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The Best High Yield Checking Accounts in 2019

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

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Checking accounts are like a pair of khakis slacks: You should have at least one, but shopping for them is a chore. You know you need a checking account—preferably one without fees—but most people think it’s not going to yield more than a token amount in interest.

These high yield checking accounts break this tired paradigm, featuring sky-high interest rates that can put even the best savings accounts to shame. In this article, we’ll help you make an informed decision about whether one of these high yield checking accounts are right for you and your financial goals.

How we picked the best high yield checking accounts

We followed a strict approach when selecting these accounts. We used the online rate finder for FDIC- or NCUA-insured rewards checking accounts on DepositAccounts.com, another LendingTree.com-owned site, to list the top 10 high yield checking accounts with the highest rates, assuming a deposit amount of $100.

Credit unions were only included if they allow membership to anyone (such as by making a donation to their chosen charity). Finally, we filtered out any high yield checking accounts that are not available nationwide, or that carry a health rating of below a B.

The Best High Yield Checking Accounts in 2019

Consumers Credit Union (IL) — Free Rewards Checking

  • Minimum amount to open: $0
  • Requirements to earn the high APY: You must complete the following four things each month:
    1. complete at least 12 signature-based debit purchases,
    2. receive at least one direct deposit, ACH debit, or pay one bill through their free bill payment system,
    3. log into your online banking account, and
    4. be signed up for eStatements.
    5. spend $1,000 or more with a Consumers Credit Union Visa credit card each month.
  • Monthly service fee: No monthly service fee.
  • ATM fees: If you meet the requirements to earn the high APY, you won’t pay any ATM fees. However, if you don’t, you’ll have to pay $1.00 for each ATM or debit card withdrawal after your sixth ATM/debit card withdrawal of the month.
  • ATM refunds: You are eligible for refunds on all ATM fees as long as you meet the requirements to earn the highest APY.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Consumers Credit Union (IL)’s secure website

NCUA Insured

La Capitol Federal Credit Union — Choice Checking

  • Minimum amount to open: $50
  • Requirements to earn the high APY: Make at least 25 debit purchases per month.
  • Monthly service fee: $8; waived if you either have a balance of at least $1,000 or make 20 non-ATM debit card transactions each month.
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM refunds: Up to $25 in out-of-network surcharges (the money the ATM’s owner charges you) per month if you are signed up for eStatements

LEARN MORE Secured

on La Capitol Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

TAB Bank — Kasasa Cash Checking

  • Minimum amount to open: $0
  • Requirements to earn the high APY: You must have at least 1 direct deposit, ACH payment, or bill pay transaction posted to the account during each billing cycle and at least 15 debit card purchases.
  • Monthly service fee: None
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM refunds: Up to $15 every month (if you meet the qualifications to earn the highest APY)

LEARN MORE Secured

on TAB Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

T-Mobile — T-Mobile Money Checking Account

  • Minimum amount to open: $0
  • Requirements to earn the high APY: You must be enrolled in a qualifying T-Mobile wireless plan, be registered for perks with your T-Mobile ID, and have a minimum of $200 in qualifying deposits.
  • Monthly service fee: None
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM refunds: Up to $10 every month

LEARN MORE Secured

on T-Mobile Money’s secure website

Member FDIC

Orion Federal Credit Union — Premium Checking

  • Minimum amount to open: $0
  • Requirements to earn the high APY: You must make electronic deposits (which can be either a direct deposit, mobile deposit, or an electronic transfer from another financial institution) of at least $500 each month, in addition to making at least eight signature-based debit card transactions each month.
  • Monthly service fee: $5, which is waived if you meet the requirements to earn the highest APY.
  • ATM fees: None for ATM withdrawals in Orion’s network, $1 for non-Orion ATMs
  • ATM refunds: Up to $10 a month for fees charged by non-Orion financial institutions.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Orion Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Partner Colorado Credit Union — High-Interest Checking

  • Minimum amount to open: $0
  • Requirements to earn the high APY: You’ll need to do three things each month:
    1. use your debit card to make at least 20 signature-based purchases of $5 or more,
    2. be signed up for eStatements, and
    3. log into your Online or Mobile Banking account.
  • Monthly service fee: $5; waived if you meet the requirements to earn the high APY.
  • ATM fees: None.
  • ATM refunds: All ATM surcharge fees are refunded.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Partner Colorado Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

One American Bank — Kasasa Cash

  • Minimum amount to open: $50
  • Requirements to earn the high APY: You’ll need to do the following three things for each qualification cycle (be aware: their qualification cycles are not the same thing as a calendar month):
    1. complete at least 12 debit purchases of $5.00 or more,
    2. be enrolled in eStatements, and
    3. log into your Online Banking account.
  • Monthly service fee: No monthly service charges.
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM refunds: Up to $25 per qualification cycle if you meet the requirements to earn the high APY.

