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BrioDirect Review

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CR
Christian Rigg
May. 03, 20214 min read

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)

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.

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 byChristian 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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