BBVA Review 2021

Brick-and-Mortar Bank with Online Options

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BBVAThanks to the popularity of online banking, banks that were once localized have been able to push past geographic limitations and acquire clients across the U.S. Among these new “national” banks is BBVA , headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama.

Commissions & Fees - 5
Customer Service - 7.5
Ease of Use - 6.5
Locations - 7.5
Savings Options - 7.5
Rates - 5

5.5

BBVA is an brick-and-mortar bank that also offers online banking. Its online banking is easy to use and offers decent APYs, although you might be able to get a better rate at other online banks.

BBVA offers no-frills banking and savings accounts and rates high for its customer experience. We took a closer look at its online banking operations, and this is what we found.

BBVA Features

TypeBank
AccountsSavings, Checking, Money Market, CDs
AccessWeb Based, iPhone App, Android App, Blackberry App
Amount of Branches649
ATM Reimbursement
Online Deposits
FDIC Insurance
Customer ServicePhone: M-F: 7A-10P CT, SAT: 8A-4P CT; Email

What Is BBVA?

BBVA is a member of the BBVA Group, which was founded in 1857. The BBVA Group has an international reach, but BBVA itself first opened its doors in 1964 in Alabama. BBVA was the first bank to offer banking on Saturdays (in 1970) and by 1975, had reached $1 billion in assets.

BBVA brick-and-mortar banks can be found in Texas, Alabama, California, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, and New Mexico. But customers all over the U.S. can open and maintain accounts with the bank's easy-to-use website and convenient mobile apps.

BBVA's corporate parent, BBVA Group, sold their U.S. operations to PNC Bank in November 2020. This means that BBVA customers are now customers of PNC and accounts are being transferred over to PNC through October 2021.

BBVA is an FDIC-insured bank, meaning every deposit is protected by up to $250,000 per depositor.

How BBVA Works

Signing up for a BBVA account online is easy. The website and apps are where this bank shines.

Since BBVA has such a limited number of branches in the U.S., it has focused a lot of energy on its website and customer service. A particularly useful feature is that you can request a call from BBVA rather than hanging around on hold.

We found BBVA's online platforms easy to navigate and use. Fees were listed, meaning there are no guessing games, and you know exactly what to expect.

Unfortunately, what you can expect when it comes to fees is a bit of a mixed bag. We like the fee-free checking accounts, but out-of-network ATM fees are steep, at $2.50. However, BBVA is part of the AllPoint network, so you can use more than 64,000 ATMs worldwide without racking up any surcharges or fees if you have one of the specially designated checking accounts (see below).

BBVA's savings accounts are free to use, but you will need to deposit at least $25 to open an account. They also charge $3 for a paper statement, but you can always opt-out of having paper statements.

On the downside, we think BBVA's overdraft fees are excessive. The bank will charge $38 ($32 if you're a California resident) up to six times a day. And if you keep your account in the red for ten consecutive days, you'll be charged an extra $25. So if you open an account, make sure that you keep enough money in the account, or you'll have to pay these steep penalties.

Let's take a look at the different types of accounts BBVA offers.

Checking Accounts

BBVA offers three kinds of checking accounts. Two of them are designed for customers who live near branches, while their online banking account is open to anyone in the U.S. To sign up, you'll need to provide a government ID, your social security number and a deposit, depending on the account you're interested in.

Free Checking

There are no monthly maintenance fees for this account, though you do need a minimum of $25 to open the account.

Among other perks, you'll receive one debit card per account holder (which you can personalize), free unlimited check writing, and bill pay options. You'll also have access both online and mobile banking, as well as no ATM fees at BBVA ATMs.

  • Simple Cash Back. With the BBVA Visa debit card, as well as purchases made through either online or mobile banking, you can also earn cash back rewards on your purchase activity. There is no cost to add the program to your banking profile.

Rewards are earned through the bank’s Simple Cash Back program. When you activate the program, cash back is earned through merchant offers. You can choose the offers that most appeal to you. When you make a qualifying purchase, the reward is automatically deposited into your account.

You can add the following add-ons to your account (additional fees apply):

  • Unlimited supply of standard checks, $2 per month.
  • The ability to use out-of-network ATMs without incurring fees from BBVA, as well as receiving up to four rebates per statement cycle for other banks' surcharges, $5 per month.
  • Unlimited cashier’s checks, $2 per month.
  • 3X5 safe deposit box, $3 per month.

