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Capital One 360 Checking Account Review

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

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If you’re searching for a checking account with minimal fees, you’ve likely considered depositing your money into an online bank. But with so many online banks vying for your business, you may wonder which account is best suited for your needs.

The Capital One 360 Checking Account boasts no fees and no minimum balance to open which is pretty standard in the online banking world. However, there are other unique features of this account that set it apart.

The Capital One 360 Checking Account At A Glance

Let’s start with the basics. To qualify for 360 Checking you must be 18 years or older and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a social security number.

These are the perks ofopening a 360 Checking Account:

  • No monthly fees
  • FDIC insurance coverage
  • A free MasterCard debit card
  • No minimum balance to open or earn interest. Rates are variable and account APY ranges from 0.20% to 1.00% depending on your balance.
  • Use of Bill Pay. Send bill payments directly from your checking account for free. And set up eBills to receive electronic bills from participating merchants.
  • Person2Person payments. Send money free of charge to people who bank with Capital One 360 and elsewhere. Transfers to Capital One 360 accounts occur instantaneously. Transfers outside of the bank take up to two business days to authorize once the recipient approves it.
  • Access to 38,000+ Allpoint and Capital One ATMs for free. Drawing cash from an online account or making a deposit is a breeze, just search for an in-network ATM on Capital One’s mobile app or website.
  • Use of CheckMate for check deposits. Take photos of your checks from your mobile phone to make deposits. No standing in line or locating an ATM necessary.
  • Turn your card on and off. You can deactivate a card yourself online which is helpful if it’s stolen or missing.
  • No overdraft fees. Instead of a fee they offer an Overdraft Line of Credit that charges you a competitive interest rate if your account falls below zero.

Depositing Cash and Checks

Before taking the leap to online banking you may feel apprehensive about giving up access to a live teller for bank deposits. Fortunately, 360 Checking offers several simple ways to fund your account.

You can transfer money from another bank or set up direct deposit from your employer. You can also deposit cash and checks at 360 Cafe and Capital One branch ATMs. Find deposit locations near you with its ATM locator map.

Avoid using an ATM altogether for deposits and take snaps of your checks and upload them using CheckMate. The 360 Checking website offers a short demo to show you exactly what’s involved with depositing remotely.

A Closer Look at Overdraft Protection

promo-checking-halfThe 360 Checking account has a pretty lenient overdraft policy. If you apply for the Overdraft Line of Credit the daily interest on overdrafts will cost you pennies. Though you should keep in mind that during the application process for the line of credit, Capital One will perform a “hard pull” and it can affect your credit score. However, this dip of 5 to 10 points is well worth the protection to avoid overdraft charges.

The rate for overdraft is currently 12.50% APR variable and Capital One offers a convenient overdraft calculator to show you how much you can expect to be charged if your account goes into the red. For example, an overdraft of $100 for 10 days will cost you just $0.31 based on its estimate.

What happens if you pass on the Overdraft Line of Credit and your account goes into the negative? There’s no mention of the repercussions on the 360 Checking website. However, customer service confirmed there’s still no fee, the transaction is simply declined. They do advise transferring funds into your account promptly, otherwise you run the risk of having your account shut down. Keep in mind that while it’s great you don’t have a fee levied against you, declining a charge could mean an important bill goes unpaid.

Additional Fees to Consider

Although 360 Checking has no monthly fee, it’s important to note that there are some other fees for extra services associated with the account. For instance, sending out overnight checks will cost you $20 and an overnight card replacement costs $25. Your first checks are free, but future checkbooks cost $5. Additionally, if a check is returned for insufficient funds you’ll incur a $9 Rejected Check Charge. And to place a stop payment on a check you’ll have to pay $25.

What Sets 360 Checking Apart From Other Online Accounts?

The ability to make cash deposits at select ATM machines is a key differentiator of this checking account. Other popular online banks like Ally, The Bank of Interest USA, EverBank and Charles Schwab don’t currently accept cash deposits.

In other areas like customer service and fees, 360 Checking has some stiff competition. The Ally Bank Interest Checking Account has no monthly fee or minimum balance requirement as well, but they offer 24/7 customer service. Capital One 360 provides customer service from 8 am to 8 pm.  Furthermore, miscellaneous fees for checkbooks, stop payments and expedited delivery services are higher with 360 Checking than Ally Interest Checking.

How does the Capital One 360 Stack Up With Interest?

This account is decent for earning interest if you can’t put more than $100 into it initially. If you have a little bit more money to deposit, there are other options that will earn you more interest.

