In this guide

  • Our verdict
  • Your reviews
  • Ask a question
Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own. Advertiser disclosure

NEA Smart Money account review

  • Michael Benninger's headshot
NEA Smart Money
Finder score
$0 per month

Our verdict

This free cash management account includes investment options, but it’s only for educators.

The NEA Smart Money account is best for educators who are more interested in investing than saving. You won't have to worry about a monthly maintenance fee, and you’ll earn 0.55% APY. But although this is a good rate, you could earn more with a high-yield savings account, like SmartyPig Savings , which earns up to 4.25% APY.

Plus, only active or retired members can join the NEA Union and be eligible to open this account.

In this guide

  • Our verdict
  • Your reviews
  • Ask a question

How do I open an NEA Smart Money account?

Opening a Smart Money account takes about five minutes, and you must have an active NEA Member Benefits account before applying.

  1. Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
  2. From the Provider site, log in to your NEA Member Benefits account.
  3. Select the Open an Account button.
  4. Create an account on the NEA Smart Money website.
  5. Link an existing bank account or set up direct deposit to fund your Smart Money account.
  6. Download the NEA Smart Money app.
  7. Wait seven to 10 days until your debit card arrives.


To open an NEA Smart Money account, you must meet the following eligibility criteria.

  • At least 18 years of age
  • US citizen or legal alien with a valid US tax ID number
  • Resident of the US, Washington, DC or Puerto Rico
  • Active or retired educator
  • NEA Union member

Required information

You must also provide the following information when opening an NEA Smart Money account.

  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Phone number
  • Government-issued ID
  • Verifiable US street address

What are the benefits of NEA’s Smart Money account?

With an NEA Smart Money account, you can pay bills and manage your savings and investment funds from the same interface. It also has these attractive features.

  • Few fees. There are no monthly fees, over-limit fees or fees for depositing or withdrawing funds from your investment accounts.
  • Earns interest. You’ll accrue a respectable 0.55% APY with this account.
  • Option to invest. You can keep your money in the FDIC-insured account or invest it in the short-duration or long-duration brokerage accounts.

Which brokerage account options do I have with NEA Smart Money?

NEA Smart Money accounts contain three subaccounts to choose from.
  • Federally Insured Account. This account is for everyday expenses.
  • Short Duration Account. This account is for short-term six- to 12-month investments.
  • Long Duration Account. This account is for funds you can invest for at least one year.

You can deposit any amount into any of these accounts at any time without paying a fee. You can also withdraw funds from these accounts whenever you’d like without facing any penalties. However, it can take two to four days for funds transferred out of your investment accounts to settle in your federally insured account.

What should I look out for?

Before opening an NEA Smart Money account, keep these drawbacks in mind.

  • Exclusively for educators. Only active and retired educators can join the NEA Union and be eligible to open a Smart Money account.
  • You could lose money. As with all investments, you could lose money depending on market conditions.
  • No checkwriting privileges or deposits. The NEA Smart Money app doesn’t support mobile check deposits, and you can’t deposit paper checks via ATMs or mail them to the NEA. If writing or depositing checks is important to you, you’ll need to use an external bank to transfer funds.

Is NEA Smart Money safe?

Yes. Uninvested funds kept in your account are FDIC-insured for up to $250,000, but invested funds could lose their value at any time. This account also provides fraud prevention tools to verify and protect your identity, and it uses advanced encryption protocols to safeguard the information you send to Investor Cash Management (ICM).

NEA Smart Money‘s ATM network and fees

NEA Smart Money accounts come with a debit card you can use for free at more than 55,000 Allpoint ATMs across the US and around the world. If you use an out-of-network ATM, you’ll pay a $2.50 fee plus whatever the owner of the ATM charges. If you use a non-Allpoint ATM outside of the US, the fee is $3.50.

Compare NEA Smart Money with other cash management accounts

Use this table to compare other cash management accounts by fee, minimum deposit and ATMs.

1 - 3 of 3
Name Product Fee Minimum deposit to open Annual Percentage Yield (APY) Offer
Brex Cash account
Finder Score: 4.6 / 5: ★★★★★
Brex Cash account
$0 per month
Empower Personal Cash
Finder Score: 4.4 / 5: ★★★★★
Empower Personal Cash
$0 per month
Robinhood Cash Card
Finder Score: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
Robinhood Cash Card
$0 per month

How do I deposit or withdraw my money?

There are relatively few ways to deposit and withdraw funds from your NEA Smart Money account.


  • Direct deposit. Deposit your paycheck directly into your Smart Money account.
  • Automated clearing house (ACH) transfers. Deposit funds using a bank-to-bank transfer.
  • Incoming wire transfers. This account supports deposits via domestic and international wire transfers.


  • ATM. Withdraw cash for free at more than 55,000 Allpoint ATMs around the world.
  • ACH transfers. Transfer funds from your Smart Money account to external banks.
  • Outgoing wire transfers. Send money to other individuals via outgoing wire transfers.

Checking account ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

We analyze top checking accounts and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include: monthly fees, the ease at which monthly fees can be waived, the breadth of ATM access, ATM and overdraft fees, and customer service.

Read the full methodology of how we rate checking accounts.

Your reviews

No reviews yet. Write a review

Ask a question

Ask a question

Michael Finder

Staff writer

Hi there, looking for more information? Ask us a question.

Error label

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked
Accept and continue

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use and Privacy and Cookies Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Go to site