The Best High-Yield Online Savings Accounts in September 2020

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Updated on Wednesday, September 23, 2020

There are no excuses for sticking with a low-rate savings account these days. High-yield savings accounts provide consumers with interest rates that are way above those offered by conventional banks. The best high-yield online savings accounts can easily earn you an APY of 0.60% or greater, while the average rate offered by a traditional brick-and-mortar bank remains at a paltry 0.06%.

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 high-yield 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.

Market update: Banks have dropped their savings rates considerably due to recent uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Despite interest rates declining overall, we are still seeing many of the pre-crisis top performers continuing to lead the pack in the overall best rates category.

Do you have a savings goal in mind? Tell us about it!

1. Favorite Online Package: Ally Bank – 0.60% APY

Online Savings Account from Ally Bank

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on Ally Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • APY:0.60%
  • Minimum balance requirement: None
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: Ally 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 1.00%. 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). 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.

2. High Rate: Synchrony Bank – 0.75% APY

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY):0.75%
  • Minimum balance requirement: None
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: Yes
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: Synchrony Bank pays a healthy 0.75% 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.

3. High Rate: Capital One – 0.65% APY

  • APY:0.65%
  • Minimum balance requirement: None
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: A consistent rate leader for its deposit accounts, Capital One now offers its 360 Performance Savings. With a 0.65% APY on all balances and no monthly fee, you get a chance to boost your savings uninterrupted. There are no minimum balances required to open or maintain the account, either.

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

4. High Rate: American Express National Bank – 0.60% APY

High Yield Savings Account from American Express National Bank

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on American Express National Bank’s secure website

Partner Offer

Member FDIC

  • APY:0.60%
  • Minimum balance requirement: None
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: No
Overview: Our sponsored advertiser, American Express National Bank, offers a Personal Savings account, which earns a 0.60% variable Annual Percentage Yield (APY) as of 9/21/2020. 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.

5. High Rate: Marcus by Goldman Sachs – 0.60% APY

High-yield Online Savings Account from Marcus by Goldman Sachs

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on Marcus By Goldman Sachs’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • Annual Percentage Yield:0.60%
  • Minimum balance requirement: None
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: Our advertiser Marcus by Goldman Sachs, the consumer bank of Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs, offers a 0.60% Annual Percentage Yield 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 0.60% 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.

Marcus is accessible both online and via the Marcus mobile app, available only in the Apple App Store.

6. High Rate: Barclays Bank – 0.60% APY

Online Savings Account from Barclays

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on Barclays’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • APY:0.60%
  • Minimum balance requirement: None
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: Barclays 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 0.80% 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.

7. High Rate: Axos Bank – 0.81% APY

High Yield Savings from Axos Bank

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on Axos Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • APY:0.81%
  • Minimum balance requirement: $250
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: ATM card available upon request
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: Axos Bank was founded in 2000, known then as Bank of Internet USA. Through a couple name changes, Axos Bank has remained one of the top online banks. It offers a full suite of deposit products, from various checking accounts to certificates of deposit.

This High Yield Savings account earns its industry-leading APY on all balances, although you need $250 to open the account. Interest is compounded daily. There is no monthly fee and you can receive a free ATM card upon request.

As a digital bank, Axos Bank is accessible online and on mobile. Its mobile app includes mobile deposit. Axos Bank also offers a step-by-step Switch Kit to help you switch from your current bank to Axos.

8. High Rate: Vio Bank – 0.83% APY

High Yield Online Savings Account from Vio Bank

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on Vio Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • APY:0.83%
  • Minimum balance requirement: $100
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: Vio 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 0.83% 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.

9. High Rate: Citizens Access – 0.60% APY

Online Savings Account from Citizens Access

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on Citizens Access’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • APY:0.60%
  • Minimum balance requirement: $5,000
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: No
Overview: Citizens 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 0.60% 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.

10. High Rate: Live Oak Bank – 0.70% APY

High Yield Online Savings from Live Oak Bank

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on Live Oak Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • APY:0.70%
  • Minimum balance requirement: None
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: Founded in 2008, Live Oak Bank offers a great spread of financial products, including its high-yield Online Savings account. The Online Savings account earns 0.70% APY on all balances. Plus, interest is compounded daily for faster savings. There’ s no minimum deposit requirement to open, either, nor a monthly fee to worry about.