LEARN MORE Secured

on One American Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Heritage Bank — eCentive Account

  • Minimum amount to open: $100
  • Requirements to earn the high APY: Each month you’ll need to make 10 or more debit card payments and/or purchases (excluding ATM transactions), have at least one direct deposit or ACH deposit, and receive monthly electronic bank statements.
  • Monthly service fee: None
  • ATM fees: $1 per transaction for ATMs not in the credit union’s network
  • ATM refunds: Up to $25 per qualification cycle if you meet the requirements above.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Heritage Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union — Vertical Checking

  • Minimum amount to open: $0
  • Requirements to earn the high APY: You must complete the following things each month:
    1. have at least one direct deposit into your account,
    2. be enrolled in e-statements,
    3. use your debit card to make at least 15 purchases per month, and
    4. log on mobile or online banking once.
  • Monthly service fee: None.
  • ATM fees: None.
  • ATM refunds: Up to $15 of out-of-network ATM fees per month.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Dover Federal Credit Union — Kasasa Cash Account

  • Minimum amount to open: $100
  • Requirements to earn the high APY:  You must make at least 12 debit card purchases in each monthly qualification cycle. In addition, you must be enrolled and agree to receive eStatements and enrolled in online banking, which you must log into at least one time per month.
  • Monthly service fee: None
  • ATM fees: $0s
  • ATM refunds: Up to $25 in refunds of third-party ATM fees per monthly qualification cycle.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Dover Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

First Financial Credit Union — First Secure Checking

  • Minimum amount to open: $0
  • Requirements to earn the high APY: Make at least 15 debit card purchases a month
  • Monthly service fee: $5 (waived if you maintain a balance of $2,500)
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM refunds: Up to $10 a month for third-party ATM fees.

LEARN MORE Secured

on First Financial CU (IL)’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Great Lakes Credit Union — Free Checking

  • Minimum amount to open: $0
  • Requirements to earn the high APY: You must complete the following actions each month:
    1. have at least $500 in direct deposits into the account,
    2. make at least 10 signature-based debit card purchases of $100 or more,
    3. be signed up for eStatements, and
    4. use Bill Pay at least once or log into Mobile Banking at least once.
  • Monthly service fee: None
  • ATM fees: $2.00 for non-Great Lakes Credit Union ATMs
  • ATM refunds: $10 per month if you meet the requirements to earn the high APY.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Great Lakes Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

How are these banks able to offer such a high APY?

Did you notice that most of the institutions offering high yield checking accounts tend to be smaller names that you’ve probably never heard of? It turns out there’s a good reason for that, and it all has to do with the Dodd-Frank Act, a set of sweeping financial regulations passed by Congress in the wake of the Great Recession.

Back when the Dodd-Frank Act was passed in 2010, a tiny legislative nugget called the Durbin Amendment was included in the text. This amendment limited the swipe fees that big banks can charge merchants for each purchase that one of their customers makes using a debit card.

Suddenly, big banks (defined as institutions with at least $10 billion in assets) could only charge half as much per swipe as they had been doing, and swipe fees became a lot more lucrative for smaller banks and credit unions instead.

That’s why so many smaller institutions have strict rules requiring you to use your debit card each month. According to the Federal Reserve, in 2016 smaller banks earned anywhere from 18 to 65 cents for each debit card swipe, compared to a maximum of just 22 cents plus 0.05% of the purchase price for larger banks.

Say, for example, a smaller bank requires you to make 10 debit transactions per month, and earns 65 cents from each transaction. Your bank would then earn $6.50 from your spending that month.

That is where the high interest rates come from. It’s also why the high interest rates are generally capped to smaller balances, so that you don’t earn too much money and negate all the swipe fees that the bank earns.

Is it worth meeting requirements to go after the high APY?

Some of these high yield checking accounts have a lot of requirements.

If you prefer to use debit cards, chances are you’ll be able to easily meet the minimum debit swiping requirements for most of these accounts. On the other hand, if you’re a cash or credit card junkie, you may find yourself frequently worrying at the end of the month about whether or not you’ve met the minimum debit swiping requirements. In this case, a high yield checking account might not be right for you.

Another thing to consider is that many of these banks require you to make a signature-based debit transaction, rather than a PIN-based debit transaction for it to count. Unfortunately, this is slightly less secure than using the PIN-based payment method.

