TIAA Bank Review

TIAA Bank

Overall Rating

9

Bottom Line

Overall, there is a lot to like about TIAA Bank. You'll find plenty of account options and most of them come with higher interest rates than the national average. You're also covered with an expansive ATM network and TIAA's mobile app and customer service team seem to be keeping clients happy.

Pros

  • Competitive APYs
  • ATM fee reimbursements
  • Few fees

Cons

  • Limited physical locations
  • No credit cards

TIAA Bank is the consumer banking division of TIAA, a leading provider of financial services for academic, medical, and governmental institutions.

When TIAA acquired Jacksonville-based EverBank in 2016, TIAA Bank was born.

TIAA Bank provides banking, mortgage, and investment services to customers throughout the US.

From a detailed look at each of its accounts to a breakdown of pros and cons, keep reading to discover if TIAA Bank is right for you.

In This Article

TIAA Bank Checking

Let’s take a look at TIAA’s checking account options:

Basic Checking Account

Basic Checking is an everyday checking account that comes with online banking, a Visa debit card, and an avoidable $5 monthly fee.

The checking account fee is waived if you’re a New York state resident or maintain a minimum balance of $25.

There’s a $25 initial deposit requirement, and if you carry a balance of at least $5,000, you’ll get unlimited ATM reimbursements. Lower balances still get $15 per month in ATM fee rebates.

Yield Pledge Checking Account

TIAA’s Yield Pledge Checking account is an interest-bearing checking account that comes with a guarantee that no matter what, its interest rate will always fall in the top 5% of competitor rates.

The account isn’t exactly high-yield compared to other online banks, with a current annual percentage yield (APY) of just 0.10%, but it still sits much higher than the majority of traditional banks.

Yield Pledge Checking has no monthly account fees and requires a minimum deposit of $100 to open. The account comes with debit card purchase benefits, mobile banking, and unlimited ATM reimbursement if your account balance stays at $5,000 or higher.

TIAA Basic Savings Account

Basic Savings is a high-yield savings account (HYSA) that currently earns interest at a competitive rate of 0.50% APY. You’ll earn the same rate no matter what your balance is.

There’s a minimum opening deposit requirement of $25, and you’ll need to keep your balance above that balance to get around the $5 monthly fee.

TIAA Yield Pledge Money Market Account

The Yield Pledge Money Market account comes with the combined benefits of TIAA Bank savings and checking accounts.

The APY isn’t quite as high as Basic Savings at 0.40% but stays competitive with the same guaranteed rate as Yield Pledge checking.

There’s no monthly fee, and like all TIAA accounts that come with a debit card, you’ll be reimbursed for all out-of-network ATM fees if your balance is $5,000 or higher. To open an account, you’ll need a higher initial deposit of $500 or more.

TIAA Bank CDs (Certificates of Deposit)

TIAA Bank offers three different CD account types — Basic CDs, Bump Rate CDs, and CDARS Service. Here’s the breakdown of each option.

1. Basic CD

Basic CDs come with term options ranging from three months to five years and have no monthly account fees.

The APY is based on your term length, and the longer you commit your funds, the better rate you’ll get.

There’s a $1,000 minimum deposit requirement to open a Basic CD, and you can fund your new account via online transfer or by sending a check in the mail.

Here’s the current breakdown:

Term APY
3-month 0.35%
6-month 0.40%
9-month 0.45%
1 year 0.50%
1.5 year 0.55%
2 year 0.60%
2.5 year 0.65%
3 year 0.70%
4 year 0.75%
5 year 0.85%

Remember that when you deposit money into a CD, you aren't supposed to touch it during the term. If you do, you'll most likely be looking at an early withdrawal penalty.

2. Bump Rate CD

Bump Rate CDs are a good option if you have some flexibility on how long you can commit your funds and you want to earn a little more on interest.

The only term option is 3.5 years, and you’ll have the option to increase your APY one time during the term if rates increase.

The new interest rate will stick around for the remainder of your term.

