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Tie the Knot With These 5 Wedding Loans

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.

Disclosure : By clicking “See Offers” you’ll be directed to our parent company, LendingTree. You may or may not be matched with the specific lender you clicked on, but up to five different lenders based on your creditworthiness.

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Updated – November 28, 2018

Your wedding day is bound to be one of the most important days of your life, and because of this, you may be tempted to go all out.

According to WeddingWire, the average cost of a wedding ceremony in the United States runs around $27,000, with another $4,000 for the honeymoon. Further, 80% of engaged couples are millennials who pay approximately 40% of the wedding costs themselves — that’s a big chunk of change.

If you’re tying the knot, you may be looking to use a personal loan to help cover wedding costs. Here’s what to consider before you commit to a loan and five lenders you should consider.

Cut costs before considering a loan

Kicking off your marriage with fresh debt may not be the best idea. That’s why, before taking out debt, you should review your wedding’s costs to see where you can save.

Consider these average costs from The Knot’s 2017 Real Weddings Study and ways you could cut costs:

Wedding planner

Skip out on a wedding planner and take advantage of free wedding planner apps, such as The Knot and Zola. These apps can keep you focused and organized from the day of engagement to the day of the ceremony.

Venue

Opt for a cheaper venue. For example, a church or firehouse that has a reception hall attached might not cost as much as a hotel ballroom.

Catering

The more guests you have, the more expensive catering becomes. To bring down this cost, opt for a buffet rather than a sit-down dinner. Keeping your food options simple and trimming your guest list will also help minimize the catering fee.

Flowers

Almost every wedding incorporates flowers, so you may not want to do away with this tradition. But instead of hiring a florist, you could save by having your bridesmaids help you arrange the flowers yourself (keep in mind that flowers that are in season in your area will have a cheaper price tag).

Gown

When shopping for a wedding gown, keep an eye out for bridal shows and sales. You’ll also want to consider second-hand shops, as wedding dresses have only been worn once and are typically in excellent shape.

Photographer and videographer

Check your contacts to see if you know any photographers or videographers who’d be willing to capture your wedding at a discount. If not, contact local studios to see if they have an associate or intern you could book for less.

Music

Do you really need a DJ or live band at your wedding? Consider creating your own wedding playlist and plugging into your venue’s sound system instead.

Wedding cake

A large number of cake tiers drives up the cost of a wedding cake. Stick with one or two tiers using less expensive fillings for a smaller price tag. You can then order a sheet cake on the side to have enough cakes to serve all of your guests.

Decor

Your decor is probably the easiest category to save on — using sites like Pinterest can help you come up with ideas of centerpieces and decorations you can make yourself.

Still need a loan? What to look for in a wedding loan

A personal loan is likely your best option for covering wedding expenses you can’t cover out of pocket. Unless your credit card has a promotional 0% APR, it likely has a higher interest rate than you’ll find on a personal loan. Furthermore, you may not want to tie up your assets by opting for a secured loan.

With a personal loan, you’ll make payments over a set period of time. In the MagnifyMoney personal loan marketplace, you’ll find loan terms from one to 12 years. The rate you receive will depend on your credit score and the lender.

When choosing a loan, there are a few things you’ll need to consider:

  • Credit score: Applicants with higher credit scores will receive better offers than those who don’t have the best credit. Equifax considers a score of 725 to 759 as good, and 760 to 850 as excellent.
  • Loan amount: The more money you borrow, the harder it will be to pay back. Never take out more than you need — so make sure to review your wedding expenses first to see where you can cut back, so you know exactly how much to take out.
  • Term: The shorter the term you select, the larger your monthly payment obligation will be. On the other hand, you’ll have the debt paid off much faster. Check your monthly budget to determine the shortest term you can afford.
  • Interest rate: Higher interest rates mean larger monthly payments. Always shop around and select the loan with lower rates.
  • Fees: Some personal loans come with fees. Check to see if there are any application, origination or prepayment fees, as some lenders charge these.

5 personal loans to pay for a wedding

You have many different lenders you can choose from to apply for a personal loan for your wedding. While you can shop among local banks and credit unions, you should also consider online lenders to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

LendingTree, which owns MagnifyMoney, offers a tool you can use to see loan offers. Using the tool, you’ll input basic information about yourself and what you’re looking for out of a loan. Afterwards, you can review loan offers from up to five different lenders.

LendingTree
APR

As low as 3.99%

Credit Req.