You’ll also need to avoid making a rush of charges at the end of the month to meet the spending requirements. That’s because banks and credit unions will usually only count a charge that has finished posting to your account towards meeting the monthly swiping requirement. It can take a few days for debit swipes to post to your account, so it’s better to get these charges in early to make sure they post to your account in time to count.

The good news is that checking accounts aren’t designed to hold significant amounts of cash. That’s what a savings account is for, and you can still earn pretty good interest rates with a high yield savings account (although still nowhere close to these high yield checking accounts).

If you’re going to keep a smaller deposit in your checking account anyways, why not earn as much as you can from it—especially if you know you’ll have an easy time meeting the requirements?

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.

James Ellis
James Ellis |

James Ellis is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email James here

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Best of, Earning Interest

The Best High-Yield Online Savings Accounts in September 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 September 20, 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 2.00% 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: CIT – 2.20% 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 2.20% 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

2. High Rate: Barclays Bank – 2.00% 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 2.00% APY with no minimum balance to open and no monthly fees. Your deposits are FDIC insured up to the legal limit. The Barclays website has a good look and feel. And you can have the confidence of keeping your money with one of the world’s largest and oldest universal banks.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Barclays’s secure website

Member FDIC

3. High Rate: Goldman Sachs Bank USA – 2.00% 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 2.00% 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 2.00% 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

4. High Rate: Synchrony Bank – 2.00% APY, no minimum balance, (and ATM access)

High Yield Savings from Synchrony BankSynchrony Bank pays a healthy 2.00% 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

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

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

LEARN MORE Secured

on American Express National Bank’s secure website

Partner Offer

Member FDIC

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

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

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

LEARN MORE Secured

on HSBC Direct’s secure website

Member FDIC

7. High Rate: CIBC Bank USA – 2.20% 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 2.20%. You’ll only need $1,000 to open the account. While there isn’t a monthly maintenance fee, you may be charged $10 if you make more than six transactions per statement cycle. CBIC Bank USA does have a mobile banking app, but make sure that you download the app for the U.S., not Canada.

LEARN MORE Secured

on CIBC USA’s secure website

Member FDIC

8. High Rate: Citizens Access – 2.00% 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 2.00% 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

9. Unique Bank + Highest Overall Rate: Fitness Bank – 2.75% 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 2.75% 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 2.75% 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

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

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

LEARN MORE Secured

on BrioDirect’s secure website

FDIC Insured

11. High Rate: Vio Bank – 2.42% 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 2.42% 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.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Vio Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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

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

LEARN MORE Secured

on TAB Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

13. High Rate: Popular Direct – 2.40% APY, $5,000 minimum to open

Popular Direct Ultimate Savings Account from Popular DirectPopular Direct, the online bank of Banco Popular North America, is currently offering an outstanding APY of 2.40% on their Popular Direct Ultimate Savings Account. You’ll need $5,000 to open this account and you’ll have to maintain a daily end of day balance of $500 to avoid the $4 monthly service fee. This account does not come with an ATM card. In order to access your money, you would need to transfer funds to and from an existing checking account via an ACH transfer, which can take a few days. Your deposits are FDIC insured. Popular Direct has a mobile banking app and provides account holders with access to online banking.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Popular Direct’s secure website

Member FDIC

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

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

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

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

LEARN MORE Secured

on Customers Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

15. High Rate: Betterment – up to 2.38% APY, $10 minimum to open

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

If you’re comfortable with the way this account is structured, you’ll be rewarded with an APY that is up to 2.38%. There is a catch, however, to earn the highest rate. In order to earn the 2.38% APY, you’ll need to join Betterment’s waiting list for the checking product. That’s it! Once you join the list, you’ll be awarded the 2.38% APY through the end of 2019 as long as you stay on the waiting list. If you choose to not join the waiting list, you’ll still earn a great APY of 2.13%. You only need $10 to open the account and there isn’t a minimum balance amount to earn the APY. One thing to note about the promotional and regular APYs – they are still variable rates. Betterment has the right to lower or raise the rates at any time. What Betterment is guaranteeing with the promotional rate is that it will always be 25 basis points above the regular APY. This guarantee will last for the remainder of 2019.

