US savers have been hindered by ultra-low interest rates for some time now. In fact, the vast majority of hallmark institutions are still unable to offer interest rates anywhere the 1% mark.
As a result, a number of alternative banks have since risen to fame, subsequently offering more competitive rates of return on your savings while still providing the all-important protections of the FDIC.
One such example of this is Axos Bank.
The online-only bank is now offering a number of checking and savings accounts that it claims comes with high interest rates and zero fees.
If you are thinking about opening an account with Axos, or you simply want more information on the how the bank works, be sure to read our comprehensive review. We’ve covered everything from what Axos offers, what account types it provides, whether you need to consider any fees, customer service, and more.
Let’s start by finding out what Axos Bank is.
What is Axos Bank?
Launched in 2000 and formerly known as the Bank of Internet USA, Axos Bank is a digital-only bank. In layman terms, this means that the financial institution does not have any physical branches and thus, your everyday banking needs are facilitated completely online.
Since the company’s inception close to two decades ago, Axos Bank now claims to now have $10 billion under management. While this is still minute in comparison to hallmark institutions such as Chase, Wells Fargo or Bank of America, this does illustrate that alternative banking options are finally starting to take-off in the US.
Nevertheless, alongside a number of credit products, the main services facilitated by Axos Bank is its checking, savings, and CD accounts. These accounts typically operate much in the same way as any other retail bank, albeit, you won’t have access to a bricks and mortar branch. If this isn’t something you would traditionally utilize anyway, Axos Bank is a notable alternative.
For example, in the vast majority of cases its checking accounts come with no fees, no minimum balance requirements, a fully-fledged debit card, and perhaps most importantly, an annual APY of 1.25%. For those looking to put their money away for a rainy day, Axos Bank offers savings and CD accounts that pay a maximum APY of 1.30% and 2.25%, respectively.
The best aspect to the accounts offered by Axos Bank is that the institution is partnered with the FDIC. This means that you can store your money with the institution risk-free. In terms of its credit-based products, Axos Bank now offers a number of competitively priced personal loans, auto loans, and even mortgages.
When it comes to its regulatory standing, Axos Bank is fully authorized and regulated to operate throughout the US. Moreover, the bank’s parent company – Axos Financial, is publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange. At the time of writing, the stock holds a total market capitalization of just over $1.52 billion.
So now that we’ve covered what Axos Bank is, in the next section of our review we are going to unravel its accounts in more detail. Let’s start with the Axos Checking Account.
Axos Bank: Checking Rewards Account
Although Axos Bank offers a number of different checking accounts, its hallmark offering is its Rewards Checking account. As such, all of the information listed below is with respect to the Rewards Account.
First and foremost, your checking account will of course come with a conventional debit card. This means that when you electronically deposit funds into your account, you’ll be able to use the debit card to withdraw from ATMs, spend online, or spend in-store.
Moreover, you also have the chance to earn additional rewards on your Axos debit card as you make purchases throughout the month – albeit, its terms can at times appear complicated.
For example, although the platform offers a 1% cash back on debit card transactions, this is only the case if the transaction requires a physical signature. You would also be required to hold a balance of $1,500 or more to get this rate. If you don’t, then the 1% offering reverts down to 0.5%.
Nevertheless, the debit card allows you to make an unlimited amount of free withdrawals throughout the US. As such, if your respective ATM charges a fixed-fee for non-native cards, Axos Bank will simply reimburse you. This is an excellent offering from the bank, not least because the average ATM charge in the US stands at around the $3 mark.
Fees and Interest
While we are on the subject of fees, there is no cost to open the account, nor will you be charged a monthly maintenance fee. You will however need to deposit at least $50 into your account to get started.
Although you can deposit funds into your account via an electronic transfer for free, if you have a requirement to make a physical deposit, this comes at a cost. Facilitated by third-party entity Reload, you have the option of paying a $4.95 deposit fee when paying in cash via a CVS Pharmacy or 7-Eleven store.