In addition to online access, Live Oak Bank offers a mobile app.

11. High Rate: BrioDirect – 0.60% APY

High-Yield Savings from BrioDirect

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on BrioDirect’s secure website

FDIC Insured

  • APY:0.60%
  • Minimum balance requirement: $25
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: BrioDirect 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 0.60% 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.

12. High Rate: Discover – 0.60% APY

  • APY:0.60%
  • Minimum balance requirement: None
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: Although usually known for its credit cards, Discover has carved a space for itself in the deposits world with its competitive online accounts. The Online Savings Account earns its 0.60% APY on all balances. There is no minimum to open the account either. Interest is compounded daily and paid monthly.

The account is free to own. Plus, there are no fees for checks, returned deposited items, excessive withdrawal fees, stop payment orders or insufficient funds.

In addition to online access, Discover offers a mobile app for further convenience, which includes mobile deposit capabilities.

13. High Rate: Nationwide by Axos Bank – 0.80% APY

My Savings from Nationwide by Axos Bank

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on Nationwide By Axos Bank’s secure website

FDIC Insured

  • APY:0.80%, contingent on having a My Checking account with a deposit of at least $1,000
  • Minimum balance requirement: $100
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: Through this partnership, Nationwide by Axos Bank is able to offer a full suite of financial accounts and services. Axos Bank, a digital bank founded in 2000, provides these services and the FDIC insurance on deposit accounts. Mobile access is available through the Axos Bank for Nationwide mobile app on both iPhone and Android devices.

My Savings is just one of Nationwide by Axos Bank’s savings accounts and requires at least $100 to open. Its competitive 0.80% APY applies to all balances, although you’ll need to have a My Checking account with a monthly direct deposit totaling at least $1,000 to that checking account to snag the competitive savings rate. If you don’t want the My Checking account, you can still earn a solid rate of 1.00% APY. The My Savings account does not charge a monthly service fee.

14. Unique Bank + Highest Overall Rate: Fitness Bank – 1.05% APY

Fitness Savings (12,500+ Steps) from FitnessBank

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on FitnessBank’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • APY:1.05%, contingent on taking 12,500 steps
  • Minimum balance requirement: $100
  • Monthly Fees: $10
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: Fitness 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 1.05% 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 0.95% (which is still a great APY). You’ll earn 0.85% 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 0.75%. 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 1.05% 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.

15. High Rate: First Foundation Bank – 1.00% APY

Online Savings Account - New Money Only from First Foundation Bank

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on First Foundation Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • APY:1.00%
  • Minimum balance requirement: $1,000
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: ATM card available upon request
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: First Foundation Bank officially launched in 2008, but its leadership has been in the financial services industry since 1990. This bank was established by the same group that leads the Keller Group, a wealth management firm. The bank has grown to acquire over $6 billion in assets. In October, this bank launched an Online Savings Account with a high APY of 1.00%. You’ll need to have a balance of at least $1,000 in order to open that account and you’ll need to maintain that amount in order to earn the high APY. If your balance falls below $1,000, the APY will drop. This account doesn’t have a monthly service fee.

While Regulation D applies to this account, First Foundation Bank will provide an ATM card if you request one from the bank. The bank will reimburse ATM fees from other banks and ATM operators up to $20. There is a limit to the amount of money that you can withdraw. If you’re withdrawing from an ATM, the bank sets a daily limit of $500. The daily point-of-sale limit is $1,500. If you’re transferring money online or via ACH, the daily limit is $20,000 and the monthly limit is $100,000. If you need to transfer more than the preset limits, you’re able to call the bank and request that they increase the limit. The bank allows you to maintain the account online and through their mobile banking app.

16. High Rate: TAB Bank — 0.90% APY

High Yield Savings from TAB Bank

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on TAB Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • APY:0.90%
  • Minimum balance requirement: $1
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: TAB 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, which offers a 0.90% 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.

