TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Checking review August 2019 |

TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Checking review

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TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Checking
  • ATM fee reimbursements
  • No monthly account fee
  • Debit card with purchase benefits

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High APYs at 1.21% for new customers — but you’ll need a hefty $5,000 to open an account.

TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Checking account doesn’t charge monthly fees and keeps its rates in the top 5% of its competitors. But if you like to do your banking in person you might need to look elsewhere — there are no locations outside of Jacksonville, Florida.

APY0.71% on balances of $100,000 to $10,000,000
0.61% on balances of $25,000 to $99,999.99
0.46% on balances of $10,000 to $24,999.99
Monthly fee$0
Minimum deposit to open$5,000
Intro or bonus offer1.21% APY for the first year
ATMsFree at 80,000 AllPoint and MoneyPass ATMs nationwide
ATM transaction fee$0
Overdraft fee$30
Nonsufficient funds fee$30
  • Cash by teller
  • Check by teller
  • Bank transfer
  • Cash by ATM
  • Check by ATM
  • Wire transfer
  • Mobile/remote check deposit
  • Direct deposit

What are the benefits of a checking account with TIAA Bank?

This FDIC-insured account features a debit card with 20 free checks, purchasing benefits, 24/7 customer service and the following other benefits:

  • Minimal fees. There are no monthly, maintenance, or overdraft transfer fees. In-network ATMs are free to use, and the bank will reimburse you for ATM fees other banks charge you.
  • Nationwide ATM network. Withdraw cash and check your balance at 80,000 AllPoint and MoneyPass ATMs across the country.
  • Generous introductory rate. TIAA offers a 1.21% APY for new customers. The promotional rate lasts for one year and applies to balances up to $250,000.
  • Yield Pledge promise. This pledge guarantees that its yields are always in the top 5% of competitive accounts nationwide. TIAA Bank analyses BankRate’s National Average survey data each month, and adjusts its rates if needed.
  • Price protection. If you purchase something on the High Yield debit card that goes down in price within 60 days, TIAA will pay the difference, up to $250.
  • Return protection. TIAA will refund you up to $250 for a purchase made on its High Yield debit card when the merchant won’t accept the return, within 90 days of the original purchase date.

TIAA Bank’s ATM network and fees

Once you receive your Visa debit card, you can dip it into 80,000 AllPoint and MoneyPass ATMs nationwide. These ATMs are free, and you’ll find them at select Target, Walgreens, CVS and convenience stores across the country.

When you withdraw cash or check your balance at out-of-network ATMs, you may be charged a fee. If you have $5,000 in your account, TIAA Bank will reimburse you monthly for all ATM fees. If your balance is under $5,000, you’ll get up to $15 back each month.

What should I look out for?

The checking account is competitive in many ways, but it has its drawbacks, including:

  • Top rates have an expiry date. If you’re a first-time account holder, you’ll score the introductory APY for 12 months. After the year’s up, you’ll earn interest based on your balance tier.
  • High opening deposit. You’ll need $5,000 to open the account, which is unusual for a checking account.
  • Expensive outbound wires. It’ll cost you $25 to send domestic wires, $35 to transfer US dollars to an international bank, and $30 to $65 to wire foreign currency.
  • Miscellaneous fees. While there are no maintenance fees, you’ll pay $10 for excess transactions, $10 for cashier’s checks, $10 for returned deposit items, and between $4.95 and $14.95 to expedite BillPay payments.
  • No live chat function. TIAA Bank doesn’t offer real-time help online.
  • Limited branch access. As a predominantly online bank, TIAA Bank only has a handful of branches in Jacksonville, Florida. This makes cash deposits challenging for most customers.

