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Editor’s Choice: Best Student Checking Accounts

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We know that checking accounts aren’t one-size-fits-all, especially for students. To make your search easier, we found the best checking accounts for students in various categories, so you can find an account with the features that are most important to you — including ATM access, overdraft protection, rewards, international student access, widespread branch access and accounts for parents. We also chose a top student account overall, which offers the best of each category.

To find these top student accounts, MagnifyMoney experts looked at dozens of student checking accounts and regular accounts. We weighed an account’s monthly fee structure, ATM access, overdraft protections and general accessibility. For further peace of mind, we ensured each bank below provides deposit insurance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

This page is updated regularly to provide the most recent information.

Best For

Account

Monthly Fee

OverallCapital One 360 Checking$0
ATM accessAlly Bank Interest Checking Account $0
Overdraft protectionBank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking$0 for eligible students
RewardsRadius Bank Rewards Checking$0
International studentsPNC Bank Virtual Wallet Student$0
Branch accessChase College Checking & Chase High School Checking$0 (may require qualification)
ParentsCapital One MONEY$0

What to look for in a student checking account

A student checking account needs to fit a student’s lifestyle. An account with low balance requirements and little to no fees is ideal, but today’s students also need the ease of banking on-the-go, making it all the more important that mobile apps and online features are offered.

Here are a few things to look for when finding the best student checking account for you:

  • Fees: Look for an account with little to no fees. A free checking account is best — that way you don’t have to worry about any charges, and can focus more on money management.
  • ATM access: Even in today’s tech-first world, we all need cash sometimes. Look for an account with widespread — and ideally — free ATM access. Even better, check whether a bank offers reimbursement for third-party ATM charges.
  • Mobile app: Most banks nowadays offer a mobile app, but look for the features offered on the app, like mobile check deposit, and take a look at its rating on app stores.
  • Overdraft protection: Look for free overdraft protection, which will cover you in case you try to pull more money from your account than you have. This will keep your money in your pocket, instead of adding to your bank’s revenue.

The above factors are all important in making your choice, but there are a couple extras that could make or break your decision. Free checks could be a handy feature, for example, while the offer of a cash bonus or ongoing rewards is also worth considering when making your choice.

Best student checking accounts

We rounded up the best student checking accounts based on a range of banking needs, whether it’s easy access to ATMs, cashback rewards or overdraft protection you’re after.

Best student checking account overall

Capital One 360 Checking Account

  • $0 monthly fee
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • Earns interest
  • Mobile app with mobile deposit
  • Locations in six states and D.C.

Students need a low-cost and accessible checking account. The Capital One 360 Checking Account is just that — a free, online checking account that you can easily access on the bank’s mobile app, as well as at branches and ATMs. Plus, since this is a regular account, you can keep this account without having to change a thing once you’re no longer a student, unlike student checking accounts that revert to a regular account with a monthly fee.

The Capital One 360 Checking Account doesn’t have a minimum deposit requirement, which means you can open the account with any amount. There’s also no minimum balance required to keep the account open or to earn interest. All balances earn a modest 0.10% APY.

The account comes with a contactless debit Mastercard that you can use to make free withdrawals at any ATM, including Capital One’s ATMs and those in the Allpoint network. However, you may face a third-party surcharge for using an ATM that is not in those networks — note that Capital One locations are limited to the District of Columbia, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Virginia.

Capital One also offers free overdraft protection options, including:

  • Auto-Decline: This prevents transactions that would overdraw your account from going through. It not only prevents you from overspending, but also allows you to avoid an overdraft fee.
  • Free Savings Transfer: This covers your purchases by transferring money from your savings or money market account.
  • Next Day Grace: When you opt in, this gives you a full business day to replace the overdraft amount before the bank charges the $35 overdraft fee.

This account can be opened jointly.

Best student checking account for ATM access

Ally Bank Interest Checking Account

  • Widespread free ATM access
  • ATM fee rebates
  • No monthly fee
  • Earns interest on all balances
  • No cash deposits

Even without branches, Ally Bank offers notably widespread access to ATMs. You can use your Interest Checking Account debit card to withdraw cash from over 40,000 Allpoint ATMs in the U.S. at no cost. If you use an out-of-network ATM and are charged a fee, Ally Bank will reimburse you up to $10 per statement cycle.

A downside of this account is that you cannot deposit cash. Still, the Ally Interest Checking Account is easily accessible both online and on mobile apps, which allow for Ally eCheck Deposit. You can even transfer money via Ally Skill™ on an Amazon Alexa device.

The Interest Checking Account is free to own. Overdraft protection is offered at no cost by linking the checking account to an Ally Bank savings or money market account. In addition, there are no fees for incoming wire transfers and official or cashier’s checks. Ally Bank is upfront about the fees you might face, like those for returned deposit items, overdraft items and outgoing domestic wire transfers.

Avoid these fees, and your money can earn interest uninterrupted: Accounts with a balance of less than $15,000 earn 0.10% APY, while accounts with a balance of $15,000 or higher earn 0.25% APY.

Best student checking account for overdraft protection

Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking

  • Prevents overdrafts and overdraft fees
  • Monthly fee waived for students
  • Spending and budgeting tools
  • No paper checks
  • Doesn’t earn interest

Bank of America’s Advantage SafeBalance Banking account keeps your balance safe (see what they did there?) by avoiding overdrafts altogether. The account does not offer overdraft protection services; rather, it declines all transactions that would overdraw the account. This allows you to avoid overdraft fees and nonsufficient funds (NSF) fees. However, you may still face a fee from the merchant if your payment bounces back.

Select students can get a better deal on the Advantage SafeBalance Banking account by requesting to have the monthly fee waived. Eligible students are those who are under 24 years of age and enrolled in a high school, college, university or vocational program. With the exception of high school students, you may have to provide proof of enrollment. Once you’re no longer an eligible student, you can waive the account’s $4.95 fee by enrolling in Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program.

This account does not earn interest, nor does it come with paper checks. However, you can still deposit checks into the account via remote check deposit on Bank of America’s Mobile Banking app, at a branch or at an ATM. The bank’s mobile app also includes the ability to lock and unlock your debit card if you lose it, and it provides a digital debit card in the meantime.

For physical access to your cash, Bank of America has locations in 37 states and the District of Columbia. It’s best to stick to Bank of America ATMs, though, because out-of-network ATM transactions will cost $2.50 ($5 when outside of the U.S.), plus any fees charged by the ATM operator.

Parents, you can open this account jointly with your child.

Best student checking account for rewards

Radius Bank Rewards Checking

  • 1% cashback rewards (up to 1.50% for a limited time. Terms & Conditions apply.)
  • Earns interest
  • No monthly fee
  • Unlimited ATM rebates
  • Early direct deposit paycheck

The Radius Bank Rewards Checking account may not be a student-specific account, but its double rewards are too good to pass up. For starters, you can earn unlimited 1% cashback on online and signature-based transactions made with the linked Radius debit card. Until Dec. 30, 2020, you can also earn an extra 0.50% cash back on transactions made in certain merchant categories, including pharmacies, medical services, grocery stores, restaurants and more.

In addition to cashback, Rewards Checking account balances of at least $2,500 earn 0.10% APY, while balances of at least $100,000 earn 0.15% APY.

The account’s perks don’t stop there, though. There’s no monthly fee, and you can access any ATM worldwide for free. Radius Bank even offers unlimited rebates on third-party ATM surcharges. Plus, if you set up your paycheck to direct deposit into the account, you can access it up to two days earlier, as Radius Bank will deposit the check as soon as it receives it instead of waiting for the funds to process.

Best student checking account for international students

PNC Bank Virtual Wallet Student

  • International students can open accounts (in branch)
  • Interpretation services & bilingual bankers (in select branches)
  • No monthly fee
  • ATM fee reimbursements
  • Limited geographical reach

International students can take advantage of PNC Bank’s Virtual Wallet Student by applying at a PNC branch with a valid passport or permanent resident card and a valid visa or driver’s license — that being said, PNC Bank only has branches in 22 states and the District of Columbia. Still, PNC Bank boasts customer service with interpretation services in over 240 languages, bilingual employees at select branches, ATMs featuring 10 non-English languages and online financial education services for Spanish-speaking customers.

In terms of international access, PNC Bank will reimburse the first two non-PNC Bank ATM transactions per statement period, whether international or domestic. The bank also allows one free incoming domestic or international wire transfer per statement cycle.

Virtual Wallet Student is technically three accounts in one:

  • Spend: A non-interest-bearing checking account for your everyday spending needs
  • Reserve: An interest-bearing checking account at 0.01% APY meant for short-term savings
  • Growth: An interest-bearing student savings account at 0.01% APY meant for longer-term savings

Students can take advantage of this account package for free for six years, at which point the account converts to a regular Virtual Wallet. Students may have to provide proof of enrollment in a qualifying educational institution.

In addition to branch access, account holders can access Virtual Wallet Student online and through PNC Bank’s mobile app. The app allows for mobile check deposit, as long as you have a camera on your device.

Best student checking account for branch access

Chase College Checking & Chase High School Checking

  • Branches in 38 states and D.C.
  • No monthly fee (may require qualification)
  • No overdraft protection on High School Checking

With branches in 38 states and the District of Columbia, Chase Bank is among the most physically accessible for customers. This is especially handy for college students, who may be hopping from state to state several times a year. Chase can even help you find a compatible international ATM if you have a Chase Visa® Check card or a Chase ATM card.

The Chase College Checking account is for college students who are 17 to 24 years old and have proof of their student status. The account is free for five years while the student is in college; it’s also free if, per statement cycle, you make a direct deposit into the account or maintain an average daily balance of at least $5,000 (otherwise, there is a $6 monthly fee). You can get overdraft protection by linking a Chase Savings account to your Chase College Checking account, which will also waive the monthly service fee on the savings account.

