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Best of

Best Online Banks in 2019

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.

As the cost of operating brick-and-mortar locations grows, traditional banks have ratcheted up fees in turn and kept their rates stubbornly low. Online bank offerings, meanwhile, have only gotten more enticing. Since they incur lower overhead costs, they can pass those savings on to consumers in the form of higher yields and lower fees.

Average savings account rates among online banks nearly doubled from 0.79% in June 2017 to 1.52% in December 2018. With the Fed predicted to raise rates several more times in 2019, rates will likely continue their ascent. Brick-and-mortar bank rates, on the other hand, have seen little growth. Over the last year, the average rate inched from 0.16% to just 0.26% as of this writing. Credit unions haven’t fared much better, with average rates rising from 0.18% to 0.23% over the same time period.

Needless to say, in today’s rising rate environment, online banks are often the best option for consumers looking for higher returns on their deposits. And yet, it can be daunting to make the switch from one bank to another. In our inaugural Best Online Banks roundup, we hope to make the choice a bit easier for those looking to make the switch.

Best bank for CDs

How we picked the top five: We chose the bank with the highest 1-year CD rate and consistently held a spot on MagnifyMoney’s Best CD Rates page for two years.

#1 Ally Bank– Winner

Institution
APY
Minimum Account Balance to Earn APY
Ally Bank
High Yield 12 Month CD from Ally Bank

2.40%

$0

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on Ally Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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Ally Bank is the best bank for CDs thanks to its consistently high rates, especially on its 1-year account. Ken Tumin of DepositAccounts.com (both MagnifyMoney and DepositAccounts.com are owned by LendingTree) agreed, pointing out the bank’s No Penalty CD offering, which offers a competitive rate without penalizing account holders for early withdrawals. The bank’s competitive rates extend across its three different CD account types — the High Yield CD, Raise Your Rate CD and No Penalty CD. Each CD’s rate applies to all balances, except on the 18-month and 3-year High Yield CDs, where higher balances snag higher rates. This spread of products makes it easy for you to grow your savings in a number of ways.

Even better, Ally Bank doesn’t require a minimum deposit to open any of its CDs. This opens up the opportunity to grow savings at Ally’s high rates to a wider variety of customers who may not be able to reach the high minimums at other banks. Ally Bank CDs also don’t charge monthly fees, allowing your money to grow undisturbed by unnecessary charges.

#2 Synchrony Bank

12 Month CD from Synchrony BankWith both standard and IRA CDs available, Synchrony Bank offers competitive rates across all its CDs. Its 1-year CD rate matches Ally’s (at time of writing), but Synchrony also requires at least $2,000 to open an account; this may place the accounts slightly out of reach for certain customers looking to save with CDs.

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on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

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#3 Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

High-yield 12 Month CD from Goldman Sachs Bank USAPreviously known as Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Marcus by Goldman Sachs is the consumer bank arm of investing giant Goldman Sachs. Through Marcus, you can find a High Yield Savings account in addition to its High Yield CDs and No-Penalty CDs. At time of writing, its 1-year APY is only slightly smaller than Synchrony’s, though it has not been the most consistent over the years. You’ll also need at least $500 to open a Marcus CD.

#4 Barclays

12 Month Online CD from BarclaysWith its London beginnings 300 years ago, investment bank Barclays has now made a big name for itself in the online banking space with its competitively high rates. Its 1-year CD rate matches the #3 entry on this top five list, ranking lower due to a lack of rate consistency over the past two years.

Barclays does fall short slightly in its total offerings, with only an Online Savings account and nine Online CD terms at the moment, while other banks often include a checking account or money market account.

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on Barclays’s secure website

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#5 Capital One

12 Month 360 CD from Capital OneCapital One 360 accounts are the standalone online bank offerings from Capital One. Capital One 360 accounts offer a convenient online banking experience with high-yield interest rates on its accounts. Its 1-year CD rate is on par with the top-ranked bank (its rates are just short of Ally’s and Synchrony’s) — still, you won’t need a minimum amount to deposit to open any Capital One 360 account, nor will you face monthly fees.

Best bank for savings accounts

How we chose the top five: We chose banks that had the highest savings account rate and consistently held a spot on MagnifyMoney’s Best Savings Account page for two years.

#1 Ally Bank – Winner

Institution
APY
Minimum Account Balance to Earn APY
Ally Bank
Online Savings Account from Ally Bank

1.90%

$0

LEARN MORE Secured

on Ally Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Ally Bank doesn’t come out top for CDs alone — it is also the best online bank for savings accounts. Its Online Savings Account has one of the highest industry rates and has consistently held a spot on MagnifyMoney’s Best Savings Account list for two years. Plus, you won’t need to worry about having a high balance to open or maintain this account, since Ally doesn’t require either.

In addition to its high rates, Ally Bank “excels in its online transfer capabilities, a feature that’s often overlooked by other banks,” according to Tumin. With its quick turnaround and zero to low fees, Ally’s transfer policies makes it much easier to access your money, especially in case of emergency.

#2 Barclays

Online Savings Account from BarclaysAlthough its savings account rate is consistently on par, and sometimes higher than, Ally Bank’s, the Barclays Online Savings Account hasn’t quite held onto a consistent ranking on our Best Savings Account list over the years. You still won’t have to worry about meeting a minimum deposit amount or grappling with a monthly fee to benefit from this great rate, though.

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on Barclays’s secure website

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#3 Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs Bank USA
Offering a similar (and sometimes higher) savings rate on its Online Savings Account as Ally’s, Marcus by Goldman Sachs does require a minimum deposit (a mere $1) to start earning interest. You don’t need a minimum amount to open the account, though. You also won’t face transaction fees on your account, allowing your money to really grow in this competitive account.

#4 Synchrony Bank

Synchrony Bank
Synchrony Bank’s High Yield Savings account certainly delivers on its name with a competitive interest rate on all balances — plus, there’s no monthly fee. As is the case with all savings accounts, you’re limited to six outgoing transactions per statement cycle. Luckily, Synchrony won’t charge an extra fee on every additional transaction, but they could close your account if you keep it up.

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on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

#5 Salem Five Direct

eOne Savings from Salem Five DirectThe only bank not in our top 5 banks for CDs, Salem Five Direct shows up big with its competitive eOne Savings rate. (If you’re lucky enough to have an account balance over $1 million, however, you’ll earn at a much lower rate.) You’ll need at least $100 to open the account; after that, you won’t face any other minimum requirements nor a monthly fee. The online bank has over 160 years under its belt through its parent bank, Salem Five.

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on Salem Five Direct’s secure website

Member FDIC

Best Bank for Money Market Accounts

How we chose the top five: The winner of the best bank for money market accounts is the bank that had the highest money account rate and consistently held a spot on MagnifyMoney’s Best Money Market page for two years.

#1 Sallie Mae Bank– winner

Institution
APY
Minimum Account Balance to Earn APY
Sallie Mae Bank
Money Market from Sallie Mae Bank

2.15%

$0

LEARN MORE Secured

on Sallie Mae Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Ending Ally’s winning streak, Sallie Mae Bank’s Money Market Account offers a rate well above the competition. The bank has had the highest money account rate and consistently held a spot on MagnifyMoney’s Best Money Market page for two years. While Sallie Mae is typically under associated with student loans, Sallie Mae Bank (under SLM Corporation) offers some great banking products designed to help you grow your savings efficiently.

Tumin noted that Sallie Mae’s “excellent money market rate is interestingly higher than the savings account,” whereas other online banks have chosen to focus more on their savings accounts. This Money Market Account doesn’t require a minimum balance, nor does it charge a monthly fee. Plus, it includes check-writing capabilities, a feature that Tumin considers crucial to a successful and true money market account.

