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The Best 18-Month CD Rates in 2020

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

Sometimes you need a shorter-term CD, but the rate of return on a 12-month CD just isn’t quite enough. Thankfully, many institutions offer 18-month CD or 19-month CD options. They typically have higher rates than a 12-month account, while remaining a viable choice for near-term savings goals when a 24-month CD would be too long a commitment.The key is to find the right 18-month CD to maximize your savings. If you look around, you can find rates just around 1.90% APY, compared to the average 18-month CD rate of 1.32%. To make the search process easier for you, we’ve uncovered the best 18-month CDs using data from DepositAccounts.com to find the highest APY. We also took each account’s minimum deposit requirement into consideration.

The 10 best 18-month CD rates in April 2020

InstitutionAPYMinimum deposit amount to earn APY
American Express National Bank1.50%$0
Live Oak Bank1.90%$2,500
Merrick Bank1.87%$25,000
Marcus by Goldman Sachs Bank USA1.85%$500
CIT Bank1.72%$1,000
Pen Air Federal Credit Union 1.80%$500
Barclays1.75%$0
Ally Bank1.75%$0
CFG Bank1.75%$500
Discover Bank1.55%$2,500

American Express National Bank — 1.50% APY, no minimum deposit

The 18-month CD from American Express National Bank is our top pick. If you withdraw your principal balance or the account is closed for any reason before maturity, however, you’ll forfeit 270 days’ interest, a heavy hit to your earnings.

American Express National Bank offers a lineup of online Personal Savings deposits products, including its CDs and High Yield Savings Account. Based in Sandy, Utah and established in 1989, American Express National Bank is a part of the larger American Express company, which was founded in 1850.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on American Express National Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Live Oak Bank — 1.90% APY, $2,500 minimum deposit

With competitive CD rates across the board, it’s no wonder Live Oak Bank’s 18-month CD makes it on this list. You’ll need at least $2,500 to open an account. Interest earned can be paid out monthly. An early withdrawal will cost you a penalty equal to 90 days of interest on the amount withdrawn.

Largely focused on loans and business banking, Live Oak Bank doesn’t have any consumer bank branches other than its headquarters in Wilmington, N.C. It was founded in 2008.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Live Oak Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Merrick Bank — 1.87% APY, $25,000 minimum deposit

Merrick Bank may offer only a few CDs, but they all earn at excellent rates, including its 18-month CD. Just note that you’ll need at least $25,000 to open one of these accounts. The early withdrawal penalty for an 18-month CD is equal to 2% of the account balance or seven days’ interest, whichever is greater.

Founded in 1997, Merrick Bank is headquartered in South Jordan, Utah, which is also the bank’s only physical branch location. Still, you can find a wide range of financial products online like loans and financing products along with CDs.

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on Merrick Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Marcus by Goldman Sachs Bank USA — 1.85% APY, $500 minimum deposit

Under the brand Marcus by Goldman Sachs, Goldman Sachs Bank USA is a consistent rate leader for its online deposit accounts. Its 18-month CD here earns a solid 1.85% APY on deposits of $500 and above. If you fund your account within 10 days of opening, Marcus will guarantee you the highest rate it can offer on that account. The early withdrawal penalty equals 270 days simple interest on the principal at the rate in effect for the CD.

Goldman Sachs Bank USA was founded in 1869 and is headquartered in New York City. Marcus is accessible online and on its mobile app, available only in the Apple App Store.

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on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

Member FDIC

Pen Air Federal Credit Union — 1.80% APY, $500 minimum deposit

You’ll need at least $500 to open an 18-month Pen Air Certificate. Then you can start earning at its 1.80% APY. The early withdrawal penalty for this term will equal 180 days’ dividends.

Founded in 1936, Pen Air Federal Credit Union is based in Pensacola, Fla., and maintains locations in Northwest Florida and Southeast Alabama. Pen Air membership is open to you if you’re active duty or retired military, a civil service employee, an employee at a partnering Select Employer Group or an immediate family member of eligible members. You may also join by becoming a member of the Friends of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Inc., whose one-time $3 donation Pen Air will make for you.

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on Pen Air Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Barclays — 1.75% APY, no minimum deposit

With no minimum balance or deposit required to open, Barclays offers its highest CD rate on its mid-term CDS, including its 18-month CD. Their online CDs are FDIC-insured and have no hidden monthly fees, but there is a penalty for withdrawing principal before maturity: 90 days’ simple interest on the amount withdrawn for terms less than 24 months or 180 days’ simple interest on the amount withdrawn for terms more than 24 months. Interest is compounded daily.

Barclays Online Savings and CD accounts are part of the bank’s Online Banking business, a division of UK-based Barclays. Established in 2001, Barclays Online Savings is based in Wilmington, Del.

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on Barclays’s secure website

Member FDIC

Ally Bank — 1.75% APY, no minimum deposit

There is no minimum deposit to qualify for this 18-month CD rate at Ally Bank. Ally maintains the most generous early withdrawal penalty on this list, charging only 60 days’ worth of interest.

Ally Bank traces its history back to 1919, as the financing branch of GM, but today operates entirely online.

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on Ally Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

CFG Bank — 1.75% APY, $500 minimum deposit

The minimum balance for this CFG Bank CD is $500, and no additional deposits are allowed after opening. These accounts are subject to an early withdrawal penalty, and any withdrawal within the first six days of opening an account will incur a penalty of 7 days’ interest.