When it comes to earning interest on your money, this is potentially the main selling point to the Axos Bank Rewards Checking account.
While major US banks are still paying in the region of 0.01% on checking accounts, Axos Bank allow you to earn upto 1.25% APY. However, in order to get the maximum, this does come with a number of conditions.
Firstly, you will need to ensure that you have at least $1,000 deposited into your Rewards Checking account each and every month. If you choose to get your salary paid in, then this shouldn’t be an issue. You will also need to ensure that you use your debit card at least 15 times per month, with a minimum transaction value of $3.
Although this is highly achievable, you might find yourself performing an additional couple of transactions towards the end of the month to meet the minimum.
Axos Savings and CD Accounts
If you’re looking to use your Axos Account as a means to store your savings, then you have a couple of options. Let’s look at the savings account first.
In a nutshell, the Axos Bank savings account pays an annual APY rate of 1.30%. Whether or not this is worth it is somewhat debatable.
On the one hand, this is significantly more than the average US bank offers on its savings accounts. In fact, the FDIC themselves recently noted that US financial institutions pay an average APY of 0.09% on traditional savings accounts.
This in itself amounts to an Axos Bank APY rate that is over 13 times the national average, which is great.
However, on the other hand, it is also important to note that the savings account offered by Axos Bank doesn’t pay that much more than its hallmark Checking Rewards account. At a rate of 1.25% APY, the difference is minute.
Nevertheless, if you do want to chase that extra 0.05% APY, you’ll only need to make an initial deposit of $250, and you’ll need to ensure you keep your minimum balance at this level at all times. You won’t need to pay any fees to open the account, nor are there any annual maintenance fees charged.
If you do want the option of accessing your cash on-the-move, you can request a free ATM card. However, unlike the Checking Rewards account, you won’t have access to unlimited free ATM withdrawals. With that being said – and factoring in the difference in APY rates, it might be best to stick with the Axos Bank Checking Rewards account if you think you might need to access your savings on a frequent basis.
If you are happy to keep your money locked away for a set period of time, then it might also be worth considering the CD accounts offered by Axos Bank.
High Yield Savings
As is standard with most US institutions, the rates of interest offered on Axos Bank CD accounts are determined by how long you are happy to keep your cash locked away for.
The best rate on offer is a reasonably competitive APY rate of 2.25%. For this, you’ll need to keep the money locked away for 5 years. At the other end of the spectrum, you’ll get a mere 0.55% APY on a 3 month CD account.
In terms of the fundamentals, you’ll need to invest a minimum of $1,000 to open a CD account. As is the case with all the other accounts offered by Axos, there are no fees to consider with the platform’s CD accounts.
All in all, although the 2.25% APY rate offered by Axos is reasonable, there are better options available elsewhere in the market.
Axos Bank: Main Features
Irrespective of whether you opt for a checking, savings, or CD account – Axos Bank offers a number of notable features.
If you’re the type of person that likes to bank on-the-move, then you’ll be pleased to know that Axos Bank can be accessed via a native mobile app.
Available to download free of charge across both Android and iOS devices, the mobile app offers you all of the same account services as you would find online. This includes the ability to check your balances, transfer funds, set-up electronic debit agreements, and more.
Pay-in Your Checks
Although checks are slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past, there may come a time where you need to pay one into your Axos Bank account. With that being said, the platform offers an innovative suite that allows you to deposit a physical check via your mobile phone.
All you need to do is sign the back of the check, take a photo of both the front and back of the check, and then upload the images into your Axos Banking app. As it is only Android and iOS devices that are supported, you won’t be able to do this if you don’t have a compatible device.
If you like the look of what Axos Bank offers and thus, you want to make the switch, Axos makes the process seamless. In fact, the platform offers a really useful step-by-step guide on how best to achieve this. Once you do make the switch, you will instantly import of all your balances, bill payments, and automatic debit/credit payments.
