The 7 Best Cash Management Accounts of 2021

How to manage your money

Woman getting money from an ATM
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Cash management accounts provide consumers with an alternative to traditional accounts. Cash management accounts often include the best features of savings and checking accounts. The difference is that they are found at non-bank financial institutions, like brokerage firms or robo advisors

Because they aren’t offered through banks, cash management accounts can operate outside traditional banking rules. Transaction limitations are less common with cash management accounts, and many offer higher interest rates than you’ll find at your local bank branch. Cash management accounts typically offer FDIC insurance beyond normal limits, and it’s not uncommon to see FDIC coverage over $1 million. That’s because these financial institutions utilize partner banks to sweep customer funds into multiple bank accounts. 

We reviewed over two dozen cash management accounts and assessed features like interest rates, fees, ATM access, consumer needs, and check writing privileges. Below is our list of the best cash management accounts to help you make the best choice.


The 7 Best Cash Management Accounts

Best Overall: Wealthfront Cash

WealthFront Logo

Why We Chose It

Wealthfront Cash tops our list as the best overall cash management account because of its bounty of perks and lack of fees. The account earns one of the highest APYs among cash accounts. You’ll also never pay maintenance fees regardless of your balance.

What We Like
  • Competitive APY

  • No monthly fees

  • Receive direct deposits up to two days early

What We Don't Like
  • Smaller ATM network than competitors

  • No cash deposits

  • No checkbook

Wealthfront was founded in 2011 and has quickly grown to become one of the largest robo advisors. The company launched Wealthfront Cash in 2019 to complement its investment solutions. We chose it as our best overall because not only are there are no ongoing minimums to avoid monthly fees but the account charges no:

  • Monthly maintenance fees
  • Overdraft fees
  • Stop payment fees
  • Excess activity fees
  • ATM fees

Wealthfront Cash earns one of the more competitive interest rates, 0.35% APY as of December 2020. Customer deposits are covered up to $1 million in FDIC insurance thanks to Wealthfront’s partner banks. Wealthfront Cash account doesn’t come with a checkbook, but you can still pay bills and send checks electronically through your account. You may be able to receive paychecks with direct deposits up to two days early, depending on your employer’s payment provider. Wealthfront even offers joint and trust cash accounts, although neither option comes with any checking features.

Wealthfront Cash comes with a complimentary debit card and access to over 19,000 fee-free ATMs. You can open a Wealthfront Cash account online or through the mobile app with just a $1 minimum deposit. Wealthfront accounts are open to individuals 18 years or older who live at a permanent U.S. residential address and have a social security number.

Best for APY: Aspiration Spend & Save

Aspiration Logo

Why We Chose It

Customers that opt for the upgrade to Aspiration Plus will earn up to 1.00% APY (as of December 2020), the highest interest rate we’ve seen attached to a cash management account. The basic account isn’t interest-bearing, but offering a premium option that does make Aspiration a worthy choice. You’ll also build up savings through competitive APYs.

What We Like
  • High APY on Aspiration Plus account

  • You can choose your monthly fee

  • $2 million FDIC insurance limit

What We Don't Like
  • No interest earned on basic accounts

  • Only one out-of-network ATM reimbursement each month (Aspiration Plus)

  • Cash-back perks only available on select purchases

Aspiration launched in 2015 intending to be a financial firm with a conscience. It’s our choice for best for APY because, as of December 2020, Aspiration Plus account holders can earn up to 1.00% APY as well as 10% cash back; a basic Aspiration account earns 3% to 5% cash back. Customers can also earn cash back on purchases with companies in the Conscience Coalition. 

Aspiration customers also get their first set of checks free as well as a free debit card and access to 55,000+ fee-free Allpoint network ATMs. Additionally, Aspiration plants a tree each time you swipe your debit card and promises that customer deposits will never fund fossil fuel exploration or production. 

Unlike most cash management accounts, Aspiration does come with a monthly fee, especially if you opt for Aspiration Plus, but customers with the basic Aspiration account have the option to choose their monthly fee for services; the company even lets customers pay $0. This is based on Aspiration's belief that its customers like its services and will pay fairly for them. 

Opening an Aspiration account is easy, with options to do so online or through the company’s mobile app. You’ll need a U.S.-based checking or savings account to fund your Aspiration account. Accounts are available for individuals 18 years and older with a permanent U.S. address and social security number.

Best Mobile App: Robinhood Cash Management

Robinhood Logo

Why We Chose It

With Robinhood’s easy-to-use app, you can pay bills, send checks, and get direct deposits, and it has high ratings in both the App Store and Google Play. While much of its attention could be attributed to its investment services, the mobile app is also a dream for cash management account holders.

