[Update] Empower Banking 1.9% Savings Account, 1% on Debit Card Spend + Referral Offer to Double That

Update 9/17/20: They have a new referral program with $20 for referrer and $20 for new member. Full details here. Looks like they also increased the monthly fee from $6 to $8.

Update 2/10/20: Seems like they ended their referral program. Also added a $6 monthly fee. And no more debit card cashback. (ht Gadget)

Update 8/7/19: Swagbucks is offering $10 + $10 for $100 deposit. (ht K Man) Not as good as the Drop offer was, but easier requirements.

Update 4/22/19: Drop is offering a 50,000 point bonus when you sign up for Empower Banking currently, you need to connect a pay direct deposit of $500 within 45 calendar days to receive the bonus. Check out our review on the Drop app here. Hat tip to Travel In Points

Original Post:

Empower Banking is another online/digital/mobile banking account with high interest rates and no fees. They also offer cashback on debit card spend.

  • 1% cash back on up to $1,000 in debit card spend per month
  • 1.90% 2.00% interest savings account
  • No fees, no minimum balance requirements
  • Free ATMs (25,000 in-network plus 1 reimbursed/month anywhere in the world)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • FDIC insured

Looks pretty similar to Discover who offers a high interest savings account (currently 2% or 2.05%), and also offers 1% back on debit usage with their checking account. Discover is better due to higher $3,000 limit on earning cashback. Empower is better due to the lack of foreign transaction fees and the one ATM reimbursement per month.

Referral Offer

Empower has an interesting referral offer whereby both the referrer and the new member get a 30-day boost to double their 1% debit rate and 2% savings rate. You’ll get 2% on debit card spend and 4% on your savings account (max $50k gets the 4% rate).

This amounts to a nice signup bonus for new members since if you deposit $50,000 immediately, you’ll land up with $75+ during the first 30 days from the extra 2% boost, plus an extra $10 from the debit card boost if you max out the $1,000 debit spend.

If you are someone who has regular referrals, e.g. a blogger, you can keep this account as a permanent 4% savings account on $50,000, plus you’ll get permanent 2% back on up to $1,000 in debit card purchases per month. (‘Permanent’ in this context is temporary since they can end this referral bonus at any time.)

Currently Android users cannot refer members. They hope to have this fixed by the end of January.

DO NOT LEAVE REFERRALS HERE, instead, head over to this dedicated page to connect with others and refer. 

Hat tip to reader raekwon

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Ann
Ann

Hi Chuck, I came across this Empower article and noticed a lot of outdated content. Happy to work with you to refresh this page. There’s been a lot of great features that have launched since this article was last updated.

Jorge Ramos
Jorge Ramos

Anyone received their 1099 form from Empower? – I contacted their support team but they only said: “There has been a delay in sending out 1099 forms.”

Maisel
Maisel

Jorge Ramos did you receive the form? I don’t think I’ve gotten mine either…

Jorge Ramos
Jorge Ramos

Maisel I asked them and they said no 1099 was issued for this. See their response: Thanks for reaching out. I reviewed your account and found that the $10 was a funding reward. The 1099-INT is only for interest accrual, and you earned less than $10 in interest, so there is no 1099-INT for your account.

Gadget - Bank Bonus Geek 🕵️

Chuck William Charles Looks like they have quietly withdrew the referral program – I can’t find any mention of it in app or on the website. They are going to switch over to a new partner bank and the old program of being able to boost interest rates and debit rewards is no longer mentioned. RIP…

As Chief Loss Leader mentions, the new partner bank account comes with a $6 monthly subscription fee. Details on transition can be found here: https://support.empower.me/hc/en-us/articles/360041440434-An-Important-Update-To-Your-Evolve-Bank-Trust-Accounts

Edit: LOL – the e-mail address mentioned in their article to close the account is not valid. Should be “help@synapsefi.com”.

William Charles

Thanks, will update

Chief Loss Leader
Chief Loss Leader

Chuck Just received an email saying that this account now has a $6 monthly fee. Current customers are grandfathered in with no fee.

dayTradeIt
dayTradeIt

Is there a Chexsystems pull for this one? And DPs please?

Dan
Dan

No chexsystem pull for me. I opened acct in May.

fitzejunk
fitzejunk

Found it on Swagbucks, but the link to the Play store appears to be broken.

dayTradeIt
dayTradeIt

Do Swagbucks post automatically this time? Or contact them again and wait for a month

Gadget 🕵️

Chuck Interest Rate dropped on savings from 2.2% to 1.9% recently, as of Aug 1st I believe. (3.8% when boosted)

K-man

BTW, not available on drop anymore, at least for me.

CF Panda
CF Panda

Wanted to leave a successful DP:

4/26 Opened via DROP app link
5/6 Funded 500+ via pulling from Chase through app
6/10 Pushed 580 from Paypal
6/20 50k Drop Points appeared in Account

I doubt the Chase pull is what triggered, so I’m assuming pushing from Paypal worked. I really hoped but didn’t expect it to work on this one but thought it was a useful data point for those who wanted to try avoiding the 1099 otherwise would’ve used a link from the community.

Gadget

Couple DP’s – Shared referral link works for bonus and extending boost!

I had two $50 Empower referrals post on 05/02/2019 – Transaction details: “Empower Rewards (April Promo)”. I am not aware of what they used as DD because they are referred “friends” via shared link.

My S.O. is the only one I referred via SMS. Used Elements FCU $500+ ACH, but it did not trigger DD. Going to get busy trying to trigger DD for June.

Via SMS or shared link, the boost is extended by 30 days for referred person and referrer. Boost happened as soon as account was funded with at least $10 by referred person.

Hopefully Empower will continue/resume the $50 referral program, but currently they haven’t updated terms so I would recommend waiting to join for those on the fence.