The Chase High School Checking account is a joint account for students 13 to 17 years old and their parents or guardians, which must be linked to the adult’s qualifying personal checking account. Once the student becomes eligible, they can convert the account to Chase College Checking; otherwise, the Chase High School Checking account will automatically convert to Chase Total Checking once the student turns 19 (the adult co-owner will remain on the account unless removed). Chase High School Checking does not include Chase Standard Overdraft Practice, where, for a fee, the bank may pay for overdraft transactions.

Both student checking accounts come with a debit card. They’re also both easily accessible online and through the Chase mobile app, which includes mobile check deposit. For adults on the Chase High School Checking account, you can set up text and app notifications to stay on top of your teen’s account activity.

Best student checking account for parents

Capital One MONEY

  • Joint ownership between parent and child
  • No monthly fee
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • Earns interest

The Capital One MONEY account is a joint account designed for teens and their parents or legal guardians, although kids aged eight and older can be a joint owner on the account. The adult owner of the account must have a personal deposit account with Capital One or a personal checking account at another U.S. bank to link to the MONEY account. Once the minor account owner turns 18, they can choose to open a 360 Checking account.

The MONEY teen checking account is free to own and doesn’t have any minimum balance requirements. The account focuses on teaching teens responsible money management skills through features available on the Capital One mobile app. This includes Spendable and Set Aside categories to help separate funds for spending and saving, and the ability to set up specific savings goals. Plus, the account earns 0.10% APY, showing your teen the value of an interest-bearing account.

For parents, the account provides text alerts and app notifications to help you keep track of your teen’s spending and the account’s balance. Parents can also take money out of the account, view transactions and set up allowances and transfers from their linked account. The account comes with only one debit card, meant for the teen.

There are very few fees associated with the MONEY teen account, and the ones you might run into are rare, such as those for statement copies, expedited card delivery and cashier’s checks.

FAQs

A student bank account is one specially made for students. Student checking accounts typically offer the benefit of a waived monthly service fee for students (often with proof of school enrollment). Others provide better protections suited for younger users, like free overdraft protection and avoidance of overdraft fees.

Many student checking accounts nowadays also ensure easy mobile and online access, as well as online and/or mobile budgeting and spending features.

Students aren’t limited to student-specific bank accounts. In fact, students can open regular accounts that are often more fee-free than student accounts, as you can see in some of our picks above.

Students can also look into opening a joint account with their parent or guardian. This can help the student to get acclimated to the world of banking, while also offering the parent or guardian the chance to keep an eye on their student’s banking behavior.

  1. Head to the bank’s website or visit a bank branch. Starting the process of opening a new student bank account is usually as simple as clicking the “Open Account” button on the account’s webpage. International students will likely have to visit the bank’s branch to open an account.
  2. Provide personal and contact information. When opening a bank account, you typically will have to give your full name, Social Security number, email address and/or phone number and some sort of government-issued ID. To open a student-specific account, you’ll also likely need to provide proof of enrollment at a qualifying school.International students opening an account may be asked to provide additional documentation and information. For example, our best checking account for international students, PNC Virtual Wallet Student, requires a valid passport or permanent resident card and a valid visa or driver’s license to open an account. As another example, Chase requires non-U.S. students to provide a passport with a photo and either the I-20 form or DS-2019 form, as well as a residential address, proof of student status and expected graduation date when opening an account.
  3. Fund the new account. Depending on the account’s requirements, you may need to fund your new student checking account when you open it or soon after. You can typically fund a new account by linking another bank account and setting up a transfer, depositing a check or depositing cash.
  • More control over your money
  • Avoid monthly fees
  • Converts to regular fee account when no longer a student
  • Better regular accounts available

For students, opening your own bank account is a great opportunity to start managing your money on your own. You’ll learn the ins and outs of having a bank account — like how to make deposits and avoid certain fees — and you’ll become better versed in money management.

When you have your own account, you have more control over your money. Of course, that also means you’re responsible for keeping tabs on your expenses and account balance. This is especially true if you’re the sole account owner, rather than sharing ownership with a parent or guardian.

Certainly a perk of student checking accounts is that they often waive the monthly fee for students. But once you’re no longer a qualifying student, you’ll likely face that fee. It may be better for your peace of mind — and your wallet — to find a checking account that’s free right out of the gate, like our overall pick, the Capital One 360 Checking account.

Another downside to student checking accounts is that there are many regular accounts that provide a better deal. You can see that reflected above where we chose Capital One, Ally Bank and Radius Bank for their stellar accounts, even though they’re not student-specific.

If a bank has partnered with your college, there’s a chance there are some perks available to you as a student. This could mean ATMs on your campus, waived fees or a personalized debit card. Your school may even have its own credit union, which almost ensures your membership eligibility as a student.

However, you’re not tied to an affiliated bank. If you’re unsatisfied with that bank’s offerings, feel free to shop elsewhere for an account. You want to find an account that works best for you, not one that you have to work for.

A high school bank account is more likely to be a joint account, with ownership shared by the high school student and their parent or guardian. For the student, the benefit is that you don’t have to manage an account all by yourself quite yet if you don’t want to. You can learn the ins and outs of banking from the account co-owner, and build up those skills so you’re ready to get your own bank account in the future.

For parents, a joint bank account provides the opportunity to keep an eye on your student’s banking habits and hopefully teach them best banking practices along the way.

  • Little to no fees: Online bank
  • Competitive interest rates: Online bank
  • Online/mobile experience: Case by case
  • Widespread ATM access: Online bank
  • Branch access: Traditional bank

As students often already have tight budgets, they may want to prioritize low or no fees. Traditional banks tend to be heavy on the fees, while online banks are typically much lighter on the fees and tend to be more transparent about those they do charge. Even better, online banks typically offer much more competitive deposit account interest rates.

In terms of access, online banks are limited to their desktop and mobile experiences, which may be less of a drawback for today’s tech-savvy students. Since they’re made to access on the go, you’re almost guaranteed to have a solid online banking experience, likely with added budgeting and savings features, too. That’s not to say traditional banks won’t have an online or mobile presence — big banks especially have the money to put behind these features.

Traditional banks also have the added benefit of physical branches, if you ever need to speak to a banker to complete a transaction. When it comes to ATM access, both traditional and online banks should offer this. However, an online bank may be able to offer a more widespread reach by partnering with a nationwide ATM network, while traditional banks often limit customers to their own branded ATMs.

The choice between a bank or credit union often comes down to personal preference, whether or not you’re a student.

Big banks are more likely to have a physical presence across the country, which could be beneficial for college students who often travel between states and want access to their cash. On the other hand, big banks tend to lowball deposit account interest rate offers and tend to be rife with fees, which is less than ideal for students on a budget.

With a credit union, you must become a member to use its services, which also makes you a shareholder in the institution. Because of this, credit unions can offer a more local feel to banking and are often more community-focused. Still, many credit unions are part of the CO-OP network, which provides nationwide access to credit unions and ATMs across the country. And whereas banks use fees to increase revenue, credit unions put their profits toward lower fees and higher deposit account rates.

Banking terms that students should know

ACH: The Automated Clearing House (ACH) is the system used by financial institutions to transfer money electronically between them. For example, when you receive your direct deposit paycheck or send money from one account to another, those are ACH transfers.

APY: The annual percentage yield (APY) of an account is the rate of interest it earns compounded over a year (we explain compounding below). APY is a big selling point of deposit accounts; you want a higher rate in order to earn more money.

Check clearing: The check clearing process starts when you deposit a check and ends when your bank has received the funds from the bank of the person who wrote the check. Those funds may not be made available to you immediately, however, depending on your bank.

Checking account: A checking account is a transaction account that comes with a debit card and often paper checks. Your checking account is the one you’ll typically send your direct deposit to and pay off your bills from. You can also use the linked debit card, checks and account number to make purchases.

Compound interest: Compound interest is the interest you earn on the interest you’ve already earned. It piles on interest so you can earn more over time. Bank accounts have different frequencies of compounding: Daily, monthly, quarterly or yearly. It’s best to find an account that compounds interest daily; the more frequent the compounding, the more interest you earn.

Credit union: A credit union is a type of financial institution that offers financial services like a bank, but you have to be a member to take advantage of its products. Membership eligibility is often determined by your employer, geographic location, association with other organizations or family connections.

Custodial account: A custodial account is an account managed by one person for the benefit of another, often a parent managing an account for their child. In that situation, the custodial account becomes owned by the minor when they become an adult (the exact age depends on the state).

Direct deposit: Direct deposit is when you have a payment deposited directly into your account, as opposed to being sent a check that you have to then deposit on your own. While it’s most often in relation to your paycheck, other payments can be direct deposited, such as Social Security benefits. You can set up direct deposit by providing the payment sender with the routing and account numbers for the account in which you’d like the funds deposited.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is an independent regulatory agency for banks. It also provides government-backed insurance on bank deposits up to legal amounts. Typically, the amount for an individual’s account without beneficiaries is up to $250,000. If, for example, you had $250,000 in a student bank account and your bank went out of business, the FDIC would either set you up with a new account with $250,000 at another FDIC-insured bank or send you a check for $250,000.

Interest rate: The interest rate is how fast your money will grow in an account. Unlike APY, the simple interest rate does not take compounding or time into account.

Monthly fee: Also known as a monthly maintenance fee or monthly service fee, this charge is merely for owning an account. Traditional banks are more likely than online banks to charge monthly fees, and they typically increase the amount of this fee for more premium accounts. While the rate depends on your bank and account, monthly fees typically range from $5 to $25.

National Credit Union Administration: The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) is the FDIC counterpart for credit unions. Similarly, it regulates credit unions and provides deposit insurance up to legal limits ($250,000 for an individual’s account).

Neobank:Neobanks are often not technically banks; instead, they’re typically mobile-first companies heavily focused on the user-experience side that then partners with a chartered bank to provide financial services. Accounts from neobanks are often called cash management accounts, and they’re growing increasingly popular.

