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First Internet Bank is an online bank with no physical locations. It was founded by David Becker in 1997and is one of the first banks of its kind. First IB became a subsidiary of First Internet Bancorp in 2006. Their portfolio includes retail banking, investments, and commercial real estate and lending. The First IB headquarters is in Indianapolis, Indiana. They pride themselves in using the money they save by not having branch offices to offer high interest rates on savings, efficient technology features and low fees.

 

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The Good

  • Products and services
  • Competitive interest rates
  • Benefits to business accounts

Products and Services

First IB is an online bank, only. Customers access their accounts and conduct transactions from the online website, mobile website, or their mobile app. The online website is updated and allows customers to experience the same services that they would have if inside an actual bank.

The account information online is presented in real time, meaning customers view information that has up to the moment accuracy. They can make unlimited outside transfers and payments. Customers can also glance at their most recent transactions, or view multiple accounts simultaneously.

Mobile banking options are just as helpful:

  • Text Message - check balance, view most recent transactions, transfer funds
  • Mobile App - check balances, deposit checks, transfer funds, pay bills
  • Mobile Web Banking (if device is not app compatible) - go on the mobile website to check balance, pay bills, transfer funds

A First IB banker can choose to use a computer, a mobile app or a mobile web address to access any of the personal banking products. With the Interest Checking and Free Checking accounts, they both offer free, unlimited online and mobile banking, a debit card, deposit options, free e-statements and overdraft protection. However, there are differences:

INTEREST CHECKING FREE CHECKING
$100 minimum deposit $25 minimum deposit
0.55% AYP no interest
$10 monthly fee for less than $500 no fee

 

All personal savings accounts offer free, unlimited online and mobile banking, an ATM card, and free e-statements. Except for the Free Savings, they require a $100 minimum payment.

The Money Market Savings has 0.80% AYP and a $5 monthly fee; the Regular Savings has 0.60% AYP and a $2 monthly fee.

Open a CD or an IRA with a minimum payment of $1000, with an interest rate from 1.00% AYP for 1 year, up to 2.17% AYP for 5 years.

Competitive Interest Rates

First IB has competitive interest rates on mortgage and home equity loans. They have the FHA and VA government loans that allow borrowers to make lower than average down payments. Their standard fixed and adjustable rate loans, Jumbo and HARP refinance loans, as well as the government loans can all be applied for online or over the phone.

Benefits to Business Accounts

Small and mid-sized business bankers enjoy the same advantages as those who have personal accounts. They have the business counterpart to the products they offer personal account holders, with those wonderful high interest rates on savings accounts and comparatively low interest rates on loans. They can bank and run their businesses simultaneously through the use of the latest technology tools First IB has. Business bankers also have an online treasury they can use to keep track of and complete transactions. The account holder can select users on the account and adjust each person's capabilities on it.

The Bad

  • Customer service
  • Services could be better
  • Business account issues

Customer Service

Live customer service is not outdated. It definitely has value and, in some cases, can bring about a better experience than technology can. Hence, being a totally online bank definitely has its disadvantages. For example, a person's true identity can be hidden or their information stolen online. Such was the case with one customer whose card information was compromised. The thief used his card number to make purchases in excess of $500. Other drawbacks include:

  • Technological problems: inconvenience experienced during those times when technology fails. Being able to conduct business in person is always a viable option when this happens. That option is not possible with First IB.

Services could be Better

Two First IB products could have a better package. Their personal loan has a 10.99+% interest rate, which is somewhat higher than the rate most banks offer. They also have a savings account for kids. This account must have an adult co-signer, however, it requires a steep $100 minimum deposit. This is surprisingly more than the minimum deposit for a regular savings account.

Business Account Issues

First IB is not as accommodating to their business account holders as they are to the personal account holders, in some instances. Of course they enjoy the fantastic interest rates and modern technology features. However, there is no indication that the online and mobile banking is unlimited. Also, the business commercial lending service is only available in Indiana and Arizona.

The Bottom Line

It is hard to find something negative to say about First IB. Other than the minor downfalls, it is a very reputable bank. They are a forerunner in the online banking business and have the equipment and knowledge to prove it. Out of all the reviews that have been posted about First IB (approximately 40), there were only 2 that were negative. Overwhelmingly, customers are satisfied with the products and services First IB offers.

That shows that they also have very good customer service. There is definitely a built in advantage to seeing and interacting with customers in person when distance and machinery fail to meet requirements. However, the fact that over 90% of customers who expressed their opinion about First IB had positive, rewarding experiences, is a testimony to the excellent job First IB is doing. Those that use First IB can expect the following:

  1. Free checking (with interest)
  2. Quality mobile banking service
  3. Technological issues

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