[Update January 2021: The APY (annual percentage yield) on Comenity Direct’s variable rate high yield savings account and all of their fixed rate CDs remain unchanged to start the new year. Their last rate drop was in September of last year.]
You may have heard of Comenity – the global credit card services provider with a product range featuring more than 145 retail-branded credit cards – but did you know they do FDIC-insured deposit accounts as well?
This corporation’s online banking services sector, Comenity Direct, offers online CDs and a high yield savings account featuring APYs well above the national average.
Comenity Direct scores high marks across many review platforms for its high-yield savings and certificate of deposit accounts – which require fairly low opening deposits, incur minimal fees and boast big rates.
That said, Comenity Direct isn’t perfect – customer experiences are mixed and other banks are going to have more options for accessing cash – but if high savings rates are what you’re after, the pros seem to outweigh the cons in a significant way.
Comenity Direct High Yield Savings Account APY + Details
Recent Rate Drops on Comenity Direct’s High-Yield savings account:
- dropped from 1.70% to 1.55% APY on May 18
- and then from 1.55% APY to 1.45% on May 21,
- and then again from 1.45% to 1.35% APY on May 29th,
- and then from 1.35% to 1.10% APY on July 1, 2020
- then again from 1.10 to 1.00% APY around July 23, 2020
- dropped for the first time in August on the 14th to 0.80% APY (down from 1.00% APY)
- dropped in September, 2020 to 0.60% APY
The national average, for context, has been hovering around 0.07% for several weeks and doesn’t seem likely to go up any time soon. That said, remember that these online savings account rates are variable and can change at any time without notice. Interest on the Comenity Direct High Yield Savings account is compounded daily and credited monthly back to the account.
For such a strong rate of return, you might assume that these accounts require a high minimum opening deposit and balance, but this is not the case. As with many online savings accounts the minimum balance required to open and earn interest is quite low – at just $100. You’ll want to note that you won’t earn interest if your balance drops below $100 and if it happens too frequently Comenity Direct may close your account.
There are few fees you should be aware of with the Comenity Direct High Yield Savings account:
- $25 per outgoing wire transfer,
- $15 per paper check, and
- $5 per paper statement (in an effort to encourage fully paperless billing and banking).
As for monthly maintenance, incoming wire transfers, ACH transfers, and online statements, these are all free and there is, again, no low balance fee. In compliance with federal regulation D, you can make up to 6 transactions a month for free. An excessive withdrawal fee is not listed, so Comenity Direct may just prohibit transactions over this limit from going through.
To add funds when you open an account, link an external bank account and make a transfer or set up direct deposit. You cannot deposit cash.
Comenity Direct CD Rates + Account Details
Like Comenity Direct’s savings account, their CD accounts are also miles ahead of the national average in terms of APY. You’ll also notice that rates still increase with the terms, which can’t be said for many institutions’ deposit products today.
To give these rates some context, the current national average for a 1 year CD is just 0.22% APY currently.
You can still lock in 12 month CDs above 0.90% APY through some credit unions but the pickings are slim.
These are all standard certificates. There aren’t any special, jumbo, or step-up CDs in their product suite at this time.
With a minimum deposit of $1,500, you can open a Comenity Direct certificate of deposit account under any term. The same fees apply for certificate accounts as with the savings account mentioned above with the only addition being early withdrawal fees.
Early Withdrawal Penalties
Early withdrawal policies with this bank are straightforward.
- If your term is between 12 months and 3 years in length, you’ll owe 180 days’ interest for an early withdrawal.
- If it’s greater than or equal to 4 years, you’ll owe 365 days’ interest.
The grace period is 10 days after maturity. You can let your account automatically renew after this period expires or cash out the full balance before the time is up. In other words, when your certificate matures, you’ll have 10 days to either add funds or withdraw funds and close the account.
Interest and Dividends
Interest compounds daily and is credited to your account monthly.
Dividends can be paid out via ACH transfer to a linked external account or to your Comenity Direct High-Yield savings account if you call customer service to make this request at least 3 days before the interest is applied. But unless you put in this request, your account will default to depositing credited interest back into the certificate.
Banking Reviews and Customer Sentiment
If you were to ask 10 different Comenity Direct customers how satisfied they were with their overall banking experience, you’d likely get 10 very different answers. This range is reflected in the thousands of online ratings left for the bank.
If you go to DepositAccounts, for example, you’ll find a dead-average 2.5-star rating out of 22 reviews. If you go instead to ConsumerAffairs, you’ll see a single star. And over on WalletHub, 16,846 people have given the bank an average score of 3.8 stars. Keep in mind the sheer number of reviews on WalletHub versus the others likely make it the most accurate reading.
Taking customer feedback into account, Comenity Bank scores a little better than what’s normal for a respectable and trustworthy bank or credit union. And because Comenity Direct is an offshoot of Comenity Bank and offers only deposit and savings accounts through this company, these reviews are largely for Comenity Direct accounts.
Understand that many banks and credit unions are receiving harsh feedback from their users at this time amidst the panic of COVID-19 and all of the financial difficulty that has come with it.
The Comenity Direct app has just 2.5 stars on Google Play but 4.4 stars on the App Store. Do with this discrepancy what you will, but it seems like the mobile app performs better on Apple devices. Remember, you can also do your banking online if their apps are underperforming.
The Comenity Direct Customer Care Center is available to take your call from 7 AM to 11 PM (CT) Monday through Friday and from 9 AM to 5 PM on weekends and holidays. The number for this is 1-(833)-755-4354. You can also reach help online through the web banking platform. Unfortunately, there is no live chat feature at this time and no option for those that prefer sending an email or letter.
There are no Comenity or Comenity Direct branches or ATMs, so ATM access is a no-go. But since there are also no ATM or debit cards offered with these deposit accounts, this shouldn’t be too surprising. This bank does not allow cash deposits, but you’ll be able to make and receive unlimited ACH transfers.
All in all, if you’re after respectable rates, there are many reasons to sign up for a Comenity Direct high yield savings or deposit account. What this online-only institution lacks in physical accessibility it makes up for in competitive rates. So as long as you are on board with the basic concept of online-only banking and see at-your-fingertips banking as a benefit of going digital rather than a hindrance, Comenity Direct is a strong choice.
Outside of attractive rates, Comenity Direct doesn’t charge many fees on its highly rewarding savings and deposit accounts. The accounts also compound interest daily and allow for unlimited ACH transfers.