CFG Bank is privately owned and operated by an entrepreneur. Its headquarters are in Baltimore, Md.

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on CFG Bank’s secure website

FDIC Insured

Discover Bank — 1.55% APY, $2,500 minimum deposit

Among Discover Bank’s high-yield CDs is its 18-month account, which you can take advantage of starting with an opening deposit of $2,500. You’ll lose 6 months’ simple interest if you make a withdrawal before maturity.

Discover Online Banking offers a variety of online-only and high-yield banking products. Online Banking is a part of the larger Discover organization, which started in the credit card business in 1985.

SEE DETAILS 

Member FDIC

CIT Bank — 1.72% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit

CIT Bank offers its 18-month CD with no account opening or maintenance fees. However, you will need to contribute a minimum of $1,000. Your money is FDIC-insured, and interest compounds daily. As with most CDs, early withdrawal will incur a penalty. Upon maturity, the 18-month CD will be automatically renewed as a 2-Year Term CD at the APY at that time.

CIT Bank is a subsidiary of CIT Group, a financial holding company that was founded in 1908. Today, CIT Bank is headquartered in Pasadena, Calif.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Bellco Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Is it worth getting an 18-month CD over a 1-year CD?

When we discuss CD rates, we tend to center the conversation on 1-year CDs. They’re helpful to look at when assessing changes in rates over time, typically compared to long-term CDs. They also the general starting point when creating a CD ladder. So where do the slightly longer 18-month CDs fit in?

18-month CDs are only six months longer than 1-year CDs. It might seem like too little of a difference, especially when you’re squirreling away cash. However, because of this extra time a bank gets to hold your money, banks are willing to pay higher rates on your 18-month deposits, thus boosting your savings a little bit more.

Let’s say you deposit $1,000 into a bank’s 3% APY 18-month CD. At maturity, you’ll have earned around $46. Making that same deposit into the same bank’s 1-year CD at 2% APY, would earn just a little over $20. Of course, rates vary from bank to bank. That’s why it’s important to look for the best CD rates for each term to make locking your money away more worthwhile.

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The Best Checking Accounts for April 2020

The best checking accounts offer competitive rates, rewards and easy access to cash without any fees. If you’re looking for the best checking account for your banking needs, take a look at our top picks for April 2020.

Every month, MagnifyMoney’s elite team of financial experts review offers from over 12,000 banks and credit unions, highlighting the best checking accounts we can find. We analyze each account for the following features:

  • Competitive interest rates
  • No monthly account fee or minimum balance requirements
  • No ATM fees and ATM-fee reimbursements
  • Bonus and cash-back offers
  • Special features for students and small businesses

Here are MagnifyMoney’s top picks for the best checking accounts in April 2020:

Summary of the Best Checking Accounts for April 2020

Best Overall Checking

Simple

Simple Review

Best High-Yield Checking

Consumer Credit Union Rewards Checking

Consumer Credit Union Review

Best Free Checking Account

Axos Bank Rewards Checking

Axos Bank Review

Best No-Fee Checking

BBVA Free Checking

BBVA Compass Review

Best Checking Account Bonus

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo Review

Best Rewards Checking Account

Discover Cashback Debit

Discover Bank Review

Best No-ATM Fee Checking

TD Bank Beyond Checking

TD Bank Review

Best Business Checking Account

Axos Bank Business Interest Checking

Axos Bank Review

Best Checking Account for Students

Chase College Checking

Chase Bank Review

Best Joint Checking Account

Ally Bank

Ally Bank Review

Best Overall Checking Account – Simple

Simple

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on Simple’s secure website

Highlights:

  • Free access to 40,000 Allpoint ATMs
  • No overdraft fees
  • Access to tools that allow you to automate your budgeting and savings
  • APY: 1.55% on balances in Protected Goals
  • Maintenance Fee: $0
  • Current Promotions: N/A

Read the full review

Why we picked it: Through a partnership with BBVA, Simple offers a great checking account with attractive budgeting features and a competitive APY. This account is great for those looking for a traditional checking account without unnecessary fees and stocked with benefits like interest and free ATM access.

What to watch out for: While you can earn a decent APY on the funds in your Protected Goals account, Simple doles out a dismal 0.01% APY on funds that are not in your Protected Goals account, a sub-account designed for money you set aside for savings. It’s also worth noting that fees may apply to ATMs outside of its Allpoint ATM network, and there is a Visa fee of up to 1% if the card is used internationally.

Best High Yield Checking Account – Consumers Credit Union Rewards Checking

Consumers Credit Union (IL)

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on Consumers Credit Union (IL)’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Highlights:

  • Access to over 30,000 ATMs
  • Most lucrative rates require minimum direct deposits or spend on CCU Visa credit card
  • APY: up to 3.09%
  • Maintenance Fee: $0
  • Current Promotions: N/A

Read the full review

Why we picked it: The Consumers Credit Union has routinely offered sky-high rates, even in a plummeting rate environment, earning this account the title of Best High-Yield Checking account.

While this is a tiered rate account, the lower tiers — which can be earned with fewer requirements — still offer attractive rates that are well above those offered by other banks and credit unions.

What to watch out for: While balances between $10,000 and $25,000 — regardless of your tier — earn an APY of 0.20%, it’s worth noting that balances over $25,000 earn an APY of just 0.10%.

Additionally, if you don’t meet the monthly activity requirements, you’ll earn an APY of just 0.01% and won’t receive ATM refunds. The account also has an overdraft fee of $30.

