Digital banking has grown exponentially, and since there are so many options out there these days, one deserves forgiveness for having no clue which ones are worth all the time and effort. To make things a little clearer when it comes to finding an excellent mobile banking experience to fit your specific needs, you need to do some research. A Porte Bank review seems appropriate, so let’s have a look.
In short, Porte Bank’s mobile banking offers:
- Digital banking that makes transactions safe and convenient
- No-fee checking
- Available savings account with a possible 3% APR
- Charitable donations of a portion of every transaction
- Up to 10% cashback available
- Direct deposit services
- Available overdraft protection
There’s much more, which you can discover by continuing to read. But even if there weren’t any other perks, reading the above list should be enough to pique your interest in a Porte Bank account.
So let’s take a moment to look more closely at these services and a few others that might be used a little less frequently but are no less convenient and helpful.
Probably the biggest draw to Porte Bank is its 3% annual percentage rate for savings accounts with balances of up to $15,000. Since the national average, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, is less than eight-tenths of 1%, that’s quite a step up.
What that means is that if you were to have the $15,000 maximum in your savings account for one year, you would earn $450 in interest. That’s almost $40 extra a month in interest income, and that’s not nothing. It’s also something any Porte Bank review would be remiss by not including because it’s kind of a big deal.
Sure, mobile banking is mostly about your check card, ease of access to your money, and no fees. But since almost every financial adviser and person with a pulse agrees we should all have a savings account, Porte Bank’s offering in this department is worth noting.
While there isn’t a minimum balance required to open a savings account, you have to qualify by receiving at least $1,000 in direct deposits in one month to get the 3% rate. After that, though, there don’t seem to be any further requirements.
The Real Reasons
But let’s be honest. We use digital banks because they’re convenient, there aren’t any lines to stand in, and they don’t keep banker’s hours.
Porte Bank’s direct deposit feature means you can get your paycheck a day or two earlier than everyone else, and I know that’s something that helps me out. It’s a feature I cherish about this particular digital bank.
There’s also the potential for cashback. And Porte Bank allows you to choose one of its pre-selected charities, to which it donates a smaller percentage of each debit card purchase. I’ve never heard of a bank doing this, so it got my attention even more than the relatively high interest rate on the savings account.
About Porte Bank
Porte Bank is a challenger bank that offers financial services online and through a smartphone app. Its main draw is its convenience, though there are many things I found to like about it. Like any other service offered around the world, it does have its drawbacks. But similar to most mobile banks, Porte’s benefits more than outweigh the negatives.
- No monthly service charge is a pretty big deal. While this isn’t all that uncommon in the digital-only banking world, it’s still an excellent feature, and if all other things were equal, wouldn’t you choose the no-fee option?
- Bonus cash just for opening an account. Sure, you need a minimum deposit of $500, but that’s just to get the bonus. There is not a minimum amount to open a checking account with Porte Bank. But if you’ve got $500, you can get an extra $50 in bonus money.
- Make cash deposits. You’ll need to use the Porte app to find a participating retail location, but once you do, you’ll be able to deposit actual cash into your digital bank. There’s a per-deposit fee, and that’s not perfect, but compared to the bulk of other challenger banks out there, it’s great since many of them offer no cash deposit services.
- Your Porte Bank card works throughout the country. There are a few digital banks available for customers in the contiguous United States, but Porte Bank includes Alaska and Hawaii.
- Help out with every purchase. I mentioned this before, but it’s a big enough deal that I feel like it’s a definite pro. Each purchase you make engenders a donation from Porte to one of a handful of charities the company pre-selected. Currently, options include GLAAD, The National Park Foundation, Save the Children, and The Humane Society, all worthy causes.
- Earn up to 10% cash back. You’ll have to shop at participating retailers, as this isn’t just 10% back on every penny you spend. Of course, if none of the participating retailers are in your area or where you shop, this won’t do you a whole lot of good. But if it works for you, that’s cashback, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want that.
- Fee-free bill payments. If your utility company and other entities to which you make monthly payments accept a Visa card, you can pay those bills with your Porte Bank card.
- Direct deposit means an earlier payday. If you’ve never used a digital bank or direct deposit, you can’t truly understand the value of this, but you will. When payday is the first and 15th of each month, and you get your check on the 30th or even the 29th, that can be a big help. See if your brick-and-mortar bank down the street will do that for you. Go on and check. I’ll wait.
- Three percent APR on a savings account balance up to $15,000. Again, already discussed above, but a huge advantage to a Porte Bank account.
- No ongoing monthly fees. There are some fees involved because it’s a bank, but as far as a monthly fee for the privilege of keeping your checking account money with Porte, there isn’t one.
- No minimums. You can open an account with any amount of money, and there is no required minimum balance to maintain to keep your account fee-free.
- Available overdraft protection. Even if you don’t use this feature and overdraw your account, the overdraft fee at Porte Bank is $20, which is much nicer than the $35 most banks charge.
- Cash deposits come with a fee. It’s $3.95 per transaction, so your smaller cash deposits might not be a good idea. However, if the option is the fee or no cash deposit availability at all, most of us choose the fee. Plus, if you’re depositing cash, it’s probably a good amount. If it’s just 20 bucks, you’ll likely just keep that in your wallet.
