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Updated on Monday, November 23, 2020
A savings account is a key component of everyone’s financial life, but everybody needs something a little different from their savings account. We’ve outlined the best savings accounts in several different categories to help you find the right one for your preferences, whether you want maximum interest earnings, plentiful branch access, a convenient mobile app, easy fund transfers and more.
As of November 2020, you won’t find a rate higher than 1%. To get you the best chance at finding the best account for you, we prioritized accounts with high yields, few fees and low to no balance minimums. We regularly check rates and accounts at more than 5,000 U.S. banks and credit unions to stay on top of the latest and greatest offerings.
So whether you’re shopping around for a new savings account or 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 briefing on everything to consider when selecting the right account for your needs.
The Best Savings Accounts in November 2020
Capital One 360 Performance Savings
Best for High APY
Affirm Savings Account
Best for Mobile App
Chime Savings Account
Best Bonus Offer
Regions Bank LifeGreen Savings
Best for Combined Savings and Checking
Varo Savings Account
Best for avoiding fees
Discover Online Savings Account
Best for customer service
Ally Bank Online Savings Account
Best for branch access
Best for transferring funds
Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield Online Savings
Best credit union savings account
Blue Federal Credit Union Sky High Savings
Best savings accounts
Best overall: Capital One 360 Savings — 0.50% APY
As an online-only operation, Capital One 360 provides savers with higher deposit rates for better savings. They’re not just a flash in the pan either: Capital One has remained one of our top picks for its consistently competitive rates over the years.The Capital One 360 Performance Savings earns a 0.50% APY on all balances. There’s no monthly fee, so your savings can grow without the bank taking a chunk. You can open the account with any deposit amount that works for you, as there is no minimum deposit nor balance requirement.
You can easily manage Capital One 360 accounts online, on the bank’s mobile app, or at a Capital One Cafe or branch.
Best for high APY: Affirm — 1.00% APY
Affirm’s main business is creating payment plans for your online purchases, but it also offers a mobile savings account with FDIC insurance provided by Cross River Bank. Affirm Savings earns 1.00% APY. There are no minimum balance requirements, nor a monthly fee.
Affirm Savings was designed specifically for a mobile experience, so you will need to download the Affirm mobile app, available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. Online transfers are the way to go with this account; there is no debit card or checks.
Best for mobile app: Chime Savings Account –1.00% APY
As of this writing, the Chime Mobile Banking app has a 4.7 average star rating between the more than 378,600 reviews in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The app offers several stellar banking features, including the ability to connect your external accounts to facilitate easy transfers and provide a holistic financial picture in one place. The Chime app also sends transaction and balance alerts so you can stay on top of your account. If you notice any unauthorized spending, you can block transactions and turn off international transactions on your card right from the app.
Anytime you need to deal with paper checks, the Chime app can handle that, too, thanks to its mobile check deposit capabilities. You can also send paper checks in the app. To do so, you will simply need to input how much the check is for and where Chime should send it, and then Chime will take care of the rest.
The Chime Savings Account itself is a solid choice with 1.00% APY on all balances, no minimum balance requirement, no maximums on interest earned and no fees. You will need a Chime Spending Account to add on the savings account, a relationship that allows easy automatic savings transfers. The Chime Savings Account also saves your change on purchases with its Round Ups feature, and it stashes away a percentage of each paycheck with the Save When I Get Paid feature.
Chime is a fintech company, not a bank itself, so its banking services and FDIC insurance are provided by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC.
Best bonus offer: Regions Bank LifeGreen Savings – 0.01% APY
Unlike most bonus offers that are one-and-done, the Regions LifeGreen Savings account earns an annual 1% saving bonus up to $100. All you need to do to earn it is receive an automatic transfer of funds of at least $10 from a Regions checking account to your LifeGreen Savings account in at least 10 of the calendar months in the year before your account opening anniversary. The 1% bonus is based on your average monthly balance for each year.
Even better, the LifeGreen Savings account doesn’t charge a monthly fee and doesn’t have any minimum balance requirements. Regions Bank has branches across 15 states and is accessible online and on mobile. It is also compatible with several mobile wallets and Zelle.
