American Express Personal Savings Account
|January 11, 2011||Posted by derek under Savings|
For quite some time I have held online savings accounts at both ING Direct and HSBC and have generally been an extremely satisfied customer. There were – and still are – a few minor issues with HSBC Advance that always frustrate me a little.
Similar to when I continued to drag my feet on moving from ING Direct to HSBC in order to take advantage of the higher savings rate, I have recently been contemplating a move from HSBC over to the American Express Personal Savings account. When the direct mailer arrived the other day from American Express, I finally decided to make the move and leave the 1.0% APY of HSBC behind in favor of the 1.30% APY being offered by American Express.
First impressions of American Express
The sign-up process was a piece of cake and only takes a few minutes to complete. As you complete the application there is the customary note that there will be two test deposits made to your linked account and that you need to confirm the amounts before your linked account will be active. All pretty standard.
One thing that I don’t recall from when I signed up with ING Direct or HSBC though was the fact that I could not even log into my account and explore the interface until the test deposits were confirmed. This was a little disappointing as I had been looking forward to exploring the user interface and getting a feel for all of the features and options available. Unfortunately, the wait to access the user interface did not live up to my anticipation.
As you can see above, American Express Personal Savings has a rather bland user interface. However, while it may be bland I do give it two thumbs up as it avoids a few of the things that I dislike about the HSBC Advance interface such as pop-up windows for bank-to-bank transfers and obscure locations for key information. So while it might not be as flashy as the ING Direct interface that I particularly like, there is a good degree of function over form.
At this point I am still waiting for my initial deposit to process but I have gone ahead and created my recurring deposit. It will be interesting to see how the timing of deposits compares to the HSBC transfer time that has always been a disappointment.
Where ING Direct still shines…
There is no question that I will enjoy the slightly higher savings rate of American Express Personal Savings compared to ING Direct, but there are a few features at ING Direct that I have come to truly appreciate yet have not found duplicated anywhere else.
In the screen shot above, I have highlighted three key pieces of information that ING Direct offers on their accounts that I regularly check when I am accessing my account. While the information doesn’t really impact my account in any way, there is something reassuring about easily being able to see the current APY, how much interest I have earned this month, and how much interest has been paid during the current year.
Over at HSBC Advance, I am still not quite sure if you can find the current APY listed anywhere within your account as I have poked around and not been able to find it. The fact that they don’t make it readily available almost makes it feel like they don’t want you to recognize that they are lowering the rate on a regular basis. At first glance, it doesn’t look like the American Express Personal Savings account will have this information visible either.
From the time I began using ING Direct, I have been addicted to the display of the interest earned in the current month. Maybe it was because I wasn’t used to having money saved instead of going towards debt, but logging in and seeing an extra few pennies in those early days had a way of motivating me to save even more. Anyone that runs their own blog knows what that can be like as they check their stats every twelve seconds.
Good, but not the best
Making a move to the new American Express Personal Savings account has been a good if only because of the slightly higher savings rate than both ING Direct and HSBC Advance. The user interface might leave a little to be desired, but it does appear to be a significant improvement over the HSBC interface that lacks consistency and clarity.
There are other savings accounts on the market that are currently paying even better rates than American Express, however after being a satisfied customer ever since my first American Express balance transfer (although I hope this goes more smoothly) I don’t necessarily mind the few dollars if everything else is top notch.
Time will tell whether or not I am tempted to explore an account with EverBank (who seem to have the highest rate at 2.01% APY) but I would welcome feedback from you on your experiences with any of the above mentioned savings accounts.