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BrioDirect Review
Savings-oriented online bank
Reviews 4
BrioDirect
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BrioDirect
BrioDirect
Average
Reviews 4
Christian Rigg
Nov. 15, 2022
2 min read
CR
BrioDirect summary
BrioDirect is the online brand of Sterling National Bank. It offers high-yield savings accounts with no monthly fees, and Certificates of Deposit (CDs) up to 5 years with competitive interest rates. While there are some disadvantages, discussed below, opening an account with BrioDirect is quick and easy, with a low initial deposit.
Pros
  • Competitive interest rates
  • Low initial deposit
  • No monthly fees
  • No transaction fees (up to six transactions per month)
Cons
  • No bank card for ATM cash withdrawals or deposits
  • Initial funds transfer may be lengthy (5+ business days)

BrioDirect BrioDirect Visit BrioDirect

Advantages Over Regular Banks

BrioDirect, like many online banks, doesn’t charge fees for opening, maintaining or closing your accounts. That means 100% of your initial and future deposits go into the account to start earning interest. 

While there are no branches to visit in person, you can easily access your account information online or with BrioDirect’s mobile app, allowing you to open an account, manage your finances, and oversee transactions from anywhere.  

Finally, the initial deposit and minimum balance for APY is only $25, which makes it easy to start saving with even a small amount.  

Cutting-Edge Banking Services  

While BrioDirect doesn’t offer bank cards, you can link your high-interest savings account to an external bank account for easy transfers. Additionally, you can deposit any endorsed check using your mobile phone’s camera, a convenient and increasingly common feature. Both the Savings accounts and Contracts of Deposit can be opened online.  

Traditional Banking Services

BrioDirect is a savings-oriented online bank, meaning it offers high-interest savings accounts and CDs, but no other services like checking accounts or credit cards. This focus has allowed BrioDirect to offer competitive interest rates, with 1.25% APY starting at just $25 for savings accounts, and up to 1.15% APY for CDs.

In addition, because BrioDirect allows you to open multiple CDs, you can create a CD ladder, closing short-term, high-interest CDs and investing the return in a longer term CD, to compound your benefits. 

The availability of your funds is somewhat limited by the fact that you won’t have an ATM card for cash withdrawals. However, you are free to transfer your money out of your savings account at any time (just be aware that some customers have found BrioDirect’s transaction times a bit longer than normal).

Interest Rates and Fees

BrioDirect High-Yield Savings: With this account, you benefit from a competitive interest rate of 1.25% on all deposits greater than $25. There are no monthly fees, no transaction fees (up to six transactions per month), and no fees for opening or closing your accounts, although you may be charged fees if you exceed the allotted number of monthly transactions or if your account is placed in overdraft. 

High-Rate CDs: The CDs at BrioDirect start at 0.05% for 30 days, but jump quickly to 1.00% for 3 months. The best rate is offered after five months, at 1.15% APY. At nine months, the rate drops to 0.80%, but then stabilizes at 1.00% for the remaining CDs up to 60 months (five years). 

There are no fees for opening the CD, although early withdrawal fees may apply, amounting to 30 days, 90 days, 9 months or 12 months of interest, depending on the CDs term length. This is a standard practice, though, and can easily be avoided by investing wisely.  

AccountAPYMin. BalanceMonthly Rate
High-Yield Savings1.25%$25$0
High-Rate CDs1.00% - 1.25%$500$0

Customer Service 

Like most online banks, BrioDirect doesn’t have any brick-and-mortar branches you can visit, although that shouldn’t keep you from getting in touch with customer assistance if needed: you can call between 8 am and 8 pm ET Monday through Friday, and from 8:30 am to 3 pm ET on Saturdays. The company website also has a modest but useful FAQ page.  

Mobile Apps  

The BrioDirect mobile app has some great features.

  • Check your balance any time without having to log in, making it faster and more discrete.
  • Deposit an endorsed check using the camera on your smartphone or tablet — no need to send checks by snail mail.
  • The same mobile app is used to access BrioDirect and Sterling National accounts, so if you’re already a client of the latter, you can use one app to manage everything. 

Security

BrioDirect’s mobile app helps keep your information secure with biometric access and multiple factor authentication, and the website offers some great tips on keeping your information secure and private. That being said, the company unfortunately doesn’t provide information about mobile or online encryption practices and, unlike some competitors, doesn’t outline your coverage in case of fraud.

