NBKC Bank Review 2020: High Interest Rates From a Full-Service BankChecking Accounts
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- NBKC Bank Review
- Basics: What NBKC offers is practically an anomaly: high interest-paying online accounts along with a full suite of banking services. Along with checking and savings accounts with APYs, you'll find a suite of loan options, as well as business banking.
- Pros: You can earn interest on checking account with only $5 to open an account. Plus, NBKC's interest rates on taxable accounts and CDs are high even by online-only standards.
- Cons: IRA savings accounts pay less in interest, and we found international wire transfer fees a bit steep.
Are you looking for high interest rates but want more services than what most online banks offer? NBKC Bank is an online bank that offers more than just high-yield savings accounts.
Unlike its competitors that are relatively limited in scope, NBKC is a full-service bank. In fact, if you open an account with NBKC Bank, you’ll be able to kiss your local brick-and-mortar bank goodbye. There aren’t many online banks you can say that about!
What Is NBKC Bank?
“NBKC” is the abbreviation for the National Bank of Kansas City. The bank opened its doors in 1999 in the Kansas City, Missouri, area. The bank has a few brick-and-mortar branches in the Kansas City area but otherwise operates as an online bank on a national basis.
NBKC Bank offers a checking account equivalent, as well as a combination savings account/money market. Both pay high interest rates and require no monthly fees. In fact, NBKC Bank charges very few fees at all.
The bank also provides customers with high-interest certificates of deposit and the full range of home loans and mortgages, as well as other loan types and even business banking.
And even though the bank’s headquarters are in the Kansas City area, NBKC Bank participates in an ATM network offering more than 30,000 locations across the United States. That will give you access to your money wherever you live.
How to Open an Account With NBKC Bank
To open an account with NBKC Bank, you’ll need to have the following available:
- A Social Security number
- A valid driver’s license or state ID
You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien and be at least 18 years old.
You’ll also need to provide your name, address, date of birth, and other information that will allow the bank to identify you. And once your application has been approved, you can fund your account with as little as $5.
NBKC Bank Account Options
NBKC Bank offers a full range of account products, from checking and savings to loans for motorcycles, boats, and recreational vehicles.
NBKC Personal Account
Effectively, this is NBKC Bank’s checking account. But it’s called the Personal Account for a good reason – it isn’t like a standard bank checking account.
For starters, you can open an account with just $5. It comes with a free starter book of checks, which is an important feature since many online bank checking accounts don’t offer paper checks at all. You’ll also get a debit MasterCard that can be used at more than 32,000 MoneyPass ATMs throughout the U.S.
But the account also pays interest, and a generous amount at that. All balances currently pay interest at a rate of 1.01% APY (as of December 29, 2019). That’s with no minimum balance required!
NBKC Personal Money Market Savings Account
This is NBKC’s option for high-yield savings. As with the NBKC Personal Account, you can open an NBKC Personal Money Market Savings Account with just $5. After that, there’s no minimum account balance required and no monthly service fees.
But the account pays even higher interest than the Personal Account. It currently offers 1.66% APY on account balances up to $1 million.
As is the case with money markets and savings accounts with any bank in the United States, you’ll be limited to no more than six withdrawals per month. That’s not an NBKC Bank requirement, but according to Federal Regulation D.)
Personal IRA Savings
This is a savings account designed specifically for customers who want to invest for retirement in a tax-advantaged account. It’s currently paying an interest rate of 1.01% APY on balances up to $1 million, but as low as 0.50% APY on higher balances.
This may not be as much of a drawback as it seems, because you can earn the same high interest on IRA CDs that you can on regular CDs. The lower rates paid on the Personal IRA Savings account may be simply because the bank recognizes IRA investors will be more interested in locking in long-term CD rates.
NBKC Bank Certificates of Deposit (CDs) – Personal and IRA
NBKC Bank Personal and IRA CDs feature the same terms and rate structure. CD terms range from three months to 60 months, and most require a minimum initial investment of $1,000.
But for smaller investors, NBKC Bank offers the 12-Month Add-to Starter CD, which requires a minimum opening balance of just $25. And the rate currently being paid on that CD is an incredible 1.75% APY!