What We Like
  • Competitive APY

  • Large fee-free ATM network

  • No monthly fees

What We Don't Like
  • No cash deposits

  • No mobile deposits

  • No out-of-network ATM fee reimbursements

Robinhood is an online investment platform launched in 2015. The company added its cash management account in 2019. It’s our choice for the best mobile app because Robinhood’s mobile app allows you complete control to manage your account and move money without the need for in-person banking services. 

Through the app, you can do all the things you need to do with your money: pay bills, receive deposits, and although the account doesn’t come with a checkbook, account holders can take advantage of the on-demand check writing services. The only feature missing is mobile check deposits, but Robinhood offers other ways to move your money, like ATM access, bank transfers, and direct deposit. 

Robinhood cash management accounts also receive FDIC insurance coverage up to $1.25 million through partner banks. If you invest through Robinhood, you can quickly transfer funds from your cash management account to your investment account. 

Robinhood’s cash management account earns a respectable 0.30% APY (as of December 2020) and similar to most cash management accounts, there are no monthly maintenance fees attached to the account. Customers benefit from a massive 75,000+ fee-free ATM network. 

You can open an account through Robinhood’s website or its mobile app. Accounts are available to individuals 18 years and older who are U.S. citizens with a legal residence in one of the 50 states or Puerto Rico and have a valid social security number.

Best for Savings Goals: Betterment Cash Reserve

Betterment

Why We Chose It

Betterment is our top pick for goal setting because of its account structure. For those who like to set and achieve financial goals like building an emergency fund or saving for a vacation, Betterment Cash Reserve allows customers to divvy up their savings into separate savings goals.

What We Like
  • Competitive APY

  • Option to split into savings goals

  • No monthly fees

What We Don't Like
  • Checking is a separate account

  • No direct deposit option

  • No debit card

Launched as a robo advisor in 2010, Betterment added cash management services in 2019. It’s our choice for best for savings goals because Betterment allows you to set up automatic deposits from one linked bank account to your Cash Reserve account or separate cash goals.

As of December 2020, Betterment Cash Reserve earns 0.40% APY. Although the account doesn’t come with a debit card or other checking features, Betterment offers a separate checking account with a debit card. However, the accounts aren’t linked and Cash Reserve funds aren’t ATM accessible; you’ll have to transfer money between the two accounts to withdraw them using your debit card.

Betterment Cash Reserve has no minimum balance requirement and no monthly fees. Note that the smallest deposit you can make is $10. You can fund your Cash Reserve account two ways—linking an external bank account or through a wire transfer. 

Deposits made to a Cash Reserve account are FDIC insured up to $1 million through Betterment’s partner banks. Joint Cash Reserve accounts are eligible for up to $2 million in FDIC insurance coverage.

Individuals 18 years or older with a permanent U.S. residence (including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands) and social security number are eligible to open an account with Betterment.

Best for Large Balances: Personal Capital Cash

Personal Capital

Why We Chose It

Although it lacks many of the features of other cash management accounts, Personal Capital Cash handles large balances better than its competitors by allowing you to withdraw funds via wire transfer up to $1M without any fees. The cash management account also comes with unlimited monthly transfers.

What We Like
  • Unlimited monthly transfers

  • No minimum balance requirement

  • No monthly fees

What We Don't Like
  • Low APY

  • No debit card

  • Limited deposit options

Personal Capital was founded in 2009, operating primarily as a wealth management firm, and eventually added cash management services to their suite of products. It’s our choice as best for large balances because Personal Capital Cash allows customers to withdraw up to $100,000 per day, offers fee-free wire withdrawals up to $1M, and requires no minimum balance.

Personal Capital Cash is more comparable to your local bank than an online bank with its 0.05% APY (as of December 2020), although it does offer up to $1.5 million in FDIC insurance through partner banks. Customers don’t have access to a checkbook or debit card. The only way to move money in and out of the account is through external bank transfers and wire transfers. 

Personal Capital Cash is also available as a joint account and you can set up direct deposit for paychecks.

Personal Capital accounts are open to U.S. citizens and resident aliens age 18 or older. Customers can open an individual or joint account with Personal Capital online or through its mobile app.

Best for Using Checks: SoFi Money

SoFi

Why We Chose It

SoFi Money is one of the few cash management accounts that include free paper checks as a feature. SoFi Money account holders can request free paper checks through online account access. With access to checks, opening a SoFi Money account could eliminate the need for a traditional checking account.

What We Like
  • No monthly fees

  • Free paper checks

What We Don't Like
  • Deposit requirements to earn higher APY

  • No cash deposits

SoFi was founded in 2011 and quickly became known for its lending products. In 2019, the lender added investment and cash management services. It’s our choice for best for writing checks because it offers free physical checks that account holders can order via the website (ordering via the app is not currently available).

