The Best High-Interest Savings Accounts of 2019

High-Yield Savings Accounts of December 2019

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If you want to earn something on that money you worked so hard to save, high-yield savings accounts are a low-risk option with flexibility. Just keep in mind your rate isn’t fixed with a high-interest savings account, so your earnings may diminish in a falling-rate environment.

The Balance offers a comprehensive comparison of the best high-yield savings account interest rates. Depending on how much money you’re looking to deposit, these are some of the top options available.

We teamed up with QuinStreet to bring you the savings account offers in the following table. Below, you'll find our editors' picks for the best high-yield savings accounts. All of the banks and credit unions listed are insured by the FDIC or NCUA

Each month, we evaluate savings accounts that are widely available throughout the U.S. to identify the best high-interest savings accounts. For this round-up, we primarily look at the annual percentage yield (APY) offered, but to help you compare options, we also consider factors like how quickly interest compounds, how easily you can make deposits, and customer service availability.

Best High-Yield Savings Accounts for December 2019

  • FitnessBank Fitness Savings Account at 2.30% APY - $100 to open, and rates depend on fitness tracking
  • State Bank of India Savings at 2.25% APY - $500 to open
  • Brio Direct High-Yield Savings at 2.20% APY - $25 to open
  • CommunityWide FCU at 2.10% APY - $5 to open
  • TAB Bank at 2.10% APY - No minimum to open
  • SFGI Direct at 2.07% APY - $500 to open
  • HSBC Direct Savings at 2.05% APY - $1 to open
  • Vio Bank High-Yield Online Savings Account at 2.02% APY - $100 to open
  • Comenity Direct High-Yield Savings Account at 2.00% APY - $100 to open
  • Prime Alliance Bank at 1.96% APY - $10,000 to earn the highest rate

Here's more information about the banks offering the best savings account rates right now:

FitnessBank Fitness Savings Account

FitnessBank is an online bank that rewards you based on your activity. Earn up to 2.30% APY if you log at least 12,500 steps with your Fitbit, Apple Health, Garmin, or Google Play. Lower rates are available with lower activity levels. The account requires $100 to open, and you must maintain at least that much as an average daily balance to avoid a $10 monthly maintenance charge.

What We Like

  • One of the highest rates available

What We Don't Like

  • Significantly lower earnings if you don't (or can't) track the required steps

  • No mobile deposit

State Bank of India Savings

State Bank of India has a savings account paying 2.25% APY and a unique money transfer offering. You need $500 to open the account, and you must maintain that balance to avoid paying monthly fees. State Bank of India provides a variety of different accounts, and you can transfer funds to India in rupees at no charge.

What We Like

  • One of the highest rates available online

What We Don't Like

  • Must maintain $500 to avoid fee

Brio Direct High-Yield Savings

Brio Direct pays 2.20% APY on its high-yield savings account with a minimum deposit of $25. There are no monthly fees, and you can fund your account from a linked bank account, checks, or wire transfers. Brio also offers CDs, but there’s no checking account or money market account available at this time.

What We Like

  • No-frills bank account with high rates

What We Don't Like

  • Limited account offerings available

CommunityWide Federal Credit Union Savings

CommunityWide FCU is a federally insured credit union that pays 2.00% APY on the share savings account. The account requires a $5 minimum to open, and there are no monthly maintenance charges. Membership is relatively easy to get, regardless of where you live or work. You can become eligible by joining several organizations, including Habitat for Humanity Helpers.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

  • May need to join additional organizations for eligiblity

TAB Bank High-Yield Savings Account

TAB Bank pays an APY of 2.10% and has no minimum requirement for the initial deposit or ongoing balance. There are no monthly fees, and interest compounds daily. 

What We Like

  • No minimum to open or limit on balance

  • Additional account options, including checking and CDs

What We Don't Like

  • Limited information available online

SFGI Direct Savings Account

SFGI Direct, part of Summit Community Bank, pays an APY of 2.07% and requires $500 to open an account. After that, there are no minimum balance requirements or monthly service charges. Interest accrues daily and is added to your account at the end of each month. To fund your account, you can set up direct deposit or move money from a linked bank account.

What We Like

  • Customer service available by phone six days per week

  • No monthly dormancy fee unless account has been inactive for seven years

What We Don't Like

  • Allows you to link only one external account

  • No check deposits or wire transfers for funding your account

HSBC Direct Savings

HSBC offers a competitive 2.05% APY on balances up to $2 million, and you only need $1 to open the account. You can open an account online or in a branch, and the bank also offers mobile deposit. There are no monthly maintenance fees and no excess withdrawal fees. Interest accrues daily and compounds monthly.

What We Like

  • No fees

  • Good for a wide range of deposit amounts

What We Don't Like

  • You can get a higher rate elsewhere

Vio Bank High-Yield Online Savings Account

Vio Bank, a Division of MidFirst Bank, pays an APY of 2.02%, and you can open an account with $100. Interest compounds daily, rather than monthly. There is no monthly fee, and you can fund your account by depositing checks through the mobile app, mailing checks, or making electronic transfers. Vio’s online banking allows you to do more than just view your account and move money. You can email Vio, download transactions to your favorite software, and more.

