Best High-Yield Savings Accounts
HIgh-yield savings accounts remain a popular place to build up funds for emergency use, vacations, special purchases, and other financial needs. In the past, many standard banks offered decent savings account interest rates for holding your money, but those rates have declined dramatically in recent years.
In fact, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the national average savings rate is 0.05% annual percentage yield (APY). In this grouping, the lowest competitive rate is 0.50%. Therefore, it’s essential to find a high-yield savings account where you can earn a higher APY on your funds, while also having easy access to the money when you need it.
- Overview of the best high-yield savings accounts
- The bottom line
Overview of the best high-yield savings accounts
While many high-yield savings accounts are similar in nature, they are not all the same.
|Marcus by Goldman Sachs||Same-day transfer of funds|
|American Express||Access to your money|
|Discover||No fees across the board|
|Ally Bank||Setting and achieving savings goals|
|Vio Bank||Mobile access|
|Axos||Mobile check deposit|
|Synchrony Bank||ATM access|
Best high-interest savings accounts
Each of these high-yield savings accounts is member FDIC-insured, so your savings (up to $250,000) are protected. In addition, interest compounds daily and is deposited into your account each month. Plus, most of these accounts can be set up and opened within a matter of minutes.
Marcus by Goldman Sachs
With a current interest rate of 0.60%, Marcus by Goldman Sachs doesn’t require a minimum deposit to open or to maintain your high-yield savings account to avoid fees. In fact, you will not incur any monthly maintenance fees, and you can make unlimited withdrawals. When you need your money, you can make same-day transfers of less than $100,000; however, the bank you transfer the funds to may impose their own restrictions on when you can withdraw the money.
To add money to your savings account, you can transfer funds from another bank account, set up direct deposit or complete a domestic wire transfer. You also can send a check to the bank’s Illinois address.
As an online financial institution, Marcus by Goldman Sachs provides access to your account through its website, mobile app and by phone. Unfortunately, you cannot deposit checks through the mobile app.
Although you can reach customer service by phone or using the online chat feature, customer service is not available 24/7.
American Express National Bank
With American Express, your high-yield savings account earns an above-average interest rate—currently 0.60%—without any monthly fees or minimum balance requirements.
Unlike a traditional savings account, you won’t receive an ATM or debit card or have check-writing capabilities but savers can make up to nine free withdrawals or transfers per month to access your money. If you set up the transfer from your American Express online account, you may qualify for express transfers that may occur on the same day.
To add money to your savings account, you will need to link another account to transfer funds, set up a direct deposit into the account, or mail a check to the bank’s office in Salt Lake City. You can initiate transfers by logging into your online banking account. There is no mobile app at this time.
If you need customer service, you can talk with a representative at any time by phone and, as a nationwide operator, accessibility is high.
Another account with no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements, the Discover online savings account currently offers an APY of 0.60%. In addition to no monthly fee, you also won’t be charged for insufficient funds, official bank checks, stop payment orders, returned items or excessive withdrawals.
However, if you frequently go over your allowed number of transactions (currently six per month), Discover may close your account. In addition, any outgoing wire transfer from your account incurs a $30 service charge.
When accessing your account online or using the mobile app, you can check your account balance or set up transfers. With the mobile app, you also can deposit a check by snapping a photo of it. Other ways to deposit funds into your account include online transfers, direct deposit, and mailing a check to Discover’s Salt Lake City address.
To withdraw money from your savings account, you can transfer funds to another bank account, set up a wire transfer, or request an official bank check. You are limited to six withdrawals per month, although there are no limits on the number of official checks you can receive. In addition, there is no fee for expedited delivery of official checks.
If you need assistance, customer service is available 24/7 by phone or you can mail the bank. Of course, Discover is known for credit cards and a host of financial products.
Regardless of your account balance, with an Ally online savings account you currently will earn a rate of 0.60% on your money. With no monthly fees, no initial deposit requirement, and no required minimum balance, this is a great option for anyone regardless of their financial standing.
When accessing your account online or by using the mobile app, you can use Ally’s “buckets” to organize your money based on specific savings goals. You also can implement “boosters” such as recurring transfers you set up or “surprise savings” transfers initiated by Ally to increase your savings.
With Ally, you can open a free checking account, so you can quickly transfer funds from savings to checking, which you can then access using checks, a debit card or at an ATM.
If you need to talk with someone, 24/7 customer support is available by phone, online chat or email.
Currently offering a high APY at 0.66%, Vio Bank’s high-yield online savings account requires $100 to open a new account. It does not incur any monthly fees unless you opt for paper statements, which incurs a $5 monthly fee. If you exceed the maximum of six withdrawals per month, you will be charged $10 per excessive withdrawal.
Deposits can be made to your account through transfers from another bank account, by depositing a check using the mobile app, or by mailing a check to Vio Bank’s office in Oklahoma City. Vio Bank typically places a hold of five business days on incoming deposits.
When sending money out from your savings accounts, external transfers may take up to five business days to process so you won’t get your money quickly. It’s also possible the receiving bank may put a hold on when you can obtain your money, adding to the delay to get your funds.
You can access your account online or using the mobile app to view real-time account information, see eStatements or make transfers. If you need customer service, you can call the automated phone service or talk to a customer service representative during daily business hours.
Of the high-yield savings accounts in this group, Barclays currently offers the lowest APY at 0.50%. However, this still far exceeds the national average APY on savings accounts. It also does not charge any monthly fees or have any minimum balance requirements.
To add to your savings, you can set up online transfers or direct deposit, or mail a check to the bank’s Illinois address. You also can upload an image of your check from your computer, laptop, or mobile device. When transferring money from your savings account, it could take up to three business days to land in your receiving account.