17. High Rate: ConnectOne Bank – 0.90% APY

OneConnection Savings - Online from ConnectOne Bank

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on ConnectOne Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • APY:0.90%
  • Minimum balance requirement: $2,500 min to earn
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: With locations in New Jersey and New York, ConnectOne Bank’s best savings offering lives online. The free OneConnection Savings account requires at least $2,500 to open. It earns its competitive 0.90% APY on balances from $2,500 to $250,000.99. Balances above that earn a 0.30% APY instead.

Deposits into this online account can be made through the Remote Check Deposit feature on the bank’s mobile app, online funds transfers, direct deposit and checks or cash at a location. Withdrawals can be made by online funds transfers or by requesting a check to be sent to you.

18. High Rate: SFGI Direct – 0.81% APY

  • APY:0.81%
  • Minimum balance requirement: $1
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: No
Overview: SFGI 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 0.81% 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.

19. High Rate: Amboy Direct – 0.70% APY

Personal eSavings Account from Amboy Direct

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on Amboy Direct’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • APY:0.70%
  • Minimum balance requirement: $3,000
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: No
Overview: Established in 1990, Amboy Direct is the online banking arm of New Jersey-based bank Amboy Bank, itself founded back in 1888.

The eSavings account’s top 0.70% rate is reserved for balances from $3,000 to the maximum balance allowed on the account, $100,000. Balances of $300 to just below $3,000 will still earn a 0.30% APY, while any balances below that do not earn interest. You’ll need at least $100 to open an account, but there’s no monthly fee to worry about.

Amboy Direct accounts are accessible only online; there is no mobile app.

20. For Small Balance Savers: Digital Federal Credit Union – 6.17% APY

  • APY:6.17%
  • Minimum balance requirement: Deposits up to $1,000 earn APY
  • Monthly Fees: None
  • ATM Access: No
  • App Available: Yes
Overview: 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.

MagnifyMoney’s best savings accounts for September 2020

To recap, here are our top picks of the Best Savings Accounts for September 2020.

To find the best savings accounts overall, this list is updated weekly to stay on top of the best savings account choices that have consistently offered top savings account rates over the past two years.

The Best Savings Accounts in September 2020 Overall

Institution

APY

Bank Review

Ally Bank Online Savings Account

0.60% APY

Ally Bank Review

Synchrony Bank High-Yield Savings Account

0.75% APY

Synchrony Bank Review

Capital One 360 Performance Savings

0.65% APY

Capital One 360 Review

American Express National Bank Personal Savings


0.60% APY

American Express Review

Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield Online Savings

0.60% APY

Marcus by Goldman Sachs Review

Barclays Bank Online Savings Account

0.60% APY

Barclays Bank Review

Nowadays, the best savings accounts are often found online. New online savings accounts from online banks or even established banks looking to get in on the high-yield action blow traditional savings account rates out of the water. This list is updated weekly to reflect the latest and greatest online savings accounts with consistency over the past two years.

The Best Online Savings Accounts in September 2020

Institution

APY

Bank Review

Axos Bank High Yield Savings Account

0.81% APY

Axos Bank Review

Vio Bank High Yield Online Savings Account

0.83% APY




Vio Bank Review

Citizens Access Online Savings Account

0.60% APY

Citizens Access Review

Live Oak Bank Savings Account

0.70% APY

Live Oak Bank Review

BrioDirect High-Yield Savings Account

0.60% APY

BrioDirect Review

Discover Online Savings Account

0.60% APY

Discover Review

In today’s fluctuating-rate climate, the best high-yield savings accounts can change from day to day. We stay on top of them for you and list the highest earning savings accounts from this month below.

The Best High-Yield Savings Accounts and Rates in September 2020

Institution

APY

Bank Review

Nationwide by Axos Bank My Savings

0.80% APY

Nationwide by Axos Bank Review

Fitness Bank Savings

1.05% APY

Fitness Bank Review

First Foundation Bank Online Savings Account

1.00% APY

First Foundation Bank Review

TAB Bank High Yield Savings

0.90% APY

TAB Bank Review

ConnectOne Bank OneConnection Savings

0.90% APY

ConnectOne Bank Review

SFGI Direct Savings Account

0.81% APY

SFGI Direct Review

Amboy Direct eSavings

0.70% APY

Amboy Direct Review

Why trust us?

