Frequently Asked Questions

About Max

Getting Started

Optimizations and Funds Transfers

Supported Banks and Account Types

Security and Privacy

About Max

Why Max?

We believe there is a better, more efficient way to do everything.

Many people are sitting on a lot of cash and are frustrated that interest rates have been so low for so long. They want to earn higher yields, but don’t want to give up the protection of FDIC insurance. They are busy, and don’t have the time to monitor changes in rates or manage their cash balances manually.

Max was designed to make it easy for individual investors to earn more on their cash, automatically, within an FDIC-insured environment.

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What does Max do?

Max helps you earn more on your cash, without switching banks. Max also helps you obtain more FDIC insurance coverage, up to $1.25 million per individual or $5 million per couple.

With Max, you start with your existing checking or brokerage account, and then link additional higher-yielding savings accounts at some of the nation’s leading FDIC-insured online banks. Max keeps an eye out for changes in interest rates, helping your money automatically flow to the bank(s) that offer the best rates, while keeping your balances below the FDIC insurance limit at each bank. Max also helps you maintain a target checking account balance each month.

Max includes a number of other helpful features that make it easy to manage multiple bank accounts, including the ability to see all balances on one screen, transfer funds with a single click, and obtain all 1099-INT tax forms in a single PDF.

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Is Max for me?

Max is designed for individuals, couples, and trusts holding significant amounts of cash, who are interested in higher yield and increased FDIC insurance coverage. There is no limit to the amount of cash that Max can optimize for you. However, most of our members are using Max to optimize between $50,000 and $5 million of cash. Many of our members are introduced to Max by their financial advisors, who can make it even easier to sign up.

FDIC insurance is limited by the number of external accounts linked to Max. An individual can link five online savings accounts to Max to obtain up to $1.25 million of incremental FDIC insurance. Joint accounts can be insured for up to $2.5 million. Couples seeking even greater FDIC insurance coverage can open three Max accounts — one in the name of each spouse and a third in their names jointly, with corresponding sets of online savings accounts — to obtain up to $5 million of FDIC insurance coverage. FDIC insurance for revocable or living trusts varies according to the FDIC’s rules governing revocable trusts. As Max adds support for additional online banks, the amount of FDIC insurance coverage available will increase further. FDIC insurance for revocable or living trusts varies according to the FDIC’s rules governing revocable trusts.

If you have tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in cash, or hold cash within a non-revocable trust or business account, you might be interested in our partner solution for commercial accounts.

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How much more can I earn?

The leading “brick-and-mortar” banks currently offer between zero and 0.15% annual percentage yield (APY) on deposits. Money market funds offer similarly low yields. Because of their lower overhead costs, the leading online banks currently pay between 0.75% and 1.31% APY on deposits. Rates are constantly changing, but at current interest rates, a typical customer can expect to earn an additional 0.90% to 1.10% on deposits every year.

See how much more you can earn with Max:

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Is there a minimum balance required to join Max?

There is no minimum balance required to use Max. Many of our members start by optimizing smaller balances, and then grow their balances over time as they become comfortable with how Max works. While the typical Max member holds many multiples of the FDIC insurance limit in cash, we’ve worked hard to make Max accessible to anyone who seeks to more intelligently optimize the cash that they hold in their bank or brokerage accounts.

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How does Max work?

Max works by helping you take advantage of the higher interest rates offered by online banks, automatically instructing your banks to transfer your cash between your own bank accounts in search of the best interest rates. A number of leading financial institutions operate online banks, passing on their lower operating costs to their customers in the form of higher interest rates. These banks are FDIC insured in the same manner as their “brick-and-mortar” counterparts.

First, you select a “brick-and-mortar” bank or brokerage to serve as your checking account. Then, Max analyzes your cash balances and recommends opening additional savings accounts with online banks to help maximize FDIC insurance coverage and interest income. Max monitors interest rates daily, and, as rates change, periodically helps move your money between your own accounts so that you can earn the highest interest rates available. Max also makes sure that your cash is parceled out in $249,500 increments per bank, which is just below the current FDIC deposit insurance limit. You can choose to override this feature, and forego full FDIC insurance in order to earn even more on your cash. Max is only compatible with nationally-recognized banks that offer FDIC insurance, competitive rates, a compelling user experience, and good customer service.

