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Banking

What Is a Cash Management Account?

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.

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Actions have consequences. Staying up too late will turn you into a zombie at work the next morning, eating ice cream for breakfast will force you to buy new jeans — and placing your money in a conventional checking or savings account could yield a piddling amount of interest.

The internet hasn’t found a way to circumvent the biological necessities of sleep and a healthy diet — yet — but it can empower banks and financial institutions to offer accounts with high APYs, all while providing the ease-of-access and convenience of a checking account. In the evolving world of online banking, these are usually called cash management accounts, and you need to know more about them.

You may have read about cash management accounts. They go by a variety of names: hybrid checking, hybrid accounts, cash management vehicles. Like many consumer financial products, readers may be a bit unclear about how these accounts actually work — and to start, note that they are very different than the “cash management accounts” offered by certain online stock brokerages.

“We’re trying not to think like traditional bankers, with the usual boundaries of how an account should be used,” said David Hijirida, CEO of Simple, which offers its own cash management account. “What we’ve found is that most customers use our accounts in a way that combines both checking and savings behaviors.”

Let’s get to the heart of the matter by defining what these new accounts are and whether they’re right for you and your money.

What is a cash management account?

Whatever the name, a cash management account combines the high interest rates of a savings account or certificate of deposit with the accessibility of a checking account.

With some of the accounts reviewed below — like Aspiration’s Spend and Save and Simple’s Checking and Protected Goals Accounts — the product actually consists of a checking account (which typically earns little to no interest) linked with a savings account (which earns a pretty decent APY) and features instantaneous, unlimited transactions between the two. Others — like Radius’ Hybrid Checking — comprise a single checking account earning a high APY, minus all the usual requirements typical of a traditional high-yield checking account.

While cash management accounts consisting of both a checking and savings account earn some of the highest APYs, you need to watch out that you don’t keep the majority of your funds in the checking or spending portion — where it earns minimal interest. Because transferring funds between the checking and saving portions happens instantly and doesn’t come with any limits, this is an easy mistake to avoid.

The boundary between “cash management account” and “high-yield checking” account can be hazy, but they share the following characteristics that place them in the “cash management” category.

  • Zero fees: One of the more attractive facets of cash management accounts is that most have no monthly maintenance fees (or only charge a small amount). This helps differentiate them from high-yield checking accounts, many of which require users to meet multiple specific requirements each month or pay maintenance fees in order to earn the high APY.
  • A higher APY than your typical checking account: According to DepositAccounts.com (like MagnifyMoney, it too is owned by LendingTree), the average APY a checking account earns is 0.133%. Traditionally that’s been seen as the trade off depositors make with banks in order to have easy, everyday access to their funds. The cash management accounts we review here represent true hybrid accounts that combine the liquidity of checking accounts with the high interest rates of savings accounts. All of them offer a much higher APY than the average checking account and, in many cases, higher than the interest earned in many savings accounts.
  • They’re online accounts, mostly: The institutions offering cash management accounts mostly exist as ones and zeros on the web. Some of these companies, like Aspiration, aren’t even banks themselves, but have partnered with traditional banks to provide customers with their services.

How do cash management accounts earn so much interest?

While the particulars vary from account to account, the principal underlying cash management account combines a traditional checking and savings account in one instrument — you deposit money with a bank or institution, where it earns interest. The financial institution then takes a cut of that interest in order to make money, and passes the rest on to you (which is reflected in the interest that particular account earns).

Because banks prefer customers to deposit as much money as possible for an extended period, they usually give accounts and products that limit customers’ ability to withdraw their cash higher interest rates in order to incentivize depositors into using those products.

Average Checking Account APYAverage Savings Account APYAverage 1 Year CD
APY
Average 5 Year CD
APY
0.133%0.191%0.587%1.053%

As you can see from the chart above — this data comes from DepositAccounts.com — the more liquid your account, the less interest it earns for you. Checking accounts, which provide almost unlimited access to your money, earn the lowest APY on average. Certificates of deposit with a five-year term, which usually come with a steep financial penalty if you withdraw the money before the term is up, provide the highest interest, on average.

So how do the companies offering cash management accounts bypass this norm to offer customers high interest rates on accounts with little to no restrictions on withdrawals? A big part of the answer is their low overhead, thanks to their online-only operations.

Megabanks like Chase employ thousands and maintain a sprawling network of physical locations, while an online-only institution like Aspiration, offering the Spend and Save cash management account, might have only a few dozen employees on its payroll.

“Because we’re online-only, it helps us pass on those kinds of savings to our customers,” said Andrei Cherny, CEO of Aspiration.

Management Fees

0.25%

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Three months free for new customers who are referred by an existing Betterment account holder

Management Fees

0.89%

Account Minimum

$100,000

Promotion
N/A
Management Fees

0%

Account Minimum

$100 one-time deposit or $20 monthly deposit

Promotion
N/A

Where does my money go when I deposit it into a cash management account?

Since many of the institutions offering cash management accounts lack the extensive infrastructure of traditional banks, you may be wondering where your money is actually deposited with these accounts.

The answer is that they partner with a bank (or a series of banks) to manage your funds. At the end of the business day, the money in your cash management account is swept into one of these participating bank’s accounts, where it enjoys the normal protections provided by FDIC accounts.

This information should all be disclosed to you when you open a cash management account, and if it’s not you should hesitate before placing a large amount of money in the account.

“As with anything, read the fine print,” said Jonathan Chapman, CFP at WJ Interests based in Sugar Land, Texas. “Look under the hood to see what banks they partner with to ensure they are working with quality institutions.”

Customers should also keep an eye on the individual FDIC-insured accounts where your money is swept at the end of the day. Make sure none of the balances exceed the insurance’s limit ($250,000) — otherwise, the portion of your balance that’s greater than $250,000 is at risk of being uninsured.

The potential pitfalls of cash management accounts

The high interest rates offered by these accounts make them attractive to customers who want their money to grow at a decent rate while still remaining accessible, but they’re not for everyone. Because most of these hybrid accounts are offered by online-only banks or institutions, customers have to feel comfortable banking with a company that may lack decades of history — especially if they’re already accustomed to doing business with another bank.

“As an advisor, my most difficult work is to get people to follow through on my recommendations,” said Jayson Owens, CFP at Bright Road Wealth Management based out of Anchorage, Alaska. “To accomplish this, I rarely recommend changes to a primary checking account. The cost in time typically outweighs the benefit of the change.”

Another related concern customers may have about these cash management accounts is if the companies offering them will stick around for the long haul. “Clients may not lose money but the company may get acquired or shuts down which would cause unnecessary hardship,” said
Deva Panambur, CFA and CFP at Sarsi, a wealth management company based in West New York, N.J.

While you’re not going to be able to waltz into the CEO’s office and demand a look at his five-year plan, you should take into account your gut reaction to how a company offering a cash management account presents itself and whether it has a viable shot at longevity.

The best cash management accounts

Account nameAPY earnedMinimum balanceMonthly Maintenance Fee
Simple Account1.00%$0.01$0
Betterment Cash Reserve 0.40% $0$0
Wealthfront Cash Account*0.35% APY on the entire balance$1$0
SoFi Money2.00% APY on the entire balance$1$0
Radius Rewards Checking Account0.15% APY on balances of $100,000 and greater; 0.10% APY on balances between $2,500 and $99,999.99$100,000 to earn the highest APY; $2,500 to earn 0.10% APY$0
Aspiration Spend and SaveUp to 1.00% APY on balances up to $10,000; 0.10% on balances over $10,000$1,000 spent monthly on debit card to earn 1.00% APY or rate drops to 0.10% $0

*These cash management accounts currently don’t have a way for you to spend money directly from the account (such as a debit card or check) and require you to transfer money from the cash account to a third-party account before spending.

