Savings accounts offer a great way to store your money, earn interest, automate savings, and prevent you from overspending. While traditional banks and online banks both offer savings account options, online banks typically have better savings account rates.
I’ll walk you through some of the best savings account options currently available on the market so you can find the solution that’s right for you.
Ally Bank is one of the top names in savings accounts since it opened online in 2009. This online bank offers a high yield savings account, certificates of deposit (CDs), and a money market account.
Ally’s savings account boasts a 0.60% annual percentage yield (APY) (on all balance tiers) and is completely free (no minimum deposit requirements, monthly maintenance fees, or minimum balance requirements). Ally does not offer debit card service to savings accounts, but if you sign up for online checking (which also earns interest), you’ll receive ATM access and be able to transfer money back and forth.
Ally’s CD options include a one to five year option at 0.65% - 1.00% APY, a high rate option at 0.70% APY, and a no-penalty option at 0.60% APY. It also has a high yield money market account with ATM access at 0.50% APY.
I love that all of Ally’s savings rates are competitive and am a big fan of its intuitive online banking platform and mobile app. Its 1.00% APY CD is a huge advantage over competitors, but overall, this bank is a great option for anyone looking for high APY across the board.
Marcus by Goldman Sachs offers online savings options with competitive interest rates. It has a high yield savings account and two CD products.
Marcus’s high-yield savings account boasts a 0.60% APY and is completely free. There’s no monthly fee or deposit requirements, but it does cap off same-day transfers at $100,000. There is no checking option or debit card access, however, so you’ll need to make transfers from direct deposit or another account.
Marcus also has a short-term, 7 month no-penalty CD option at 0.55% APY and a 1-5 year CD option at 0.65% - 0.70% APY.
I like how easy Marcus is to use and how transparent this bank is about fees and limitations. What you see is what you get with Marcus and it would make a perfect savings option for anyone not looking to withdraw money frequently.
American Express offers great online savings options, particularly for existing credit card customers. It offers a high-yield savings account and a CD option.
American Express’s high-yield savings account offers 0.60% APY, a standard rate for most online banks. This online option has no monthly fees and no minimum balance or deposit requirements. On the downside, there’s no checking account option or ATM network, so you’ll need another account to transfer deposits.
American Express National Bank also offers a high-yield CD option with terms up to 5 years and rates ranging from 0.10% - 0.55% APY.
What I like most about this savings option is that it does allow you to withdraw your money up to 9 times per month, which is more frequent than most other online banks. American Express also occasionally offers benefits and discounts to existing credit customers.
Capital One’s innovative 360 banking options offer great online and in-branch savings products. It offers a high-yield savings account, kids' savings account, IRA savings options, and CD.
Capital One’s primary savings account is its 360 Performance Savings. This savings account boasts a 0.50% APY for all balance tiers) and is completely free (no monthly fees or minimum deposit requirements). It also offers a high-interest savings option for minors. Capital One does offer a checking option with ATM access that you can use to transfer money between your checking and savings account.
Capital One also offers two different IRA savings accounts and three CD options with rates spanning 0.20% - 0.40% APY.
I find Capital One’s rates for savings accounts and CDs to be a bit lower than most online competitors, but it does offer in-branch services, which likely accounts for the lower interest rates. If you’re looking for an online bank but still want in-person service, Capital One might be a good option.
Discover offers online savings account options including a high-yield savings account, CDs, and money market account options.
Discover’s online savings account boasts a 0.60% APY and is completely free (no monthly fees or minimum deposits). While it does not offer ATM access to this savings account, it does offer online checking with debit card access, so you can transfer funds between the two accounts.
It also offers CDs with rates ranging from 0.60% - 0.70% APY and money marketing accounts with 0.40% - 0.45% APY.
I like that Discover offers online checking and savings so you can more easily deposit cash and transfer funds, but found its CD and money market rates to be disappointing when compared to other online savings options.
Synchrony Bank is an online banking solution that offers a top-notch high-yield savings account, two IRA savings options, CDs, and a money market account.