At MagnifyMoney, it is our mission to inform our readers about the best financial opportunities out there. Our insights have been cited by top financial publications including Marketwatch, CNBC and the Wall Street Journal.

Our dedicated team of financial experts spends dozens of hours grading online savings accounts according to their interest rates, fee schedules, extra features, minimum balance requirements and accessibility, adjusting our rankings as banks and their offerings change on a weekly basis.

We distilled our picks from a list that included hundreds of banks, credit unions and online institutions nationwide.

Our methodology for picking the best high-yield savings accounts

To find the best high-yield online savings accounts, MagnifyMoney looks at over 6,000 financial institutions each week, from small community banks and credit unions to traditional brick-and-mortar banks to new online banks.

  1. Savings account rates: We heavily weighted the APYs offered by each bank in terms of both magnitude and consistency. Higher savings rates were prioritized over lower rates. Due to the variable rates on savings accounts, we also gave additional consideration to banks that were known to maintain competitive rates over longer periods of time.
  2. Minimum deposit and balance requirements: To ensure accessibility to all customers, we focused on banks that welcome deposits of all sizes, where the ideal banks in this category have minimum balance and deposit requirements of $0.
  3. Bank account fees: Unnecessary fees can eat into your long-term savings in a major way. Banks that offered low or no fees were given priority in this category over banks that are known to charge account maintenance fees, service charges and other surcharges.
  4. Customer service: We considered overall customer satisfaction and bank reputation when weighing each bank performance in this category. While each customer’s experience varies, we looked at relative feedback each bank received at the national level based on data sourced from consumer advocates like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Better Business Bureau. Banks that failed to meet minimum standards of performance were excluded.

What should I know about high-yield savings accounts?

It’s easy to take your savings account for granted, setting up automatic deposits and forgetting about it. But there’s a lot more to high-yield savings accounts that you should know.

For one, you can find consistently more competitive rates at online banks than with your typical big bank. Online banks are also more fee-friendly — although there are still some legal limitations you should be aware of to avoid extra fees.

What is a high-yield savings account?

A high-yield savings account, also known as a high-interest savings account, is a savings account that earns interest at a higher rate than a traditional savings account. The average savings account interest rate tends to hover around 0.20% APY, but big brick-and-mortar banks often offer interest rates more like 0.01% APY.

High-yield savings accounts raise the bar and offer upwards of 1% to 2% APY — sometimes even 3% APY in good rate conditions. High-interest savings accounts are also more likely to come with added benefits like little to no fees, especially when offered by an online bank.

How much interest will I earn with a high-yield savings account?

When you open a high-yield savings account, you’re almost guaranteed to earn more in interest than with a traditional savings account.

For example, let’s say you have $5,000 to deposit into a savings account. If you choose a high-interest savings account with a 2.30% APY, for example, you’ll earn $116 and some change in a year, provided you don’t make any additional contributions to the account in that time (which would boost your savings even more).

If you deposit your $5,000 into an average savings account at 0.20% APY for a year, you’ll earn just $10 in interest. It’s a pretty big difference in earnings, and all it takes is a simple account switch.

Even in a low-rate environment, where a high-yield savings account might be earning 1.30%, for example, you’ll still make about $65 in interest, which is still well over the $10 average earnings from a traditional savings account.

Does the APY for high-yield savings accounts change?

Savings accounts are variable-rate accounts, so their rates are subject to change — and they will over the course of an account’s lifetime. This is in contrast to fixed-rate savings vehicles, like CDs, which have set rates for predetermined periods of time.

There is no universal answer for how often interest rates change on high-yield savings accounts, since each institution has its own policies and decisions. However, you can often expect an institution to change its savings account rates about once a month at least. This change typically happens at the beginning of the month.

High-interest savings accounts are also more likely to see changes in their APYs than traditional low-rate savings accounts, because high-interest accounts have more room to change. Traditional savings account rates can only go so low, especially since many of them are already bottomed out at 0.01% APY.

How to choose the best high-yield savings account

  • Start by finding the highest APY
  • Check whether the institution is consistent with its high rates
  • Look for a no-fee account
  • Confirm any account balance minimums

When you’re looking for the best high-yield savings account, it’s tempting to go straight for the highest APY you can find. That account will certainly offer the highest yield at the moment, but there’s also more to it than that. Unless you’re okay with the possibility of switching accounts periodically to chase the highest rates, it may help to find an account offered by an institution that consistently offers some of the most competitive savings account rates. We’ve started our roundup above with those accounts, offered by consistent industry-leaders over the past two years.

