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The best savings accounts right now
|Ally High Yield Savings Account||0.50% APY||Best overall|
|Varo Savings Account||0.40% to 2.80% APY||Best for high APY|
|Capital One 360 Kids Savings Account||0.30% APY||Best for kids/teens|
|Chime Savings Account||0.50% APY||Best for college students|
|Ally CD||0.20% to 0.85% APY||Best for long-term goals|
Picking the best savings account to store your money is nearly as important as how much you save. Fees can eat into your cash, but a good interest rate can help grow it.
Many of us are guilty of settling for the savings account at the bank that holds our checking account. While there can be advantages to this — speedy cash transfers, most of all — it can be limiting.
Below you’ll find our picks for the best savings accounts right now, which includes high-yield savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs) — two types of savings products that can help you earn up to 20 times more in interest than a traditional savings account. Each of these accounts has no fees, FDIC insurance up to $250,000, and online or mobile app access.
The most common way to access cash in a savings account is through electronic transfers to an internal or external checking account. With some accounts, an ATM card is provided or checks can be requested.
Keep in mind that most savings accounts limit the number of transfers and withdrawals to and from a checking or other savings account to six per statement cycle. (However, many banks are suspending excess transaction fees during the coronavirus pandemic.) With a CD, you cannot add additional money to the account or withdraw any money between the end of the initial funding period (usually between 10 and 14 days) and the maturity date without forfeiting your interest earnings.
Our expert panel for this guide
We consulted banking and financial planning experts to inform these picks and provide their advice on finding the best savings accounts for your needs. You can read their insights at the bottom of this post.
- Tania Brown, CFP, SaverLife
- Roger Ma, CFP, lifelaidout®, author of “Work Your Money, Not Your Life”
- Laura Grace Tarpley, associate editor of banking, Personal Finance Insider
- Mykail James, MBA, CFEI, BoujieBudgets.com
We’re focusing on what will make a savings account most useful, including high APY, low costs, and more.
More on our top savings account picks
Best savings account overall:
Ally High Yield Savings Account
0.20% to 0.85% APY
- Terms ranging from 3 months to 5 years
- Early withdrawal penalty of 60 days interest penalty term of 24 months or less; 90 days interest for term of 25 to 36 months; 120 days interest for terms of 37 to 48 months; 150 days interest for terms of 49 months or more
- Interest compounded daily, paid monthly
- FDIC insured
- Competitive APY
- No required opening deposit
- Low early withdrawal penalties
- No terms over 5 years
- No physical branch locations
Why it stands out: If you have money you won’t need until a future date (and not before then), a CD is a good option for earning more. CDs lock away your money for a set amount of time, and you can secure a fixed interest rate that won’t fluctuate along with the federal funds rate. Note that if you need to withdraw your money before the term ends, however, you’ll have to pay a penalty fee.
Ally offers some of the highest rates on long-term CDs paired with no minimum deposit requirement. For CD terms of 1 to 5 years, you’ll be hard pressed to find a higher rate right now.
Ally also offers three types of CDs: high-yield CDs, Raise Your Rate CDs, and No Penalty CDs.
High-yield CDs lock in your rate when you create an account. Raise Your Rate CDs allow you to increase your rate at least once if Ally’s rates go up. If you withdraw funds before your term ends with a high-yield or Raise Your Rate CD, you’ll pay a penalty. However, No Penalty CDs let you withdraw funds early without paying fees.
Rate: The rates for Ally high-yield CDs are as follows:
- 3 months: 0.20% APY
- 6 months: 0.25% APY
- 9 months: 0.30% APY
- 1 year: 0.60% APY
- 15 months: 0.65% APY. The 15-month CD is a promotional offer. Open your account by May 4, 2021, and it will automatically renew as a 1-year CD at the end of the 15-month term.
- 18 months: 0.60% APY
- 3 years: 0.65% APY
- 5 years: 0.85% APY
Here are the Raise Your Rate terms and current rates:
- 2 years: 0.60% APY. You may increase your rate once during the two-year period.
- 4 years: 0.60% APY. You may increase your rate twice during the four-year period.
No Penalty CDs come with an 11-month term, and you’ll earn a 0.50% APY on all balance tiers.
What to look out for: Types of CDs. Ally offers more variety than most banks, so be sure to choose a CD that fits your banking needs. For example, you don’t want to let higher rates convince you to sign up for a CD with a longer term if you think you’ll need your money relatively soon, because then you could pay a penalty for withdrawing early. Think about how long you’re comfortable storing your money, whether you want the option to increase your rate, and whether you want a No Penalty CD in case you need access to your money sooner than expected.
Other savings accounts we considered
- Wealthfront: This account allows unlimited transfers and an initial deposit of just $1, but its rate has dropped significantly.