Simple Account

Simple was created out of frustration with the banking industry. According to the founders, they were confounded by the complexities of certain bank accounts; their solution was to offer a no fee bank account that earns interest and helps you budget your money “in one simple app.”

What makes this bank account stand apart from other online checking accounts? Well, for starters, it’s a checking account that doesn’t have any fees, not even if you use an international ATM (however, a fee may still be charged by the ATM owner). With this cash management account, you can earn 1.00% APY on all balances in your Protected Goals account, which is basically a savings account that lives within your larger Simple account, where you can instantly transfer money in and out of as many times as you want without any penalty.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Simple’s secure website

Betterment Cash Reserve

Betterment’s Cash Reserve account promises an APY of . You can also opt to open a checking account, which they offer through a partnership with nbkc bank.

Because money in the Cash Reserve account is held by several program banks, customers enjoy FDIC protection up to $1 million. There’s no limit to the amount of times you can transfer money in and out of your Cash Reserve account (unlike a traditional savings account at a bank) but it does take 1-2 business days to for Betterment to process these transfers.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Betterment’s secure website

FDIC Insured

Wealthfront Cash Account

This robo-advisor offers savers a cash management account that earns 0.35% APY and doesn’t require you to open an investment account. Because Wealthfront sweeps the money you deposit in the cash account into several partner bank accounts, your money is FDIC insured up to $1 million, a selling point for those wanting large balances to receive the maximum protection. Wealthfront will soon be rolling out a checking account and debit card feature to allow you to directly spend the money with a merchant Meanwhile, you can transfer funds from the cash account to a third-party account or an internal Wealthfront investment account free of charge.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Wealthfront’s secure website

FDIC Insured

SoFi Money

Though it’s probably better known for its mortgages and student loans, this online-only investment firm has staked a claim in consumer banking by offering its Money account, which offers a 2.00% APY. SoFi doesn’t require depositors to maintain a minimum balance in this account in order to earn that interest rate, but you will need $500 in monthly deposits; otherwise, that rate drops to 0.01%. Account holders also get additional goodies like fee-free Allpoint ATMs worldwide.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on SoFi’s secure website

Radius Rewards Checking Account

Radius Bank is a community bank headquartered in Boston. The Radius Rewards Checking account is free, as long as you open the account with the required deposit of $100. Because the Rewards account offers their interest rate for a checking account without saddling the customer with a laundry list of requirements — like a number of debit transactions required each month — Radius’s account joins the list of best cash management accounts. You’ll also score unlimited ATM fee reimbursements, and if you sign up for direct deposit, you can access your money up to two days sooner.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Radius Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Aspiration Spend and Save Account

Aspiration aims to transform personal banking from a chore customers tolerate to an act of social responsibility — at least according to their marketing campaign, which heavily emphasizes the fact that customers only pay whatever they wish in fees, with 10 percent of that money going to charity. But even depositors who don’t buy into Aspiration’s brand ethos will likely find themselves intrigued by the company’s Spend and Save Plus, which promises a 1.00% APY on what is effectively a checking account.

Similar to Simple, Aspiration has packaged together a savings account and a checking account into a single consumer product allowing users to move their money between both portions instantly and as many times as they wish. Users should be careful not to leave the majority of their funds in the checking portion, which owns zero APY. Instead most of the money should live in the savings account, where it can earn the 1.00% APY the company advertises so prominently. To get that APY, you’ll need to upgrade from the base account to Aspiration Plus for a monthly fee of $3.99. You’ll also need to make at least $1,000 in purchases on the debit card per month or the rate drops to 0.25%. And balances over $10,000 earn 0.10%. But with Plus you get a few extra perks. You’ll earn more cash back on your socially conscious purchases, get one foreign ATM fee refunded per month, and be eligible for their Planet Protection program, which aims to offset the carbon footprint you leave by gassing up your car. Again, you can move your money between both parts of the Spend and Save account instantly, so having most of it in the savings portion shouldn’t slow you down during a shopping spree; however, it’s important to note in case you get careless and leave a big chunk of change in the spending portion, where it earns no interest.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Aspiration’s secure website

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Banking

Editors’ Choice: Best Checking Accounts for July 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.

Written By

 

Reviewed By

The best checking accounts can provide a competitive interest rate, ATM fee reimbursements and even cashback rewards. If your current account doesn’t offer any of these features, it may be time to switch.

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 spent dozens of hours grading each checking account on its features, including fees, minimum balance requirements, ATM and branch network availability, APYs and customer satisfaction. We distilled our picks from a list that included hundreds of banks, credit unions and online institutions nationwide.

We ensure our list is updated every month as new banks are added to our database, and we update information as banks change their terms. Check out our best checking account picks for July 2020 and click on the links in the table below to read about why we picked each bank.

Please note: While this list is up-to-date as of this writing, many banks have cut back on or even halted their hours temporarily in response to the COVID-19 outbreak to protect their customers and employees. Many banks continue to offer standard services online and over the phone as well as through automated ATMs.

Best Checking Accounts of July 2020

Summary of the Best Checking Accounts for June 2020

Best Overall Checking Account

Simple Checking Account

Simple Review

Best High-Yield Checking Account

Consumer Credit Union Rewards Checking

Consumer Credit Union Review

Best Free Checking Account

Axos Bank Rewards Checking

Axos Bank Review

Best No-Fee Checking Account

Discover Cashback Debit

Discover Bank Review

Best Checking Account Bonus

Wells Fargo Everyday Checking

Wells Fargo Review

Best Rewards Checking Account

Radius Bank Rewards Checking

Radius Bank Review

Best No-ATM Fee Checking Account

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 Interest Checking

Ally Bank Review

Best Overall Checking Account – Simple

Checking Account + Protected Goals Account*

SEE DETAILS Secured

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: 1.00% 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

Rewards Checking

SEE DETAILS Secured

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 4.09%
  • 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

Rewards Checking - 3 Qualifications

SEE DETAILS Secured

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 – Discover Cashback Debit

Discover Cashback Debit

SEE DETAILS

Discover Bank's website is secure

Highlights:

  • No insufficient funds fee
  • Access to over 60,000 no-fee ATMs
  • 1% cash back on up to $3,000 of debit card purchases per month
  • 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 truly no-fee checking account, with no fees, no insufficient funds fees and access to over 60,000 ATMs.

As the icing on the cake, this account 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 Checking Account Bonus – Wells Fargo Everyday Checking

Everyday Checking

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on Wells Fargo Bank’s secure website

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 – Radius Bank Rewards Checking

Rewards Checking

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Radius Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Highlights:

  • Earn up to 1.50% cash back on debit card purchases
  • Offers early direct deposit
  • Unlimited ATM fee rebates
  • APY: 0.10% on balances between $2,500 and $99,999, 0.15% on balances over $100,000
  • Maintenance Fee: $0
  • Current Promotions: N/A

Read the full review

Why we picked it: Radius Bank’s Rewards Checking account features a robust rewards program, offering up to 1.50% cash back on debit card purchases as well as a decent APY on the funds in your account. There is a minimum $100 opening deposit required for this account.

This account also stands out for offering unlimited ATM fee rebates, an early direct deposit feature and no fees.

What to watch out for: To earn the cash back, you must maintain a minimum balance of at least $2,500 or be enrolled in direct deposit.

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

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 0.03%
  • 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 0.03% 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 0.02%, while balances under $10,000 receive an 0.01% APY of just . There is also a $35 overdraft fee associated with this account.

Best Business Checking Account – Axos Bank Business Interest Checking

Business Interest Checking

SEE DETAILS Secured

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: N/A

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 College Checking

SEE DETAILS Secured

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

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.

Other Honorable Mentions

Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking: This account from investment firm Charles Schwab offers a few attractive perks like unlimited ATM fee rebates worldwide, no monthly fees or minimums and no foreign transaction fees. However, the Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account falls flat with its paltry 0.03% APY, which can’t quite compete with the Best High Yield Checking Account, the Consumers Credit Union Rewards Checking account, which earns up to 4.09% APY.