For instance, the Bank 5 Connect High-Interest Checking Account currently offers APY of 0.76% for balances over $100 at opening. In order for you to make that type of interest with a 360 Checking account you need to maintain a balance over $50,000.

Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t be hoarding tons of cashing in your checking account. It’s much better to keep high amounts of cash in a savings account, which offers better fraud protection.

A Good Deal if You Value Convenience

Overall Capital 360 checking may not be your first choice if your primary goal is to find a checking account with the highest interest. But it should be at the top of your list if you value conveniences like easy access to your money at thousands of ATMs for free, the option to deposit cash, the ease of bank transfers and no overdraft fees.

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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.

Taylor Gordon
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Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here

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The 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 best checking account bonus offers in 2020

BankBonus*Minimum Deposit to Earn BonusWhen the deal expires
Chase$2,000$250,0003/06/2020
Chase$1,000$75,0003/06/2020
HSBCUp to $750$5,0003/1/2020
Citibank$700$50,0003/31/2020
CitibankUp to $500$15,0003/31/2020
Wells Fargo$400$4,0007/31/2020
TD Bank$300 $2,500No expiration date
Chase$300$01/21/2020
Huntington BankUp to $200$1,0001/07/2020
Chase$200 $251/21/2020
SunTrust$200$5003/31/2020
Citibank$200$5,0003/31/2020
Fifth Third Bank$200$5004/30/2020
TD Bank$150$500No expiration date
*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 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.

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

Offer ends 3/06/2020

Offer rules: Earn this $2,000 cash bonus by joining Chase Private Client. You’ll need to transfer at least $250,000 in qualifying new money or securities to a combination of eligible personal checking, savings and/or investment accounts and maintain the balance for at least 90 days. This excludes any You Invest, J.P. Morgan retirement accounts and CDs.

Who’s eligible: This offer is available only to existing Chase customers in select states and Washington D.C. You can redeem this offer by visiting a Chase Private Client branch of emailing an upgrade code.

Account details: Chase Private Client requires you to maintain an average daily balance of $250,000 or more. This can be in any combination of qualifying personal or business deposits and investments. Chase Private Clients gain access to further perks and benefits in banking, credit cards, loans and investing. This includes free ATM withdrawals abroad, home and auto loan specialists and free online stock and ETF trades with You Invest by J.P. Morgan.

There is no monthly service fee on Chase Private Client Checking or Chase Private Client Savings accounts. Private Client Savings Accounts earn 0.01% APY.

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on Chase Bank’s secure website

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

Offer ends 3/06/2020

Offer rules: Earn this $1,000 bonus when you join Sapphire Banking. Within 45 days, transfer at least $75,000 in qualifying new money or securities to a combination of eligible personal checking, savings and/or investment accounts and maintain that balance for 90 days. J.P. Morgan retirement accounts and CDs are excluded from this combination.

Who’s eligible: The offer is available in select states and Washington D.C. Anyone can snag this offer as long as you meet the requirements detailed above.

Account details: Chase Sapphire Checking earns 0.01% APY. You can link your Chase Sapphire Checking account to a Chase Premier Savings account to earn higher relationship rates on the Premier Savings account. That enables higher balances to earn higher rates.

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on Chase Bank’s secure website

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HSBC — up to $750 bonus with $5,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 3/1/2020

Offer rules: There are two offers available here. For the $750 bonus, you can open a Premier Checking account and make recurring direct deposits totaling at least $5,000 for three consecutive consecutive calendar months from the first full calendar month after account opening.

To earn a $350 bonus instead, open an Advance Checking account and deposit at least $5,000 in new money to combined accounts within 30 calendar days of account opening and maintain at least that balance for 90 days. You must also set up recurring direct deposit for at least three consecutive months following the account opening month.

Who’s eligible: You must be a new HSBC customer to take advantage of these offers and fund your new accounts with new money. This means money not already held with HSBC.

Who’s eligible: The Premier Checking account earns 0.01% APY on balances of $5 or more but charges a hefty $50 fee that can be waived with a whopping $100,000 minimum balance. The Advance Checking also earns 0.01% APY, but has a smaller $25 fee that you can waive with a $10,000 minimum balance.

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on HSBC’s secure website

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

Offer ends 3/31/2020

The offer: To earn this $700 bonus, open a new Citi Priority Account Package with an initial deposit of at least $50,000 within 30 days of opening. This deposit can be shared 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 have not been a signer on a Citibank checking account within the past 180 days are eligible for this offer. You must be a U.S. citizen or resident who is at least 18 years old. You can redeem the offer by opening online here.

