First Foundation Bank Online Savings Review

Kailey is an industry specialist covering bank accounts, credit cards, and all things personal finance. Her work has appeared on USA Today, CNN Money, Fox Business, and MSN Money.

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The First Foundation Bank Online Savings account offers one of the most competitive APYs around, plus the added convenience of being able to withdraw money directly from your savings with the included ATM card. But its $1,000 minimum balance requirement is a bit steep, and you'll need at least that much in your account at all times if you hope to take advantage of its highest interest rate.

Top perks

Earn up to 2.00% APY: The First Foundation Bank Online Savings account offers a 2.00% APY to anyone who has $1,000 or more in their account.

No monthly maintenance fee: Like most online banks, First Foundation Bank doesn't charge a monthly maintenance fee for its Online Savings account customers.

ATM card: You can request an ATM card for your First Foundation Bank Online Savings account if you'd like the option to withdraw cash directly from the account rather than transferring funds to your checking account first. This is a rare feature among savings accounts, so move First Foundation Bank up on your list if this is something that's important to you.

Unlimited ATM fee reimbursements: First Foundation Bank doesn't have its own network of ATMs, but it will reimburse you up to $20 per transaction for any ATM fees you are charged. There is no monthly limit on the number of ATM fee reimbursements the bank will give you.

Easily manage your account from anywhere: First Foundation Bank Online Savings customers may access their account online through any web browser or using the bank's mobile app, available for both Android and Apple devices. You can pay bills online, transfer funds, and even pay friends and family directly whether they bank with First Foundation Bank or not. Mobile check deposit is another option if you have a paper check you'd like to deposit to your account.

What could be improved

Balances under $1,000 only earn 1.00% APY: If your balance drops below $1,000 at any point, your APY drops a full percentage point, which can make a big difference to the amount of interest you earn. While a 1.00% APY is still much better than average, those who anticipate maintaining a smaller balance would do better with another savings account that offers a competitive APY and has no minimum balance requirement.

$1,000 minimum deposit requirement: You need at least $1,000 to open a First Foundation Bank Online Savings account, which is pretty steep compared to many other online banks. It's fine if your balance drops below that threshold after you open your account, although your APY will drop, as I mentioned above. If you don't think you can afford the opening deposit, you should explore other options.

Fees for incoming wire transfers: It's normal for banks to charge for outgoing wire transfers, but few banks charge for incoming wire transfers and unfortunately, First Foundation Bank is one of them. It says it will waive the fee if you decide to fund your account this way, though. You can also avoid this fee entirely by transferring money to your First Foundation Bank Online Savings account another way.

How to access your money

First Foundation Bank gives you the following options for depositing and withdrawing money from your Online Savings account.

Deposit options

You can deposit money into your First Foundation Bank Online Savings account in any of these ways:

  • ACH transfer
  • Wire transfer
  • Mailed check
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Visiting a First Foundation Bank branch

Note that you might have to pay an incoming wire transfer fee if you decide to add funds to your account this way. And the bank you're transferring the money from may also charge an outgoing wire transfer fee.

Withdrawal options

These are your choices for withdrawing money from your First Foundation Online Savings account:

  • ACH transfer
  • Wire transfer
  • Requesting a mailed check
  • Visiting a First Foundation Bank branch
  • ATM withdrawal

First Foundation Bank doesn't partner with an ATM network provider, so you can use any ATM you'd like, but there's a maximum ATM withdrawal limit of $500 per day.

Alternatives to consider

The CIT Savings Builder account offers a high APY, no minimum balance requirement, and unlimited ATM fee reimbursements like the First Foundation Bank Online Savings account. It doesn’t offer an ATM card, though, so you cannot withdraw your funds directly from the savings account, although free electronic transfers are available.

The Vio Bank High Yield Online Savings account’s APY isn’t quite as high as the First Foundation Bank Online Savings account’s, but there is no minimum balance requirement, so it’s a good choice if you have less than $1,000 in savings. Like most high-yield savings accounts, you cannot get an ATM card, but there is no minimum balance requirement or monthly maintenance fees.

Rates as of March 18, 2020
Offer
First Foundation Bank Online Savings
 
Member, FDIC
CIT Bank Savings Builder
 
Member, FDIC
Vio Bank High Yield Online Savings Account
 
Member, FDIC
Rating
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
APY

APY: 2.00%

APY: 1.75%

APY: 1.75%

Best For

Best For: High APY

Best For: Limited time cash sign up bonus & high APY. Use code SPRING20 when applying to qualify

Best For: High APY and low fees

Min. to earn APY

Min. to earn APY: $1,000

Min. to earn APY: $25k or $100 monthly deposit

Min. to earn APY: $1

Next Steps

This savings account is right for you if:

The First Foundation Bank Online Savings account is a great choice if you expect to maintain a balance of at least $1,000 or more and like the idea of having easy access to your money wherever you go. It's one of the few banks to offer an ATM card and those who live in California, Nevada, or Hawaii also have the option of visiting a branch to access their money. The account also offers one of the highest APYs you'll find among savings accounts, which can help you grow your savings faster.

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