Banking » Reviews » Popular Direct Review (2024)
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Popular Direct Review (2024)

While Popular Direct has a limited product line, it offers very competitive rates on savings account and certificate of deposits (CDs).
Author: Lorraine Smithills
Lorraine Smithills

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Lorraine is a freelance finance writer with years of experience in the banking sector and after a successful career in one of the largest retail and commercial financial services providers. She has a passion for helping people with less financial confidence to get control of their money through budgeting, saving, and responsible credit practices.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024
The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.
Author: Lorraine Smithills
Lorraine Smithills

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Lorraine is a freelance finance writer with years of experience in the banking sector and after a successful career in one of the largest retail and commercial financial services providers. She has a passion for helping people with less financial confidence to get control of their money through budgeting, saving, and responsible credit practices.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024

The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.

We earn a commission from our partner links on this page. It doesn't affect the integrity of our unbiased, independent editorial staff. Transparency is a core value for us, read our advertiser disclosure and how we make money.

Popular Direct

Popular Direct review
Popular Direct review

Popular Direct

Fees

$0

Minimum Deposit

$5,000

Our Rating

4.2
4.2/5

APY Savings

5.15%

Popular Direct has a limited product line, but its savings account and CDs do offer highly competitive rates. Unfortunately, you will need to have sufficient funds for the high minimum opening deposit requirements, which is likely to create a barrier to entry for the average saver.

You also need to be aware of the Popular Direct terms and conditions. Although there are no monthly maintenance fees, if you close out a savings account within 180 days, you will incur a fee. Additionally, the early withdrawal fees on the CDs are a little on the hefty side. So, you need to be confident that you can tie up the funds for the duration of the CD or you’ll negate the high APY with fees.

  • No Monthly Maintenance Fees
  • Highly Competitive Rates
  • Variety of CD Terms
  • Solid Customer Support
  • High Minimum Deposits
  • High CD Early Withdrawal Penalties
  • Account Closure Fee
  • No ATM Access

Does the bank cover all states? 

Yes, Popular Direct is available in all states.

Can I open only a CD account?

Yes, there are no requirements to hold a savings account to be able to open a Popular Direct CD.

What are the requirements to open a Popular Direct account?

As with all financial institutions, you will need to provide some personal details and verify your identity. However, you do need to bear in mind that Popular Direct does have high minimum initial deposit requirements. So, you’ll need at least $5,000 to open a savings account.

Table Of Content

Banking Services
Credit Options
Savings Accounts
Mortgage
Checking Accounts
Government Mortgage
CDs
Credit Cards
Money Market Account
Debit Card
Investing Capabilities
Personal Loans

Popular Direct Savings

Popular Direct has just one savings account option; its high yield savings account. This account offers an impressive rate of 5.15% that can easily stand up favorably in comparison with other hysa available through other online banks or credit unions.

The key features of this account include:

  • Minimum Deposit: The Popular Direct savings account does have a minimum deposit requirement of $5,000, which may be a barrier to entry for many savers. However, once the account is opened, there is no minimum balance requirement to earn interest.
  • No Monthly Fees: The account does not have any monthly maintenance fees to worry about. While it is often possible to waive bank account maintenance fees, it adds a layer of complexity to managing your account.
  • Restricted Withdrawals: As is common with high-yield savings accounts offered by many financial institutions, Popular Direct does limit the number of withdrawals you can make from this account. You are only permitted a total of six withdrawals, including transfers out of the account per month. If you exceed this number, every additional withdrawal will attract a fee of $5 per transaction.
  • Commitment to Hold the Account: After you open the account, it must remain open for a minimum of 180 days or Popular Direct may impose a $25 fee.

Popular Direct CDs

Popular Direct offers CDs with a variety of terms that range between 3 months – 5 years, with the highest APY available for the 12-month CD, but also great rates for 2-year CD and 6-months CDs. Regardless of the term, you will need a minimum deposit of $10,000 to open a CD account. However, there are no tiered interest rates within the CD terms, so you’ll receive the same rate whether you deposit $10,000 or $100,000.

The Popular Direct CDs allow you to lock in the rate for the entire CD term, with a 10 day grace period at maturity. Once your CD matures, you will have 10 days to withdraw funds, add a further deposit or close out the account with no penalty. Unless instructed otherwise, the CD will then automatically renew after the 10 day period has elapsed.