BrioDirect BrioDirect Visit BrioDirect

Conclusion 

BrioDirect was designed for simplicity and ease of use: you can start setting up an account online in just minutes, while the low initial deposit amounts make it easy for anybody to start saving. The interest rates are competitive, especially for five month CDs at 1.15% APY.

The lack of a bank card is regrettable, and some users have reported unusually long wait times for bank transfers, including the initial deposit. However, the attractive interest rates and financial security afforded by FDIC insurance and the fact that Sterling National Bank is a major financial institution still makes this an attractive offer.

If you won’t need immediate access to your savings account balance, you can use these high interest rates to your advantage. 


CR
Written by
Christian Rigg
Christian Rigg is a freelance writer who’s spilled ink on everything from finance and technology to data science. Born and raised in Canada, he currently lives in the south of France. He writes for BestMoney and enjoys helping readers make sense of the options on the market.‎
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voice of experience
2 months ago
Stay away from Sterling/BrioDirect/Webster Bank
Webster Bank (a.k.a. BrioDirect and formerly, Sterling Bank, suspended my account because I attempted to transfer funds out of my BrioDirect account. Consequently, I cannot withdraw ANY funds from my BrioDirect account. I have filed a complaint against Webster Bank with the OCC. If you want this to be YOUR experience, by all means, sign up for a BrioDirect (Webster Bank) account!
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eden vale
3 months ago
Agree, nothing but a bunch of grifters. Stay away!
Reading Susan's and JC's complaint mirrors my own, exact same scenario: ACH transfers to verified external accounts, trial deposits, etc., but currently a large ACH transfer from Brio to an external account was debited over 11 days ago, and stopped by Brio, and then after multiple attempts by me to jump through Brio requests, which were never good enough, to verify an account that was already verified, I just gave up and requested the transfer be cancelled now 4 times: by phone, their encrypted email, a supervisor's email, and the internal account message service. All are just ignored and they have not returned my funds nor responded in any way for over a week. Their phone hold times are just ridiculous, 1-1.5 hours in not an exaggeration, or you're mysteriously disconnected around the 40 minute mark, all the while listening to a recording that they are, "experiencing extremely high call volume," Sure...all day, every day, from open to close...extremely high call volume. Add to that unhelpful, and unresponsive employees, who are not empowered to resolve problems, and you've got BrioDirect, aka Sterling Bank, aka Webster Bank.
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susan e
4 months ago
Brio Direct is a grifter online bank with lots of deception…
I had no trouble depositing funds to the online savings account Brio of Webster Bank. However, I had no idea how difficult external transfers would be. I set up links with the usual small deposits to verify the other banks I planned to transfer with. Several months later I attempted my first transfer. It was to a verified bank, Goldman Sachs, and I surely owned the bank account there as I had deposited $77,000 from G-S to Brio when setting up the account. They claimed the transfer failed due to security reasons! (found out later this is a standard "routine" when you try to actually use your linked accounts for outgoing funds). It was unclear but I needed to set up a log in and password to communicate by encryption to get help/information. It took 11 days for me to get the hold reversed (I gave up on ever getting it transferred), all the while getting no interest on the account. When I told the rep I was planning to close the account, she informed me that I was now getting bumped up to 2.6%. I looked everywhere on the website and found nothing to that effect. Then, I read some of the reviews and apparently, you have to CLOSE the Brio account and set up a Brio PLUS account to get the higher rate. If I'd not heard other people's accounts of this grifter bank I never would have known about this specific deception. Some of these tricks have to be illegal?!
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jc
7 months ago
Don't bank with BrioDirect
This review is about BrioDirect, which belongs to Webster Bank. My spouse and I deeply regret being BrioDirect customers and we are about to close our savings account once we get our money back. 1. We made a transfer that didn't go through for security reasons. Very well! But it has been 8 days and they have not processed any reversed transfer yet. We contacted them multiple times but nothing has been done for us to get our money back. At this point, we believe they are delaying the reversed transfer to earn interest on our backs. 2. Good luck if you want to speak to a BrioDirect representative. It takes forever for them to either answer your call or call you back. In our case, it takes about 1.5-2 hours on average to reach a bank representative. This is very frustrating, and by any reasonable standard, unacceptable. Therefore, I cannot recommend in good conscience this online bank to anyone. If you still want to open a bank account - in particular, because of their savings account's high APY (as of 7/8/2022) - please, be careful and do your due diligence. Update (7/12/2022): It has been 12 days since the failed/rejected transfer and our money is still held hostage at BrioDirect/Sterling National Bank/Webster Bank