Aspiration Spend and Save: The Aspiration Spend and Save cash management account is one of the most fee-friendly accounts out there, even allowing you to pay a monthly fee in an amount that you think is fair. Aspiration comes with the added bonus of access to over 55,000 ATMs, cash back rewards — especially at conscience-minded businesses. However, to reap the real benefits (including up to 1.00% APY on balances in your Save portion), you will have to pay $3.99 per month for Spend and Save Plus.

Betterment Checking and Cash Reserve: Another cash management account, Betterment Checking and Cash Reserve maximizes your FDIC insurance up to $1 million and provides unlimited transfers in and out of your account. It also earns interest at 0.40% APY.

Chase Premier Plus Checking: A step up from Chase’s basic checking account, the Chase Premier Plus Checking account earns interest (although at a paltry 0.01% APY) and waives select fees, including on the first four non-Chase ATM transactions per month. However, its features don’t quite justify the $25 monthly service fee, which you can only waive by meeting certain requirements.

PNC Performance Checking: PNC Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend is unique in that it comes with a checking account and two savings accounts. The Performance Spend checking account comes with handy budgeting tools. You can only access 9,000 PNC-branded ATMs and the account charges $15 per month, which is why we ended up picking its rival for the Best No-ATM Fee Checking Account.

Chime: The mobile-first Chime account is great for individuals who have trouble with traditional checking accounts. It allows you to receive direct deposit up to a couple days early, grow savings automatically and even overdraw your account for free if you meet certain eligibility requirements. Chime also provides free access to over 38,000 ATMs, which you can access with the account’s linked debit card. Despite all these perks, Chime doesn’t earn any interest on account balances. However, Chime does stand out for having a robust, no-overdrafting policy.

TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Checking: Despite TIAA Bank’s Yield Pledge promise, which ensures their rate will always remain among the top 5% of competitive accounts, the Yield Pledge Checking account earns a pretty low APY of 0.25%, with even lower rates for smaller balances. Luckily, there is no monthly service fee, nor fees for out-of-network ATM usage. Plus, you can get reimbursed for ATM surcharges. This made it a strong contender for our Best Overall Checking Account.

Varo Money: Pioneering fintech company Varo offers a pretty much fee-free, checking-like cash management account, where customers who meet certain requirements can overdraft up to $50 at no cost. Varo also can get you your paycheck up to two days early with direct deposit, offers fee-free access at over 55,000 Allpoint® ATMs and provides a free Varo Visa® Debit Card, which you can lock in the app at any time. Though all of these perks are nice, the checking account doesn’t earn interest; you’ll have to open the Varo Savings Account for that.

Capital One 360 Checking: The Capital One 360 Checking account is easily accessible via its debit card, mobile and online. There’s no fee or minimum balance to worry about. You also get access to over 39,000 Capital One or Allpoint ATMs for free. However, it can’t quite keep up with its competitors with its low 0.10% APY.

Bank5 Connect High-Interest Checking: Bank5 Connect’s High-Interest Checking account isn’t always so high-yield, as it earns 0.25% APY. Still, the account is relatively customer friendly as it doesn’t charge any monthly maintenance fees and offers free access to thousands of ATMs nationwide in addition to up to $15 in surcharge reimbursements.

How we chose the best checking accounts

We took a look at hundreds of financial institutions and reviews. We considered the following factors:

  1. Checking account rates: We heavily weighted the APYs offered by each institution on their checking accounts, paying attention to both high interest rates and consistent rates. Higher and more consistently competitive interest rates were prioritized over others, respectively.
  2. Minimum deposit and balance requirements: We also controlled for accessibility by looking at minimum deposit and balance requirements, prioritizing banks and accounts that have low requirements or none at all.
  3. Bank account fees: The best bank accounts are the ones that don’t cut into your hard-earned money. We favored checking accounts that don’t charge monthly service fees or ATM fees, as well as those that offer ATM-fee reimbursements.
  4. Special offers: As an added bonus to their checking accounts, some institutions offer cash bonus offers for new customers or even cash-back rewards for debit card usage. We made sure to include these special accounts and offers so you can get more from your account.
  5. Specialized accounts: Checking accounts aren’t one-size-fits-all — nor should they be. We looked for specialized accounts that have specific features made for certain groups, like students to joint account holders.

What are the best banks for checking accounts?

In summary, these are our picks for the best checking accounts:

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 cash 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. When looking for checking accounts, that means finding accounts with zero fees, a wide ATM network, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance and overdraft protection. Accounts with these features, alongside earned interest or rewards, are your best bet.

Understand what you want from a checking account

A great first step to finding the right checking account is first understanding what you want from a checking account. Of course, you’ll want an account that’s easily accessible. But only you can decide whether that means prioritizing brick-and-mortar branches, mobile app access or worldwide ATMs. As debit cards are a big part of accessibility, also make sure you’re getting a debit card that’s protected.

Figure out what kind of fees — if any — you want to pay for your checking account. No fee checking accounts exist, and they’re some of the best checking accounts on the market.

If you’re a senior citizen, a student or perhaps a couple looking for joint account ownership, these are things to consider when making your checking account wishlist. There are several specialized accounts out there that offer special deals and features for members of these groups.

Then determine whether you want your checking account to earn interest or other rewards. Often these rewards only add to the checking account experience, rewarding you for owning the account rather than you paying to own it. Rewards on some accounts may also offset any fees you face.

If you don’t know where to start, it helps to check out high-yield checking accounts first. These accounts are most often free, easily accessible, provided by reputable institutions and, as an added bonus, can earn you money.

Also consider that perhaps it’s not a checking account you need at all, but rather a prepaid debit card account. You deposit money into prepaid cards as you would with a checking account, but you cannot use more than what’s in the account. This allows you to avoid overdrafting your account and paying the exorbitant fees that often come with that. Just watch out: prepaid debit cards are also known for their multiple fees for reloading the card, monthly service, ATM usage and more.

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.

Check for widespread ATM access

There’s nothing worse than needing cash in a pinch and not having any way to get some. Then even when you find an ATM, it’s out of your bank’s network so to add insult to injury, you’re charged a fee (or two) for using the ATM.

Avoid this situation by finding a checking account that offers widespread ATM access. Often, this isn’t even brick-and-mortar banks which may offer free access to a few thousand branded ATMs across the country. Online banks tend to go above and beyond, offering free access to tens of thousands of ATMs, often worldwide, through ATM networks like AllPoint and MoneyPass.

Look for FDIC Insurance

You want to make sure your money is protected no matter what. FDIC insurance — and National Credit Union Administration insurance for credit unions — insures your money up to legal limits, which for an individual’s checking account would amount to $250,000. This means that up to $250,000 in your checking account will be recovered if your bank or credit union fails.

In the event of institution failure, you’ll either get a check for the amount that was in your checking account, or set up with a new account for the same amount at another insured institution.

Look for Overdraft Protection

Overdraft protection is a crucial feature, especially if you’re often at risk of overextending your funds. This feature works in a few different ways, depending on the institution and the account. Often, a bank’s overdraft protection will link your checking and savings accounts, drawing on your savings account when you overdraft from your checking account. Other iterations may simply not allow you to overdraft the account at all.

Typically, you have to enroll in overdraft protection. Some accounts charge an extra fee for overdraft protection, but many of the best no-fee checking accounts offer this feature for free.

Look for a checking account that pairs 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.

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.

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.

It’s generally better to keep just enough in your checking account to cover your daily needs, meet any minimum balance requirements and avoid any possible overdraft charges.

Despite their everyday usefulness, checking accounts aren’t the best places to stash your cash long-term. Savings accounts usually offer higher interest rates, making them a better place to store cash.

