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Updated on Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Online savings accounts are the future of savings, with high yields, little to no fees and convenient 24/7 access. Our team of experts evaluated over 200 banks and credit unions to find the best high yield online savings account. We cross-referenced each of the key traits that customers look for in a high-yield savings account, including APY, minimum balance requirements and monthly fees.
This list is refreshed regularly to ensure it always features the best online savings accounts and we’re constantly adding new ones to our database as they become available.
Do you have a savings goal in mind? Tell us about it!
1. Workers Credit Union SaveUp Savings — Up to 3.61% APY
|Workers Credit Union offers a unique savings account called SaveUp Savings that offers a higher APY when you deposit $50 or more into the account in a given month. The SaveUp Savings account has various balance tiers, and pays a lower base APY when no deposits are made.
Right now, WCU has great rates for low balances: you can earn 3.61% APY on balances under $1,000 when you complete the deposit requirement. The account has a blended APY for balances above that amount.
WCU is open to everyone. If you’re not eligible through ties to certain areas of Massachusetts, an employer or your family, you can join by becoming a member of the Financial Fitness Association or donating to the United Way of North Central Massachusetts. In either case, WCU will pay for the donation or membership fee.
2. Affirm Savings — 0.65% APY
|Affirm’s 0.65% APY on all savings account balances is one of the best available rates for consumers right now, far exceeding the national average. Affirm Savings is a solid, simple savings account with no minimum balance requirement or monthly fees, which also comes with a straightforward mobile app.Affirm is a financial services company known for offering payment plan options at checkout, but it recently expanded into banking services. Affirm’s savings account is held with Cross River Bank, which provides FDIC insurance for the account.|
3. Axos Bank High Yield Savings — 0.61% APY
|The High Yield Savings account offered by Axos Bank is a solid online savings account, especially if your balance is under $25,000, which earns the top APY of 0.61%. Higher balances have an APY of 0.25% or lower. Plus, interest compounds daily, which offers a marginally higher rate compared to accounts that compound interest monthly or quarterly.Axos Bank doesn’t require a minimum balance to earn interest nor does it charge monthly fees; however, an initial deposit of at least $250 is required to open the High Yield Savings Account. As an online-only bank, Axos boasts a strong online banking platform, and an ATM card is also available upon request.|
4. Prime Alliance Bank Personal Savings Account — 0.60% APY
|Prime Alliance Bank’s Personal Savings account offers a 0.60% APY on all account balances. Additionally, there are no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements associated with the account.
Prime Alliance Bank was founded in Utah as a community bank, but expanded into national services in 2004. It offers both a mobile application and online platform for its savings account.
5. Quontic Bank High Yield Savings Account — 0.55% APY
|Quontic Bank’s high-yield savings account offers a strong APY of 0.55%, with interest compounded daily. And while there isn’t a minimum balance requirement to maintain an account, at least $100 is needed to open one. Customers have access to a large national network of ATMs, as well as online and mobile app platforms.
Quontic Bank focuses on serving traditionally underbanked communities and offers some unique products, including a Bitcoin rewards checking account.
6. Alliant Credit Union High Rate Savings — 0.55% APY
|The Alliant Credit Union High Rate Savings account has a low minimum opening deposit — just $5, and they’ll pay it for you — though a balance of at least $100 is required in order to accrue interest. However, as long as you opt for eStatements, there is no monthly fee for members.
In order to open a savings account with Alliant Credit Union, you’ll first need to become a member, which you can do by meeting one of the following requirements:
If you don’t meet any of the above requirements, you can still join by becoming a member of Foster Care to Success, and Alliant will even pay the $5 membership fee on your behalf.
7. Comenity Direct High-Yield Savings Account — 0.55% APY
|Comenity Direct requires a minimum deposit of $100 to open and maintain its High-Yield Savings Account, which offers a 0.55% APY on all balances over that amount. The account has no monthly fees, but there is a $5 fee for paper statements, which are provided upon request.
Comenity Direct started in 1986 offering credit cards, and has since expanded into online banking services. In addition to its High-Yield Savings Account, it offers certificates of deposit (CDs).
8. Fitness Bank Fitness Savings — Up to 0.55% APY
|Fitness Bank, a division of Affinity Bank, offers perhaps the most unique savings account on the list: Its Fitness Savings Account ties its APY to how active members are.Customers will need to download an app called the Fitness Bank Step Tracker, which links with popular platforms like FitBit, Garmin and Apple Health. Fitness Bank then calculates its members’ APY based on the average of their daily step count over monthly intervals:
There are also senior rates available, which tie lower step counts to each bracket for members who are at least 65 years of age.