Account details: The Citi Priority Package earns 0.03% APY on its Interest Checking account and 0.04% – 0.15% APY on the Citi Savings account.

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 3/31/2020

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 easily 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 0.01% APY on its Interest Checking account and 0.04% – APY depending on your balance on the Citi Savings account. 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 $4,000 in direct deposits

Offer ends 7/31/2020

Offer rules: Open a new Everyday Checking account with a $25 minimum opening deposit. Then within 90 days of opening, you must make at least $4,000 in qualifying direct deposits. This includes your salary, pension, Social Security or other regular monthly income deposited by your employer or another outside agency.

Who’s eligible: Only new Wells Fargo checking and savings customers from Denver, Houston, Miami, Orlando, Fla., Phoenix, and Seattle are eligible to redeem this offer. You must also not have received a bonus for opening a Wells Fargo consumer checking or savings account within the past 12 months.

You can redeem the offer online here or receive the offer code through the same page to bring to a branch to open your new account.

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

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on Wells Fargo’s secure website

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

No expiration date

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.

Who’s eligible: 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 open the account through this web page.

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

Chase — $300 bonus with direct deposit

Offer ends 01/21/2020

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.

Who’s eligible: 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

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

Offer ends 01/07/2020

Offer rules: You can benefit from a $200 bonus by opening a Huntington 5 checking account or a $150 bonus with an Asterisk-Free Checking account. Whichever account you open, 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.

Who’s eligible: 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.

Account details: 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 Asterisk-Free Checking account is more basic. It does not charge a monthly fee, earn interest or have a minimum balance requirement.

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on Huntington National Bank’s secure website

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Chase — $200 bonus with $25 minimum deposit

Offer ends 01/21/2020

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.

Who’s eligible: 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

SunTrust — $200 bonus with $500 in direct deposits

Offer ends 03/31/2020

Offer rules: This checking bonus offer applies to new SunTrust Essential Checking accounts. You must make at least $500 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.

Who’s eligible: 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 the promotion start date. You must also have a mailing address in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia or Washington, D.C.

To qualify, you must use the application link on this SunTrust page with the code Q120ESSENTIAL. You can also use the page the email yourself a coupon to bring into a SunTrust branch to redeem the offer.

The SunTrust Essential Checking account does not earn interest. There is a $7 monthly fee which you can waive with one of the following per statement cycle:

  • Making 10 or more client-initiated transactions
  • Making $500 or more in total qualifying monthly Direct Deposits
  • Keeping a $500 minimum daily collected balance

Students opening a new account may also receive a 5-year Student waiver.

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on SunTrust Bank’s secure website

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

Offer ends 03/31/2020
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 to fully qualify for the reward.

Who’s eligible: You can redeem this offer through the offer webpage. 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

Fifth Third Bank — $250 bonus with $500 minimum deposit

Offer ends 04/30/2020

Offer rules: You have the option of opening a new Fifth Third Essential, Enhanced, Preferred or Free checking account to earn the bank’s $250 bonus offer. While you don’t need to open the new account with a specific deposit amount right away, you have 45 days to reach an account balance of at least $500. Then you’ll need to maintain at least $500 in the account for 60 days to qualify completely for the bonus.

Who’s eligible: To redeem this offer, you will need to visit this Fifth Third webpage, email yourself the offer coupon and bring it to a Fifth Third branch to redeem. This limits the offer’s availability to customers near a branch, which you can find in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia.

You do not qualify for this bonus if you are already a Fifth Third Bank customer, or have closed an account with the bank within the last 12 months.

Account details: Unlike most other banks, Fifth Third Bank allows you to choose which checking account – Essential, Enhanced, Preferred or Free (when available) — you’d like to open with the bonus offer. This gives you the flexibility to open the account that works better for you in the long run. The Fifth Third Enhanced and Preferred Checking accounts earn interest on your balances, with the Preferred Checking earning at a slightly higher rate. As for fees, the monthly service fee ranges from $8 to $25, which you can waive with minimum balances.

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on Fifth Third Bank (OH)’s secure website

Member FDIC

TD Bank — $150 bonus with $500 in direct deposits

No expiration date

Offer rules: If the TD Bank Beyond Checking account above isn’t quite your style, you can still earn $150 when you open a new TD Convenience Checking (SM) account. You’ll also have to make at least $500 in cumulative direct deposits within 60 days after opening to qualify for the offer. The direct deposits can be a paycheck, pension or government benefits from your employer or the government.