Online Checking

You can open an Online Checking account with just $25. There is no monthly service charge, and no ATM fees nationwide at BBVA ATMs, participating 7-Eleven stores, and 64,000 Allpoint ATM machines. You’ll also have complimentary online and mobile banking, including both Mobile Deposit and Bill Pay.

Account options include Simple Cash Back and, at a fee of $4 per month, you’ll add BBVA ClearBenefits to your account. This gives you $10,000 accidental death and dismemberment insurance, identity theft restoration, identity theft insurance of up to $1 million, roadside assistance, and cell phone protection of up to $200 in theft or damage on up to three phone lines. However, you must pay your phone bill through your checking account.

  • Overdraft protection. Online Checking also gives you the option of adding overdraft protection. You can link a BBVA savings, money market, or secondary checking account to your Online Checking account, free of charge.

Alternatively, you can have an Overdraft Protection Line of Credit. However, this option includes a once-daily fee of $12 for each day the bank makes one or more advances from your credit line. The line will also be subject to an interest rate of 21% to 27%, based on your credit worthiness.

You can also purchase a few account add-ons, including an unlimited supply of standard checks for $2 per month. For a monthly fee of $5, you can also purchase the ability to use out-of-network ATMs without incurring fees from BBVA, as well as receiving up to four rebates per statement cycle for other banks' surcharges. Unless you opt for this add-on, you won't be able to use AllPoint network ATMs for free.

Unless you turn off paper statements, you'll be charged a monthly fee of $3 with this checking account.

Convenience Checking

Similar to other BBVA checking accounts, Convenience Checking starts with a $25 minimum opening deposit. It also includes online banking and mobile banking, complete with Mobile Deposit and Bill Pay.

It comes with a free Visa debit card for each account holder, which can be used with no ATM fees nationwide at more than 64,000 Allpoint ATMs, participating 7-Eleven stores, and BBVA ATMs. But if you do need to go out-of-network with the debit card, you’re eligible for an automatic rebate of one ATM fee per month.

This account does have a monthly service charge of $9. But it’s easily waived with either a qualifying $500 monthly direct deposit or by having an average daily collected balance of at least $1,500.

Premium Checking

If you'd like to earn a little something back on your checking account, check out this option. BBVA's Premium Checking offers an annual percentage yield (APY) of  0.01% on all account balances as of July 6, 2021. Rates can vary, so check the website to confirm.

The account also comes with a Visa debit card, which can be used fee-free at all the ATMs that are available for Online Checking and Convenience Checking accounts. But you’ll be reimbursed for up to two ATM fees charged by out-of-network banks each month.

Meanwhile, the account comes with free standard checks, a personalized debit card (you can add your favorite photo to the card), and paper statements at no additional cost.

This level of checking account does come with a monthly service charge of $19. But you can avoid this fee if you meet one of these requirements:

  • Maintain an average daily balance of more than $4,000 in your account.
  • Have a monthly direct deposit of $4,000 into your account.

BBVA Savings Accounts

For a minimum deposit of only $25, BBVA offers two savings accounts, one for those in a state with a branch and one that is just online. You'll earn interest on your entire balance and be able to access your money whenever you need it.

Their savings accounts include online and mobile banking, and no fees at BBVA ATMs. However, one limitation is that you may make only four withdrawals per statement cycle, free of charge. Additional withdrawals are subject to a fee of $3 per withdrawal. The withdrawal limit of four is less than the six allowed at competing institutions.

Note that there is a fee of $3 for quarterly paper statements, per statement cycle but that you can opt out of them.

Available For Taxable, IRA, Roth IRA, CESAs
Account Fees $15 quarterly service charge, waived with either a recurring monthly transfer of $25 from a BBVA checking account, or maintain a minimum daily collected balance of $500 or more;  $3 for a paper statement
Custodial No
Savings Rates Minimum Deposit $25 – 0.01% APY as of July 6, 2021

Online Savings

Online Savings offers services similar to BBVA Savings. You’ll earn interest on your balance, have access to both online and mobile banking, and pay no ATM fees at BBVA ATMs.