#2 Capital One

360 Money Market from Capital OneThe Capital One 360 Money Market account earns interest according to two balance tiers. Your balances below $10,000 will earn at a lower, less competitive rate. The account’s much higher interest rate on balances of $10,000 and over, however, earn the account the second spot here. The account doesn’t include check-writing abilities nor an ATM card, so you’ll have to make some electronic transfers to other ATM-accessible accounts if you need cash.

#3 Self-Help Credit Union

Money Market from Self-Help Credit UnionThe first credit union in this roundup, Self-Help Credit Union is actually a group of member-owned, mission-driven credit unions, a nonprofit loan fund, and the Center for Responsible Learning. Growing from beginnings in North Carolina in 1980, the credit union now reaches over 145,000 members throughout the nation, with a solid branch presence in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, California and the Chicago metro area.

The Self-Help Credit Union Money Market Account’s high-yield interest rate comes at a bit of a cost. For starters, you’re required to deposit at least $500 to open the count. You’ll also need to maintain that balance to earn interest and waive the account’s monthly fee.

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on Self-Help Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

#4 Ally Bank

Money Market Account from Ally BankAlly Bank is so highly focused on its savings account that it might have allowed its money market account to dip slightly, as mentioned above. Still, the account, which earns interest based on balance tiers, offers solid rates consistently enough to make this list. You’ll earn at the higher rate if you maintain a balance of at least $25,000; any balances below that will earn at a rate only slightly lower. In addition, it does well in terms of service — there’s no minimum amount you need to open or maintain the account.

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on Ally Bank’s secure website

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#5 ableBanking

Money Market Savings from ableBankingableBanking, a division of Northeast Bank founded in 1872, is an online bank and community that offers a number of high-yield deposit accounts. Its Personal Money Market account stands out with its competitive rate that reaches past Ally’s current highest money market rate. You will need at least $250 to open the ableBanking Personal Money Market account.

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on ableBanking’s secure website

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Best Bank for Checking Accounts

How we chose the top five: Our best bank for checking accounts had to tick a few boxes — it had to charge no monthly maintenance fees, offer an out-of-network ATM fee refund, and consistently hold a spot on MagnifyMoney’s Best Checking Account page for two years.

#1 Ally Bank – winner

Institution
APY
Minimum Account Balance to Earn APY
Ally Bank
Interest Checking Account from Ally Bank

0.10%

$0.01

LEARN MORE Secured

on Ally Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Earning the title as the best bank for checking accounts, Ally Bank’s Interest Checking account has no monthly fees, refunds up to $10 in third party ATM fees each month, and consistently held a spot on MagnifyMoney’s Best Checking Account page for two years. The account also earns interest, where your balance determines your rate. Balances of $15,000 and over can earn the account’s higher rate, although neither rate stands out too much.

Still, Tumin noted that standard checking account rates are generally low everywhere. “Use Ally’s low fees, like their free overdraft transfers, to your advantage,” he says, to really get the most out of this kind of account.

#2 Charles Schwab Bank

High Yield Investor CheckingA division of the bigger brokerage firm, Charles Schwab Bank was launched in 2003. It currently offers only two accounts: a savings account and a checking account. This Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking® account, launched in 2007, earns at a decent rate. Plus, it comes with no monthly fee or a minimum deposit or balance requirement. The account includes a Platinum Debit Card, which you can use at any ATM in the world. If you face any foreign ATM fees, Charles Schwab Bank provides unlimited ATM fee rebates.

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on Charles Schwab Bank’s secure website

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#3 Aspiration

Aspiration AccountIf you’re looking for both a great checking account and a way to give back to your community, Aspiration is the bank for you — it donates an industry-leading 10% of its revenue to charities.

Interestingly, Aspiration partly makes its revenue through Pay What is Fair Fees. Essentially, you get to choose how much you want to pay for the bank’s products. Account holders set their own fee on the account dashboard, which then gets debited monthly from their Aspiration account or another linked account. And while this opens up the door to paying $0, the bank hopes you won’t, since it works to operate on the basis of trust and fairness with its customers. You can change the amount you pay at any time. For extra services like wire transfers, the bank promises to charge only the cost of completing that service.

This particular account, the Aspiration Summit Account, doesn’t charge a monthly service fee at all and earns at a pretty high interest rate for a checking account. You can also benefit from the bank’s free access to every ATM in the world. The account doesn’t require a minimum deposit to open or balance to maintain.

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on Aspiration’s secure website

#4 First Technology Federal Credit Union

Dividend Rewards CheckingThe Dividend Rewards Checking account from First Technology Federal Credit Union offers some great perks to customers who meet a few requirements. You’ll need to use your debit card for a minimum of 12 purchases, set up direct deposit or one recurring ACH withdrawal and enroll in e-Statements each statement period. These actions will qualify you for ATM fee rebates and the chance to earn the highest interest rate in this category. You can snag the higher rate by keeping your account balance under $15,000. Otherwise, a larger balance will start earning at a much lower rate.

Without meeting these requirements, your balance will still earn interest, just at a minimal rate. The account will never charge a monthly fee, regardless of your requirement qualifications. You also won’t face a fee when you use any of the 30,000 CO-OP Network ATMs in the country. Note that your money here will be insured by the National Credit Union Administration, instead of by the FDIC.

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on First Technology Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

#5 BankPurely

CheckingPurelyBankPurely is a division of Flushing Bank, focused on pairing banking with ethical, environmental and social issues. Not only does the bank decrease its carbon footprint with its online-only presence, but it also plants a tree for every CheckingPurely account opened. You’ll need at least $1 to open this account, but there’s no minimum balance to maintain afterwards. You also get to avoid a monthly fee on this account while still earning interest at a pretty solid checking account rate.

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on BankPurely’s secure website

Member FDIC

Top online banks

How we chose the top five: The winners are the banks the showed up the most among the four categories.

#1 Ally Bank

From its 1919 beginnings as a financing division of GM, Ally Bank is now one of the biggest names in the online banking industry. It earns the title of Top Online Bank here because it showed up the most among the four above categories. In fact, it came out on top in every category except for Best Banks for Money Market Accounts — Tumin noted that its “savings account has been keeping competitive” while the money market account has seemingly fallen to the wayside, especially in the last year or two. Still, the account gets some credit for its check-writing abilities. Plus, the bank and its other products perform well with their consistently competitive interest rates and zero to low fees.

#2 Synchrony Bank

Synchrony Bank appears twice in our roundup categories as one of the Best Banks for CDs and one of the Best Banks for Savings Accounts. These placements land the bank in the second spot for top online banks. Not only does this mean that Synchrony offers some of the highest rates, but it also signals that the bank has been consistent in its rates offerings.

In addition to those accounts, Synchrony also offers a money market account, IRA CDs and an IRA money market account; there is no checking account at this time. If you elect to get an ATM card from Synchrony, you can use any ATM displaying the Plus or Accel logos without being charged by Synchrony. You can also receive ATM rebates up to $5 per statement cycle.

#3 Goldman Sachs Bank USA

Goldman Sachs Bank USA offers some of the highest rates in the industry. Like Synchrony before it, this bank ranked twice, making it into the top five banks for CDs and for savings accounts. At the time, these are the only kinds of accounts Goldman Sachs Bank USA offers. There is some variety with its High Yield CDs and No Penalty CDs, which offer the chance to make a withdrawal without facing a heavy penalty. While you don’t need a minimum deposit to open a savings account, you’ll need at least $500 for the CDs. They’re all still excellent accounts due to their high-earning rates and lack of monthly service fees.

#4 Barclays

Barclays is one of our top online banks thanks to its CDs and savings account, though these are the only kinds of accounts available through Barclays U.S. bank division. Neither of these accounts require a minimum deposit to open, which allows you to start saving no matter what amount you can set aside, and you won’t face monthly service fees for owning these accounts.

#5 Capital One

Changing it up slightly in this shortlist is Capital One, ranking as a top online bank for its money market account as well as its CDs. Its money market account didn’t make it to the top of that list, but it still offers a competitive interest rate for higher balances. Its CDs also continue to perform competitively, especially on its long-term accounts.