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 account interest is taxed if you earned $10 or more in interest in a year. For all your interest-earning deposit accounts, your bank should send you a copy of Form 1099-INT, which they will also send to the IRS. This form will help you report the interest income on your tax return. If you don’t receive this form from your institution, but still earned $10 or more in interest, you will still have to report the interest on your taxes.

If you were lucky enough to earn $1,500 or more in interest, you will have to detail the sources of that income on Schedule B of Form 1040.

Almost every checking account offered by major banking institutions is insured by the FDIC, which provides an account holder 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.

If you were rejected after trying to open a checking account, it’s probably because you have a rocky past with previous accounts. When you apply for new bank accounts, most institutions run your information through ChexSystems, which keeps a record of your banking history when institutions report it. This means any history of overdrafts, negative account balances, account closures and the like will be available for ChexSystems users to see.
If you were rejected from opening a new checking account, take a look at your ChexSystems report. It may help to figure out what bad marks on there you may be able to change. There may even be errors on the report that you can dispute and have removed.

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.

Deposit accounts, including checking and savings accounts, are not included in your credit report, since you’re not borrowing money from these kinds of accounts. So the way you use your checking account or even when you close a checking account doesn’t affect your credit.

If you overdraft your checking account and don’t pay back what you owe to your institution, however, that can land in your credit report if the institution sends it to collections. That’s because it’s become more about your debt, which is reported in credit reports, than simply your checking account.

Overdraft protection works a lot like it sounds: it protects you when you overdraft your account. Often, overdraft protection links your checking account to a savings account. Any time you overdraft your checking account, funds are automatically pulled from the savings account to cover the purchase.

Other institutions may offer overdraft protection that simply doesn’t allow you to overdraft the account. This prevents the transaction from going through, but also prevents you from facing an overdraft fee and recovering the extra cost.

Depending on the type of overdraft protection and the institution, overdraft protection can come at an extra fee, or it could be free.

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Banking

Best Savings Accounts

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.

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Interest rates on savings accounts vary greatly, which means you need to shop around to find your best rate available. As of April 2020, you won’t find a rate higher than 2%, although rate leaders still beat out the month’s average savings account rate, which is around 0.24%. To make it easier for you to get the best possible return on your savings no matter the times, we check rates daily at more than 5,000 U.S. banks and credit unions.

A savings account is a key component of everyone’s financial life, but everybody needs something a little different from their savings account. That might mean you want to maximize your interest earnings, while others might need easy branch access. For that reason, we’ve outlined the best savings accounts in several different categories to better help you find the right one for your preferences.

So whether you’re shopping around for a new savings account or you need to open one for the first time, this comprehensive guide should help you get started. Below, you’ll find the best savings accounts to choose from, and a full brief on every aspect of selecting the right account for your needs.

Rates are accurate as of July 6 2020

Best Savings Account Rates from Top Online Banks

Some people really put an emphasis on banking with a well-known, dependable bank that offers high rates and great features. For this reason, we’ve compiled a list of the big online banks that have had competitive rates for two consecutive years and either don’t require a minimum deposit amount or have a low minimum deposit amount requirement.

1. Ally Bank – 1.00% APY, no minimum deposit to open account

Online Savings Account from Ally Bank

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on Ally Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Ally Bank traces its history back to 1919, when it was GMAC, a division of GM designed to help auto dealers finance and maintain their inventory. It became Ally Bank 90 years later in 2009 and now offers a range of financial products well beyond auto loans.

Today’s Online Savings Account rate may not be the highest we’ve seen from Ally Bank, but it has remained a top competitor nonetheless. Its 1.00% APY will still yield solid savings and requires no minimum deposit to get started. There’s no monthly fee here, either, which allows your savings to grow effortlessly. Ally Bank is relatively low on fees and maintains transparency around the fees it does charge — these include outgoing domestic wires, paid overdraft items and excessive transactions.

As an online bank, Ally Bank doesn’t allow for cash deposits to be made into its Online Savings Account, though you can still deposit checks remotely with Ally eCheck Deposit and make online, wire and mail transfers in and out of the account. You can also make transfers out of your account over the phone and by requesting a check. Online transfers between Ally Bank accounts are immediate, while transfers between Ally Bank and non-Ally accounts take three business days. Free next-day transfers are available to select customers depending on account tenure, account activity and transfer activity.

Ally Bank offers an extensive and helpful mobile app that allows you to make deposits, pay your bills, transfer money, find in-network ATMs and view your balances and transactions. You can download the app on various platforms including Android, iOS and Windows.

2. Marcus by Goldman Sachs – 1.05% APY, no minimum deposit to open account

High-yield Online Savings Account from Marcus by Goldman Sachs

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on Marcus By Goldman Sachs’s secure website

Member FDIC

Marcus by Goldman Sachs® is a brand of Goldman Sachs that powers the bank’s online savings accounts, as well as its personal loans. Marcus launched its online savings account in 2016 with a competitive rate (at the time). While savings rates have fluctuated, continue to do so, this online brand has continued to offer a consistently competitive rate on its savings account. Today, the bank is offering a 1.05% Annual Percentage Yield, accurate as of 7/9/2020. There isn’t a minimum deposit amount or balance requirement to earn the APY — plus, this account doesn’t come with any monthly fees either.

Deleted: You can easily fund the account by either transferring your funds directly from a linked external bank account, setting up direct deposit, sending a check or sending a domestic wire transfer. While you can deposit as much as $1 million per account, you’ll only be able to transfer a maximum of $125,000 per outgoing transfer when initiated online. Marcus does give you the option to call its customer service number if you need to withdraw more than that amount. Keep in mind that you’ll be limited to making six certain withdrawals or transfers per statement period.

Deleted: Only Apple device users can benefit from Marcus’ mobile app at this time. The online bank also joined forces with Clarity Money, a personal finance app from Marcus by Goldman Sachs. Through Clarity Money, you’ll be able to monitor your account and manage your finances in a simple way.

3. Synchrony Bank – 1.05% APY, no minimum deposit to open account

Synchrony Bank, a subsidiary of Synchrony Financial, has been around since 1932. The bank’s history is deeply rooted in the credit card industry, but it’s done a great job establishing itself as a top online bank over the years.

Back in 2014, having a savings account that offered a 1.00% APY was rare, but Synchrony Bank made a mark by offering this rate. Since then, it has consistently offered one of the top savings account rates in the market; currently, it is offering a 1.05% APY. There isn’t a minimum deposit requirement to open the account or earn the APY. There are also no monthly fees.

You can fund this savings account in a number of ways: ACH, mobile check deposit, direct deposit, wire transfer or a mailed check. Incoming transfers will typically take three business days to post unless you initiated the transfer after 10 p.m. EST.

One really big perk of this account is that it comes with an ATM card, as Synchrony is partnered with the Accel network for ATM access. You are limited to withdrawing a maximum of $1,000 per day, and if you use an out-of-network ATM domestically, Synchrony will refund you up to $5 per statement cycle.

Synchrony Bank also has a mobile app for your convenience.

4. American Express National Bank – 1.00% APY, no minimum deposit amount

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

While this institution was established in 1989, American Express National Bank can trace its roots back to 1850 when its parent company, American Express, was originally founded. Not unlike Barclays, American Express is widely known for its credit card products.

With our sponsored advertiser, American Express National Bank, you can also open deposit accounts like its Personal Savings Account. Luckily for banking customers, the account historically offers good rates that consistently land it in top rankings. Today, you can take advantage of its 1.00% variable Annual Percentage Yield (APY) with any deposit amount. The account doesn’t charge a monthly fee, nor any fees for wires or to deposit checks.

This high yield savings account does not come with an ATM/debit card or checks. You can deposit money by mailing a check and make online transfers to and from your account. When pulling funds from your external bank, it will take five business days to appear in your account when you initiate the transfer from your Personal Savings account, and one to three when you initiate through your external account. Sending funds from your Personal Savings Account will take one to three business days no matter which side you initiate from. American Express Personal Savings is accessible online only; it does not have a mobile app.