Minimum 500 FICO®

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 60

months

Origination Fee

Varies

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LendingTree is our parent company. LendingTree is unique in that you may be able to compare up to five personal loan offers within minutes. Everything is done online and you may be pre-qualified by lenders without impacting your credit score. LendingTree is not a lender.


A Personal Loan can offer funds relatively quickly once you qualify you could have your funds within a few days to a week. A loan can be fixed for a term and rate or variable with fluctuating amount due and rate assessed, be sure to speak with your loan officer about the actual term and rate you may qualify for based on your credit history and ability to repay the loan. A personal loan can assist in paying off high-interest rate balances with one fixed term payment, so it is important that you try to obtain a fixed term and rate if your goal is to reduce your debt. Some lenders may require that you have an account with them already and for a prescribed period of time in order to qualify for better rates on their personal loan products. Lenders may charge an origination fee generally around 1% of the amount sought. Be sure to ask about all fees, costs and terms associated with each loan product. Loan amounts of $1,000 up to $50,000 are available through participating lenders; however, your state, credit history, credit score, personal financial situation, and lender underwriting criteria can impact the amount, fees, terms and rates offered. Ask your loan officer for details.

As of 28-Feb-2019, LendingTree Personal Loan consumers were seeing match rates as low as 3.99% (3.99% APR) on a $10,000 loan amount for a term of three (3) years. Rates and APRs were based on a self-identified credit score of 700 or higher, zero down payment, origination fees of $0 to $100 (depending on loan amount and term selected).

To help kickstart your search, consider these five lenders:

Company
Loan terms
APR range
Origination fees
Minimum credit score required
Earnest

36 to 60

months

6.99%-18.24%

Origination fee

No origination fee

680

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on LendingTree’s secure website

Earnest does not lend in Alabama, Delaware, Kentucky, Nevada, or Rhode Island.

12 to 60

months

6.65%-15.44%

Origination fee

No origination fee

Late payment fee

5% or $10, whichever is greater

680

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

24 to 144

months

3.99%-16.99%

Origination fee

No origination fee

Late payment fee

None

660

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure.

Your APR may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term, and your credit profile. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount, which is only available when you select AutoPay prior to loan funding. Rates under the invoicing option are 0.50% higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 3.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $295.20.
Peerform

36 or 60

months

5.99%-29.99%

Origination fee

1.00% - 5.00%

Late payment fee

5% of the monthly installment or $15, whichever is greater

600

Apply Now Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

PenFed Credit Union

36 to 60

months

Starting at 6.49%

Origination fee

No origination fee

700

Apply Now Secured

on PenFed Credit Union’s secure website

Earnest

Earnest is an excellent choice: their personal loans have no origination fee or early prepayment fees and their interest rates are on the lower side. While they do list a minimum credit score of 680 in their eligibility requirements, they also state that they consider other things, such as:

  • How much money you have in savings
  • Your educational background
  • Your earning potential

Applicants must be 18 years of age, U.S. citizens or long-term permanent aliens with residence in either the District of Columbia or one of 45 partner states (excluding Alabama, Delaware, Kentucky, Nevada, and Rhode Island).

Loans of $5,000 to $75,000 are available in terms of 36 to 60 months at APRs from 6.99% to 18.24%. Once you receive an offer from Earnest, you have seven days to accept it.

First Midwest Bank

First Midwest Bank offers low APRs of 6.65% to 15.44% for loans between $5,000 and $25,000. In addition, they allow you to repay the loan in as little as 12 months or as long as 60 months.

The downside to First Midwest Bank is the $100 loan documentation fee, and the 680 minimum credit score with five years of good credit history requirement, which may not be attainable for all couples.

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and live in one of the following 26 states to qualify: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.

LightStream

You won’t have to worry about any origination, prepayment or hidden fees with LightStream’s personal loan. However, for the best rates on offer, applicants will need to have excellent credit (a minimum 660 credit score will be considered), five years of good credit history and proof of their ability to save.

Couples can take out between $5,000 and $100,000 with terms between 24 to 144 months. If you’re willing to sign up for AutoPay, you’ll enjoy 0.50% off your APR, making the range 3.99% to 16.99%.

LightStream also has two additional perks that set them above other lenders. First, if you have a better offer from a competitor, LightStream will not only match it, but give you a rate that’s 0.10 percentage points below the competitor. Second, if you are unhappy with any part of the loan process, LightStream will refund you $100.

Loans can be approved and funded the same day you apply if you’ve completed all of the steps by 2:30 pm EST.