- Betterment: This robo-adviser’s high-yield cash account, which requires a $10 initial deposit but doesn’t limit transfers, is generally a good deal. While Betterment offers a checking account, it currently does not offer other financial products, like loans.
- Discover (Member FDIC): While it offers a respectable rate, Discover’s high-yield savings account isn’t as beloved as some of our top picks.
- Synchrony High-Yield Savings Account (Member FDIC): This savings account comes with a debit card and reimburses up to $5 per month in out-of-network ATM fees, but its APY isn’t as competitive as what you’ll earn with some of our top choices.
- Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield Online Savings Account (Member FDIC): While this high-yield savings account is a contender for fan favorite, the new mobile app doesn’t support check deposit.
- Comenity Direct: You’ll earn a decent rate with Comenity Direct, but the app has received negative reviews in the Google Play store.
- BrioDirect: This high-yield savings account offers a respectable rate, but you’ll need an initial deposit of $25.
- Wells Fargo Way2Save (Member FDIC): While this account comes with ATM access, it offers a dismal 0.01% APY and charges a $5 monthly fee unless certain balance or auto-transfer requirements are met.
- Chase Savings (Member FDIC): Despite access to thousands of physical branches and ATMs, Chase offers just 0.01% APY on its savings account and charges a $5 monthly fee unless certain balance or auto-transfer requirements are met.
- Bank of America (Member FDIC): Despite access to thousands of physical branches and ATMs, Bank of America’s savings account earns just 0.03% APY and charges an $8 monthly fee unless you keep a $500 daily balance.
- HSBC Direct Savings Account (Member FDIC): HSBC Direct offers a competitive rate, but the mobile app has received negative reviews.
- CIBC Bank (Member FDIC): You only need to maintain a balance of $0.01 to earn interest with this high-yield savings account, but you have to put down $1,000 to open the account in the first place.
- Citizens Access (Member FDIC): Despite offering a respectable APY, the minimum deposit to open a high-yield savings account here is $5,000. Citizens Access offers high APYs on its CDs, but all terms require a minimum deposit of $5,000.
- Sallie Mae (Member FDIC): Sallie Mae’s CDs offer decent rates, but the minimum deposit to open an account is $2,500 and there isn’t a no-penalty CD available. Sallie Mae does offer a fine high-yield savings account, however.
- MySavingsDirect (Member FDIC): This high-yield savings account earns an unimpressive rate, and there are others with better user experience and similar features that earn more.
- Barclays (Member FDIC): Barclays’ CDs offer a relatively low APY, and you won’t find the variety of CD types like you would with Ally. You can also open a Barclays high-yield savings account with a more competitive rate.
- PurePoint Financial (Member FDIC): PurePoint’s rates are on par with the best CDs and high-yield savings accounts on our list, but its $10,000 minimum deposit could be a major drawback for more modest savers.
- SFGI Direct (Member FDIC): Although SFGI Direct’s high-yield savings account earns a decent APY, it requires $500 to open an account.
- Credit Karma: This high-yield savings account earns a relatively low rate, and as a credit and loan company, Credit Karma’s expertise is not in traditional banking.
- Personal Capital (Member FDIC): This is technically a cash account, which makes it easy to sweep some money into investments, but it only offers a very low APY on your savings.
- CIT Bank Savings Builder (Member FDIC): This account requires a $100 monthly deposit or a $25,000 daily balance to earn the top APY. It’s a great account to create savings momentum, but not the best overall.
- HMBradley (Member FDIC): This hybrid checking and savings account offers high rates, but you have to save at least 20% of your deposits to earn the maximum APY.
- American Express CD (Member FDIC): There’s no minimum initial deposit to open an American Express CD, but the rates aren’t as high as Ally’s rates.
- SoFi Money (Member FDIC): This hybrid checking account/savings account offers 20% cash back on Lyft rides and unlimited ATM reimbursements worldwide, but its APY is less than what you could earn other savings accounts.
- USAA Savings Account (Member FDIC): This bank could be a good fit for military members and families, but you’ll earn a low rate and need at least $25 to open an account.
- Axos High Yield Savings (Member FDIC): You’ll earn a high APY with this account, but it requires an opening deposit of at least $250.
- UFB High Yield Savings (Member FDIC): UFB offers a high APY on balances of $10,000 or more.
- Nationwide My Savings Account (Member FDIC): You need $100 to open an account with Nationwide, and its interest rate is only so-so.
- Citi Accelerate Savings: This account pays a high APY, but it’s only available for residents of certain US states.
- Vio High-Yield Savings Account: Vio pays a high rate, but you’ll need at least $100 to open an account.
Frequently asked questions
Why trust our recommendations?
At Personal Finance Insider, we strive to help smart people make the best decisions with their money. We spent hours comparing and contrasting the features and fine print of these savings accounts so you don’t have to.