5. Capital One — 1.00% APY, no minimum deposit to open account

Turn to Capital One 360 for Capital One Bank’s more competitive rates. As an online-only operation, Capital One 360 accounts provide savers with higher deposit rates for better savings. They’re not just a flash in the pan either; Capital One remains one of our top picks for their consistently competitive rates.

The Capital One 360 Performance Savings earns a 1.00% APY on all balances. There’s no monthly fee, so your savings can grow in peace without the bank taking out a chunk. You can open the account with any deposit amount that works for you, as there is no minimum deposit nor balance requirement.

Capital One 360 accounts can be managed easily online, on the bank’s mobile app or at a Capital One Cafe or branch.

Best Rates from New Online Savings Accounts

Over the last year or so, there have been several new online banks being created by bigger banks or big banks introducing new online savings options. This list includes those banks that have either launched within the last two years or introduced a brand-new savings account with consistently high rates within the last two years.

1. Vio Bank – 1.11% APY, $100 minimum deposit to open account

High Yield Online Savings Account from Vio Bank

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on Vio Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Vio Bank is an online division of MidFirst Bank which was founded in 1911.

Vio Bank has certainly been a recent stand-out candidate for its competitively high rates on its CDs as well as its High Yield Online Savings Account. It currently earns 1.11% APY and compounds interest daily for better savings. Plus, there’s no monthly fee. You will need at least $100 to open the account. It’s better to stick to electronic statements here, because paper statements cost $7 each.

Vio Bank doesn’t provide debit cards or check writing capabilities on its High Yield Online Savings Account or any other accounts. Instead, you’ll have to make online ACH transfers. Deposits into the account may take five or more business days. You’re limited to $25,000 daily and $100,000 monthly on transfers to and from external accounts initiated by Vio Bank. There aren’t any limits on transfers initiated outside, though. You can fund your High Yield Online Savings Account by mailing a check, depositing a check on mobile or sending an incoming wire.

In addition to its online presence, Vio Bank extends itself to a mobile app, as well, which allows you to manage your accounts and make transfers on the go. It is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

2. CIBC USA – 1.15% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit to open account

CIBC Agility Savings - Online Only from CIBC USA

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on CIBC USA’s secure website

Member FDIC

The online-only CIBC Agility™ Online Savings Account offers a competitive 1.15% APY on all balances, although you’ll need at least $1,000 to open an account and get started. It does not charge a monthly fee, so your savings can keep growing uninterrupted.

To withdraw funds from your account, you can make transfers between accounts (both internal and external) or submit a request in writing for a check to be issued in your name. To deposit money, you can also make ACH transfers or send a cashier’s or personal check to CIBC USA in either the bank’s name or your name. Check deposits are placed on a 10-day hold.

As a little background, CIBC, or Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, began as two Toronto-based banks: The Canadian Bank of Commerce (founded in 1867) and the Imperial Bank of Canada (founded in 1875). The two banks merged in 1961, and CIBC expanded into the U.S. in 1991 with CIBC U.S. Its headquarters is in Chicago, and you can find CIBC USA locations across Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin.

3. HSBC Direct – 1.01% APY, $1 minimum deposit to open account

HSBC Direct Savings from HSBC Direct

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on HSBC Direct’s secure website

Member FDIC

HSBC Direct is the online-only offering from HSBC Bank USA, which traces its history back to the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited established in 1865. As part of HSBC Bank USA, the HSBC Direct Savings account earns a competitive 1.01% APY on all balances. You must open an account with at least $1 in new money, meaning funds that are not already on deposit with HSBC. There is no monthly fee to worry about here.

As an added perk, HSBC Direct provides Money Management Tools that are designed to help you manage your money, set goals and stick to a budget. This includes email alerts for bills, low balances and fees; customizable goals; and a tool to compare income versus spending.

When you have an HSBC US account, you can pay bills and make transfers and other payments in the Move Money section. Transfers in and out of the account typically take three to five business days to clear. Deposits into the account are limited to $3,000 daily and $5,000 monthly. An ATM or debit card is not included with this account.
Take advantage of the HSBC Mobile Banking App for further accessibility, like mobile check deposit. You can find it in the App Store and Google Play.

4. Citizens Access – 1.00% APY, $5,000 minimum deposit to open account

Online Savings Account from Citizens Access

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on Citizens Access’s secure website

Member FDIC

Citizens Access is the online-only branch of Citizens Bank, a Providence, R.I.-based bank founded in 1871.

Unlike its other competitors, Citizens Access has a bit of a higher minimum deposit to open its Online Savings Account, requiring $5,000. If you can meet that threshold, you can start earning at its 1.00% APY, but balances under $5,000 will drop to 0.25% APY. Citizens Access boasts zero fees, including for monthly maintenance.

To make a deposit into the Online Savings Account, you can make an online funds transfer or deposit a check through the mail or mobile check deposit; withdrawals are made in the same ways. When moving money from your Online Savings Account, it can take two to three business days for the funds to post in the external account.

Citizens Access doesn’t have a mobile app, but the website is designed to be easily accessible on mobile, including mobile check deposit capabilities.

5. BrioDirect – 0.95% APY, $25 minimum deposit to open account

High-Yield Savings from BrioDirect

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on BrioDirect’s secure website

FDIC Insured

For the next best high-yield savings rate, head to BrioDirect, which doesn’t require any physical commitment from you. BrioDirect is an online brand of Sterling National Bank, founded in 1888, which manages and holds your accounts.

You can open a BrioDirect High-Yield Savings account with just $25. You’ll also need to maintain at least $25 in the account to earn the 0.95% APY. There is no monthly fee, and the only other posted fees are a $10 excessive transaction charge and a $35 overdraft/insufficient funds fee.

You can transfer money between your BrioDirect savings account and other accounts using the bank’s External Transfers feature online or by calling the bank. You can also fund the account by wiring the money or sending a check.

There isn’t a BrioDirect-branded mobile app, but you can use Sterling’s Personal Mobile Banking app to manage your accounts.

Best High-Yield Savings Accounts

If the feature you care about the most is the rate a bank offers on a savings account, this list is for you. These banks are currently offering the highest savings account rates.

1. Vio Bank — 1.11% APY, $100 minimum deposit

High Yield Online Savings Account from Vio Bank

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on Vio Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Vio Bank is a division of MidFirst Bank, which is based in Oklahoma City. Vio Bank deposits are considered MidFirst Bank deposits for purposes of FDIC coverage.
A new leader in the savings account space, Vio Bank offers 1.11% APY on all High Yield Online Savings balances. You need at least $100 to open the account. There is no monthly fee, although paper statements cost $7 each.

To access a Vio Bank account, you can make online ACH transfers. Vio Bank limits transfers to and from external accounts to $25,000 daily and $100,000 monthly when initiated through Vio Bank. Transfers initiated through external accounts are not limited. You can fund your High Yield Online Savings Account by mailing a check, depositing a check on mobile or sending an incoming wire. Deposits may take up to five days to post.

Vio Bank is accessible online and through its mobile app, available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

2. FitnessBank – 1.20% APY, $100 minimum deposit to open account

Fitness Savings (12,500+ Steps) from FitnessBank

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on FitnessBank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Personal goals often revolve around health and money and Fitness Bank seeks to seamlessly bring those together. Fitness Bank is a division of Affinity Bank, which was founded in 2002.

The Fitness Savings Account earns interest on balances over $100. The exact APY you earn on your Fitness Savings Account depends on your average daily step count which is calculated each month. The top rate of 1.20% APY is reserved for customers who log 12,500 steps or more. The rate drops to 1.19% APY for an average daily step count between 10,000 to 12,499; to 1.09% APY for 7,500 to 9,999 steps; and to 1.00% APY for 5,000 to 7,499 steps. Finally, the rate plummets to 0.75% APY if you’re logging 4,999 or fewer steps. When you open a new account and have at least $100, the account will have an initial APY of 1.20% until the rate adjustment date after the first full month.

