After that, you pay $1 per written check.

  • Money Market Checking: With just $500, you can open a Money Market Checking account that gives you the benefit of a savings account with higher interest rates, but you still get check writing privileges. You must maintain the $500 daily balance in order to earn interest and have the monthly service fee waived.

  • Premier Checking: If you keep at least $2,500 in your checking account or you receive a monthly direct deposit of at least $1,000, you can get the fee on this account waived. You'll then earn interest on your money and the standard annual fee for the FirstBank Visa debit card is waived.

  • 55-Plus Checking: Customers who are 55 years and older don't have to keep a minimum balance in this checking account to waive the monthly fee, as there is no fee. In order to earn interest on your balances, though, you must keep a daily balance of at least $500.

Savings

  • Regular Savings: As long as you can keep a $100 daily minimum balance, you can earn interest on your money in this savings account. The $100 average daily balance will waive the service fee; otherwise it's a quarterly charge.

  • Money Market Savings: If you can keep a $1,000 average daily balance, you can earn "money market interest rates" and avoid the monthly service charge.

  • Liquid Asset Savings: If you are looking for a safe place to stash a large amount of money while earning interest, the Liquid Asset Savings account may suit your needs. It offers interest rates that are generally higher than the money market rates, but you must meet the $20,000 average daily balance to avoid the monthly service charge. This is often a good option for those who need a safe place to keep money they may use for a large purchase, such as a down payment on a home.

Time Savings

If you can tie up your money for a specific period, you may stand to gain higher interest rates with the FirstBank Time Deposits accounts.

  • Time Savings: You'll need a minimum $100 balance and the ability to tie up your money for 91 days to 2 years to earn interest on this account. You can continually make deposits throughout the term of your savings - it won't affect your maturity date. You will be subject to the market rate at the time of deposit, though.

  • Time Deposit: You'll need a minimum of $500 for this Time Deposit account, which you cannot continually add to - you leave your money for the specified term and earn a fixed rate of interest. The terms range from 91 days to 5 years. This account doesn't have a service charge.

  • Premier Time Deposit: This is another single deposit timed account, but with larger minimum balance requirements. This account requires at least a $10,000 balance, but offers a higher interest rate. This product is available in terms from 91 days to 5 years. This account doesn't have a service charge.

FirstBank's Routing Number: The FirstBank routing number is 107005047. You can also find it on the bottom left corner of your checks.

Reasons We Like FirstBank

  • You can sign up for online banking, which allows you to do many of the standard banking tasks from home. You can pay bills, set up account alerts, and view your statements, all in the online portal. You can also transfer funds between accounts, and manage your debit or credit cards.

  • You can bank with the FirstBank mobile app. The app allows you to do many of the same transactions you can do online, but while on the go. You can also take advantage of the mobile deposit option, which allows you to deposit your checks just by taking a picture of them and following the steps in the mobile app.

  • You can open a Health Savings Account. If you have a High Deductible Health Insurance Plan, the HSA can help you cover your out-of-pocket expenses with tax advantages. There is no minimum balance required, but you will pay an annual fee for the account. FirstBank provides two HSA debit cards for you to pay your eligible expenses at no cost.

  • You can open a Smart Choice College Savings Plan. Otherwise known as a 529 plan, you don't need a minimum balance and you won't pay a monthly service fee. You can opt for a money market savings account or a 1-year timed deposit to earn the most interest on your money to help you pay for college.

  • FirstBank offers IRA accounts to help you save for retirement. They offer a variety of accounts for both traditional and Roth IRA options.

  • You can open many of the FirstBank deposit accounts online. If you don't want to provide your information online, you can open an account over the phone as well as in person at one of their 115 branches.

  • Customer service representatives are available 24/7. You can call 1-800-964-3444 any time of day or night to get answers to your important banking questions.

  • You can view your account balances in the mobile app without logging into it, in case you're in a hurry and just want to see your account balance before you go shopping or pay a bill. You can also see a quick summary of any upcoming bills so that you can make good financial decisions.

  • You can freeze your Visa Debit card in the mobile app. If you think your card was lost or stolen, simply set your card management to freeze the account. Once you find your card, you can unfreeze it. If you don't find it and think it's been stolen, you can also report it stolen in the app.

  • You can set up automatic payments to set your bills up and forget them. This way, you can avoid paying your bills late, even with the reminders that FirstBank's mobile app can send. The bills are paid on the debt you request, requiring you to set the payment up once and forget it.

Reasons You May Want to Look Elsewhere

  • FirstBank charges for the FirstBank Visa Debit card. The Visa Debit card that comes with many of FirstBank's accounts carries a $10 annual charge per card. Many other banks offer the card free of charge.

  • FirstBank is located in just 3 states. While they do have 115 branches throughout those three states, unless you live in Colorado, California, or Arizona, you won't be able to bank at FirstBank.

  • FirstBank charges customers for Overdraft Protection. It's a nominal annual fee, but many other banks offer the service free of charge. They usually charge per transfer, which is standard for most banks, FirstBank included, but the additional annual charge adds to your costs and may be unnecessary.

How It Compares

Wells Fargo:
Unlike FirstBank, Wells Fargo is located throughout the United States. They have 5,800 branches and 13,000 ATMs. Wells Fargo offers a variety of deposit accounts, including specialized checking accounts for teens and customers who need "second chance checking."

US Bank:
US Bank has approximately 5,000 ATM locations throughout an estimated 25 states. Like FirstBank, they offer 24/7 customer service and access to mobile banking. US Bank offers a large selection of checking and savings accounts with many ways to waive the monthly service fees.

Banco Popular:
Banco Popular is an East Coast bank that offers basic checking and savings accounts. They also have options for students in both high school and college. They offer online and mobile banking. They make it easy to waive the monthly service fees on their accounts, but only one of their checking accounts offers interest.

Bottom Line

If you live in one of the three states FirstBank is located, you may want to utilize their unique account options, such as the Liquid Asset Savings or Time Deposits. Their basic checking and savings accounts leave a bit to be desired, especially when you have to pay for your Visa debit card.

Make sure to compare all of the fees that you would incur to make sure it's a plausible solution for you. If you qualify for the Premier Checking account, you won't pay for your debit card and you'll earn interest on your balances. It all comes down to your situation and how the fees may affect your finances.

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.

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