Moreover, if you currently have any direct deposits linked to your old account (such as your weekly/monthly salary), then this will also be switched on your behalf.
The security features offered by Axos Bank are excellent. Firstly, the platform offers two-factor authentication (2FA) in the event you are unable to answer your security account questions. This means that a unique security code will be sent to your mobile device. If you are logged into your Axos Bank via your mobile or desktop device, the platform will automatically log you out when you have been inactive for a number of minutes.
You will also benefit from having your account regularly monitored by the Axos Bank security team to ensure your account is not used fraudulently. In order to keep your personal information safe, Axos Bank also utilizes SSL encryption, as well as anti-virus and malware protection software.
Is Your Money Safe at Axos Bank?
As we noted earlier, all checking, savings, and CD accounts offered by Axos Bank are covered by the FDIC insurance scheme. This means that were Axos Bank to collapse, your deposits would be protected upto the first $250,000.
On top of your FDIC protections, you will also benefit from the security safeguards we discussed in the previous section.
Finally, when it comes to hidden fees or charges, you’ll have no issues with Axos Bank. The platform is very transparent on what it charges and when.
Credit Products Offered by Axos Bank
Although the platform’s checking, savings and CD accounts sit at the core of the business, it is also worth mentioning that Axos Bank offers a number of traditional credit-based products.
If you’re in need of a conventional personal loan, Axos Bank offers unsecured loans of between $5,000 and $35,000. This is offered on a term of between 1-5 years, and funds are typically deposited within 2 business days of being approved.
In terms of the rates on offer, this will range from 6.5% APR upto 25% APR. However, this will of course depend on your individual creditworthiness. Nevertheless, viewing your preliminary offer will have no impact on your credit score.
As such, if you already hold an account with Axos and you do require funding, then there is no harm in viewing what rates you can get.
Auto Title Loans
If you are looking for funding and you are happy to use your vehicle as collateral, then you should be able to get a much better rate via an Axos Bank auto title loan.
Rates start from just 4.45% APR for auto title loan terms of 63 months, and you can borrow from $10,000, all the way of $90,000. Moreover, your first payment is not required for 90 days, and you can pay your loan off in-full without being financially penalized.
However, unlike the personal loan offered by Axos Bank, applying for an auto title loan will be executed as a hard credit enquiry. As such, the application will be posted to your credit report with the main three credit bureau agencies.
Axos Bank Customer Service and Reviews
As we often note, alternative banks like Axos will strive to offer a level of customer support that exceeds that of a traditional institution. With that said, you can contact Axos via a secure email form, live chat, or telephone. In even better news, the customer service team works on a 24 hour basis, 7 days per week.
You can call Axos Bank at 1-888-502-2967.
In terms of public reviews, the general consensus is largely positive. However, one of the main concerns echoed by customers of Axos Bank is with respect to its checking account APY rates. If you’ve read our guide up to this point, then you’ll remember that we noted how there are some conditions that need to be met to retain the 1.25% APY interest rate.
However, some customers have complained about not receiving the rate because they fell short on the minimum debit card transaction requirement. Although this can of course be frustrating, Axos Bank are very clear on the terms.
Axos Bank Review: The Bottom Line
In summary, Axos Bank is arguably an excellent alternative to mainstream banks. First and foremost, you have access to a fully-fledged checking account that comes with no fees or annual charges.
In fact, with your Axos debit card, you get to make an unlimited amount of ATM withdrawals at no cost. Moreover, and perhaps most importantly, the Axos Bank Checking Rewards account comes with a highly competitive APY rate of 1.25%.
This is significantly higher than the vast majority of checking accounts in the market at present, so it’s well worth considering making the seamless switch.
On the other hand, the savings and CD accounts offered by Axos Bank are a bit non-descript. By this, we mean that the rates on offer are nothing to write home about. Notably, as the savings account pays just 1.30% APY, you would probably be better off sticking with the freedoms that the 1.25%-paying checking account offers.
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