You need at least $100 to open a new Fitness Savings Account. You must also maintain a $100 minimum average daily balance in order to waive the $10 maintenance fee. There is no fee for incoming wires. You can deposit money into your account through online transfers, which typically take three to five days to post.

To track your steps, you will need to download the FitnessBank Step Tracker app. Then you can link it with your Garmin, FitBit, Apple Health or Google Play.

3. First Foundation Bank — 1.20% APY, $1,000 minimum

Online Savings Account - New Money Only from First Foundation Bank

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on First Foundation Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Founded in 1990, First Foundation Bank is headquartered in Irvine, Ca. and has 20 locations in California, Hawaii and Nevada.

First Foundation Bank’s Online Savings account sets itself apart from the bank’s other offerings with its competitive 1.20% APY on balances $1,000 and over. Balances under that earn 1.00% APY. You’ll need to open a new account with at least $1,000 in new money, or money not already held on deposit with the bank.

You can access your Online Savings account online and on mobile to pay bills, deposit checks, transfer money and more.

4. SFGI Direct — 1.16% APY, $1 minimum balance

SFGI Direct is an online division of Summit Community Bank, which provides FDIC insurance on any SFGI Direct deposits. Summit Community Bank is headquartered in Moorefield, W.V.

Open an SFGI Direct Savings account with just $500 and start earning interest at 1.16% APY with just $1. There is no monthly fee on the account.

SFGI Direct can be accessed online. You can set up online transfers in and out of the Savings account directly within your account.

5. CIBC Bank USA — 1.15% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit to open account

CIBC Agility Savings - Online Only from CIBC USA

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on CIBC USA’s secure website

Member FDIC

CIBC U.S. is the U.S. banking arm of Toronto-based CIBC, which offers a wide variety of banking and financial services. CIBC U.S. is headquartered in Chicago and was established in 1991.

The CIBC Agility Account is an online-only savings account that earns at a more competitive rate than its regular accounts. You’ll need at least $1,000 to open an account, but all balances earn interest. There is no monthly fee on the account.

You can access your Agility online savings account online and through CIBC’s mobile app. To deposit money, you can use ACH transfers, direct deposit or send a check to CIBC Bank USA. You can make withdrawals by setting up a transfer to another account, whether an external one or another CIBC account, or by making a written request for a check to be sent to you.

Best Savings Account Bonus Offers

Some banks offer cash bonuses to bring in new customers. There are often requirements that need to be met in order to qualify for these bonuses, so you’ll want to pay attention to those prior to applying. This list includes banks offer bonuses for opening a savings account.

1. Citibank – $700 bonus with $50,000 minimum deposit

Citibank Account Package

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on Citi’s secure website

Member FDIC

Citibank got its start way back in 1812 as the City Bank of New York. Part of the larger Citigroup, Citibank offers customers deposit, lending and investing products for both individuals and businesses. Citi has a physical presence in 98 countries, including in 12 U.S. states plus Washington D.C. Citibank’s headquarters are located in Sioux Falls, S.D.

You have until January 5, 2021 to snag this huge $700 bonus offer from Citibank. To earn the bonus, open a Citi Priority Account Package and deposit at least $50,000 in new money within 30 days of opening the new account. New money means the funds must be held outside of Citibank to qualify. You must maintain at least $50,000 between the checking and savings accounts in the Package for 60 consecutive calendar days to qualify.

The Citi Priority Account Package charges a $30 monthly fee, which you can waive by keeping a combined average monthly balance of $50,000 or more in eligible linked accounts. As a premium account, the Citi Priority Account Package includes access to Citi Personal Wealth Management, relationship rates, free and unlimited checks and more. Its Interest Checking account earns 0.03% APY and the Citi Savings account earns between 0.04% and 0.15% APY, depending on your balance. Higher balances earn higher rates.

2. Citibank – $400 bonus with $15,000 minimum deposit

Citibank Account Package

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on Citi’s secure website

Member FDIC

Based in Sioux Falls, S.D., Citi traces its history back to New York City in 1812. Snag a $400 reward from Citibank by being a new customer and opening a Citibank Account Package by January 5, 2021. Deposit at least $15,000 in either the checking or savings account within the package within 30 days of opening the account. The money must be new to Citibank and kept across both accounts for 60 days.

The Citibank Account package includes both the checking and savings account. There is a $25 monthly fee which you can waive with a $10,000 minimum balance across both accounts. The checking account earns a 0.01% APY, and the savings account will earn between 0.04% and 0.13%, depending on your balance. Citibank offers a mobile app to access your accounts.

3. PNC Bank – Up to $350 bonus with $5,000 direct deposits

PNC Bank – Up to $350 bonus with $5,000 from PNC

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on PNC’s secure website

PNC Bank was established way back in 1804. The bank is based in Wilmington, Del. and has branches in 21 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to its personal deposit accounts, PNC Bank also offers loan and investment products, as well as services for businesses.

PNC Bank offers the opportunity to earn a sign-up bonus to new Virtual Wallet customers who open new PNC accounts on this page. These three separate offers end on July 31, 2020:

  • To earn $300, open a new Virtual Wallet with Performance Select and receive at least $5,000 in total direct deposits.
  • To earn $200, open a new Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend and receive at least $2,000 in total direct deposits.
  • To earn $50, open a new Virtual Wallet account and receive at least $500 in total direct deposits.

Note that you can earn only one bonus. Whichever bonus you shoot for, you must also make at least 10 purchases with your PNC Bank Visa Debit Card. All requirements must be met within the first 60 days after account opening.

Only new PNC Bank customers are eligible for these offers, which excludes those who currently own an existing PNC Bank consumer checking account, have closed an account within the past 90 days or have been paid a promotional bonus in the past 12 months.

Performance Select charges a $25 waivable monthly fee. It includes a checking account that earns 0.01% APY and a savings account that earns 0.10% APY, with the opportunity for higher relationship rates. Performance Spend charges a $15 waivable monthly fee and earns 0.01% APY on primary checking account balances of $2,000 or more, while its second checking component earns 0.01% on all balances. Its Growth savings component earns 0.10% APY, or higher rates for relationship accounts. Virtual Wallet charges a $7 waivable monthly fee and includes a non-interest-bearing checking account, another checking account that earns 0.01% APY and a savings account that earns 0.10% APY, with relationship rate potential.

4. Chase – Up to $350 bonus with $10,000 minimum deposit and direct deposit in a qualifying checking account

Chase Savings from Chase Bank

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on Chase Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Established way back in 1824, Chase is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. It has a presence in 33 states and Washington D.C.

Another checking and savings mix-and-match bonus, you have until October 14, 2020 to open a new Chase Total Checking account. Once it’s open, setting up direct deposit will snag you a $200 bonus. Earn another $150 when you open a Chase Savings account and deposit at least $10,000 in new money within 20 business days. You must also maintain that balance for at least 90 days.

The accounts themselves aren’t too remarkable. The Chase Total Checking account charges a $12 monthly fee unless you have direct deposits totaling $500 or more, a minimum $1,500 balance at the beginning of each day or a $5,000 average beginning day balance in combined account balances. The Chase Savings account also charges a fee, $5 per month, that you can waive with a minimum $300 balance at the beginning of each day, at least one repeating automatic transfer of at least $25 or more from your personal Chase checking account or Chase Liquid® Card, a linked Chase College Checking account for Overdraft Protection, an account owner younger than 18 or a qualifying linked account. Chase provides users with a mobile app to manage accounts.