CD Term
APY
3 Months
5.25%
6 Months
5.30%
12 Months
5.15%
18 Months
4.90%
24 Months
4.70%
36 Months
4.55%
48 Months
4.35%
60 Months
4.30%

If you need access to some or all of your funds before the CD matures, you will incur an early withdrawal penalty. This is calculated according to the original term of your CD. If your CD has a term of less than 91 days, the penalty is 89 days of simple interest. This increases to 120 days of interest for CD terms of 91 days to 12 months and 270 days for terms of 12 months to 36 months.

However, if you have a longer-term CD, the penalties are even higher. If you have a CD with a term of 36 months to less than 60 months, the penalty is 365 days of simple interest, but for CDs with a term or 60 months or longer, you’ll forfeit 730 days of simple interest.

Pros and Cons

As with any financial institution or service, there are both positives and negatives to consider before deciding to open an account.

Pros
Cons
No Monthly Maintenance Fees
High Minimum Deposits
Highly Competitive Rates
High CD Early Withdrawal Penalties
Variety of CD Terms
Account Closure Fee
Solid Customer Support
No ATM Access

It is not unusual for savings accounts to carry a monthly maintenance fee, so it is nice that Popular Direct does not impose these fees on its account.

The Popular Direct APYs stand up very favorably to comparison with other financial institutions, even other online banks and credit unions. The rates for short-term CDs are among the highest you can find.

Popular Direct offers a wide variety of CD terms from three months up to five years, making it easier to find the best term for your financial goals and requirements.

If you do have any issues with your account, you can access help from the customer support team seven days a week.

Popular Direct has a high CD minimum deposit requirement of $10,000. This is likely to create a barrier to entry for typical savers. This is also relevant for savings account, with a minimum of $5,000.

Popular Direct has several tiers of early withdrawal penalties for its CDs. This differs from the typical penalties, which are usually capped at 180 days of interest for longer term CDs. With Popular Direct, you could forfeit as much as 730 days of interest if you need to cash out before maturity.

If you open a savings account and then find that you need to close it, if it is within 180 days, you will incur a closure fee.

Popular Direct does not provide an ATM card, so if you want to withdraw from your account, you will be restricted to transfers to an external account.

Popular Direct Customer Service

Popular Direct’s customer service team is available seven days a week by phone. The helpline is available 7.30 am to 12 am EST Monday through Friday and 9 am to 6 pm EST on weekends. This is a toll free number, but live customer service is not available if it is a Federal Reserve Bank holiday. You can also mail letters to Popular Direct via its Florida head office address.

However, most customers will find their customer service issues resolved via the app. You can access your accounts using the mobile app, which is available for both Android and Apple devices. The app allows you to check your account balance, make mobile deposits and initiate transfers.

How to Open a Popular Direct Account

Since Popular Direct is an online only bank, it is remarkably easy to open a new account from the comfort of your own home. You can complete the process in a few straightforward steps.

  1. Navigate to the Product Page: On the official Popular Direct website, you will find the Savings and CD headings on the bar at the top of the page. If you’re ready to start an application for a new account, you will need to click the yellow “Apply Now” button.
  2. Complete the Application Form: This is fairly standard and if you’ve opened an online account with a bank before, it should look somewhat familiar. You will need to complete all of the mandatory fields including your full name, address, phone number, date of birth, email address and Social Security Number.
  3. Fund Your Account: The final step of the account opening procedure is to fund your account. Savings accounts require a minimum deposit of $5,000, while you’ll need to deposit at least $10,000 for a CD account.
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About Popular Direct

Popular Direct is an online only bank which is a subsidiary of Popular Bank. This is a full service financial services provider which has a history dating back to 1893. 

However, Popular has retained its deep commitment and dedication to putting customers at the heart of everything it does, which is carried over into the ethos of Popular Direct.

Popular Direct may have only been around since 2016, but it benefits from the decades of expertise of its parent company. It offers a variety of deposit products, which we’ll explore in more detail here.

FAQs

Popular Direct is an online only bank, so the only option to open an account is online.