Online-only bank: An online-only bank works much like it sounds: It is available only online and does not have any physical branches. Online banks tend to offer a more fee-free experience and more competitive deposit account interest rates. To make up for their lack of a physical presence, online banks often partner with a widespread ATM network (or two) to provide customers with access to their cash.

Overdraft: An overdraft occurs when you try to make a purchase from your deposit account that costs more than what you have in the account and your bank steps in to cover the difference. Overdrafts should be avoided, as they often carry a steep fee — usually around $35. Many accounts offer some form of overdraft protection, which can be free or cost another fee.

Savings account: Unlike a checking account, a savings account is not a transactional account. Instead, it’s meant to hold your money and grow the balance according to its (hopefully high) interest rate. Savings accounts don’t usually come with debit or ATM cards. Per FDIC regulation, Federal law mandates certain types of telephone and electronic withdrawals, including transfers from savings accounts up to 6 per statement cycle, so it’s best to leave your savings account funds alone or keep an eye on your account activity.

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Best of, Earning Interest

The Best High-Yield Online Savings Accounts in September 2020

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There are no excuses for sticking with a low-rate savings account these days. High-yield savings accounts provide consumers with interest rates that are way above those offered by conventional banks. The best high-yield online savings accounts can easily earn you an APY of 0.60% or greater, while the average rate offered by a traditional brick-and-mortar bank remains at a paltry 0.06%.

If you’re still skeptical about switching to an online bank, consider the facts. Your funds are just as safe stashed with an FDIC-insured online bank as they would be with the bank branch on Main Street, and you’re likely to get better technical support with an online-only bank website and app. Many offer round-the-clock customer support and online chat features that make it easy to resolve issues without needing to visit a branch in person. Along with higher rates, you may end up saving on the cost of the account. With lower overhead costs, online banks typically charge lower fees.

Every month we review and compile the best high-yield savings account offers from online banks. Our ranking factors in features such as a higher-than-average interest rate, no minimum balance requirement, and superior ATM access.

Market update: Banks have dropped their savings rates considerably due to recent uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Despite interest rates declining overall, we are still seeing many of the pre-crisis top performers continuing to lead the pack in the overall best rates category.

Do you have a savings goal in mind? Tell us about it!

1. Favorite Online Package: Ally Bank – 0.80% APY

Online Savings Account from Ally Bank

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on Ally Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • APY:0.80%
  • Minimum balance requirement: None
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: Ally is a bank without branches that had been consistently paying high interest rates on savings accounts. While Ally is still offering rates way above what brick-and-mortar banks are offering, it seems this online bank no longer wants to be seen as the online bank with the most competitive rates. The current APY on Ally’s savings account is 1.00%. Although Ally has dropped its rate significantly, we still favor this online bank. It doesn’t require a minimum balance to earn the APY and, even better, you can open a free checking account (also with no minimum balance requirement). This makes access to your savings account incredibly easy – because you can transfer funds online (or via the app) and have immediate access via checks, debit cards and ATMs. With an Ally account, you will have access to their full suite of expanding (and market-leading) products such as CDs, money market account, checking account, and IRA accounts.

2. High Rate: Synchrony Bank – 0.75% APY

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY):0.75%
  • Minimum balance requirement: None
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: Yes
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: Synchrony Bank pays a healthy 0.75% APY. There is no minimum balance requirement and no monthly fee. In addition to the great rate, you can get an ATM card. Most internet-only banks require you to transfer funds electronically, which can take a few days. If you ever need quick access to your funds, the ATM card makes access easy. You might not recognize the Synchrony brand in the banking space, but it is a large, well-capitalized business. Synchrony used to be a part of General Electric (GE), and was spun out as a separate company. Unfortunately, the digital experience is not the best, but they now have a mobile banking app.

3. High Rate: Capital One – 0.65% APY

  • APY:0.65%
  • Minimum balance requirement: None
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: A consistent rate leader for its deposit accounts, Capital One now offers its 360 Performance Savings. With a 0.65% APY on all balances and no monthly fee, you get a chance to boost your savings uninterrupted. There are no minimum balances required to open or maintain the account, either.

Capital One is able to offer higher rates and lower (to no!) fees on this online savings account compared to traditional in-branch offerings. Still, you can head to a Capital One branch or Capital One Café to open a new 360 Performance Savings account, if you prefer. You cannot use an ATM to withdraw or deposit funds, but you can visit a branch, call the bank or make your own online transfer. You can access all accounts on your mobile device through the Capital One app, as well.

4. High Rate: American Express National Bank – 0.60% APY

High Yield Savings Account from American Express National Bank

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on American Express National Bank’s secure website

Partner Offer

Member FDIC

  • APY:0.60%
  • Minimum balance requirement: None
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: No
Overview: Our sponsored advertiser, American Express National Bank, offers a Personal Savings account, which earns a 0.60% variable Annual Percentage Yield (APY) as of 9/21/2020. The account charges no monthly fees and requires no minimum deposit, making it an affordable account to open. You must fund your account within 60 days of applying for the account, and the FDIC insures your deposits up to $250,000. Overall, the account is a great option for anyone who wants the flexibility of earning a high interest rate on a sum of money you’ve stashed away, minus the withdrawal restrictions of a certificate deposit.

5. High Rate: Marcus by Goldman Sachs – 0.60% APY

High-yield Online Savings Account from Marcus by Goldman Sachs

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on Marcus By Goldman Sachs’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • Annual Percentage Yield:0.60%
  • Minimum balance requirement: None
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: Our advertiser Marcus by Goldman Sachs, the consumer bank of Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs, offers a 0.60% Annual Percentage Yield on deposits. There isn’t a minimum balance requirement to earn the APY and there are no transaction fees. Upon opening the account, you can deposit funds via electronic transfer, wire transfer, or deposit by check. You can get access to your funds via electronic transfer or wire transfer.Goldman has been investing heavily in Marcus, its online consumer bank. Marcus is already offering some of the best savings accounts and personal loans in the market, and further expansion is expected. The savings account has consistently been paying one of the highest rates in the market. With a 0.60% APY, you can get one of the highest rates in the market from a well-known brand. The maximum deposit is $1,000,000 and deposits are FDIC insured up to the $250,000 limit.

Marcus is accessible both online and via the Marcus mobile app, available only in the Apple App Store.

6. High Rate: Barclays Bank – 0.60% APY

Online Savings Account from Barclays

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on Barclays’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • APY:0.60%
  • Minimum balance requirement: None
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: Barclays is a large, old British bank, based in London and with more than 325 years of history. Although Barclays is huge in the United Kingdom, it is a challenger brand in the US. Barclays offers savings products with highly competitive rates. These deposits are used to fund their rapidly growing American credit card business. The online savings account has a 0.80% APY with no minimum balance to open and no monthly fees. Your deposits are FDIC insured up to the legal limit. The Barclays website has a good look and feel. And you can have the confidence of keeping your money with one of the world’s largest and oldest universal banks.

7. High Rate: Axos Bank – 0.90% APY

High Yield Savings from Axos Bank

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on Axos Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • APY:0.90%
  • Minimum balance requirement: $250
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: ATM card available upon request
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: Axos Bank was founded in 2000, known then as Bank of Internet USA. Through a couple name changes, Axos Bank has remained one of the top online banks. It offers a full suite of deposit products, from various checking accounts to certificates of deposit.

This High Yield Savings account earns its industry-leading APY on all balances, although you need $250 to open the account. Interest is compounded daily. There is no monthly fee and you can receive a free ATM card upon request.

As a digital bank, Axos Bank is accessible online and on mobile. Its mobile app includes mobile deposit. Axos Bank also offers a step-by-step Switch Kit to help you switch from your current bank to Axos.

8. High Rate: Vio Bank – 0.83% APY

High Yield Online Savings Account from Vio Bank

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on Vio Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • APY:0.83%
  • Minimum balance requirement: $100
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: Vio Bank is the online division of MidFirst Bank, a national private financial institution with over $16 billion in assets. Vio Bank was recently created and is not yet as established as Marcus, Barclays, American Express, Synchrony, and Ally Bank. However, this online bank launched its High Yield Online Savings account with a strong APY (at the time of its launch) and has been consistently competitive since it launched. It’s currently offering an outstanding 0.83% APY on all balances. You only need $100 to open the account. You can fund the account via ACH.

There are a few limitations to keep in mind: incoming ACHs take anywhere between two to five business days to post and the online bank may place a hold your ACH for two or three business days. When you’re ready to transfer funds out of the account, you’ll be limited to $5,000 per outgoing ACH. You’ll also be limited to transferring an aggregate monthly total of $20,000 via outgoing ACHs. As is with every other savings account, you’ll also be limited to making six withdrawals per monthly statement cycle. The good news (aside from the high APY) is that Vio Bank doesn’t charge a monthly maintenance fee. Vio Bank also has a mobile banking app where you can conveniently manage your accounts on-the-go. Also, its website is mobile friendly so it should be fairly easy to do your online banking from a smart phone, as well. We think this online bank is very promising and hope it continues to offer one of the best savings account rates in the nation.

9. High Rate: Citizens Access – 0.80% APY

Online Savings Account from Citizens Access

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on Citizens Access’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • APY:0.80%
  • Minimum balance requirement: $5,000
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: No
Overview: Citizens Access is the online division of Citizens Bank. This division was recently created to provide the best savings rates to consumers. While the online division is brand new, the bank its backed by isn’t. Citizens Bank has been around for a while and has grown to have over $122 billion in assets. While you need to deposit and maintain a minimum balance of $5,000 to earn the 0.80% APY, you’ll be funding an account that comes with no fees. If your balance happens to fall below $5,000, the APY will drop to 0.25%. One downside to this online-only bank is that they don’t currently have a mobile banking app. This means that you’ll have to do all of your banking through their website. Luckily, their website is mobile-friendly.