Like all banks, NBKC does charge prepayment penalties if you withdraw funds from a CD before it matures. The early withdrawal penalty schedule looks like this:
|3-6 months||90 days' interest|
|12 months||180 days' interest|
|24-36 months||360 days' interest|
|48 to 60 months||540 days' interest|
Personal Health Savings Account (HSA)
A health savings account (HSA) is something like a medical IRA. You make tax-deductible contributions to the account. Then you can withdraw the funds to pay for IRS-approved medical expenses tax-free.
For 2020, you’ll be able to contribute up to $3,550 per year if you’re single or $7,100 for a family.
NBKC Bank offers its Personal Health Savings Account specifically for this purpose. You can set up an account and earn interest up to 1.01% APY on balances up to $1 million. The rate drops down to 0.50% APY on higher balances (although it’s extremely unlikely your account balance will ever get that high, given the limited annual contributions you can make).
NBKC Loan Products
Home loans: NBKC Bank provides mortgages in all 50 states. That includes conventional, FHA, and VA mortgages for both purchases and refinances. Loan types offered include both fixed rates and adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs). NBKC even offers several calculators to help you better plan your home-financing strategy.
NBKC Bank also makes a unique offer, referred to as the “$5K Guarantee”: your home loan closes on time – guaranteed – or the bank pays you and the seller $2,500 each.
Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs): Variable-rate lines of credit based on the available equity in your home. Proceeds can be used for just about any purpose and accessed by either writing a check or via a bank transfer.
Personal loans: These are unsecured loans for amounts starting at $5,000. Proceeds can be used for any purpose.
CD loans: You can get a loan tied to a CD you own. The term of the loan will match that of the CD.
Construction loans: Loans to build that new home you’ve been dreaming of.
Vehicle loans: Available for new and used vehicles, with loan terms of 36, 48, and 60 months. Besides cars, you can get loans for motorcycles, recreation vehicles, and boats.
Bridge loans and lot loans: Are you buying a new home but still have an old one you haven’t sold yet? A bridge loan can give you the equity out of the old home to make a down payment on a new one. You can pay it off when the old home sells.
Lot loans are available if you want to purchase land to build a new home.
NBKC Bank Business Services
Business banking is fairly unusual among online banks. But NBKC offers a full suite of business services.
For example, you can open a business checking account with no monthly fees. That’s unusual even among brick-and-mortar banks. No minimum balance is required, and you can have as many transactions and write as many checks as you like.
Treasury solutions offered include cash management disbursement systems, several different collection systems, including credit card processing and merchant capture systems, as well as fraud management.
NBKC Bank also offers business financing, including credit lines for working capital, inventory loans, SBA loans, commercial real estate loans, equipment financing and leasing, and loan programs for homebuilders. It also offers an NBKC business Visa Card.
NBKC Bank Interest Rates
NBKC Bank’s rates are pretty impressive, with 1.01% APY on a checking account. Interest-paying checking accounts are a rarity, and not only is that a great rate, but it requires a minimum deposit of only $5, to boot.
For an even bigger interest payout, there’s the Personal Money Market Savings account. It pays 1.66% APY on account balances up to $1 million.
NBKC’s certificate of deposit rates range from 0.50% for three-month CDs to 1.97% for five-year CDs. Those rates are definitely at the high end of the spectrum.
However, it is worth noting that the IRA version of the Personal Money Market Savings Account pays interest rates that are considerably lower than they are for a non-retirement account.
NBKC Bank Fees
One of the benefits that set the NBKC Personal Account and Money Market Savings Account apart from the competition is that the bank is very light on fees. As stated above, there are no monthly maintenance fees associated with either account.
About the only fees NBKC does charge are $5 for an outgoing domestic wire fee, or $45 to send or receive international wires.
There are no other fees, such as check supplies, overdrafts, non-sufficient (NSF) funds, stop payments, cashier’s checks, foreign transaction fees, or even incoming domestic wire fees.
NBKC Bank Ease of Use
Since NBKC Bank operates only a small number of branches in the Kansas City area, Online Banking is central to its nationwide operation.
Luckily, NBKC Bank’s site is very accessible and easy to navigate. You can view account balances and individual transactions, stop payments, transfer funds, set up balance and deposit alerts, and even link your account to Quicken or QuickBooks.
