SFGI Direct Review - Everything You Need to Know

High APY on savings are the big (and only) feature of this online bank

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SFGI Direct is the online-only presence of regional Summit Community Bank. While they offer full banking options in their community locations in West Virginia, their SFGI Direct option is set up to do one thing very well: offer highly competitive interest rates on savings accounts.

They don’t do anything else. There are no money market accounts. There are no CDs. And there are no checking accounts. But, if a savings account with a higher-than-normal APY is what you're after, then they are a good bank to consider.

Who is SFGI Direct Best For?

SFGI Direct is a good option for people who are satisfied with their local bank but want higher interest rates on their savings and have at least $500 to keep in long-term savings. This online bank has features that make saving easy and watching your interest add up can be fun.

Advantages include:

  • A consistently competitive rate on your savings account
  • No monthly fees
  • Easy transfers from your outside checking account
  • The ability to manage your account online

Pros

  • Steadily high interest rates for your savings account

  • No monthly fees

  • Scheduled transfers for easy savings

  • Strong security technology — 128-bit encryption

Cons

  • $500 minimum deposit

  • Only offers savings accounts and nothing else

  • Limited to linking with one outside banking institution for transfers

  • No business accounts

Types of Accounts

SFGI Direct offers a single type of account: a savings account with competitive APYs.

Savings Account

The SFGI Direct savings account is simple, easy to use, and pays a highly competitive interest rate on your savings. This account can only be funded with digital money transfers from another bank account and not paper checks.

Since SFGI Direct doesn’t offer any type of ATM card, checking account, or money market account, you must transfer money to an outside account in order to spend your savings. Transfers usually take two business days.

Because savings usually take two business days to access, it makes this online bank perfect for people who want a bit of pause before they spend their money. The time delay between transferring your cash and having access to it can actually make it less appealing to withdraw funds and make keeping money in your savings account easier. If you tend to spend money in your savings account more often than you’d like, this may be the perfect account to consider.

Advantages include:

  • Current savings rate of 2.07% APY
  • No monthly fees
  • Online application process
  • Ability to set up automatic transfers from your external account
  • Ability to transfer money from your SFGI Direct savings to your external account
  • FDIC insured up to $250,000
  • Customer service available via phone and online contact form

If you need instant access to your savings, then SFGI Direct isn’t for you. Funds must be transferred to an outside account in order to access them and that can take up to two business days.

How to Set Up an SFGI Direct Savings Account

Setting up a savings account with SFGI Direct is easy. You can click the “Open an Account” button on their home page or go to their open an account page directly.

You’ll go through their account opening Wizard which looks like this:

This process requires several pieces of documentation, including:

  • US social security number
  • Valid ID, which can include:
    • State ID
    • Driver’s License
    • Passport
    • Military ID
  • Your current and past addresses
  • A United States-based savings or checking account (including routing and account numbers) to fund your SFGI direct account

It is important to collect everything you need before you start applying for an account in order to finish your application in a single timeframe. For security purposes, your session will time out if you leave it inactive for 30 minutes. If that happens, you will lose the work you’ve done. The same thing will happen if you close out the screen in the middle of the application — there is no "save" option.

About SFGI Direct

SFGI Direct is an online-only bank and part of the Summit Financial Group, which also provides insurance services and community banking. Summit runs 29 banking locations in West Virginia.

SFGI Direct prides itself on outstanding customer service and offers both email and phone options as well as a robust online banking interface.

Contact information:

All deposits made to SFGI Direct are covered by FDIC insurance – currently up to $250,000 per depositor. If you have deposits in both Summit local community banks and SFGI Direct, they count together toward the maximum federal insurance.

SFGI offers industry standard security practices including strict account authorization protocols and 128-bit encryption.

The Bottom Line

Benefits

SFGI Direct offers highly competitive interest rates on savings accounts and doesn’t let you get to your money instantly – meaning that if you are likely to spend savings with abandon, this account can help protect you.

Drawbacks

This account isn’t great for people who want/need instant access to their funds or who have less than $500 to keep in a savings account over the long term.

The only account that SFGI Direct offers is a savings account. If you need additional services such as checking accounts, loans, or certificates of deposit, then you will have to bank somewhere other than or in addition to SFGI.