01What Is a Savings Account?
Savings accounts give customers the flexibility to deposit money, earn interest, and withdraw funds as needed. They also keep money safe—savings accounts are federally insured, which means that the government covers up to $250,000 if your bank fails.
02Why Should You Get an Online Savings Account?
Online savings accounts provide flexibility and security, with additional advantages over traditional brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions. For starters, customers can manage money via smartphone or computer without depending on local branch hours and tellers. But most notably, they also offer higher rates and lower fees.
03Best Savings Account Interest Rates - September 2018
- Customers Bank at 2.25% APY - High Yield
- Northfield Bank at 2.25% APY - High Yield, $0.01 Minimum To Open
- Vio Bank at 2.10% APY - High Yield, Low Minimum Deposit, $100 To Open
- Salem Five Direct at 2.05% APY - High Yield, $100 To Open
- Utah First Federal Credit Union at 2.00% APY - High Yield For Credit Union Customers, $50 Minimum Balance Amount
- Citizens Access at 2.00% APY - High Yield, $5,000 Minimum Balance Amount
- Popular Direct at 2.00% APY - High Yield
- Quorum Federal Credit Union at 2.00% APY - High Yield
- Radius Bank at 1.96% APY - Competitive Yield
- Northpointe Bank at 1.95% APY - Competitive Yield
- Synchrony Bank at 1.85% APY - No Minimum Balance, ATM Access
- Goldman Sachs Bank USA at 1.85% APY - No Minimum Balance, No ATM Access
- Barclays Bank at 1.85% APY - No Minimum Balance
- Ally Bank at 1.85% APY - No Minimum Balance, Free Checking Account
- American Express National Bank at 1.80% APY - No Minimum Balance, No Fees
04Why Are Some Bank Interest Rates Higher Than Others?
How much interest you actually earn can vary quite a bit. While interest rates tend to be low at the biggest brick and mortar banks, some banks—including many online ones—offer rates as high as two percent. That won't grow your money as much as long-term investment in the stock market, but it will keep pace with inflation and provide a bit of growth without the risk.
Banks raise rates when they want to gather money. If they need to get deposits in the door, a high rate on savings accounts will attract money. If, on the other hand, they don’t need cash, they can keep rates lower.
Banks have different approaches to earning money. Some take deposits and lend them out, while others take a more varied approach (earning revenue and fees from other services like credit cards and ancillary business).
Organizational structure is also important. Some banks have shareholders demanding that the bank grow (and/or share income with the shareholders), and it’s hard for those banks to pay high yield interest rates to depositors. However, some banks are able to keep only what they need to pay the bills and share the rest of the revenue (from loans, ATM fees, etc.) with account holders. Small banks and credit unions are most likely to fit the latter model.
Depending on the economy—possibly the local economy for small banks and credit unions—you’ll find that the “borrowing and lending” banks change rates as their customers’ needs change.
05Comparing Savings Accounts vs. Money Market Account vs. CDs
Money market accounts and CDs are similar to savings accounts. But there are some important differences.
While money market accounts pay interest like savings accounts, they typically pay more, and offer check-writing and debit card options.
Savings accounts and money market accounts also differ in the ways banks and credit unions use your deposit. Money market deposits can be used to invest in Certificates of Deposit (CDs), while savings account deposits can only be used to make loans.
CDs offer higher rates than savings accounts if you can keep your savings in the bank for six months or longer. Time commitments vary, but you might have to pay a penalty if you take out your money early.
06How to Deposit and Withdraw Money From Your Savings Account
Customers can deposit and withdraw money at local bank and credit union branches. ATMs offer greater flexibility outside of branch hours. And online banks allow customers to manage accounts remotely via smartphone and computer.
Customers have many options to move funds in and out of savings accounts. Direct deposits, for instance, allow customers to have employer checks deposited directly into accounts. Customers can also write checks, make billing payments online, and use ATM/debit cards to manage deposits and spending.
07Our Top 9 Best Savings Accounts for High-Yield Interest Rates
Use this breakdown of popular banks to find the best high yield savings account rates online today.
The Popular Direct Exclusive Savings account offers an interest rate of 2.00 percent APY. Like all accounts on this list, it is FDIC insured.
To open a new account and qualify for this rate, new account owners must deposit a $5,000 minimum opening balance. The account offers daily compounding interest. If the balance on any day of the statement period is less than $500, there is a $4 monthly service fee.
Popular Direct is an online bank that offers this high yield savings account and CDs. You can also deposit to an account with mobile check deposit with your phone, which makes it easy to add to savings.
Salem Five Direct offers a 2.05 percent interest rate. You can open an account with a $100 deposit. There is no minimum balance once your account is open and no monthly fees.
