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 are what 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 Preferred Savings account
- UFB Preferred Money Market account
UFB Preferred Savings Account
UFB Preferred Savings is an easy-to-use high-yield savings account with an awesome interest rate. Currently, account holders can earn 5.02% APY on deposits. There are no maintenance or service fees, no minimum opening deposit requirement, and no minimum balance requirement.
The UFB Preferred account comes with a complimentary debit card and free, unlimited transfers between direct deposit accounts. You’ll also find plenty of tools for seamless remote banking.
UFB Preferred Money Market Account
A UFB Preferred Money Market account combines the earning power of a savings account with the convenience of a checking account.
Customers can earn 5.02% 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 avoid that 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, which we’ll cover next.
Monthly Maintenance Fees
The UFB Preferred 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 Preferred Money Market account, however, does charge a $10 monthly fee, but this can be waived by maintaining a balance of at least $5,000 in the account. (That said, other than the ability to write checks, their MMA doesn’t offer any additional perks nor a higher APY than their free savings account, so we recommend going with that unless the check-writing is a huge value-add for you.)
UFB Direct doesn’t own any ATMs, but it does offer free ATM withdrawals at approximately 91,000 locations across the United States. There might be additional charges from the ATM operator, so watch out for that.
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.
UFB Direct charges a $25 late fee for payment received ten or more days after the due date. Avoid these penalties by ensuring that you pay any monthly fees on time.
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 start to 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
So you’re thinking about opening up a new account? You’ve come to the right place. The sign-up process is easy and it’s all done online.
Visit UFB Direct and select the type of account you wish to open. To get your account up and running as fast 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
Remember that you must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or resident alien to open a bank account with UFB Direct.
Once your personal information is in the system, it’s time to add your financial details. UFB Direct will ask how much money you want to deposit into your account, and from which financial institution the money is coming. I suggest keeping your current bank’s routing number and account number handy to make things easier.
After filling out the application, the bank will review it to verify that your information is accurate. UFB Direct 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 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 right through the mobile app or website. Online chat is available 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. The beauty of working with a provider like UFB Direct is that most account issues can be solved without having to contact the bank.
As for the quality of the customer service that customers are receiving, 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 is going to vary.
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
Looking for alternatives to UFB Direct that offer similar benefits and a competitive APY? Here are some of our 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 4.25% APY. There are two rate tiers: The first is for accounts with deposits of $2,499 and less and the second is for balances of $2,500 or more. There is no minimum balance requirement, but customers must make an initial $100 deposit.
- Sallie Mae: Offering a high-yield money market account with 3.80% APY, customers can benefit from no monthly maintenance fees as well as no minimum balance requirements.
- Ally Bank: As the top online bank in the US, it’s a no-brainer to take a close look at what Ally has to offer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before we wrap things up, let’s have a look at some of the most common questions we’re hearing about UFB Direct from our readers.
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.