Best Free Checking Account – Axos Bank Rewards Checking

Axos Bank

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on Axos Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Highlights:

  • No overdraft or non-sufficient funds fees
  • Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements
  • APY: up to 1.25%
  • Maintenance Fee: $0
  • Current Promotions: N/A

Read the full review

Why we picked it: We have crowned the Axos Bank Rewards Checking account as the Best Free Checking account not only for its attractive features, but for its consistency, too.

The Axos Bank Rewards Checking account has consistently offered competitive APYs — even as earning rates drop at other banks. This account also offers all of the bells and whistles that the best standard checking accounts have been known to include, like ATM fee reimbursements and no overdraft fees.

What to watch out for: The Axos Bank Rewards Checking account is a tiered, interest-earning variable rate account. So, in order to earn the 1.25% APY, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Receive monthly direct deposits totaling $1,000 or more
  • Use your debit card for a total of 15 transactions per month minimum of $3 per transaction)

If you don’t meet those requirements, you will receive a reduced APY from what is advertised. There is also a $50 minimum balance required to open this account.

Best No-Fee Checking Account – BBVA Free Checking

BBVA

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on BBVA’s secure website

Member FDIC

Highlights:

  • Free ATM access at BBVA ATMs
  • For $5 per month, you can receive up to four rebates per statement cycle for ATM fees charged by other banks, as well as no BBVA fees at non-BBVA ATMs
  • APY: None
  • Maintenance Fee: $0
  • Current Promotions: N/A

Read the full review

Why we picked it: If you’re looking for a basic checking account that gets the job with no fees or frills, the BBVA Free Checking account is a product worth exploring.

This checking account provides you with the basic checking necessities, with no monthly fees. Additionally, it gives you the ability to customize your account further for additional charges. For example, an extra fee of $2 a month will give you unlimited cashier’s checks.

What to watch out for: With the BBVA Free Checking account, there is a $25 minimum balance required to open an account and a potential overdraft fee of $38.

Best Checking Account Bonus – Wells Fargo Everyday Checking

Wells Fargo Bank

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on Wells Fargo Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Highlights:

  • Access to over 13,000 Wells Fargo ATMs
  • Features budgeting, cash flow and spending tools
  • $10 monthly service is waived if you meet any one of their requirements
  • APY: None
  • Maintenance Fee: $10
  • Current Promotions: $400 bonus with $4,000 in direct deposits

Read the full review

Why we picked it: Wells Fargo’s Everyday Checking account is currently offering an attractive bonus offer, expiring July 31, 2020. Upon opening a new Wells Fargo Everyday Checking account and depositing a minimum of $4,000 in qualifying direct deposits within 90 days of opening, you’ll receive a $400 bonus.

This offer is only available to new Wells Fargo checking and savings customers in Denver, Houston, Miami, Orlando, Fla., Phoenix and Seattle. You also must not have received a bonus for opening a Wells Fargo consumer checking or savings account within the past 12 months.

What to watch out for: This account requires a $25 initial deposit to open. You should also be aware of the not-so-obvious fees associated with this account, which include a $2.50 fee for cash withdrawals at non-Wells Fargo ATMs in the U.S ($5 outside of the U.S.) and a $35 overdraft fee.

Best Rewards Checking Account – Discover Cashback Debit

Discover Bank

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Discover Bank's website is secure

Member FDIC

Highlights:

  • 1% cash back on up to $3,000 of debit card purchases per month
  • No insufficient funds fee
  • Access to over 60,000 no-fee ATMs
  • APY: None
  • Maintenance Fee: $0
  • Current Promotions: N/A

Read the full review

Why we picked it: The Discover Cashback Debit checking account is a standout account, with no fees and access to over 60,000 ATMs.

What really earns this account the title of Best Rewards Checking account, though, is the fact that it offers 1% cash back on all debit card purchases, up to $3,000 per month. This is a unique perk among checking accounts, and if you prefer cash back to earning interest, this could be the account for you.

What to watch out for: There aren’t too many surprises with this account, just be aware that fees for non-Discover ATMs may apply.

Best No-ATM Fee Checking Account – TD Bank Beyond Checking

TD Bank

SEE DETAILS 

Member FDIC

Highlights:

  • No fees at TD Bank ATMs, and reimbursed fees for out-of-network ATMs for accounts that maintain a daily balance of at least $2,500
  • No required minimum opening deposit
  • Overdraft fees reimbursement offered up to two times per year
  • APY: Up to 0.01%
  • Maintenance Fee: $25
  • Current Promotions: N/A

Read the full review

Why we picked it: TD Bank’s Beyond Checking account is a great option for those who prioritize fee-free access to ATMs.

With this account, not only do you receive fee-free ATM access to TD Bank’s network of ATMS, but if you maintain a minimum daily balance of at least $2,500, TD Bank will reimburse you for any fees incurred at out-of-network ATMs. As the cherry on top, this account also doles out a little bit of interest.

What to watch out for: Be aware that the 0.05% APY is available only to accounts with a minimum daily balance of $50,000. Accounts with balances between $10,000 and $49,999 receive an APY of just 0.03%, while balances under $10,000 receive an APY of just 0.01%. There is also a $35 overdraft fee associated with this account.

