Last updated on Dec 10, 2019

TIAA Bank Review

Online banking with competitive yields and a variety of financial products ​
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TIAA Bank

  • Competitive yields on CDs
  • Full range of products and services
  • Thousands of ATMs, surcharge-free
  • Limited physical branches
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How We Reviewed TIAA Bank

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3 companies compared

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5 features evaluated

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2 ratings analyzed

TIAA Bank Review

TIAA Bank has been around for more than 100 years. In 2018, TIAA Bank merged with Everbank to form its current company, and since then it has continued to offer competitive online banking services to customers. Customers interested in CDs will find a strong selection of options, as will those who want to explore money market accounts. CD rates currently climb to a 2.20% APY with four and five-year terms, and money market accounts earn a 1.85% APY on balances up to $250,000 in the first year. After that, APYs for money market accounts cap at 1.70%, but these numbers are in line with many of TIAA’s biggest competitors, especially if you’re investing large sums.

That said, while TIAA makes its products available to everyone, it only has physical branches in Florida; if you like the convenience of being able to drop by a financial center in person for questions or assistance, TIAA may not be the right choice for you. It also may not be the best option if you’re looking to invest smaller funds. Its basic savings account only offers a 1.10% APY, and money market rates fall to the same level for accounts under $25,000 after the first year. Your best option at that point would be a CD, but it’s an inconvenient route if you would still like access to your savings while they’re accumulating interest.

Pros
Cons
Competitive, fixed first-year APY rates on money market accounts
Mobile check deposit through app
ATM fee reimbursement
Lower APYs after first year
Minimum balance requirements to open accounts

The Claim

TIAA Bank claims that you “get more out of your money and how you bank with the accounts, services and rates that separate [it] from banking as usual.”

Is it true?

Yes, but primarily only during the one-year introductory period. TIAA Bank certainly gives you more for your money during the first year, with a savings account APYs of 1.85% and checking account APYs of 1.01% for balances up to $250,000. These are extremely competitive rates, especially considering that they’re also fixed for the first year — meaning you’re protected, even if APYs drop in that period.

However, once that introductory period ends, TIAA becomes a less convenient avenue for savings. Its CD rates are still high, especially if you’re comfortable locking your money in for a longer four-year term, but the APYs on its other savings vehicles fall below those of big-name competitors like Capital One and Ally Bank.

TIAA Bank could still be worth a look if you’re after unique offerings; some of its services include mortgage products, precious metals purchase and management, and foreign currency. TIAA Bank’s credit cards can earn you anywhere from one to three points per dollar spent, depending on the purchase. But if you’re looking to consolidate all of your banking and saving within one company, you may want to look elsewhere.

What TIAA Bank Offers

High-yield checking accounts

Pros
Cons
ATM fee reimbursement
No monthly maintenance fees
Guaranteed yields in the top 5% of ‘competitive accounts’
APY drops after first year
$100 minimum deposit to open

If you sign up with TIAA Bank for an interest-bearing checking account, you can get an annual APY of 1.01% for the first year (on balances up to $250,000) and between 0.25% and 0.65% thereafter, as of December 10, 2019. The good news? TIAA attaches a “Yield Pledge promise” to its accounts, claiming that it adjust its rates weekly to stay in line with the top 5% of “competitive accounts.” TIAA also works with a network of over 80,000 fee-free ATMs — with one caveat. TIAA will only waive fees for accounts that carry a minimum average daily balance of $5,000. For all other customers, TIAA will only reimburse up to $15 per month for ATM fees.

Basic checking accounts

Pros
Cons
Only $25 needed to open the account
Mobile check deposits
$5 monthly fee for account balances below $25
No interest earned

TIAA’s basic checking account is almost identical to the high-yield checking account, with a few key differences: It has a lower minimum opening deposit at $25, which makes the account more accessible, but it also won’t earn you any interest. It may be a more affordable entry point, but if you’re worried about the cost of opening a checking account, there are better options. Ally Bank, for instance, offers a checking account with no minimum opening deposit, no monthly maintenance fees, and the ability to earn interest.

Basic savings accounts

Pros
Cons
Only $25 required to open the account
Eligible for an IRA
Monthly account fee of $5 if your balance drops below $25
Relatively low APY

TIAA Bank only offers one type of savings account, its basic savings. Even though the basic savings account offers an annual return, you’ll only receive a 1.10% APY, which is far below rates from competitors like Capital One. On the positive side, the account is eligible for an IRA if you choose to invest in one, but that is one of the only unique benefits of the account.

Money market accounts

Pros
Cons
High introductory APY
No monthly maintenance fees
Relatively low yields after the first year
$500 minimum balance to open

TIAA Bank’s one money market account is a strong alternative to a traditional savings account, at least in the first year. The one-year introductory APY gives you a handsome 1.85% APY, but your rate will drop to 1.01% to 1.70% after the first year, depending on your balance. Because of this, it may not be the best option for long-term savings needs — after your first year, you may want to look into one of TIAA’s CDs or a savings account with a different company. Capital One, for instance, offers its savings account with a 1.80% APY on all balances.

CDs

Pros
Cons
Competitive interest rates
Term lengths ranging from three months to five years
Minimum $5,000 opening deposit for high-yield accounts

TIAA Bank’s CD options are competitive with those of other banks, making its CDs one of the bank’s stronger features. The high-yield CDs can give you 2.20% APY for a four- or five-year investment, which is one of the best rates we’ve seen. Even a three-month CD is a fairly good deal at a 1.50% APY. If you’re looking to invest less than $5,000 — the minimum opening deposit for high-yield accounts — you can also open a Basic CD with $1,000. The APYs for basic CDs are significantly lower, but they’re still better than those of TIAA’s savings accounts.

