Banking Checking Accounts

Wealthfront Cash Account Review [2024]: It's Not a Typical Bank Account (and I Like That)

Wealthfront’s Cash Account is a hybrid option that checks all the boxes.

Updated May 30, 2024
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Wealthfront Cash Account

OUR VIEW

The Wealthfront Cash Account is notable for what it's not ... It's not a typical bank account. In fact, Wealthfront isn't even bank. 

The Cash Account is like a marriage between a checking account and high-yield savings account, bringing together the best of both. It's a great option for anyone looking to earn a high APY (annual percentage yield) on their savings while still having easy access to their money. 

Because it's not a conventional bank account, there are a few quirks, but also some unexpected perks like the ability to get paid up to two days early with direct deposit and up to $8 million in FDIC insurance. 

Pros

Earn a high 5.00% on your cash 1
Get paid up to two days earlier with direct deposit
No account fees and no overdraft fees
Fee-free withdrawals from more than 19,000 ATMs
Up to $8 million in FDIC insurance

Cons

No paper checks
Online only - no branches to visit
No cash deposits
How we evaluate products

Wealthfront is an investing platform and robo-advisor primarily designed for automated index investing. On the surface, their Cash Account looks like a place to hold funds you plan to invest. But, on deeper inspection, this account is actually an all-around workhorse that could serve double-duty and replace your current checking and savings accounts, regardless of whether you have investments with Wealthfront. 

Because this isn't not your traditional checking or savings account, it has some features that need a little more explanation. 

Account basics

APY 5.00%2
Minimum balance for APY $1
Minimum deposit to open account $1
Monthly maintenance fees None
ATM access Yes, nationwide network of 19,000 fee-free ATMs
Transactions per month No limit
FDIC insured Solo accounts: up to $8 million
Joint accounts: up to $16 million

What we like about the Wealthfront Cash Account

If you’re considering opening up a Wealthfront Cash Account, it offers some significant benefits that set it apart and lands it on our list of the best banks:

  • Very high APY: When you open an account, you’ll earn 5.00% APY. That’s much higher than the national average of 0.45% (as of June 12, 2024). And because it can double as a checking account, you can keep the money you'll use to pay bills in the same account as your emergency fund and earn this high rate on all of it.
  • Up to $8 million in FDIC protection: Even though Wealthfront itself isn't a bank, your money in the Cash Account is still insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). This is coverage offered by the federal government to help you feel secure putting your money into a bank. The coverage can protect your deposits if a bank fails or goes out of business.

    FDIC coverage is limited to $250,000 per account, but because Wealthfront distributes the cash you deposit with them across a network of partner banks, you can benefit from up to $250,000 in insurance at each bank that is holding a piece your deposit. In this way, you can be insured up to $8 million for an individual account and up to $16 million for a joint account. Most of us don't need to worry about having this much coverage, but if you do, this is quite handy. (And congrats!)
  • Intelligent automated savings: With Wealthfront's Self-Driving Money system, you can easily create savings categories based on your personal goals, and also savings rules for your account to automatically follow. This allows you to teach your account how much you want put aside, how often, and toward which goal.

Other features don't necessarily stand out as unusual, but are still key to making this a really useful account.

  • Mobile check deposit: You can make mobile check deposits with the Wealthfront mobile app. 
  • Free ATM accesss: Use your debit card to get cash from a network of 19,000 fee-free ATMs. These ATMs tend to be located in places like grocery stores and pharmacies so there's no need to make a special trip to a bank if you need cash. But, beware Wealthfront charges a $2.50 fee for using an out-of-network ATM and the bank operating the ATM could charge an additional fee on top. So, try to stick to the free ATMs and save your cash for something more fun than fees. 
  • Pay friends using Venmo, PayPal, and more: Link your Cash Account to your Venmo, PayPal, or other payment service providers to quickly pay friends and family.
  • Pay bills using routing info: You can also set up automatic bill pay with your Cash Account routing number and avoid late or missed payments on credit card bills, utility bills, and more.

Wealthfront Cash Account Benefits

  • Boost your savings with a rare APY of 5.00%1
  • No account fees, withdraw anytime
  • App Store rating of 4.8/5 stars as of May 2024
  • Up to $8 million in FDIC insurance

What they could improve

There are some drawbacks you should consider before opening an account:

  • No paper checks: A Wealthfront Cash Account can’t replace a traditional checking account if you find yourself in situations where you simply need to write a paper check on the spot to pay for something. The option for a traditional check is not available with this account.

    However, Wealthfront recently added the ability to send checks from your account. Instead of writing your own checks, Wealthfront can write them and send them for you. It takes a few extra steps and some extra time, but can work in a pinch.
  • No physical locations to visit: Wealthfront is strictly an online-only institution which means no visiting a branch to talk to someone in person. It also means you won't be able to deposit cash. 
  • Transferring money between Wealthfront accounts may be limited: For some users, the ability to transfer internally between Wealthfront accounts may feel limiting. For others, it may not present an issue. Currently, Wealthfront supports transfers between Cash Accounts and Taxable Investment Accounts, and it also supports making contributions from Cash Accounts to IRAs. There are some other transfers you cannot make, though, like transferring between Cash Accounts or transfers to and from a 529 College Savings plan.