Best Business Checking Account – Axos Bank Business Interest Checking

Axos Bank

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on Axos Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Highlights:

  • Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursement
  • Up to 50 free transaction items per month
  • Monthly service fee can be waived if you maintain an average, daily minimum balance of $5,000
  • APY: Up to 0.80%
  • Maintenance Fee: $10
  • Current Promotions: New business owners eligible for a $50 Welcome Bonus

Read the full review

Why we picked it: Axos Bank’s Business Interest Checking account stands out among other business checking account products for a myriad of reasons, most notably its surprisingly low fees.

Additionally, Axos Bank throws in a number of freebies with its Business Interest Checking account, from ATM fee reimbursements to free checks, making it our pick for the Best Business Checking Account.

What to watch out for:Transactions are $0.50 each after the first 50, and there is a $100 minimum opening deposit required for this account.

Best Checking Account for Students – Chase College Checking

Chase Bank

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on Chase Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Highlights:

  • $6 monthly service fee waived for up to five years if you are 17 to 24 years old, have proof of student status and are enrolled in college, or if you meet any one of Chase’s monthly requirements
  • No monthly service fee on a Chase Savings account linked to this account for overdraft protection
  • APY: None
  • Maintenance Fee: $6
  • Current Promotions: $100 bonus for new Chase customers with qualifying activities

Read the full review

Why we picked it: The Chase College Checking account is a great option for students, as it waives its monthly service fee for those between the ages of 17 and 24 who have proof of a student status, for up to five years while in college.

With widespread ATM access, the ability to pay friends with QuickPay or Zelle and a robust mobile app, this account checks all the boxes for college students.

What to watch out for: For this account, you’ll need to show proof of student status. Also, there’s a $2.50 non-Chase ATM fee and $34 overdraft fee associated with this account.

Best Joint Checking Account – Ally Bank Interest Checking

Ally Bank

SEE DETAILS 

Member FDIC

Highlights:

  • Free access to Allpoint ATMs and up to $10 in ATM fee reimbursements per statement cycle
  • No required minimum opening deposit
  • 0.10% APY on balances less than $15,000; 0.50% APY on accounts with a minimum daily balance of $15,000
  • APY: Up to 0.50%
  • Maintenance Fee: $0
  • Current Promotions: N/A

Read the full review

Why we picked it: Ally Bank’s Interest Checking account features minimal fees, variable interest and added perks like up to $10 in ATM fee reimbursements every month.

All of Ally Bank’s banking products support joint ownership, and you are allowed up to four owners on the account without any additional fees, making this an easy pick for our Best Joint Checking account.

What to watch out for: There’s not much to watch out for with this account, just be aware of the $25 overdraft fee.

FAQs: What should I know about checking accounts?

A checking account is a bank account for your day-to-day spending needs. They typically come with a debit card, which allows you to make purchases and provides quick and easy access to cash, making it a safer option than carrying cash. Many checking accounts are also offered with paper checks.

Unlike savings accounts, checking accounts typically have no transaction limits, making them the most liquid option for your money aside from holding large amounts of cash. Checking accounts are also FDIC-insured which adds peace of mind.

There are many free checking account options out there. Some options — especially those offered by online banks — are free accounts that even offer extra features like interest and rewards. Keep in mind that many banks will still feature things like inactivity fees, minimum balance requirements or paper statement charges for their “free checking” accounts.

If you’re paying monthly maintenance fees, minimum balances fees or even third-party ATM fees, it’s worth it to do some research, as there are other accounts out there that will give you more bang for your buck and won’t nickel and dime you for it either. Shop around to find the best free checking account for you.

Yes, many checking accounts earn interest, although the amount offered is typically far less than rates offered by savings accounts or money market accounts.

If you’re looking for the best high-yield checking account, many smaller banks and credit unions offer Kasasa checking accounts, which are essentially free checking accounts that offer higher interest rates, so long as you meet a few monthly requirements.

Checking accounts are used for your everyday spending needs and generally don’t carry interest (however high-interest checking accounts do exist); by contrast, savings accounts usually carry higher interest rates and are meant for you to save money over the long-run.

Keep in mind that savings accounts will typically restrict access to your cash to around six withdrawals per month while checking accounts allow you almost unrestricted access to any cash you hold in the account.

It’s a good idea to maintain a free or no-fee checking account for day-to-day use. Generally speaking, the best checking accounts allow unfettered access to cash and carry no monthly fees, ATM-fees, or other account surcharges.

Almost every checking account offered by major banking institutions is insured by the FDIC, which provides an accountholder with up to $250,000 in federal deposit insurance in the event the underlying bank runs into trouble.

As with any other deposit account, it’s easy to find out whether your checking account has FDIC coverage. You can check to see if your financial institution has FDIC insurance by looking for the “Member FDIC” tag that often appears at the bottom of the bank’s marketing materials.

FDIC insurance covers deposits in checking accounts, savings accounts, CDs and money market accounts, up to $250,000 per ownership category per person within a single financial institution. Credit unions receive deposit insurance from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), up to $250,000 per owner, per insured credit union, per account category.

One checking account should suffice for most shoppers. However, there may be instances where you’d want to open multiple checking accounts to help keep your finances organized or separated for different purposes.

For example, many small business owners have their own business checking account to segregate their professional finances from their personal finances.

Some parents may even want to open separate student checking accounts to help teach their kids or budding college students financial responsibility and keep track of their finances.

Keep in mind that you can also open joint checking accounts, which make it easier for couples and those who share their lives to also share finances and track spending. With a joint account, two or more people share ownership, and can deposit and withdraw funds from the same checking account.