Account access is available online or through the mobile app. In addition to deposits and withdrawals, you can see your account information, add external bank accounts for transfers, view statements, and update your personal information.
Using the Barclays savings assistant, you can input your savings goals and such factors as how much you want to save, how much you can contribute each month, and your current savings amount to calculate when you’ll reach your goal. You can adjust these numbers to come up with the timeframe you want and are helpful in getting you set up with an emergency fund.
With the highest APY—0.81%—of this group, Varo offers the opportunity to actually increase that to a maximum of 2.80% APY if you meet specific requirements within a defined timeframe. This includes making a minimum of five qualifying debit card purchases, which necessitates a Varo Bank Account.
You also must receive a minimum of $1,000 in direct deposits in either your Varo Bank or savings accounts every month. In addition, you cannot have a daily balance of more than $10,000 in your savings account for the entire month. This is not good for anyone looking to really bulk up their savings.
A Varo savings account does not have any monthly fees nor minimum balance requirements. You can deposit money into your account through direct deposits, transfers from other bank accounts or digital wallets (PayPal, Venmo, etc.), or cash deposits at Green Dot locations.
Varo also offers two programs to automatically boost your savings. With “Save Your Pay,” it will transfer a percentage of your direct deposits in your regular bank account into your savings account. Using “Save Your Change,” Varo will round up all transactions in your regular account to the nearest dollar and transfer that amount into your savings account.
Regardless of how much money you have in your Axos savings account, you will earn the current interest rate of 0.61%. Like many other high-yield savings accounts, there are no monthly fees or monthly minimum balance requirements. However, you will need $250 to open an account here.
You can deposit funds into your savings account through direct deposit, transfers and even making cash deposits at participating ATMs. Unlike most other high-yield savings accounts, with Axos you receive a free ATM card upon request. You also can deposit checks using the mobile app. To withdraw funds, you can set up a transfer or make an ATM withdrawal.
Account access is available online and through the mobile app. If you need assistance, you can ask Evo, Axos’ virtual financial assistant, to send a message through your mobile banking account or call for 24/7 support.
Axos also prioritizes security with biometric authentication, two-factor authentication, and regular monitoring of your account to ward off potential cybersecurity threats.
With a current interest rate of 0.60%, Synchrony Bank’s high-yield savings account is on par with the others on this list. It does not have any monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. You can deposit funds in your account through transfers, mobile check deposit using the app, direct deposit, or mail checks to the bank’s Atlanta address.
In addition to transferring your money to other accounts, you also can withdraw funds by phone or using an ATM card, which you can request from Synchrony Bank. ATM withdrawals are free when using in-network ATMs; you also can receive ATM fees reimbursement up to $5 per statement cycle.
Account access is available both online and through the mobile app. Customer service is available through online chat, by phone, and by mail.
Best high-yield savings accounts summary
|Bank||Opening deposit||APY||Online, physical branch or both||Fees|
|Marcus by Goldman Sachs||$0||0.60%||Online||$0|
|Vio Bank||$100||0.66%||Online||$0 if paperless|
*All APY rates are as of Nov. 4, 2020, and may have changed since they were updated. *
What is a high-yield savings account?
High-yield savings accounts are deposit accounts that earn a higher interest rate than standard savings accounts. Interest starts to accrue as soon as the money is deposited, and is credited to your account on a monthly or quarterly basis. Most high-yield savings accounts don’t have monthly fees, and many don’t have minimum balance requirements.
How often do high savings rates change?
Because high-savings rates are variable, banks can and do change them frequently. Rate changes may be in response to interest rate changes by the Federal Reserve, or as a result of a promotional offer from the bank.
What is the difference between a high-yield savings account and a money market account?
While both a high-yield savings account and money market account earn interest on your money, it’s easier to access those funds with a money market account. (The same goes with certificates of deposit.) These personal finance accounts often come with checks, debit cards or ATM cards so you can make withdrawals as needed. Both performance savings account types do have withdrawal limits, though, so it’s important to keep those in mind to avoid incurring fees.
Are high-yield savings accounts FDIC-insured?
If your high-yield savings account is with an FDIC-insured bank, then your account also is insured. However, the FDIC only insures up to $250,000 per depositor per ownership category at each FDIC-insured bank. Therefore, if you have a total of $250,000 in your accounts with one bank, you should consider opening up additional accounts at different financial institutions to protect all of your assets.
Why you should (or shouldn’t) use a high-yield savings account
Most of these high-yield savings accounts are a good choice if you’re looking to earn interest on your savings, particularly if you don’t plan to dip into your savings very often. Although you won’t get rich off the interest, it’s much better than the rates offered at most brick-and-mortar banks. The lack of fees also adds to the appeal of these accounts.
Because the interest rates do change, it’s possible you may receive a lower interest rate on your high-yield savings account than you initially received at the time you set up your account. Of course, the opposite is true as well, and that interest rate may increase. If your interest rate does drop and remains low, you can shop around with other banks to see if they offer better high-yield interest rates on their savings accounts.
If you want quick access to your money, you should seek out a high-yield savings account that offers same-day transfers or ATM access. Many online banks take up to three days to transfer funds to another account. For those that do offer immediate access, you may incur a fee to get your money.
The bottom line
High-yield savings accounts offer a great way to boost your savings with high-interest rates than standard savings accounts. Because most of these accounts don’t have monthly fees or minimum balance requirements, it’s easy to get started with high-yield savings accounts and build up your savings over the long term.
Plus, given these high-yield savings accounts are offered through online banks, you can open and maintain your account from anywhere. Most also offer mobile apps, so you can grow your savings on the go.