TIAA Bank has two special CD options available, as well. With the Bump Rate CD, you can get a 2.15% APY over a term of 3 ½ years, and you can bump your rates up once during that time period if rates rise. The CDARS allows customers with large deposits (read: in the millions) to deposit their funds into TIAA Bank, but then distribute it in various amounts to other banks across a national network of institutions. A minimum deposit of $10,000 is required to open one of these accounts, but you get the benefit of FDIC insurance coverage on deposits that stretch into the millions.

Product Overview

  • In business since: 1918
  • J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Online Banking Satisfaction Study score: N/A
  • FDIC-insured: Yes
  • States served: 50
  • Number of locations: 10
  • Pros: Strong customer service, competitive introductory APYs on deposit accounts, ATM fees reimbursed
  • Cons: Very few physical branches, no access to financial advisors

Features

Checking accounts
Low to no minimum account balances
ATM fee reimbursements
Mobile check deposits
Savings account
$25 minimum balance to avoid fees
Mobile check deposits
IRA eligible
CDs
$5,000 minimum for high-yield, $1,000 minimum for basic account
High APY for high-yield
Range of term lengths
Money market account
High introductory APY
Eligible for IRAs
No monthly maintenance fees

Information accurate as of December 10, 2019.

Competitive introductory APYs

TIAA Bank’s most compelling feature is its high introductory APYs. For those interested in making a relatively quick, guaranteed, and safe one-year return, TIAA Bank is a good option. Whether you choose a high-yield checking, CD, or money market account, you can earn a solid return over the course of the first year. However, with the exception of high-balance CDs, the APYs offered after a year are competitive but not outstanding, so you may want to consider other alternatives for longer-term deposits.

ATM fees reimbursed

Being able to go anywhere in the U.S. and withdraw money from an ATM without having to worry about fees is definitely a powerful convenience. Not only do you save money, but you also don’t have to waste time trying to find the ATM with the lowest fees. If you have a balance of at least $5,000 in your account, TIAA will reimburse all ATM fees from out-of-network ATMs. The threshold is lower if you have a lower balance, but TIAA will still cover ATM fees up to $15 — a nice perk if you find yourself in need of cash and can’t find a TIAA ATM.

Highly reviewed mobile app

Unless you live in Florida, you’ll have to conduct most of your business with TIAA online. Thankfully, the company has a good mobile app, which earns a 4.6 out of five on the Apple App Store and a 4.4 out of five on Google Play. The app allows you to transfer funds, deposit checks, and contact support.

Possible drawbacks

Very few physical branches

TIAA Bank is based in Florida, with only 10 financial centers open in the Sunshine State. If you live elsewhere in the country, all of your banking will have to be done online or over the phone. While many banks are making the shift to an online-only model, it’s still inconvenient if you need a personal touch or prefer to make deposits or manage your account in person.

High balances don’t benefit from one-year APY offer

Those with an average daily balance of more than $250,000 don’t get to take advantage of the company’s high introductory APYs. This means that if you earn more than you may have expected or you make a large profit on the sale of an expensive item, such as real estate, you’ll miss out on TIAA’s biggest benefit. If this is the case, you may want to start with a different bank.

The Competition

TIAA Bank Ally Bank Capital One Bank of America
2019 J.D. Power U.S. Online Banking Satisfaction Study score
N/A N/A 4/5 3/5
Minimum checking requirement*
$25 for basic checking $0 for high-yield checking $0 $0 $0-$1,500
Minimum savings requirement*
$25 $0 $0 $500
Maximum savings account APY
1.10% 1.70% 1.80% 0.06%
One-year CD APY
1.85% for basic account 2.10% for high-yield account 2.00% 2.10% 0.05%
Monthly maintenance fees
$5 or $0 with minimum account requirements $0 with high-yield checking account $0 $0 $4.95-$25 or $0 with minimum account requirements
24/7 customer service
Number of states served
50 50 50 50
Check rates Check rates Check rates Check rates

*Minimum required balance to waive monthly fees (if applicable)
Information accurate as of December 10, 2019
Source: 2019 J.D. Power U.S. Online Banking Satisfaction Study score

TIAA Bank FAQ

How many locations does TIAA Bank have?

TIAA Bank has 10 financial centers in Florida, although customers can access its services online or through its mobile app.

Does TIAA Bank have ATM access?

Yes. TIAA customers have access to more than 80,000 ATMs. TIAA also offers reimbursement for out-of-network ATM fees. You can get reimbursed for all of your fees if you have at least $5,000 in your account. If you have less than that in your account, you’re still eligible for up to $15 in fee reimbursement.

What fees does TIAA Bank charge?

TIAA does not charge monthly fees on its high-yield accounts (including checking, money market, and CD). For its basic checking and basic savings accounts, you will be charged a monthly fee of $5 if you do not maintain a monthly balance of at least $25. Additionally, if you make more than six withdrawals or transfers per month from your money market account, you’ll be charged a fee of $10 for each — though this is fairly standard practice.

The Bottom Line

Overall, we recommend TIAA Bank for people who have large sums to deposit and wish to take advantage of the bank’s strong introductory APYs. Its CD rates are particularly competitive if you want to invest long-term, and the introductory rates on its other accounts are well worth it. However, after that introductory year is up, TIAA may not be the best option for your checking and savings accounts; its rates drop significantly, and its account minimums and fees are an inconvenience when so many online banks waive them.

About the Authors

Adam Carpenter

Adam Carpenter Contributing Writer

Adam Carpenter specializes in helping people understand cutting edge solutions. He has written about insurance, real estate analytics, and consumer finance. His work has been published on DailyHodl.com and CBS company, among others.