Savings accounts are great for storing your cash and earning a little interest — and different savings accounts can be geared toward different goals. Because everyone’s priorities vary, we reviewed hundreds of accounts across our sister site DepositAccounts, financial institution websites and other sources to find the best savings account in several categories.
We ranked accounts higher if they had greater annual percentage yields (APYs), fewer fees, higher-rated mobile apps and wider account accessibility. We also prioritized elements of each specific category. Using our unique methodology, our pick for the overall best savings account is Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings.
Why we picked it: We chose the Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings account as the best overall savings account for its accessibility, affordability and APY. It has a higher-than-average rate for savings accounts, no monthly fees and no minimum opening deposit, making it a low-stakes way to earn decent interest on any balance. Make same-day transfers of up to $100,000 to and from your checking or savings accounts at other banks via the Marcus app or by phone. Rated 4.8 stars in the Apple App store and 4.3 stars in the Google Play Store, the Marcus app allows you to review transactions, monitor transfers and make use of the Marcus Insights tools and trackers. Customer service is available 24/7 via chat or phone. Overall, this account makes sense for the everyday saver looking to earn a little on their balance and easily access their cash without risking hidden fees.
Why we picked it: The Affinity FCU SmartStart Savings account stands out for its 3.50% APY on the first $5,000 in your account. For balances over $5,000, your APY drops to a tiered rate that is still higher than the national average for savings accounts.
Affinity FCU is an easy credit union to join — you only need to open and maintain a $5 membership eligibility account and make a $5 donation to the New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education or the Connecticut Jump$tart Coalition.
There’s no minimum balance requirement or monthly fees for this account. Plus, Affinity’s mobile app has capabilities that most mobile banking apps have — recurring transfers, bill pay, Zelle, automatic payments, mobile deposit, direct deposit, money management tools and more.
Contact a rep over the phone 24/7, use the chatbot’s virtual assistant anytime or live chat with a banker during office hours. This account is a solid choice if you don’t mind taking a few minutes to apply for a membership and want to earn solid interest on a lower balance.
Why we picked it: My Banking Direct is a service of New York Community Bank (NYCB). We chose its high-yield savings account for its competitive 2.20% APY on all balances. After an initial $500 deposit, you only have to keep a daily balance of at least $1 in the account to earn interest, and you won’t pay any monthly fees.
My Banking Direct offers a 24/7 automated system for customer service, but you can speak directly with a banker during office hours. Customers can also log into their NYCB Online account or the mobile app to access the message center.
As a part of NYCB, My Banking Direct operates under the NYCM Mobile app, which includes features like mobile alerts, bill pay, Zelle, mobile deposit, eStatements, credit score monitoring, money transfers and SMS banking.
Why we picked it: Apart from a $30 service fee for outgoing wire transfers, Discover Online Savings has no fees for:
Note that Discover Online Savings doesn’t come with an ATM card, so there are no fees associated with ATM use.
The highly rated Discover App lets you monitor your savings, set up alerts, deposit checks, send and transfer money and pay bills. As an added perk, it works well with a variety of wearable devices.
You can chat with Discover customer service through the app or contact the help center 24/7 by phone. For financial advice, the site’s Modern Money Blog serves as a financial education source, with articles on saving, debt resolution, budgeting and other financial topics. Ultimately, this account is for those who want to avoid fees and earn a little interest while also having easy access to their cash and financial resources.
Why we picked it: The SoFi Student Checking and Savings account earns the same competitive 2.00% APY as SoFi’s regular checking and savings account when you set up direct deposit (members without direct deposit will earn 1.00% APY on all account balances). This account is practically the same as the regular checking and savings account, just with a few additional student-focused benefits.
There are no minimum balance requirements, no monthly fees, no overdraft fees and no fees at 55,000-plus ATMs nationwide. These are huge benefits for the student on a budget who’s attending school out of state.
Students will also appreciate SoFi’s mobile app, where you can monitor your savings and spending, pay friends, deposit checks, set up alerts and organize your savings into vaults with recurring deposits. Contact customer support via live chat or phone during office hours, and even meet with a career coach or financial planner at no additional cost.
SoFi is currently offering a sign-up bonus of up to $30 on this account if you meet certain requirements (like signing up with your .edu email address, adding $10 to your account and spending $100 on your SoFi debit card within the first 30 days of your account).
Why we picked it: We chose Ally Online Savings as the best for automated savings tools for its savings features, including:
In addition to these tools, Ally offers some comprehensive financial education resources. The Ally blog covers a range of subtopics including career, college and retirement, but also budgeting, estate planning and finance basics. Customers can sign up for Ally Wallet Wise, the bank’s free financial education program that teaches you the basics of finance in unique ways (a life simulator and graphic novel to be exact). Lastly, they offer a whole other bank of financial tools and resources that offer financial advice for every major life event.
If you need more help with your finances or accounts, you can call, chat or email support 24/7 and speak to a real banker.
Why we picked it: We chose UFB Direct for its high APY, no fees, complimentary ATM card and digital experience for remote banking. The UFB Direct Mobile app also holds strong ratings for both Apple and Android products, allowing you to:
The app and online banking portal essentially act as a full-service bank, allowing you to get quotes and even prequalify for loans or refinancing. You can contact customer service via chat in the app during business hours or contact a banker directly 24/7, apart from certain holidays.
And if you’re not sure how the app works on your device, the bank has compiled several demo videos to serve as a guide. UFB Direct also offers some additional financial education on the site.