For your convenience, Max can also treat all your online savings accounts as one virtual account, so that you can easily instruct Max to move money from checking to savings, or savings to checking, and Max automatically figures out where to send your money so that you earn a high return. You still retain full control over each of your accounts individually, so you can move, deposit or withdraw your money whenever you want from your own banks, and override Max’s optimization engine. Furthermore, you retain full access to your existing “brick-and-mortar” bank, with continued access to teller services, ATMs, and your existing direct deposit and bill pay relationships.

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How long does it take to set up?

Setting up your Max account takes a total of about 30 minutes over the course of 2-3 days. After this one-time setup process, you can earn more forever.

Max starts with your existing banking or brokerage relationships and suggests opening savings accounts at online banks that offer superior interest rates. The Max Common Application helps you open accounts at multiple online banks simultaneously. (If you already have online savings accounts, you can bypass the Max Common Application and link your existing accounts to Max right away.)

Initial setup (joining Max, linking your existing checking/brokerage account, and completing the Max Common Application) takes 10-12 minutes. Completing the account opening process for each new online savings account and linking these new accounts to your checking account takes approximately 5 minutes per bank. Each online bank will then send trial deposits to your checking account to establish secure links along which to transfer funds. These trial deposits are sent via ACH, and take 2-3 business days to arrive in your checking/brokerage account. After taking note of the amounts of these trial deposits, return to each online bank website to confirm the receipt of these deposits, a process that takes just a few minutes per bank. Once you have linked your online savings accounts to your checking/brokerage account, return to the Max website and launch your first optimization.

For detailed step-by-step instructions, download the Max Setup Guide.

Max requires that you link one checking/brokerage account and at least one online savings account to Max to begin your first optimization. You may open and link additional savings accounts at any time.

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How much does it cost?

Max charges a quarterly fee of 0.02% (2 basis points, or two one-hundredths of one percent) on the cash being optimized in your higher-yielding online savings accounts. The first quarterly fee is billed upon the completion of your first optimization, and then every three months thereafter, for a total of 0.08% per year. Max does not charge any fees on the cash held within your checking account, and there are no other fees, minimums, transfer fees or service charges.

Max operates independently, and is committed to helping maintain the privacy of our members’ personal information. Unlike many online businesses, we do not sell our customer list or our members’ personal information. So as to remain independent, our website contains no advertising or sponsored promotions from banks. Refer to our Privacy Policy for more detail on how we safeguard your personal data.

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Can I cancel at any time?

Yes, you may cancel at any time. Max calculates and bills your membership fee 15 days after the completion of your first optimization and every 3 months thereafter. Upon cancellation, no further fees will be payable, but no credits are given for partial quarters.

Upon cancellation of your Max membership, you retain full access to all of your bank accounts, but Max will no longer automatically optimize your accounts, and you will no longer have access to the Max Dashboard, Intelligent Funds Transfers℠, Consolidated Tax Reporting and other features.

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When was Max founded / when did Max launch?

Six Trees Capital LLC, the company behind Max, was founded on July 1, 2013. The first beta version of Max was made available to a select group of users in January 2014, and following the completion of three months of intensive beta testing and patent filings, Max was launched on an invitation-only basis beginning in April 2014. Max opened to the public in September 2014. Ever since, our development team has been hard at work adding new features and support for more banks.

Max is led by a management team with backgrounds in banking, wealth management, technology and marketing, and is guided by an esteemed Board of Advisors.

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Getting Started

How do I join?

You can join Max here. Enter your name, address, email and telephone number, link your existing checking/brokerage account and one or more online savings accounts (if you don’t have online bank accounts, we’ll help you open them), and start your first optimization. Thereafter, Max works automatically.

You can also download our one-page Setup Guide to help walk you through the process.

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What happens after I join Max?

Max works quietly in the background, keeping an eye out for changes in interest rates. Once a month, Max’s computers analyze your balances to determine whether your funds could be more optimally allocated among your own accounts. If Max sees an opportunity for you to earn more, or obtain more FDIC coverage, Max instructs your banks to move funds between one another.

Max also helps restore your checking account balance to your desired level each month. You can view your balances at any time from the Max Dashboard, track the status of each optimization, transfer cash back to your checking account with the click of a button, or request additional optimizations with our “Optimize-On-Demand” feature.