5. Regions Bank — Up to $100 bonus with $10 monthly minimum deposit

LifeGreen Savings account from Regions Bank

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on Regions Bank’s secure website

Established in 1928, Regions Bank is headquartered in Birmingham, Ala. It has offices in 15 states and offers banking, investing and borrowing products for individuals and businesses, both small and large.

The Regions Bank LifeGreen Savings account offers a 1% annual bonus up to $100. You can earn this bonus by setting up an automatic transfer of at least $10 from a Regions checking account to the LifeGreen Savings account at least 10 of the 12 months before your account opening anniversary. The bonus amount is based on the average monthly balance for the 12 calendar months before your anniversary.

You must have a Regions checking account to open a LifeGreen Savings account. There is no monthly fee. You need at least $50 to open the account online, or $5 if you open at a branch and set up an automatic recurring monthly transfer from your Regions checking account. You can use this account as overdraft protection for your checking account. The LifeGreen Savings account is limited to three outgoing transfers per statement cycle; each excess transaction will cost $3.

Best Savings Account Rates from Credit Unions

Some people prefer to do their banking with credit unions because of the member benefits that extend beyond the deposit accounts. This list includes credit unions that currently offer the best savings account rates for low and high depositors.

1. Digital Federal Credit Union – 6.17% APY, up to $1,000 account balance

Chartered in 1979, Digital Federal Credit Union is based in Marlborough, Mass. and is the largest credit union headquartered in New England by asset size. Eligibility for DCU membership is based on your family relationship to a current member, the company you work for or retired from, an organization you belong to or a community you’re a member of (where you live, worship, attend school, etc).

DCU offers its members a whopping 6.17% APY on its Primary Savings account. However, this high APY applies to the first $1,000 in your account. Everything over that will earn 0.25% APY. The account requires a $5 opening deposit and balance to maintain membership. There is no monthly service fee.

Transfers through DCU’s Payment Center impose a minimum amount of $0.01 and maximum amount of $2,500.

DCU offers account access through branches (both DCU and CO-OP), online, at ATMS and over the phone. There is no mobile app.

2. Blue Federal Credit Union — 5.00% APY, $25 minimum deposit

Accelerated Savings from Blue Federal Credit Union

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on Blue Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Blue Federal Credit Union formed in 2016, as a merger of Wyoming-chartered Warren Federal Credit Union and Colorado-based Community Financial Credit Union. Blue has locations in Colorado and Wyoming, as well as thousands more CO-OP Shared Branches around the country.With a Blue Federal Credit Union Accelerated Savings account, it’s best to keep a maximum of $1,000 in the account. Balances between $25 to $1,000 maintain the high rate of 5.00% APY, while anything over $1,000 drops to 0.10% APY. To earn dividends at all, you must maintain a $25 minimum balance and make a transfer of at least $5 per month into the account. Dividends are calculated daily and paid monthly.Blue Federal Credit Union is accessible in person, over its 24/7 call center phone line, online and on mobile.

3. St. Mary’s Bank — 5.00% APY, $25 minimum deposit

Rainy Day Savings from St. Mary's Bank

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on St. Mary's Bank’s secure website

Founded in 1908, St. Mary’s Bank is headquartered in Manchester, N.H. It was the first credit union founded in America, known then as St. Mary’s Cooperative Credit Association. All its locations are in New Hampshire, but membership is open to anyone who purchases one share of capital stock for $5.

For higher-than-usual savings at St. Mary’s Bank, look to its Rainy Day Savings account. It gives a big 5.00% APY boost to balances $25 – $499. Balances between $500 and $999 earn 3.00% APY, remaining competitive, but balances $1,000 and over drop to a mere 0.05% APY. To earn interest, you must make a monthly automatic transfer of at least $25 from direct deposit or a St. Mary’s Bank checking account.

Almost quite literally meant for rainy day savings, this account limits you to one free withdrawal per month. Each subsequent withdrawal will cost $2. There is no monthly fee on the account.

St. Mary’s Bank is accessible online, over the phone, at branches and through its free mobile banking app, available for Android and Apple devices.

4. PenFed Credit Union — 1.00% APY, $5 minimum deposit to open

PenFed Credit Union was founded in 1935. It has financial centers around the country, as well as in Guam, Puerto Rico and Okinawa. You can join PenFed if you are employed, retired or honorably discharged from organizations like the Coast Guard or Army or are a member of organizations like the American Red Cross or American Society of Military Comptrollers. You may also be able to join if you don’t fall under those categories, depending on the credit union’s discretion.

PenFed’s high-earning account is its Premium Online Savings Account, which requires at least $5 to open. Plus, there’s no monthly fee and its competitive rate applies to all balances.

You can access the Premium Online Savings Account online. There is no ATM access. As for transfers, you’re limited to $50,000 in incoming transfers and $25,000 in outgoing transfers that you initiate at PenFed. To deposit or withdraw funds outside of this limit, you can request a wire transfer.

5. Quorum Federal Credit Union – 0.75% APY, no minimum deposit to open account

HighQ from Quorum Federal Credit Union

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on Quorum Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Quorum was chartered in 1977 and is based in Purchase, N.Y. Quorum Federal Credit Union membership is open to employees and retirees of select employee groups and individuals associated with affiliated groups and associations.

Earn 0.75% APY with the HighQ Savings account, no matter your balance. There’s no minimum deposit requirement, either. There is no monthly fee when you elect for eStatements; otherwise, paper statements will incur a $10 monthly fee.

In addition to online and ACH transfers, you can deposit money into your Quorum account through mobile check deposit and deposit-taking ATMs and Shared Service Centers. Transferring money from an external account can take up to three business days.

The Quorum mobile app allows you to manage your accounts and deposit checks on the go and is available for both Android and iOS.

Methodology

To find the best 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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 savings accounts that you should know.

Read on to find out more about how savings accounts work, how many savings accounts you should have and more.

What is a savings account

The definition of a savings account is a deposit account that earns interest and allows six “convenient” withdrawals per statement cycle. This limit applies to telephonic transfers, preauthorized and automatic transfers and withdrawals and transfers made by check, debit card or another similar method. Savings accounts are offered by traditional brick-and-mortar banks, online banks, credit unions and other financial institutions.

Deposits held in savings accounts at banks are typically insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), while credit union deposits are insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). When looking for the best savings account, always choose an institution insured by either the FDIC or the NCUA. This protects your savings account with the backing of the U.S. Federal Government in the event that your bank fails.

How do savings accounts work

Savings accounts are interest-bearing deposit accounts that hold your money safely and securely with a financial institution. They are liquid, meaning you can withdraw your money at any time you choose. However, due to the limitations of the Federal Reserve’s Regulation D, savings accounts only allow six convenient transfers and withdrawals per statement cycle. Exceeding this limit will typically result in a fee for each additional transaction.

While almost all savings accounts earn interest, the earnings may vary depending on what type of bank you choose.

When should I use a savings account

You can use a savings account to house your emergency fund as well as any cash you don’t need to cover your monthly spending habits. Savings accounts are highly liquid and easy to access when you need them — certificates of deposit (CDs) and investment accounts are much less liquid — but still earns more interest than regular checking accounts.

Savings accounts are most often used for general savings, and they’re a much better choice than keeping all of your money in a checking account. A savings account with a competitive rate lets your money grow by earning a strong interest rate. Still, it’s always best to keep a financial cushion in your checking account, to cover expenses and avoid overdrafts.

Separate savings accounts are a great way to meet multiple financial goals. For example, you could save funds for future college tuition costs in one savings account, and money for your next vacation in a separate savings account.

How to choose the right savings account for you

When shopping for the best savings account, your first consideration should be an account’s interest rate. If you’re going to let your money sit somewhere, you want to make it a worthwhile investment. Second, check for fees — there’s no use earning a lot in savings if that’s just going to be taken away by pesky fees. Finally, consider broadening your horizons so you can weigh all your options.