10. High Rate: Live Oak Bank – 0.70% APY

High Yield Online Savings from Live Oak Bank

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on Live Oak Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • APY:0.70%
  • Minimum balance requirement: None
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: Founded in 2008, Live Oak Bank offers a great spread of financial products, including its high-yield Online Savings account. The Online Savings account earns 0.70% APY on all balances. Plus, interest is compounded daily for faster savings. There’ s no minimum deposit requirement to open, either, nor a monthly fee to worry about.

In addition to online access, Live Oak Bank offers a mobile app.

11. High Rate: BrioDirect – 0.60% APY

High-Yield Savings from BrioDirect

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on BrioDirect’s secure website

FDIC Insured

  • APY:0.60%
  • Minimum balance requirement: $25
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: BrioDirect is powered by Sterling National Bank, which is a large bank in New York with over $29 billion in assets. This online brand recently launched with a high 0.60% APY. You only need $25 to open the account and you’ll need to maintain at least this amount on a daily basis to earn the APY. This account doesn’t have a monthly service fee and can be funded via ACH, wire transfer, or check.

There are limitations to the amount of money you can transfer in and out via ACH. BrioDirect limits incoming ACH transfers to $500,000. The bank limits outgoing ACH transfers to $25,000 per transaction and a total of $125,000 per month. You are able to link as many external bank accounts as you’d like to this account. You can also initiate ACH deposits and withdrawals from other banks.

You can manage this account online or from Sterling National Bank’s mobile app.

12. High Rate: Discover – 0.60% APY

  • APY:0.60%
  • Minimum balance requirement: None
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: Although usually known for its credit cards, Discover has carved a space for itself in the deposits world with its competitive online accounts. The Online Savings Account earns its 0.60% APY on all balances. There is no minimum to open the account either. Interest is compounded daily and paid monthly.

The account is free to own. Plus, there are no fees for checks, returned deposited items, excessive withdrawal fees, stop payment orders or insufficient funds.

In addition to online access, Discover offers a mobile app for further convenience, which includes mobile deposit capabilities.

13. High Rate: Nationwide by Axos Bank – 1.05% APY

My Savings from Nationwide by Axos Bank

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on Nationwide By Axos Bank’s secure website

FDIC Insured

  • APY:1.05%, contingent on having a My Checking account with a deposit of at least $1,000
  • Minimum balance requirement: $100
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: Through this partnership, Nationwide by Axos Bank is able to offer a full suite of financial accounts and services. Axos Bank, a digital bank founded in 2000, provides these services and the FDIC insurance on deposit accounts. Mobile access is available through the Axos Bank for Nationwide mobile app on both iPhone and Android devices.

My Savings is just one of Nationwide by Axos Bank’s savings accounts and requires at least $100 to open. Its competitive 1.05% APY applies to all balances, although you’ll need to have a My Checking account with a monthly direct deposit totaling at least $1,000 to that checking account to snag the competitive savings rate. If you don’t want the My Checking account, you can still earn a solid rate of 1.00% APY. The My Savings account does not charge a monthly service fee.

14. Unique Bank + Highest Overall Rate: Fitness Bank – 1.05% APY

Fitness Savings (12,500+ Steps) from FitnessBank

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on FitnessBank’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • APY:1.05%, contingent on taking 12,500 steps
  • Minimum balance requirement: $100
  • Monthly Fees: $10
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: Fitness Bank is unique and new online bank. It’s a division of Affinity Bank, which has been around since 2002 and has acquired over $318 million in assets. Affinity Bank decided to launch a concept like no other to reward actively fit individuals with the highest APY currently available. While most institutions choose to offer tiered rates based on balance amounts, Fitness Bank offers tiered rates based on the average number of steps you take on a daily basis. To earn the high 1.05% APY, you’ll need to take an average of 12,500 steps or more per day. If you only take an average of 10,000 to 12,499 steps per day, you’ll earn an APY of 0.95% (which is still a great APY). You’ll earn 0.85% APY if you take an average of 7,500 to 9,999 steps per day. Taking an average of 5,000 to 7,499 steps per day will qualify you for an APY of 0.75%. Finally, if you take anywhere between 0 to 4,999 steps on average per day, you’ll only earn 0.50%.

Fitness Bank will track your steps by requiring you to download its Step Tracker app. The bank will then calculate your average steps from the previous month to determine which tier you qualify for. Once the bank determines which rate your activity qualifies you for, you will continue earning that rate for an entire month until the bank recalculates your activity. The activity requirement will be waived for the first month so that you can get your app all set up and start logging in some steps. For this first month, you’ll automatically earn the 1.05% APY.

In terms of actual money, you will need at least $100 to open the account and you’ll need to maintain this balance to waive the $10 monthly maintenance fee. The bank does impose a limit on the amount of money you’re able to transfer in and out of the account via ACH. You cannot transfer more than $15,000 per day in or out of the account. You also cannot exceed more than six certain withdrawals or you’ll incur an excessive withdrawal fee of $10 for each additional withdrawal. In addition to the Step Tracker app, Fitness Bank has a mobile banking app to manage your account.

15. High Rate: First Foundation Bank – 1.00% APY

Online Savings Account - New Money Only from First Foundation Bank

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on First Foundation Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • APY:1.00%
  • Minimum balance requirement: $1,000
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: ATM card available upon request
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: First Foundation Bank officially launched in 2008, but its leadership has been in the financial services industry since 1990. This bank was established by the same group that leads the Keller Group, a wealth management firm. The bank has grown to acquire over $6 billion in assets. In October, this bank launched an Online Savings Account with a high APY of 1.00%. You’ll need to have a balance of at least $1,000 in order to open that account and you’ll need to maintain that amount in order to earn the high APY. If your balance falls below $1,000, the APY will drop. This account doesn’t have a monthly service fee.

While Regulation D applies to this account, First Foundation Bank will provide an ATM card if you request one from the bank. The bank will reimburse ATM fees from other banks and ATM operators up to $20. There is a limit to the amount of money that you can withdraw. If you’re withdrawing from an ATM, the bank sets a daily limit of $500. The daily point-of-sale limit is $1,500. If you’re transferring money online or via ACH, the daily limit is $20,000 and the monthly limit is $100,000. If you need to transfer more than the preset limits, you’re able to call the bank and request that they increase the limit. The bank allows you to maintain the account online and through their mobile banking app.

16. High Rate: TAB Bank — 0.90% APY

High Yield Savings from TAB Bank

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on TAB Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • APY:0.90%
  • Minimum balance requirement: $1
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: TAB Bank was established in 1998 to offer businesses financial assistance. Since the bank opened its doors, it’s acquired over $715 million in assets. In September 2018, TAB Bank decided to launch a High Yield Savings account, which offers a 0.90% APY. The bank doesn’t require a minimum amount to open the account, but you must maintain a daily balance of $1 to earn the APY.

You can fund the account via ACH, wire transfer, or check. You’re able to manage the account online or via TAB Bank’s mobile app.

17. High Rate: ConnectOne Bank – 0.90% APY

OneConnection Savings - Online from ConnectOne Bank

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on ConnectOne Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • APY:0.90%
  • Minimum balance requirement: $2,500 min to earn
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: With locations in New Jersey and New York, ConnectOne Bank’s best savings offering lives online. The free OneConnection Savings account requires at least $2,500 to open. It earns its competitive 0.90% APY on balances from $2,500 to $250,000.99. Balances above that earn a 0.30% APY instead.

Deposits into this online account can be made through the Remote Check Deposit feature on the bank’s mobile app, online funds transfers, direct deposit and checks or cash at a location. Withdrawals can be made by online funds transfers or by requesting a check to be sent to you.

18. High Rate: SFGI Direct – 0.81% APY

  • APY:0.81%
  • Minimum balance requirement: $1
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: No
Overview: SFGI Direct is Summit Community Bank’s online division. They currently have more than $2 billion of assets and is privately owned by Summit Financial Group, Inc. SFGI is FDIC insured through Summit Community Bank, so deposits are protected up to the legal limit. They are currently offering a good rate of 0.81% on balances of $1 or greater. You’ll have to deposit a minimum of $500 in order to open the account, but you can’t make an initial deposit greater than $25,000. After you make your initial deposit, you’re able to add as much money as you’d like to the account.

While they do offer a good rate on an online savings account, their online experience is lacking. Their website feels dated and they don’t appear to have a mobile banking app.

19. High Rate: Amboy Direct – 0.70% APY

Personal eSavings Account from Amboy Direct

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on Amboy Direct’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • APY:0.70%
  • Minimum balance requirement: $3,000
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: No
Overview: Established in 1990, Amboy Direct is the online banking arm of New Jersey-based bank Amboy Bank, itself founded back in 1888.

The eSavings account’s top 0.70% rate is reserved for balances from $3,000 to the maximum balance allowed on the account, $100,000. Balances of $300 to just below $3,000 will still earn a 0.30% APY, while any balances below that do not earn interest. You’ll need at least $100 to open an account, but there’s no monthly fee to worry about.

Amboy Direct accounts are accessible only online; there is no mobile app.

20. For Small Balance Savers: Digital Federal Credit Union – 6.17% APY

  • APY:6.17%
  • Minimum balance requirement: Deposits up to $1,000 earn APY
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) currently offers a nice account for people who are just starting to save. You can earn an APY of 6.17% with their Primary Savings Account. You will only earn that rate on deposits up to $1,000. Once you have more than $1k, you should consider other accounts on this list. It is a credit union – and your deposits are insured by the NCUA up to the legal limit.

Anyone can join the credit union by donating to one of their participating organizations such as Reach Out for Schools, which has a membership fee of $10. You’ll be able to join one their participating organizations when you go to open your account with DCU. DCU is also part of a nationwide CO-OP network that allows their members to have access to shared branches and surcharge-free ATMs throughout the U.S.