NBKC Bank also comes with a Bill Pay feature, enabling you to pay bills electronically, including recurring payments.
The bank is also part of the MoneyPass network, offering fee-free access to more 32,000 ATMs around the country. NBKC will also reimburse up to $12 per month for fees charged by out-of-network ATMs.
NBKC Bank Mobile App
The NBKC mobile banking app is available for both iOS and Android mobile devices. It offers all the features of Online Banking, including funds transfers, Bill Pay, sending and receiving secure messages, making mobile check deposits, locating surcharge-free ATMs, and making payments through Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay.
NBKC Bank Customer Service
This is the one area where we find NBKC Bank to come up short.
NBKC Bank’s customer support team is available by phone and live chat, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Central Time. However, you can report a lost or stolen debit card by calling in on a 24/7 basis.
Compare this with CIT Bank, which offers live phone support Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Saturdays, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sundays 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (all times Eastern).
In addition, a few online banks, including Ally Bank, offer 24/7 live support.
NBKC Bank Review: Pros and Cons
There are many factors that make NBKC Bank an attractive online banking option. Let’s recap them, as well as consider the negatives to an NBKC account.
NBKC Bank Pros
- Low minimum deposit. You can open a checking account with just a $5 initial deposit, and there’s no minimum balance requirement thereafter.
- Interest-paying checking. NBKC Bank pays interest of over 1% on all Personal (checking) Account balances.
- High interest payouts on savings. The NBKC Personal Money Market Savings account currently pays 1.66% APY on balances up to $1 million. Very few banks pay an interest rate comparable on amounts over $100,000, let alone up to $1 million.
- Lack of fees. There are no monthly service fees on either checking or savings accounts. There are also no fees for check supplies, overdrafts and NSFs, stop payments, foreign transactions, and incoming domestic wires.
- ATM availability. You’ll have access to more than 32,000 fee-free in-network ATMs nationwide through the MoneyPass Network and receive up to $12 in reimbursements for ATM fees charged by out-of-network banks.
- Full-service bank. The bank offers HSA accounts, which is another product offering that’s unique among online banks.
- Business banking. NBKC offers business banking services, making this the perfect online bank for the self-employed.
NBKC Bank Cons
- No nationwide branches. Unless you live in the Kansas City area, there are no local bank branches. But of course, this is typical of online banks.
- Limited customer support. Customer service phone staffing is limited to regular business hours. There’s no weekend support.
- No personal credit cards. Although NBKC offers a business Visa, there are no personal credit cards available.
- Low rates on IRA. The IRA version of the Personal Money Market Savings account pays interest rates that are considerably lower than they are for a non-retirement account.
- Pricey international wires. The international wire fees are higher than the industry average.
NBKC Bank Review: The Bottom Line
Right now, local banks are offering microscopic interest rates. It’s no wonder millions of depositors are seeking out higher yields from online banks. They typically find those higher returns come at a cost.
Most online banks are set up to provide high interest savings products only. You’d need to maintain a relationship with your local bank for everything else.
That’s where NBKC Bank stands out. Not only does this bank offer some of the highest interest rates available – on checking, savings, and certificates of deposit – but it also provides full-service banking.
And if that weren’t enough, NBKC Bank also offers business banking. That includes no-fee business checking, treasury solutions, and various types of loan products, such as commercial real estate loans, equipment financing, and working capital lines.
These are the kinds of services typically offered by brick-and-mortar banks. Just the fact that NBKC Bank offers a checking account (with paper checks) – never mind one that pays interest – sets it apart from the online competition. But its accounts also come with no monthly fees — or for that matter, very few fees of any sort.
Don’t be concerned that the bank has only a small operation in the Kansas City area. By participating in the MoneyPass ATM Network, you’ll have fee-free access to your funds at more than 32,000 ATM locations nationwide.
NBKC Bank has a lot more to offer than most online banks. If you’ve been looking for higher returns on your savings, as well as a complete suite of banking services, this bank is well worth checking out. That’s even more true if you’re self-employed and also need business banking services.
If you’d like more information, or if you’d like to open an account, visit the NBKC 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.