Fitness Bank does require a minimum opening deposit of $100, and members have to maintain a balance of at least $100 to both earn interest and avoid the $10 monthly maintenance fee.
9. Vio Bank High Yield Online Savings Account — 0.51% APY
|Vio Bank is an online-only division of MidFirst Bank, the largest privately owned bank in the U.S. It currently offers a competitive 0.51% APY across all balances in its High Yield Online Savings Account.
The account charges no monthly fees, but be sure to look out for the $5 monthly fee associated with requesting paper statements. A minimum of $100 is required to open an account, and no minimum is needed to earn the advertised APY.
10. Live Oak Bank High Yield Online Savings — 0.50% APY
|Live Oak Bank’s High Yield Online Savings Account has a solid APY and no monthly maintenance fee or minimum balance requirements. Still, you should watch out for its dormant account fee, which Live Oak Bank charges for accounts with a balance of $10 or less and no activity for two years.
Live Oak Bank is a North Carolina-based bank that specializes in handling small business accounts, but it also offers a few personal banking services, including its online savings accounts and CDs.
Why trust us?
At MagnifyMoney, it is our mission to inform our readers about the best financial opportunities out there. Our insights have been cited by top financial publications including Marketwatch, CNBC and the Wall Street Journal.
Our dedicated team of financial experts spends dozens of hours grading online savings accounts according to their interest rates, fee schedules, extra features, minimum balance requirements and accessibility, adjusting our rankings as banks and their offerings change on a weekly basis.
We distilled our picks from a list that included hundreds of banks, credit unions and online institutions nationwide.
Our methodology for picking the best high-yield savings accounts
To determine the best high-yield online savings accounts, MagnifyMoney looked at over 200 financial institutions, ranging from small community banks and credit unions to traditional brick-and-mortar banks and online banks. We review our list on a weekly basis to ensure we’re providing readers with the most up-to-date information.
Specifically, we looked at the following factors to determine whether an account made our list and what its ranking was:
- Savings account rates: We heavily weighted the APYs offered by each bank, selecting the accounts with the highest APYs for our list. We then ranked the accounts from highest to lowest APY.
- Minimum balance to earn: To ensure the accounts we selected were accessible to all customers, we only considered accounts with a minimum balance of $100 or less required to earn the account’s APY. When accounts offered the same APY, we determined their ranking based on which account had the lowest minimum balance requirement to earn the advertised APY.
- Maximum balance to earn: Customers shouldn’t be limited in their interest-earning potential; as such, we eliminated any accounts that capped the balance at which customers could earn interest at $10,000 or below. Accounts that only allowed customers to earn interest on balances between $0 and $10,000 were not eligible for our list.
- Account fees: Because fees can cut into your long-term savings, we prioritized accounts with no or low fees. Only accounts with monthly maintenance fees of $10 or less were eligible for this list.
- Nationwide availability: To further ensure the accessibility of the accounts selected, we only considered accounts that are available nationwide.
- FDIC insurance: It is crucial for your deposit account to be protected by FDIC insurance in the case your financial institution were to fail. As such, we only included FDIC-insured accounts on our list.
What should I know about high-yield savings accounts?
It’s easy to take your savings account for granted, setting up automatic deposits and forgetting about it. But there’s a lot more to high-yield savings accounts that you should know.
For one, you can find consistently more competitive rates at online banks than with your typical big bank. Online banks are also more fee-friendly — although there are still some legal limitations you should be aware of to avoid extra fees.
What is a high-yield savings account?
A high-yield savings account, also known as a high-interest savings account, is a savings account that earns interest at a higher rate than a traditional savings account. The average savings account interest rate tends to hover around 0.06% APY, but big brick-and-mortar banks often offer interest rates more like 0.01% APY.
High-yield savings accounts raise the bar and offer upwards of 0.50% APY — given the current 2021 rate conditions. High-interest savings accounts are also more likely to come with added benefits like little to no fees, especially when offered by an online bank.
How much interest will I earn with a high-yield savings account?
When you open a high-yield savings account, you’re almost guaranteed to earn more in interest than with a traditional savings account.
For example, let’s say you have $5,000 to deposit into a savings account. If you choose a high-interest savings account with a 0.60% APY, for example, you’ll earn $30 in a year, provided you don’t make any additional contributions to the account in that time (which would boost your savings even more).
