Updated March 1, 2018
After years of low interest rates, there is a pricing war happening for online savings accounts. Long gone are the days of 0.01% APY. If you are willing to open an online savings account (which is FDIC insured), you can now easily get a 1.50% APY or higher. Interest rates are only increasing online: traditional brick and mortar banks continue to pay very low rates. A typical savings account at a big bank only pays 0.01% APY.
The best online banks offer perks like no minimum balance, ATM access and much higher interest rates than the average savings account. Here are the best online savings accounts (and this post is updated regularly).
1. High Rate: Synchrony Bank - 1.55% APY, no minimum balance (and ATM access)
on Synchrony Bank’s secure website
2. High Rate: Goldman Sachs Bank USA - 1.50% APY, no minimum balance (but no ATM access)
Our advertiser Marcus by Goldman Sachs, the consumer bank of Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs, offers a 1.50% APY on deposits. There is no minimum balance and there are no transaction fees. Upon opening the account, you can deposit funds via electronic transfer, wire transfer, or deposit by check. You can get access to your funds via electronic transfer or wire transfer. Goldman has been investing heavily in Marcus, its online consumer bank. Marcus is already offering some of the best savings accounts and personal loans in the market, and further expansion is expected. The savings account has consistently been paying one of the highest rates in the market. With a 1.50% 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.
on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website
3. High Rate: Barclays Bank - 1.50% APY, no minimum balance
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 1.50% 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.
on Barclays’s secure website
4. High Rate: CIT - 1.55% APY, $100 to open
CIT 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. They’re currently offering a very healthy APY of 1.55% on their online savings account. Even better: you can open the account with only $100, interest compounds daily, and there are no monthly maintenance fees. Deposits are FDIC insured.
5. Highest Overall Rate: Live Oak Bank - 1.60% APY, no minimum balance
Live Oak is a small bank based in North Carolina that has more than $2 billion of assets and is publicly traded. It focuses on small business lending, but has been rapidly growing its online deposit business. The bank is highly profitable and is looking to fund its continued expansion with these deposits. While Live Oak Bank is not as big as Synchrony, Goldman Sachs, CIT, and Barclays, they do have a nice user interface and pays some of the most competitive rates in the country. Just be warned: Live Oak does charge a no activity fee if your account has a balance of less than $10.01 for 24 consecutive months.
6. Top Choice: Ally Bank - 1.45% APY, no minimum balance and you can get a free checking account
Ally is a bank without branches that has consistently been paying high interest rates on savings accounts. Ally has no minimum balance requirement and will pay 1.45% APY. 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.
on Ally Bank’s secure website
7. High Rate: American Express, FSB - 1.45% APY, no minimum balance (and no fees)
Our sponsored advertiser, American Express, FSB, offers a High Yield Personal Savings account, which earns a 1.45% variable APY. It's not the highest APY you can currently earn from an online savings account, but it's well above average. The account charges no monthly fees and requires no minimum deposit, making it an affordable account to open. You must fund your account within 30 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.
8. Highest Overall Rate - 1.80% APY, No minimum deposit
Dollar Savings Direct is a division of Emigrant Bank. At 1.80% APY with no minimum deposit, this is clearly a good deal. Just one warning: Emigrant has done this before. MySavingsDirect is also a division of Emigrant. For a few months, it paid the highest savings account rate in the market. It then reduced the rate (and is currently at 1.00% APY). Now, with a different name, Emigrant is paying the highest rate at Dollar Savings Direct to attract customers. Just remember: the rate can be lowered at any time, and there is no guarantee this rate will last. We just published an overview of Emigrant Bank's practices across brands here (if you want to learn more). We add it to the list because 1.80% is hard to beat. But we have a suspicion (hopefully we are wrong) that once a lot of deposits are gathered, the rate could go down.
9. High Rate: MutualOne Bank - 1.61% APY, $10 to open and no minimum balance.
MutualOne Bank, located in Massachusetts, has more than $782 million in assets and is a privately-owned company. They’re currently offering a great rate of 1.61% on their online savings account with only $10 to open. There aren’t any minimum balance amounts to earn the APY, but if your balance exceeds $250,000 they will significantly lower the APY to 0.25%. While their website isn’t very informative, they do have an online banking platform as well as a Mobile Banking app. A couple items to keep in mind with MutualOne Bank:
- If you make more than 6 withdrawals or transfers from the online savings account, they will charge you $10 for each additional transaction.
- You cannot transfer more than $25,000 or the remaining balance of your account, depending on which amount is less. Unfortunately, they don’t provide more information about whether this limitation is a daily, weekly, or monthly limit so you may want to double check directly with the bank if you see this becoming an issue.
10. High Rate From A Credit Union: Alliant - 1.45% APY, $5 to open and ATM access.
People love credit unions. Because credit unions are owned by their members, you can get a higher interest rate on your savings (and lower interest rates when you borrow). Alliant is one of the best credit unions in the country, offering some of the best rates on your savings. In addition, Alliant has a great website and digital experience. Anyone can join the credit union and you only need $5 to open the account. Be aware, however, that when you go to apply for this account, Alliant will pull a soft credit inquiry for all applicants. Alliant also mentions that if you have a credit freeze, you won't be able to apply unless you temporarily release the freeze.
11. For Small Balance Savers: Digital Federal Credit Union – 5.12% APY up to $1k
Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) currently offers a nice account for people who are just starting to save. You can earn an APY of 5.12% 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.
Runner-Up: FNBO Direct – 1.60% APY, $1 to open and no minimum balance.
This month we decided to change our runner-up because some of our readers were concerned with the withdrawal limitations posed by Salem Five Direct and other grievances they experienced with the bank. So, we would like to introduce you to another bank with a great rate: FNBO Direct.
First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO) is owned by a multi-state holding company named First National of Nebraska. Although their name may suggest that their location is limited to Nebraska, they have locations in several other states as well as an online banking platform and a Mobile Banking app. FNBO is currently offering a great APY of 1.60% and you only need $1 to open the account. They don’t require you to maintain a minimum balance amount to earn the APY and they don’t impose any monthly fees. Just like all other savings accounts, you may not withdraw or transfer funds more than six times per statement cycle. Unfortunately, they do limit withdrawals and transfers on their online savings account for security reasons, but they’re significantly higher than Salem Five’s limits. They limit daily transactions to a maximum of $100,000 and monthly transactions to a maximum of $500,000. Fortunately, you’ll have access to First National Bank of Omaha ATMs, which can be distinguished with a (Circle One) logo. If the ATM is not owned by FNBO, you may incur a fee from the ATM’s owner.
How to Find the Right Account For You
Take a moment to calculate how much you could earn using our free saving account comparison tool. Enter your zip code and how much you have to save and you'll see the best savings accounts for you and save more this year. If you have a large balance, the tool might find better options than the no minimum balance options we've listed here.
If you are willing to lock your money into a longer term, consider a certificate of deposit. You can find the best CD rates here.
Your money deserves more than 0.01%. At that rate you’re basically giving a free loan to the bank, not a favor they’d return to you!
You can learn more about how our site is financed here.
Goldman Sachs Bank USA High-yield 12 Month CD
Synchrony Bank High Yield Savings
Barclays Online Savings Account
Ally Bank High Yield 12-Month CD
* All banks listed are a Member FDIC.