1. Sad Sam says

    Tried and got rejected. While I am a Florida resident, they said I live
    too far from their branches in the northern part of the state.

  2. Harry says

    Once you sign up, the terms for this installment savings program are fixed, like a CD. I’m not concerned about mid-course changes. However, I’m concerned that the program itself may be discontinued or scaled down after a term ends. That’s why I chose the 3-year term instead of rolling over after 1 year. They used to allow 5 Build My Savings accounts per customer. Now they only allow 2.

  3. Doug says

    This interests me, Harry. Thank you.

    But, if we are to go through the trouble of opening these new accounts with the goal of locking in these rates, it seems to me that it would be best to optimize the return.
    Can you give us more detail on the “expert” version?

    It seems to me that the match is maximized when the opening balance is 5k and the monthly transfer is $350. I’m trying to understand why you mention $380.

    Also, with regards to the the opening balance:
    1) Is it available for withdrawal immediately after the monthly transfers begin? (I understand that at $10 charge will apply.)
    2) Is the opening balance (i.e. 5k) applicable for the entire 3 year term? Or, is the formula recalculated on each anniversary using the current balance?

    Thank you for the work you put into this blog, Harry. I enjoy learning from you.

  4. Harry says

    Doug – Good catch. I looked at my spreadsheet again. Yes it should be $350/month not $380 for a $5,000 opening balance. $380 is the transfer amount required for a $3,000 opening balance.

    As I understand from reading the terms, the opening balance is only looked at once at the beginning of a 3-year term. So in the “expert” version you would fund two accounts with $5,000 each, withdraw $4,990 after one month, withdraw the account down to $25 at each anniversary after you get the match bonus. But if that reading is wrong, it will ruin a good thing for pushing it. It also seems to violate the spirit of the opening balance.

    The bonus is the same $250 a year regardless. The only difference is how much capital you use to drive it. The opportunity cost for the extra capital isn’t much anyway. So I opted for the moderate version: keep the opening balance in the account at all times and only withdraw the transfers and bonus once a year.

    • Harry says

      The requirements are OR not AND. I meet the requirements by keeping $1,500 in the checking account. The return percentages already take the $1,500 into account.

  5. TJ says

    FYI, no need to go in branch anymore. I did it online and was called by a telebanker on the other side of the country to confirm some information. You can only apply for 1 build my savings at a time when you apply online, but easy enough to apply for a 2nd after it’s set up.

  6. Kyle says

    Regarding 2) Add the new checking account as an external bank account at your own bank

    My bank doesn’t allow this, and neither does BBVA. Would I have to use a bill pay from my own bank to BBVA?

  7. Jeanette says

    I’ve been participating in the “Build my Savings” program for a few years now. They DO allow you to set up several accounts (as I currently have 6 running at once right now). Just talk to your banker at Compass and they’re glad to help.

  8. Louis says

    From BBVA:

    “The monthly Service Charge will not apply for statement cycles during which one or more of the following requirements are met:

    There is at least one Direct Deposit transaction (ACH credit) of $300 or more from an unrelated 3rd party (such as an employer or Social Security), OR
    The account has an average daily collected balance of at least $1,500, OR
    The primary accountholder is enrolled in the BBVA Compass Preferred Client Program* and maintains Preferred Client or Preferred Client PLUS status (subject to eligibility), OR
    The primary accountholder applies and is approved for student status (active student ID required), the monthly service charge will not apply for a period of up to 5 years, or until the primary accountholder reaches age 25, OR
    The primary accountholder applies and qualifies for everyday hero status.”

    Everyday hero means:

    “(1) a certified teacher or administrator of an accredited or state-recognized public or private school; (2) a sworn member of a law enforcement department that is responsible for crime detection, prevention, law enforcement or incarceration; (3) a sworn member of a fire department involved in fire suppression or prevention, emergency medical response, hazardous materials response, terrorism response or management; (4) a health care worker who is certified, accredited or licensed to work in the health care industry as a nurse, pharmacist or medical technician; or (5) a person who has served or is currently serving in the U.S. Military: active, retired and reserved duty. ID or other verification required. BBVA Compass reserves the right to review everyday hero status on a periodic basis. Build-to-Order terms and conditions, including everyday hero promotional pricing, are subject to change at any time, at the discretion of BBVA Compass.”

    So, this is even a better deal if you meet the hero category because you don’t need to meet the daily balance requirement.

  9. John says

    Harry, what is the “after 3 bill payments of $50 each,” in step 3? Why is it needed and is that a one time bill pay or recurring?

    • Harry Sit says

      They are needed only if BBVA is still offering $100 bonus for opening a checking account and you want to qualify for it. It doesn’t matter whether they are one-time or recurring. You can stop them after 3. Say pay a credit card $50 3 times 4 days apart and you are done.

    • Harry says

      Yes it’s new since October 2013. Previously the checking account required $1,500 or direct deposit to waive the monthly fee.

    • Harry says

      I didn’t bother. The cost of tying up $1,500 is very low. It’s not worth the risk of upsetting the already working setup that’s paying me $500 a year.

  10. john says

    Harry, I did the 3 year setup following your earlier post. So even if BBVA Compass changes things around we should still be grandfathered for 3 years based on the automated setup and get our 5+% interest, correct?

  11. TJ says

    My first bonus posted. Need some direction on the best way to withdraw. Can I ACH pull from the savings account directly to Alliant?