Savings accounts typically have a limit of six withdrawals per month. This limit is set by Federal Reserve Board Regulation D, so don’t blame the banks. But you can deposit to a savings account as many times as you want in a month, subject to any bank imposed limits.
Account holders get access to mobile and online banking, mobile deposits, text alerts, as well as transfers to and from external accounts at other banks.
If you want a low minimum opening balance, DollarSavingsDirect is the place to go. With a minimum opening balance of just $1, you can open an account that pays 1.80 percent APY. When considering the unappealing website, the bank is FDIC insured so you know your money is safe.
The account has no minimum and no fees like any good savings account should. DollarSavingsDirect is owned by Emigrant Bank, a traditional savings bank with roots going back to 1850.
Once you open your DollarSavingsDirect savings account, you will fund the account with a linked checking account, which you can use to make future deposits and withdrawals.
This account is technically not a traditional savings account; it is a money market savings account. But for bank customers, all you have to know is that it works pretty much like any other savings account and is FDIC insured.
The VirtualBank eMoney Market account is particularly attractive in that it guarantees currently a 2.01 interest rate for one year for new customers to VirtualBank. This account is not fee-free. While it has no minimum balance, you must maintain a $100 daily minimum balance to avoid a $5 monthly service fee.
Account holders can access their account with mobile and online banking and mobile check deposits. After one year, interest rates drop. Accounts opened and initially funded with money transferred from an existing VirtualBank account are not eligible for the 1-year introductory period APY.
IncredibleBank offers checking, savings, and CDs with generally competitive rates, but if you can muster up a $25,000 balance, you’ll qualify for a 2.02 percent APY interest rate. Accounts with a balance below $25,000 earn 1.21 percent APY.
Accounts require a $2,500 opening minimum balance, but you probably won’t be worried about that if you are chasing the high 1.88 percent APY interest rate that requires ten times that to get the top interest rate.
This bank requires online banking and e-statements to avoid a $5 paper statement fee but has no other monthly maintenance fee. The account’s online banking options include a mobile app, bank-to-bank transfers and other useful features.
CIT Bank, not to be confused with Citi Bank, offers the best money market interest rate for lower balance accounts with a 1.85 percent. The account requires a $100 opening minimum balance.
This money market savings account offers online banking and a product called People Pay for transfers. The account has no opening or monthly service fees.
Unlike most banks on this list, CIT offers branch banking locations, with 71 locations in California according to U.S. Bank Locations. But outside of the Golden State, you can still open and maintain an account online.
PurePoint Financial offers a savings account with a 1.90 percent APY. The account requires a $10,000 minimum opening deposit, which is the highest minimum opening requirement on this list. But it does offer one of the top savings rates in the country, so it has that going for it if you do have $10,000+ to deposit.
PurePoint Financial is a division of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. This name is not quite as well known in the United States but is the fifth largest financial group in the world. California, Washington and Oregon residents may be familiar with another branch of the company: Union Bank. Union Bank operates 398 branches in the three West Coast states.
PurePoint offers competitive rates all around with no monthly fees, plus online and mobile banking. You don’t need to keep a $10,000 balance in the account to avoid fees, but your interest rate drops to 0.25 percent APY for balances below the $10,000 threshold, so you will want to keep that $10,000 balance or consider putting your funds elsewhere.
If you have $25,000 or more to deposit, the Ascent Money Market Savings Account from Customers Bank is the best rate you’ll find. At 2.25% APY guaranteed until June 30, 2019, savers with a large balance get a great rate on balances insured to the FDIC limit.
Based in Pennsylvania, Customers Bank is far from the best-known name in banking in the United States. However, this is a trusted company with more than $11 billion in assets and customers primarily located in the Northeastern United States. That said, anyone in the US can take advantage of this excellent savings account online.
This online savings account comes with a $100 minimum opening deposit and very competitive 2.10% APY. That is one of the best rates you’ll find for any savings account today, and a place you can rest easy with FDIC insured deposits.
Vio Bank is a national online bank owned by MidFirst Bank, a nationwide bank with locations in Oklahoma, Arizona, California, Colorado, and Texas. But you don’t have to live in those states to get this great rate. Just head to Vio Bank’s website to get started.
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Best Savings Account Interest Rates
Grow Your Money Faster and Easier Than Ever Before
The Balance offers a comprehensive comparison of the best savings account interest rates. We teamed up with Bankrate to survey approximately 4,800 banks and credit unions nationwide. Depending on how much money you’re looking to deposit, the table below will show you some of the best options available today. All of the banks and credit unions listed are insured by the FDIC or NCUA.