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

LEARN MORE Secured

on Betterment’s secure website

FDIC Insured

16. High Rate: Wealthfront – 2.32% APY, $1 minimum balance amount

Cash Account from WealthfrontWealthfront is an investment company that is currently offering a high-yield account for your savings. Unlike some other investment companies entering the savings space, Wealthfront isn’t asking you to do anything other than deposit money into its Cash account to earn the APY its offering. You’ll need at least $1 to open the account and you’ll need to maintain at least $1 in the account to continue earning the 2.32% APY. Wealthfront’s Cash account doesn’t come with any fees. The money you deposit is FDIC-insured through participating banks. Wealthfront allows you to opt out of having your funds deposited with one or more of the partner banks. You can transfer your money in and out of the account as many times as you’d like. Wealthfront does have a daily ACH transfer limit of $250,000. Any ACH transfers over that amount will be spread out over multiple days. Withdrawals will take anywhere between 1-3 business days to post to your bank account. We understand that not everyone may be comfortable with these cash management accounts, but we believe that the rate that this company is offering is worth mentioning.

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17. High Rate: SFGI Direct – 2.27% APY, $500 to open

SFGI Direct Savings Account from SFGI DirectSFGI Direct is Summit Community Bank’s online division. They currently have more than $2 billion of assets and is privately owned by Summit Financial Group, Inc. SFGI is FDIC insured through Summit Community Bank, so deposits are protected up to the legal limit. They are currently offering a good rate of 2.27% on balances of $1 or greater. You’ll have to deposit a minimum of $500 in order to open the account, but you can’t make an initial deposit greater than $25,000. After you make your initial deposit, you’re able to add as much money as you’d like to the account. While they do offer a good rate on an online savings account, their online experience is lacking. Their website feels dated and they don’t appear to have a mobile banking app.

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18. High Rate: Comenity Direct – 2.25% APY, $100 minimum to open

High-Yield Savings Account from Comenity DirectComenity Direct is the online division of Comenity Capital Bank. Comenity Capital Bank has been around since 1989 and has acquired over $9 billion in assets. Comenity Capital Bank launched this online division in the middle of April 2019 and came into the savings space with a high-yield savings account earning 2.25% APY. While you need $100 to open the account, you can earn the high rate with a balance as small as $1 and as big as $10 million. Comenity Direct’s High-Yield Savings Account doesn’t place limits on ACH transfers.This account doesn’t have any monthly fees and the bank doesn’t charge a fee if you attempt to withdraw from this account more than six times. If you do try to withdraw from the account a seventh time within the same statement cycle, Comenity Bank reserves the right to either deny or reject the withdrawal and may even close the account. While this is mainly a fee-free savings account, there are a few fees that may be charged if you request paper statements, a paper check withdrawal, and an outgoing wire transfer. Comenity Direct does have a mobile banking app for your convenience. This is one of the best high-yield savings accounts currently being offered, but keep in mind that this online division is brand new. When it comes to accounts with variable rates, we prefer to stick with more established banks with consistently competitive rates.

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

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

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20. 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.

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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Continue reading The Best High-Yield Online Savings Accounts in September 2019

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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 Interest

The Best IRA CD Rates – September 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.

Top IRA CD rates
Source: iStock

Perhaps you’ve decided to build a CD ladder within your IRA, or maybe you’re looking for a safe way to store your retirement cash for a specific period of time. Whatever the reason, you’re interested in getting an IRA CD and, understandably, want to know what products will give you the best rate of return.

You can get an IRA CD with terms ranging from three months to more than six years, with interest rates generally increasing with the term length. There are lots of options, so we’ve rounded up the top IRA CD rates that are available right now for a variety of terms. You’ll select your IRA CD terms based on your CD-ladder master plan or whenever you’ll need access to your money.

Every month, we choose the best IRA CD rates using data from another LendingTree company DepositAccounts.com, a database of offerings at more than 17,100 banks and credit unions. We sorted the products by APY, then eliminated institutions with a health rating below a B. We then eliminated products that are not available nationwide. From there, we chose the IRA CD with the highest APY among products with a minimum deposit no greater than $5,000. Here are the best options.

The best IRA rates in September 2019

Term

Institution

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

3 months

TIAA Bank

1.95%

$5,000

6 months

CommunityWide Federal Credit Union

2.35%

$2,000

12 months

State Department Federal Credit Union

2.63%

$500

18 months

Capital One

1.90%

$0

2 years

MAC Federal Credit Union

2.80%

$1,000

3 years

Hughes Federal Credit Union

3.10%

$1,000

4 years

State Department Federal Credit Union

2.93%

$500

5 years

State Department Federal Credit Union

3.19%

$500

6+ years

Evansville Teachers FCU

2.50%

$1,000

 

Best 3-month IRA CD — TIAA Bank Yield Pledge IRA (Traditional, Roth)

3 Month Yield Pledge IRA from TIAA Bank
TIAA Bank offers customers a 3-month yield pledge CD that’s also eligible for IRA protection. Savers can expect an APY of 1.95%, with a minimum deposit of $5,000.