Peerform

Peerform is a peer-to-peer lender with a lower 600 minimum credit score requirement. The company will even allow you to check your eligibility with a soft pull that won’t affect your credit score.

Applicants can borrow between $4,000 and $25,000 at APRs between 5.99% and 29.99% with a 36-month term. However, it is important that couples are aware of the many fees involved with using Peerform.

All personal loans are subject to origination fees of 1.00% - 5.00% and check processing fees of $15 per check. If you send your payment in late, or your payment is rejected due to insufficient funds, you’ll have to pay additional fees. When you submit an application with Peerform, you may receive multiple loan offers. You’ll be able to review each offer and choose the best one.

PenFed Credit Union

In order to apply for a personal loan with PenFed Credit Union to cover your wedding expenses, you’ll need to first become a member. Eligibility depends on where you’re employed, where you volunteer, whether you are in the military and which associations you belong to.

If you qualify, you can borrow between $500 and $25,000 at a starting APR of 6.49%. Terms range up to 36 to 60 months, and the loan does not have any origination or other fees attached to it. This credit union has a minimum credit score requirement of 700. They do state that all loans are subject to a minimum $50 monthly payment.

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.

Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at [email protected]

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Best of, Earning Interest

The Best Online Savings Accounts in July 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 July 19, 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: Barclays Bank – 2.20% 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 2.20% 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

2. 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

3. High Rate: American Express National Bank – 2.10% 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 2.10% variable Annual Percentage Yield (APY) as of 12/20/2018. 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

4. Top Choice: Ally Bank – 2.10% APY, no minimum balance and you can get a free checking account

Online Savings Account from Ally BankAlly is a bank without branches that has consistently been paying high interest rates on savings accounts. Ally has no minimum balance requirement and will pay 2.10% APY. 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.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Ally Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

5. 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

6. High Rate for big balance savers: Customers Bank – 2.50% APY, $25,000 to open

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 an outstanding rate on its High-Yield Savings Account. If you can deposit a minimum of $25,000 into the account, this bank will reward you with a 2.50% 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: this account doesn’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 this account online and manage the account online or Customers Bank’s mobile banking app. Deposits are FDIC-insured.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Customers Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

7. High Rate: CIBC Bank USA – 2.39% 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 2.39%. 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

8. 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

9. High Rate: HSBC Direct – 2.30% 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 2.30% 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

10. 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

11. 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

12. High Rate for big balance savers: Northpointe Bank – 2.55% APY, $25,000 minimum balance amount

Ultimate Savings from Northpointe BankNorthpointe Bank is a fairly small institution when compared to some of the bigger banks on this list. However, they’ve quickly accumulated over $800 million in assets. This month, they’ve made it on to our list due to their outstanding APY of 2.55% on their Ultimate Savings Account. In order to earn this rate, you’ll need to maintain a minimum balance amount of $25,000. If your balance drops below $25,000, you’ll still be able to earn a 1.12% APY. If your balance rises above $1 million, the APY will also drop to 0%. There are no monthly fees associated with this account, but there may be a $15 excessive transaction fee if you make more than six transactions per month. Northpointe Bank allows you to easily manage the account via their mobile app.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Northpointe Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

13. 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

14. High Rate: Salem Five Direct – 2.51% APY, $100 to open

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. Salem Five Direct also has DIF Insurance, which means that if you have over $250,000 in a Salem Five account, the amount over $250,000 will also be insured by the Depositors Insurance Fund. That’s a huge benefit that not a lot of banks offer.

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.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Salem Five Direct’s secure website

Member FDIC

15. 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.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU)’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Recap of the best high-yield savings accounts by APY

  • Digital Federal Credit Union – 6.17% APY
  • FitnessBank – 3.00% APY
  • Northpointe Bank – 2.55% APY
  • Vio Bank – 2.52% APY
  • Salem Five Direct – 2.51% APY
  • Customers Bank – 2.50% APY
  • CIBC – 2.39% APY
  • CIT Bank – 2.30% APY
  • HSBC Direct – 2.30% APY
  • Citizens Bank – 2.20% APY
  • Synchrony Bank – 2.15% APY
  • Goldman Sachs Bank USA – 2.15% APY
  • Barclays – 2.20% APY
  • American Express National Bank – 2.10% APY
  • Ally Bank – 2.10% APY

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

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Best of, Earning Cashback

The Best Cash Back Credit Cards for Every Category – 3% and More in July 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. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

credit card and dollar close-up

The information related to SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express credit card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Note that this offer is no longer available.