Every checking account will feature a routing number and an account number. These two numbers are associated with your bank account and serve as unique identifiers for your account.

The routing number associated with your checking account is a nine-digit string of numbers that identifies the institution that manages your checking account.

Your bank account number identifies your personal account and is the unique identifier that your bank uses to direct cash or wire transfers, track your balance, and rout payments as needed.

A second-chance checking account is a type of checking account available to those who might not otherwise qualify for a traditional checking account due to their credit or ChexSystems history.

It may be worth exploring a second-chance checking account if your banking history might have been blemished by closing an account with a negative balance or outstanding fees.

Typically, second-chance checking accounts have lower spending limits, fewer features and may charge monthly maintenance fees. However they exist mainly to assist people who are determined to get their financial lives back on track. Once you’ve had the chance to rebuild your credit history, you may be able to trade back up for a standard checking account.

What should I look for in a checking account?

When shopping for a checking account, keep in mind that their main purpose is to provide a convenient and safe place to stash the x you use for your daily spending. With that in mind, factors such as safety, ease of use and minimal costs should be top-of-mind. You want features like zero fees, a wide ATM network, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance and overdraft protection. Some checking accounts offer interest or other rewards — these accounts are your best bet.

Find an account with few or zero fees

There are many checking accounts that charge little to no fees. Online banks, in particular, offer checking accounts with zero fees, as they are able to save on the operational costs that burden brick-and-mortar banks. Some checking accounts even offer unlimited ATM-reimbursements or a monthly allowance for reimbursable ATM surcharges.

Since many checking accounts offer little to no interest, it’s even more critical to opt for an account with minimal fees. Common checking account fees include:

  • Maintenance fees
  • Minimum balance fees
  • ATM fees
  • Overdraft fees

Even if you’re using a high-yield checking account, why pay your bank fees for access to your own cash? It’s a good idea to check for bank fees when shopping for a checking account. If your checking account has any monthly balance or spending requirements, make sure you stay within those limits to avoid any unnecessary fees.

Pair your checking account with a high-yield savings account

You might want to pair your checking account with a high-yield savings account if you’d like to maintain your day-to-day spending but stash away a portion of your cash to earn a higher rate of return in longer-term savings.

This is also a great option for those who don’t want to be tempted with the ability to easily spend their savings on everyday needs.

If this is what you’re looking for, start by finding a checking account that fits your daily spending needs, is easily accessible and FDIC-insured. You can then track your spending and set up regular deposits into a separate, high-yield savings account for any excess cash you don’t spend. Keep in mind that not all savings accounts are created the same, and it’s worth shopping around for the best rates when it comes to your savings account.

If you want your money to do more for you with less maintenance, online checking is the way to go.

Resist the urge to hoard cash in a checking account

With easy access, low fees and the safety of FDIC insurance, it can be tempting to use checking accounts as a place to hoard all of your cash. However, checking accounts generally offer much less interest than high-yield savings accounts which makes them a poor store of value.

Keep in mind that deposit accounts will typically pale in comparison to any returns you can reap from investing your extra money in the market. It’s a good idea to keep just enough in your checking account to cover your daily needs, meet any minimum balance requirements and avoid any possible overdraft charges. To get the most out of your money, consider storing any cash you don’t need in a separate high-yield savings account or CD.

There are two main reasons your money would be better off not sitting in checking:

#1 You could miss out on higher interest rates
Interest rates on checking accounts are generally pretty pitiful. Even when they seem high (perhaps 0.60% or even 1.00%), there can be a lot of hoops to jump through in order to secure that interest rate. Instead, consider putting your money into one of the nation’s best savings accounts, best money market accounts or CDs. Your money can easily earn 1.00% or more with those accounts.

#2 You don’t want to give fraudsters access to your life savings
Fraud is another reason you may want to keep a minimal amount in checking. Bank fraud is so prevalent you’ll likely get smacked by it at some point. For credit card users, it isn’t as worrisome because the money charged to a credit card isn’t coming directly out of your bank account and credit issuers commonly offer zero fraud liability protection. On the other hand, debit card fraud means a crook gains direct access to your account and can be draining your actual funds in real time. By not keeping a ton of money in checking, you can reduce the damage a thief can do.

If your card is stolen and you report it to your bank within two days, you can be responsible for up to $50 of unauthorized charges. Waiting longer than two days can make you responsible for up to $500 in unauthorized charges. Additionally, if you notice any unauthorized charges on your account statement, you have 60 days to tell your bank to avoid liability for following transfers. Even if your bank reimburses you for the funds, it’s still a hassle to spend days — even weeks — without having access to that money.

Other Options Besides Checking Accounts

Consider a cash management account

Cash management accounts are a relatively new type of money management account that has become increasingly popular. These accounts are a hybrid of both checking and savings accounts while offering features common to both.

Cash management accounts can offer the convenience and liquidity of checking accounts, plus the interest earnings of high-yield savings accounts. Some cash management accounts feature separate checking and savings accounts under one banner, with instant and unlimited transfers between the two. Others comprise a single account featuring both a competitive interest rate and unlimited liquidity.

Before you go running for the best of both worlds, it’s important to note that not all cash management accounts offer the same FDIC-insurance carried by checking or savings accounts offered by most major banks. This can subject you to some level of risk that you might not necessarily face with a typical FDIC-insured checking or savings account.