Best overall bank

How we chose the best overall bank: The best overall bank is the bank that ranked in the top five for all four categories — checking, savings, money markets and CDs.

Winner: Ally Bank

The best overall bank appeared in all four categories. In this case, Ally Bank dominated by placing first in each category, except for money market accounts, where it placed fourth. Ally continues to offer competitive rates across its savings, money market, checking and many CD accounts.

The bank started as GMAC in 1919, the financing division of GM and evolved over time to keep up with consumers’ needs and demands for a better bank. In 2009, GMAC became the online Ally Bank, focused on transparency with its customers and greater value on its accounts. Certainly since then, Ally has grown its offerings to include not only auto financing, but also high-yield deposit accounts, credit cards, investment accounts and more. Plus, its existence as an online bank means greater returns for you and more convenient 24/7 access.

APYAccount NameMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
1.90%Online Savings Account$0
2.40%High Yield 12-Month CD$0
0.10%Interest Checking Account$0
0.90%Money Market Account$0

Best new online bank

We chose the winner: To find the best new online bank, we found the bank that was launched within the last 12 months and has held the highest APY since it’s launch.

Winner: Vio Bank

Less than a year old and boasting an incredibly competitive interest rate on its High Yield Online Savings account Vio Bank certainly fits the bill for best new online bank, with. “They’ve got promise and potential with no monthly fee and no balance requirement,” Tumin said.

While there is no balance requirement to maintain the account and earn interest, you will need to open the account with at least $100. This is a pretty high requirement, especially for an online savings account.

APYAccount NameMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY 
2.52%High Yield Online Savings Account$100

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on Vio Bank’s secure website

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1.75%12 Month High Yield Online CD$500

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on Vio Bank’s secure website

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LEARN MORE: Online vs. traditional bank accounts

Should I switch to an online bank account?

Switching to an online bank could be the right move if you’re really trying to boost your savings and you’re tired of the low yields a traditional bank provides. Online banks typically help you avoid high account fees and balance minimums, too. Certainly a big difference is the lack of physical branches. Still, online banks offer user-friendly online and mobile interfaces for increased convenience.

Even if you’re not convinced it’s time to ditch your big bank in favor of one of our picks, you don’t have to take an all-or-nothing approach to online banking. Often the biggest deterrents when people consider moving their banking online is that they have no physical branch locations to deposit cash or talk to a bank representative in person.

But “it doesn’t need to be all or nothing,” Tumin said. “If you have a local bank, you can do most of your banking with an online bank and have a checking account with your favorite local bank.”

With this strategy, you can get a feel of how to transfer money online, get more comfortable and then you can start transferring more money to the savings account, he added. You could also simply keep your accounts linked for the easier cash access. To really take advantage of an online bank’s high rates, you could keep the majority of your funds in a high-yield account to boost your savings more efficiently.

If you find that you’re comfortable with online banking, then great! You can either make the switch completely or split your money between your online and local bank depending on your preferences.

Choosing the right bank account

Choosing the right bank accounts depends entirely on you and what’s important to you. If having a physical branch location nearby is part of your ideal banking experience, then an online bank won’t be the right place to open all your accounts. Perhaps you don’t quite need a full service branch, just easy ATM access. Maybe you’re all for the high-yield accounts, typically found at online banks. Determining these preferences and necessities will help you narrow down your search.

Choosing a savings account: When looking for a savings account, it’s tempting to just plop your money into the easiest option at your local bank. Unfortunately, this approach to saving typically won’t get you the highest returns. Even if you just want to set some money aside, why not set it aside in an account that will earn you money with no extra work on your part? Look for a savings account that offers a high-earning interest rate. Even better, find one that doesn’t charge a monthly fee. That way, you’ll only be growing your money, not losing any to unnecessary fees.

Choosing a CD account: Finding a certificate of deposit, or CD, with a high interest rate is even more crucial. After you make your initial deposit, you won’t have access to that money until the CD term ends. You’ll want to make that deposit a worthwhile investment, especially if you open a CD that’s a year long or more. Before you rush into opening a CD, always check the account’s minimum deposit requirement. Banks will typically require anywhere from $500 to $10,000 to open a CD. Many online banks don’t require any minimum. Still, the larger your initial deposit, the more interest you’ll earn, especially since you cannot make additional deposits throughout the CD term.

Choosing a money market account: A money market account often works like a mix between a savings and a checking account. For starters, you’ll want to find one with a high-earning interest rate. Some banks may offer higher interest rates on their money market accounts than their savings accounts, but that’s not always the case. Plus, you may need to fork over large amounts to open the account or earn at the best rate. To get the best money market account experience, find one that provides an ATM card. That way, you can access your account more easily than a regular savings account. (You’re still limited to six outgoing transactions per statement cycle.)

Choosing a checking account: Finally, choosing the right checking account might be the most important since you’ll constantly be moving money in and out of your account. The best checking accounts are those that don’t charge a monthly fee. You shouldn’t have to pay a bank to keep your money safe and accessible. Even better, find a checking account that earns interest. That way, you can grow your money in all accounts, not just your savings.

Bank fees and fine print to watch out for

Traditional bank accounts are rife with fees. From monthly service fees to overdraft fees, paying bank fees like these can really cut into the savings you’re trying so hard to build. To avoid falling into this trap, it helps to start by finding bank accounts that don’t charge monthly fees. This is especially common at online banks.

You may have to search through the fine print and account disclosures for other potential bank fees. It’s important to look for fees charged for out-of-network ATM usage, excessive transactions, account inactivity and incoming and outgoing transfers, since you could easily run into them if you’re not careful. Some online banks may even charge you for paper statements.

Another big fee that you’ll want to avoid is an overdraft fee. You won’t want to overdraft your account in the first place, but always keep an eye on your balance so it doesn’t happen by accident. You can typically find these fees in an account’s fee schedule. Some banks may require you to call or visit a branch to learn more about their fees.

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.

Lauren Perez
Lauren Perez |

Lauren Perez is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lauren here

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Best of

Best Checking Account Bonus Offers

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.

It’s easy to stick with the same bank your whole life. If you’re not rate-chasing for the best deals out there, all you really need from an account is convenient access to your money to get by each day. At least that way, you get to avoid the hassle of switching your money and accounts, even if it does mean you miss out on some great savings rates.

Banks realize that it’s easy to stay put, too. So in an attempt to gain some new customers, banks can offer some great bonus offers on checking accounts. The promise of a few hundred dollars just for opening an account can be enough to incentivize potential customers to open an account. These bonus offers can be so tempting, that many people chase bonus offers to try and make a few extra bucks.

When looking for bonus offers, it’s important to look past the promotional dollar amount that’s being advertised. For starters, make sure you trust a bank before opening an account with them. You don’t want to be stuck with a new bank that has terrible customer service! Also, be sure to check what’s required of you to snag that bonus offer. Often, it’s opening the new account with a certain balance and maintaining that balance for the next few months. It could also require several direct deposits posted to the account. Make sure you can fulfill these requirements before opening an entirely new bank account.

If you should see an offer you like, just be aware that you may have to open the account from a specific webpage to qualify for the bonus. Other banks could require you to visit a branch to redeem your offer, so it’s important to double check the application requirements.

The 11 best checking account bonus offers in 2019

BankBonus*Minimum Deposit to Earn BonusWhen the deal expires
SimpleUp to $500$10,0008/31/2019
Citibank$600$50,0009/30/2019
CitibankUp to $500$15,0009/30/2019
Wells Fargo$400$2511/27/2019
Chase$300$010/14/2019
TD Bank$300 $2,5009/16/2019
SunTrust$300$3,0009/30/2019
PNC Bank$300$5,0009/30/2019
Chase$200 $2510/14/2019
Huntington$200$1,0008/30/2019
Citibank$200$5,0009/30/2019
*Terms apply

Methodology

The best checking account bonus offers are — simply put — the ones with the biggest cash amounts we could find at the time of publishing. Below, we’ll detail each of the 11 best checking account bonus offers. You’ll find out whether it’s available in your area and what the requirements you have to meet to earn the bonus.