Bump Rate CDs come with an initial deposit requirement of $1,500 with a maximum deposit of $250,000.

At 0.70% APY, this is one of the best APY that you’ll find in any TIAA account.

3. CDARS

TIAA is part of the CDARS network of banks, which means that customers looking to put significant funds into a CD can do so with the protection of FDIC insurance.

Basically, the CDARS service diversifies your funds by spreading them between CDs at various banks, meaning that your entire balance is covered instead of the standard $250,000.

Here is the current breakdown of CDARS Rates:

Term Funding Limit APY
3-month $12.5M 0.10%
6-month $12.5M 0.10%
1 year $12.5M 0.15%
2 year $12.5M 0.20%
3 year $2.5M 0.20%

TIAA Bank Features

Online Banking

TIAA Bank operates mainly as an online bank and comes with most of the digital banking features that you would expect.

Customers have mobile banking access, bill pay, budgeting and savings tools, and the option to send money with Zelle.

146 TIAA Offices

Here’s where it could get a little confusing — TIAA as a whole has financial services locations throughout the US, but many of them are not equipped to serve consumer banking needs.

There are a handful of full-service TIAA Bank locations in Florida, but otherwise, you might not be able to get the services you would expect from a traditional bank. With this in mind, we recommend you consider TIAA Bank to be online-only.

80,000+ Free ATMs

TIAA is part of both the Allpoint and MoneyPass ATM networks, so customers have fee-free access to more than 80,000 ATMs throughout the US.

On top of that, TIAA reimburses up to $15 per month in out-of-network ATM fees (and doesn’t charge any of their own). So even if you’re in a pinch and can’t find an in-network provider, you don’t have to worry about ATM fees.

Mobile App

The TIAA mobile banking app gives you access to your entire financial picture, from banking to retirement to brokerage accounts.

Make mobile check deposits, check your balances, and utilize your digital wallet with Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay.

The app is well-liked, with impressive ratings on both Android and iOS. At the moment, the TIAA app has a 4.6-star (out of 5) rating in the Google Play Store and 4.7 stars (out of 5) in the App Store.

Debit Card Benefits

With your TIAA Bank debit card, you’ll be able to take advantage of some neat purchase benefits, as follows:

  • Extended warranty protection: On eligible US purchases, you can extend a manufacturer’s warranty up to one year.
  • Price protection: If you buy something and the price goes up within 60 days, you can be reimbursed for the difference up to $250.
  • Return protection: If a merchant doesn’t accept a return, you can qualify for return protection up to $250 if it’s been 90 days or less since the purchase.

TIAA Bank Fees

Even though TIAA is an online bank, it doesn’t completely follow the fee-free structure that’s become the norm for digital banking.

Here’s a rundown of the fees that you should be aware of before opening an account.

Monthly Maintenance Fees

If you choose to open either a Basic Checking or Basic Savings account, there’s a $5 monthly fee that comes with each. Fortunately, they’re super easy ways to avoid the checking account fees.

Both accounts only require a minimum balance of $25 to waive the fee, and if you’re a New York State resident, you won’t even need that.

Overdraft/NSF Fees

TIAA’s $30 Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF) fee applies to all overdrafts, except those created by your debit card. The fee is limited to two per day, which is fewer than most banks.

The good news is that TIAA has some options when it comes to overdraft protection. For example, you can link another account or a line of credit to cover the balance of your overdraft.

But, keep in mind that if you take out a line of credit, you’ll have to pay a variable interest rate on the balance.

ATM Fees

TIAA doesn’t charge any ATM fees of its own if you use an ATM out of its network, and any fees charged by the ATM itself are reimbursed if you carry an average daily balance of $5,000 or more.

The only time you might run into a fee that isn’t covered is if your average balance falls below $5,000 and you exceed the $15 per month in rebates that come standard with all TIAA checking accounts. For most people, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Wire Transfer Fees

Incoming wire transfers, both domestic and international, are free with TIAA, but you’ll pay a fee if you’re sending wires out. Outgoing domestic wire transfers are $25, and international wires (not including currency exchange fees) cost $35.