MagnifyMoney’s best savings accounts for September 2020

To recap, here are our top picks of the Best Savings Accounts for September 2020.

To find the best savings accounts overall, this list is updated weekly to stay on top of the best savings account choices that have consistently offered top savings account rates over the past two years.

The Best Savings Accounts in September 2020 Overall

Institution

APY

Bank Review

Ally Bank Online Savings Account

0.80% APY

Ally Bank Review

Synchrony Bank High-Yield Savings Account

0.75% APY

Synchrony Bank Review

Capital One 360 Performance Savings

0.65% APY

Capital One 360 Review

American Express National Bank Personal Savings


0.60% APY

American Express Review

Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield Online Savings

0.60% APY

Marcus by Goldman Sachs Review

Barclays Bank Online Savings Account

0.60% APY

Barclays Bank Review

Nowadays, the best savings accounts are often found online. New online savings accounts from online banks or even established banks looking to get in on the high-yield action blow traditional savings account rates out of the water. This list is updated weekly to reflect the latest and greatest online savings accounts with consistency over the past two years.

The Best Online Savings Accounts in September 2020

Institution

APY

Bank Review

Axos Bank High Yield Savings Account

0.90% APY

Axos Bank Review

Vio Bank High Yield Online Savings Account

0.83% APY




Vio Bank Review

Citizens Access Online Savings Account

0.80% APY

Citizens Access Review

Live Oak Bank Savings Account

0.70% APY

Live Oak Bank Review

BrioDirect High-Yield Savings Account

0.60% APY

BrioDirect Review

Discover Online Savings Account

0.60% APY

Discover Review

In today’s fluctuating-rate climate, the best high-yield savings accounts can change from day to day. We stay on top of them for you and list the highest earning savings accounts from this month below.

The Best High-Yield Savings Accounts and Rates in September 2020

Institution

APY

Bank Review

Nationwide by Axos Bank My Savings

1.05% APY

Nationwide by Axos Bank Review

Fitness Bank Savings

1.05% APY

Fitness Bank Review

First Foundation Bank Online Savings Account

1.00% APY

First Foundation Bank Review

TAB Bank High Yield Savings

0.90% APY

TAB Bank Review

ConnectOne Bank OneConnection Savings

0.90% APY

ConnectOne Bank Review

SFGI Direct Savings Account

0.81% APY

SFGI Direct Review

Amboy Direct eSavings

0.70% APY

Amboy Direct Review

Why trust us?

At MagnifyMoney, it is our mission to inform our readers about the best financial opportunities out there. Our insights have been cited by top financial publications including Marketwatch, CNBC and the Wall Street Journal.

Our dedicated team of financial experts spends dozens of hours grading online savings accounts according to their interest rates, fee schedules, extra features, minimum balance requirements and accessibility, adjusting our rankings as banks and their offerings change on a weekly basis.

We distilled our picks from a list that included hundreds of banks, credit unions and online institutions nationwide.

Our methodology for picking the best high-yield savings accounts

To find the best high-yield online savings accounts, MagnifyMoney looks at over 6,000 financial institutions each week, from small community banks and credit unions to traditional brick-and-mortar banks to new online banks.

  1. Savings account rates: We heavily weighted the APYs offered by each bank in terms of both magnitude and consistency. Higher savings rates were prioritized over lower rates. Due to the variable rates on savings accounts, we also gave additional consideration to banks that were known to maintain competitive rates over longer periods of time.
  2. Minimum deposit and balance requirements: To ensure accessibility to all customers, we focused on banks that welcome deposits of all sizes, where the ideal banks in this category have minimum balance and deposit requirements of $0.
  3. Bank account fees: Unnecessary fees can eat into your long-term savings in a major way. Banks that offered low or no fees were given priority in this category over banks that are known to charge account maintenance fees, service charges and other surcharges.
  4. Customer service: We considered overall customer satisfaction and bank reputation when weighing each bank performance in this category. While each customer’s experience varies, we looked at relative feedback each bank received at the national level based on data sourced from consumer advocates like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Better Business Bureau. Banks that failed to meet minimum standards of performance were excluded.

What should I know about high-yield savings accounts?

It’s easy to take your savings account for granted, setting up automatic deposits and forgetting about it. But there’s a lot more to high-yield savings accounts that you should know.

For one, you can find consistently more competitive rates at online banks than with your typical big bank. Online banks are also more fee-friendly — although there are still some legal limitations you should be aware of to avoid extra fees.

What is a high-yield savings account?

A high-yield savings account, also known as a high-interest savings account, is a savings account that earns interest at a higher rate than a traditional savings account. The average savings account interest rate tends to hover around 0.20% APY, but big brick-and-mortar banks often offer interest rates more like 0.01% APY.

High-yield savings accounts raise the bar and offer upwards of 1% to 2% APY — sometimes even 3% APY in good rate conditions. High-interest savings accounts are also more likely to come with added benefits like little to no fees, especially when offered by an online bank.

How much interest will I earn with a high-yield savings account?

When you open a high-yield savings account, you’re almost guaranteed to earn more in interest than with a traditional savings account.

For example, let’s say you have $5,000 to deposit into a savings account. If you choose a high-interest savings account with a 2.30% APY, for example, you’ll earn $116 and some change in a year, provided you don’t make any additional contributions to the account in that time (which would boost your savings even more).

If you deposit your $5,000 into an average savings account at 0.20% APY for a year, you’ll earn just $10 in interest. It’s a pretty big difference in earnings, and all it takes is a simple account switch.

Even in a low-rate environment, where a high-yield savings account might be earning 1.30%, for example, you’ll still make about $65 in interest, which is still well over the $10 average earnings from a traditional savings account.

Does the APY for high-yield savings accounts change?

Savings accounts are variable-rate accounts, so their rates are subject to change — and they will over the course of an account’s lifetime. This is in contrast to fixed-rate savings vehicles, like CDs, which have set rates for predetermined periods of time.

There is no universal answer for how often interest rates change on high-yield savings accounts, since each institution has its own policies and decisions. However, you can often expect an institution to change its savings account rates about once a month at least. This change typically happens at the beginning of the month.

High-interest savings accounts are also more likely to see changes in their APYs than traditional low-rate savings accounts, because high-interest accounts have more room to change. Traditional savings account rates can only go so low, especially since many of them are already bottomed out at 0.01% APY.

How to choose the best high-yield savings account

  • Start by finding the highest APY
  • Check whether the institution is consistent with its high rates
  • Look for a no-fee account
  • Confirm any account balance minimums

When you’re looking for the best high-yield savings account, it’s tempting to go straight for the highest APY you can find. That account will certainly offer the highest yield at the moment, but there’s also more to it than that. Unless you’re okay with the possibility of switching accounts periodically to chase the highest rates, it may help to find an account offered by an institution that consistently offers some of the most competitive savings account rates. We’ve started our roundup above with those accounts, offered by consistent industry-leaders over the past two years.

But high yields may mean nothing if you lose your earnings to fees, so the best high-interest savings accounts out there are also the ones with little to no fees. Look for accounts with no monthly service fees, no overdraft fees and/or no excessive transaction fees. This will help you keep your savings intact.

You’ll also want to choose a high-yield savings account that works within your existing finances. Some accounts may impose minimum deposit or balance requirements to open and keep the account. We think the best high-interest accounts are the ones that require low or $0 minimums, which makes the account much more accessible to savers. But, if you have a high balance and find a savings account that offers a higher rate for high balances, then you can go for that account if it better fits your needs.

How do I open a high-yield savings account?

In most cases, opening a high yield savings account is as easy as clicking a button on the institution’s website and completing a short application form. You will likely be approved for the account right away.

A savings account application will likely require your name, home address, email address and Social Security Number. If the account requires a minimum deposit at opening, you’ll also likely have to link an external account at this time. Otherwise, you may make your initial deposit after opening, often within a 30- or 60-day window.

If you have a rocky banking history, like previous negative balances or circumstances where the institution closed your account, your application for a high-interest account may be denied. You can check out your recorded banking history with ChexSystems, a reporting system that many banks use. If there are any errors or points of contention, you may be able to dispute an item in your ChexSystems report.

What should I use a high-yield savings account for?

You can use a high-yield savings account for a variety of reasons and savings goals. You can use it as your emergency fund, where you stash your cash for a rainy day, for example. Perhaps you want to use a high-interest savings account to boost your savings toward your next vacation or your kid’s college education.

Luckily, many institutions allow you to have several savings accounts at a time, meaning you can save toward separate goals simultaneously without ever getting your wires crossed.

Should I get an online savings account?

An online savings account is your best bet for obtaining the highest interest rate available. Online banks lack the costs associated with maintaining brick-and-mortar branches, and they generally pass the savings onto you in the form of better interest payouts. And like we’ve said, if your money is going to sit in an account, you might as well make it worth your while by growing it at a competitive rate.

Online savings accounts generally feature superior accessibility. Online banks are laser-focused on offering the best possible and most user-friendly app experiences. There’s often 24/7 customer service, and they tend to provide very good ATM access. When shopping for the best savings account to suit your needs, make sure you include a good mix of online banks offering high yields, brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions in your search.

What impacts savings rates?

Institutions typically alter their rates in response to changes in market interest rates, which are in turn driven by the federal funds rate set by the Federal Reserve. The federal funds rate influences the rates banks lend money to each other. When the Fed increases the federal funds rate, financial institutions respond by increasing the interest rates they offer on deposit accounts. When the federal funds rate falls, interest rates decrease.

If you’re not keen on tracking the federal funds rate, changes to the APY on your savings account may come as a surprise. Luckily, chances are that if you keep your deposits with an online bank, you’ll still get the most competitive rates regardless of a Fed pause or rate decrease. Online savings accounts outperform most brick-and-mortar rates any day.

