If you’re looking for the OG online bank, look no further than First Internet Bank, also known as First IB.
When First IB opened up shop in 1999, it became the first state-chartered institution to operate without brick-and-mortar bank locations.
Since then, while plenty of other digital banks have come and gone, First IB has continued to provide the low-fee, high-earning accounts that it made its name on.
From its most impressive products to customer service and support, you’ll learn all about how First IB stacks up against the new wave of online banks.
What is First Internet Bank?
Officially titled First Internet Bank of Indiana, First IB is based out of Fishers, IN, a suburb of Indianapolis.
It’s owned by First Internet Bancorp and was founded by David Becker, who still serves as its CEO.
First IB is available in all 50 states and offers deposit accounts, investment accounts, credit cards, and loans.
First Internet Bank Features
To give you a better idea of what First IB is all about, let’s take a look at its best consumer banking features.
First IB is an entirely online bank, so you won’t have access to any physical branches. All of your bank account needs, from deposits to transfers to bill pay, are taken care of online.
If you’re new to online banking, there’s no need to worry. Digital banks like First IB provide all of the features and guidance that you would expect from a traditional bank.
Unless you highly value in-person hand-holding, you won’t be missing out on anything.
With the First IB mobile banking app, you can make mobile check deposits, monitor your balances, and move money around whenever you need to.
The First IB app is available on both iOS and Android, and users on both operating systems seem happy with its functionality.
The app has an excellent 4.8-star (out of 5) rating in the App Store a similarly positive 4.4 stars (out of 5) in the Google Play Store.
Free ATMs (Sometimes)
Unlike most online banks, First IB doesn’t belong to an ATM network, so you won’t have to seek out specific ATMs when you need cash. This comes with pros and cons.
If you open a First IB Interest Checking Account, any ATM fees up to $10 per month are reimbursed. That’s the good news.
However, if you opt for a Free Checking Account, there’s no ATM reimbursement, so you’ll be stuck paying whatever the ATM charges per transaction.
Fortunately, there’s a workaround. First IB offers fee rebates for ATM withdrawals from any of its savings accounts, so you can always transfer funds over and pull from your savings instead.
First IB is compatible with Zelle, one of the biggest digital payment networks in the US.
Zelle works with more than 1,000 different banking apps and lets you easily move money between accounts or send money to friends and family.
First Internet Bank Checking Accounts
Here are the current checking account options with First Internet Bank:
Free Checking Account
First IB’s free checking account is a no-frills digital checking option.
You can open an account with as little as $25, and it comes with a Visa debit card, online and mobile bill pay, and your first order of checks for free.
There’s no interest rate associated with the account, but it also doesn’t have a monthly maintenance fee. For basic checking needs, Free Checking should suffice.
Interest Checking Account
Interest Checking is an interest-bearing checking account with a $10 monthly fee. To get around it, you’ll need to maintain a monthly balance of at least $500.
The main draw of this account is its annual percentage yield (APY), which currently sits at 0.30%.
This is on the higher end for interest checking accounts.
You’ll need an initial deposit of at least $100 to open an account, and you’ll also get $10 in ATM fee rebates per month.
First Internet Bank Savings Accounts
Here are the current savings account options with First Internet Bank:
Free Savings Account
Free Savings is a basic savings account that has no monthly maintenance fee. The account comes with a 0.25% APY, and you can open one with as little as $25.
You can make up to 6 withdrawals from the account per month, and you’ll get $10 in ATM rebates each statement period.
Money Market Savings Account
Money Market Savings is First IB’s highest-yield savings option with an APY of 0.50%. The account does come with a $5 monthly fee, but you can avoid it by keeping a balance of $4,000 or more.
There’s a $100 minimum deposit requirement to open, but otherwise, the account comes with the same features as Free savings.
Tomorrow’s Tycoons Savings Account
If you have kids, you can get them off to a positive financial start by opening a Tomorrow’s Tycoons Savings Account.
These accounts are available to minors and automatically convert to a Free Savings account when your kid turns 18.
To open an account, you’ll need an initial deposit of at least $100, and there’s no monthly maintenance fee.
Tomorrow’s Tycoons comes with a 0.25% APY, and parents or guardians are required to serve as joint account holders.
First IB Cashback Credit Card
First IB offers a single credit card, the Cashback Card, which earns 3% back on gas and 1% on all other purchases.
There’s no annual fee, and you can apply for a credit card on the website or mobile app.
Unfortunately, the Cashback Card does not come with a sign-up bonus or a promotional APR.
Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
First Internet Bank CDs come with the company’s highest interest rates. You can open one with an initial deposit of $1,000 or more.