Best for combined savings and checking: Varo Savings Account — 2.80% APY
Varo makes it easy to open its checking and savings accounts in one go. All you need to do is download the app, go through the Varo Bank Account application and add on your Varo Savings Account. Neither account has a minimum deposit requirement, and there is no monthly fee to use Varo.
The Savings Account requires just $0.01 to start earning interest. The standard rate is 0.81% APY. However, you can boost your rate to an industry-leading 2.80% by making at least five qualifying purchases with your Varo Bank Visa Debit Card and receiving qualifying direct deposits totaling at least $1,000 each month.
Thanks to the seamless connection between the two Varo accounts, you can use Varo’s automatic savings tools for more efficient savings. Save Your Pay automatically transfers a percentage (of your choosing) of your Varo Bank Account direct deposits to your Savings Account. Another offering, Save Your Change, rounds up every transaction to the nearest dollar and then transfers that amount to your savings account.
Best for avoiding fees: Discover Online Savings Account — 0.50% APY
Discover promises just about zero fees, which means you get to avoid fees on items like monthly maintenance, checks, incoming wire transfers, returned deposited items, excessive withdrawals and insufficient funds. The only service charge you’ll run into is a $30 fee to send a wire transfer.
No fees means your Discover Online Savings Account gets to earn 0.50% APY undisturbed. There is no minimum balance required to earn interest, nor is there a minimum deposit needed to open the account.
Discover Bank accounts are accessible solely online, which includes its mobile app, available both in the Apple App Store and Google Play. Discover Bank’s mobile app also offers check deposit.
Known for its credit cards, Discover’s first card was used in 1985. That same year, Discover acquired Greenwood Trust Company, which officially changed its name to Discover Bank in 2000.
Best for customer service: Ally Bank — 0.60% APY
Ally Bank offers 24/7 phone customer service, a great perk for banking customers everywhere. The bank even provides a wait-time estimate on its website. In addition to constant phone support, you can reach bank representatives over secure messages within your account, mail and online live chat.
Making the bank’s accessible customer service even better is the fact that its Online Savings Account is a constant top competitor, currently earning 0.60% on all balances. There is no monthly fee for the account, and Ally Bank is transparent about the fees it does charge, which include outgoing domestic wires, paid overdraft items and excessive transactions.
Tracing its history back to 1919 as the financing division of GM, 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.
Best for branch access: Chase Savings —0.01% APY
Of the big traditional brick-and-mortar banks, Chase Bank has the widest reach, with branches and ATMs in 38 states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, Chase accounts are easily accessible online and through the bank’s mobile app.
The Chase Savings account charges a $5 monthly fee, although you can waive it in a few ways, including keeping a $300 minimum daily balance, receiving automatic transfers of at least $25 from a Chase checking account or linking your account to a qualifying Chase checking account. There is also a $5 fee for any transactions made from the savings account beyond the six-transaction limit per statement cycle. All balances earn interest, although at an unimpressive 0.01% APY.
Best for transferring funds: Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings Account – 0.50% APY
Marcus by Goldman Sachs, an online-only banking option, allows customers to make free electronic Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers in and out of the account. It also has one of the most generous policies on amount limits: ACH withdrawals max out at $125,000, and there is no limit for deposits (as long as you cap your account balance at $1 million). You can even call the bank if you want to make withdrawals above these limits. Wire transfers to and from the account are also free.
The Online Savings Account is free to own and earns a 0.50% APY on all balances. You can open the account with any amount, and don’t have to worry about maintaining a minimum balance either.
Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA. Marcus is accessible online and on its mobile app, available in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, although some features are available for iOS devices only.
Best credit union savings account: Blue Federal Credit Union Sky High Savings – 0.65% APY
The Blue Federal Sky High Savings earns its 0.65% APY on all balances. There is no minimum or maximum balance requirement to own the account either, so you can access it no matter your funds. There is no monthly fee either.
Blue Federal Credit Union is accessible in person, through its 24/7 call center, online and on mobile. The credit union formed in 2016 as a result of a merger between a Wyoming credit union and a Colorado-based credit union. As a result, Blue Federal Credit Union has locations in Colorado and Wyoming, and thousands more CO-OP Shared Branches around the country.
Membership eligibility is based on family or employer connections, but even without those ins, you can join through a donation to the Blue Foundation, which the credit union will fund for you.
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.