How to Find the Best Savings Account

Safe, competitive and easy make a savings account worthy

Couple doing finances
••• AleksandarNakic/istock

Want to know how to find the best savings account? With this guide, you can find the savings account that will benefit you most. Overall, keep the following tips in mind: The best savings accounts are safe, pay a competitive yield and make your life easy. Don't settle for any bank or credit union, but shop around to find the bank that will give you what you're looking for in a savings account.

Finding a Bank

If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to find a bank. The most competitive savings accounts these days are at online banks. They consistently pay more than brick and mortar banks, fees are low or nonexistent, and they’ve got all the bells and whistles you need.

Some of the best savings accounts come from the big online players, and they do not have minimum balance requirements:

If you have substantial assets to deposit, the accounts above may not be the best savings account solution for you, as some banks pay more with higher balances.

Extra Features

Before settling on a bank, investigate the features most important to you. The best savings accounts do more than pay interest – they make your life easy. A few ideas on how to narrow the list down and settle on the best savings account for your situation include asking yourself if you'll you use CDs and if the bank offers them.

Also, do you need to download information into your financial software? Are there any physical locations in case you need a check printed? Lastly, how long will bank-to-bank transfers take, and can you deposit checks with your mobile device?

Avoiding Pitfalls

Once you find the best savings account for your needs, make sure that your money will be safe if the bank runs into trouble. First, be sure the bank has FDIC insurance in place and that your account will be fully covered. If you use a credit union, look for NCUSIF insurance, which is just as strong as FDIC insurance.

You should also search for reviews on the account to make sure that the bank delivers what it promises. Start with Google and DepositAccounts (DepositAccounts also keeps an updated list of the best savings accounts).

Even the best savings accounts will present you with problems inherent to online banking. Prepare yourself with knowledge ahead of time by consulting resources such as "3 Reasons to Avoid Online Bank Accounts."

Payment Accounts

You may find that you want more than just a savings account. If you want a payment account – for checkwriting, online bill pay and debit card access – then look for a hybrid account. You can earn a competitive return on your money like you do with the best savings accounts, and you can make payments like you do from checking accounts.

Some of the accounts below may meet your needs:

Be sure to include "reward checking" accounts as potential candidates while you do your research. These accounts often pay more than savings accounts, and you can spend money from the account. The drawback is that you have to meet some fairly restrictive criteria to earn the high interest rate.