How to open a Wealthfront Cash Account

To open a Wealthfront account, you need to be at least 18 years old, have a valid U.S. Social Security number, have a permanent U.S. residential address, and currently reside in the United States. You also must have a working U.S. phone number capable of accepting text messages.

Once you enter your personal details, you'll be able to choose a bank or brokerage account to fund your new Wealthfront Cash Account. Major banks like Chase, Wells Fargo, Capital One, and Bank of America are all supported. If your bank isn’t listed, you can still use it to fund your new account by manually entering your information.

How to withdraw money from your account

You can withdraw money from your Wealthfront Cash Account in several ways. For online transfers, log in and select “Transfer Funds” at the top left of your screen. The site will prompt you to enter how much you want to withdraw and where you want to send it. Withdrawals typically take one to three business days to complete.

With the Cash Account debit card, you have access to a nationwide network of 19,000 fee-free ATMs. You can withdraw up to $1,000 each day this way. Or, you can receive up to $2,500 cash back at point-of-sale terminals if the merchant offers this option.

Other account fees

Overdraft fee $0
Stop payment fee N/A
ACH transfers $0
Incoming wire $0
Outgoing wire $10

Customer service options

If you need help opening an account or managing it, Wealthfront only offers customer support online and over the phone; unlike most major banks, you cannot visit branches in person. 

You can submit questions through Wealthfront’s secure online form. If you want to call customer service, you can find the contact number by logging into your account.

FAQs about the Wealthfront Cash Account

Is Wealthfront Cash Account FDIC insured?

Yes, a Wealthfront Cash Account is FDIC insured. In fact, money in this account is insured for up to $8 million. This is 32 times the amount of insurance available through traditional banks. 

Is a Wealthfront savings account safe and legitimate?

A Wealthfront Cash Account may be a safe and legitimate way to grow your savings. The account isn’t subject to market fluctuations, so you don’t have to worry about losing money. And your money is protected by up to $8 million of FDIC insurance.

Is Wealthfront a bank?

No, Wealthfront isn’t a bank. When you open a Wealthfront Cash Account, the company sends your funds to different financial institutions that accept those deposits. Your cash balance is swept to one or more banks and is eligible for FDIC coverage. 

Is Wealthfront free?

Your Wealthfront Cash Account doesn’t have any fees and is free to use. Instead, the company makes money by receiving a portion of the interest earned on the money in your Cash Account.

Is Wealthfront a money market account?

A Wealthfront Cash Account is not a money market account. It is a cash account with checking features. A money market account is more like a high-yield savings account with check-writing abilities. 

Like savings accounts, money market accounts have a monthly limit of six payments or withdrawals. A Wealthfront Cash Account has no such limitations.

Can the interest rate on a Wealthfront Cash Account change?

The APY on Wealthfront’s Cash Account is 5.00%. However, Cash Account interest rates are variable and can change over time, coinciding with movements in market interest rates.

What other products and services does Wealthfront offer?

In addition to its Cash Account, Wealthfront also offers other financial products, including an investment account and the option to access a portfolio line of credit. The company also offers a variety of financial planning tools to help you reach your goals, whether you're interested in padding your retirement account or saving for an upcoming vacation.

With a Wealthfront investment account, you can invest on autopilot with Wealthfront's robo-advisor tool. To get started, you simply answer a few questions about your risk tolerance and goals, and Wealthfront will build a customized portfolio of low-cost ETFs based on the information you provide.

It offers relatively low management fees and convenient features like tax-loss harvesting and automatic rebalancing, which could make it a good choice for investors who prefer a hands-off approach to portfolio management.

Alternatives to consider

If Wealthfront doesn’t sound right for you, there are other options.

SoFi

SoFi, for example, offers a checking and savings account with a 4.60% APY with direct deposit.3 SoFi also offers automated investing, loans, and other financial products, and a membership that provides assistance with financial planning and other perks.

Visit SoFi or learn more in our SoFi Checking and Savings review.

Betterment

Like Wealthfront, Betterment offers a high-yield Cash Reserve account with up to 5.00% APY as of April 2, 2024.45 It also has automated investing and crypto investing.

Learn more in our Betterment review.

Bottom line

By transferring your money into a Wealthfront Cash Account, you can earn more than you would with a traditional savings account while still having the ability to access and spend your money like with a checking account. If you're ready to embrace an online-only bank and ditch the paper checks, we see few downsides to this account. It checks all the boxes for earning potential, convenience, and security.

Earn a high 5.00% on your cash 1
Get paid up to two days earlier with direct deposit
No account fees and no overdraft fees
Fee-free withdrawals from more than 19,000 ATMs
Up to $8 million in FDIC insurance

Author Details

Kat Tretina

Kat Tretina is a personal finance expert focusing on practical financial matters, including student loans, debt repayment, side hustles, insurance, and healthcare. Drawing from her personal experience, she aims to simplify complex financial topics and provide individuals with the information they need to make informed decisions.