Here’s are the current First Internet Bank CD rates:
|3 Month CD||0.25% APY||$1,000|
|6 Month CD||0.45% APY||$1,000|
|1 Year CD||0.60% APY||$1,000|
|18 Month CD||0.65% APY||$1,000|
|2 Year CD||0.70% APY||$1,000|
|3 Year CD||0.80% APY||$1,000|
|4 Year CD||0.85% APY||$1,000|
|5 Year CD||0.95% APY||$1,000|
As a reminder, when you deposit money into a CD, you’re not supposed to touch it for the entirety of the term.
If you do, you’ll most likely be looking at early withdrawal penalties.
Online banks are typically known for their low (or non-existent) fees, and for the most part, First IB fits the bill.
However, this is by no means a completely fee-free platform. The good news is that most of First IB’s fees are avoidable.
Here’s a look at the most common fees that you’re likely to run into.
Monthly Maintenance Fees
Both of First IB’s premium accounts — Interest Checking and Money Market Savings — come with a monthly fee attached.
You can get around both of the bank fees by maintaining a minimum balance. If you’re nervous that you won’t be able to hit the mark consistently, you can opt for Free Checking and Free Savings, which are both fee-free.
First IB doesn’t have its own ATMs or belong to an ATM network, so no matter what ATM you use, you’ll be responsible for covering any fees for your withdrawal.
If you have a premium checking account, you’ll get $10 in fee reimbursements per month.
The same rebate applies to savings accounts. Keep this in mind as you choose which accounts to open.
If you overdraft your account, you’ll get hit with a $30 fee. To avoid this fate, link your checking account with your savings for overdraft protection.
The other option is to open a line of credit, but this should only be used as a last resort.
Overdraft credit lines come with an aggressive 15.99% APR, and you can run into additional fees if you miss a payment.
Incoming transfers, including both wires and ACH, are always free with First IB.
Unfortunately, outgoing ACH transfers cost $5 each, and outgoing wires are $20 for domestic and $50 for international.
With this in mind, always try to use Zelle if you can. The service is free, and you can easily send money to most major bank accounts.
To open a new account, head to www.firstib.com and download the app. To qualify, you’ll need to be at least 18 and a legal US resident.
You also need to come prepared with your Social Security number and government-issued ID.
Opening an account only takes a few minutes, and once you’ve made your initial deposit, you’ll be ready to get started.
Unfortunately, there’s no sign-up or referral bonus associated with a First IB account at the moment.
That said, you never know when promotions will pop up, so be sure to check back for any updates.
If you’re interested in finding the biggest bank bonuses, check out our full list of bank promotions.
As a bank with a long history of operating in the digital space, First IB has a good handle on online security.
Here are just a few of the ways that it keeps you and your money safe:
- Single Socket Layer (SSL) Encryption
- Fraud Monitoring
- Automatic Time-Outs
- Multi-Factor Authentication
- FDIC Insurance
First IB’s online security center also has a ton of helpful tips on avoiding scams and taking steps to protect your information.
First IB’s customer support team is available over the phone Monday through Friday from 7 am to 9 pm Eastern Time and from 9 am to 3 pm on Saturdays.
When you give them a call, you’ll have the option to work with a customer service rep or a Relationship Banker.
First IB Relationship Bankers are qualified banking experts who you can bounce ideas off of or get more in-depth answers.
When it comes to service, First IB has a solid reputation, as demonstrated by its 4.8-star rating (out of 5) on ConsumerAffairs.
Pros & Cons
- High APY earning on savings accounts
- Well-rated mobile app
- Free account options
- Top-notch customer service
- No sign-up bonus
- More fees than other online banks
- No ATM network
- Only one credit card option
Alternatives to First Internet Bank
If you want to look elsewhere, there’s no shortage of online banks to choose from.
First IB may have been the first, but in the last 20 years, the digital banking space has exploded.
Here are some of the top alternatives to check out:
Is First Internet Bank legit?
Yes. First IB is FDIC-insured, an Equal Housing Lender, and is approved by the US Small Business Administration (SBA). It’s as legit as any other bank out there.
Is First Internet Bank FDIC insured?
Yes, First IB is an FDIC-insured financial institution, which means that all of your deposits are protected up to $250,000.
How long has First Internet Bank been in business?
Over 25 years. First IB was founded in 1996 and has been providing banking services since 1999.
Is First Internet Bank Right For You?
In 1999, First Internet Bank probably sounded like a strange concept. Back then, full-service banks without brick and mortar locations were unheard of.
Today, First IB is far from the only bank that’s ditched physical branches in favor of a low-overhead digital platform.
That being said, it’s managed to hold up as a top provider of low-cost, high-earning online accounts.
First IB is easy to use and offers plenty of different account options. Its high-end interest rates are among the best in the business, and it brings everything together with a highly rated mobile app and great customer service.
The only downside is the fees. There are plenty of online banks that have moved completely away from fees, but First IB has still held onto a few.
It’s still a more affordable option than most traditional banks, but if truly fee-free is what you’re after, you might have to look elsewhere.
Here’s to finding the best bank that works for you and not the other way around.