In addition to paper checks, the cash management account comes with a complimentary debit card and access to 55,000+ Allpoint ATMs worldwide. Other account features include online bill pay, check deposits, and person-to-person transfers through SoFi’s mobile app. SoFi Money is also available as a joint account. 

SoFi Money features no monthly maintenance fees and has no minimum balance requirement. However, you’ll need monthly deposits of at least $500 to earn the highest interest tier, set at 0.25% APY as of December 2020, and cash-back rewards. Customers earn cash-back rewards on select purchases via rotating offers in the SoFi mobile app.

SoFi Money accounts are available for U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents 18 years or older, and you can sign up online.

Best for ATMs: Fidelity Cash Management

Fidelity

Why We Chose It

Fidelity Cash Management offers the best ATM coverage of any cash management account we reviewed. You receive not only a complementary debit card, but Fidelity does not charge ATM fees and it also reimburses all ATM fees charged by other financial institutions, making it an accessible and affordable option for customers who want access to their money via cash. There’s no need to worry whether an ATM is in-network or not.

What We Like
  • No monthly fees

  • Unlimited out-of-network ATM fees reimbursements

What We Don't Like
  • Low APY

Founded in 1946, Fidelity is one of the oldest investment firms in the US. More recently, like other firms, they decided to offer a cash management account to complement its established services. It’s our choice for best for ATMs because Fidelity does not charge customers for using an in-network ATM and reimbursing any out-of-network fees incurred. 

The Fidelity Cash Management Account earns a low 0.01% APY as of December 2020. Despite the low rate, the account features plenty of other benefits. For instance, paper checks are available upon request. Fidelity customers also enjoy no monthly fees and no minimum deposit requirements. Deposits are FDIC insured up to $1.25 million through Fidelity’s partner banks. There’s also a Fidelity mobile app that allows customers to manage their money, pay bills, transfer funds, and deposit checks. 

Anyone 18 years of age or older living in the U.S. can open a Fidelity Cash Management account.

Final Verdict

The best cash management account for you depends on your specific banking needs. While all of the accounts offer alternatives to traditional banking, we found that Wealtfront was the frontrunner for account holders due to its lack of fees, early access to direct deposits, check writing ability, and other account options.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Cash Management Account? 

A cash management account is a deposit account typically available through a brokerage firm or another non-bank financial institution. These accounts feature beneficial features similar to savings and checking accounts, often with few or no fees and increased FDIC insurance through partner banks. 

Many cash management accounts offer high-yield rates that rival the best online banks. You should also determine if you need access to a debit card or check-writing privileges before choosing an account. Your best option may be to keep your cash and investments in one place with a brokerage firm or robo advisor that offers both services. 

How Do Cash Management Accounts Work?

Cash management accounts work similarly to other bank accounts, often with similar features and benefits. Rather than a traditional checking or savings account, however, users make deposits into a low-risk investing account that they can also use to withdraw money for daily spending. 

Cash management accounts use partner banks to sweep deposits into bank accounts to provide FDIC insurance coverage. Many financial institutions partner with multiple banks to provide coverage well beyond the $250,00 limit. 

Who Should Get a Cash Management Account?

Cash management accounts are an excellent option for individuals who want to keep their investment accounts and cash in one place. They are also a great option if you plan to carry higher balances and want FDIC protection. If you already work with a brokerage firm, you might consider opening a cash management account.

What Does a Cash Management Account Cost? 

There are typically no costs associated with cash management accounts. More brokerage firms have started offering cash management services, giving customers a way to streamline their finances and keep everything under one roof. Most cash management accounts come without monthly maintenance fees, although some may. 

How We Chose the Best Cash Management Accounts

We evaluated over 25 cash management accounts to determine the best options. Factors we considered include interest rates, monthly maintenance, and other fees, checking features, and FDIC insurance coverage. We also looked at accompanying mobile and online services offered. 

All of our top choices offered several key features including low to no fees and were easy to open; most offered higher-than-average APY, and are FDIC insured.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
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  2. "Can I order paper checks for my Aspiration Spend & Save account?" Accessed Dec. 2, 2020.

  3. "Robinhood - Investment & Trading, Commission-Free." Accessed Dec. 9, 2020.

  4. "Robinhood: Investing for All." Accessed Dec. 9, 2020.

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  6. "Betterment Unveils Banking Services With Launch of Betterment Everyday™." Accessed Dec. 9, 2020.

  7. Personal Capital. Accessed Dec. 9, 2020.