UFB Direct is an online bank that offers mortgage loans, high-yield savings accounts, and money market accounts. A growing division of Axos Bank, UFB’s competitive interest rates set it apart from its competition.
In this post, you’ll learn everything there is to know about UFB Direct. Let’s start with a look at the bank’s most popular services.
UFB Direct Bank Accounts
Here are the 3 main types of accounts you can get with UFB Direct:
- UFB High Yield Savings Account
- UFB High Yield Money Market Account
UFB High Yield Savings Account
UFB High Yield Savings is an easy-to-use high-yield savings account with a remarkable interest rate. Currently, account holders can earn 5.25% APY on deposits. There are no maintenance or service fees, minimum opening deposit requirement, or minimum balance requirement.
The UFB High Yield account includes a complimentary debit card and free, unlimited transfers between direct deposit accounts. You’ll also find plenty of tools for seamless remote banking.
UFB High Yield Money Market Account
A UFB High Yield Money Market account combines the earning power of a savings account with the convenience of a checking account.
Customers can earn 5.25% APY and have easy access to funds 24/7. This is one of the best rates we’ve seen for any money market account. You will also get the peace of mind that comes from knowing your account is FDIC-insured.
There is a $10 monthly maintenance fee; however, you can eliminate it by maintaining an average daily balance of $5,000 or more.
Pricing and Fees
As an online national bank, UFB Direct keeps its pricing and fees relatively low compared to its larger brick-and-mortar competitors. But there are some fees to consider.
Monthly Maintenance Fees
The UFB High Yield Savings account has no monthly maintenance or service fee. This is pretty typical for an online bank because they generally charge fewer fees than traditional financial institutions such as Chase or Bank of America.
The UFB High Yield Money Market account charges a $10 monthly fee, but account holders can waive it by maintaining a balance of at least $5,000. (Other than the ability to write checks, the MMA offers no additional perks or a higher APY than their free savings account. It’s best to choose the free savings account unless check-writing is of value to you.)
UFB Direct doesn’t own any ATMs but offers free ATM withdrawals at approximately 91,000 locations across the United States. There might be additional charges from the ATM operator, so pay attention to the fees.
Another thing to remember is that UFB Direct savings accounts fall under Federal Regulation D, which means you’re technically limited to six withdrawals per month. UFB Direct may charge you a $10 excess withdrawal fee if you exceed this monthly limit.
Like almost all other banks, overdrafts can be costly with UFB Direct. Fortunately, you can set up overdraft protection, which I always recommend.
Here’s a breakdown of other fees that may come up if you decide to bank with UFB Direct:
- Paper statement fee: $5
- Outgoing domestic wire transfer fee: $35
- Outgoing international wire transfer fee: $45
- Deposited check returned item fee: $10
- Non-sufficient funds fee: $25
While these fees are not exceptionally high, they could add up — especially if you process several monthly wire transfers.
Remember that banks are often willing to waive fees to keep customers happy. Don’t be afraid to ask for a fee waiver. As the saying goes, you can’t get what you don’t ask for.
Signing Up & Getting Started
If UFB Direct is the right option, the sign-up process is simple and done completely online.
Visit UFB Direct and select the type of account you wish to open. To open your account up as quickly as possible, you’ll need to enter the following information:
- Your name
- Valid driver’s license or state-issued I.D. number
- Social Security number
- Citizenship status
You must be at least 18 and a U.S. citizen or resident alien to open a bank account with UFB Direct.
After entering your personal information, you must add your financial details, including the size of your deposit and the external bank account that will send it. This step requires your bank’s routing and individual account number.
After completing the application, UFB will review it to verify that your information is accurate. They will also require two trial deposits into your external bank account before you can transfer money to that external account.
It’s worth noting that UFB Direct is a division of the much larger Axos Bank. As such, UFB Direct uses numerous cyber-security measures to protect your funds and account information, such as voice, fingerprint, and digital image verification for app access.
Most importantly, deposits are FDIC-insured up to the maximum allowable limit of $250,000 per individual accout, and $500,000 per joint account.
When you need help with your account, UFB Direct’s customer service team is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day. You can also send a support request through the mobile app or website. Online chat is open from Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Time. Phone support is available round-the-clock, excluding Christmas and Thanksgiving.
UFB Direct also gives customers access to helpful tools, videos, and FAQ explainers about the most common types of issues, such as transferring money, submitting check deposits, and modifying your account details.
As for the quality of the customer service, it’s a mixed bag. I’m seeing a higher-than-average level of 1-star reviews on several bank forum websites, so you might want to look into those customers’ stories before signing up. Of course, every customer’s experience varies.
Pros and Cons of UFB Direct
Before we continue, let’s take a moment to summarize where UFB Direct is ahead of the crowd and where it falls a bit short:
- Highly competitive interest rate
- No monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements for savings accounts
- 24/7 phone support
- Well-rated mobile app
- Widespread ATM access
- Money market accounts
- No checking accounts or CDs
- Monthly fee for money market account (if balance is below $5,000).
- Less established than other top HYSAs (e.g., Ally Bank)
Alternatives to UFB Direct
Are you looking for alternatives to UFB Direct that offer similar benefits and a competitive APY? Here are some of my top choices:
- CIT Bank: According to CIT Bank, customers can earn 15 times the national average, with a high yield of 1.55% APY and no monthly fees.
- LendingClub: LendingClub offers high-yield savings accounts with a 4.65% APY. There is no minimum balance requirement, but customers must make an initial $100 deposit.
- Sallie Mae: Consumers can get a high-yield money market account with 4.75% APY and benefit from no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements.
- Ally Bank: Ally Bank offers 4.25% APY on all balance tiers, savings buckets, round-ups, and surprise savings, all for no monthly maintenance fees or minimum required deposits.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before we wrap things up, let’s look at some of our readers’ most common questions about UFB Direct.
Is UFB Direct safe?
Yes, UFB Direct is safe, secure, and FDIC-insured. Never do any business with an online bank that doesn’t have FDIC insurance.
Who owns UFB Direct?
UFB Direct is a division of Axos, an online-only chartered bank headquartered in San Diego.
Where is UFB Bank located?
UFB Direct operates out of San Diego because that’s where its parent bank, Axos, is located.