    Or do I need to transfer from the BBVA savings account to the BBVA checking account first? I attempted to do this, but they did not mention anything about a fee. I don’t want to screw up the match for next year…

    • Harry says

      I transferred from savings to checking before pulling the money out by ACH. I wasn’t charged the $10. The safest way to ensure the match next year would be closing the savings accounts and starting fresh with a new term. I’m willing to take a chance.

  12. David Jiang says

    I just opened 2 Build my savings accounts with 36 month term, 5k initial deposit and $350 monthly transfer. There is currently $5,350 in each account right now (first month transfer just went through) was wondering if I can transfer all $5,350 out of the savings account and still qualify for the match bonus…

    if so, how are they going to charge me the $10 fee if I withdraw everything?

    Thanks in advance :D

  13. David Jiang says

    Sorry, looks like I only have a couple minutes to edit my post before it doesn’t let me anymore.

    I was wondering why you withdraw all but $25 after each anniversary after getting the match bonus instead of withdrawing everything? Or at least only leaving $10 in there for the fee?

    • Harry Sit says

      $25 is the minimum amount to open a savings account. The theory is that keeping $25 will keep the account open. Note in the reply to TJ’s comment above yours there’s a risk to withdrawing after year 1. Some bank employees told customers the bonus is off after one withdrawal from savings. I don’t see it in the written terms though. If you want to be absolutely sure to get the bonus every year you would close the savings accounts and start over every year. I will see what happens come October 2014.

    • John says

      Harry, I am assuming the only reason for withdrawing from the Savings account or closure is to ensure the %returns are high. Else if the funds are left in the account the returns are lower?

    • Harry Sit says

      Yes. If you are able to earn the bonus anyway with recurring transfers to savings, there’s no point in leaving the extra $6,500 in the account earning nothing.

  14. John says

    Does setting up this bank account create a hard pull. Noticed a hard pull on my transunion report.
    Also the funny part is I remember the branch manager and the associate mentioned it would apply for a CREDIT card by default even when I said I did not want one which sounds riduclous to me.

    Is it only my branch or did others experience a similar hard pull?

    • Harry Sit says

      I don’t know whether they did a hard pull or not (didn’t care). No credit card came with it.

  15. Rod says

    A helpful info for those that have to go to the branch to open the account (if you are not a US citizen or green card holder). When setting up the ‘Build My Savings’ account, assuming you already have the funds in your checking account, you have to provide the initial deposit _and_ the date and amount for the first transfer.
    Warning: You can’t choose the first transfer to be on the date you open the account, you have to give it at least +1 day. E.g., if you are opening the account on July 01, you must tell BBVA to make your first transfer on July 02, otherwise, if you choose July 01, the first transfer will actually only happen on August 01, which delays the whole process by 1 month.

    Harry, as a recent resident alien, your blog has been invaluable in helping me understand many of the financial, tax and smart ways of getting the most out of your hard earn money.

  16. TJ says

    @Harry – have you received the 2nd year bonus after taking the withdrawal? If it does not work, I’m wondering how to stop the automatic transfers.

    • Harry Sit says

      Last year’s match bonus was paid in late October. I’ll give them until the end of the month. If I don’t get the match, I will visit the branch. Maybe they will do a manual adjustment because nowhere says the match won’t be paid if there is a withdrawal. If not, I will close the savings accounts and re-open two new ones with one-year contracts.

  17. TJ says

    Thanks for the update, mine was paid in mid-late November. Hopefully they will show up as anticipated. Unlike you, I ACHed directy from the savings account, but I doubt that would make a difference.

  18. TJ says

    I also received the match bonus for the second year. I guess our next question will be if the automatic transfers end automatically after the 36th month. :-D

    • John says

      TJ, isn’t your automatic transfer setup as a push from external bank to BBVA? Confused by your statement cause I was told BBVA does not have the ability to do a pull

    • Harry Sit says

      The BMS terms already said the savings accounts will become regular savings accounts after the building period is over and that the automatic transfers will continue. You need to re-sign a new BMS term if you want to get the match bonus again. Not sure if you can reuse the existing savings accounts and just attach new BMS to them or you will have to close them and open new BMS accounts. I will ask after I get the 3rd match bonus.

    • John says

      Harry, when you say “automatic transfers will continue” do you mean from BBVA checking to BBVA savings? Wouldn’t they have setup the transfers only based on the length of the Build My Savings term.

      Would be good to validate rather than pay NSF fees

    • Harry Sit says

      Yes, I meant the transfers from checking to savings. They want you to continue the habit of building your savings even without the match bonus.

      “What happens to my account once I’ve reached my goal?

      Once you’ve completed your plan, your account will revert to a Basic Savings account. Note: Your automatic transfer will continue until you cancel.”

  19. TJ says


    You’re totally right! BBVA does automatically transfer funds from the BBVA checking to the BBVA savings, but if I empty them both out after the last match is received – problem solved.

  20. Ron says

    Received an e-mail from their customer support when I asked about the Build My Savings plan and they said that you can open up to six accounts but each can only be for a 6 month or 12 month term, no longer terms available (even though the calculator on their site still allows for a 36 month term).

    Has anyone confirmed this after your 36 month term has ended and you weren’t able to start a new one for the same term or has anyone attempted to open a new account and found this to be true?

    Still sounds like a pretty good deal though even if it is for only a year.

    Comments anyone?

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