You might also want to read more about what each account is like on its own. For example, you might want to snag the highest bonus, but what if the account normally charges a monthly fee that you can’t afford? Check it all out below.

Featured: Simple – Up to $500 bonus with qualifying activities

Offer ends 8/31/2019

Offer rules: You can earn a $250 bonus for each new Protected Goals Account (Individual and Shared) you open, up to $500 total. For each account you open, you’ll need to deposit at least $10,000 by 9/16/19 4:59PM PT. Then to qualify for the bonus, maintain a balance of at least $10,000 in each new Protected Goals Account through 12/31/19 4:59PM PT.

Who’s eligible: You must be opening a new Protected Goals account to qualify for this bonus. Eligible customers who meet the requirements will receive the bonus credit to their Protected Goals Account by 1/14/20 4:59PM PT. Your account(s) must be open and in good standing at the time of bonus credit to receive the bonus. Simple employees are ineligible for this promotion.

Account details: Simple offers a competitive 2.02% APY on all Protected Goals balances. There is no account fee. Plus, your Protected Goals account is automatically connected to your Simple Individual and/or Shared Accounts. Shared Accounts are meant for two people, whether you’re roommates, spouses or mere acquaintances.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Simple’s secure website

Citibank — $600 bonus with $50,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 9/30/2019

The offer: To earn the $600 bonus on a new Citi Priority Account Package, you can apply at a Citi branch, call a Citi representative or through this Citibank page. You must make an initial deposit of at least $50,000 within 30 days of opening, between the new checking and savings accounts in the Package.

You must also maintain at least that balance for 60 consecutive calendar days following account opening.

Who’s eligible: Only new-to-Citibank customers who are opening a new Checking and a new Savings account qualify for this bonus offer. To open these accounts online, you must be a U.S. citizen or resident who is at least 18 years old.

Account details: The Citi Priority Package earns interest on its checking account, although at a minimal rate. You’ll also have a savings account, either Citi Savings or Citi Accelerate Savings, that earns interest depending on your balance. The package includes access to Citi Personal Wealth Management Financial Advisors by phone, investment resources and financial planning tools. It also adds extra perks like waived fees for overdraft protection, checkbooks and incoming wire transfers.

The Citi Priority Package charges a $30 monthly service fee. You can waive it by maintaining a combined average monthly balance of $50,000 or more in eligible linked deposit, retirement and investment accounts.

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on Citibank’s secure website

Citibank — $400 or $500 bonus with $15,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 9/30/2019

Offer rules: You can earn $400 in bonus cash if you open a new eligible checking and savings account in a Citibank Account Package. You’ll need to deposit at least $15,000 in new-to-Citibank money within 30 days of opening. Since the package includes a checking and savings account, you can split that deposit between the accounts. You’ll need to maintain at least that much money in your accounts for 60 consecutive days to receive the bonus.

You can earn $100 more — for the total $500 bonus — when you complete at least one qualifying direct deposit (within 60 days of account opening) each month for two consecutive months.

Who’s eligible: You qualify for this offer if you are a new Citibank customer opening a new Checking and a new Savings account. To redeem the offer, you can visit a Citibank branch, call a Citibank Representative or apply online. You must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or resident to apply for these accounts online.

Account details: The Citibank Account Package

earns interest on your checking account balance, but at the lowest rate compared to the bank’s other accounts. The savings account earns interest according to balance tiers. The account includes certain perks like a free order of checkbooks, fee-free ATM access (when you meet balance requirements) and the opportunity to earn Citi ThankYou Rewards.

The Citibank Account Package charges a $25 monthly service fee. You can waive the fee if you keep at least $10,000 in eligible linked deposit, retirement and investment accounts with the bank.

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on Citibank’s secure website

Wells Fargo — $400 bonus with $3,000 minimum direct deposits

Offer ends 11/27/2019

Offer rules: You have a couple requirements that you’ll need to meet when you open a new Everyday Checking account with Wells Fargo in order to snag this checking account bonus offer. This offer can also apply to an Opportunity Checking account. For starters, you’ll need to open the new account with at least $25. Then within 150 days of account opening, you’ll need to receive at least $3,000 in direct deposits for three consecutive months.

Who’s eligible: You can redeem this checking account bonus offer directly from this online page or by bringing in an offer code, also found on that page, to a Wells Fargo branch in the Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas, Orlando, Fla., and Phoenix areas. You cannot use this offer if you already have a Wells Fargo consumer checking account or have received a Wells Fargo bonus offer within the past 12 months.

Account details: The Wells Fargo Everyday Checking account is simple, with a Platinum Debit Card and access to more than 13,000 Wells Fargo ATMs. There is a $10 monthly fee on the account, which you can waive in a few different ways:

  • Make 10 or more debit card purchases or payments
  • Receive qualifying direct deposits totaling $500 or more
  • Maintain a $1,500 minimum daily balance
  • Link a Wells Fargo Campus ATM or Campus Debit Card (for college students)
  • The primary account owner is between 17 and 24 years old

LEARN MORE Secured

on Wells Fargo’s secure website

Chase — $300 bonus with direct deposit

Offer ends 10/14/2019

Offer rules: It’s pretty simple to earn this $300 bonus offer when you open a new Chase Premier Plus Checking account. You just need to make a direct deposit in this account within 60 days after opening. This can be your paycheck, pension or government benefits.

Eligibility: You cannot apply for this offer if you’re an existing Chase checking or fiduciary account holder. You do not qualify if you had an account closed within the last 90 days or closed with a negative balance.

Account details: Like its name suggests, Chase Premier Plus Checking is a high-end account. It earns interest, although at a minimal 0.01% APY on all balances. It has a high fee of $25, which you can waive with an average beginning day balance of at least $15,000 in combined balances between this account and any linked qualifying Chase checking, savings and other accounts.

The account includes four free non-Chase ATM transactions per statement cycle and free Chase design checks. You can also take advantage of a rent-free small safe deposit box.

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on Chase Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

TD Bank — $300 bonus with $2,500 minimum direct deposits

9/16/2019

Offer rules: You can earn a $300 bonus when you open a new TD Beyond Checking account. The account needs to receive direct deposits of at least $2,500 within 60 days of opening to qualify. The direct deposit must be from your paycheck, pension or government benefits from your employer or the government.

Eligibility: To qualify for this checking account bonus offer, you must be a new TD Bank customer, without any previous or current TD Bank personal checking accounts. You must also live in the following states: CT, DC, DE, FL, MD, ME, MA, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT, VA.

You cannot redeem the offer if you’re a Canadian cross-border banking customer.

Account details: The TD Beyond Checking account earns interest on all balances. Higher balances have the chance to get a slight rate boost, but all rates are still pretty minimal. Account holders can access non-TD ATMs without a TD fee and receive reimbursement for other ATM surcharges with a minimum daily balance of $2,500. The account also includes a free standard checks, money orders, stop payments, paper statements and incoming wire transfers.

The account charges a $25 monthly maintenance fee. However, you can waive the fee when you receive monthly direct deposits of $5,000 or more, maintain a minimum daily balance of $2,500 or maintain a combined balance of $25,000 across eligible TD accounts.

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on TD Bank’s secure website

SunTrust — $300 bonus with $3,000 in direct deposits

Offer ends 9/30/2019

Offer rules: This checking bonus offer applies to new SunTrust Advantage Checking accounts. You must make at least $3,000 in direct deposits per statement cycle for two consecutive cycles within the first three full months after opening the account.

The bonus will be deposited into your new account up to 8 weeks after all qualifications have been verified.