Synchrony Bank’s high-yield savings account offers a pretty competitive rate — 0.65% APY (for all balance tiers) — which is higher than most online banks. Like most online banks, this account is completely free, with no minimum deposit or balance requirements. Best of all, Synchrony Bank does offer ATM access, which is great for anyone looking for online savings options that don’t require checking accounts.
Synchrony Bank also has two different IRA savings options, CDs at 0.60% APY ($2,000 minimum deposit required), and a money market account at 0.50% APY.
I like that Synchrony Bank has some of the highest rates available and offers you ATM access. It has no fees to worry about, though some ATMs might charge you usage fees.
Axos Bank is another online bank with competitive interest rates and free account options. It offers a high-yield savings account, CDs, a money market account, and additional banking options.
The high-yield savings account at Axos Bank boasts a competitive 0.61% APY and has no monthly fees. Axos Bank does require an initial deposit of $250, which could be expensive if you’re just beginning your savings journey. On the other hand, I like that it provides you with an ATM card (if you ask for one) so you can withdraw and deposit money. It also offers an online checking account you can use to fund your savings account.
Axos Bank’s CD options offer up to 0.20% APY and its money market account offers 0.60% APY.
Overall, Axos Bank provides solid savings options with slightly higher than average APYs on its savings account. I don’t like that it requires a minimum deposit and its CD rates are extremely low when compared to other online banks.
CIT Bank offers online banking options, including savings products. It provides online savings accounts, a large selection of CDs, and a money market account.
CIT Bank’s savings account is known as its Savings Builder which offers between 0.30% and 0.50% APY. You’ll need $100 to open a savings account and must meet $25,000 balance requirements or deposit $100+ every month to earn the higher APY. It does not provide ATM access to a savings account but does offer a checking account that can be linked to transfer funds.
CIT Bank also offers different CD options with APYs ranging from 0.30% to 0.50% and a money market account at 0.55% APY.
I wish CIT Bank did not have a deposit requirement to open an account, but I’m glad it’s only a $100 requirement (lower than Axos Bank’s requirement). I also like that you can earn a higher savings rate by depositing regularly.
Barclays is a UK-based bank that offers online savings solutions to U.S. customers. Its savings options include an online savings account and a CD.
Barclays’ online savings account has a 0.50% APY (on all balance tiers) and is completely free (no monthly fees or deposit/balance requirements). It does not offer ATM access to savings accounts, so you will need a separate account if you plan to transfer funds.
Barclays also offers a CD with 0.30% APY.
While Barclays’ savings account rate and CD rate are a bit below other online banks, it does frequently offer signup bonuses and sometimes issue incentives to existing Barclays customers.
Varo is an online bank offering simple, transparent savings options. It offers an online, high-interest savings account.
Varo’s savings account has high interest rates – some of the best – with 0.81% - 2.80% APY, is completely free and comes with a Visa card. You’ll automatically begin earning 0.81% APY when opening your account and can increase your rate to a higher level by making five qualifying debit card purchases per month and receiving monthly direct deposits of $1,000 or more into your account. Varo also offers automatic savings features to help you save without even thinking about it.
I like Varo’s savings account attempts to combine checking and savings into one neat package, and while it mostly succeeds, the only downside is how you’ll deposit cash. Working only with mobile check deposits, if you can’t deposit paychecks electronically, you’ll either need a separate checking account from another bank or you’ll need to visit a Green Dot network member where you can deposit cash for $4.95.
I also wish Varo offered additional savings options, but with such high rates, you can’t go wrong with this savings product.
VIO Bank is another online banking option with an emphasis on savings products. It offers a high-yield savings account and CDs.
VIO Bank’s high-yield savings account offers a 0.66% APY (second only to Varo and well above the national average) and is completely free if you opt into online statements. It also requires a $100 minimum deposit to open an account. It does not provide ATM access or checking account options, so you will need to fund your savings account with an outside account.
VIO Bank also offers a high-yield CD option with 0.15% - 0.70% APY.
I love that VIO Bank offers one of the highest savings rates on the market, but wish it offered a checking or ATM option that made transferring money easier. I also don’t love its minimum deposit requirement but am glad it’s a lower amount.
Should I keep all of my money in one savings account?