What are the best banks for high-yield online savings accounts?

Here’s a summary of our top picks:

  • 0.60% APY – Marcus by Goldman Sachs
  • 0.75% APY – Synchrony Bank
  • 0.60% APY – American Express National Bank
  • 0.65% APY – Capital One
  • 0.80% APY – Ally Bank
  • 0.60% APY – Barclays Bank
  • 0.83% APY – Vio Bank
  • 0.90% APY – Axos Bank
  • 0.70% APY – Live Oak Bank
  • 0.80% APY – Citizens Access
  • 0.60% APY – Discover
  • 0.60% APY – BrioDirect
  • 1.00% APY – First Foundation Bank
  • 1.05% APY – Nationwide by Axos Bank
  • 1.05% APY – Fitness Bank
  • 0.81% APY – SFGI Direct
  • 0.75% APY – Prime Alliance Bank
  • 0.60% APY – Comenity Direct
  • 0.90% APY – ConnectOne Bank
  • 6.17% APY – Digital Federal Credit Union

Savings Account FAQs

There is nothing inherently unsafe about a high-yield savings account. As long as you make sure you’re depositing your money into an FDIC-insured bank or NCUA-insured credit union, your money will be insured up to legal amounts in case your institution fails.

You may also want to double check an institution’s security measures before signing up for an account. Check whether their website and information is protected by encryption and firewalls. Reputable institutions will also include anti-virus and anti-fraud measures. Other protections include biometric logins (fingerprints or face match), two-factor verification and security questions.

There is often not much difference between high-interest savings accounts and money market accounts. A money market account is a type of savings account that also tends to have higher rates than traditional savings accounts.

Some money market accounts set themselves apart by offering a debit or ATM card and/or check-writing capabilities. These accounts offer further accessibility to your money. However, money market accounts still fall under the six-limit “convenient” transaction requirement, like regular savings accounts.

High-yield savings accounts are taxed like regular savings accounts. However, your earnings from a high-interest savings account are more likely to be taxed, as you are more likely to be earning more in that account than a traditional low-rate account.

Savings account earnings are taxed if you make $10 or more. Regardless of your earnings, your institution should send you and the IRS a copy of Form 1099-INT, which details the interest you’ve earned in a year. Even if you don’t receive that form, the IRS will, and they will expect you to report your interest income on your tax return.

If you earn $1,500 or more in interest income in a year, you will also need to detail those sources of income on Schedule B of Form 1040.

Thanks to the Federal Reserve’s Regulation D, you can withdraw up to six times per statement cycle from a high-yield savings account, like any other savings account. This includes pre-authorized and automatic withdrawals and transfers, and transfers made by debit card, check or other similar ways.You can get around this limit by performing “less convenient” withdrawals, like those made in person at the bank or ATM. Exceptions to the rule also include withdrawals and transfers requested by mail and those initiated over the phone if you receive the withdrawal as a mailed check.

Online banks don’t incur the costs of maintaining brick-and-mortar branches. These costs include rent, building maintenance, staff salaries and the cost of keeping physical cash safe. Without these expenses weighing them down, online banks reap big savings — savings they then pass on to their customers in the form of high interest rates.

74% of Americans don’t know online-only banks generally offer better savings rates

A new survey by MagnifyMoney has found that Americans largely misunderstand online savings accounts and the financial opportunities they offer.

Key findings

  • 74% of Americans don’t know online-only banks typically offer higher interest rates than traditional brick-and-mortar banks.

    • Additionally, 16% believe online-only banks charge more fees than traditional brick-and-mortar banks, which is generally false. To see our picks for the best high-yield online savings accounts, scroll up.
    • Another 11% believe money deposited in an online bank isn’t insured, which is most often untrue. All the online banks listed above — and more — are FDIC insured. Even many fintechs and neobanks offer FDIC insurance on their cash management accounts, via partner banks.
  • Just over 143.3 million consumers are likely missing out on higher interest rates for their savings by not banking with online-only financial institutions. Of those without an account, complacency is the primary reason, as 55% are satisfied with their brick-and-mortar bank.
    • Less than half of Americans (44%) have an account with an online-only bank. Their main reasons for the switch are better interest rates (30%), fewer fees (28%) and recommendation by a financial advisor (27%).
  • Who’s most likely to have an online-only savings account? Generation Xers (61%), those earning $75,000 or more a year (58%), college graduates (57%) and men (57%).
  • More than 44% of respondents fear online banking puts them at risk for data breaches, while 40% are concerned hackers will have an easier time accessing their data. Still, of those without an online bank, just 19% said it was because they don’t trust the bank with their money.

Methodology

MagnifyMoney commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,029 Americans, with the sample base proportioned to represent the overall population. The survey was fielded on Aug. 25, 2020.

For the purposes of our survey, generations are defined as the following ages in 2020:

  • Generation Z: 18 to 23
  • Millennial: 24 to 39
  • Generation X: 40 to 54
  • Baby boomer: 55 to 74
  • Silent generation: 75 and older

While Gen Z and the silent generation were surveyed — and their answers were factored into the overall percentage totals among all respondents — they were omitted from generational comparisons, due to the low sample size among both groups.

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Banking

List of Banks and Credit Unions Offering COVID-19 Relief

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Written By

Reviewed By

Millions of Americans are struggling with changes to their work hours and incomes. In response, many banks and credit unions are offering relief packages, often waiving certain fees or granting expedited services. Although not listed below, community banks may offer an even stronger support system to those financially impacted.

We will continue to update this page regularly.

List of banks and credit unions offering relief to customers affected by COVID-19

Alliant Credit Union

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

Alliant Credit Union does not currently have a COVID-related information page available on its website. However, according to an Alliant representative, the credit union is working with members on a case-by-case basis to remove deposit-related account fees.

Ally Bank

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

Online-only Ally Bank has scaled back its COVID-19 relief plan. Ally Bank deposits customers can benefit from refunded excessive transaction fees on savings or money market accounts.

Transfers and online payments remain uninterrupted. Plus, Ally Bank has made it faster to deposit checks of $50,000 or less online with Ally eCheck deposit. You can still use mobile deposit via the Ally Mobile app.

American Express

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

American Express has not released any specific COVID-19 relief plans to help its Personal Savings banking customers at this time.

Customers of the online-only bank can continue to access their accounts online. They can also call customer service at 1-800-446-6307 — just beware that wait times may be longer than usual.

Bank of America

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

Bank of America’s COVID-19 response is to urge customers who are facing financial hardship to contact a representative to request refunds for fees on overdrafts, non-sufficient funds and monthly maintenance. Customers may also use the bank’s virtual assistant, Erica, to get answers to any questions, including those that are coronavirus-related.

Bank of America also encourages its customers to turn to mobile and online banking first, both of which allow you to check your account status, pay bills and deposit checks.

Many Bank of America financial centers are temporarily closed, while others operate at reduced hours or alternate days of operation. Those that remain open may have longer reported wait times. It helps to check a Bank of America financial center’s hours or confirm which branches offer drive-thru ATMs or tellers or video conferencing. Branches have “enhanced, daily cleanings” and “other measures to limit the risk of exposure, based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”

BBVA

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

BBVA has dialed back its relief offerings related to COVID-19 hardship. Banking customers can request overdraft fee refunds by calling 1-844-228-1872.

Select BBVA locations are reopening lobbies with provided hand sanitizer, signage and floor markers for social distancing, plexiglass shields and enhanced cleaning. No more than five customers at a time are allowed inside a branch, and BBVA bankers will wear masks and gloves. The bank asks that customers wear masks, and use the drive-thru if experiencing symptoms or believe they have been exposed to the coronavirus.

Banking center lobbies that have not fully reopened may still be accessed via appointment by calling your banker or banking center. BBVA Online Banking and the BBVA Mobile Banking App are also available to you 24/7.

BMO Harris

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

Under its financial relief program, BMO Harris asks deposit account customers with questions about account fees to send them a message. Customers can expect a response within 2 business days.

You can also call the bank’s Customer Contact Center at 1-888-340-2265. If you need assistance with your credit card account — whether to report a lost or stolen debit card, activate a debit card or reset your BMO Digital Banking password — bankers are available 24/7.

BMO branch lobbies are open again and subject to occupancy limits, although you may want to double check the status of your branch before visiting.

Capital One

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Capital One is waiving its out-of-network ATM fee. It won’t reimburse you for a third-party surcharge, though.

If you are facing financial difficulties, you can contact Capital One and a representative can help to find a solution for you. Note that customer service wait times are likely longer than usual right now.

Capital One has temporarily closed select branches that do not have drive-thru tellers or protective glass at teller counters. Branches that do have those features will remain open via those outlets and are being disinfected per CDC guidelines. Tellers may still assist customers in the lobby in special circumstances. Capital One ATMs remain open 24/7. Capital One also strongly encourages its customers to use the Capital One mobile app or online banking to make payments, check balances and deposit checks.

Charles Schwab

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

Charles Schwab has no specific measures in place to provide relief aid to its banking customers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Schwab branches are temporarily closed and will remain so until local, state and federal government recommendations indicate it is safe to reopen. Still, you can contact a branch directly by phone to reach a representative. Schwab also encourages customers to go digital by completing tasks online or via its mobile app, which includes check-depositing capabilities.

Chase

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

In light of the pandemic, Chase Bank customers are encouraged to use the Chase Mobile app and online banking to complete their account-related tasks. Chase asks that those who need help because of COVID-19 reach out to a representative, though you may experience wait times that are longer than usual.

Most Chase branches are now open during normal business hours although you may want to check a branch’s status online or on the Chase Mobile app. Chase branches and ATMs are being cleaned with EPA-approved disinfectants and branches now include plexiglass dividers and hand sanitizer. Chase asks customers to wear masks, maintain six feet of distance and stay home if you’ve been in contact with someone with COVID-19 or are feeling sick.