Compare offers to get the best savings rate. Use our savings account comparison tool to calculate how much you could earn with different accounts. You can filter by ZIP code and size, which can help large-balance savers find better options than no-minimum options.

Don’t forget about fees. Snagging the highest interest rate isn’t always your best bet. You also want to ensure the whole account helps you earn consistent returns. For example, a high-rate savings account might reset to a lower APY after an introductory period. Perhaps the best rate requires a balance that’s too high or too low for your needs. And watch out for monthly fees that could eat into your savings.

Compare options beyond banks. It’s easy to keep a savings account with the bank your family has banked with for generations. But you could be missing out on incredible savings by ignoring new banks and even credit unions.

Think beyond your savings rate. Don’t let yourself get stuck focusing solely on rates. Most banks complement their savings accounts with a contingent of other account types, like checking or CD products. Do you work with cash a lot or require specialized services like obtaining cashiers checks or want access to a checkbook? The online banks who typically offer the highest APYs may fall short in these categories.

What are the different types of savings accounts

Financial institutions offer a few different varieties of savings accounts. For instance, a money market account is technically a type of savings account under Regulation D, but it’s often marketed under its own name.

Certain labels are applied to savings accounts to differentiate features or ownership types. For example, an online savings account is just a standard savings account that’s available online. Likewise, a high-yield savings account is simply a standard savings account that earns a high interest rate.

Differences in account ownership do not change the way savings accounts function — withdrawal limits and interest rates remain the same. That said, there are a few details worth highlighting when it comes to savings account ownership types:

Individual savings account: This is a savings account for one person. No one else can access funds saved in the account unless the savings account holder authorizes it. You may see savings accounts marketed with other labels like “high yield” or “online” savings accounts, but they all fall underneath the same umbrella of “individual savings accounts”.

High yield savings account: These savings accounts focus on offering the highest savings rates. They are offered by a number of online, local, and national banking institutions. The higher rates on these accounts may be offset by a limited selection of banking services. You can read more about these in our review of the best high yield savings accounts.

Online savings account: These savings accounts focus on ease of access with 24/7 access to online banking and they often overlap with high yield savings accounts. It may be difficult to deposit/withdraw cash and checks with online savings accounts, due to their limited ATM networks and lack of physical branches.

Joint savings account: With a joint savings account, two or more people share equal access to funds saved in the account. These are distinct from individual savings accounts.

Custodial account: These accounts let a designated custodian manage funds for the benefit of a minor, who then assumes ownership of the account when they turn 18 or 21 years old, depending on the state. Common custodial accounts are associated with UGMA (Uniform Gift to Minors Act) and UTMA (Uniform Transfer to Minors Act) agreements. These are functionally distinct from individual savings accounts.

Payable on Death (POD) account: This type lets the account owner choose beneficiaries who inherit the funds saved in the account after the owner passes away. These are functionally distinct from individual savings accounts.

Determining which is the best savings account for you can be a difficult decision and will depend on your individual needs. However, there’s no real limit to the number of savings accounts that you can open; take some time to shop around to find a savings account that combines the highest rates, greatest convenience and still fits your unique needs.

What are the typical fees associated with savings accounts?

The main fee you should look out for when shopping for any bank account is the pesky monthly service fee. These fees are charged for simply owning an account, and can range from as little as $5 to as much as $25, depending on the institution and the account.

Another common fee associated with savings accounts is the excessive transaction fee. This fee is charged each time you go over the legal limit of six transfers per statement cycle, and usually runs around $10. Some institutions, like Synchrony, do not charge an excessive transaction fee; however, they will close the account if an account holder makes excessive transactions more than occasionally.

You should also watch out for a paper statement fee. Technically this is not a monthly service fee, but many institutions charge you on a monthly basis if you choose to receive paper statements in addition to electronic statements. Some savings accounts have done away with paper statements altogether; check with your bank to confirm their terms and conditions.

Should I have a savings account at the same bank as my checking account?

You certainly could choose to keep your savings account at the same bank as your checking account for convenience’s sake, but that doesn’t mean you should. Your savings deserve the best interest rate available, which earns you the highest possible return. If you keep your checking account with a traditional brick-and-mortar bank, you’re not likely to find the best savings account rates at the same institution.

To get the best return on your savings possible, open a savings account with a competitive APY. These accounts are most often found at online banks, but a handful of brick-and-mortar institutions have started offering high-rate savings accounts that outearn their regular savings accounts by a mile.

It’s not that there aren’t any advantages to keeping a savings account at the same institution as your checking account — you do get slightly quicker transfers between the accounts, and you can see both accounts in a single app dashboard. If these benefits are important to you, check out Ally Bank, Discover Bank or Capital One 360. They offer competitive rates on both savings and checking, and Capital One 360 also has the benefit of branches in select states.

Savings Account FAQs

Your money is safe in a savings account as long as you bank with a reputable, insured institution. Your money is protected in case of bank failure by the FDIC for bank deposits or by the NCUA for credit union deposits. Your money should also be protected by safety measures taken by each institution, like firewalls, encryption, antivirus and anti-fraud detection and more. If you want to know more about the systems your bank has in place, you can typically find the information on their website or by giving them a call. It’s a good idea to take safety and privacy into account when shopping for the best savings account.

Savings account rates are one of the most important features when looking for an account. 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. It’s important to note that institutions tend to reserve the right to change their rates at any time, without warning. Luckily, there are institutions that notify you of upcoming changes, especially if it’s a substantial rate change. Each institution’s level of transparency and communication is something to consider when shopping around for the best savings account. Looking at an institutions historical rate changes will allow you to choose a bank that has consistently high rates.

The choice between bank and credit union is largely based on personal preference. Credit unions tend to be more community-focused than banks. You’re a member of a credit union, not a customer, so credit union members often have a say in credit union governance matters and elections. Plus, credit unions are often based around a specific geographic area, so you can build relationships with employees and fellow members.

You have to pay taxes on your savings account (and other deposit accounts) if you earned $10 or more in interest per year.Your bank will send you (and the IRS) a copy of Form 1099-INT if you meet or exceed this interest earnings threshold. If you don’t receive a 1099-INT from your bank, but earned $10 or more in interest, you’ll still need to report the earnings on your tax return.

Interest earnings are considered regular income for tax purposes. If you earned more than $1,500 in interest, you’ll need to detail the sources of that income on Schedule B of Form 1040.

You may wish to open multiple savings accounts if you’re an individual with over $250,000 in savings. The FDIC and NCUA insurance only cover your bank accounts at the institution level. If you have an amount that exceeds the $250,000 insurance limit, you should spread your money out between multiple banks.This means that even if you have multiple savings accounts at the same bank, they would all be subject to the same $250,000 insurance limit. However, if you were to open multiple savings accounts across different institutions, you would be guaranteed up to $250,000 at each bank. This would allow all your money to be FDIC- or NCUA-insured.

Technically, there’s nothing stopping you from opening as many savings accounts as you want. However, this can get pretty cluttered and you can lose track of all your finances easily if you’re not careful. Make sure you’re getting the best savings rates for each account you open by shopping around.

You usually can open two or more savings accounts at the same bank, depending on the bank’s own policies. Each account will have its own account number. This tactic can be good for separating different savings goals. Oftentimes, banks can offer more than one type of account which can fit different needs. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll get the best rates at the same bank. It’s still a good idea to shop across multiple banks to find the best savings account that suits your needs.

You can make ACH transfers and wire transfers from a savings account. If your account includes a debit/ATM card or checks, you can also make payments via those methods. Still, don’t forget that savings accounts are limited to six transfers and withdrawals per statement cycle. If you exceed these limits, you run the risk of incurring excessive withdrawal fees or having your savings account closed altogether.

Most savings accounts don’t include a debit or ATM card, which limits your ability to make in-person purchases. However, you can set up an ACH or wire transfer with your savings account number and bank routing number to send money for a purchase.

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.