Like most cash management account providers, Betterment is not a bank. It’s an online financial service provider that helps customers invest their money. Betterment sweeps customers’ funds into accounts at program banks, where it benefits from FDIC insurance. Betterment has two complementary accounts, formerly known as Betterment Everyday: Betterment Cash Reserve and Betterment Checking.
Betterment Cash Reserve offers a solid annual percentage yield with no fees and no minimum balance requirement.
Betterment Checking has a debit card available and reimburses ATM fees worldwide. This account also has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirement.
Where Betterment falls short
Checking and savings features
Good APY for Cash Reserve. The APY on Betterment Cash Reserve is currently an above-average 0.10%. While not a bank account itself, this account has a rate that’s higher than most traditional brick-and-mortar bank accounts. However, it lags behind the best rates of some online banks.
No monthly fees or minimum balance. Both the Betterment Cash Reserve and Betterment Checking products have no monthly fees or minimum balances.
Customers can withdraw cash, and ATM fees are reimbursed. Betterment reimburses all ATM fees incurred worldwide on its Betterment Checking account.
Debit cards are available. Customers can use a Betterment Visa debit card to access their funds in Betterment Checking.
No check deposits or check writing. With Betterment Cash Reserve, the only way to deposit and withdraw funds is through online transfer to or from a linked checking account. Betterment Checking plans to make mobile check deposits and check writing available in the future.
Things to consider:
APY can fluctuate without notice. As with other cash management products, the program banks that Betterment partners with are subject to the changing federal funds rate, which is the set rate at which banks loan money to one another. This means that the APY Betterment offers customers moves up and down in conjunction with the rates of its program banks. Essentially, as with savings accounts at regular banks, the APY you open your account with is not guaranteed.
High-quality website. The Betterment website is well-designed, and information on its different products is easy to find. There is also a robust Frequently Asked Questions section on the site that provides additional information on how Betterment’s products work.
High app store ratings. The Betterment mobile app is highly rated in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play store.
Twitter support available. Betterment provides Twitter support to its customers on its @BettermentHelp channel.
No branches. Betterment is an online-only service provider, so customers can receive help only through remote means of communication like phone, mail, email and Twitter support.
Limited live phone support hours and no chat support. Phone support and email is available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, but only email is available on weekends. The site has no online chat support.