Consider hybrid savings/checking accounts

In today’s competitive savings rate atmosphere, some banks are offering the best of both a checking and savings account in the same product, like the Simple Checking Account + Protected Goals Account, our top pick above. These hybrid accounts offer the flexibility of a checking account by including a debit card and avoiding the six-transaction limit of savings accounts. Some accounts might also offer the ability to write checks through the account (however, Simple does not).

Even better, these hybrid accounts also offer the high-yield competitive rates of a savings account (think above 2%!). Opening this kind of account can prove to be a great addition to your savings profile, especially since most checking accounts tend to offer unremarkable rates. Simple goes even further by helping you save towards a specific Savings Goal instead of just earning a high interest rate — although saving at least $2,000 towards that goal enables that high rate.

Of course, money market accounts are already known as hybrid-like accounts with high interest rates. But without limiting your transfers and transactions to six per cycle, these new checking/savings hybrid accounts (or cash management accounts, as they might be called) are able to set themselves apart from money market accounts. Money market accounts also tend to require much higher balance limits and charge monthly service fees, unlike these new accounts we’re starting to see.

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Best Savings Account Bonus Offers of April 2020

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There’s no shortage of checking account bonus offers, with everyone from small local banks to the big household names offering hundreds of dollars to new customers. Banks know it’s hard to get you to leave your old bank, especially when you’re comfortable with the accounts you have. But what better way to entice you than with a big cash bonus?

You’ll find these bonus offers attached to more checking accounts than savings accounts. After all, checking accounts are a crucial part to banking, as they allow you to easily access your money for purchases and transfers.

That’s not to say there aren’t any opportunities to earn money with a new savings account. We’ve found six of the best savings account bonus offers as of the date of publishing. It’s easy to go straight for the highest amount, but pay attention to the bank and the account you’re getting ready to open. Make sure it’s a bank you actually want to do business with.

Further, double check that you’ll be happy with the new account for months to come. It can take months to meet the offer requirements and even longer to actually receive the bonus. If there’s a monthly fee on the account, you could be stuck paying that unnecessary fee, especially if you can’t meet the balance requirements to waive it. You may not even be happy with the interest rate on the account, which might make the savings account bonus offer not entirely worth it.

The best savings account bonus offers in April 2020

Methodology

To find the best savings account bonus offers, we looked for the highest bonus amounts offered. Below, you’ll find the six biggest bonus offers on savings accounts being offered. Offers are current as of this publication date and we will update the article periodically to show the freshest ranking.

Chase — $2,000 bonus with $250,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 4/27/2020

Offer rules: Become a Chase Private Client customer and get a chance to earn this $2,000 bonus. You’ll need to transfer a total of $250,000 or more in qualifying new money or securities to a combination of eligible personal checking, savings and/or investment accounts within 45 days of opening and maintain the balance for at least 90 days. Eligible accounts excludes any You Invest, J.P. Morgan retirement accounts and CDs.

Who’s eligible: Only new Chase customers in 32 select states and Washington D.C. may qualify for this offer. You can visit your nearest CPC branch or email an upgrade code to yourself to redeem this offer.

Account details: Chase Private Client requires you to maintain an average daily balance of $250,000 or more between qualifying personal or business deposits and investments. Chase Private Client extends the perks and benefits you can receive on your Chase accounts, including banking, credit cards, loans and investments.

Chase Private Client does not charge monthly fees on Chase Private Client Checking or Chase Private Client Savings accounts. Private Client Savings Accounts earn a minimal 0.01% APY.

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on Chase Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Chase — $1,000 bonus with $75,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 4/27/2020

Offer rules:Become a Sapphire Banking customer by transferring $75,000 or more in qualifying new money or securities to a combination of eligible personal checking, savings and/or investment accounts (excluding any J.P. Morgan retirement accounts and CDs). You must also maintain that balance for 90 days.

Who’s eligible: This offer is available only to customers in 32 select states and Washington D.C. You can open a Sapphire Banking account online and email yourself a code to redeem this offer.

Account details: Despite its premier placing, Chase Sapphire Checking earns only 0.01% APY. Linking a Chase Sapphire Checking account to a Chase Premier Savings account (and meeting other requirements), offers a small boost to your Premier Savings rates. It also unlocks higher rates for higher balances.

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on Chase Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Citi — $700 bonus with $50,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 6/30/2020

Offer rules: Open a new checking and savings accounts in the Citi Priority Account Package and deposit at least $50,000 in new-to-Citibank money within 30 days of account opening. Your funds can be shared between the new checking and savings accounts. Maintain at least $50,000 between the accounts for 60 days to qualify for the bonus.

Who’s eligible: New Citibank customers are eligible for this offer. This means those who have not been a signer on a Citibank checking account within the past 180 days.

Account details: The Citi Priority Account Package is a premium account, including investment resources and on-demand access to Citi Personal Wealth Management. The account costs $30 each month to own. You can waive the fee by maintaining a combined average monthly balance of at least $50,000 in eligible linked accounts.

With the Citi Priority Account Package, you can earn 0.03% APY on the Interest Checking account and 0.04% – 0.15% APY on the Citi Savings account, depending on your balance.

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Citi — Up to $500 bonus with $15,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 6/30/2020

Offer rules: You must be a new Citibank customer and open a Citibank Account Package, which includes a checking and savings account. Within 30 days of opening these accounts, you must deposit at least $15,000 in either of these two accounts with money new to Citibank, and maintain a minimum balance across both accounts of $15,000 for 60 days.