Eligibility: This offer is available to new SunTrust personal checking customers. You can’t even be a secondary account holder on another account or have closed a personal checking account within 180 days of July 2, 2018. You must also have a mailing address in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia or the District of Columbia.

To qualify, you must use the application link on this SunTrust page. You can also use the page the email yourself a coupon to bring into a SunTrust branch to redeem the offer.

Account details: The SunTrust Advantage Checking requires at least $100 to open. It earns interest on all balances, although the rate is minimal. The account charges a monthly maintenance fee of $20. You can waive this fee each month by meeting a certain balance or transaction requirements. The account also includes three free non-SunTrust ATM transactions per statement cycle.

LEARN MORE Secured

on SunTrust Bank’s secure website

PNC Bank — $300 bonus with $5,000 direct deposit

Offer ends 9/30/2019

Offer rules: The first step to snagging this $300 bonus is opening a new PNC Virtual Wallet with Performance Select. Then you must receive direct deposits totaling at least $5,000 and make at least 10 purchases with the PNC Bank Visa Debit Card linked to your new account.

Who’s eligible: You must be a new PNC customer to qualify for this offer. This means you must not own an existing PNC Bank consumer checking account, have closed an account within the past 90 days or have been paid a promotional premium in the past 12 months.

Account details: The Performance Select offers various banking perks like free non-PNC ATM use and ATM surcharge reimbursement. The account earns interest and offers the chance to boost your rate according to account relationship rates. There is a $25 fee. You can waive the fee with one of the following: $5,000 combined average monthly balance in your Spend, Reserve and/or up to six linked PNC Bank consumer checking accounts; $25,000 combined average monthly balance across PNC Bank consumer deposit and/or linked PNCI investment accounts; or $5,000 in qualifying monthly direct deposits.

LEARN MORE Secured

on PNC Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Chase — $200 bonus with $25 minimum deposit

Offer ends 10/14/2019

Offer rules: When you open a new Chase Total Checking account with at least $25 and set up direct deposit, you can get a bonus of $200. The direct deposit needs to be made to the account within 60 days of account opening. This can be your paycheck, pension or government benefits.

Opening the checking account alone can earn the $200 bonus. If you would also like to open a Chase Savings account along with the Chase Total Checking, you can boost your total reward to $350.

Eligibility: You cannot open a new account with the checking account bonus offer if you already have a Chase checking account. The offer also doesn’t apply to those with fiduciary accounts, who have had accounts closed within the last 90 days or closed with a negative balance.

Account details: Chase Total Checking is the bank’s most popular checking account out of its three checking options. It’s also the most basic and straightforward without any added perks or features. It charges a $12 monthly service fee that you can waive with either direct deposits of at least $500, a minimum daily balance of at least $1,500 or an average daily balance of at least $5,000 in combined linked qualifying Chase checking, savings and other balances.

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on Chase Bank’s secure website

Huntington — $200 bonus with $1,000 cumulative deposits

Offer ends 8/30/2019

Offer rules:You can benefit from this $200 bonus by opening either a Huntington 5 or Huntington 25 Checking account by August 30, 2019. You must make cumulative deposits of at least $1,000 within 60 days of account opening and keep your account open for at least 90 days to earn the reward.

Eligibility: You must be a resident of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania or West Virginia to qualify for this bonus offer. You must also be a new Huntington checking customer who hasn’t closed a checking account within the last six months.

You’ll need to fund this new account with money not currently on deposit with Huntington. You cannot combine this offer with another checking offer.

You can redeem the offer by applying either online or through a code found online to bring to your local branch.

The account: The Huntington 5 Checking account earns at a modest 0.05% APY. There is a small $5 monthly fee that you can waive with at least $5,000 in total relationship balances, which includes other Huntington deposit and investment accounts.

The Huntington 25 Checking account earns slightly more interest at 0.10% APY for a higher fee of $25. You can waive the fee by maintaining at least $25,000 in total relationship balances. Additionally, the Huntington 25 Checking account allows for unlimited free ATM usage.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Huntington National Bank’s secure website

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

Offer ends 8/30/2019
Offer rules: Opening a new Citibank checking account in a Basic Banking Package can earn a $200 bonus if you deposit at least $5,000 in new money within 30 days of opening. You need to maintain at least that minimum in the account for 60 consecutive calendar days, too, to fully qualify for the reward.

Who’s eligible: You can redeem this offer through the offer page, by visiting a Citibank branch or by calling a bank representative. You’re eligible if you’re a new Citibank customer who is at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or resident.

The account: The Basic Banking Package is made for simple checking. It includes unlimited check writing and free non-Citi ATM usage for customers 62 and older. There is a $12 monthly fee that you can waive by making one qualifying direct deposit and one qualifying bill payment each cycle, or by keeping a combined average monthly balance of at least $1,500 in this account and other eligible linked accounts. Customers 62 and older can also waive the fee.

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on Citibank’s secure website

5 things to watch out for with checking account bonus offers

#1 Checking account bonus offers aren’t entirely “no-strings-attached.” You can see above the various requirements you typically have to meet to earn a bonus, whether that’s meeting a minimum deposit amount or completing a certain number of direct deposits. But there’s often more to checking account bonus offers than what meets the eye.

#2 Banks report bonus payouts as interest to the IRS. In the year you receive your bonus, you’ll also receive a 1099-INT form, indicating you need to file the “income” in your taxes for that year. This lessens the total reward you gain from the checking account bonus offer. The exact amount deducted will depend on your tax bracket, but the higher the bracket, the smaller your final bonus.

#3 Banks may pull a credit check and a ChexSystem verification report when you apply for an account. This allows them to check for a history of good account standing, or, to the opposite, any dings in your financial history, like a trail of unpaid fees or bounced checks. Even if you have nothing to hide, a hard inquiry into your credit can temporarily dip your score just a little, so if you’re just opening one account, the effect won’t be catastrophic. However, if you’re opening multiple new accounts within quick succession, your credit score can take a hit.

Opening several accounts can also appear in a ChexSystem report. Whenever a bank pulls a ChexSystems report, it shows up as an inquiry. While this doesn’t ding your credit score or financial history, it may hurt your chances at a new account if a bank sees all those recent inquiries.

#4 You need to keep the account open for at least a few months. If you thought you could quickly open an account, collect your checking account bonus and close the account before moving onto the next one, we’re here to tell you that’s not how it works. Remember all those requirements you need to meet to redeem the offer? Not only is there a minimum deposit requirement, but you also need to keep your balance above that minimum for a certain number of days, typically 60.

Even after waiting two months to fully qualify, you may not see the bonus deposit into your account until months later. For example, Citi will deposit your bonus into the qualified account 90 days after you complete all the required activities. You may need to wait even longer if there are delays in depositing your reward. If that does happen, though, contact customer service to see what the delay might be.

You could also lose your bonus rewards if you close the new account within a certain time period. For example, Chase will deduct the checking account bonus amount from your account at closing if you close the account six months after opening with the bonus offer. This protects banks from paying out too many bonuses without getting any new account deposits in return.

#5 Finally, make sure you’re opening your new account the right way. To snag a checking account bonus offer, you often need to start your application through the right webpage. Other banks may require you to visit a branch to redeem the offer. Pay attention to the specific bank and account requirements; otherwise, you could find yourself with a new checking account, just without a bonus.

Think beyond the bonus offer when committing to a checking account

Although it’s tempting, you shouldn’t open new accounts left and right just for a checking account bonus offer. Once you snag that bonus, you’re stuck with an entirely new checking account. You should make sure that you’re comfortable enough with the account to make chasing the bonus worthwhile.