If you deposit your $5,000 into an average savings account at 0.06% APY for a year, you’ll earn just $3 in interest. It’s a pretty big difference in earnings, and all it takes is a simple account switch.
Does the APY for high-interest savings accounts change?
Savings accounts are variable-rate accounts, so their rates are subject to change — and they will over the course of an account’s lifetime. This is in contrast to fixed-rate savings vehicles, like CDs, which have set rates for predetermined periods of time.
There is no universal answer for how often interest rates change on high-yield savings accounts, since each institution has its own policies and decisions. However, you can often expect an institution to change its savings account rates about once a month at least. This change typically happens at the beginning of the month.
High-interest savings accounts are also more likely to see changes in their APYs than traditional low-rate savings accounts, because high-interest accounts have more room to change. Traditional savings account rates can only go so low, especially since many of them are already bottomed out at 0.01% APY.
How to choose the best high-yield savings account
- Start by finding the highest APY
- Check whether the institution is consistent with its high rates
- Look for a no-fee account
- Confirm any account balance minimums
When you’re looking for the best high-yield savings account, it’s tempting to go straight for the highest APY you can find. That account will certainly offer the highest yield at the moment, but there’s also more to it than that. Unless you’re okay with the possibility of switching accounts periodically to chase the highest rates, it may help to find an account offered by an institution that consistently offers some of the most competitive savings account rates. We’ve started our roundup above with those accounts, offered by consistent industry-leaders over the past two years.
But high yields may mean nothing if you lose your earnings to fees, so the best high-interest savings accounts out there are also the ones with little to no fees. Look for accounts with no monthly service fees, no overdraft fees and/or no excessive transaction fees. This will help you keep your savings intact.
You’ll also want to choose a high-yield savings account that works within your existing finances. Some accounts may impose minimum deposit or balance requirements to open and keep the account. We think the best high-interest accounts are the ones that require low or $0 minimums, which makes the account much more accessible to savers. But, if you have a high balance and find a savings account that offers a higher rate for high balances, then you can go for that account if it better fits your needs.
How do I open a high-yield savings account?
In most cases, opening a high yield savings account is as easy as clicking a button on the institution’s website and completing a short application form. You will likely be approved for the account right away.
A savings account application will likely require your name, home address, email address and Social Security Number. If the account requires a minimum deposit at opening, you’ll also likely have to link an external account at this time. Otherwise, you may make your initial deposit after opening, often within a 30- or 60-day window.
If you have a rocky banking history, like previous negative balances or circumstances where the institution closed your account, your application for a high-interest account may be denied. You can check out your recorded banking history with ChexSystems, a reporting system that many banks use. If there are any errors or points of contention, you may be able to dispute an item in your ChexSystems report.
What should I use a high-yield savings account for?
You can use a high-yield savings account for a variety of reasons and savings goals. You can use it as your emergency fund, where you stash your cash for a rainy day, for example. Perhaps you want to use a high-interest savings account to boost your savings toward your next vacation or your kid’s college education.
Luckily, many institutions allow you to have several savings accounts at a time, meaning you can save toward separate goals simultaneously without ever getting your wires crossed.
Should I get an online savings account?
An online savings account is your best bet for obtaining the highest interest rate available. Online banks lack the costs associated with maintaining brick-and-mortar branches, and they generally pass the savings onto you in the form of better interest payouts. And like we’ve said, if your money is going to sit in an account, you might as well make it worth your while by growing it at a competitive rate.
Online savings accounts generally feature superior accessibility. Online banks are laser-focused on offering the best possible and most user-friendly app experiences. There’s often 24/7 customer service, and they tend to provide very good ATM access. When shopping for the best savings account to suit your needs, make sure you include a good mix of online banks offering high yields, brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions in your search.
What impacts savings rates?
Institutions typically alter their rates in response to changes in market interest rates, which are in turn driven by the federal funds rate set by the Federal Reserve. The federal funds rate influences the rates banks lend money to each other. When the Fed increases the federal funds rate, financial institutions respond by increasing the interest rates they offer on deposit accounts. When the federal funds rate falls, interest rates decrease.
If you’re not keen on tracking the federal funds rate, changes to the APY on your savings account may come as a surprise. Luckily, chances are that if you keep your deposits with an online bank, you’ll still get the most competitive rates regardless of a Fed pause or rate decrease. Online savings accounts outperform most brick-and-mortar rates any day.
What are the best banks for high-yield online savings accounts?