The accounts Max optimizes are your own bank accounts, and you retain direct access to each account. You can view all your balances in real-time via the Max Dashboard, visible on any computer or mobile device.

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Optimizations and Funds Transfers

How often will Max optimize my accounts?

Max runs its algorithm and provides transfer instructions to optimize account balances monthly. However, from time to time, as rates change, Max may send instructions to rebalance assets with greater frequency to ensure that members benefit accordingly. You also can use the Optimize-On-Demand feature to start an optimization whenever you wish.

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What happens to my funds during an optimization?

Max sends transfer instructions, on your behalf, instructing your banks to transfer your funds between one another in search of the highest yield. During the funds transfer process, the portion of your funds that are being transferred may be unavailable for 2–3 days as they move from one bank to another via the ACH network. All funds transfers are managed by your existing banks; Max never takes custody of your funds.

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What do I need to do on an ongoing basis?

Beyond initial account setup, there are no ongoing requirements on your time; Max handles everything else. Occasionally Max may recommend that you establish additional online accounts as new online banks emerge and your cash balances increase. Max will only steer you toward banks that pay competitively-high interest rates, and that offer a good customer experience. If at any time you wish to change your Max settings, such as how much money you desire to keep in your checking account following each optimization, it’s easy to do so from your computer, tablet or smartphone.

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Can I still access my accounts once I enroll in Max?

Absolutely. You retain direct access to each of your accounts, can withdraw and deposit funds on your own, and can change your Max settings at any time from your computer, tablet or smartphone.

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Can Max help me transfer funds between savings and checking?

Yes. Max has an Intelligent Funds Transfer℠ feature. Between scheduled optimizations, you can direct Max to send money from your checking account to your basket of linked online savings accounts, or from these savings accounts back to your checking account. Max automatically determines the best accounts from which to draw the funds, or into which accounts to deposit the funds, so that you continue to optimize your cash. All funds transfers are handled by your banks, and occur via the ACH network. There are no incremental fees associated with these transfers.

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What happens at tax time?

Max includes a helpful feature called Consolidated Tax Reporting. Each online bank will prepare a 1099-INT statement for any accounts that have earned at least $10 in interest during the year. With one click, Max will attempt to gather the 1099-INT statements for all of your linked online savings accounts and will deliver them to you by email in a single password-protected PDF file that you can print or forward on to your accountant. Please note that certain banks report all interest-bearing accounts on a single 1099-INT form, in which case your 1099-INT may also include information about other checking accounts, savings accounts or CDs that are not linked to Max.

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How can I donate the incremental interest I earn with Max to charity?

Max has partnered with The Robin Hood Foundation, New York’s largest poverty-fighting nonprofit, to allow Max members to donate a portion or all of the interest they earn with Max directly to Robin Hood’s efforts. Robin Hood is a 501(c)(3) organization and your gift to them is tax-deductible as permitted by law. Learn more about donating directly to Robin Hood through Max.

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Do I need a mobile app to use Max on the go?

Max was built with responsive design, meaning that the full functionality of the Max website is available on any mobile device. There is no need to download an app. Simply open www.maxmyinterest.com in your mobile web browser and login as you would normally. You can also create a shortcut in iOS or Android, so that Max will appear as an icon on your home screen.

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Supported Banks and Account Types

Which bank accounts are supported by Max?

Max is currently compatible with checking accounts at Bank of America, JPMorgan/Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Fidelity (CMA accounts), Charles Schwab Bank, First Republic Bank, TD Bank, SunTrust, US Bank, and USAA. More banks and brokerage firms are slated to be added soon. (To request that we add support for your bank, click here.)

To your checking account, you then link one or more FDIC-insured savings accounts at leading online banks including: Barclays, Ally Bank, American Express, GS Bank, and UFB Direct. If you already have accounts at these banks, you can link your existing accounts. If you are new to online banking, you can use the Max Common Application to help open multiple online bank accounts at once by filling out a single form. Max plans to support additional online banks over time.

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Checking

Do I have to link my main checking account to Max?

You can link any checking account to Max; it need not be your main transactional checking account. Some members elect to use a separate checking account with Max, to manage excess cash separately from their main checking account. Others elect to link Max to their brokerage account, to earn more on the idle cash within their portfolios.

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What if I don’t have a checking account at one of the banks that Max supports?