Pay attention to the account’s fees. Banks are quick to advertise the checking account bonus offer and the account’s many benefits. But make sure you also look for the account’s monthly maintenance fee. Once you open that account, you’ll be responsible for paying that fee each month. Plus, don’t forget that it takes months to meet the offer requirements in the first place, and another few months for the bonus to be deposited into your account. Paying that fee over those months can really add up, cutting into the total bonus you’ll actually receive. No one wants to be trapped paying an unnecessary and high fee that could have been avoided.

If you do choose to close your new account, whether before or after snagging the bonus, you’ll likely face a fee for closing it early. Paying this fee certainly isn’t worth it if you didn’t earn the bonus. But even if you do earn those extra dollars, paying any fee lessens the total reward you could have received. Some banks may also deduct the checking account bonus amount from your account if you close it too early, leaving you with zero net gain.

Make sure you can meet an account’s minimum balance. You can often waive an account’s monthly fee by meeting further requirements, typically a minimum balance. These can reach pretty high, though, especially when accounts have several features and perks. These accounts also tend to offer higher bonuses, so be careful if you’re looking solely for the highest bonus.

Instead, look for the checking account bonus offers that require lower balances to qualify. These accounts tend to charge smaller monthly fees. Even better, look for an account that doesn’t charge a monthly service fee, no matter your balance.

The accounts with high bonuses may not be the most favorable ones. Banks create these checking account bonus offers to invite consumers to become a customer. But perhaps there’s a reason why not too many new customers are opening these accounts. If you take a look at the accounts above, you’ll see they’re all from brick-and-mortar banks. They all charge monthly fees and can require sky-high balances to waive those fees. Those that earn interest only earn at the most minimal rates. These accounts, while appealing in the short-term for their bonuses, may not be the most beneficial in the long run for your finances. You should invest in accounts that grow and save you money.

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.

Lauren Perez
Lauren Perez |

Lauren Perez is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lauren here

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Best of, Earning Interest

The Best High-Yield Online Savings Accounts in August 2019

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.

The Best Online Savings Accounts

Updated August 22, 2019

There are no excuses for sticking with a low-rate savings account these days. Online savings accounts provide consumers with interest rates that are way above those offered by conventional banks. The best online savings accounts can easily earn you an APY of 2.15% or greater, while the average rate offered by a traditional brick-and-mortar bank remains at a paltry 0.26%.

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

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

1. High Rate: Goldman Sachs Bank USA – 2.15% APY, no minimum balance (but no ATM access)

High-yield Online Savings Account from Goldman Sachs Bank USA

Our advertiser Marcus by Goldman Sachs, the consumer bank of Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs, offers a 2.15% APY on deposits. There isn’t a minimum balance requirement to earn the APY and there are no transaction fees. Upon opening the account, you can deposit funds via electronic transfer, wire transfer, or deposit by check. You can get access to your funds via electronic transfer or wire transfer. Goldman has been investing heavily in Marcus, its online consumer bank. Marcus is already offering some of the best savings accounts and personal loans in the market, and further expansion is expected. The savings account has consistently been paying one of the highest rates in the market. With a 2.15% APY, you can get one of the highest rates in the market from a well-known brand. The maximum deposit is $1,000,000 and deposits are FDIC insured up to the $250,000 limit.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

Member FDIC

2. High Rate: Barclays Bank – 2.10% APY, no minimum balance

Online Savings Account from BarclaysBarclays is a large, old British bank, based in London and with more than 325 years of history. Although Barclays is huge in the United Kingdom, it is a challenger brand in the US. Barclays offers savings products with highly competitive rates. These deposits are used to fund their rapidly growing American credit card business. The online savings account has a 2.10% APY with no minimum balance to open and no monthly fees. Your deposits are FDIC insured up to the legal limit. The Barclays website has a good look and feel. And you can have the confidence of keeping your money with one of the world’s largest and oldest universal banks.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Barclays’s secure website

Member FDIC

3. High Rate: Synchrony Bank – 2.15% APY, no minimum balance, (and ATM access)

High Yield Savings from Synchrony BankSynchrony Bank pays a healthy 2.15% APY. There is no minimum balance requirement and no monthly fee. In addition to the great rate, you can get an ATM card. Most internet-only banks require you to transfer funds electronically, which can take a few days. If you ever need quick access to your funds, the ATM card makes access easy. You might not recognize the Synchrony brand in the banking space, but it is a large, well-capitalized business. Synchrony used to be a part of General Electric (GE), and was spun out as a separate company. Unfortunately, the digital experience is not the best, but they now have a mobile banking app.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

4. High Rate: American Express National Bank – 1.90% APY, no minimum balance (and no fees)

High Yield Savings Account from American Express National BankOur sponsored advertiser, American Express National Bank, offers a Personal Savings account, which earns a 1.90% variable Annual Percentage Yield (APY) as of 08/22/2019. The account charges no monthly fees and requires no minimum deposit, making it an affordable account to open. You must fund your account within 60 days of applying for the account, and the FDIC insures your deposits up to $250,000. Overall, the account is a great option for anyone who wants the flexibility of earning a high interest rate on a sum of money you’ve stashed away, minus the withdrawal restrictions of a certificate deposit.

LEARN MORE Secured

on American Express National Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

5. High Rate: Vio Bank – 2.52% APY, $100 to open

High Yield Online Savings Account from Vio BankVio Bank is the online division of MidFirst Bank, a national private financial institution with over $16 billion in assets. Vio Bank was recently created and is not yet as established as Marcus, Barclays, American Express, Synchrony, and Ally Bank. However, this online bank launched strong with a High Yield Online Savings account offering 2.52% APY on all balances. You only need $100 to open the account. You can fund the account via ACH.

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

LEARN MORE Secured

on Vio Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

6. High Rate: CIBC Bank USA – 2.20% APY, $1,000 to open

CIBC Palladian Savings Account from CIBC USACIBC Bank USA is the U.S. division of a Canadian based bank. This division was established in 1991 and has since acquired over $27 billion in assets. Currently, CIBC Bank USA is offering an online-only savings account with a competitive APY of 2.20%. You’ll only need $1,000 to open the account. While there isn’t a monthly maintenance fee, you may be charged $10 if you make more than six transactions per statement cycle. CBIC Bank USA does have a mobile banking app, but make sure that you download the app for the U.S., not Canada.

LEARN MORE Secured

on CIBC USA’s secure website

Member FDIC

7. High Rate: CIT – 2.30% APY, $100 to open

Savings Builder from CIT BankCIT is a very large bank that you probably never heard of. It has more than $50 billion of assets and makes loans (and leases) to middle market companies and small businesses. To fund those loans, CIT operates an internet-only bank that pays some of the highest interest rates in the country. While CIT isn’t as big as other online banks, they’re currently offering a very healthy APY of 2.30% on their Savings Builder account. You only need $100 to open the account, but you’ll need to meet one of two requirements to earn the high rate. We really like the options that CIT Bank has put in place to earn this high APY. The two ways to continue earning this high rate are:

  1. Make a monthly deposit of $100 or more into this account
  2. Maintain a daily balance of $25,000 or more

Even better: there aren’t any monthly maintenance fees and interest compounds daily. Deposits are FDIC insured.

LEARN MORE Secured

on CIT Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

8. High Rate: HSBC Direct – 2.20% APY, $1 minimum to open, no minimum balance to earn APY

HSBC Direct Savings from HSBC DirectHSBC Direct is the online division of financial giant, HSBC Bank. Based on the amount of assets HSBC Bank has acquired to date, it is the 14th largest bank in the U.S. While HSBC Direct may sound like a new player to the online banking game, this division was actually around prior to the 2008 financial crisis and offered extremely competitive rates. After the financial crisis, the bank renamed the online division to HSBC Advance and slowly started to decrease its online savings account rates, much like other online banks were doing around that time.