Getting Started

Signing up for a TIAA bank account is easy and can be done in as little as 5 minutes online at TIAABank.com.

You can apply for any TIAA account from the website, with the exception of a trust or custodial account, which has to be taken care of over the phone.

To apply, all you need is contact information, a residential address, and your Social Security Number.

TIAA Bank Promotions

TIAA doesn’t advertise it front and center on its website, but the bank has a couple of solid intro bonuses.

There’s a major catch though: To qualify, your employer must participate in TIAA’s Workplace Banking program. See the full details here.

If your employer participates, here are the sign-up bonuses that you can qualify for.

Yield Pledge Checking Bonus: $150

New Yield Pledge Checking customers can earn a $150 bonus. All you have to do is enroll in direct deposit and receive at least two qualifying direct deposits totaling $1,000. The bonus will show up in your account within 120 days.

Money Market Bonus: $300

New TIAA Money Market customers can earn a $300 bonus. To qualify, you’ll have to fund your account with at least $15,000 within the first 20 days after opening your new account. You then need to maintain that balance each day for the following 70 days.

Security

Online security is a top priority with TIAA. The bank’s website and app both utilize robust encryption technology to protect your sensitive information, and they constantly monitor for fraud.

There’s also a web safety guarantee that provides protection for lost or misdirected funds, and you could qualify for reimbursement if you’re the victim of identity theft.

Last but not least, TIAA is a member-FDIC bank, so all deposits into your account are protected up to $250,000 in the event that the bank fails.

Customer Service

When you need a hand, TIAA’s client solutions team is available on weekdays from 8 am to 8 pm Eastern Time and on weekends from 9 am to 7 pm.

The phone number is 1-888-882-3837. In the event that your debit card is lost or stolen, you can call the same number 24/7 to report it.

Otherwise, you can send an email any time or get in touch through TIAA’s social media channels. Overall, TIAA Bank has a solid reputation when it comes to service.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Competitive APYs, especially on CDs
  • ATM fee reimbursements
  • Few fees
  • A convenient option if your employer works with TIAA

Cons:

  • Limited physical locations
  • Intro bonuses not available to most
  • No credit cards

Alternatives to TIAA Bank

If you like what TIAA has to offer but want to look into some other online banks for the sake of comparison, check out:

Each of these options offers low fee schedules and high-earning APYs.

For banking options that still hold a strong online presence but bring more to the table in terms of in-person service, take a look at:

These traditional banks come with a wide network of ATMs and brick-and-mortar branches (but watch out for fees).

FAQs

Is TIAA a good bank?

Yes. TIAA is a well-regarded brand overall, and TIAA Bank has a lot to like. Between a high-earning online savings account, multiple options for checking, and CD rates that can compete with anyone, TIAA is a solid option as an online banking partner.

Are TIAA accounts FDIC-insured?

Yes, TIAA is a member-FDIC as well as an equal housing lender.

What bank is TIAA associated with?

TIAA Bank is a division of TIAA. Unlike some online banks, TIAA is FDIC-insured, so it doesn’t have to partner with another financial institution to provide its accounts.

Is TIAA Bank Right For You?

TIAA comes with plenty of features, products, and functionality to make it an interesting contender in the growing online bank arena.

You’ll find plenty of account options and most of them come with higher interest rates than the national average. You’re also covered with an expansive ATM network and generous ATM fee reimbursements.

Furthermore, TIAA’s mobile app and customer service team seem to be keeping clients happy.

However, TIAA Bank might not be a great fit if you want a bank with plenty of physical locations or if you tend to overdraft your account.

Also, your employer will have to participate in TIAA’s Workplace Banking program if you’re trying to snag a sign-up bonus.

Overall, TIAA should serve most online banking needs. Take your time, compare it to other banks that you’re considering, and you’re bound to make the right choice.