MagnifyMoney keeps a database of over 2,000 credit cards and their features, including cash back cards you can compare with our tool. We used it to find the absolute highest cash back rewards you can earn in each spending category, more than the standard 1-2% you usually see.

In our analysis, there are over 25 categories where you can earn 3% or more in pure cash back on your credit card purchases.

Scroll down and you’ll find links to the best cash back credit cards that earn more than 2% cash back in special categories. These are cards that let you get pure cash value, not complicated points that can be used only for travel.

Before you dig into categories, every cash rewards wallet should have one of these cards, with double cash back on everything you spend and $0 annual fee:

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

The information related to Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Annual fee
$0*
Rewards Rate
Earn 2% cash back on purchases 1% when you buy and 1% as you make payments for those purchases
Regular Purchase APR
15.74% - 25.74%* (Variable)

Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Fidelity’s secure website

Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card

Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Unlimited 2% cash back on everyday purchases.
Regular Purchase APR
16.24% Variable

Once you have one of these, you can add other cards that earn more than 2% in special categories to really boost your cash rewards.

The best cash back credit cards with no limit rewards

Maybe you don’t want to mess with rotating categories or remembering limits on cash back. If that’s you, there are only a handful of cards that you need to carry to get the most in totally unlimited cash back.

As you’ll learn below, you may be leaving about $500 a year or more on the table by not holding at least some of these cards.

They are all no annual fee cards, and they ensure you will earn more than 2% cash back on your total spending with absolutely no limits. Some cards have higher cash back rates with limits, and you can see those below this list in our review of cards for each category.

Airfare – 3%

Uber Visa Card

LEARN MORE 

The information related to Uber Visa Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Uber Visa Card

Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
4% back on dining, 3% back on hotel and airfare, 2% back for online purchases, and 1% on everything else.
Regular Purchase APR
17.99% - 28.74% Variable

The Uber Visa Card earns 4% back on dining, 3% back on hotel and airfare, 2% back for online purchases, and 1% on everything else. The foreign transaction fee is 0% of each transaction in U.S. dollars. So it’s great if you travel outside the U.S.

Travel – 3%

The AAA Member Rewards Visa® Card offers 3 points for eligible travel & AAA purchases, 2 points on gas, grocery store, wholesale club and drugstore purchases, and 1 point per $1 everywhere else. You don’t have to be a AAA member to get the card.

The information related to AAA Member Rewards Visa® Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

U.S. Supermarkets – up to 6% (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%)

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

APPLY NOW Secured

on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

Read Full Review

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
15.24%-26.24% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 12 months
Intro BT APR
0% for 12 months
Annual fee
$95
Rewards Rate
NEW 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions & 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers the highest rate we could find for U.S. supermarket shopping: 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). This card does have a $95 annual fee, but if you spend $1,584 a year at U.S. supermarkets, you’d earn enough cash back to recoup the annual fee.

Gas – 5%

Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Fort Knox Federal Credit Union’s secure website

Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card

Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn an unlimited 5% cash back on gas and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Regular Purchase APR
11.50% - 18.00% Variable

You might not have heard of this credit union, but anyone can join. You just need to pay $5 to join the American Consumer Council / Kentucky and you’re eligible.

Another option includes the Sams Club® Mastercard® with 5% at the pump on up to $6,000 worth of gas purchases a year, then 1%, but you need to be a Sam’s Club member to hold the card.

Dining – 4%

Uber Visa Card

LEARN MORE 

The information related to Uber Visa Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Uber Visa Card

Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
4% back on dining, 3% back on hotel and airfare, 2% back for online purchases, and 1% on everything else.
Regular Purchase APR
17.99% - 28.74% Variable

This card earns 4% back on dining, 3% back on hotel and airfare, 2% back for online purchases, and 1% on everything else.

Everything else: Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card

If you’re willing to pay an annual fee, the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card card earns Unlimited 3% cash back during the first year; 2.5% cash back afterwards. There is a $99 annual fee, waived the first year. Alliant is targeting this card to high spenders with excellent credit, so it might be tough to get approved.

Just mark each of the cards you pick in your wallet with a sticker for each category so you remember which to use, and you’ll rack up lots of cash with minimal hassle. And afraid to have more than one card? Well if you’re responsible with credit, a few additional inquiries might have less of an impact than you think. See our experience with scores and getting several cards for the rewards.

For unlimited retailer-specific discounts, also consider:

If you want to maximize absolutely everything, read on…

We’ve organized cash back cards for each of the over 25 spending categories that are currently eligible for more than 2% in cash back rewards.

