Worried about mobile apps for savings and banking; put my mind at ease, please

I’m nervous about the solidity of some online-only banks, but there is the carrot of fabulous interest rates. I noticed the app discussed recently at Penny Hoarder, the Empower app, is FDIC insured up to $250,000. I’m interested in getting as much interest as possible on reserve cash, as anyone, but am I being overcautious here? How much confidence should we have in these online-only banks?

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From what I’ve read, online only banks are safe as long as they are FDIC insured. It’s just like how you use the app or website for your regular bank - just without that brick-and-mortar overhead.

One thing to remember though: personal online security is still up to you. (aka maybe don’t use your banking apps when you’re on the free coffee shop WiFi.) The bank will take security measures on its end so you can use the app or website safely, but you still need to practice good online habits.

I have a business checking account with an online only bank and so far I’ve had a great experience.


Thank you Lisa! I know some of the on-line banks, like Ally, have been around a while, I’m wondering if there is a way to check out their performance. I assume if they advertise FDIC insured that’s a first step.

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@mintjulep For what it’s worth, I’ve heard such great things about Ally from lots of credible sources. I just opened an account with them and the experience has been excellent so far. They offer paper checks as an account feature – which I couldn’t find at any of the other online banks. (I have had to work with a lot of contractors, handymen and landscapers in the past year that still only take checks.)

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Thank you for your input about Ally, Theodora. I really want to make this move!!

I just opened an account with Empower and will be putting some money in there shortly.

FDIC insured is something you can usually count on.

I personally enjoy trying out new things and am usually one of the first to test these new things.

There is a always some measure of risk involved but as long as the company is reputable and isn’t promoting anything that I would deem to be sketchy, I will usually at least give them a shot.

As mentioned above, it really just depends on you and weather you feel it is worth it.

If you have any questions about any of these banking apps or have any that you are not comfortable trying, let me know and I might try them out and let you know what my experience is.

I currently have accounts with Empower, Stash Banking, Grand, Chime, Aspiration, and Haven.

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I definitely think it is worth it. I don’t put all my eggs in one basket anyway, even when it comes to just a checking account, so why not get as much interest as is available. I’d love your input on the various online banks as you try them @Moore Income! You’ve listed some others that I’ve not been aware of. Thank you!

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@moore.income how do you strategize what money goes into what account, and how do you stay organized? I recently consolidated some of my cash and closed some extraneous accounts, mostly for simplicity’s sake. How do you maximize your 6 checking accounts?

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@user_510364694983004611 Good question. I personally am just testing most of them to see howh they work and such and I usually just start with a set amount. I have moved money between a couple due to a better interest rate but I haven’t really added much to the accounts besides the initial deposits.

I am starting to add more to My Haven account since they have a 2% interest rate (up to 4% if you refer people) they also allow me to connect all my other accounts to manage my money in one place.

So basically Haven is what I use to keep track of it all and will probably be where most of my money will end up until I find something that pays better interest.

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@mintjulep message me and I can share more details about each one and what the pros and cons are.

I personally use Ally for their higher interest rates. And I think when using online banks, you should diversify across them, like anything. For example, I might keep a maximum of 100k in my Ally account as a maximum (this is a convenient number because once I hit that number, there’s generally some real estate syndication I can reinvest in and then get rid of that heavily inflated cash).

And then I diversify it by having a Schwab bank account. I think they’re quite good as well. I mean they have actual banks and aren’t technically ‘online only’ but I was able to open one without walking into a branch and deposit money in it. I like Schwab because they allow you to use ATMs all across the world and reimburse you for fees. So I went to Mexico and was able to withdraw pesos without any issue, for free.