When you are comparing banks, you likely seek out the ones you know by name first.
While that is, of course, just fine, you may want to keep your eyes up if you want something specific from your bank or lending institution, especially personal loans, savings accounts, and business accounts.
BBVA is one of those you may want to research a little further.
About BBVA (formerly BBVA Compass)
BBVA was founded in 1964, and is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama.
It has over $86 billion in assets, and 672 branches, mostly in Texas, but also in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Colorado and New Mexico.
In fact, it’s the second largest bank in Alabama, the fourth largest bank in Texas, and the fifth largest in Arizona.
BBVA is a full-service bank, with a strong online banking platform.
BBVA Features and Benefits
Accounts Available. In addition to CDs, and checking and savings accounts, BBVA also offers traditional, Roth, SIMPLE and rollover IRAs, as well as Simplified Employee Pension Plans (SEPs). They also provide 529 plans and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (CESAs).
ATM Access. You will have access to 44,000 BBVA and Allpoint ATMs across the U.S., all with no ATM fees.
Overdraft management. Among other strategies, BBVA enables you to set up account alerts so you always know what’s going on with your accounts. Key alerts can be set up for account management including account balances, account summary, and insufficient fund alerts.
BBVA Wallet. This feature gives you convenient access and control over your payment cards, and includes the following benefits:
- Keep track of all your purchases in real-time and keep them organized on the go
- Activate BBVA debit and credit cards
- Make your BBVA Credit card payments
- Change the PIN on your BBVA cards from your Wallet app
- Report a lost or stolen card in a flash or temporarily block transactions if you misplace your card
- Redeem rewards in real-time at any merchant
- Receive custom offers to earn cash back based on how you spend with Simple Cash Back
Customer Service. BBVA can be contacted by phone or by message via Online Banking (24 – 48 hour response time). They have a third method – Request a Call.
By clicking the “Request a Call” button on the website, a bank representative will contact you by phone. That will keep you from having to navigate the phone system.
Customer Service is available Monday – Friday, 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM, and Saturdays, 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Central Time.
But, they also have a cool contact option with Video Banking…
Video Banking. With this service, you can connect to a live teller, 24 hours a day, seven days per week.
You can do virtually anything with Video Banking that you can with a visit to a local branch.
That includes making transfers, asking questions, making deposits and withdrawals, getting cash back, printing monthly statements, reordering checks, making payments, or issuing a stop payment.
Mobile Banking. BBVA’s Mobile App enables you to take advantage of Mobile Bill Pay, Picture Bill Pay, as well as to transfer money between your own bank accounts, or to other parties.
It also offers Mobile Deposits, where you can make a deposit by taking a photo of your check, and then submit it for processing.
You will also receive real-time alerts, daily activity notices, and periodic account alerts.
BBVA Security. The Bank uses a combination of online and mobile banking alerts, as well as online security.
They also offer BBVA ClearBenefits that can provide you with benefits in the event that you are a victim of identity theft. Those benefits include:
- Identity theft restoration, which is available 24/7 to investigate fraudulent activity, issue fraud alerts to state agencies and financial institutions, and more.
- Identity theft insurance, which provides up to $25,000 to cover lost wages, legal expenses, and defense costs for civil and criminal lawsuits.
The fee for the ClearBenefits program is $5 per month.
FDIC Insurance on all Deposits. As an FDIC participating bank, BBVA provides $250,000 coverage per depositor on all savings products.
BBVA Checking Account Offers
BBVA offers multiple checking account options:
ClearConnect Checking Account
This account has some stellar features, listed below:
It comes with the following features:
Apply with only $25 opening deposit
No monthly Service Charge
Complimentary Online Banking and Mobile Banking, Bill Pay and Online Statements
No ATM withdrawal fees at any BBVA or Allpoint® ATM
Compass Bank is a member of the FDIC
The ClearConnect Checking Account is highly recommended.
ClearChoice Free Checking
This is a free checking account with the following full-service features:
- Apply with only $25 opening deposit
- No monthly Service Charge
- No ATM fees at BBVA ATMs
- Compass Bank, Member FDIC
This free online banking service is a great option for your checking account.
Like the other checking account options, Interest Checking can also be opened with as little as $25.
But in this account, you also earn interest on your balance. You also enjoy certain benefits including:
- Tiered interest rates on your checking balance
- Unlimited check writing
- Complimentary Online Banking, Mobile Banking, and Bill Pay
- Complimentary Premium checks and 50% off other styles
- Automatic rebates on ATM fees charged by other banks (two per statement cycle)
The account has a Monthly Service Charge of $25, but this can be waived under certain conditions, including if you maintain an average daily collected balance of at least $5,000 in the account.
Interest rates paid on Interest Checking are as follows:
If you apply for a BBVA checking account and don’t qualify, BBVA can offer a second chance with Easy Checking. Easy Checking has a monthly Service Charge of $13.95.
BBVA Savings Products and Rates
BBVA offers at least three different savings accounts, as well as a money market account and certificates of deposit (CDs).
BBVA Build My Savings
With this account, you can earn a Match Bonus on regular transfers.
How much you will receive in bonus will depend upon the amount of your opening balance, your regular transfers to the account, as well as the term of your plan.
The term can be six months or 12 months.
6-month plan: With an opening balance of $25 and a monthly contribution of $25, you can earn a match of $1.75; with an opening balance of $2,350 and a monthly contribution of $25, you can earn a match of $25 (maximum).
OR, with an opening balance of $25 and a monthly contribution of $415, you can also earn $25.
