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The average American has roughly $38,000 in personal debt, not including mortgages. Saving should be a top priority, second only to paying down debt. And when you’re ready to start saving—and you should start as soon as you can even if you only save a few dollars!—you want to make the most of your money. A high-interest savings account lets you do just that. But not all accounts are the same. Some pay a higher interest rate, some have mobile apps, some even offer mobile bank deposits.
If you’re ready to start saving, here’s what you need to know about high-yield savings accounts.
High-yield savings accounts are very accessible. Many are available through online banks, as those banks have less overhead compared to the costs of running a brick-and-mortar location and can afford to offer higher annual percentage yields. In fact, the Credit.com website shows offers of multiple high-interest savings accounts that pay significantly more than the average current savings rate of .09%. In general, these accounts also require no minimum deposit, have no minimum balance to earn interest and charge no monthly maintenance fees or other fees.
Why not opt for a traditional savings account? Well, the national average of .09% comes from traditional banks and credit unions paying savings interest rates as low as 0.01%. With a high-yield savings account available from the Credit.com website, you can earn closer to a 2% annual percentage yield (APY) on your savings. That difference can add up as shown below.
APY on Beginning Balance of $1,000
Added Monthly Deposit
Ending Balance at 10 Years
For saving money without risking losing money as you might in an investment account, your three main options are high-interest savings accounts, money market accounts and certificates of deposit or CDs. There are a few key differences between these accounts.
Accessibility: Money in a high-interest savings account or money market account is accessible any time—provided you haven’t exceeded your six withdrawal limit for that month or statement cycle. That can be critical if your savings is your emergency fund.
Money in a certificate of deposit is available without an early withdrawal penalty only after the maturity date, which is determined when you open the account and can be anywhere from 6 months to 10 years.
Online-only accounts of any type don’t have local brick-and-mortar branches.
Check writing: Unlike high-yield savings accounts and CDs, money market accounts typically include the ability to write checks on the account. Again, the limit is six per month or statement cycle, but if check writing is your thing, a money market may be better for you.
Minimum opening balance and minimum deposit: Both CDs and MMAs typically have higher minimum opening deposits and minimum balances than high-interest savings accounts. In return, you’ll typically also get a higher interest rate, which can be good if you can swing the extra money.
Hopefully, you see the value of putting your money in a high-yield savings account or money market account that earns more interest. An account with the highest interest rate is probably your top pick, but there are some differences in accounts that might make a slightly lower APY worth it for you.
To help you cut through the options, we have looked at some of the available high-interest savings accounts. Realize that there’s no one best account for everyone. This is just our take on which accounts offer the most appeal and for what reasons.
Benefits: If you think American Express is all about credit cards, think again. As this account proves, it’s also about savings. And the American Express Personal Savings account is a solid account. Its 1.70% APY (as of February 14, 2020) and other features compete well with any online savings account:
Also, American Express Bank is a federal savings bank (FSB) and is owned by American Express. This account is offered by the bank, which is FDIC-insured. The American Express Personal Savings Account lets you have joint account ownership. You can also link up to three external accounts to your Amex savings account. American Express also offers a Certificate of Deposit if you prefer.
Drawbacks: The American Express Personal Savings Account shares the same potential drawbacks of other savings accounts: no ATM access, no debit card, no checking account or check writing capabilities, and a limit of six withdrawals a month. Amex has no mobile banking app and doesn’t allow mobile check deposits. If those conveniences matter to you, another account may be a better option.
Benefits: The Barclays online savings account’s APY is 1.70% (as of February 14, 2020), but that rate is still significantly higher than your average savings account. It shares many of the same benefits as other online savings accounts, as well:
Drawbacks: This account has no real drawbacks other than those that afflict any savings account—no ATM access, no debit card, no checking account or check writing capabilities. Barclays also doesn’t have any brick-and-mortar locations for in-person interactions.
Read our in-depth review of Barclays Online Savings Account.
Benefits: BMO Harris Bank may not have the name recognition that some of the others on this list do, but its money market account offers a competitive rate and many other features. The bank is FDIC-insured and has a 200-year history in the industry.
BMO Harris Bank offers other savings accounts and CDs—including a 35-month CD with a 1.75% APY (as of February 14, 2020)—if you’re not interested in a money market account. Unlike some of the other banks featured here, BMO Harris Bank has physical locations around the country as well.
Drawbacks: A money market account with BMO Harris Bank has a minimum opening deposit requirement, and it’s a doozy. You’ll need a minimum of $5,000 to open an account here, but with the ability to earn 13x more than the average national APY, it may be worth it if you have the funds available.
Benefits: This savings account is fee-free. There are no minimums to open or maintain the account. With a mobile app, mobile check deposits, and other digital saving tools, Capital One is a great choice for bankers on the go who aren’t worried about a physical location—though there are some Capital One Cafes in select locations. You can also move your money between linked Cap One accounts or other external bank accounts.
Drawbacks: Like most savings accounts, with a Capital One 360 Performance Savings account, you can only make up to six withdrawals per month or be faced with fees or potential account closure. Plus, you cannot make a withdrawal at an ATM unless you transfer money to a checking account first.
Benefits: Citi allows customers to bank digitally from virtually anywhere. With a 1.85% APY (as of February 14, 2020), there’s no limit to the earnings you can receive from this account.
Drawbacks: To avoid a monthly fee, you’ll have to link your savings account to a checking account, and make one qualifying deposit or bill payment per statement period or maintain at least a $1,500 combined balance. If you’re unable to meet those requirements, the monthly service fee will be either $4.50 or $10, depending on whether or not your savings account is linked to a checking account.
Benefits: Goldman Sachs has a reputation for financial expertise, and its high-yield online savings account brings that expertise to your bank account. It offers an APY of 1.70% (as of February 14, 2020). In an account at Marcus Goldman Sachs, you also have the assurance of a bank that is FDIC-insured. Unlike some online accounts, the Goldman Sachs customer service line runs seven days a week, so you can reach a person if you have a concern.
Drawbacks: Pretty much all the accounts covered here is a lack of ATM access, debit cards, checking accounts and check writing capabilities. That said, depending on your preference, the real drawbacks of this account are going to be its lack of mobile access. There is no mobile app to manage your account and no mobile bank deposits—deposits are possible only by online transfer from another account, wire transfer or mailed check.
Read our full review of Marcus by Goldman Sachs.
Benefits: State Farm is well known as an insurance company, but it also offers FDIC-insured money market savings accounts. This money market account allows you to write checks, transfer funds, and withdraw your money when you need it. There’s no minimum balance to get started, and the 1.65% APY (as of February 14, 2020) is a great competitive rate.
Drawbacks: This account requires a minimum opening balance of $1,000. There is also a minimum average daily balance of $500, but that may be waived if you receive at least one direct deposit per statement cycle.
So, which one of these online savings accounts is the best one for you? That depends on what you’re looking for. In the end, it is less about which is the best online savings account and more about which has the combination of APY and other features that work best for you. Compare your options and open an account when you’re ready. Don’t wait too long though, the sooner you open an account, the sooner you can start earning a return on your money.
NOTE: Accounts mentioned here may not be visible on Credit.com at certain points due to partner caps on the number of accounts that can be opened in a given day or timeframe.
EDITORIAL DISCLOSURE: Reviews are as determined solely by Credit.com staff. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the reviewers and aren’t reviewed or approved by any advertiser. Information presented is accurate as of the date of the review, including information on account’s rates, rewards and fees. Check the institution’s website for the most current information on each account listed. Some offers mentioned here may have expired and/or are no longer available on our site. You can view the current offers from our partners in our high-yield marketplace.
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