But high yields may mean nothing if you lose your earnings to fees, so the best high-interest savings accounts out there are also the ones with little to no fees. Look for accounts with no monthly service fees, no overdraft fees and/or no excessive transaction fees. This will help you keep your savings intact.

You’ll also want to choose a high-yield savings account that works within your existing finances. Some accounts may impose minimum deposit or balance requirements to open and keep the account. We think the best high-interest accounts are the ones that require low or $0 minimums, which makes the account much more accessible to savers. But, if you have a high balance and find a savings account that offers a higher rate for high balances, then you can go for that account if it better fits your needs.

How do I open a high-yield savings account?

In most cases, opening a high yield savings account is as easy as clicking a button on the institution’s website and completing a short application form. You will likely be approved for the account right away.

A savings account application will likely require your name, home address, email address and Social Security Number. If the account requires a minimum deposit at opening, you’ll also likely have to link an external account at this time. Otherwise, you may make your initial deposit after opening, often within a 30- or 60-day window.

If you have a rocky banking history, like previous negative balances or circumstances where the institution closed your account, your application for a high-interest account may be denied. You can check out your recorded banking history with ChexSystems, a reporting system that many banks use. If there are any errors or points of contention, you may be able to dispute an item in your ChexSystems report.

What should I use a high-yield savings account for?

You can use a high-yield savings account for a variety of reasons and savings goals. You can use it as your emergency fund, where you stash your cash for a rainy day, for example. Perhaps you want to use a high-interest savings account to boost your savings toward your next vacation or your kid’s college education.

Luckily, many institutions allow you to have several savings accounts at a time, meaning you can save toward separate goals simultaneously without ever getting your wires crossed.

Should I get an online savings account?

An online savings account is your best bet for obtaining the highest interest rate available. Online banks lack the costs associated with maintaining brick-and-mortar branches, and they generally pass the savings onto you in the form of better interest payouts. And like we’ve said, if your money is going to sit in an account, you might as well make it worth your while by growing it at a competitive rate.

Online savings accounts generally feature superior accessibility. Online banks are laser-focused on offering the best possible and most user-friendly app experiences. There’s often 24/7 customer service, and they tend to provide very good ATM access. When shopping for the best savings account to suit your needs, make sure you include a good mix of online banks offering high yields, brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions in your search.

What impacts savings rates?

Institutions typically alter their rates in response to changes in market interest rates, which are in turn driven by the federal funds rate set by the Federal Reserve. The federal funds rate influences the rates banks lend money to each other. When the Fed increases the federal funds rate, financial institutions respond by increasing the interest rates they offer on deposit accounts. When the federal funds rate falls, interest rates decrease.

If you’re not keen on tracking the federal funds rate, changes to the APY on your savings account may come as a surprise. Luckily, chances are that if you keep your deposits with an online bank, you’ll still get the most competitive rates regardless of a Fed pause or rate decrease. Online savings accounts outperform most brick-and-mortar rates any day.

What are the best banks for high-yield online savings accounts?

Here’s a summary of our top picks:

  • 0.60% APY – Marcus by Goldman Sachs
  • 0.75% APY – Synchrony Bank
  • 0.60% APY – American Express National Bank
  • 0.65% APY – Capital One
  • 0.60% APY – Ally Bank
  • 0.60% APY – Barclays Bank
  • 0.83% APY – Vio Bank
  • 0.81% APY – Axos Bank
  • 0.70% APY – Live Oak Bank
  • 0.60% APY – Citizens Access
  • 0.60% APY – Discover
  • 0.60% APY – BrioDirect
  • 1.00% APY – First Foundation Bank
  • 0.80% APY – Nationwide by Axos Bank
  • 1.05% APY – Fitness Bank
  • 0.81% APY – SFGI Direct
  • 0.75% APY – Prime Alliance Bank
  • 0.60% APY – Comenity Direct
  • 0.90% APY – ConnectOne Bank
  • 6.17% APY – Digital Federal Credit Union

Savings Account FAQs

There is nothing inherently unsafe about a high-yield savings account. As long as you make sure you’re depositing your money into an FDIC-insured bank or NCUA-insured credit union, your money will be insured up to legal amounts in case your institution fails.

