Best Money Market Accounts 2021
Money market accounts are interest-bearing accounts where you can add to your savings through earned interest. In fact, they typically earn a higher interest rate than traditional savings accounts. The current national average interest rate for traditional savings accounts is 0.05%, per the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC). A look at the national average interest rate on money market accounts is not much higher at 0.07%. That’s why it’s important to seek out the best money market accounts for you, many of which offer higher interest rates.
Unlike traditional savings accounts, money market accounts offer some of the same capabilities as checking accounts, with checks, debit purchases and ATM withdrawals. Although usually limited in nature, these capabilities can make it quick and easy for you to access your funds.
- Best money market accounts overview
- Best money market accounts summary
- Why should (or shouldn’t) I use a money market account?
- The bottom line
Best money market accounts overview
Most money market accounts share similar features, but there are some differences that could make one option a better choice for you and your financial situation.
|CIT Bank||Low entry into money market account|
|Sallie Mae||Check deposit with mobile app|
|Ally||Expansive ATM network|
|TIAA Bank||Building retirement savings|
|Discover||High-volume savings balance|
|BMO Harris||In-person banking|
|Capital One||Easy access to funds|
Best money market accounts
Each of these featured money market accounts earns compounded interest daily, which is paid monthly. Also, all are FDIC-insured up to $250,000 per depositor, per bank, and per ownership category.
CIT Bank money market account earns one of the highest rates of 0.55% APY, and can be opened with just $100. Although there are no monthly service fees, it is possible to incur other fees. These include a $10 excessive transaction fee with a maximum of $50 per month, a $25 overdraft fee per item, and a $30 stop payment fee. If you make an outgoing wire transfer, accounts with less than $25,000 will incur a $10 fee; these are free for accounts with more than $25,000.
To increase your savings, you can transfer funds from other accounts, set up direct deposit, mail-in checks, set up incoming wire transfers, and deposit checks using the mobile app. To withdraw your money, you can initiate an ACH or wire transfer or request a check. You can make six withdrawals per cycle without incurring a fee.
Unlike many other money market accounts, CIT Bank does not offer checks or debit cards with its money market account. If you want quick access to your funds using these financial tools, you will need to look for a money market account with a different bank.
You can manage your account online or using the mobile app, and complete such tasks as updating your information, setting up transfers, viewing statements and checking on recent activity.
Right now, Sallie Mae’s money market account earns 0.55% APY, although bank offers may include bonus or promotional interest money market account rates on new accounts. This is a great account for those just starting to save or with limited funds for savings because it doesn’t require a minimum deposit to open or require any minimum balance to earn interest.
Although it does not offer a debit or ATM card, you can receive checks for your money market account. When ordering checks at the time you open the account, you will receive a free order of checks. However, if you wait or need to reorder checks, they cost $5 for standard delivery or $15 for expedited delivery.
You can add funds to your Sallie Mae money market account by direct deposit, ACH transfers, mobile check deposit or by mailing in checks. During the first 30 days your account is open, all deposits will be held for 10 business days. After 30 days, this time frame drops to five days for deposits of $5,000 or less and remains at 10 days for deposits of more than $5,000.
You are limited to six withdrawals per statement cycle, which can be ACH transfers, checks, or wire transfers. If you exceed your permitted withdrawals, you will be charged $10 per excessive withdrawal. Other fees you could incur include a $5 returned check fee for all returned deposits regardless of format, a stop payment fee of $15, or a $19 insufficient funds fee.
If you want easy access to your funds, Ally’s money market account is a good choice. You receive both checks and a debit card with this account, and Ally’s ATM network contains more than 43,000 locations. Currently earning a higher APY of 0.50%, you don’t need a minimum initial deposit to open an account.
You can deposit money into your account via eCheck Deposit online or in the app, ACH transfers, direct deposit, wire transfers and by mailing in checks. In fact, Ally provides you with deposit slips and free prepaid envelopes. However, you cannot deposit cash.
Withdrawals can be made by check, ATM or transfers, but are limited to six withdrawals per statement cycle. While ATM withdrawals from in-network are always free, Ally will reimburse up to $10 per statement cycle for non-network ATM fees. If you exceed your allowed number of withdrawals, you will be charged a $10 excessive transaction fee per transaction.