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Best 6-month IRA CD — CommunityWide Federal Credit Union (Traditional, Roth)

6 Month IRA from Communitywide Federal Credit Union
CommunityWide Federal Credit Union is offering the highest rate available on 6-month IRA CDs at 2.35% APY for deposits of $1,000 and over. That translates into earnings of $11.71 if you were only to deposit the minimum amount. Compare that to the average of all regular 6-month CDs, at 0.91%.

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on Communitywide Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Best 1-year IRA CD — State Department Federal Credit Union (Traditional, Roth)

12 Month IRA Certificate from State Department Federal Credit UnionThis one-year term share certificate earns an APY of 2.63% and only requires a minimum deposit of $500. This is a significantly higher rate than the credit union’s traditional one-year share certificate, which earns an APY of 2.42%. If you deposited $1,000, that would earn you $26.30 by the time the account matured.

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Best 18-month IRA CD — Capital One 360 IRA CD (Traditional, Roth, CESA)

18 Month 360 IRA from Capital OneCapital One’s 18-month 360 IRA CD can earn you a competitive rate of 1.90% APY. There’s no minimum deposit to open a CD or start earning interest, although the penalty for making an early withdrawal is six months of interest — no matter when you redeem the account prior to maturity. As the online banking side of Capital One, Capital One 360 tends to offer higher rates than the bank’s conventional CDs.

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Best 2-year IRA CD — MAC Federal Credit Union (Traditional, Roth)

24 Month IRA from MAC Federal Credit Union Headquartered in Fairbanks, AK, MAC Federal Credit Union’s 2-year IRA share certificate earns 2.80% APY with a minimum deposit of $1,000. This IRA share certificate is available for a Traditional IRA or a Roth IRA. Membership in this credit union is open to anyone who joins the Polar Bear Chapter of the Association of the United States Army, which costs $40 for a two-year membership.

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NCUA Insured

Best 3-year IRA CD — Hughes Federal Credit Union (Traditional, Roth, SEP)

36 Month IRA from Hughes Federal Credit UnionThis credit union based in Arizona allows anyone in the country to qualify for membership provided they make a $10 donation to one of several associations, including Friends of the Oro Valley Public Library, Friends of the Pima County Public Library, Friends of Green Valley Library, and Friends of Kirk-Bear Canyon Library. The high APY and relatively low minimum deposit makes this IRA CD a great choice.

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Best 4-year IRA CD — State Department Federal Credit Union (Traditional, Roth)

48 Month IRA Certificate from State Department Federal Credit Union State Department FCU continues to dominate the longer-term IRA CDs with its 48-month CD, boasting a rate of 2.93% APY. As with all State

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Best 5-year IRA CD — State Department Federal Credit Union (Traditional, Roth)

60 Month IRA Certificate from State Department Federal Credit UnionThe State Department FCU, a regular fixture of these lists, doesn’t disappoint with its 5-year IRA CD rates offering a high APY with a low minimum balance requirement of $500.

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NCUA Insured

Best 6-year IRA CD — Evansville Teachers FCU (Traditional, Roth, CESSA)

6 Year IRA from Evansville Teachers Federal Credit UnionTo join this credit union, you may make a $5 donation to the Mater Dei Friends & Alumni Association. You may want to strongly consider doing so, as the 6-year IRA CD rate offered by Evansville FCU is the best on the market in terms of APY. Plus, it only requires a minimum balance of $1,000.

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on Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

3 questions to consider before opening an IRA CD

Opening an IRA CD generally requires filling out a form or talking to a banker. You’ll have to have a way to fund your IRA CD, whether that’s rolling over an existing retirement account into an IRA CD or depositing cash into the product. The same limits that apply to IRA contributions apply to IRA CDs: $5,500 per year ($6,500 if you’re over age 50) of your own money across all your IRA accounts each year, and you can do a rollover once per year.

Unless you’ve invested in a bump-up IRA CD, you won’t be able to take advantage of a higher rate until your CD matures. Withdrawing funds from an IRA CD before they mature will result in a stiff penalty. Bump-up IRA CDs give you a chance to increase your interest rate to a higher level if it’s available, but you’re generally only allowed to do this once or twice during the life of the CD.

You can either use the direct-transfer method or the indirect-transfer method. The direct transfer method requires setting up your new IRA account filling out a form authorizing the bank or credit union to transfer money from the old account into the new account. The indirect transfer method involves you asking for a check from your old IRA account. You have up to 60 days to deposit that check into your IRA CD to avoid incurring a penalty.

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.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

Lindsay VanSomeren is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lindsay here