We understand that “best” is often subjective, however, so in addition to highlighting the clear benefits of a financial product or account — a high APY, for example — we outline the limitations, too.
How did we choose the best savings accounts?
We reviewed over two dozen banks and financial institutions and found that the best offerings are at online banks, in large part because they offer much higher interest rates and fewer fees. We ultimately narrowed our focus to banks offering at least 0.40% APY on their savings products (high-yield savings accounts and CDs included), with the exception of kids’ savings accounts.
For this list, we did not consider credit unions — though they tend to offer high interest rates on savings accounts and CDs, many limit membership to people who work in a specific industry or live in a designated area.
What bank offers the best savings account?
Because of its ease of use, high customer satisfaction, and good interest rate, Ally Bank has one of the best savings accounts overall. However, the “best” savings account for you will depend on your goals and priorities. Some people prefer to have a savings account at a bank that offers other financial products, like loans or checking or investment accounts, so we took this into consideration as well.
What is the best savings account to have?
The best savings account to have is one that does not charge excessive (or any) fees, is easy to access, and earns an interest rate above the national average of 0.05%. Interest rates on traditional and high-yield savings accounts are variable, however, so it’s important to consider other features of an account before opening it for a high APY.
If you don’t need immediate access to your cash, you may want to consider a CD to potentially lock in a higher interest rate. Otherwise, for cash that you will need to access on a regular basis — whether you’re adding or withdrawing money from the account — a high-yield savings account is the best option.
Are online savings accounts safe?
Just like a savings account opened through a brick-and-mortar bank, most online savings accounts are FDIC insured up to $250,000. The account is set up through a bank’s website using the same information required at a physical branch — name, date of birth, Social Security number, driver’s license or passport number, and address — but you will also need to create a username and password for online access.
Are high-yield savings accounts worth it?
A high-yield savings account keeps your money safe from market risk, is insured by the FDIC (usually up to $250,000, but up to $1 million in some cases), and gives you a shot at beating inflation with annual percentage yields topping out around 0.60%.
The only potential downsides of a high-yield savings account would be maintenance fees that eat into your interest payments (though most accounts are fee-free) or restrictions on the monthly transfer limit or time it takes for your money to get to your checking account.
Which bank is the most trustworthy?
We’ve only selected high-yield savings accounts at institutions with no public scandals in the past three years. We’ve also compared each company’s Better Business Bureau score.
The BBB grades businesses’ trustworthiness based on factors like response to customer complaints, honesty in advertising, and transparency about business practices. Here is each company’s score:
|Capital One 360||A|
Of our top picks, Ally has the lowest grade. The BBB cites the number of customer complaints on the BBB website as the reason behind the B- grade. On the bright side, only one of those complaints remains unresolved.
The experts’ advice on choosing the best savings account for you
To learn more about what makes a good savings account and how to choose the best fit, four experts weighed in:
- Tania Brown, certified financial planner at SaverLife
- Roger Ma, certified financial planner with lifelaidout® and author of “Work Your Money, Not Your Life”
- Mykail James, MBA, certified financial education instructor, BoujieBudgets.com
- Laura Grace Tarpley, associate editor of banking, Personal Finance Insider
Here’s what they had to say about savings. (Some text may be lightly edited for clarity.)
Generally, what makes a high-yield savings account good or not good?
Roger Ma, CFP:
“It might not be as seamless to get your money out of an online savings account as it is a brick-and-mortar, but you don’t want to have so much friction where it’s such a pain to get the money out when you need it.”
Mykail James, CFEI:
“Anything with a fee is not a good high-yield savings account. Anything that restricts how much you can save is, to me, not very good. If I can’t save more than $10,000 in this account, and then I have to move it over somewhere else — to me, that’s not a really good savings account, because it’s not really prepared to help me expand and grow, which is what a savings account is supposed to do. I also look at interest rates, definitely. I look to see when the interest is paid. Is it quarterly, or is it monthly? How often do they pay out interest, and what are the interest rate stipulations?”
How should someone decide whether to put their money in a high-yield savings account, money market account, or CD?
Tania Brown, CFP:
“So I guess we’ll start off with how much money you want to put in and the level of transactions you want to have. If you want to have any transactions, that automatically takes out CDs. Then you’re stuck between the high-yield savings and the money market account.”
Laura Grace Tarpley, Personal Finance Insider:
“I would use a high-yield savings account or money market account for short-term goals or an emergency fund. You’ll probably want to choose whichever has a higher rate, but money market accounts can be good for emergency savings because they often come with a debit card or paper checks, making it easy to access money quickly. Then use CDs for longer-term goals, like buying a home in a few years.”
This post was most recently updated on February 1, 2021.
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