Additional fees at Ally include a $25 overdraft item fee, a $7.50 returned deposit item fee, a $25 fee for overdraft items, a $15 fee for expedited delivery of checks or debit card, a $20 fee for outgoing domestic wire transfers, and an account research fee of $25 per hour.
TIAA Bank welcomes new money market account holders with an attractive high interest rate of 0.55% APY that is fixed for the first year. However, once your first year expires, the rate drops to a current rate of 0.40%. TIAA Bank does offer a “Yield Pledge” promise wherein they guarantee your interest rate will always be in the top 5 percent for competitive rates.
You will need $500 to open a TIAA Bank money market account, but there are no monthly minimum balance requirements. In addition, there are no monthly account fees. To access and maintain your account, you can log in online or use the mobile app.
In addition to transfers, you can access your funds using checks or a debit card, which also can be used at ATMs. There are no ATM charges at in-network ATMs; when using non-network ATMs, you can receive up to $15 in ATM fee reimbursements. If your account balance is $5,000 or more, you will be reimbursed for all non-network ATM fees.
With a TIAA Bank money market account, you can set it up as an individual retirement account (IRA). While the features of the account remain the same as those with the regular money market account, when setting your account up as an IRA, earnings on your account are tax-deferred.
If you plan to place a large amount of funds in your money market account, Discover could be a good option. You will need $2,500 to open the account. Once you do, you will earn 0.40% APY on balances less than $100,000, but this will increase to 0.45% for balances more than $100,000. As you can see in this comparison, there are other options that offer higher interest rates without nearly the same amount of investment.
However, Discover does offset this lower APY offering by not charging many, if any fees. You will not be charged any fees on the following services: monthly maintenance, ordering checks, expedited delivery for debit card or official bank checks, returned deposit items, excessive withdrawals, stop payment orders, or insufficient funds.
Regarding withdrawals, Discover’s money market account limits withdrawals to six per statement cycle, unless they are ATM withdrawals, which are unlimited. You can withdraw a maximum of $510 per day through ATMs.
Using online and mobile banking, you can deposit funds by transfers, direct deposit and mobile check deposit. You also can mail in checks for deposit.
Unlike other banks, BMO Harris sets its money market interest rates based on where you live. Currently, account holders can earn up to 0.40% APY, but this varies by location as well as account balance. You will need $5,000 to open your money market account and it rewards higher balances; if your balance drops below $5,000, your APY will plummet to 0.01% APY.
If you’re looking for an account to build your savings for the long term, BMO Harris may not be right for you. This is best for short-term. In many markets, if your account balance is more than $1 million, your APY drops. Right now, for many markets, that rate is 0.20% APY.
Although BMO Harris doesn’t charge monthly maintenance fees, you could incur fees for other services. These include an excessive withdrawal fee of $15 per transaction beyond six per month, a $3 fee per transaction at a non-BMO Harris ATM, a $35 stop payment fee, a $36 fee per item for insufficient funds, and a $50 account closing fee if closed within 90 days of opening.
If you prefer in-person banking, BMO Harris does have brick-and-mortar branches. However, these are limited to Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin.
With the Capital One 360 Money Market account, you currently will earn 0.40% APY on your funds. Because there is no minimum deposit or minimum monthly balance requirements and no fees, this is a good money market account for those just getting started with these types of high-yield savings accounts. Although you will not receive checks with this account, you will receive a 360 Money Market Card to use at ATMs.
If you like banking in person, Capital One is a national bank that maintains branches and Cafes nationwide. You also can maintain your high-yield money market account online or using the mobile app. As such you can make deposits to your money market account in person, via online transfers, using mobile check deposit, and setting up direct deposit. Generally, you cannot withdraw deposits for four business days.
When taking money out of your 360 Money Market account, you can have unlimited transfers and withdrawals via ATM or teller. However, all ATM transfers must be between Capital One accounts. Also, ATM withdrawals are limited to $1,000 per day. For all other transactions, you are limited to six withdrawals per month. If you exceed withdrawals three or more times within a year, your account may be closed.
