Over the past few months, a number of readers have recommended that I check out FNBO Direct as an online savings alternative. Given the interest out there, I thought I should investigate. After a bit of digging, I was impressed enough with what I saw that I decided to open an account this weekend.
Strengths of FNBO Direct
One of the biggest reasons that people have given me for liking FNBO Direct has been their high interest rate. In fact, they have consistently outpaced online bank stalwarts such as ING Direct. Another strength of FNBO Direct is that they don’t have a minimum balance requirement, and there are no monthly fees.
In addition to the above, FNBO Direct is not only FDIC insured (as are all of the major players), but they also have a Bankrate “Safe & Sound” rating of 4 stars, which makes them one of the safest online banks.
Finally, while I have yet to test this out myself, I’ve heard from at least one reader that it’s dead easy to get a real, live human being on the line when you call customer service.
Opening an account
Given the above, I decided that I’d give FNBO Direct a try. What follows is a walk-through of the account opening process. All told, the process took about 10-15 minutes for a joint account (it would be a bit quicker for an individual account).
Step 1: Initiate your application.
Simply visit FNBO Direct and click on “Open an Account.” You should be greeted with a page that looks something like this:
Simply check the box for starting a new application and then click “Next Step.”
Step 2: Enter your personal information.
On the subsequent pages, you’ll select whether you’d like to fill out an individual or joint application, and then you’ll be asked to provide your name, social security number, date of birth, address, etc. Pretty standard stuff. If you’re opening a joint account, you’ll have to provide this information for both account holders.
Step 3: Confirm your identity.
Next, you’ll be asked a couple questions drawn from your credit record to make sure that you are who you say you are. In our case, we were asked about which bank holds our mortgage and how much we pay per month. These are multiple choice questions, so you just select the proper answer from a list of option.
Step 4: Fund your account.
At this point, you’ll be asked how you’re planning on funding your new account. While they don’t have a minimum balance requirement, you have to deposit at least one dollar to get the account up and running.
You have two options when it comes to funding your account. You can other do so electronically, via an electronic bank transfer, or you can send in a check. We opted for an electronic transfer. At that point, you’ll be present with a screen that looks something like this:
Simply provide the requested information, choose a deposit amount, and then choose an account verification methods, as follows:
We opted for trial deposits, which means it will be a day or two before we have full access to our account. The online verification provides you with instant access to your account, but it requires that you provide the username and password associated with your linked bank account.
The next step
That’s all there is to the account opening process. As I said, very quick and easy. In the next day or two we should be getting an e-mail saying that they’ve made the trial deposits. At that point, I’ll just have to check exactly how much they deposited (it’s usually a few cents) and then hop back on over to the FNBO Direct website to verify the amounts.
13 Responses to “FNBO Direct Review and Account Opening Process”
does fnbo direct provide you with routing and account information. and are you able to receive deposit into acct out side of dd from job- and can payment be withdrawn as a ach using the routing number and acct number. i have to pay my deposit and my acct will be open.
Sounds pretty good.. But.. Their fee disclosure seems pretty scary.
It seems they have it setup to thoroughly rape you. Pay attention to the fine print.
Found setup process a bit messy. No emails received after completing registartion & trial deposits. Security questions presented on first login attempt were not the ones I chose.
In regards to the long wait time for transfers into and out of the FNBO Direct online savings account; I found that if I push or pull the money from my linked checking account instead of using the FNBO Direct transfer option the funds are transferred within one to two business days. Of course the transfer time will differ for each financial institution and you also have to be aware of any fees that your bank might charge for the transfers. It’s an option that has been working well for me so far and has gotten me a few extra days on interest accrual. Otherwise FNBO Direct has been great!
Is it as easy to create sub accounts with FNBO as it is with ING Savings?
I’ve had an account with FNBO for over a year and I love them. Other than the lengthy transfer time, I’m happy. I also like that they have B&M locations in my area.
And in response to Ken, FNBO dropped their rates only after the Fed drastically cut rates, and they were the last of all major online banks to do so.
Only thing against me agreeing with your use of FNBO is that they are also listed as a sponsor on your site.
Sounds like FNBO is really taking off; slick online interface too. I definitely understand chasing good rates and hopefully being able to stick with a solid financial institution that provides them, but I don’t understand why so many people don’t get the highest rates. Example: I work for a Credit Union and we have a checking account that right now offers 5.25% APY up to 25k in balances. I personally consolidated all my money into that account because of the rate. Are people not aware of rate deals like this or is there another reason they don’t sign up for them?
I have an FNBO account and ING. I love the interface and ease of ING, especially electric orange checking.
Haven’t had any problems with FNBO, but the transfer time between accounts is excruciating!! It take a week on average to get funds moved. If you start on a Monday you will probably see the transfer by Friday but any other day it is full calendar week with the weekend factored in.
ING is 2 business days, usually. I do find it odd though that they hold the electic orange money for another day and savings for about 5 (I guess that might be the same time difference as FNBO) but at least I am earning interest during that time.
FNBO offers “promotional” interest rates that reset lower, frequently.
Rate-Chasing with new accounts doesn’t seem very useful as a personal banking strategy.
Always ask ‘why’ a bank is offering better rates than its competitors. You want bank that’s stable & secure, as well as offering reasonable interest rates.
Bank failures are a very real risk these days.
I’ve had an account with shore bank for almost a year. They consistently have the highest rates, currently 3.5, and many of the same options. They have been quick to raise rates and slow to drop them.
I also opened an FNBO savings account this weekend. Just now, I verified my trial deposits. Hopefully they’ll pull my funding deposit tomorrow, and I’ll have a shiny new account. I left ING sometime ago when Emigrant Direct came along. But when ED’s rates started dropping I opened a Countrywide SavingsLink account, which is currently paying 3.55%. I don’t expect that to last much longer, so I was happy to find the FNBO 3.5% account — and a bank with a high rating. I expect to close my Emigrant Direct account within the next few days.
Over the past year and a half or so since I’ve had an FNBO Account it has continually held the highest interest rates out of all the banks. It was the last of 5 online accounts to drop their rates down this winter. They remained at 5% through around february or march I’d like to say. So its a good one to have around. Haven’t tried out the BillPay Account yet. But on first glance it doesn’t seem to have all the ease and flexibility of an Electric Orange account through ING.