Fortunately, HSBC has decided to reenter the online banking space. Since the initial launch in July of 2018, the bank has consistently increased its HSBC Direct Savings Account rate from 1.70% APY to 2.20% APY. You only need $1 to open the account and the APY will be applied to any balance below $2 million. You may fund the account via ACH transfer and the account can be opened online. You will have to deposit new money to the account, which means that you cannot be a member of the HSBC Group in the United States. The account doesn’t have a monthly maintenance fee and all deposits are FDIC insured.

LEARN MORE Secured

on HSBC Direct’s secure website

Member FDIC

9. High Rate: Citizens Access – 2.20% APY, $5,000 minimum balance amount

Online Savings Account from Citizens AccessCitizens Access is the online division of Citizens Bank. This division was recently created to provide the best savings rates to consumers. While the online division is brand new, the bank its backed by isn’t. Citizens Bank has been around for a while and has grown to have over $122 billion in assets. While you need to deposit and maintain a minimum balance of $5,000 to earn the 2.20% APY, you’ll be funding an account that comes with no fees. If your balance happens to fall below $5,000, the APY will drop to 0.25%. One downside to this online-only bank is that they don’t currently have a mobile banking app. This means that you’ll have to do all of your banking through their website. Luckily, their website is mobile-friendly.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Citizens Access’s secure website

Member FDIC

10. Unique Bank + Highest Overall Rate: Fitness Bank – 3.00% APY, $100 minimum to open

Fitness Savings (12,500+ Steps) from FitnessBankFitness Bank is unique and new online bank. It’s a division of Affinity Bank, which has been around since 2002 and has acquired over $318 million in assets. Affinity Bank decided to launch a concept like no other to reward actively fit individuals with the highest APY currently available. While most institutions choose to offer tiered rates based on balance amounts, Fitness Bank offers tiered rates based on the average number of steps you take on a daily basis. To earn the high 3.00% APY, you’ll need to take an average of 12,500 steps or more per day. If you only take an average of 10,000 to 12,499 steps per day, you’ll earn an APY of 2.50% (which is still a great APY). You’ll earn 1.75% APY if you take an average of 7,500 to 9,999 steps per day. Taking an average of 5,000 to 7,499 steps per day will qualify you for an APY of 1.25%. Finally, if you take anywhere between 0 to 4,999 steps on average per day, you’ll only earn 0.50%.

Fitness Bank will track your steps by requiring you to download its Step Tracker app. The bank will then calculate your average steps from the previous month to determine which tier you qualify for. Once the bank determines which rate your activity qualifies you for, you will continue earning that rate for an entire month until the bank recalculates your activity. The activity requirement will be waived for the first month so that you can get your app all set up and start logging in some steps. For this first month, you’ll automatically earn the 3.00% APY.

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

LEARN MORE Secured

on FitnessBank’s secure website

Member FDIC

11. High Rate: Popular Direct – 2.55% APY, $5,000 minimum to open

Popular Direct Ultimate Savings Account from Popular DirectPopular Direct, the online bank of Banco Popular North America, is currently offering an outstanding APY of 2.55% on their Popular Direct Ultimate Savings Account. You’ll need $5,000 to open this account and you’ll have to maintain a daily end of day balance of $500 to avoid the $4 monthly service fee. This account does not come with an ATM card. In order to access your money, you would need to transfer funds to and from an existing checking account via an ACH transfer, which can take a few days. Your deposits are FDIC insured. Popular Direct has a mobile banking app and provides account holders with access to online banking.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Popular Direct’s secure website

Member FDIC

12. High Rate: BrioDirect – 2.46% APY, $25 minimum balance amount

High-Yield Savings from BrioDirectBrioDirect is powered by Sterling National Bank, which is a large bank in New York with over $29 billion in assets. This online brand recently launched with a high 2.46% APY. You only need $25 to open the account and you’ll need to maintain at least this amount on a daily basis to earn the APY. This account doesn’t have a monthly service fee and can be funded via ACH, wire transfer, or check. There are limitations to the amount of money you can transfer in and out via ACH. BrioDirect limits incoming ACH transfers to $500,000. The bank limits outgoing ACH transfers to $25,000 per transaction and a total of $125,000 per month. You are able to link as many external bank accounts as you’d like to this account. You can also initiate ACH deposits and withdrawals from other banks. You can manage this account online or from Sterling National Bank’s mobile app.

LEARN MORE Secured

on BrioDirect’s secure website

FDIC Insured

13. High Rate: Betterment – up to 2.44% APY, $10 minimum to open

Betterment Everyday Savings - Promo Rate from BettermentBetterment is an investment company and one of the best robo-advisors. Since its creation, the mission of this company has always been to empower its customers to make the most of their money. With this mission in mind, the online brokerage decided to offer a high-yield savings account with an outstanding rate. While this account is not like your typical online savings account, it does come up with an outstanding rate – especially if you take advantage of the promotional rate. How is it different from other savings accounts? For one, Betterment is not a bank and is not FDIC insured. Fortunately, the company has partnered with a number of banks to offer FDIC insurance to accountholders. Essentially, your funds are deposited with the partner banks and will be insured up to $250,000 at each partner bank. One big benefit that Betterment is currently offering is the ability to opt out of depositing your money at a specific bank.

If you’re comfortable with the way this account is structured, you’ll be rewarded with an APY that is up to 2.44%. There is a catch, however, to earn the highest rate. In order to earn the 2.44% APY, you’ll need to join Betterment’s waiting list for the checking product. That’s it! Once you join the list, you’ll be awarded the 2.44% APY through the end of 2019 as long as you stay on the waiting list. If you choose to not join the waiting list, you’ll still earn a great APY of 2.19%. You only need $10 to open the account and there isn’t a minimum balance amount to earn the APY. One thing to note about the promotional and regular APYs – they are still variable rates. Betterment has the right to lower or raise the rates at any time. What Betterment is guaranteeing with the promotional rate is that it will always be 25 basis points above the regular APY. This guarantee will last for the remainder of 2019.

This account doesn’t come with any maintenance fees and you can transfer money from the Betterment Everyday Savings account as many times as you want. If you choose to withdraw money from this account, it’ll be transferred to your linked checking account within 1 to 2 business days. While these types of emerging cash management accounts may not be for everyone, we do feel like they deserve a place on this list due to their outstanding rates.

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14. High Rate: TAB Bank – 2.40% APY, $1 minimum balance amount

High Yield Savings from TAB BankTAB Bank was established in 1998 to offer businesses financial assistance. Since the bank opened its doors, it’s acquired over $715 million in assets. In September 2018, TAB Bank decided to launch a High Yield Savings account. While the bank originally launched the account with a 1.80% APY, it steadily rose its rate to 2.40% APY in January 2019. Today, TAB Bank has continued to offer the 2.40% APY. The bank doesn’t require a minimum amount to open the account, but you must maintain a daily balance of $1 to earn the APY. You can fund the account via ACH, wire transfer, or check. You’re able to manage the account online or via TAB Bank’s mobile app.

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Member FDIC

15. High Rates on two savings accounts: Customers Bank – 2.25% or 2.40% APY, $5,000 or $25,000 to open depending on account

High-Yield Savings Account from Customers BankCustomers Bank was established in 1997 and has grown to be known as a “super-community bank” in Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Illinois, New York, New Jersey, and New England. The bank has over $9 billion in assets, making it a mid-sized bank. Currently, Customers Bank is offering two outstanding rates on two different accounts. Its Digital Savings Account requires a minimum deposit and balance of $5,000 to earn a high rate of 2.25%. This account doesn’t have any monthly fees. You can open this account here.

If you have $25,000 to deposit, the High-Yield Savings Account is a better fit for you. If you can deposit and maintain a minimum of $25,000 into the account, this bank will reward you with a 2.40% APY. You’ll have to maintain this balance to continue earning the high rate. You must fund the account within 30 days of receiving application approval. This account doesn’t come with any monthly fees.

A few items to be aware of: these accounts don’t come with checks or a debit card. Customers Bank does have ACH transfer limitations of $5,000 per day and $50,000 per statement cycle. You can easily open these accounts online and manage the account via Customer Bank’s website or mobile banking app. Deposits are FDIC-insured.

