Upgrade Premier Savings Account Review — High Yield, No Fees


Unless you have hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more) in cash to save or invest, big banks don’t want your money. They won’t tell you that directly, but they make it plain with paltry yields on standard savings accounts and high asset requirements to avoid common banking fees. 

Fortunately, high-yield savings accounts abound, mainly at online and community banks that (still) seem to put regular customers first. The Upgrade Premier Savings account is among the best of the bunch, at least if your top priority is getting the most for your money. 

Upgrade Premier Savings isn’t perfect, but it’s a big step up from many savings accounts. Get to know its features, capabilities, and pros and cons to decide if it’s right for you.

What Is the Upgrade Premier Savings Account?

The Upgrade Premier Savings account is a high-yield online savings account with no minimum balance to open and no monthly or annual maintenance fees. It has one of the highest savings yields on the market (currently 4.81% APY on balances above $1,000) and FDIC insurance up to $250,000 through Upgrade’s banking partner, Cross River Bank.

You can open and fund an Upgrade Premier Savings account without a corresponding checking account with Upgrade. In addition to its checking account, Upgrade also offers credit cards and personal loans.

What Sets the Upgrade Premier Savings Account Apart?

The Upgrade Premier Savings account stands out for a few reasons, not all of them good:

  • Very high yield on eligible balances. Upgrade Premier Savings has an industry-leading yield on eligible balances. As long as you can meet the minimum balance requirement, it’s difficult to do better.
  • No fees or minimums to open or maintain. You can fund your new Upgrade Premier Savings Account in any amount, and there’s no ongoing maintenance fee to worry about. 
  • Minimum balance required to earn interest. You do need to keep at least $1,000 in your account to earn interest on the balance. Otherwise, your interest rate drops to zero on all balances.

Key Features of the Upgrade Premier Savings Account

The Upgrade Premier Savings Account is a basic (if generous) savings account, but it has some features and capabilities worth spelling out in detail.

Account Yield

Upgrade Premier Savings pays 4.81% APY in any statement cycle during which you maintain a balance of $1,000 or more. The interest rate applies to the whole balance, not just the portion above $1,000.

If your balance drops below $1,000 in a statement cycle, you earn no interest on the entire balance for the period. So it’s critical to keep at least $1,000 in your account at all times.

Account Fees & Minimums

This account has no monthly or annual maintenance fees. There’s no minimum to open and fund an account either. But because you earn no interest if your balance drops below $1,000, that’s the effective minimum balance.

Transfer Limits

Upgrade sets inbound and outbound transfer limits on all Premier Savings accounts. The actual limits vary by customer and may depend on your creditworthiness — Upgrade doesn’t explain how they’re set. But they always fall within these ranges:

  • Between two and seven inbound transfers during any seven-day period
  • Between $2,000 and $15,000 in total inbound transfer dollar value during any seven-day period, regardless of the number of transfers
  • Between $2,000 and $15,000 in total outbound transfer dollar value during any seven-day period

There’s no limit on the number of outbound transfers you can make as long as you don’t exceed your allotted dollar value during any seven-day period.

Ownership Type

Upgrade allows only individual account holders. You can’t open a Premier Savings account jointly with a spouse, domestic partner, or anyone else.

Mobile Features

Upgrade has a robust mobile app and mobile banking dashboard that can do anything the regular online dashboard can. However, the Premier Savings account lacks some mobile-friendly features common in other online bank accounts, such as mobile check deposit and person-to-person transfers.

Deposit Insurance

Upgrade Premier Savings offers FDIC insurance through its banking partner, Cross River Bank. Insurance covers balances up to $250,000.

Pros & Cons

Upgrade Premier Savings has some clear advantages and disadvantages. The upsides include no maintenance fees and an excellent yield, while the downsides include a minimum balance to earn interest and limited options to access your funds.

Pros

  • Excellent yield
  • No minimum balance to open
  • No maintenance fees

Cons

  • Minimum balance required to earn interest
  • No ATM card or mobile check deposit
  • Transfer limits may affect usability

Pros

Upgrade Premier Savings offers one of the best yields in the business and has no maintenance fees or minimums. It’s part of a much larger universe of Upgrade financial products too.

  • Industry-leading yield. This account’s yield (currently 4.81% APY when you keep a balance of $1,000 or more) is better than the vast majority of competing savings accounts.
  • No minimum balance to open. You can open this account with any amount of money, though keep the minimum interest-earning balance in mind.
  • No maintenance fees. Upgrade charges no monthly or annual maintenance fees on this account.
  • Easy to manage online. Upgrade Premier Savings is a straightforward savings account that’s easy to manage online with the Upgrade online dashboard or mobile app.
  • Links with a suite of other financial accounts and products from Upgrade. Premier Savings isn’t the main attraction at Upgrade. It got its start as a personal loan and credit line provider and now offers a slew of credit cards alongside those products. It has a generous rewards checking account as well.

Cons

Upgrade Premier Savings falls short on its minimum balance to earn interest, limited withdrawal and deposit options, and money transfer limits.

  • $1,000 minimum balance to earn interest. You need to keep at least $1,000 in your account to earn interest. If your balance falls below that threshold, you earn no interest for the entire statement period.
  • No ATM card or mobile check deposit. Electronic transfer is the only way to deposit or withdraw funds into or out of your Upgrade Premier Savings account. This might not be a deal-breaker, but it would be nice to have a mobile check deposit option at least.
  • Transfer limits could impact your ability to move money. Upgrade’s inbound and outbound transfer limits probably won’t affect your day-to-day money management, but they could come into play if you need to move a lot of money at once — for example, to make a down payment on a new house.

How the Upgrade Premier Savings Account Stacks Up

Before you apply for the Upgrade Premier Savings account, see how it compares to another popular option with a two-tiered interest rate: the Platinum Savings account from CIT Bank.

Upgrade Premier Savings CIT Bank Platinum Savings
Maximum Yield 4.81% APY  Up to 4.75% APY
Minimum Yield None 0.25% APY
Minimum Balance $0 $100
Minimum Interest Balance $1,000 $5,000 
Maintenance Fee $0 $0

Upgrade Premier Savings has a slightly better maximum yield and a lower balance threshold to earn that yield, so it’s a better fit for most users. CIT Bank Platinum Savings only makes sense if you want to earn at least some interest when your balance is below the high-yield threshold.

Final Word

The Upgrade Premier Savings account is one of the best high-yield savings accounts on the market right now. That’s because it does what you’d expect a high-yield savings account to do: pay an extremely competitive interest rate on eligible balances. 

Otherwise, Upgrade Premier Savings isn’t especially notable. And its minimum balance to earn interest is a problem for savers with limited cash. But once you have at least $1,000 to put away, it’s difficult to do better.

The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for the Premier Savings account is variable and may change at any time.  There is no minimum balance to open your account, but you will only earn the APY on days when the closing balance of your Premiere Savings account is or exceeds $1,000.  On days where the account closing balance drops below $1,000, the APY will be 0%.

There are no account fees, overdraft fees, or transfer fees associated with Premier Savings accounts.

Upgrade is a financial technology company, not a bank.  Premier Savings accounts are provided by Cross River Bank, Member FDIC.  Upgrade VISA® Debit Cards issued by Cross River Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Personal Loans made by Upgrade’s bank partners.  Personal Credit Lines are issued by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender.  The Upgrade Card is issued by Sutton Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.

Editorial Note:
The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.



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