You may also want to double check an institution’s security measures before signing up for an account. Check whether their website and information is protected by encryption and firewalls. Reputable institutions will also include anti-virus and anti-fraud measures. Other protections include biometric logins (fingerprints or face match), two-factor verification and security questions.

There is often not much difference between high-interest savings accounts and money market accounts. A money market account is a type of savings account that also tends to have higher rates than traditional savings accounts.

Some money market accounts set themselves apart by offering a debit or ATM card and/or check-writing capabilities. These accounts offer further accessibility to your money. However, money market accounts still fall under the six-limit “convenient” transaction requirement, like regular savings accounts.

High-yield savings accounts are taxed like regular savings accounts. However, your earnings from a high-interest savings account are more likely to be taxed, as you are more likely to be earning more in that account than a traditional low-rate account.

Savings account earnings are taxed if you make $10 or more. Regardless of your earnings, your institution should send you and the IRS a copy of Form 1099-INT, which details the interest you’ve earned in a year. Even if you don’t receive that form, the IRS will, and they will expect you to report your interest income on your tax return.

If you earn $1,500 or more in interest income in a year, you will also need to detail those sources of income on Schedule B of Form 1040.

Thanks to the Federal Reserve’s Regulation D, you can withdraw up to six times per statement cycle from a high-yield savings account, like any other savings account. This includes pre-authorized and automatic withdrawals and transfers, and transfers made by debit card, check or other similar ways.You can get around this limit by performing “less convenient” withdrawals, like those made in person at the bank or ATM. Exceptions to the rule also include withdrawals and transfers requested by mail and those initiated over the phone if you receive the withdrawal as a mailed check.

Online banks don’t incur the costs of maintaining brick-and-mortar branches. These costs include rent, building maintenance, staff salaries and the cost of keeping physical cash safe. Without these expenses weighing them down, online banks reap big savings — savings they then pass on to their customers in the form of high interest rates.

74% of Americans don’t know online-only banks generally offer better savings rates

A new survey by MagnifyMoney has found that Americans largely misunderstand online savings accounts and the financial opportunities they offer.

Key findings

  • 74% of Americans don’t know online-only banks typically offer higher interest rates than traditional brick-and-mortar banks.

    • Additionally, 16% believe online-only banks charge more fees than traditional brick-and-mortar banks, which is generally false. To see our picks for the best high-yield online savings accounts, scroll up.
    • Another 11% believe money deposited in an online bank isn’t insured, which is most often untrue. All the online banks listed above — and more — are FDIC insured. Even many fintechs and neobanks offer FDIC insurance on their cash management accounts, via partner banks.
  • Just over 143.3 million consumers are likely missing out on higher interest rates for their savings by not banking with online-only financial institutions. Of those without an account, complacency is the primary reason, as 55% are satisfied with their brick-and-mortar bank.
    • Less than half of Americans (44%) have an account with an online-only bank. Their main reasons for the switch are better interest rates (30%), fewer fees (28%) and recommendation by a financial advisor (27%).
  • Who’s most likely to have an online-only savings account? Generation Xers (61%), those earning $75,000 or more a year (58%), college graduates (57%) and men (57%).
  • More than 44% of respondents fear online banking puts them at risk for data breaches, while 40% are concerned hackers will have an easier time accessing their data. Still, of those without an online bank, just 19% said it was because they don’t trust the bank with their money.

Methodology

MagnifyMoney commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,029 Americans, with the sample base proportioned to represent the overall population. The survey was fielded on Aug. 25, 2020.

For the purposes of our survey, generations are defined as the following ages in 2020:

  • Generation Z: 18 to 23
  • Millennial: 24 to 39
  • Generation X: 40 to 54
  • Baby boomer: 55 to 74
  • Silent generation: 75 and older

While Gen Z and the silent generation were surveyed — and their answers were factored into the overall percentage totals among all respondents — they were omitted from generational comparisons, due to the low sample size among both groups.

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