On a wider scale, JPMorgan Chase pledged $50 million to nonprofit organizations to help support “healthcare, food and other humanitarian relief” efforts globally; community partners; and small businesses in the U.S., China and Europe.

Citibank

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

Citibank is waiving fees for monthly account service, safe deposit boxes and non-Citi ATM usage, as well as CD early withdrawal penalties.

Citibank also asks that those affected by COVID-19 contact the bank for assistance, although wait times may be longer than usual. If you already work with a personal banker or financial advisor through Citibank, you can contact them directly during their regular business hours.

Select Citibank branches are closed and those that are open are operating under temporarily limited hours and undergoing “daily cleaning procedures … on high-touch surfaces,” providing hand sanitizer and practicing CDC recommendations like social distancing. You can also access your accounts and funds via the Citi Mobile app, the Citibank website and Citi ATMs on a 24/7 basis.

Citizens Access

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

Citizens Accessis waiving its early withdrawal penalties on all CD products to provide more flexibility to CD customers. If you close a CD account online, Citizens Access will rebate the penalty that applies automatically.

Citizens Access encourages customers to contact its Customer Care team through a a secure message through your online account or by calling a representative at 1-888-201-6505, available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST. You can expect a secure message response within one to three days; wait times on the phone will also be longer.

As Citizens Access has no physical branches, you can always access your account online, both on desktop and your mobile browser. The bank does not have a mobile app.

Citizens Bank

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

Citizens Bank deposit account customers can expect overdraft fee waivers, service charge reversal and penalty-free early CD withdrawals, as part of the bank’s COVID-19 relief response. Customers with checking, savings and CD accounts can call customer service at 1-800-922-9999 Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. local time. If you want to open a new account over the phone, you can call 1-877-360-2472.

Citizens Bank branches remain open, but hours may vary by state and region. Branches now have enhanced maintenance and cleaning practices.

Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU)

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

Digital Federal Credit Union offers an extensive financial relief program, which is available to its members in any financial rut, not just during this pandemic. Until further notice, DCU is offering unlimited ATM fee reimbursements, forgoing all overdraft and nonsufficient funds fees and waiving all certificate withdrawal penalties. Those who need to borrow money during this time may take out a personal loan from DCU, which won’t require payments for 60 days on loans opened after March 25, 2020.

All DCU branch lobbies are open by appointment only, though some branches remain open through their drive-up teller windows, which can help you with normal transactions and are open at normal hours. You can check your branch status and hours here.

Otherwise, you can access your account 24/7 via online banking and the DCU mobile app. You can also send an email for non-urgent requests, which are typically answered in two business days, or you can call customer service, though it is currently experiencing extremely high call volumes that may result in much longer wait times.

Discover

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

Discover has “support in place for qualified Discover customers who experience hardship” due to the coronavirus pandemic. Although it is unclear what qualifies customers to receive this support, a Discover representative adds that “Discover customers may receive assistance related to payments, fees and interest.”

Discover Online Banking customers can call 1-800-347-7000 (TTY/TDD 1-800-347-7454) any time to reach a Discover representative for assistance. You also can continue to access your accounts online or via the Discover mobile app.

Fifth Third Bank

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

Fifth Third Bank deposit account customers can request hardship assistance through online banking or by calling 1-800-972-3030 during business hours.

Fifth Third branches are reopening; you can check your branch’s status here. Fifth Third will implement enhanced cleaning and safety measures including clear panels at teller lines, floor markers, fewer teller lines and masks on employees. Fifth Third also asks that you bring your government-issued photo ID when visiting a branch.

You can still schedule a phone or in-branch appointment or visit a branch’s drive-thru window for simple transactions. For most other services, like checking balances or ACH transfers, you can use the bank’s website or mobile app.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

Customers of Marcus by Goldman Sachs can make penalty-free withdrawals from regular CDs at this time, as a direct response to COVID-19. You can do so by calling 1-855-730-7283. Marcus contact centers are operating virtually, with temporary hours of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday.

You can still access your Marcus accounts online. Apple device users can also benefit from the Marcus mobile app.

KeyBank

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

Select KeyBank customers “may be eligible for immediate help,”which can include “waiving certain service charges on KeyBank checking and savings accounts.”

Almost all KeyBank branches have reopened. Customers who are age 65 or older or have a health condition are asked to contact a branch to set up an appointment for in-branch banking. Branches will have hand sanitizer, plexiglass barriers at teller windows and desks, floor markers for social distancing and masks on team members. KeyBank also asks customers to wear masks as well.

You can always access your accounts online and through KeyBank’s mobile app, which KeyBank encourages you use if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. You can also call KeyBank’s 24/7 customer service line at 1-800-539-2968, though be aware that there are currently longer hold times than usual.

The KeyBank Foundation also made an initial $1 million commitment to “support vulnerable individuals, small businesses and neighborhoods.”

Navy Federal Credit Union

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

During this time, Navy Federal Credit Union increased its daily mobile deposit limit to $50,000 and its daily limit on non-Navy Federal ATMs to $1,000 (the $1,000 daily limit on Navy Federal ATMs remains).

Members with NFCU OOPS overdraft protection can request a refund for the $20 overdraft fee charged and for non-sufficient fund (NSF) fees by sending a secure message through your account.

Most Navy Federal branches have reopened, and select branches open an hour early every Wednesday for high-risk and senior customers. All Navy Federal members are required to wear a face covering inside a branch. Branches have increased disinfectant and social distancing practices in place. You can check the status of your local branch here or on the Navy Federal Mobile app, where you can also find accessible ATMs.

PenFed Credit Union

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

PenFed Credit Union is not offering specific relief measures for its deposit account members in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Select PenFed financial centers are temporarily closed, while others are operating on adjusted hours. Saturday drive-thru service at open financial centers only includes everyday financial transactions like cash withdrawals and loan payments.

PenFed encourages customers to contact their local branch for information about updated hours and services, which you can also check online on the bank’s locations page and COVID-19 information page. You also can access your accounts for several services online and on the PenFed mobile app.

PNC Bank

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

PNC Bankcustomers who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 should call 1-888-762-2265, which is available 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday. Virtual Wallet customers may call 1-800-352-2255, available during the same hours.

If you are eligible for assistance, a PNC representative will discuss your options with you, which include waiving or refunding fees on deposit accounts (and other products). Qualified customers can also take out an emergency hardship loan “at a low rate.” PNC did not make it clear how it determines eligibility for assistance, but it stressed that customers should call for help.

Select PNC branches remain open with limited hours and access, while others are open by appointment only. Drive-up window services are also in service where available. Open branches will have clear panels at teller lines and in offices, floor markers and heightened cleaning processes. Customers and PNC employees are required to wear a face covering when visiting a PNC branch.

You can use PNC’s branch locator to check the status of a branch and to find a branch that offers essential appointments, made available for safe deposit box access, loan closings or other banking services that you cannot make otherwise. PNC is also still widely accessible via online, mobile and voice banking.

State Employees’ Credit Union

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

State Employees’ Credit Uniondoes not have specific relief plans in place for its deposit account customers, although its loan customers can seek assistance in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Members can contact a representative through a secure message when logged into their account, by calling your local branch or by calling 24/7 Member Services at 888-732-8562.

SECU branches are back open for in-person service, although the credit union encourages members to continue to use drive-thru, online, mobile and telephone services when possible. SECU will limit the number of individuals allowed in a branch at one time and will require both employees and members wear a face covering while in a branch. Branches also have floor markings for social distancing, acrylic shields, sanitizer, gloves and regularly scheduled cleaning.

TD Bank

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

TD Bank’s coronavirus-related assistance options  will depend on your situation and request but may include fee refunds, early, penalty-free access to CDs and payment extensions. The bank’s customer assistance offers continue to evolve as well, according to a bank representative. TD Bank encourages customers affected by COVID-19 to call 1-888-751-9000 to see how the bank can support you.

Most TD Bank branchesare expanding their hours, as well as services at drive-thrus. Branches will have virtual check-in, which will require you to wait outside or in your car until it’s your turn. Branches will also allow fewer customers in the store at a time, social distancing stickers, plexiglass screens, hand sanitizer and required face coverings for both workers and customers.

TD Bank ATMs are still accessible, as is its website and banking app.

TIAA Bank

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

TIAA Bank has ended its coronavirus relief response for its deposit account customers.

TIAA Bank financial centers have all moved to drive-thru tellers only. Those that don’t have a drive-thru window will see clients through appointment only. You can set up an appointment by calling your local financial center.

You may also easily manage your TIAA Bank accounts online and through the TIAA mobile app. To speak with a representative, banking customers may call 1-888-882-3837 from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST, although wait times are abnormally long.

Truist (formerly BB&T and SunTrust)

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

Truist, the result of a recent merger between BB&T and SunTrust, does not offer any relief related to its deposit accounts.

For further assistance, Truist encourages heritage BB&T clients to call 1-800-226-5228 and heritage SunTrust clients to call 1-877-820-2103. Watch out for long wait times, however, which customers have reported on social media.

Local BB&T and SunTrust branch hours and services are temporarily moving to drive-thru teller services only, appointment-only in-person visits and select branch closures. Customers still have 24/7 access to ATMs as well as online, mobile and telephone banking.

Truist has also established a $25 million Truist Cares initiative, which will provide funding to the CDC Foundation and Johns Hopkins Medicine; local United Way organizations; and grants to Truist’s community partners.

U.S. Bank

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

U.S. Bank has suspended fees related to excessive withdrawals. Deposits customers who have been financially affected by COVID-19 should call the bank at 1-888-287-7817 for assistance.

U.S. Bank branch operations are temporarily reduced, and the bank encourages customers to use drive-up windows instead of going inside a branch. If you do visit a U.S. Bank branch, which you should not do if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you must wear a mask and maintain social distancing. U.S. Bank is limiting the number of customers permitted in a branch at one time.

