Cash management accounts are unique in the personal finance world — they combine features of checking, savings and investment accounts. Nonbank financial institutions (like brokerage firms) typically offer cash management accounts, which tend to pay competitive interest rates, charge no monthly fees and allow you to easily invest your money.
While some brokers require you to have a brokerage account to open a cash management account, all of our selections let you open one on its own. MagnifyMoney chose the Wealthfront Cash account as the best cash management account per our methodology.
Why we picked it: Wealthfront has an outstanding all-around cash management account with a high interest rate. Wealthfront is a robo-advisor platform that automatically manages portfolios according to investor goals and preferences. It has a particularly robust financial planning and goal-setting system, though it doesn’t offer access to professional advisors.
Like some other robo-advisors, Wealthfront offers a cash management account, and customers can easily move money into and out of their investment accounts. But, notably, you won’t need to invest with Wealthfront to open a Wealthfront Cash account. Wealthfront Cash currently pays 3.80% APY on all balances — much better than many traditional deposit accounts.
Wealthfront Cash has no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements, and allows account holders to make unlimited fee-free transfers. The account also has some important features more often associated with checking accounts: You can write and deposit checks and access your paycheck a few days early with direct deposit. Plus, you’ll receive a free debit card, which can be used at a network of over 19,000 ATMs.
Why we picked it: Aspiration has a strong blended APY when you spend at least $1,000 per month.
Aspiration is a fintech company guided by its commitment to socially responsible investing. It doesn’t invest in certain industries and companies, has sustainability initiatives and offers strong cash back rewards when you use your Aspiration debit card with Conscience Coalition companies.
Aspiration Spend & Save is their cash management account. Unlike other accounts on this list, there’s a premium version, which costs at least $71.88 each year. Aspiration Plus gets you higher interest rates (especially when you spend at least $1,000 per month through the account), automatic offsets for gasoline purchases, one out-of-network ATM reimbursement per month and 0.10% on balances over $10,000.
Even without Aspiration Plus, you can earn interest on your Save balance and cash back on Spend purchases. You can also get access to your paycheck a few days early and use an extensive network of in-network ATMs.
Why we picked it: Fidelity has a decent cash management account interest rate and offers a debit card. Fidelity is a full-service brokerage firm that offers brokerage accounts to retail investors, works with institutional investors (including other wealth management firms), sells premium market research and has a large network of financial advisors.
Fidelity also offers a cash management account that allows you to access cash at ATMs with a debit card — a key advantage over other cash management accounts that only have electronic transfers. There are no monthly maintenance fees, and you’ll earn 1.58% on all Fidelity Cash Management account balances.
Why we picked it: Personal Capital offers the best interest rate without having to meet qualifying requirements. To work with Personal Capital as an individual investor, you’d need at least $100,000 in investable assets — but you can still open a Cash account without an investment account.
Personal Capital offers a standout 4.10% APY on all balances, which bumps up to 4.10% APY for advisory clients. You can set up direct deposit through the Personal Capital Cash account’s dashboard, but you won’t be able to withdraw or deposit money at ATMs. In fact, because Personal Capital has no bank branches, you cannot physically withdraw or deposit cash at all; all transactions must be ACH transfers to a linked external bank account.
Why we picked it: Betterment offers a solid checking account that pairs well with its cash management account. Betterment is another robo-advisor that offers a standout cash management account called the Betterment Cash Reserve account. Betterment crafts customized portfolios and maintains them with automatic rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting.
The Cash Reserve account has features more commonly associated with savings accounts, especially the ability to create separate savings buckets for different goals. But, like some savings accounts, you cannot withdraw or deposit cash with a debit card; you can only transfer money electronically.
Betterment has no monthly fees for the Cash Reserve account; it only requires a $10 deposit to open and offers a solid 4.00% APY on all balances. If you prefer an account with a debit card, Betterment also offers a checking account with one and unlimited fee-free ATM use.
Cash management accounts make money accessible while paying interest on the balance. They’re often used to hold large cash balances as part of an investor’s portfolio. By sweeping the money into accounts held with partner banks, the companies that offer cash management accounts can provide higher Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance limits than an individual bank could.
Some cash management accounts can complete everyday banking transactions, but some don’t come with a debit card or allow you to deposit or withdraw cash with one; a cash management account may only let you transfer in and out with ACH transfers. That’s fine for moving money into and out of investment accounts, but may not be for grocery shopping or getting cash quickly. If you intend to use a cash management account for those kinds of transactions, make sure they’re available.
Different cash management accounts tend to have their own features, but some resemble checking accounts. With a cash management account, you may be able to earn cash back on debit transactions, receive paychecks a few days early, manage automatic payment of bills and deposit personal checks through a mobile app.
Here are some of the key strengths and weaknesses of these accounts:
|Strong interest on cash management account balances
|Some don’t allow you to withdraw or deposit cash
|Integrates well with investment accounts
|Not typically offered by financial institutions with physical branches
|Larger FDIC insurance limits than other accounts
|Transfers can take a few days to process
Cash management accounts have similar features to several other types of accounts offered by banks, credit unions and brokerages.
Widely offered by banks and credit unions, savings accounts are designed to safely store money while paying some interest. These accounts can limit the number of withdrawals you can make in a month, although that rule requirement is currently waived due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some online-only banks pare down their services so they can offer the best rates on savings accounts.
Cash management accounts also pay interest and may provide a debit card for purchases and ATM transactions, which many savings accounts don’t. However, many companies that offer cash management accounts don’t have full-service banking, unlike banks and credit unions that offer savings, money market and checking accounts.
Money market accounts are very similar to savings accounts: Sometimes they have higher minimum balance requirements than savings accounts and pay a slightly higher interest rate on average. Money market accounts are also more likely to offer check-writing or debit card privileges. Otherwise, the same differences between savings and cash management accounts also apply to money market accounts.
Banks and credit unions offer checking accounts for frequent, everyday banking transactions, like debit purchases and ATM withdrawals. Some checking accounts bear interest, and some offer cash back rewards; however, those features aren’t as common for checking accounts as they can be for cash management accounts. Both cash management accounts and checking accounts allow you to receive direct deposits and complete ACH transactions with the account.
A brokerage account holds securities like stocks, bonds and commodities, and most retail investors will need a brokerage account to participate in securities trading. Brokerage accounts can hold various assets, including liquid cash, but that money tends to earn better interest in a broker’s cash management account.
Often, brokerage accounts and cash management accounts work hand in hand, as a customer could have both types of accounts at a single broker and transfer excess cash back and forth to maximize interest on liquid cash.
|Minimum opening deposit
|3.80% on all balances
|Aspiration Spend & Save
|Up to 3.00% (Aspiration) or 5.00% (Aspiration Plus) on balances under $10,000 (different tiers)
|Fidelity Cash Management
|1.58% on all balances
|Personal Capital Cash
|4.10% (4.10% for advisory clients) on all balances
|Betterment Cash Reserve
|4.00% on all balances
We reviewed cash management accounts offered by robo-advisors, other online investment platforms and financial services companies to find the best nationally available options.
Important factors, such as competitive interest rates or cash back rewards, low fees and broad ATM access helped guide the selections in this list. These accounts must have deposit insurance through partner banks or credit unions. Accounts with higher deposit insurance limits are rated more highly.