Thursday, March 09, 2006

Is it worth switching between on-line high interest accounts?

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I've been reading through the bank rate charts and learned that there are quite a few higher paying online money market accounts -- I'm a bit curious.

A friend says that umbrella bank has been very aggressive at raising rates, it's currently at 4.61% APY (vs. EmigrantDirect's 4.25%). He says they follow Fed rate increases rather promptly. Emigrant seems to lumber along and eventually increase rates.

I called umbrella bank and was disappointed to learn that they do not have the EFT features that Emigrant has - the ability to move cash in and out of accounts at other institutions via on-line EFT. This means you have to mail checks. Not convenient. They do respond to an EFT push initiated by another bank - but my local bank doesn't know how to do it (nor what one is).

This is what Umbrella told me:

1. Wire Transfer
-- See
for details
-- UmbrellaBank does not charge its customers for incoming wires
and you have immediate availability of the funds once we receive them.
Direct Deposit
-- See
for details
-- Like wire transfers, there is no charge for the deposit and
you have immediate availability of the funds.
-- This is an excellent
alternative for payroll or government checks that you are currently mailing into
your accounts.
3. ACH Transfers
-- Although UmbrellaBank will not "pull"
the funds from another bank account, we allow you to "push" the funds to your
UmbrellaBank account. Please contact your other bank to see if this capability
exists and what, if anything, they charge for this capability.
-- Like wire
transfers and direct deposit, there is no charge for the deposit and you have
immediate availability of the funds.
4. Deposits at ATMs
-- UmbrellaBank
is a member of Star/Cash Station/MAC Network, which allows our customers to make
deposits at any deposit-taking ATM displaying one of these logos. However, the
ultimate decision on whether or not the deposit will be accepted is up to
terminal owner, which is often the financial institution that owns the ATM. If
the terminal owner has agreed to accept deposits on behalf of other financial
institutions, and UmbrellaBank is a member of the respective ATM's network, then
the deposit can be processed.

-- UmbrellaBank will not charge a fee specific to the deposit. The ATM
usage and surcharge costs will be based on other products rules and fee
schedules that can be found on

-- See to locate
an ATM near you.
The current APY for a balance over $50,000 is 4.60%.

If you have an online account at 4.25%, is it worth switching?

They're offering 4.8% through April 30, 2006 only. What happens May 1st?

Can an account with emigrant be linked with hsbc to shuttle money between the two?
From personal experience, it takes a few days for emigrant to actually credit a transfer. I'm wondering if I would lose interest from both accounts while waiting for the money to arrive.

I do remember hearing someone write that they were able to draft from their emigrant account into their hsbc - I'm especially curious about this.

Any thoughts are welcome.


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