Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Countrywide SavingsLink Revisited

I first wrote about the Countrywide Bank SavingsLink account in 2007. This account offered interest rates as high as 5.5% at one point. It featured free online transfers between linked external bank accounts. Countrywide was acquired by Bank of America early last year, but the final merging of accounts was not completed until September 2009.

The SavingsLink account is no longer offered by Bank of America, and has been replaced by the "Growth Money Market Savings SL" account. According to my last statement, I am getting an APY of 1.23% in my account, but I think that the rate varies based on account balance. I was not able to find a rate sheet for this particular account on Bank of America's website.

Bank of America's Money Market Savings SL account does not have the same transfer features that the SavingsLink account did. The accounts that I had previously linked to my SavingsLink account were no longer available. When I try to transfer funds to or from Bank of America, it asks me to sign up for SafePass which applies an extra level of security (and complexity) to online transfers. SafePass requires a cell phone, and it will send a 6-digit, one-time passcode as a text message (regular text message fees will apply) to your mobile phone. If you don't have a cell phone, they can set you up with a standalone SafePass card for a one time fee of $19.99.

According to their service agreement, BofA charges a fee of $3 for each outbound transfer. There is no charge for inbound transfers. But there are transfer limits of $3,000 per day or $6,000 per month. I remember transferring as much as $25,000 at one time into my SavingsLink account.  I called Bank of America to ask a customer service representative about the reason for these limits, but I only got a vague explanation to the effect that certain customers may have higher limits depending depending on their relationship with the bank.

One other major change is that unlike Countrywide Bank, Bank of America has branches everywhere. Whereas physical deposits to Countrywide Bank had to be mailed to processing facility in Texas, you can make deposit to Bank of America at nearly any branch. At this point, I figure that if I need to transfer money in or out, it might be easier to just go to the branch.

I am no longer tracking the SavingsLink account in my regular money market rates posts because it is no longer available to new depositors.



bullionsInvestor said...
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Im not a big fan of countrywide.