OneUnited Bank Review – How It Works & More

These days, many people are eager to help minority-owned businesses. Thus, there’s an increase in the trend towards opting for black-owned banks, and OneUnited Bank is one of them.

It was the first-ever black-owned online bank and remains the largest black-owned bank in the whole country since its foundation in 1968. Originally, it was Unity Bank and Trust Company, but the name changed over the years.

Moreover, the bank has given over $100 million in loans to low-income and middle-income individuals. But does that mean OneUnited is a reliable bank for everyone? Read our OneUnited bank review below to find out.

What is OneUnited Bank?

OneUnited Bank is a bank in the US, with its headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts. The bank is registered at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. In 2018, the bank’s total assets were around $661.2 million.

While the headquarters are in Boston, OneUnited has other branches in Compton, Crenshaw, Miami, and Roxbury. The major states served by the bank include Massachusetts, California, and Florida.

OneUnited Bank offers checking and savings accounts along with giving loans and mortgages. Although the bank has initiated online services too, many users feel it’s much better as an in-person bank.

How Does OneUnited Work?

Being the largest black-owned bank in the US, OneUnited’s hype is justified. The bank has only one Miami branch, but there are four in LA and three in Boston. People who do not live in these states can use OneUnited’s online banking services.

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While the banking services may not be as extensive, the bank’s phone app has a high rating of 4.6 stars on the Apple Store and 4.4 stars on Google Playstore.

At the moment, there are over 30,000 in-network ATMs where you can take out money from your OneUnited bank accounts.

Moreover, all checking accounts at the bank are FDIC-insured for amounts up to $250,000 if you have an individual account and $500,000 if you have a joint account.

OneUnited Bank Mobile App 

OneUnited Bank’s mobile app has high ratings on both Google Play Store and Apple Store. The app has a user-friendly interface and serves the following purposes for checking and saving accounts users:

  • Tracking Payments: You can track your one-time or recurring payments from the app. Likewise, you may track your monthly payments, such as for subscriptions, like Hulu and Netflix.
  • Cashback: Just like cashback apps, OneUnited Bank also lets you earn rewards on your purchases. You can check the merchants where cashback is applicable using the phone app and keep track of your rewards too.
  • Pay Bills: The app also lets you pay utility bills, phone bills, and pay for monthly services.
  • Locate Branches: If you need to go for in-person banking, you can use the phone app to locate your nearest OneUnited Bank branch.
  • Locate ATMs: The bank is on the 30,000-wide Moneypass network. If you’re in a new city, you can use the mobile app to locate the nearest branches.

OneUnited Bank Customer Support 

Judging from the customer reviews on Apple Store and Google Playstore, the bank’s customer support is impeccable. You can call the bank Monday to Friday from 8 am to 7 pm. However, there is no customer support on weekends, although you can use the app to do most things.

OneUnited Bank Accounts 

OneUnited Bank offers multiple types of accounts, including checking and savings accounts.

Checking Account 

The bank’s checking account is perfect for people who may not make a lot of money and need their paychecks two days early. Also, if you meet the qualifications, you will not have to pay the $10 monthly fee.

However, this account falls short in the regard that you have to pay overdraft protection fees of $15 every time you tap into it. Nevertheless, the bank lets you create overdraft protection by connecting another account with your checking account.

The OneUnited BanBlack Checking account is possibly the one most users opt for. But there’s also a specific account, called the U2-E Checking Account, for people who are unable to qualify for a standard account.

Moreover, there’s a UNITY E-Gold Checking account with certain different features, the 0.10% APY being the most prominent one. With the OneUnited Bank checking accounts, you can get your paycheck early and avail overdraft protection.

Although the bank is on the Moneypass ATM network, it does not charge you any fee if you use an out-of-network ATM. But the ATM provider may charge a fee for the transaction.

Apart from the pros, the checking accounts also have some shortcomings, such as a $10 monthly service fee. Plus, you need to deposit at least $50 to open a checking account. Another cost is the overdraft protection fee of $15 on every overdraft fund transfer.

Savings Account 

The OneUnited Bank BankBlack Savings Account is an ideal option for people who want to opt for direct deposits every month as it will help waive off the monthly fee. Although most savings accounts do not come with a debit card, the BanBlack Savings Account has a debit card that you get free with your account.

Thus, you can use the card to use money even without a checking account. As for the interest rate, that’s comparable to other banks. However, you must have $200 in your account for this, and there’s monthly compounding on interest.

While OneUnited Banks’ interest rate may even be better than some in-person banks, it doesn’t compare well to online banks. So, if you want a better rate on your savings, try an online bank instead.

Plus, unlike other online banks that compound their interest rates daily, OneUnited Bank has monthly compounding on interest rates. If you don’t go for direct deposits, you have to pay a $5 service fee every month.

It’s also important to have a minimum of $100 to open your account.

