Discover Bank Review 2020Checking Accounts
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- Discover Bank
- Basics: While most known for its credit cards, Discover also offers a solid array of consumer-first deposit accounts.
- Pros: Discover shines where it matters most, offering no-fee accounts with some of the highest interest rates around.
- Cons: Like any online bank, Discover doesn't have any branch locations. Also, the minimum deposit on CDs and money market funds are higher than at some other online banks, making them somewhat less accessible.
You’re probably already aware of Discover from its ever-popular line of credit cards, which have some of the most generous rewards and benefits programs in the industry.
But you should also know about the bank behind those credit cards, Discover Bank, which offers high-yield deposit products and fee-free checking and savings to consumers across the country.
Of course, as you’ll find at any online bank, these benefits don’t come without giving up some conveniences, and I’ll touch on those in this review as well.
What Is Discover Bank?
The banking arm of the $366 billion Discover Financial Services, Discover Bank began in 1911 as Greenwood Trust Company of Greenwood, Delaware.
The Bank is the issuer of Discover Cards, one of the best-known and most successful credit card lines in the world, with more than 44 million cardholders.
But the Bank itself also offers deposit accounts, including checking, savings, money market, and certificates of deposit (CDs). The Bank is offering interest rates on its deposit products that are competitive with some of the highest banks in the country.
It operates entirely as an online bank, but customers can participate in one of the largest ATM networks in the country, making its services available to consumers across the US.
Discover Bank at a Glance
Available in: All 50 states.
Products offered: Checking, savings and money market accounts; CDs, IRAs, credit cards, student loans, personal loans, and home equity lines of credit.
Minimum account balances: $0 on checking and savings accounts, $2,500 on CDs and the money market account.
Mobile app: Offers all the functionality of Online Banking, but also allows you to add Apple Pay, send and receive funds with Zelle, link your account with PayPal, locate participating ATM machines and deposit checks on the go. Available at the App Store for iOS devices 10.0 or later, and watchOS 2.0 and later, and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Also available at Google Play for Android devices, 5.0 and up.
The mobile app gets a rating of 4.8 stars out of five from iOS users, and 4.6 out of five from Android users.
Discover Debit Card with Cash Back: Earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month, up to a total of $360 per year. The debit card cashback bonus is completely separate from any cash back rewards earned on your Discover it credit card(s). The card can be used for either ATM transactions or purchases at any locations displaying the Discover, Diners Club International or PULSE symbols, which takes in 415,000 locations overall.
ATM network: Access using your Discover debit card at more than 60,000 fee-free ATM machines available throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Discover Bank participates in the Allpoint and MoneyPass ATM networks, which are commonly located in major retail outlets.
Access your FICO score free: When you open a Discover Bank account or credit card, you’ll have access to your free FICO credit score on your monthly statements.
Customer service: Available by phone, 24 hours a day, seven days per week.
Discover Bank Deposit Accounts
Discover Bank offers fee-free checking, a savings account, money market account, and CDs for both regular and IRA accounts.
Discover Checking Account
The Discover Checking Account is available with no minimum initial deposit, and no ongoing minimum balance requirements. However, you will be required to make a deposit into the account within 45 days of opening it.
The account comes with no monthly fees, and practically no bank fees of any sort at all.
Unlike many checking accounts offered by online banks, Discover Checking does come with paper checks. You can also make transfers to external bank accounts, or use online Bill Pay to pay expenses. The account also comes with Zelle, enabling you to transfer or receive funds
to/from anyone with a US bank account.
And of course, the Checking Account comes with the Discover Debit Card, offering 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month.
Discover Online Savings Account
The Discover Online Savings Account is currently paying a rate of 1.70% APY (as of December 11, 2019), compounded daily and paid monthly. The account requires no minimum opening deposit, no minimum ongoing balance, and charges no monthly fees.
As per Federal Regulation D, withdrawals are limited to no more than six per calendar month. Your account may be closed if you exceed that limit too often. However, there are no limits on ATM withdrawals.
Discover Money Market Account
The Discover Money Market Account is a no-fee money market account, paying rates of 1.55% APY on balances under $100,000, and 1.60% APY on balances of $100,000 or more (as of December 11, 2019).
The minimum required initial investment is $2,500, and the account does come with the Discover Debit Card. Federal Regulation D also applies to money markets, so the withdrawal limitations will be similar to those applying to the Discover Online Savings Account.
Certificates of Deposit
Discover Bank offers certificates of deposit in four terms, paying the following rates (as of December 11, 2019):
- 12-months, currently paying 2.00% APY
- 18-months, currently paying 2.00% APY
- 24-months, currently paying 2.05% APY
- 30-months, currently paying 2.05% APY
Discover Bank Fees
What fees Discover Bank doesn’t charge:
- Replacement debit cards
- Standard checks
- Official bank checks
- Online bill pay
- Expedited delivery for a debit card replacement
- Expedited delivery for official bank checks
- Deposited item returned
- Stop payment order
- Insufficient funds
- Account closure
- Incoming wire transfers
What fees Discover Bank does charge: an outgoing wire transfer fee of $30.
Early withdrawal penalties on CDs are as follows:
- CD term of less than 1 year, 3 months simple interest
- 1 year to less than 4 years, 6 months simple interest
- 4 years to less than 5 years, nine months simple interest
- 5 years to less than 7 years, 18 months simple interest
- 7 years to 10 years, 24 months simple interest
Each CD requires a minimum initial deposit of $2,500, and has no monthly fee. Your CD will be automatically renewed, unless you notify the bank 30 days before it matures.