Why we picked it: Synchrony Bank is an online bank, but it makes it pretty easy to access the cash in your high-yield savings account. It offers a highly-rated mobile app, free ATM card and fee-free access to the bank’s widespread ATM network. You can even combine up to four of your accounts onto a single ATM card — just give the bank a call to set it up.
Synchrony will reimburse you for any out-of-network ATM fees you accrue up to $5 per statement cycle (Diamond tier customers will receive unlimited ATM fee refunds). The ATM cash withdrawal limit is $1,000 per day, with a separate $500 limit per day for ATM point-of-sale transactions.
You can transfer your money online for free from any Synchrony account, or transfer it from a non-Synchrony account that you’ve linked up. There is no fee to receive a wire transfer, but there is a $25 fee to send one (Diamond tier customers receive three wire transfers per statement cycle).
The Synchrony mobile app provides a full-scale view of your accounts, even with a widget for your phone’s home screen to check balances at a glance. You can deposit checks, link up accounts, track spending and activity and chat with a live banker for questions. Otherwise, you can call or chat with an agent on the site during business hours, while the automated customer service line is available 24/7.
|Account||Category||APY||Minimum balance to open|
|Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings||Best overall||2.15% on all balances||$0|
|Affinity FCU SmartStart Savings||Best APY for low balances||3.50% on balances up to $5,000||$0|
|My Banking Direct High-Yield Savings||Best APY for high balances||2.20% on all balances||$500|
|Discover Online Savings||Best for avoiding fees||2.10% on all balances||$0|
|SoFi Student Checking and Savings||Best for students||2.00% on all balances||$0|
|Ally Online Savings||Best for automated savings||2.00% on all balances||$0|
|UFB Direct Savings||Best for mobile and online banking||2.21% on all balances||$0|
|Synchrony High-Yield Savings||Best for access to cash||2.25% on all balances||$0|
Using information from our sister site DepositAccounts, financial institution websites and other sources, MagnifyMoney reviewed hundreds of accounts to determine the best savings account for categories important to banking customers. To be considered, accounts must be available across the United States and insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Committee (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).
While each category winner is based on particular criteria, we also considered the following features when selecting our accounts. We ranked higher those with:
A savings account is a type of deposit account offered by banks and credit unions that’s easily accessible and typically earns a little interest. Because savings accounts often have transaction limits, they’re designed for medium- or longer-term savings goals like preparing for a down payment or building an emergency fund.
Ensuring your bank is FDIC-insured or your credit union is NCUA-insured is important in keeping the funds in your savings account safe. FDIC and NCUA insurance protects deposit accounts funds up to $250,000 per depositor, per bank and per ownership category.
Savings accounts are designed for fewer transactions and longer-term goals, and they generally offer better interest rates than checking accounts. For instance, a savings account is where you’d keep funds that you want to earn greater interest on and don’t necessarily need to touch soon.
Checking accounts are built for greater liquidity and more transactions. These accounts are best for everyday transactions, such as paying bills, withdrawing money from an ATM or receiving your paycheck.
In your search for the right savings account, you’ll come across the following types:
To open a savings account, you must be at least 18 years of age. If you’re under 18, you’ll need a parent or legal guardian to sign with you as a co-owner. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you can open an account, but it may require a few more hurdles to verify your identity.
Here are the steps to open a savings account.
Start the application process either online, by phone or in a physical branch, depending on what the bank has available. Only brick and mortar banks will offer in-person applications.
Collect the necessary information to apply: This will typically include your Social Security number, proof of mailing address, government-issued driver’s license, date of birth and contact details (such as email address and phone number). If this is a joint account, you’ll want all of this same information for the co-owner.
Read through the terms and conditions, as well as disclosures, to get a clear idea of fees you could accrue and understand fully how interest is calculated.
If you’d like to fund your account from another account at another bank, have your routing number and account number ready. If you’re opening it at the same bank, they should already have all of that information on-hand.
Pay any opening deposit requirement by transferring from another account, writing a check or paying in cash. If there isn’t a required deposit, you could still add to your account to start earning interest right away.
Now that you’ve filled out all the paperwork and provided payment details to fund the account, you’ll have to wait for approval on your application. Once it’s open, use your bank or credit union’s website, mobile app and any in-person branches to stay connected to your account.
Most would say “yes” –– why not have your savings in a secure place where it can grow over time? But ultimately, it’ll depend on your financial goals and needs. What are you looking to save for? What are your priorities?
Perhaps you want to teach your kids about money management; you can open a savings account with them to monitor their money and spending while introducing them to personal finance. In this case, you wouldn’t necessarily need immediate access to cash and could instead let that money grow quietly until high school graduation.
Even if you’re young and not ready to save for a big vacation or house down payment, contributing a little to a savings account each month could be a great start for your early retirement goals –– in which case you wouldn’t need to touch these funds for a while. Or maybe you have travel plans for the following year. Aim for higher APY on smaller balances, where you have fewer restrictions on withdrawals.
Make a list of your financial goals, priorities and necessities and use it as a guide for which features, APY and cash accessibility you’ll need in a savings account.
Here’s what we recommend looking for when shopping for the right savings account:
A savings account is a deposit account where you store your money to reach financial goals. Savings accounts typically have transaction limits and offer interest, so you can see your savings grow over time.
After reviewing hundreds of accounts across our sister site DepositAccounts and other financial institution websites, we found that Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings was the best. It has a higher-than-average APY, no monthly maintenance fees, no opening deposit requirement, 24/7 customer service and a highly rated mobile app.
Start the application online or in-person at a branch and provide the appropriate information (proof of address, driver’s license, social security number, date of birth and general contact information). Read the financial institution’s terms and conditions, make the opening deposit if required, submit your application and wait for approval.