What We Like

  • Customer service reachable by phone on both weekend days

  • Many online services, including account activity alerts

What We Don't Like

  • No checking or money market accounts at Vio

Comenity Direct High-Yield Savings Account

Comenity Direct pays 2.00% APY with a $100 deposit required to open an account. There is no monthly maintenance charge, and that’s true even if you withdraw all of your money and leave the account empty (although banks may charge dormant account fees at some point). Comenity says there are just three potential fees you might pay for optional services: for outbound wires, official check requests, and paper copies of your statements.

What We Like

  • Balance can fall below $100 with no monthly fees

What We Don't Like

  • You can get a higher rate at different banks

Prime Alliance Bank

Prime Alliance Bank pays 1.96% APY on balances of $10,000 or more in a personal savings account. There is no minimum balance required to open an account, but smaller balances earn a slightly lower interest rate. There are no monthly maintenance fees, and you can deposit checks into your account with a mobile device.

What We Like

  • Pays a respectable interest rate, even with smaller account balances

What We Don't Like

  • $10 fee to receive wire transfers in your account

  • You can get a better rate without such a high deposit at other savings institutions

What Makes a High-Yield Savings Account Worth Getting?

Your rate determines how quickly your account grows. The higher the rate, the better, because you earn more on your savings with a higher rate. In addition to the stated interest rate, an account’s APY is useful for comparing accounts. That number illustrates how much you earn in your account over the course of a year when you allow your earnings to compound (see below).

Do I Need the Highest Interest Rate?

Not necessarily. Run the numbers to determine how much you gain by choosing a bank with a higher interest rate—it might not be worth the trouble of moving your money. The more money you have in savings, the more it matters. But most people keep only a modest amount in savings, so high rates aren’t as important as banks might lead you to believe.

For example, if you keep $2,500 in savings, how much higher does the rate need to be for you to care? Assume you’re choosing between two banks, with all other things being equal:

  • If you earn an extra 0.25% at one bank, that translates to roughly $6.25 per year
  • A rate that’s 0.50% higher returns an additional $12.50 per year
  • Earning an extra 1% would yield about $25 per year

See how to calculate interest earnings with numbers that you choose.

Do Savings Account Rates Change?

The interest rate on your savings account changes over time. In some cases, the rate remains the same over extended periods. But when rates in the broad economy change, banks typically move in sync with those changes. If the Fed cuts rates, there’s a good chance that your savings account rates will remain stagnant or fall. When rates rise, banks tend to increase rates, but not necessarily as quickly as you’d like.

We're currently in a falling-rate environment. While banks are still competing for funds by offering higher-than-average APYs, they're no longer racing to offer the highest rate, like they were before the Fed started cutting benchmark rates in 2019.

CDs enable you to lock in a rate that doesn’t change, but there are pros and cons of using CDs.

Why Are Some Bank Interest Rates Higher Than Others?

How much interest you actually earn can vary quite a bit. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the average annual percentage yield (APY) across all savings accounts is just 0.09%. While interest rates tend to be low at the biggest brick and mortar banks, some banks (including many online ones) offer rates a little over 2%.

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.

Is the Savings Account Interest Taxable?

Interest you earn in your savings account is generally taxable as income. Your bank typically reports your earnings on Form 1099-INT, and you should provide that information to your tax preparer or include it with your tax filings.

Keep an eye out for a 1099-INT in the mail during tax season. You may also be able to see the form through your online banking portal.

With individual accounts, joint accounts, and other taxable accounts, you pay interest for the year you receive the income. But if your account is part of a retirement account like an IRA, you may be able to postpone or avoid taxation on that interest. 

In many cases, banks do not provide a 1099-INT unless you earn at least $10 during the year.

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 .
  1. FitnessBank. "FitnessBank Step Goals & Rates." Accessed Dec. 11, 2019.

  2. Fitness Bank. "How it Works." Accessed Dec. 11, 2019.

  3. State Bank of India. "Interest Rates." Accessed Dec. 11, 2019.

  4. Brio Direct. "High-Yield Savings." Accessed Dec. 11, 2019.

  5. CommunityWide FCU. "CW Savings Accounts." Accessed Dec. 11, 2019.

  6. CommunityWide FCU. "CW Membership Eligibility," Accessed Dec. 11, 2019.

  7. SFGI Direct. "SFGI Direct Savings Account." Accessed Dec. 11, 2019.

  8. HSBC Direct. "Savings Terms & Charges Disclosure." Accessed Dec. 11, 2019.

  9. Vio Bank. "High Yield Savings Account." Accessed Dec. 11, 2019.

  10. Comentiy Direct. "High-Yield Savings Account." Accessed Dec. 11, 2019.

  11. Prime Alliance Bank. "Personal Savings Account." Accessed Dec. 11, 2019.