TIAA Bank Review: Strong Introductory Rates and High-Yield CDs

TIAA Bank Review: Strong Introductory Rates and High-Yield CDs

TIAA Bank is worth considering for its CDs and its one-year introductory offer, but in the long term its interest rates may drop below those offered by other online banks.

Good for

  • High bonus APY for first-time customers
  • Higher CD rates than most other banks
  • No ATM fees and unlimited ATM reimbursements

Bad for

  • Low permanent rates compared to online banks
  • High opening balance required for premium accounts
  • Cash deposits must be mailed in

Editor's Rating

4.0/5.0

Formerly known as EverBank, TIAA Bank has two major online offerings: its 12-month bonus rate of 1.21% APY for new Yield Pledge customers is a significant short-term benefit, while the high rates on its certificates of deposit reward customers interested in more long-term investment. In other areas, however, TIAA Bank occupies an awkward position between online and traditional banking. Its account rates and fees are better than traditional brick-and-mortar banks, but fall slightly behind other online options.

Review: Should You Open an Account at TIAA Bank?

TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Checking
TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Checking

TIAA Bank is worth considering for its CDs and its one-year introductory offer, but you can find better places online to get a checking account or money market account. People who frequently deposit cash should note that TIAA Bank has no physical presence in most parts of the country, making cash deposits extremely difficult. Customers in Florida have access to TIAA Bank branches, but almost everyone else will be restricted to banking online, through the website or mobile app.

Good For...Bad For...
  • High bonus APY for first-time customers
  • Higher CD rates than most banks
  • No ATM fees and unlimited ATM reimbursements
  • Low permanent rates compared to online banks
  • High opening balance required for the best accounts
  • Depositing cash requires mail-in envelopes

TIAA Bank's best accounts can be found in the Yield Pledge program, with one of the strongest introductory rate bonuses currently available. New customers opening Yield Pledge Checking or Yield Pledge Money Market Accounts receive 1.21% APY on any balance for the first 12 months. However, the permanent rates that kick in afterwards are significantly lower than the best online checking options. Even though the Yield Pledge guarantees that TIAA Bank's rates will stay in the highest 5% of "Competitive Accounts", this promise means little because it only considers rates at the largest banks, which tend to be very low.

TIAA Bank's strongest interest option are its Yield Pledge CDs, which offer the highest CD rates at every balance level and term length. If you're interested in a long-term investment with FDIC insurance protecting your money, TIAA Bank's certificates of deposit outperform both online and traditional banks by a substantial margin.

Opening Minimum1-year3-year5-year
TIAA Bank Yield Pledge CD$5,0002.45%2.70%2.90%
TIAA Bank Basic CD$1,0002.20%2.45%2.65%
Ally Bank High Yield CD$0.012.10%2.50%2.75%
Chase Bank CD$1,0000.02%0.70%0.75%

TIAA Bank Checking Account Review

TIAA Bank's two checking options are better than most brick-and-mortar options, but appear less attractive when you match them up against the typical online bank accounts. TIAA Bank Basic Checking turns out to be a mediocre offering when you compare it to the many free checking options available at other online banks. Even though the account technically includes standard brick-and-mortar services, TIAA Bank's offices are only found in Florida, so it's more appropriate to think of TIAA Bank Basic Checking as an online-only account.

Account NameOpening MinimumMonthly FeesMonthly Fee Waivers
TIAA Bank Basic Checking$25$5$25 average daily balance OR be a New York resident
TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Checking$5,000$0-

On the other hand, the TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Checking Account comes with an impressive 1.11% APY for the first year that a new customer holds the account. Unfortunately, that temporary boost is the only advantage it offers over similar accounts elsewhere. This account's value drops when the bonus rate expires: you get a scaling rate based on how much is in the account, up to a maximum of 0.61% APY. Yield Pledge Checking also requires $5,000 to open, and an average daily balance of $5,000 in order to reimburse all third-party ATM fees.

TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Checking Rates

Min BalanceAPY
$00.30%
$10,0000.46%
$25,0000.61%
$50,0000.61%
$100,0000.71%

Of course, most people won't be holding $100,000 in their checking balance, which means the actual APY on TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Checking will be substantially lower for typical customers. Comparing Yield Pledge Checking to accounts like Radius Hybrid shows that even the maximum rate hardly compares well to TIAA Bank's competitors.

TIAA Bank Savings Account Review

As with checking, TIAA Bank's savings accounts can be summarized as falling in between online and traditional accounts. The rates are far higher than the typical hundredths of a percent earned at national banks such as Bank of America, but if you're already considering taking your savings online, you should expect to find savings rates close to 2.00% APY. TIAA Bank's accounts currently earn interest at much lower rates.

If you're determined to stick with TIAA Bank for your savings, its CDs are the optimal choice, despite their restriction on early withdrawals. Unlike the mediocre interest rates on TIAA Bank Basic Savings and Yield Pledge Money Market, TIAA Bank Yield Pledge CDs beat CDs at every other bank we've seen, at almost every term length and deposit amount.

Account NameAPYMinimum to OpenMonthly Fees
TIAA Bank Basic Savings1.10%$25$5
TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Money Market2.15%$5,000$0

How Does TIAA Bank Compare to Other Banks?

As we've stressed throughout this review, TIAA Bank is strong when compared to traditional banks but weaker when measured against online banks. Since most people will have to access TIAA Bank online or by app rather than through a physical location, we focused our comparison on other online banking options.

TIAA Bank vs. Ally Bank

Ally Interest Checking
Ally Interest Checking

Ally Bank's selection of checking accounts is even slimmer than TIAA Bank's, and its required balance of $15,000.00 for the maximum 0.60% APY isn't the most accessible interest checking option for many people. TIAA Bank, by contrast, only requires $5,000.00 to open a Yield Pledge Checking Account. However, Ally's top interest rate doesn't require any minimum amount: all you need is to open an Ally Online Savings Account. With no monthly fees at Ally, you'll have an easier time maximizing your earnings from interest than you would at TIAA Bank.

TIAA Bank vs. Capital One

Capital One 360 Checking
Capital One 360 Checking

Capital One is much larger than TIAA Bank, and its advantage in scale translates to a greater variety of products and better access to branch locations. If you're only interested in comparing online accounts, the Capital One 360 Savings Account has an APY of 1.00% on all balances, with no monthly fee. This is slightly higher than TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Money Market, although you won't find any introductory bonus. On the other hand, TIAA Bank's Yield Pledge Checking Account may be a better deal on lower balances, since you'll need $50,000.00 with Capital One 360 Checking in order to earn a higher rate.

map of Capital One branches in the US, by county

TIAA Bank vs. Axos Bank

Axos Rewards Checking
Axos Rewards Checking

The $0.00 APY at Axos Bank™ is a superior choice compared to TIAA if you mostly care about earning interest. Ally Interest Checking earns an even higher rate than TIAA Bank's temporary bonus rate, although the account does have several monthly activity requirements. Axos Bank also offers slightly better rates than TIAA Bank for your savings deposits.

TIAA Bank vs. Simple

Simple Account
Simple Account

Simple is an online money management service that works with BBVA Compass Bank to provide online checking and savings through web and mobile app interfaces. TIAA Bank provides a far better interest rate and more variety in its bank products than Simple, making it a better option to earn interest or manage several different accounts. However, anyone looking for a comprehensive financial management tool should take a look at Simple, which provides savings and budgeting features that most banks like TIAA Bank don't include.

Comments and Questions

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