Popular Direct is an online only bank, so it has no physical locations. If you want access to a physical branch network, you may be better suited to Popular Direct’s parent company Popular Bank.

Popular Direct has federal insurance, via the FDIC. So, your money is secure up to the maximum limit.

No, unfortunately, Popular Direct does not currently offer a checking account. If you're looking for a checking account, you can compare top choices here.

How We Rate And Review Banks: Our Methodology

The Smart Investor team extensively reviewed hundreds of banks and credit unions. We assessed them based on four main categories, each with specific features:

  • Diversity of Products and Their Attractiveness (40%): We extensively analyzed the breadth and appeal of each bank's product offerings, including savings accounts, checking accounts, loans, investment options, and more. Higher ratings were assigned to banks with a diverse range of products that are attractive in terms of interest rates, fees, terms, and additional features. This category provides insights into the variety and value of the bank's offerings, crucial for meeting customers' diverse financial needs.

  • Account Features (30%): This category delves into the features and benefits accompanying each bank's accounts. We scrutinized factors such as promotions, deposit and withdrawal options, ATM accessibility, online and mobile banking functionalities, as well as additional perks like overdraft protection and rewards programs. Banks offering comprehensive and convenient features received higher ratings, reflecting the overall value of their accounts to customers.

  • Customer Experience (20%): A positive customer experience is paramount in banking, so we evaluated each bank's performance in this area. This included assessing the ease of account opening, quality of customer service, availability of support channels, and overall user satisfaction. Ratings were based on factors such as responsiveness, efficiency, and the bank's commitment to meeting customer needs, ensuring a seamless and satisfactory banking experience.

  • Bank Reputation (10%): The reputation of a bank is a critical consideration for customers. We examined factors such as financial stability, regulatory compliance, and public perception to determine each institution's overall trustworthiness and reliability. Higher ratings were awarded to banks with strong reputations, reflecting their credibility and ability to inspire confidence among customers.

  •  

By considering these categories, individuals can make informed decisions that align with their financial needs and preferences, ensuring they choose a bank that offers competitive products, excellent features, a positive customer experience, and a solid reputation.

Picture of Lorraine Smithills

Lorraine Smithills

Lorraine is a freelance finance writer with years of experience in the banking sector and after a successful career in one of the largest retail and commercial financial services providers. She has a passion for helping people with less financial confidence to get control of their money through budgeting, saving, and responsible credit practices.
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Promotion:
Up to $400 Open a new, select Virtual Wallet product and receive $500/$2,000/$5,000 or more in qualifying monthly direct deposits within 60 days to earn a $100/$200/$400 bonus.
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PNC Virtual Wallet ® is available in AL, AZ, CA, CO, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, NC, NJ, NY, NM, OH, PA, SC, TX, VA, WI, and WV. Virtual Wallet ® is offered in the state of MO with the exception of the Greater Kansas City area. Product availability may vary based on where you open your account and the Zip code of your primary address.

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Fees:
No monthly fees No monthly fees and no overdraft fees. Plus get reimbursed for ATM fees with an active account 
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Up to 2% cash back Up to 2% cash back on common everyday expenses for active accounts with monthly $1,000 direct deposit, and up to 1% cash back for other purchases 

Promotion:
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APY on Daily Balances
0.15% APY on daily balances of less than $20,000 or 0.35% APY on daily balances of $20,000 up to $50,000
Get paid up to 2 days early
Set up direct deposits and get your paycheck up to 2 days early

Promotion:
Up to $4,000 New customers may earn up to $4,000 when they open an eligible HSBC Premier checking account from January 8, 2024 through March 27, 2024 and complete qualifying activities:

• Receive a cash bonus of $1,500 when you deposit or invest $100,000 – $199,999.99

• Receive a cash bonus of $2,000 when you deposit or invest $200,000 – $299,999.99

• Receive a cash bonus of $2,500 when you deposit or invest $300,000 – 499,999.99

• Receive a cash bonus of $3,500 when you deposit or invest $500,000+

• Earn an extra $500 when you set up recurring monthly Direct Deposits totaling at least $5,000 for 3 months
Wealth Products & Advice
Get access to wealth products, insights and advice from an HSBC Financial Professional through HSBC Securities (USA) Inc
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.

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