ableBanking is an online division of the Maine-based Northeast Bank. They just came out of beta mode and are fully open to the public.
I was able (pun) to participate in their beta and try out their money market account. It pays a very competitive interest rate right now of 0.85%. That’s at the top of my list of the best online savings accounts. The account has no fees, is FDIC insured, and requires a minimum deposit of $1000.
But that rate is not really what ableBanking wants you to get excited about. They want customers who are attracted to their giving model. Here’s how it works:
Give More Money with ableBanking.com
- You open an account and they immediately give $25 to the charity of your choice. They have a database of charities to choose from and it appears that you can add a charity as well.
- Further, at the end of a year, ableBanking will send .25% of your average daily account balance to the charity of your choice.
Doing the math, if you keep an average of $10,000 in the account, you will earn $85 in annual interest and earn another charity bonus of $25. This, on top of the initial $25 bonus.
The numbers obviously get more impressive when you increase the average balance. A solid emergency fund of $40,000 would earn interest and charitable bonuses that total $440.
My Experience with ableBanking.com
Like most online banks, the marketing end of their website is slick and simple, yet their actual banking interface leaves a lot to be desired.
To open the account I needed to provide my SSN and opening account information (routing, account no, etc.). My credit was run (soft pull from what I could tell), and opening the account involved the usual micro-deposit confirmations.
I ran into a small issue when opening the account. Their site informed me that I would need to call in to complete the process. This wasn’t a big issue because it happened during their normal customer support times (note that their customer support does not maintain 24 hour support).
So one of the biggest questions I have about this account and bank is “why not just give me more interest and let me do the giving?” They claim on their website that the money doesn’t come based on some reduction of your interest earned. They claim it comes from a reduction of their marketing expenses.
This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but I suppose it doesn’t really matter if more money is given to charity and that’s ultimately what the customer wants, right?
This account may appear bare-bones at first, but they do have a couple of features that I like: (1) you can request a book of checks (2) the account allows you to do automatic saving.
So that’s my quick review of ableBanking. I’d encourage you to consider them as an alternative to other online savings accounts and certainly consider them a better place to save your money than a traditional savings account. Check out more info on ableBanking.com.
With so much negative press involving banks over the past several years, it is refreshing to see a bank trying to do something positive and innovative, which should ultimately end up helping a lot of people.