You can check your local branch’s hours and status online. Otherwise, you can still access your U.S. Bank accounts on the bank’s mobile app, by phone or on its website.

Wells Fargo

  • Waives ATM fees
  • Waives overdraft/NSF fees
  • Waives excessive transaction fees
  • Waives early CD withdrawal penalty

Wells Fargo has said it will offer fee waivers for customers who contact the company. On a larger scale, the Wells Fargo Foundation has pledged up to $6.25 million in donations “to support domestic and global response to the COVID-19 and to aid public health relief efforts.” This includes funding “at the local level,” as well as for the national CDC and the International Medical Corps.

Wells Fargo branches are cautiously reopening with adjusted hours and safety practices. The bank suggests you make an appointment if you want to see a banker to avoid longer wait times. Wells Fargo also requires customers to wear a face covering when visiting a branch and asks that customers do not visit a branch or office if you are sick or have been exposed to COVID-19. Wells Fargo call centers still remain open, though they are experiencing higher-than-normal call volume and longer wait times.

You can also access your accounts online and on the Wells Fargo Mobile app, where you can deposit checks, move money and more. Wells Fargo also reminds customers that they can use contactless cards or digital wallets for payments.

Additional bank and federal advisories for customers

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the National Credit Union Association (NCUA) have temporarily extended unlimited insurance. Thanks to the CARES Act, your bank and credit union deposits are wholly insured through Dec. 31, 2020. Typically, an individual is covered up to $250,000 per account type, with increased FDIC insurance for joint ownership or beneficiaries. This temporary extension means you don’t have to worry about losing any of your money in a checking, savings, CD or money market account in the event of a bank or credit union failure.

The Federal Reserve has temporarily amended Regulation D to allow for more than six withdrawals from savings accounts. One way that Regulation D differentiates savings accounts from checking accounts is by limiting savings accounts to six “convenient” transfers per month. This includes pre-authorized and automatic transfers; telephone transfers; and withdrawals and transfers made by check, debit card or a similar method. For now, you don’t have to worry about this limitation.

Less “convenient” transfers which are not included in that otherwise limited category are those made in person at the bank, by mail, at an ATM or over the phone when you receive the withdrawal via a check in the mail.

Typically, going over the “convenient” transfers limit would result in an excessive transaction fee charged by the bank. With the Fed’s latest change, your bank may also waive their excessive transaction fees as further COVID-19 relief.

Many institutions are warning customers about keeping their information and money safe from fraudsters. Unfortunately, scams and phishing attempts are cropping up to take advantage of this crisis. Be wary of phone calls, emails and texts from suspicious senders who ask for personal or account information, and avoid clicking on links in emails and texts. When in doubt, head to your institution’s official website to verify your bank’s contact information, or log into your account to access its secure messaging system.

Government relief and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

American taxpayers and business owners may also get some relief from the U.S. government’s $2 trillion financial relief package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law in late March.
Find out how you can benefit from the relief package below.

One-time stimulus checks

Taxpayers’ long-awaited direct payments, or recovery rebates, will be determined by their most recent tax return. For many, this will be your 2019 tax return, since we have yet to file taxes for 2020. If you have not yet filed your 2019 tax return, the government will turn to your 2018 return instead.

How much you’ll get: For individuals, the plan will provide one-time direct payments of $1,200 ($2,400 for joint returns) to those with an annual income of $75,000 or less. Payments will decrease incrementally for those who made more than $75,000 and will stop altogether for individuals who earned more than $99,000. Individuals will also receive an additional $500 per child. You can use our stimulus check calculator to determine your payment amount.

What to do to get your stimulus check: For most taxpayers, there’s no need to sign up. All you need is a valid Social Security number to receive these relief rebates. Depending on what you requested on your tax return, the IRS will send the payment either via direct deposit or a paper check.

  • If you receive Social Security retirement, Social Security Disability Insurance or Railroad Retirement benefits, the IRS will use the information on your 1099 Social Security forms (Form SSA-1099 or Form RRB-1099) to determine your payments. Individuals who qualify with these forms will only receive additional payments for dependents at this time if they registered their dependents via the IRS’ Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info tool by April 22, 2020. Otherwise, the additional $500 payment per eligible dependent will be paid in association with your tax filing for tax year 2020.
  • Other eligible U.S. citizens or permanent residents may use the IRS’ Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info tool. You can use this tool to submit your most recent banking information to the IRS for faster payment. You are eligible to use this tool if you had a gross income of $12,200 or less ($24,400 for married couples) for 2019 and were not required to file, nor planned to file, a federal income tax return for 2019. You will have to submit your current mailing address, an email address and valid Social Security number, in addition to other personal and identifying information.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients and veterans who receive veterans disability compensation, pension or survivor benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and who did not file a tax return for either 2018 or 2019, may also use the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info tool, as these groups are not yet automatically eligible for economic impact payments.

When the stimulus checks will arrive: The IRS began sending out payments the week of April 13, 2020. You can expect your payment to come sooner if you have direct deposit set up on your tax return or submitted your bank account information via the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info tool.

You can track your payment with the IRS Get My Payment tool. This tool indicates the status of your payment, including the date your payment is scheduled to be direct deposited or mailed. Get My Payment will also provide eligible individuals a chance to submit their bank account information for direct deposit. If your check has already been scheduled for delivery, this feature will not work, so it’s best to take advantage of it as soon as possible

Fastest ways to get your stimulus check: The fastest way to get your stimulus check is via direct deposit to your bank account from the IRS. If your address or bank account information has changed since 2018, file your 2019 tax return as soon as possible, if you haven’t already.

Taxpayers with prepaid accounts can also receive the government COVID-19 stimulus checks, thanks to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) relaxing rules around the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA), which typically prohibits individuals from opening new accounts to receive government benefits. So if you have a prepaid account, you may want to provide the IRS with your account information via the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info tool as soon as possible so you can receive your stimulus payment faster.

What to know about taxes and stimulus checks: These recovery rebates are considered advanced tax credits for 2020 and should not be taxed for most. Since the payment amounts are determined based on your previous tax returns, however, the payments could be subject to adjustment if you earned more or less this year compared to prior years.

For example, if you received too large of a rebate proportionate to your most recent income, you could end up owing back the excess. However, it is so far expected that taxpayers will not have to return or pay tax on any portion of these rebates, regardless of income changes. If you receive a payment that is too low, you also may be able to receive a tax credit from your 2020 taxes to make up the difference.

Expanded unemployment benefits

For starters, individuals who have found themselves unable to work as a result of COVID-19, including those who are sick, quarantined or taking care of family members, will be able to collect unemployment, extending those benefits beyond those who were fired or laid off.

The CARES Act has also included self-employed individuals under this provision, meaning freelancers, gig workers and contractors may also collect unemployment during this time. Also included are people seeking part-time work; workers whose unemployment benefits have run out already; clergy and employees of religious organizations; and individuals whose work history would not typically be sufficient.

The stimulus bill will also add $600 on top of existing unemployment benefits (currently averaging about $300 a week) for four months and extend unemployment insurance by 13 weeks. The bill will also ensure that workers maintain their full salaries if they lose their job due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This additional funding will come from the federal government rather than from states and employers, who typically fund unemployment benefits. Unemployment benefits are still taxable under current law, which the stimulus bill does not account for. So if you are able, you may want to elect for tax withholding now, so you don’t get hit with a big bill at tax time.

How to file for unemployment: Unemployment insurance is done by state, so you will file for unemployment in the state where you last worked. If you worked in multiple states, you can apply in any one of those states. You can check your state’s benefits and eligibility requirements here.

The fastest and safest way to apply for unemployment at this time is via your state’s unemployment website or over the phone. However, given that millions of Americans have recently found themselves unemployed, you may face unusually long wait times when contacting unemployment offices. Perhaps visit your state’s website during off hours.

When you file for unemployment, you’ll have to provide your personal information, including your name, contact information, Social Security number and bank account information, if you have one, for direct deposits. You will also have to provide information about your last place of employment, including your past employer’s name and contact information, the last date you worked, the reason you’re not working anymore and your previous earnings.

Some states may require you to “certify for benefits” on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, which requires you to prove your continued eligibility for unemployment benefits. This often includes showing that you are willing and able to work and that you are actively looking for employment. Some states may waive this requirement during this time.

Eased penalties around retirement account withdrawals

The bill also allows those affected by COVID-19 to withdraw up to $100,000 from qualified retirement accounts, including your 401(k) and IRAs, without facing the 10% early withdrawal penalty that typically applies when you make withdrawals when you are under the age of 59 ½. You will still have to pay income taxes on your withdrawals, though these taxes will now be due over the course of three years instead of immediately. Additionally, the bill waives required minimum distributions (RMDs) for select retirement plans for this year.

Qualified individuals include those who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or have a spouse or dependent who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, as well as those who have been laid off, quarantined, furloughed or faced reduced hours due to the pandemic. This applies through Dec. 31, 2020.

Even though the bill allows it, withdrawing from your retirement accounts before you’ve actually hit retirement is generally not the best plan — especially if you’re already close to retiring. By doing so, you run the high risk of hurting the nest egg that you’ve worked hard to build for retirement. Still, this may be the only source of money available to many right now.

Small business relief

The stimulus plan includes $425 billion for the Federal Reserve to leverage for emergency loans to distressed companies and $75 billion for industry-specific loans. Despite previous claims from President Trump that he alone would choose which businesses received aid, this lending system will fall under oversight by an inspector general and a congressionally-appointed panel.

The spending package also provides $350 billion that will go toward lending programs for small businesses, but only those that keep their payrolls steady through the crisis. There is also a reward for small businesses that keep their workers in the form of federally-guaranteed loans that will be forgiven if the employer continues to pay its workers throughout this time of crisis.

Additionally, the plan allocates $130 billion for hospitals and $150 billion for state and local governments.

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