- Paper checks just aren’t a thing. Sure, you can deposit checks via the Porte Bank app, but if you need to write a check to someone, you’re out of luck. Granted, that need dwindles with each passing day, but some people still find themselves in need of writing a paper check.
- Customer service might be lacking. While I had no real reason to contact customer support, the one real complaint Porte Bank customers seem to have is that customer support was less than ideal. Then again, remember that unhappy people complain louder than happy people sing praises, so this might be a grain-of-salt situation. Again, I can’t speak to it directly because I had no issues.
- Out-of-network ATM fees are a little high. While I think it’s criminal any bank charges fees for using ATMs, I understand this is just the way things are. That said, Porte Bank’s charges are a little higher than average. The remedy, of course, is to do what I do: don’t use out-of-network ATMs.
Who Can Apply for a Porte Bank account?
Anybody who meets the eligibility requirements can open a digital bank account with Porte. Those requirements are not strict at all. You must be at least 18 years old, and you need to be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
Once you meet those requirements (and unless you’re reading this because you’re studying for your 10th-grade statistics test, you probably meet them), you’ll need:
- A name, which you already have
- A permanent address
- An email address
- A driver’s license or another government-issued form of identification
- A Social Security number
- Your date of birth
How to Open a Porte Bank Account
With all qualifications met and the above information in hand, opening an account is frighteningly easy.
- Visit Porte Bank online.
- Following the website’s instructions, download the appropriate version of the Porte Bank app for your phone.
- Once you install the app, start it up and follow the instructions for signing up.
- You’ll be asked for the information the bank needs from you (mentioned above), then Porte Banks sends a verification code to your email address. The app will ask for a photo of your identification card and a selfie.
- Link a funding source to your account so you have an actual balance, and you’re good to go.
Many people (OK, our parents’ generation) still fret about putting financial information in the hands of an online anything. But Porte Bank’s security protocols are top-notch.
If you lose your card, you can lock it via the mobile app. This is potentially much better than just canceling a lost card because how many times have you canceled a card you thought was lost only to find it in your pants when you did laundry the next day? Maybe that’s just me.
Two-factor authentication and Touch ID on your smartphone help ensure only you can log in to your Porte Bank account, so for those of us who often wonder where our phones are, this offers great peace of mind.
Porte Bank’s partner, MetaBank N.A., is an FDIC member, so your funds are as protected as they would be in that big corporate bank that lives in that ugly skyscraper downtown.
Your Porte Bank card has an EMV chip. That’s the square computer chip on one end of your card that lets you insert it rather than swipe it. The EMV chip ‒ named for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa, the companies that started using them ‒ creates a unique code per purchase and helps curb fraudulent activity.
How to Add Funds to Your Porte Bank Account
There are several ways, most of which I’ve at least mentioned. None of them is complicated, so the convenience and ease of using a digital-only bank remain present.
- Link to an external account. You link to a funding source when you open your account, but you also can link to your PayPal or other bank accounts so you can ostensibly manage all your financial transactions from one place.
- Mobile check deposits. With your smartphone camera, you can take a picture of the front and back of a paper check (make sure you endorsed the check) and submit it through the Porte Bank app. Depending on the check and the bank from where the funds come, the turnaround on those funds is usually quick but can take up to five business days.
- Cash deposit. Honestly, this probably ends up being one of the lesser-used aspects since we are more and more eschewing cash and because of, as mentioned earlier, the deposit fee, but it’s an option. Again, not all digital banks allow cash deposits.
- Wire and ACH transfers. Domestic wire transfers into your Porte Bank account do not incur any fees, and Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers are possible because of the linked accounts discussed above.
Most of us get access to our bank funds via our debit card, which is undoubtedly a big part of the Porte Bank experience. But you can also use that same card at in-network ATMs for free, and you can add your Porte Bank card to your mobile wallet. That means you can use it with Cash App, PayPal, Venmo, and similar cash apps.
Outgoing wire and ACH transfers are available, and the same goes for them as incoming transactions of the same type ‒ no fee for domestic wire transfers out of your account, and ACH transactions are available too.
Who Owns Porte Bank?
MetaBank, National Association, is the parent company of Porte Bank. MetaBank and Porte Bank are “real” banks, both insured by FDIC up to the current coverage limit of $250,000 (which is set by the government, not MetaBank or Porte Bank).
The Final Word
No bank can make everyone happy, but Porte Bank takes a shot at it and comes pretty close. Even the cons listed above aren’t dealbreakers because none of them seem like that big of a deal. Overall, a Porte Bank account offers safe and convenient banking. The added perk of making charitable donations with each purchase you make with your card makes a Porte Bank account even more appealing to many.
If you’re looking for a digital bank, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better one than Porte Bank. Even if you’re not yet convinced, take a moment to visit Porte Bank online to learn even more or download the app. Since there’s no fee to set up an account, you don’t have a reason not to at least try it out. If it’s not for you, maybe digital banking isn’t for you, either.