12-month plan terms: With an opening balance of $25 and a monthly contribution of $25, you can earn a match of $3.25; with an opening balance of $4,700, and a monthly contribution of $25, you can earn a match of $50 (maximum).
OR, with an opening balance of $25 and a monthly contribution of $415, you can also earn $50.
The account requires a minimum $25 opening balance and has an interest rate of 0.05% APY.
BBVA ClearChoice Savings Account
This account requires a minimum opening balance of $25 and has an APY of 0.050%.
The account provides you with easy access to your money, 24/7 access to online and mobile banking, and linking to your checking account for overdraft protection.
The account does come with a quarterly service charge of $15.
However, that charge can be waived if you have automatic, recurring monthly transfers of $25 or more into the account from your checking account, or if you maintain a minimum daily collected balance of $500 or more.
BBVA ClearConnect Savings Account
With this account, you earn interest on your balance but pay no quarterly service charge.
It requires a minimum opening deposit of $25 and has an APY of 0.050%.
It has all of the benefits of the ClearChoice Savings Account.
BBVA ClearChoice Money Market Account
With a ClearChoice Money Market account, you can access your money whenever you need it, and enjoy access to both Online and Mobile Banking.
Here are a few features that come with a BBVA Money Market Account:
- You could earn 1.80% APY
- Apply with only $25 opening deposit
- Interest compounds and is credited monthly
- Easily withdraw money at a branch and via BBVA ATMs with no ATM fees
- Link to your BBVA checking account for Overdraft Protection
- Compass Bank, Member FDIC
Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
With a minimum opening deposit of $500, no maintenance fees, and a $500 opening minimum opening deposit, you can earn the following rates of return on BBVA CDs:
- 12-month CD – 1.85% APY
- 15-month CD – 1.95%
- 18-month CD – 2.10% APY
- 36-month CD – 2.25% APY
BBVA CDs can provide you with a great short-term investment.
BBVA offers both Self-Directed Investments and Full-Service Investments.
You can also establish a margin account.
With this account option, you can have your investments professionally managed. There’s even a wider selection of investments available with this option.
Those include mutual funds, unit investment trusts, fixed and variable annuities, equity-linked CDs, fixed income securities, and professionally managed portfolios.
You can even have 529 plans and other college savings programs managed through this option.
BBVA Student Banking
BBVA offers its ClearChoice Free Checking account in combination with its ClearSpend Prepaid Card.
With ClearChoice Checking students have no monthly service charge, free online and mobile banking with Bill Pay and account alerts, free online and paper statements, and a free Visa Debit Card, which you can personalize with your favorite photo.
By paying a small monthly fee, you could also get no-fee use of other bank’s ATMs.
With the ClearSpend Prepaid Card, you will have the benefit of no purchase transaction fees, no overdraft fees, and no monthly service charge as long as you load at least $400 onto the account each calendar month (otherwise a $4 monthly service charge will be assessed).
There are no load fees when you add money to the account.
No credit score check will be required in order to get the card.
You will receive real-time transaction alerts, as well as the Built-in Budget Tracker feature. This feature enables you to manage your finances and to eliminate overspending.
Second Chance Banking
This is a program designed for people who have past credit problems, and need a fresh start.
It will provide you with an opportunity to rebuild your credit.
- No monthly service charge with BBVA ClearChoice Free Checking
- Easy budget management with the BBVA ClearSpend Prepaid Visa Card
- A secured credit line with the Optimizer Credit Card
- Earned interest on your savings account balance with BBVA ClearChoice Savings
The Optimizer Credit Card is designed to help you rebuild your credit. See details in the next section.
The bank also offers unsecured personal loans, as well as auto loans.
The auto loans come with same-day decisions on most loans, as well as free online insurance quotes.
BBVA Home Loans
Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). The loan has a variable rate APR that’s based on the Prime Rate, plus 0.38% to 2.74%. The current rate ranges from 4.63% to 6.99%, but they are currently offering a 12-month introductory rate at Prime MINUS 1.51%. Loan proceeds can be used for any purpose.
Home Equity Loans. Like a HELOC, you can use home equity loans for just about any purpose. They have fixed rates, terms and monthly payments. Rates currently start at 4.94%.
Mortgages. Fixed or adjustable rate mortgages that are available for refinancing your current mortgage, cash-out refinancing, or to buy, renovate or build a new home.
Current mortgage rates look like this:
BBVA Pros and Cons
- The Bank offers several checking account options. Many online banks don’t offer checking, forcing you to maintain a second banking relationship.
- Video Banking enables you to connect to a live banker, 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.
- Second Chance Banking provides a real opportunity for someone with impaired credit to develop a banking relationship and rebuild their credit.
- The Build My Savings plan offers an excellent return on a small deposit, or on committed regular contributions.
- Interest rates on most savings plans are on the low side for online banks.
- Except for the 12-month term, interest rates on BBVA’s CDs aren’t competitive.
- The rates on the ClearChoice Money Market are competitive, but the $15 per month fee reduces that return. It completely nullifies the rate on smaller account balances.
- Some savings products have a $25 “Early Account Closing Fee” if you close the account within 180 days of opening it. That’s a steep fee on an account that has an APY of only 0.5%.
Should YOU Use BBVA?
BBVA will work best for smaller deposits, particularly on the Money Market Account and the 12-month CD.
Their rates on other accounts, as well as for larger deposits or longer-term CDs are not competitive.
But some of their products are innovative, particularly the Second Chance Banking program, that gives you access to both a checking account and a secured credit card so that you can rebuild your financial life following credit troubles.
If you’d like to get more information, or you’d like to open an account, visit the BBVA website.