M1 Finance has far exceeded being just a digital investment desktop and mobile platform. It also has its own checking account complete with an M1 debit card! The platform advertises itself as an all-in-one platform, helping users get their finances in order all in one place. So, how does the banking option on M1 Finance hold up, and is it as good as its investment option? Let’s find out.
M1 Spend – An Overview
What exactly is M1 Spend? It’s the aspect of M1 Finance that has banking features such as your own M1 Finance checking account and a debit card to go along with it. We need to specify that M1 Finance Investing and M1 Spend are not banks, but have banking functions. When you register for M1 Investing, you can also go ahead and open an M1 Finance checking account along with it.
Your money on M1 Spend is FDIC insured for up to $250,000, so yes, M1 Finance is safe. There are two different plans offered on the banking service, which we will cover in more detail below.
M1 Spend Plans
M1 Spend Basic – The M1 Spend Basic is a lower-tier plan that won’t cost you any fees. However, free things don’t often have access to perks. In this case, M1 Spend Basic will not give you access to the cashback debit card or interest rates.
M1 Spend Plus – If you are determined on making the most of M1 Spend’s features, then definitely go for the Plus. The M1 Spend Plus gives you the first year for free, which is excellent because you can really get a feel of the platform.
After the first year, it will cost you $125 annually with access to numerous perks such as a high-yield savings account, a cashback debit card with 1% on your cash balance. Lastly, M1 Spend Plus allows 4 free ATM withdrawals per month.
M1 Spend Facts and Features
You can access your M1 Spend account via the desktop site or via the mobile app. However, to open an M1 Finance checking account on M1 Spend, you will need to be a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident or at least have a green card.
M1 Spend Smart Transfers
As said, the Plus plan has more benefits, one of which is the M1 Spend Smart Transfers. You can manage the transactions between your M1 Finance checking account, and your investing and borrowing accounts.
For example, you can set a designated max balance for your Investment account and one for your Spend account as well. Any excess cash will be transferred to any of the other accounts.
M1 Spend Fees
We stated that the M1 Spend Basic is free, and while it really won’t cost you anything to set up an account, you will still incur transaction fees on the platform. However, the cost is low as we’re looking at anywhere between 0.8 to 1% of the total transaction amount.
The M1 Spend Plus has a yearly cost of $125, but you will not incur any international fees. The one fee you will have to look out for on the Plus plan is outgoing wire transfers, which could see an additional $25 tacked on. What about incoming transfers? They’re free!
M1 Spend Minimums
Good news! Neither M1 Spend Plus or Basic have account minimums. This means you do not need a minimum amount of cash to open and start using your account. You can choose to link one of the plans to an external account, use direct deposit, or move money from a different account to your M1 Finance checking account to get set up.
M1 Spend Welcome Bonus
Who doesn’t like free money? We know we do. M1 Finance will give you an additional $100 for free if you deposit at least $2,500 into your new M1 Spend account within the first 14 days.
Pros and Cons of M1 Spend
Do the pros of an M1 Spend account outweigh the cons? Let’s find out.
- You get a debit card included with the M1 Spend Plus (not Basic)
- No minimum balance is required regardless of the plan
- No account maintenance fees
- You can link all three accounts (Borrow, Invest, Checking)
- You are eligible to get a cash bonus
- 1% APY on your M1 Finance checking account (for Plus members)
- The Basic plan is free (with transaction fees)
- You have desktop site and mobile app access
- To get the M1 debit card, you need to be a Plus member
- Smart Transfers are not available with the Basic plan
Why not consolidate all your banking needs on one platform? M1 Finance is the perfect option for money management. Click here to find out more about what M1 Finance can do for you, more specifically the M1 Spend plans, the cashback debit card, and the Smart Transfers so you can be on your way to better money management.