Discover Bank CDs are also available for IRA accounts.
Discover Bank Loan Products
Discover it Credit Cards
Discover Bank offers the Discover it series of credit cards, offering some of the best terms available on credit cards anywhere.
For example, the Discover it Cash Back card comes with no annual fee, and enables you to
earn 5% cash back on common quarterly categories, plus unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. They also offer a cash back match at the end of your first year. The card has no annual fee.
They also offer their Discover it Student Cash Back card offering a similar rewards program, but also a $20 statement credit for each school year your grade point average is 3.0 or higher. The statement credit is available for up to five years.
The Discover it Business Card offers 1.5% cash back, with an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match on all cash back earned at the end of the first year.
And if you’ve got bad credit – or no credit at all – there’s the Discover it Secured Card. By putting up a refundable deposit, you can use the card just like any credit card. There’s no annual fee, and you can earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in purchases each quarter, plus unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Best of all, Discover reports your payment history to the three major credit bureaus, enabling you to build or improve your credit score.
Discover Student Loans
Discover has become a major player in the student loan space. They offer student loans for undergraduates, graduate, health professions, MBAs, law, and residency. They also offer student loan consolidations. Loans are available for up to 100% of student costs, with no fees required. The programs even offer rewards for good grades.
Discover Personal Loans
Discover offers personal loans for up to $35,000. Loans carry fixed rates, and no processing or origination fees. Personal loans are completely unsecured, and can be used for just about any purpose, including credit card refinancing debt consolidation, home repair and remodeling, auto repair, medical expenses, major purchases, and a whole lot of other activities.
Loan terms run three-, five-, and seven-years, with interest rates ranging from 6.99% APR to
24.99% APR based on applicant credit worthiness. Since the loans are completely unsecured, you’ll need good credit and a strong financial history to qualify.
Discover Home Equity Loans
Like personal loans, home equity loans can be used for just about any purpose. And since the credit line is secured by your home, interest rates are lower than they are on other types of financing. Home equity lines work like credit cards. Once you’re approved for the line, you can access the funds at any time. As you repay loan proceeds, you restore your home equity credit line.
Discover home equity loans are available in loan amounts between $35,000 and $200,000, with terms ranging from 10 years to 30 years. There are no application fees or origination fees, and no costs required at closing.
Current interest rates range between 3.99% and 8.99% APR for a loan in the first lien position, and between 3.99% and 11.99% APR for a lien in a second position. Naturally, the rate you’ll pay will be based on your creditworthiness.
How to Open an Account with Discover Bank
You can open an account with Discover Bank entirely online. You’ll need following information:
- Your full name
- Social Security number or taxpayer identification number
- Date of birth
- Your mother’s maiden name
- A US mailing address and possibly a previous address – note: a PO box is not acceptable
- Your email address
- Your phone number
If your account will be jointly owned, you’ll need to provide the same information for the co-owner.
You’ll then need to choose the type of account you want to open, then set up the funding method. Checking and savings accounts don’t have minimum initial deposit requirements, but you will need to meet the $2,500 minimum opening requirement for either the money market account for a CD.
When choosing account settings, you’ll need to set up a personal identification number, order a debit card, and in the case of a checking account, order paper checks.
Finally, you’ll need to electronically sign bank disclosures, and upload any required information for compliance with the USA Patriot Act. Expect to provide a copy of your current driver’s license or other state issued photo ID.
Discover Bank Pros & Cons
- Discover Bank deposit accounts and CDs pay some of the highest interest rates available anywhere.
- Checking and Savings accounts required no minimum initial deposit.
- Discover Bank as a single fee – $30 for fer outgoing wire transfers. Otherwise their accounts are true no-fee accounts.
- The bank participates in one of the largest ATM networks in the country, giving you access to your funds almost anywhere.
- The Bank offers Discover it credit cards, one of the top credit card families in the country.
- As is the case with all online banks, there are no local branches.
- The Discover debit card isn’t as widely accepted as Visa and Mastercard debit cards.
- Discover Bank is not a full-service bank, and does not provide mortgages, auto loans or business banking services.
- Money Market Account and CD initial minimum deposits of $2,500 are higher than the minimums at many other high-yield online banks.
- There’s no method indicated enabling the deposit of cash.
Should You Open an Account with Discover Bank?
If you already have a Discover it credit card, moving your checking and savings to Discover Bank could be a virtual no-brainer. Not only do their deposit products pay some of the highest interest rates in the industry, but their checking account is a true no-fee account, and even offers paper checks. That last point is important, because many online banks don’t offer paper checks with their checking accounts.
But that’s just the beginning. You can earn 1% cash back using your Discover Debit Card – up to $360 per year – just by using it to make purchases you’d be making anyway. And when Discover Bank says no-fee checking, they come closer to that claim than any other bank. The only fee they charge is a $30 outgoing wire fee. Otherwise there are no monthly fees, or fees for NSFs, overdrawing your account, ordering checks, stop payments, or any of the usual fees banks charge.
And though they don’t have local branches, their vast fee-free ATM network – as well as their mobile banking app – will give you complete access to your account anytime, anywhere.
No-fee checking, the cashback debit card, high yields on deposit products, and some of the best credit cards in the industry, make Discover Bank one of the better online banks to bank with.
If you’d like more information, or you’d like to open an account, visit the Discover Bank website.
Kevin Mercadante is a freelance personal finance blogger and the owner of his own personal finance blog, Out of Your Rut. A recent transplant to New England, he has backgrounds in both accounting and the mortgage industry.