Who’s eligible: This offer is open only to new TD Bank customers without any previous or current TD Bank personal checking accounts.

The account: The TD Convenience Checking account doesn’t earn interest. It charges a $15 monthly fee that you can waive by maintaining a $100 daily balance or if you’re aged 17 to 23.

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on TD Bank’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

Advertiser Disclosure

Best of, Earning Interest

The Best High-Yield Online Savings Accounts in January 2020

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

The Best Online Savings Accounts

Updated January 22, 2020

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 1.70% or greater, while the average rate offered by a traditional brick-and-mortar bank remains at a paltry 0.27%.

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: Capital One – 1.70% APY, no minimum balance

360 Performance Savings from Capital OneA consistent rate leader for its deposit accounts, Capital One now offers its 360 Performance Savings. With a 1.70% APY on all balances and no monthly fee, you get a chance to boost your savings uninterrupted. There are no minimum balances required to open or maintain the account, either.

Capital One is able to offer higher rates and lower (to no!) fees on this online savings account compared to traditional in-branch offerings. Still, you can head to a Capital One branch or Capital One Café to open a new 360 Performance Savings account, if you prefer. You cannot use an ATM to withdraw or deposit funds, but you can visit a branch, call the bank or make your own online transfer. You can access all accounts on your mobile device through the Capital One app, as well.

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Member FDIC

2. High Rate: American Express National Bank – 1.70% 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 1.70% variable Annual Percentage Yield (APY) as of 12/11/2019. 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.

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on American Express National Bank’s secure website

Partner Offer

Member FDIC

3. High Rate: Goldman Sachs Bank USA – 1.70% 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 1.70% 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 1.70% 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.

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on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

Member FDIC

4. High Rate: Barclays Bank – 1.70% 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 1.70% 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.

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on Barclays’s secure website

Member FDIC

5. High Rate: Synchrony Bank – 1.70% APY, no minimum balance, (and ATM access)

High Yield Savings from Synchrony BankSynchrony Bank pays a healthy 1.70% 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.

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Member FDIC

6. Favorite Online Package: Ally Bank – 1.60% 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 1.60%. 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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on Ally Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

7. High Rate: HSBC Direct – 2.00% 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 2.00% 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.

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on HSBC Direct’s secure website

Member FDIC

8. High Rate: Vio Bank – 1.95% 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 its High Yield Online Savings account with a strong APY (at the time of its launch) and has been consistently competitive since it launched. It’s currently offering an outstanding 1.95% 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. We think this online bank is very promising and hope it continues to offer one of the best savings account rates in the nation.

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on Vio Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

9. High Rates on two savings accounts: Customers Bank – 1.95% or 1.95% 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 1.95%. 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 1.95% 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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on Customers Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

10. High Rate: CIBC Bank USA – 1.85% APY, $1,000 to open

CIBC Agility Savings - Online Only 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 1.85%. 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.

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on CIBC USA’s secure website

Member FDIC

11. High Rate: Citizens Access – 1.85% 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 1.85% 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.

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on Citizens Access’s secure website

Member FDIC

12. High Rate: Betterment – 1.83% APY, $10 minimum to open

Betterment Everyday Cash Reserve - 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 a 1.83% APY. You only need $10 to open the account and there isn’t a minimum balance amount to earn the APY. This account doesn’t come with any maintenance fees and you can transfer money from the Betterment Everyday Cash Reserve 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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on Betterment’s secure website

FDIC Insured

13. Unique Bank + Highest Overall Rate: Fitness Bank – 2.20% 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 2.20% 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 2.00% (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 1.00%.

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 2.20% 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.

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on FitnessBank’s secure website

Member FDIC

14. High Rate: Elements Financial – 2.10% APY, $2,500 minimum balance amount

Helium Savings 1 year Promo - New Money from Elements FinancialElements Financial was established in 1930 and currently has over $1.6 billion in assets. Its success is most likely attributed to its ability to reach customers nationwide. Anyone can become a member of this credit union just by opening a checking or savings account, or by applying for a loan or credit card. Regardless of the account you choose to open, Elements Financial will open a savings account for you and deposit $5 into the account to get you started.

If you choose to open a savings account with this credit union, you should consider opening the Helium Savings account. The credit union is currently running a promotion on this account with a 2.10% APY that is guaranteed for one year (or 12 statement cycles). Once the promotional period ends, the rate will drop to 1.30% (or whatever the rate is at the time the promotional period ends for you). The account requires a minimum deposit of $2,500 of new money to earn the APY, but you only need a minimum of $100 to open the account. However, you won’t earn interest if you have less than $2,500 in the account. Existing customers don’t qualify for the promotional APY. There aren’t any monthly maintenance fees associated with this account. You’ll be given an Elements ATM card to withdraw money from the credit union’s surcharge-free network. The credit union also has a mobile app that allows you to manage and maintain the account on-the-go.