If you don’t have an existing banking relationship with one of the banks that Max currently supports, it’s often possible to open up a new checking account in less than 10 minutes, entirely online. Many Max members choose to use a second checking account (separate from their main checking account) for the purpose of optimizing their returns on excess cash.

We plan to add support for additional checking and brokerage accounts over time. To request that we add support for your bank, click here.

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Can I tell Max how much to keep in my checking account?

Yes. When you link your checking account to Max, we will ask you how much money you prefer to keep in your checking account. Max takes this Target Balance into account when it optimizes your accounts, such that at the completion of each optimization, your checking account balance should equal your Target Balance. Should your checking account balance exceed your Target Balance at the time of an optimization, excess cash will be swept into your online savings accounts; if your checking balance is lower than your Target Balance, funds will be moved from your online savings accounts back into your checking account. Should your needs change, you can adjust the Target Balance for your checking account on your Profile Page under the Linked Accounts heading. We recommend setting a Target Balance that exceeds your typical monthly cash needs or minimum balance requirements, since Max’s quarterly membership fee will be deducted from your checking account.

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Can I change my checking account after joining Max?

Yes. You can change your checking account at any time. Email member.services@maxmyinterest.com, and we will assist you in changing your checking account.

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What if my spouse and I maintain separate bank accounts?

If you and your spouse keep your assets separate, you can each establish your own Max account and open two sets of online bank accounts – one for you and one for your spouse. Then link your online savings accounts to your checking account, and link your spouse’s online savings accounts to his/her checking account. This will avoid commingling of assets while ensuring both of you are optimizing the returns on your cash.

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What if my spouse and I have joint accounts?

If you and your spouse maintain joint accounts, you can share one Max membership in either one of your names. Open joint online savings accounts and link them to your joint checking account, and then to Max. Opening joint savings accounts at all five online banks supported on the Max platform will enable you to avail yourselves of up to $2.5 million of FDIC coverage.

Note: Your and your spouse’s names should appear in the same order on each of your joint accounts.

You can obtain up to $5 million of FDIC coverage by opening three Max accounts (and corresponding sets of online savings accounts), one for each spouse and a third jointly. This method provides FDIC coverage up to $1.25 million for each individual plus $2.5 million for the joint accounts, for a total of $5 million. Note: If you elect to establish multiple Max accounts in order to maximize FDIC coverage, we strongly recommend that you use a different checking account for each Max account.

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How does Max protect against overdrafts?

Max automatically takes into account both the total balance and available balance in your bank accounts when determining your monthly optimization. As a result, Max’s monthly optimization should never cause an overdraft.

With Max, the manner in which you interact with your existing checking account remains unchanged. This means that if you write a check that exceeds your checking account balance (and you don’t have a backup line of credit with your bank) then you would run the risk of bouncing a check or creating an overdraft situation, just as you would in the absence of Max. Max does include a cash sweep feature as part of its optimization, helping you restore your checking account to your specified Target Balance each month.

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Savings

How many online savings accounts should I have?

To ensure your deposits can be fully FDIC-insured, you should link at least one online savings account for every $250,000 of cash you wish to optimize. The more accounts you link, the more flexibility Max will have in helping you earn the highest yields. You may link additional online savings accounts at any time.

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How can I maximize FDIC insurance coverage?

Individuals can obtain up to $1.25 million of incremental FDIC insurance coverage by opening 5 online savings accounts, and couples can obtain up to $5 million of incremental FDIC insurance coverage by opening a combination of individual and joint accounts at each of these online banks. For members who need more FDIC insurance coverage, we also have a partner solution with The American Deposit Management Co. that can deliver up to $100 million of FDIC insurance coverage per tax ID. You can learn more here.

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Are there any fees associated with the transfers between my banks?

No, Max does not charge any incremental fees for the transfer of funds between banks. None of the online banks supported on the Max platform impose any ACH transfer fees either.

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Are there limits on the number of transfers that I can make each month?

Under Regulation D, depositors are entitled to 6 outbound transfers per month from a savings account (there is no limit on the number of inbound transfers.) Max’s monthly optimization is designed to use no more than 1 outbound transfer per month from each bank. In between optimizations, Max members can elect to make additional funds transfers on their own. However, given that ACH transfers take 2 to 3 days to clear, it would be difficult to exceed the Reg. D limitation on the number of monthly outbound transfers from a savings account by using Max.

