UFB Direct Savings Review: Is 5.25% APY Legit?

Looking for a high-yield savings account? In this review, we’ll take a closer look at UFB Direct and their Secure Savings account, which currently offers an impressive 5.25% APY.

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UFB Direct Savings

9.2
Rate 10.0
Fees 10.0
Customer Service 7.5

Pros

  • FDIC Insured
  • High APY
  • No monthly fees

Cons

  • No sign-up bonus
  • Long ACH transfers
  • Manual rate requests

UFB Direct Savings Review

UFB Direct, a division of Axos Bank, is an online bank that offers a high-yield savings account with one of the best rates available.

The savings account is called the UFB Secure Savings, and it currently offers an incredible 5.25% Annual Percentage Rate (APY) with no minimum balance and no maintenance fees. That’s more than 12x the national average[1].

I’ve been keeping my emergency savings at UFB Direct for the past year and can confirm that it’s a legitimate bank. UFB Direct is safe, has no fees to worry about, and pays the advertised rate. However, there are some important details that I want to share with my readers.

Pros

FDIC Insured

The most critical factor in choosing a savings account is to ensure that the bank offering it is FDIC-insured.

Fortunately, UFB Direct, through its parent company Axos Bank (FDIC Cert #35546) is covered. This means that deposits held in UFB Direct are insured up to maximum amount allowed by law, which is currently $250,000 per depositor, for each account category.

FDIC insurance provides protection to customer deposits in case the bank fails or goes bankrupt.

High APY

UFB Secure Savings customers earn an APY of 5.25%, which is significantly higher then any national bank’s rates.

You don’t have to worry about this being a teaser rate or a bait-and-switch. Some banks are known to offer a really high rate and then adjust it down once they get you as a customer.

I’ve been an account holder for some time now and can say this isn’t an issue with UFB Direct.

No Monthly Fees

UFB Direct doesn’t charge monthly maintenance fees. There’s no minimum deposit or minimum balance required, and you can withdraw funds from your account at any time.

It’s important to note that UFB Direct may close your account if it has a zero balance for more than 30 days.

Also, if you decide to close out your savings account, it’s best to do this at the end of the month. If you close your account mid-cycle, you’ll forfeit all accrued interest because although interest is compounded daily, it’s credited monthly.

Cons

No Sign-up Bonus

Unfortunately, UFB Direct doesn’t currently offer any sign-up or welcome bonuses for opening a savings account. That’s a bummer because I love bank bonuses. It’s one of my lucrative side hustles that generates thousands of dollars a year in free money.

Although Axos Bank, UFB Direct’s parent company, offers many bonuses through its other banking products, including the checking, savings, and investing accounts. Interested readers can check out the Axos Bank promotions page to learn more about these offers.

Long ACH Transfers

ACH transfers usually take one to three business days to complete. But based on my personal experience with UFB Direct, ACH transfers with this bank can take up to five business days to clear.

I looked up my last three ACH transfers and here are the dates the transfer was requested and the dates that the funds cleared to the account:

  • Transfer 1: Requested on 2/22/23, cleared on 2/28/23 (5 business days)
  • Transfer 2: Requested on 12/6/22, cleared on 12/12/22 (4 business days)
  • Transfer 3: Requested on 12/1/22. Cleared on 12/6/22 (3 business days)

When I inquired about this with my contacts at UFB Direct, they explained that “due to the increasing volume of identity theft, they need more time to confirm transfers before releasing the hold on them.” Though they assured me that they’re working on a solution to release funds more quickly.

This isn’t that big of a deal, but I recommend factoring in a few extra days for any deposits or withdrawals you plan to make from your UFB Direct account.

Manual Rate Requests

I mentioned that one of the best features of UFB Direct’s savings account is the impressive interest rate it offers.

Thanks to their aggressive rate increases, the account has remained at the top of my list of savings accounts with the highest rates.

But existing customers may not see the new rate increases reflected in their savings account because UFB Direct tends to “create” a new savings account for significant rate updates by renaming the product.

Between August 2022 and November 2023, the name of their high-yield savings account changed eight times:

  • UFB Rewards Savings (original name)
  • UFB Elite Savings (launched in September 2022)
  • UFB Best Savings (launched in January 2023)
  • UFB Preferred Savings (launched in February 2023)
  • UFB Premier Savings (launched in April 2023)
  • UFB Priority Savings (launched in July 2023)
  • UFB High Yield Savings (launched in August 2023)
  • UFB Secure Savings (launched in November 2023)

Customers with existing accounts must call customer support at 1-877-472-9200 to request an “upgrade” to the latest account name to enjoy the rate increase.

While a little annoying, I’ve personally gone through this process three times already, and each call took less than five to get the rate adjusted.

Here’s basically what I tell them on the phone:

“Hi, I noticed that your current savings account offers a higher rate than what is showing on my account. Can you match the rate to my account, please?”

That’s all it takes. For a rate this high, I’m willing to play a little cat and mouse 🙂

The Bottom Line

If you’re tired of earning next to nothing on your savings, then UFB Secure Savings is an excellent option to consider. With a competitive interest rate and no monthly service fees, this account is a good fit for savers looking for a straightforward savings product with high yields.

I use the account to store my emergency fund, and I really like how much more interest I’m earning compared to the rates offered at national banks.

Yes, it has its nuances, primarily the need to call in to get the rate adjusted. That doesn’t always happen though – there have been automatic rate updates where nothing needs to be done.

So, if you’re okay with that, then I would 100% recommend opening an account and taking it for a spin. If you prefer to be more hands-off, there are other savings accounts with rates almost as high.

References:

1. FDIC. National Rates and Rate Caps, Retrieved 1/13/2024

About John Pham

John Pham is a personal finance expert, serial entrepreneur, and founder of The Money Ninja. He has also been fortunate enough to have appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, and U.S. News & World Report. John has a B.S. in Entrepreneurship and a Masters in Business Administration, both from the University of New Hampshire.

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Sweepster
Sweepster
1 month ago

Instead of waiting 3 to 5 days for UFB to make an ACH transfer, why not pull the money from the account that you want the money to go to? I use Fidelity, and every requested transfer is done on the day that I initiate it. Zero waiting. And the REAL reason that UFB takes so long to make a transfer is that they want to have the use of YOUR money for a few extra days. Obviously.

Sam S
Sam S
6 months ago

I joined via a link on this site when it was eligible for the $100 visa gift card bonus. How can I check the status of that bonus?

Ashley Torres
Ashley Torres
1 year ago

What about comparing it with Marcus?

John
John
1 year ago

I regularly receive a message “The operation has timed out, please try again” when attempting to login, and no one ever answers the helpline telephone or Evo chat.