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OneUnited Bank UNITY Gold-E CD 

OneUnited Bank also offers a CD and that too for just $500, which is much better than the thousands of dollars you have to pay at other banks. Moreover, the bank’s interest rates are higher than the competition.

On the downside, the interest doesn’t compound for short terms. Plus, the CD is only for two years maximum, so if you need something longer, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Is OneUnited Bank Safe?

According to the Better Business Bureau, OneUnited Bank has an A- rating, which means the bank has good customer support, responding to the customers’ complaints. Moreover, the bank’s advertising practices are honest and transparent, working well in the customers’ interests.

More importantly, there are no public scandals or controversies around the bank, although it has been operational for decades. Rather, OneUnited Bank offers financial education to low-income areas, playing its role in community development.

Therefore, it’s a safe and trustworthy bank for people who want to put their money in an institution that also does something for the community.

OneUnited Bank vs Other Black-Owned Banks 

Apart from OneUnited Bank, there are many other black-owned banks too that offer online and in-person banking. Two of them include Liberty Bank and Citizen Trust Bank. Let’s discuss how OneUnited Bank compares with these two.

Liberty Bank and Trust 

Liberty Bank and Trust is better than OneUnited Bank in the respect that it has more branches around the country. On the flip side, it has fewer ATMs than OneUnited Bank. So, if you’re an avid ATM user, you should stick with the latter.

As for the CDs and interest rates, Liberty Bank should be your pick since it has high-interest rates that are comparable to many online banks.

Citizens Trust Bank 

Like OneUnited Bank, Citizens Trust also has both online and in-person banking facilities. However, their branches are only in Alabama and Georgia, so people living in other states will have to use online services.

As for the interest rates, they’re similar in both banks. But the interest compounds more often at Citizens Trust than OneUnited Bank. Also, Citizens Trust has different checking accounts, and you can choose the one that has the best features for your requirements.

On the other hand, OneUnited is better for people living paycheck to paycheck since you get your salary up to two days early.

Who Should Use OneUnited Bank? 

OneUnited Bank is a good option for some but maybe too limited in terms of features for others. Here are some reasons to choose the bank.

  • Proximity to Branch: If you live in the same city as the bank’s branches or are okay with banking digitally, you should opt for OneUnited Bank. Let’s make one thing clear, though; the bank’s online services are not as good as what you’ll get at some other banks.
  • Black-owned: If you want to bank with a black-owned institution, OneUnited Bank is the perfect choice for you. Not only is it the largest such bank in the US, but it has been around for decades and serves as a legacy.
  • Rewards Program: OneUnited Bank also has a rewards program that lets you earn cashback on purchases from certain merchants. You can track your rewards and cashback using the bank’s phone app.
  • Early Paycheck: Anyone who might want to receive their paycheck earlier than their peers should get a checking account in the OneUnited Bank. The early direct deposit feature comes in handy for people who may be living on a meagre amount in the last week of the month or may have an emergency need before their payday.
  • Qualification: If you do not qualify for opening a checking account at any other bank, head over to OneUnited Bank, and there will be an account for you. The account opening requirements are also quite simple, and you can get started with a $50 minimum deposit only.
  • Waive Monthly Fee: Depending on your individual circumstances, you may also qualify to not pay the bank’s monthly service fee. Thus, check your qualifications beforehand. If you get this perk, it should be a good incentive to choose OneUnited as your bank.

Who Should Not Use OneUnited Bank? 

OneUnited Bank has some shortcomings that may make it a poor choice for some people.

  • No Branches: One of the shortcomings of OneUnited Bank is the limited number of branches in the US. Therefore, if you do not live close to one of its branches and don’t like banking online, you can look for another bank.
  • Overdraft Fees: OneUnited Bank charges you an overdraft fee of $15 for every transfer. On the other hand, some banks do not charge a fee at all. So, if you do not want to pay these additional fees, you should go to another bank.
  • Low Interest Rates: OneUnited Bank has decent interest rates, but they’re not the best you can get. In fact, some online banks offer better interest rates than OneUnited Bank. So, if you plan on opening a savings account, you may want to take your banking needs to another institution.
  • Longer CDs: Since OneUnited Bank has CDs only for two years or less, you may want to opt for another bank if you want longer terms.
  • Monthly Fee: Depending on the account, you will have to pay a monthly service fee that can only be waived off if you qualify for the requirements. If you do not qualify, it’s better to choose another pay than pay $5 to $15 in service fee at OneUnited every month.

Final Verdict 

To wrap up, OneUnited Bank is an excellent option for people who want to support a black-owned business and want to enjoy early paychecks, a number of account options, and a responsive mobile app.

OneUnited Bank becomes an even better choice for people living in the cities where in-person branches are available.

Meanwhile, the bank may not be the best for those who prefer in-person banking but don’t have a branch nearby. Also, there are better options out there that give you higher interest rates with frequent compounding.

Overall, it’s a reliable bank that meets today’s customers’ demands but lacks slightly in its online provisions.

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