Another Caribbean stop during our family cruise was St. Maarten or Saint Martin. St. Maarten is a Caribbean island that is divided into two parts; southern part ruled by the Netherlands and northern part ruled by France. Regardless of its political divide, it is one beautiful island with stunning waters!
For the day, we booked an excursion to Dolphin Discovery which is located on the island of Anguilla, north of St. Maarten. More specifically, we booked the Dolphin Swim excursion included transportation to and from the port, lunch, beach access and of course 30 minutes with the Dolphins!
Having a savings account is important not only to help you stay organized financially but also to help you save more! (Read my post on 3 Ultra Easy Ways to Stay Financially Organized for more detail)
Once you decide to open a savings account, the second question is which bank should you pick? Naturally, people tend to open their savings accounts with the bank that has their checking accounts for convenience. However, that convenience comes at a cost. Major banks usually pay 0.01% on saving accounts; menial compared to some financial institutions that offer 1.00%.
When I initially opened my savings account, I opened it with Chase, the bank that has my checking account. For some reason, it never crossed my mind to maximize the returns on my savings until a friend mentioned he uses Ally Bank savings account and gets 1.00% interest on their savings. 1.00% may sound uninteresting but that’s 100% more than what I was receiving at Chase! Why not trade a few extra minutes every month for higher interest income?
Top Savings Accounts with ~1.00% Interest Rate
The two final providers I debated between was Ally Bank vs. Barclays. I was eventually swayed to Ally Bank because it appears to have a more user-friendly mobile app and was personally recommended by my friend.
Ally Bank – Account Set Up
The set up process online was extremely quick and easy (approximately 10 minutes). You first select a product (online savings account), then select whether you are the primary owner or if it will be a joint account. Then you fill out your information: name, date of birth, social security number, email, phone, address, etc. You then create an account and make an opening deposit by entering the banking account information where you will be transferring money to fund the savings account. If you have any questions, you can chat with customer reps online anytime and the wait time is usually less than 1 minute!
Ally Bank – Transferring Money In and Out of Your Savings Account
Before I set up the account, I wanted to confirm there are no fees for money transfers from other financial institutions (specifically in my case, Chase and Fidelity). I chatted online with a customer representative who confirmed that there are no ACH transfer fees for Ally Bank. ACH stands for Automated Clearing House and is an electronic network for financial institutions in the U.S. Most banks and financial institutions are a part of this network; as a result, any transfer between accounts in the ACH network is usually free (please check with the sending and receiving financial institution to confirm).
3 Ways to Transfer Money Out of Your Online Savings Account
- Electronic Transfer (ACH): 2-3 business days (free – most common)
- Wiring Funds: 1-2 business days ($20 fee)
- Mailed Official Check: 7-10 business days (free)