Compare with other checking accounts

Name Product APY ATMs Fee
Access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 5,000 branches nationwide
(can be waived)
Get a $200 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking account and set up direct deposit within 60 days of opening your account. Chase's simplest checking account is easy to use and gives you access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 5,000 branches.
1.25% on balances of $0+ with $1,000+ in direct deposits, 10 $3+ debit card transactions and 5 additional account transactions per month
ATM fees reimbursed at any ATM nationwide
Earn up to 1.25% APY while enjoying a suite of digital tools for smarter money management.
Free at over 56,000 ATMs around the world
A full-service account with convenient, surcharge-free access to two massive ATM networks.
0.01% on balances of $5+
Surcharge-free HSBC ATMs nationally and internationally, plus up to four rebates a month for using non-HSBC ATMs in all US states except New York
(can be waived)
Get $350 by funding and maintaining your new account with at least $5,000 in combined checking and savings for 90 days and setting up recurring third-party direct deposits for 3 consecutive months. Offer expires December 31, 2019.
2.00% on balances of $10,000+ or deposit $1+ each calendar month into any Aspiration cash management or investment account
Free to use anywhere worldwide
A spend and save combo account with no monthly service fees, free access to every ATM in the world, unlimited cash back rewards and deposits insured by the FDIC. The Aspiration Spend & Save Account is a cash management account offering of Aspiration Financial, LLC, an SEC-registered broker-dealer. Aspiration is not a chartered bank.
Free to use anywhere worldwide
(can be waived)
Get a $750 welcome bonus when you join Sapphire Banking by September 28, 2019. Within 45 days of joining, transfer a total of $75,000 or more in qualifying new money or securities to a combination of eligible checking, savings and/or investment accounts (excludes any J.P. Morgan retirement accounts and CDs), and maintain the balance for at least 90 days.

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How much do I need to open an account?

The minimum opening deposit is $5,000.

How do I apply?

If you want to open an account the old-fashioned way, you can call 866-755-9143 from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ET).

Otherwise, it takes 10 minutes to complete the online application. Follow these steps:

  1. Head to the TIAA Bank website.
  2. On the top right corner of the homepage, press Open an Account.
  3. Hover over Banking. Under High Yield Accounts, select Yield Pledge Checking. Click Continue.
  4. You’ll be asked if you have a bank account or home loan with TIAA. We’ll assume you don’t. Press No, then Continue.
  5. Enter your Opening Deposit Amount. Click Continue.
  6. Choose between a Joint or Individual account. Enter your Social Security number and personal, contact, citizenship and employment details.
  7. Create a Security Code. Click Continue.
  8. Fund the account via a mobile deposit or online transfer, or by mailing a check.


To qualify for a TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Checking account, you must:

  • Be 18 or older
  • Be a US Citizen or Resident Alien with a physical address, a Social Security number or Individual Tax ID number, and a driver’s license or state-issued ID
  • Pay $5,000 to opening the account

Required information

To speed up the application, have this info handy:

  • A valid driver’s license or state ID
  • Your Social Security number or Individual Tax ID number
  • The details for the bank account you’re using to fund your initial deposit.
  • If you’re sending a check, mail it to:TIAA Bank
    11 Oval Drive, Suite 107
    Islandia, NY 11749

What other checking options does TIAA Bank offer?

The Yield Pledge Money Market account comes with the same guarantee: yields will be in the top 5% of competitive accounts. It costs $5,000 to open the account, and TIAA offers a one-year introductory APY of 2.15% on all balances.

After that, the ongoing APY drops according to your balance tier — much like its checking account. There are no monthly maintenance fees, and you can use the account for your IRA.

Does this bank offer business services?

Yes. TIAA Bank has three specific checking accounts for businesses:

  • Small Business Checking. Designed for sole proprietors and single-owner LLCs, this checking account earns 0.20% on balances under $10,000, and up to 0.61% on balances of $100,000 or more. There’s a minimum opening deposit of $1,500, and the bank charges no monthly maintenance or ATM fees.
  • Business Checking. With this account, the bank will process up to 200 transactions and 10 online bill payments for free each month. There’s a monthly maintenance fee, but can be waived if you have $5,000 or more sitting in the account. It costs $1,500 to open the account.
  • Nonprofit Checking. This account helps NFPs and faith-based organizations to manage their money. Like the Small Business Checking, the interest rates start at 0.20% for balances under $10,000, and go up to 0.61% for balances of $100,000 or more. You’ll need $5,000 to open the account. Maintain that, and the bank will waive the monthly maintenance fee.

Bottom line

This checking account has two major selling points: its 1.21% APY for new customers, and its Yield Pledge promise, which guarantees the rates stay competitive. If you can cough up $5,000 for the minimum opening deposit, it might be worth stashing some cash in this account.

Compare it with our guide to checking accounts.

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