First PREMIER Bank Review: Is It Right for You?

FT Contributor  | 

Good credit is important for more than just qualifying for a credit card or bank loan. You’ll need fair to good credit to open a bank account, too. A poor FICO score can cost you. The interest rate on auto loans will be higher. You may even be denied vehicle insurance since most insurers will check your credit score.

If you’ve made financial mistakes in the past that still haunt your FICO score today, rebuilding your credit is a challenge, but possible. First PREMIER Bank is one of the many institutions offering a secured credit card so you can build a good payment history and qualify for credit lines in the future. Here’s everything you need to know about First PREMIER to help you decide if it’s the right bank for you.

First PREMIER Bank Financial Services

First PREMIER Bank is based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and has 17 branches statewide. The full-service regional bank offers checking, savings, money market, and certificates of deposit (CDs) accounts. Besides bank accounts, the bank provides customers loans, credit lines, and investment services, including retirement planning.

Checking Accounts

There are two checking account options called Free+ and Reward Checking. Both earn interest on balances of $500 or more. There are no monthly maintenance fees, and you’ll need to deposit $50 to open a checking account. ATM withdrawals are free at the MoneyLink Network’s 33,000 cash machines.

The main difference between the two types of checking accounts is how much money you must deposit each month — the Reward account requires $15,000 in monthly deposits. If you hold more than $15,000 in your Reward checking account, you’ll earn a higher interest rate and get free official bank checks and custom paper checks.

Savings Accounts

To open a savings account, you’ll need to start with at least $50. You’ll earn a 0.08% annual percentage yield (APY). You can make withdrawals, transfer funds to your checking account, and link the savings account to cover overdrafts for a $12 fee per transfer. Transfers and withdrawals are limited to only six per month as mandated by federal law. Only residents of Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, or South Dakota may apply for a savings account online.

Money Market Accounts

A money market account is more flexible than a traditional savings account. You’ll be able to schedule payments using online bill pay and earn an interest rate of 0.16% annual percentage yield (APY) or higher, depending on your balance. To open a money market account, you’ll need a $500 minimum deposit. Withdrawals and transfers are limited to six per month unless they’re made in person, at an ATM, or by mail.

Certificates of Deposit

First PREMIER Bank offers one of the shortest CD terms at 30 days. Certificates of deposit (CDs) are different from a standard savings account because you won’t be able to access or withdraw your funds during the length of the term you agreed to, or you’ll be penalized with an early-withdrawal fee. Terms from 30 days to 72 months are available for First PREMIER’s CDs with a minimum balance of $500. The APY ranges between 0.22% and 1.75%, depending on the term.

The Pros and Cons of an Account With First PREMIER Bank

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the options a full-service bank offers. Review the following breakdown, listing the pros and cons of banking with First PREMIER.

Pros

  • A widespread ATM network: You’ll have access to MoneyLink’s 33,000 ATMs nationwide so you can make withdrawals wherever you may be for free.
  • FDIC insured: Your accounts are insured and protected by the federal government for up to $250,000 in deposits.
  • Low minimum balance requirements: You’ll need at least $50 to open a checking or savings account and $500 to open a CD or money market.
  • A secured credit card: First NATIONAL can provide you with a secured credit card that’s based on the amount of money you provide as collateral, instead of your FICO score. Your spending activity and payments will be reported to the credit bureaus, allowing you the opportunity to rebuild your credit.

To take advantage of how a secured credit card works, keep a small running balance, and pay at least the minimum amount required early or on time each month. First PREMIER will review your secured credit card account after the first few months and may give you a credit line increase to further boost your credit score.

Cons

  • Low savings rates: You could earn better interest rates if you go with an online high-yield savings account.
  • Poor reviews: First NATIONAL Bank has many negative reviews from customers for charging high fees and making it difficult for customers to close their bank and secured credit card accounts.
  • Limited area: Accounts are only available to people in South Dakota and surrounding states.

Is First PREMIER Bank Right for You?

First PREMIER Bank is best for customers living in South Dakota or neighboring states. If you’re careful about your spending and stay on top of your checking activity, you’ll avoid costly overdraft fees.

First PREMIER’s secured credit card can help you rebuild your credit, but it comes at a high cost. You’ll receive a small credit line starting at $300, which you’ll need to guarantee with a matching amount of money and pay a $95 processing fee to open the account plus a $75 annual fee. It’s best to shop elsewhere for a more competitive secured credit card to improve your credit score and stick with First PREMIER Bank’s basic Free+ checking account.


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