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on Elements Financial’s secure website

NCUA Insured

15. High Rate: BrioDirect – 2.05% 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 2.05% 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.

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on BrioDirect’s secure website

FDIC Insured

16. High Rate: First Foundation Bank – 2.00% APY, $1,000 to open

Online Savings Account - New Money Only from First Foundation BankFirst Foundation Bank officially launched in 2008, but its leadership has been in the financial services industry since 1990. This bank was established by the same group that leads the Keller Group, a wealth management firm. The bank has grown to acquire over $6 billion in assets. In October, this bank launched an Online Savings Account with a high APY of 2.00%. You’ll need to have a balance of at least $1,000 in order to open that account and you’ll need to maintain that amount in order to earn the high APY. If your balance falls below $1,000, the APY will drop to 1.00%. This account doesn’t have a monthly service fee.

While Regulation D applies to this account, First Foundation Bank will provide an ATM card if you request one from the bank. The bank will reimburse ATM fees from other banks and ATM operators up to $20. There is a limit to the amount of money that you can withdraw. If you’re withdrawing from an ATM, the bank sets a daily limit of $500. The daily point-of-sale limit is $1,500. If you’re transferring money online or via ACH, the daily limit is $5,000 and the monthly limit is $10,000. If you need to transfer more than the preset limits, you’re able to call the bank and request that they increase the limit. The bank allows you to maintain the account online and through their mobile banking app.

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on First Foundation Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

17. High Rate: Prime Alliance Bank – 1.96% APY, $10,000 minimum balance amount

Personal Savings Account from Prime Alliance BankPrime Alliance Bank was established in 2004 to provide financial assistance to local businesses and residents. However, through its online banking platform, it’s now able to reach more customers while keeping that local bank service. Today, it’s grown to acquire over $455 million in assets. While the bank’s Personal Savings Account doesn’t require a minimum amount to open the account, you will need to have at least $10,000 in the account to earn the high APY of 1.96%. If your balance is below the amount, you’ll earn 1.86% APY. This account doesn’t have a monthly service fee. You’re able to request an ATM card and withdraw as much as you need from an ATM, but the account is limited to six certain withdrawals and transfers due to federal regulations. You’re able to maintain the account online or through the bank’s mobile app.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Prime Alliance Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

18. High Rate: Quontic Bank – 1.95% APY, $500 minimum to open

High Yield Savings Account from Quontic Bank Quontic Bank, the Adaptive Digital Bank, was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in New York City. With a small physical presence on its own, Quontic Bank offers customers access to over 90,000 ATMs in the country. You can also access your accounts online and on mobile, which includes check deposit.
Its High Yield Savings account earns 1.95% APY on all balances, but you’ll need at least $500 to open the account. You may also want to keep a balance of at least $10,000 to avoid the $10 monthly fee. While E-Statements won’t cost you a thing, paper statements cost $5 per month. Uniquely, this savings account comes with a Debit MasterCard.

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on Quontic Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

19. High Rate: Salem Five Direct – 1.91% 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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on Salem Five Direct’s secure website

Member FDIC

20. 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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NCUA Insured

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.

December savings index

We asked 1,552 Americans about their savings habits during the month of December. Here’s what we found:

  • Overall, 42% of Americans increased their savings in December 2019, while 19% of Americans withdrew money from their savings.

  • Men increased savings at a higher rate than women: Fifty-one percent of men added to their savings account in December, compared with just 31% of women. Meanwhile, 24% of women said they don’t have any savings, versus just 13% of men.

  • More than 1 in 2 millennials added money to their savings account in December, more than any other generation.
  • Consumers with a household income surpassing $100,000 are more than 13 times as likely to have a savings fund than those earning less than $25,000. Additionally, only a quarter of those earning under $25,000 per year saved money during December.
  • Top 3 things Americans saved for in December: general savings (34%), emergencies (26%) and vacation (21%).

Survey Methodology

MagnifyMoney commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,024 Americans, with the sample base proportioned to represent the overall population. The survey was fielded Nov. 15-20, 2019. Generations are defined as: Generation Z ages 18-22, millennials ages 23-38, Generation Xers ages 39-53 and baby boomers ages 54-73.

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