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Can I override the deposit limits for my savings accounts?

Yes. By default, Max assumes that at the completion of each optimization, you desire to have no more than $249,500 in each online savings account (this leaves a $500 cushion below the current FDIC insurance limit of $250,000, so that accrued interest can also be protected). If you indicate that you have joint accounts, Max targets keeping your balances below $500,000 per account. You may change this maximum balance to be higher or lower than the pre-set default by selecting the “Custom” FDIC Coverage option on your Max Dashboard, and then clicking on the gear icon next to each savings account to adjust the settings for each bank. Then click “Save Your Settings” to confirm the change.

Note: FDIC insurance is provided by your banks, not by Max. If you increase your per-account limits above the FDIC insurance limit, your funds may be at risk in the event of a bank failure.

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Other account types

Can I join from overseas?

Yes. Managing U.S.-denominated assets can be difficult while living abroad. Max helps to optimize returns on cash for executives on overseas expatriate assignments and for other Americans around the world. Provided you have a U.S. tax ID such as a social security number, as well as a U.S. mailing address, online bank accounts can be easily set up from overseas.

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Can I use Max for my business or commercial accounts?

Max serves only individual and joint accounts. We have a partnership with The American Deposit Management Co., a firm that serves business and commercial accounts, including nonprofits. Learn more about using ADM’s service to gain more yield and FDIC insurance for your institutional accounts here.

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Does Max support trust accounts?

Support for trust accounts varies by bank. UFB Direct and Ally Bank permit clients to designate accounts as held directly in the name of a revocable or living trust. Barclays and Ally Bank also permit you to specify a revocable or living trust as a Payable On Death (POD) beneficiary by contacting the bank or specifying the trust as a beneficiary on the bank’s website. GS Bank and American Express do not support trusts as POD beneficiaries at this time. More information is available via the online bank websites or by contacting their customer support staff. FDIC coverage of trust accounts is detailed on the FDIC’s website for trusts. Refer to our Support for Trust Accounts guide for additional detail.

Online savings banks generally do not support more complex trusts, such as irrevocable trusts, as they consider them to be commercial accounts. Max is able to serve complex trusts and commercial accounts through our partnership with The American Deposit Management Co.

Please contact Max Member Services if you have further questions regarding support for trust accounts. We suggest that you consult your attorney or qualified estate planning professional before establishing a trust account or designating an account as a POD account.

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Security and Privacy

How secure is Max? How does Max protect my privacy?

Max never takes custody of your funds, and has been tested by the same leading software security consulting firm that consults for 16 of the 20 largest banks. Max also has strict privacy policies and does not accept advertising or sell member information to third parties. Read about the extensive measures we’ve taken to protect your privacy and the security of your accounts.

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How safe is my money and my data?

Max was designed from the ground up with security in mind, and has been analyzed and tested by leading experts in cyber security. Max uses banking industry-standard 256-bit EV SSL encryption, custom database architecture and other security techniques to safeguard your information. All passwords are encrypted immediately and cannot be accessed by Max personnel, and Max disassociates your financial data from your identity, to preserve anonymity. The overall design of the funds transfer system embedded within Max also provides additional safeguards to help ensure that funds only move between your own accounts, via funds transfers managed by your banks. Max never takes custody of your funds.

To learn more about how we keep your data private and your accounts secure, click here.

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Is Max beholden to special interests?

No. Max is not affiliated with any bank or brokerage business. Max’s interests are aligned with those of its members.

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How does Max make money?

Max charges a nominal membership fee, which is calculated as a fixed percentage of cash being optimized in any given quarter to help cover operating costs and investments in new technologies. In this regard, Max’s interests are aligned with those of its members.

Max does not bombard you with advertisements or sell your sensitive personal data. Refer to our Privacy Policy for more detail on how we safeguard your personal data.

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Can I choose to share my Max account with my financial advisor?

If you wish to share read-only access to your Max account with your financial advisor, you can do so by adding your financial advisor’s name and email address on your Profile page. Your advisor will then be able to see up-to-date balance information for each of your linked accounts, but will not be able to link new accounts, transfer funds, or take any other action on your behalf.

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What if I have other questions?

Max is eager to answer any other questions you might have. Please contact us.

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