After meeting the above requirements, you’ll get $400 in bonus money deposited into your checking account (or savings account if you’ve closed the checking account). If you make at least one qualifying direct deposit each month for two consecutive months within 60 days of opening the account, you’ll receive an additional $100, boosting your total bonus to $500.

Who’s eligible: You must be a new customer to Citibank and enroll in the offer through the offer page or in person at a branch.

Account details: There’s a $25 monthly maintenance fee, which you can avoid be keeping a minimum of $10,00 deposited across both accounts (which you’ll want to do anyone in order to qualify for the bonus, which requires a minimum of $15,000). You may not want a checking account and are free to close it, but keep in mind in order to get the $100 bonus (to bring the total amount to $500) you need to make the ACH deposits into a checking account, not a savings account.

The Citibank Account Package earns 0.01% APY on the Interest Checking account and between 0.04% and 0.13% APY on the Citi Savings account, depending on your balance.

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on Citi’s secure website

Associated Bank — $400 bonus with $25,100 minimum deposit

Offer ends 6/30/2020

Offer rules: This offer requires you to open both an Associated Choice Checking account and an Associated Relationship Savings account. Open the checking account with at least $100 and make three payments through Associated Bank Online Bill Pay or at least one direct deposit of $300 or more within 45 days of account opening. You must open the savings account with at least $25,000. Together, you must maintain a $25,000 minimum combined balance in those accounts for 90 days to receive the reward, 120 days after account opening.

Email yourself a coupon code from the offer page and bring that coupon into a branch to redeem.

Who’s eligible: You must fund the new accounts with money not already held with the Bank. The offer is not available to Associated Bank employees and those who already have or have had a checking account or Associated Relationship Savings account at Associated Bank within the last six months.

Account details: A heavy-hitting account, the Associated Choice Checking account earns interest between 0.01% and 0.01% APY, depending on your balance (higher balances earn higher rates). It charges a high $25 monthly fee, which you can waive with at least $10,000 in combined deposit accounts or either an HSA or investment account.

The Associated Relationship Savings account earns between 0.03% and 0.25% APY, where higher balances earn more.

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on Associated Bank, NA’s secure website

Member FDIC

PNC Bank — Up to $300 bonus with $5,000 direct deposits

Offer ends 5/4/2020

Offer rules: There are three bonus reward opportunities at PNC Bank, although you can only redeem one at a time. To earn the largest $300 reward, you must first open a new Virtual Wallet with Performance Select and receive direct deposits totaling at least $5,000. To earn a $200 reward, you must open a new Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend account and make at least $2,000 in total direct deposits. To earn a $50 reward, you must open a new Virtual Wallet and make $500 in direct deposits.

All bonuses also require you to make at least 10 purchases with the PNC Bank Visa Debit Card that comes with your new account. You must meet all requirements within the first 60 days of account ownership.

Qualifying direct deposits are paycheck, pension, Social Security or other regular monthly payments from an employer or an outside agency. A qualifying debit card purchase is one made at point of sale with your signature or PIN or online with your debit card number.

Who’s eligible: Only new PNC customers qualify for these offers. This excludes those who own an existing PNC Bank consumer checking account, have closed an account within the past 90 days or have been paid a promotional premium in the past 12 months.

To redeem this bonus, open the new checking account via the bonus page.

Account details: The Performance Select is the top tier Virtual Wallet. Its checking account aspects earn interest at 0.01% APY. The savings account earns 0.01% APY as well, unless you qualify for higher relationship rates. There is a $25 monthly fee, which you can waive in a few different ways.

The Performance Spend also pays 0.01% interest on its checking account for balances of $2,000 or more. Its second checking component earns 0.01% APY on all balances. Its Growth savings component earns 0.01% APY. You can earn at higher relationship rates by meeting certain requirements. Performance Spend has a $15 waivable fee.

Virtual Wallet includes a primary, non-interest-bearing checking account, a short-term, interest-bearing checking account at 0.01% APY and a long-term savings account at 0.01% APY, again with the opportunity for relationship rates. It charges a $7 waivable monthly fee.

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Member FDIC

Discover — Up to $200 bonus with $25,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 5/25/2020

Offer rules: Discover customers can benefit from a $200 bonus by opening a Discover Online Savings account for the first time by April 6, 2019, which is the date this offer ends. You’ll then need to deposit at least $25,000 into the account by April 20, 2020.

If you can’t meet that minimum amount, you can earn a $150 bonus instead by depositing at least $15,000 into the new account by April 20, 2020.

Bonuses will be credited to your account by May 4, 2020.

Who’s eligible: You must be a new Discover savings customer to qualify for this savings account bonus offer. You must not have had a savings account that was co-branded or an affinity account provided by Discover either.

You can apply for the offer with the code “MM220” either online or by phone.

Account details: Discover’s Online Savings Account earns at a competitive interest rate of 1.50% on all balances. There’s no monthly service fee and Discover promises no hidden fees. You’ll only face a charge for excessive withdrawals, stop payments, insufficient funds and outgoing wire transfers. Discover will waive the first excessive withdrawal, insufficient funds or stop payment fee you encounter each calendar year. Keep in mind that these bonuses are considered interest and will be reported on a 1099-INT form.