Here’s a summary of our top high interest savings account picks for October 2021:
- Up to 3.61% APY – Workers Credit Union SaveUp Savings
- 0.65% APY – Affirm
- 0.61% APY on some balances – Axos Bank High Yield Savings
- 0.60% APY – Prime Alliance Bank Personal Savings Account
- 0.55% APY – Quontic Bank High Yield Savings Account
- 0.55% APY – Alliant Credit Union High Rate Savings
- 0.55% APY – Comenity Direct High-Yield Savings Account
- Up to 0.55% APY – Fitness Bank Fitness Savings
- 0.51% APY – Vio Bank High Yield Online Savings Account
- 0.50% APY – Live Oak Bank High Yield Online Savings
Savings Account FAQs
There is nothing inherently unsafe about a high-yield savings account. As long as you make sure you’re depositing your money into an FDIC-insured bank or NCUA-insured credit union, your money will be insured up to legal amounts in case your institution fails.
You may also want to double check an institution’s security measures before signing up for an account. Check whether their website and information is protected by encryption and firewalls. Reputable institutions will also include anti-virus and anti-fraud measures. Other protections include biometric logins (fingerprints or face match), two-factor verification and security questions.
There is often not much difference between high-interest savings accounts and money market accounts. A money market account is a type of savings account that also tends to have higher rates than traditional savings accounts.
Some money market accounts set themselves apart by offering a debit or ATM card and/or check-writing capabilities. These accounts offer further accessibility to your money. However, money market accounts still fall under the six-limit “convenient” transaction requirement, like regular savings accounts.
High-yield savings accounts are taxed like regular savings accounts. However, your earnings from a high-interest savings account are more likely to be taxed, as you are more likely to be earning more in that account than a traditional low-rate account.
Savings account earnings are taxed if you make $10 or more. Regardless of your earnings, your institution should send you and the IRS a copy of Form 1099-INT, which details the interest you’ve earned in a year. Even if you don’t receive that form, the IRS will, and they will expect you to report your interest income on your tax return.
If you earn $1,500 or more in interest income in a year, you will also need to detail those sources of income on Schedule B of Form 1040.
Thanks to the Federal Reserve’s Regulation D, you can withdraw up to six times per statement cycle from a high-yield savings account, like any other savings account. This includes pre-authorized and automatic withdrawals and transfers, and transfers made by debit card, check or other similar ways. You can get around this limit by performing “less convenient” withdrawals, like those made in person at the bank or ATM. Exceptions to the rule also include withdrawals and transfers requested by mail and those initiated over the phone if you receive the withdrawal as a mailed check.
74% of Americans don’t know online-only banks generally offer better savings rates
A new survey by MagnifyMoney has found that Americans largely misunderstand online savings accounts and the financial opportunities they offer.
- 74% of Americans don’t know online-only banks typically offer higher interest rates than traditional brick-and-mortar banks.
- Additionally, 16% believe online-only banks charge more fees than traditional brick-and-mortar banks, which is generally false. To see our picks for the best high-yield online savings accounts, scroll up.
- Another 11% believe money deposited in an online bank isn’t insured, which is most often untrue. All the online banks listed above — and more — are FDIC insured. Even many fintechs and neobanks offer FDIC insurance on their cash management accounts, via partner banks.
- Just over 143.3 million consumers are likely missing out on higher interest rates for their savings by not banking with online-only financial institutions. Of those without an account, complacency is the primary reason, as 55% are satisfied with their brick-and-mortar bank.
- Less than half of Americans (44%) have an account with an online-only bank. Their main reasons for the switch are better interest rates (30%), fewer fees (28%) and recommendation by a financial advisor (27%).
- Who’s most likely to have an online-only savings account? Generation Xers (61%), those earning $75,000 or more a year (58%), college graduates (57%) and men (57%).
- More than 44% of respondents fear online banking puts them at risk for data breaches, while 40% are concerned hackers will have an easier time accessing their data. Still, of those without an online bank, just 19% said it was because they don’t trust the bank with their money.
MagnifyMoney commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,029 Americans, with the sample base proportioned to represent the overall population. The survey was fielded on Aug. 25, 2020.
For the purposes of our survey, generations are defined as the following ages in 2020:
- Generation Z: 18 to 23
- Millennial: 24 to 39
- Generation X: 40 to 54
- Baby boomer: 55 to 74
- Silent generation: 75 and older
While Gen Z and the silent generation were surveyed — and their answers were factored into the overall percentage totals among all respondents — they were omitted from generational comparisons, due to the low sample size among both groups.
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