Sayonara, traditional banks! Online only banking is no longer a “niche” financial option for people, but a mainstream way of growing and protecting your money.
Not to mention, online banks can have lower fees and higher interest-earning potential, thanks to the lack of overhead.
But with all the options available, how do you know which online bank to choose (or even, which ones are banks at all)?
In this article, we’ll review Monifi — a goal-focused online bank account that happens to be a division of MidFirst Bank, the largest privately owned bank in the United States.
What is Monifi?
Monifi is a goal-oriented banking app set up to help you reach your financial goals — whether it’s saving for a vacation of a lifetime or simply growing your emergency fund.
When you sign up with Monifi, you’ll automatically be set up with two separate accounts: your Spend Balance and your Save Balance.
The Spend Balance is a non-interest-earning checking account. It’s set up to help you spend only what you need, so the rest goes toward your goals in your Save Balance. The Spend Balance comes with Monifi’s orange Visa® debit card.
The Save Balance is structured in a way that helps you grow your money for specific goals. Need to have your house painted? Customize a savings goal for it. Planning a party for your spouse? Set up a goal-completion date to make sure you have money moved into it on time.
Monifi Review: Checking Accounts
Monifi calls its non-interest-earning checking account a Spend Account. It’s an organizable bank account that comes with an orange Visa debit card.
What does it mean to be organizable? You can categorize and name each of your transactions, so at the end of the month, you can see exactly what your spending habits are.
This detailed view of your spending will help you make smarter decisions with your money.
Monifi Review: Save Balance
Monifi’s Save Balance is what really sets it apart from other online banks.
The Save Balance is an interest checking account that allows unlimited transactions and is designed to help people reach their goals. Sure, you could lump all of your savings into a low-interest that may limit the number of transactions you make and hope for the best — or you could organize your savings to help you reach your goals faster.
You can create multiple goals and customize each of them. For example, you can name a specific savings goal “Charlie’s Soccer Club Fund,” change the photo to Charlie in his uniform, and set a date by which you want to reach your $500 goal. Monifi can then transfer small amounts into this goal every day, so that you’ll make it to $500 before sign-up fees are due.
Anyone can set a goal — but actually reaching that goal becomes much easier when your bank strategizes your savings for you.
On top of the ability to set up these automatic savings routines, Monifi also offers one of the highest available interest rates to help grow your money even faster.
Monifi Interest Rates and Fees
Monifi’s Save Balance has one of the highest interest rates we’ve seen for checking accounts or savings accounts. Right now, you can earn a whopping 0.60% APY (Annual Percentage YIeld) on the money in your Monifi Save Balance. That’s 10 times the national average.
There is no monthly fee with Monifi, and there is no minimum account balance. You can open it up with zero dollars, no problem. But you do need to fund it eventually, otherwise your account will close.
Breakdown of Monifi Fees:
- Monthly Maintenance Fee: $0
- Overdraft Fee: $15
- ATM Withdrawal Fees: $0 within AllPoint Network
- Bill Paying: Free
Monifi Customer Experience
Monifi’s customer service focuses on ease of use.
There’s no more waiting in line at a bank to speak to someone — Monifi has humans available to speak with you via email, phone and chat.
The app itself is super simple to use. All banking is done in the app, with plenty of features to make managing your finances easy. All of your savings goals can be customized, plus you can send money or pay bills all within the app.
Because Monifi is a division of the largest private bank in the U.S., it has all the high-level security features you’d expect in a bank:.
- FDIC-insured up to $250,000
- Biometric authentication
- A robust security profile
- Zero-liability Visa® debit card
- Plaid security to link accounts
- Ability to turn card on and off in the app
Monifi vs. Other Online Banking Accounts
What makes Monifi stand out from its competitors is the fact that it’s a real bank. Monifi is a division of MidFirst Bank, the largest privately owned bank in the U.S. With fewer middlemen, this helps keep costs down and interest rates high.
On the flip side, plenty of Monifi’s competitors aren’t actually banks — they’re financial technology companies, not an FDIC-insured and regulatory governed financial institution like a bank.
Here are other ways Monifi compares to its competitors:
Monifi vs. Competitors
|Overdraft Fees||$15||$0||$0, but $25 if not repaid on time|
|Free ATM Usage||55k nationwide||60k nationwide||Unlimited via reimbursement|
|Savings Assistance Plan||Automatic transfers||Change Roundup||No|
|Minimum to Open Account||$0||$0||$250|
|Rewards and/or Cash Back||No||No||Yes|
- Monifi is a division of MidFirst, the largest privately owned bank in the United States with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. This sets Monifi apart from its competitors, because many online banking accounts are technically fintech companies.
- Monifi uses bank-level encryption and security to make sure your money is safe. Not only are they FDIC insured and cover you for up to $250,000, they’ve implemented security features that allow you to protect yourself even further. That includes having a Visa® debit card with Visa’s zero-liability protection and the ability to turn your card on and off in case you lose it.
Is there a sign-up bonus?
- Yes! When you sign up for Monifi and set up a qualifying direct deposit, you’ll receive $250 cash as a sign-up bonus* when you meet the bonus criteria and maintain a minimum balance of $1,000. Terms and conditions apply.
How to Sign Up for a Monifi Bank Account
Signing up for Monifi, which includes both the Spend and Save Balances, can take less than five minutes and costs you nothing. Signing up is subject to approval.
Download the app to get started. You don’t need any money to get started, but you will need to have your Social Security number and a valid form of identification ready to prove your identity.
Funding your account is super easy, too. You can even transfer money from another bank using Zelle®.
Is Monifi The Right Mobile Bank For You?
Do you have money goals you’re working toward — or want to become more goal-focused with your money? Monifi’s Save Balance can help you reach them.
You can set up automatic transfers into each of your customizable savings goals to help you automatically reach them by the date you set up within the app.
So if you’re looking to switch financial institutions and want to take advantage of the perks of an online bank that helps you better control your financial future, Monifi could be the right mobile banking solution for you.
Kari Faber is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.