They include both year round and quarterly rotating categories like those on the Discover it® Cash Back. Pick the categories that matter most to you, and you’ll see the opportunities you have to earn 3-5% if you’re willing to keep track of some limits and quarterly changes.

Remember, these are all cards that let you earn cash value rewards, with no restriction on where you spend the rewards, unlike travel points.

You’ll find three flavors of cash back rewards, in the order of hassle factor:

  • Unlimited cash back – This is the simplest form. You usually won’t find the very highest 5%+ rewards this way, but we’ve found some great cards that get you 3% or more in some popular categories.
  • Cash back with limits – This is where a card limits the cash back you earn by putting a cap on the spending which earns the cash back in the specific category, on a combination of categories, or the card as a whole.
  • Quarterly rotating categories – These are the cards with the big headline 5% rates. Don’t be fooled. While you can earn the 5% rate, you may have to opt in to categories each quarter manually and be hit with caps on how much you can earn.

Advertising Services

With Limits

3%: SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express* – up to $25,000 in purchases in bonus categories. Terms Apply.

Airfare

Unlimited

With limits

  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – 3X points in one of 10 categories (capped at $2,000 each quarter or 6000 points), and all other purchases earn 1X points.

Quarterly category in July 2019

  • 5%: Visa® Platinum Cash Rewards credit card from Nusenda Credit Union – Oct. – Dec. July 2019 – up to $1,500 – Anyone can join the Nusenda Credit Union (formerly the New Mexico Educators Credit Union) by becoming a member of the La Montanita Food Co-op.

Amazon.com

Unlimited

Quarterly category in July 2019

  • 5%: Discover it® Cash Back – up to $1,500 when you activate – Oct. – Dec. July 2019

Bookstores

With limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+* up to $2,000 / quarter across two 5% categories you choose

Car Rentals

Unlimited

With limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+ up to $2,000 / quarter across two 5% categories you choose
  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – 3X points in one of 10 categories (capped at $2,000 each quarter or 6000 points), and all other purchases earn 1X points.
  • 3%: Visa Rewards Credit Card from InFirst FCU (no annual fee -join FAPAC at a reduced rate of $10 using discount code INFIRST)

Cell phone

With limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+ up to $2,000 / quarter across two 5% categories you choose
  • 5%: SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express – up to $50,000 in bonus purchases a year. Terms Apply.

Cellular Phone / Landline / Internet / Cable TV

Clothing Stores

With limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+* up to $2,000 / quarter across two 5% categories you choose
  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – 3X points in one of 10 categories (capped at $2,000 each quarter or 6000 points), and all other purchases earn 1X points.

Commuting, Taxis

Unlimited

  • 3%: Citi Premier℠ Card* ($95)

Department Stores

Select U.S. department stores. See the list here.

  • 3%: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express ( $95 annual fee). See Rates & Fees.

With limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+* up to $2,000 / quarter across two 5% categories you choose
  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – 3X points in one of 10 categories (capped at $2,000 each quarter or 6000 points), and all other purchases earn 1X points.

Discount stores

With limits

  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – 3X points in one of 10 categories (capped at $2,000 each quarter or 6000 points), and all other purchases earn 1X points.

Drug stores

With limits

  • 3%: Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer* – 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, 1% on all other purchases
  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – 3X points in one of 10 categories (capped at $2,000 each quarter or 6000 points), and all other purchases earn 1X points.

Education

Quarterly category in July 2019

  • 5%: Visa® Platinum Cash Rewards credit card from Nusenda Credit Union – July – Sept. 2019 – up to $1,500 – Anyone can join the Nusenda Credit Union (formerly the New Mexico Educators Credit Union) by becoming a member of the La Montanita Food Co-op.

Electronics

With limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+* up to $2,000 / quarter across two 5% categories you choose
  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card®* – 3X points in one of 10 categories (capped at $2,000 each quarter or 6000 points), and all other purchases earn 1X points.

Furniture

With Limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+ up to $2,000 / quarter across two 5% categories you choose
  • 3%: Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer – 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, 1% on all other purchases

Gas

Unlimited

With limits

Quarterly category in July 2019

  • 5%: Chase Freedom®  – up to $1,500 when you activate – July – Sept. 2019
  • 5%: Visa® Platinum Cash Rewards credit card from Nusenda Credit Union – July – Sept. 2019 – up to $1,500

Supermarket Spending

Unlimited

  • 5%: Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card* – Earn 5% at Whole Foods Market
  • 3%: Amazon Rewards Visa® Signature Card* – Earn 3% at Whole Foods Market
  • 2.55%: PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card
  • 3%: Golden 1 Platinum Rewards (only available to California residents)

With limits

  • 6%: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express – Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). Terms apply.
  • 3%: Consumers Credit Union Visa Signature Cash Rebate – up to $6,000 rebate per year – anyone can become a member of the credit union
  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – up to $2,000 a quarter
  • 3%: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express – Earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). Terms apply.