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16. High Rate: MySavingsDirect – 2.40% APY, $1 minimum to open

MySavings Account from MySavingsDirectMySavingsDirect is a division of Emigrant Bank, which is a large bank in New York with over $5 billion in assets. MySavingsDirect is offering a 2.40% APY with a $1 minimum deposit. In the past, Emigrant liked to play games with rates, but we’ve noticed that MySavingsDirect’s rate has been consistent throughout this year. The account can be funded via ACH and MySavingsDirect will only accept a check for your initial deposit. The online experience is dated and the bank doesn’t have a banking app.

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17. High Rate: Citi – 2.36% APY*, no minimum opening deposit

Citi Accelerate Savings from CitiCiti has never been known to offer the best savings account rates, but this big bank has decided to change that (for certain people). If you live in AL, AK, AZ, AR, CO, DE, GA, HI, ID, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, OK, ME, MA, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NE, NH, NM, NC, ND, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, UT, VT, WA, WV, WI or WY, you’re eligible to open Citi’s Accelerate Savings account. This account is currently offering a 2.36% APY and doesn’t require a minimum opening deposit amount. While there isn’t a minimum deposit to open or balance to earn the APY, you will have to maintain an average of at least $500 on a monthly basis to waive to the $4.50 monthly service fee. If you choose to open this account, you’ll be opening it under Citi’s Access Account Package. This package doesn’t have any overdraft fees, but it also doesn’t have any paper checks. There are also additional requirements for the Access Account Package that you’ll need to meet in order to waive the $10 monthly fee: you’ll need to either make one qualifying direct deposit or qualifying bill payment per statement period or maintain a combined average monthly balance of at least $1,500 in eligible linked accounts (the Accelerate Savings account counts as an eligible linked account). If you live in one of the eligible states, we believe that this account is a great option as it’s rare to find a large, trusted bank offering a high rate on a savings account that’s linked to a free checking account.

*Note: If you live in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Texas, or Virginia, you will not be eligible for this offer.

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Member FDIC

18. High Rate: Salem Five Direct – 2.20% APY, $100 to open – Be aware of transfer limitations

eOne Savings from Salem Five DirectSalem Five Direct is the online bank division of Salem Five Cents Savings Bank, a community bank based in Salem, Massachusetts. Salem has been around for more than 150 years and all deposits are insured by the FDIC up to the legal limit. You only need $100 to open this account, and there are no monthly maintenance fees. However, they do have a few limitations to be aware of. First, according to their online banking agreement, Salem Five Direct limits the dollar amount of their External Transfers to $5,000 per transaction, $5,000 in aggregate per day, and $20,000 in aggregate per month. So, if you decide to have more than one account with them, like their money market account, they’ll look at the aggregate amount of External Transfers conducted from both the savings account and money market account. Second, account holders are limited to six withdrawals per statement cycle due to Federal Regulations. If you exceed the six withdrawal limit, they’ll charge you $10 per additional transaction. Finally, the web and mobile experiences are not great. But, if you give them a call (which we have done), you will get friendly service from a community bank. While this bank does offer one of the best rates for an online savings account, we want you to be aware of their limitations.

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19. High Rate: Ally Bank – 1.90% APY, no minimum balance and you can get a free checking account

Online Savings Account from Ally BankAlly is a bank without branches that had been consistently paying high interest rates on savings accounts. While Ally is still offering rates way above what brick-and-mortar banks are offering, it seems this online bank no longer wants to be seen as the online bank with the most competitive rates. The current APY on Ally’s savings account is 1.90%. Although Ally has dropped its rate significantly, we still favor this online bank. It doesn’t require a minimum balance to earn the APY and, even better, you can open a free checking account (also with no minimum balance requirement and eligible for the 1% cash back offer). This makes access to your savings account incredibly easy – because you can transfer funds online (or via the app) and have immediate access via checks, debit cards and ATMs. With an Ally account, you will have access to their full suite of expanding (and market-leading) products such as CDs, money market account, checking account, and IRA accounts.

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20. Runner-Up: For Small Balance Savers Digital Federal Credit Union – 6.17% APY up to $1k

Primary Savings from Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU)Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) currently offers a nice account for people who are just starting to save. You can earn an APY of 6.17% with their Primary Savings Account. You will only earn that rate on deposits up to $1,000. Once you have more than $1k, you should consider other accounts on this list. It is a credit union – and your deposits are insured by the NCUA up to the legal limit. Anyone can join the credit union by donating to one of their participating organizations such as Reach Out for Schools, which has a membership fee of $10. You’ll be able to join one their participating organizations when you go to open your account with DCU. DCU is also part of a nationwide CO-OP network that allows their members to have access to shared branches and surcharge-free ATMs throughout the U.S.

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How to find the right savings account for you

  • Focus on rates, but 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 online 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, compare, compare. 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.
  • Carefully consider CDs. CDs allow savers to earn more on their savings by agreeing to lock up their funds for a set period of time. With CDs, you make your initial deposit at a set APY and wait for the CD term to mature. With most CDs, you can’t touch the original deposit amount before maturity without paying a penalty. Since CDs are less liquid than a standard savings account, they’re good for setting aside money you won’t need to access in the near term. Typically, we recommend using CDs for long-term goals, like accumulating a down payment for a home.

How the Fed impacts online savings rates

The interest rates offered by banks are tied to the federal funds rate, which is set by the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). This includes the deposit account rates that grow your money in savings and other deposit accounts. When the federal funds rate rises, you might see that reflected in the deposit interest rates at most banks.

As the Fed hiked rates over recent years, online banks were far quicker to raise their rates in turn than traditional banks. Just look at the average APY offered by big banks — 0.26% vs. 1.52% on average for online banks as of December 2018.

We’ve enjoyed successive Fed rate hikes for the last few years, but the trend is waning. As we continue into 2019, the odds of a rate hike this year have reached zero. The Fed did nothing at its January meeting, and didn’t raise rates at the March meeting either.

The bleak federal funds rate outlook doesn’t necessarily mean that banks will start slashing their own deposit account rates. Online banks are extremely competitive and need to remain so if they want to maintain their edge.

In the January Goldman Sachs earnings call, Goldman Sachs Executive Vice President and CFO Stephen M. Scherr noted it has no plans to walk back on rates for its online savings account Marcus, aiming to keep its rank among the top savings rates in the country.

We heard much of the same from fellow online bank Ally Bank, whose CFO Jennifer LaClair said during its January earnings call that it’s still important to take the “competitive landscape” into account.

Still, other earnings calls indicated that banks are in as much of a holding pattern as consumers are. When asked about the bank’s deposit rate outlook in the event of a Fed rate slowdown, Bank of America CFO Paul Donofrio noted, “At some point, the broader retail rates will rise. We just don’t know when. So, I think we’re just going to have to wait and see.”

As for what that all means to you, chances are that if you keep your deposits with an online bank, you’ll still get the most competitive rates regardless of a Fed pause or rate decrease. You might see an overall decrease in online savings rates (moreso in the competitive rate-chasing CD space), but they’ll still outperform most brick-and-mortar rates any day.

The bottom line

So what’s a saver to do? At the end of the day, you want the account that makes the most sense for you. Choose the one that lets you save and manage your money in the best ways possible. The most efficient way to consistently grow your money is to open an online savings account. These accounts will offer the best interest rates compared to brick-and-mortar banks, no matter where the federal funds rate goes this year — plus, they’re easily accessible in case of emergency. If you don’t need immediate access to your money and you have some extra cash lying around, open a high-yield CD as a more long-term savings alternative.

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LaTisha Styles
LaTisha Styles |

LaTisha Styles is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email LaTisha at [email protected]

Lauren Perez
Lauren Perez |

Lauren Perez is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lauren here