This will depend on your savings goals. Some savings accounts offer higher APYs for lower balances, so if you’re saving for a certain goal that’s under this balance limit, it might make sense to take advantage of this higher interest rate and keep additional savings in another high-yield account. If you will be saving for a set period and do not need access to your funds, a high-rate CD like Ally Bank’s might make sense, while still maintaining a separate savings account as an emergency fund. If you do choose to keep only one savings account, make sure you choose one that fits your lifestyle and offers you access to the account as frequently as you’ll need it with an APY that will earn you additional money in interest.
How much money should you keep in your savings account?
It’s ideal to stow away 3-6 months worth of expenses in a savings account. If you need $2,000 per month to pay all of your expenses and bills, you’ll want to have $6,000 - $12,000 kept in a savings account. There’s no one rule for how much money to keep in savings and you might have multiple savings accounts for multiple reasons (emergency fund, vacation fund, college fund, new car fund, holiday fund, etc).
Can you lose money in a savings account if a bank closes?
Your money is federally insured up to $250,000. This means if your bank closes, you’ll still be reimbursed whatever was in your account (under this amount).
Is it safe to keep money in a savings account during a recession?
Yes, during a recession or economic crisis (such as the current COVID-19 pandemic), it is safe to keep your money in a savings account, whether with an online bank or traditional bank. Since your money is federally insured up to $250,000, there’s no need to panic during times of economic recession or uncertainty.
Where can I put my money to earn the most interest?
Savings accounts are an excellent option for earning interest. To earn the most interest in a savings account, you should look for an online bank with a high-yield savings account, CD, or money market account option. These banks typically have the highest interest rates since their overhead is much smaller than traditional brick-and-mortar banks. You can also invest your money, which is riskier, but can yield higher savings.
Is my money safe?
Yes. The financial institutions listed here are all FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) insured. By being a member FDIC, the banks are federally protected to cover account holder funds most often up to $250,000.
Pros and cons of savings accounts
Earn money for free. One of the best benefits of opening a savings account is earning money by simply letting a bank hold your deposits. If you find a free account, it’s a win/win situation. The bank can grow larger by holding your deposits and you’re able to earn a little bit extra with interest.
Easy to open. Unlike a credit card or loan, opening a savings account is simple and does not require a huge time investment. You can easily open an account online and often do not even need to have funds available to deposit. If you’d prefer to open one in person, you can do so at a traditional bank, though the interest rates will often be lower than online banks.
Insured by the federal government. Savings accounts are also a safe place to keep your money. They’re insured up to $250,000 by the federal government by either the FDIC insurance (traditional and online banks) or through the NCUA (credit unions). This means you don’t have to worry about ever losing your funds, even if a bank closes or suffers financial hardships.
Withdrawal limits. Many savings accounts, particularly online savings account options, have withdrawal limits. Most banks only allow you to withdraw from your account 6 times per month (though others offer more access). This may not be a problem if you’re not touching your savings account often, but can be if you need frequent access.
Variable interest rates. Whether you’re opening a savings account at a traditional bank or a high-yield online savings account, it’s important to understand that interest rates are variable and fluctuate with the market. So, if you open a high-yield savings account at 0.70% APY, there’s no guarantee that this rate will be the same the next day. However, while these rates can fluctuate, online banks can still typically offer higher rates than their brick-and-mortar counterparts.
Harder to access. Most savings accounts do not come with access to a debit card, which can make it slightly more difficult to access your funds. If you bank at a traditional bank, you can often visit a branch to withdraw from or deposit into your savings account. You can also use an ATM to access checking funds and transfer to and from a linked savings account. While some online savings accounts offer debit card access, not all do. This means you’ll either need to open a checking account to transfer funds (if available) or transfer from a separate account at another bank.
The bottom line
Savings accounts are a great way to store money, save up for events and large purchases, and build an emergency fund. Opening a savings account with an online bank will offer you the best interest rates available, but keep in mind not all online banks offer checking accounts, debit card access, or additional savings products like CDs and money market accounts.
I love that you don’t have to close your existing bank accounts to take advantage of online savings account rates. If you’re looking to earn extra money in interest or curb spending, I highly recommend looking into an online savings account option.
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