To open an account, you’ll need a minimum opening deposit of $25, and your withdrawals will be limited to four per statement cycle. If you exceed that limit, there’s a fee of $3 per transaction.

Available For Taxable, IRA, Roth IRA, CESAs
Account Fees No monthly service charge
Custodial No
Savings Rates Minimum deposit, $25 – 0.01% APY on all balances as of July 6, 2021

BBVA Money Market

Unlike BBVA’s savings accounts, the Money Market account offers tiered interest rates on balances. However, as of July 6, 2021, most of the interest offered is just 0.01% APY. But if you have $1 million or move, you can get 0.02% APY.

Interest rates may even be slightly higher if you have multiple accounts with the bank. For example, you may receive an additional 0.02% if you also have a checking account with a minimum balance of $10,000, three or more qualifying direct deposits totalling at least $15,000 in the previous three months, or you have a qualifying consumer lending component. Qualifying loans are consumer loans and lines of credit, except where it is used for overdraft protection.

The Money Market account does have a monthly service charge of $15. However, it will be waived with a minimum daily collected balance each month of $10,000 or more, or by setting up an automatic recurring monthly transfer of at least $25 from a BBVA checking account.

Money Market Account

Available For Taxable
Account Fees $15 each month unless you maintain a minimum daily collected balance for each month of $10,000 or more. Or you set up an automatic, recurring monthly transfer of $25 or more from a BBVA checking account to your BBVA Money Market account. 
Minimum Deposit Minimum Deposit $25

BBVA CD Rates

CDs

BBVA offers several CDs with fixed terms and rates. There are no maintenance fees required. You can use your CDs through either mobile or online banking.

All CDs require a minimum deposit of $500. Terms range from 11 months to 36 months, but with interest rates being the same on all terms, the only CD that makes sense is the 11-month.

Prepayment penalty warning. We recommend against investing in BBVA CDs if for any reason you may need to access funds before the term expires. The bank has one of the most severe prepayment penalty arrangements on CDs of any bank.

  • On CDs with terms of 365 days or less, the early withdrawal penalty is $25, plus 1% of the amount withdrawn.
  • On CDs with terms of 365 days or more, the early withdrawal penalty is $25, plus 3% of the amount withdrawn.

Those are steep penalties for any bank, but especially on CDs paying only 0.05%.

All CDs require a minimum deposit of $500.

Term Minimum Deposit APY
11 500 0.05%, Check w/ BBVA for current rate
12 500 0.05%, Check w/ BBVA for current rate
18 500 0.05%, Check w/ BBVA for current rate
36 500 0.05%, Check w/ BBVA for current rate

BBVA Alternatives

HighlightsCIT BankDiscover BankCIT Bank
Rating8.5/107/105.5/10
AccountsSavings, Checking, Money Market, CDsSavings, Checking, Money Market, CDsSavings, Checking, Money Market, CDs
Online Deposits
Physical Branches
FDIC Insurance
ATM Reimbursement

BBVA Pros & Cons

Pros



Easily Waived Maintenance Fees
—Monthly checking account fees are notorious for making banks a lot of money and draining money from customers. Both the quarterly fee on BBVA checking accounts and the monthly fee on savings accounts are easily waived.

Strong Customer Service
—BBVA has a clean and in-depth website which is easy to navigate. You can find customer service telephone numbers easily, and phone operators are available Monday–Friday: 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM CT and Saturday from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM CT.










Cons



High Overdraft Fees
—BBVA charges very high overdraft fees, and they can be charged to your account up to six times a day.

Low Interest Rates
—You can find higher interest rates at other banks, such as Ally.

No Branches Outside the South and Southwest
—If you live outside of the seven states that BBVA operates in, you can’t ever go into a branch in person.









Final Thoughts on BBVA

Although it's a much smaller and less recognizable bank than others, BBVA excels in customer service and places a high value on community involvement.

If you live in one of the seven states where the bank has branches, it could be a very convenient choice. However, while BBVA is transparent about its fees, its overdraft fees are higher than is common. But overall, BBVA is a solid choice among banks that are both brick-and-mortar and online.

Kara Perez

Kara Perez is a freelance personal finance writer. She is the founder of bravelygo.co, a company that connects women and money. Kara lives in Austin, TX and believes in the power of budgeting and peanut butter.

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