Gyms

With Limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+* up to $2,000 / quarter across two 5% categories you choose

Home improvement

No limits

With limits

  • 3%: Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer* – 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, 1% on all other purchases
  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – up to $2,000 in spending a quarter in one category of your choice

Hotels

Unlimited

  • 3%: Uber Visa Card*
  • 3%: AAA Member Rewards Visa® Card*
  • 3%: Citi Premier℠ Card* ($95)
  • 3%: Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi* (need to be a Costco member)
  • 3%: Visa Rewards Credit Card from InFirst FCU (no annual fee – can join FAPAC at a reduced rate of $10 using discount code INFIRST)
  • 3%: Sams Club® Mastercard®

With limits

  • 3%: Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer* – 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, 1% on all other purchases
  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – up to $2,000 in spending a quarter in one category of your choice

Quarterly category in July 2019

  • 5% – Visa® Platinum Cash Rewards credit card from Nusenda Credit Union – Oct – Dec July 2019 – up to $1,500

Movie Theaters

With Limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+* up to $2,000 / quarter across two 5% categories you choose

Quarterly category in July 2019

  • 5%: Visa® Platinum Cash Rewards credit card from Nusenda Credit Union – April – June July 2019 – up to $1,500

Office Supply Stores

With limits

  • 5%: SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express* – up to $25,000 in bonus purchases. Terms Apply.
  • 5%: Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card* – up to $50,000 in bonus purchases a year
  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – up to $2,000 in spending a quarter in one category of your choice

Restaurants

Unlimited

  • 4%: Uber Visa Card*
  • 3%: AARP® Credit Card from Chase Bank*
  • 3%: Sams Club® Mastercard®
  • 3%: Marvel Mastercard®
  • 3%: Golden 1 Platinum Rewards (California residents only)
  • 3%: Navy Federal GoRewards (You needent to have military affiliation to be a Navy Federal member.)
  • 3%: Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi* (need to be a Costco member)
  • 3%: Visa Rewards Credit Card from InFirst FCU (no annual fee – can join FAPAC at a reduced rate of only $10 using discount code INFIRST)
  • 2.5%: PayPal Extras MasterCard®( (3x card but points worth 0.8 cents when you turn them into PayPal credits)

With Limits

  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – up to $2,000 in spending a quarter in one category of your choice

Quarterly category in July 2019

  • 5%: Discover it® Cash Back – up to $1,500 when you activate – July – Sept. July 2019
  • 5%: Visa® Platinum Cash Rewards credit card from Nusenda Credit Union – April – June & Oct – Dec July 2019 – up to $1,500

Shipping

  • 3%: SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express* – up to $25,000 in purchases in bonus categories. Terms Apply.

Sporting Goods Stores

With limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card* up to $2,000 / quarter across two 5% categories you choose
  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – up to $2,000 a quarter

Target

Unlimited

  • 5%: Target REDcard™ Credit Card
  • 5%: Discover it® Cash Back – up to $1,500 when you activate – Oct. – Dec. 2019

Trains, Cruises, Other Vacation

Unlimited

  • 3%: AAA Member Rewards Visa® Card*
  • 3%: Citi Premier℠ Card* ($95)
  • 3%: Visa Rewards Credit Card from InFirst FCU (no annual fee – can join FAPAC at a reduced rate of $10, using discount code INFIRST)
  • 3%: Sams Club® Mastercard®

With limits

  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – up to $2,000 in spending a quarter in one category of your choice

Utilities

  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – up to $2,000 in spending a quarter in one category of your choice

Walmart

  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – up to $2,000 in spending a quarter in one category of your choice
  • 5%: Discover it® Cash Back – up to $1,500 when you activate – Oct. – Dec. 2019

Warehouse Clubs

  • 2%: Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi* – at Costco warehouse clubs
  • 2%: Visa Rewards Credit Card from InFirst FCU (no annual fee – can join FAPAC at a reduced rate of $10, using discount code INFIRST)

*The information related to this offer has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

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.

Alexandria White
Alexandria White |

Alexandria White is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Alexandria at [email protected]