In addition, you must agree to paperless communications on your money market account. If you request a paper statement copy, you will be charged $5 per statement. Other fees on this account include a $30 outgoing wire transfer fee and a $25 fee for expedited delivery of your 360 Money Market Card.
For Synchrony Bank’s regular money market account, you can earn 0.50% APY on your savings. You don’t need a minimum deposit to get started, nor are there any minimum balance requirements. To access your money, you can request both checks and an ATM card.
When using the ATM card, you can withdraw cash for free at any in-network ATM. When using non-network ATMs, Synchrony will reimburse up to $5 for domestic ATM use. You also can withdraw money by setting up ACH or wire transfers online or by phone. You are limited to six transfers or withdrawals per month, although ATM withdrawals don’t count toward this limit. If you exceed this limit, Synchrony may deny your transaction or charge you a fee. If you repeatedly exceed this limit, Synchrony may close your account.
To make deposits, you can schedule incoming ACH or wire transfers online, deposit checks using the mobile app or by mailing to the bank’s Atlanta office, and set up direct deposit.
You have 24/7 access to your money market account through online and mobile banking. If you need customer service, you can reach Synchrony through online chat, by phone, and by mail.
This high APY account is currently offering the best money market rates in this grouping with 0.60% APY. Axos’ money market account offers a good way to start building up your savings. Like the other accounts in this group, there are no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. However, you will need a minimum opening deposit of $1,000 to open your money market account but can be worth it with the highest APY.
Axos makes it easy to access your money with check-writing privileges and a debit card, as well as through transfers and ATM withdrawals. You are allowed six withdrawals per month; withdrawals and transfers made at a local branch, by mail, or at an ATM are not included in your total number of withdrawals, If you exceed this limit, you will incur a $10 fee for each excess transaction or withdrawal.
Unlike some other money market accounts, you can deposit cash into your Axos money market account at participating ATMs or Green Dot Network locations. You also can add to your money market account by setting up direct deposit, transfers, and depositing checks using the mobile app.
Through Axos’ online and mobile banking, you can update your account information, schedule transfers, activate or deactivate your debit card, and set up account alerts via text, push notifications or email.
Best money market accounts summary
|Bank||APY||Monthly Fee||Minimum opening deposit||Monthly minimum balance||Maximum withdrawals/mo|
|TIAA Bank||0.55% (intro rate)||$0||$500||$0||6|
|Discover||0.40% if less than $100,000; 0.45% if $100,000+||$0||$2,500||$0||6|
|BMO Harris||Up to 0.40% (varies by market and account balance)||$0||$5,000||$0||6|
The APYs shown are as of Nov. 5, 2020, and are subject to change since they were updated.
What is a money market account?
A money market account is a savings account that earns interest on your money, usually at a higher interest rate than a traditional savings account. Unlike a traditional savings account, though, your money market account may include withdrawal capabilities using checks or a debit or ATM card.
Are money market accounts FDIC-insured?
Yes, if your money market account is a member FDIC bank, then your account has a minimum FDIC insurance limit, which is $250,000 per depositor, per bank, per ownership category.
Do money market interest rates change?
Yes, money market interest rates do change. If you receive an introductory rate when you open your account, it will remain fixed for a specific period of time. When that time period expires, the rate may change.
Why should (or shouldn’t) I use a money market account?
Money market accounts provide a great way to earn interest on your savings, usually at a higher rate than traditional savings accounts. And with checks or a debit or ATM card, you can access those funds much easier than with a traditional savings account. This is great in the event you need regular access to your money.
However, it shouldn’t be treated as a regular checking account because of the limited transactions you have each month. Fees for excessive withdrawals could be very costly and negate any interest earnings you may receive on your savings.
If you are just starting out building up your financial savings, choosing a money market account with no minimum deposit requirement provides an easy way to get started without straining your finances.
The bottom line
Money market accounts are ideal for building up your savings, even if you likely won’t get rich off the interest rates. Choosing an account with no minimal deposit requirements further paves the way to building a solid financial foundation for you. And, unlike some other savings accounts and tools, you can easily access your funds when needed.