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on Discover Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Citi — $200 bonus with $5,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 6/30/2020

Offer rules: Citibank’s $200 bonus is available when you open a new Basic Banking Package. Qualify for the offer when you deposit at least $5,000 in new money into the package within 30 days after account opening. You can split the funds between the checking and savings accounts. Then maintain at least $5,000 in the package for 60 days to fully qualify.

Who’s eligible: You must be a new Citibank checking customer to be eligible for this bonus offer, which means you must not have been a signer on a Citibank checking account within the past 180 days.

Account details: The Citibank Basic Banking Package does not include a checking account that earns interest, but its Citi Savings account does earn interest between 0.04% and 0.06%, depending on your balance.

The Basic Banking Package charges a $12 monthly fee, which you can waive by make one qualifying direct deposit and one qualifying bill payment per statement period or maintaining a combined average monthly balance of at least $1,500 in eligible linked accounts. Account holders who are 62 or older can also have the fee waived.

The Citibank Account Package earns 0.01% APY on the Interest Checking account and between 0.04% and 0.13% APY on the Citi Savings account, depending on your balance.

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Chase — $150 bonus with $10,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 4/20/2020

Offer rules: In another bonus offer from Chase, you can get $150 when you open a new Chase Savings account. You’ll need to deposit at least $10,000 in new money (not previously held with Chase or its affiliates) within 20 business days and maintain at least that minimum balance for 90 days.

Want to do more banking with Chase and open a Chase Total Checking account, too? Opening both a new checking and savings account can get you a $350 bonus, as long as you follow the above savings account rules and set up direct deposit on your new checking account.

Who’s eligible: You’re eligible for the Chase Savings account bonus offer if you are not already a Chase savings customer. You also cannot have had an account that was closed within 90 days or with a negative balance.

If you close this new savings account within six months after opening, Chase will deduct the bonus amount from the account at closing.

Account details: The Chase Savings account earns interest at a nominal rate of 0.01% APY, which isn’t ideal for savings growth. There is a $5 monthly fee on the account. You can waive the fee with one of the following, each statement period:

  • A daily balance of at least $300
  • At least one repeating automatic transfer of $25 or more from your personal Chase checking account or Chase Liquid® Card
  • An account owner who is younger than 18
  • Linking this account to a Chase Premier Plus Checking, Chase Sapphire Checking or Chase Private Client Checking account

You could also face a $5 fee for each excessive transaction you make over the six-transfer limit per statement cycle.

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on Chase Bank’s secure website

Associated Bank — $100 bonus with $10,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 6/30/2020

Offer rules: Opening a new Associated Bank Money Market account can get you a $100 bonus. You’ll need to deposit at least $10,000 in new money (held outside Associated Bank) at opening and maintain at least that much in the account for 90 days to receive the bonus.

The bonus will be paid within 120 days of account opening if you meet the requirements. The account must be open at that time. You must also keep the account open for at least 12 months.

Who’s eligible: You can redeem this offer online or by taking a coupon sent via email to an Associated Bank branch. This offer is limited to one per household. Households who have or have had an Associated Bank Money Market account within the last six months do not qualify. You must be 18 years or older to apply for the bonus. If you close the new account within 12 months of opening, Associated Bank can deduct the bonus amount from your funds at closing.

Account details: The Associated Bank Money Market account is a true money market account, with the ability to write convenience checks and access Associated Bank and MoneyPass ATMs. It earns interest, too, between 0.01% and 0.01% APY. You can earn at higher rates by having a higher balance and a qualifying Associated checking account.

The money market account does charge a $16 fee, which you can waive by maintaining a $1,000 minimum balance.

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on Associated Bank, NA’s secure website

Member FDIC

How do these accounts compare to the best online savings accounts?

When looking for the best online savings accounts, you won’t find much overlap here. Bonus offers tend to come from brick-and-mortar banks, as incentives for you to place your deposits with them.

Online banks still win by and large. But don’t let these financial carrots mislead you into thinking they are the best on the market — many of the best accounts are being offered by online banks these days. Online accounts tend to have the highest interest rates and the lowest fees — what more could you want? That’s why you’ll find most sign-up bonuses being offered by brick-and-mortar banks.

Know the pros and cons. You should figure out whether it’s worth it for you to open a new account with a traditional bank just for a bonus offer. Don’t forget, you can’t open a new account for a bonus offer and close it immediately. Qualifying for and receiving the bonus takes months. You could even lose your bonus offer if you close the account too soon. Plus, a savings account bonus offer is a short-term boost in savings, rather than the ongoing growth of a high-yield account. It won’t help your savings situation if your new account charges a monthly fee that you can’t waive, either.

Factor in fees. If you do desperately want to snag a couple hundred dollars by opening a new account, make sure you won’t be paying a monthly fee for the months you have the account. That way, you won’t lose any of that bonus right off the bat. Again, double check the account’s closing terms to ensure you won’t lose the bonus at closing, either. It’s also important to be able to meet the account’s minimum balance requirements. It may not make sense for you to keep $10,000 in a low-earning account just to earn a $200 bonus, for example.

Do the math. Let’s say you do deposit and maintain $10,000 in a new savings account that has an interest rate of 0.01%, which is typical of brick-and-mortar savings accounts. After a year, you’ll have earned $1 in interest. Add that to your $200 bonus and you can add a whopping $201 to your savings. Now, if you were to forgo the bonus offer and deposit your $10,000 into a high-yield savings account with a 2.25% APY, you’ll earn just over $227 after a year (with monthly compounding) — a better savings boost than the savings account bonus offer.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.