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Types of bank accounts for your financial needs

Compare seven types of accounts that can help you manage your money.

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Choose a type of bank account

Bank accounts can go a long way in helping you reach your financial goals — whether that goal is to spend or save money. Here’s a breakdown of the five main types of bank accounts, so you can decide which is best for your needs.

1. Checking accounts

A checking account is designed for everyday spending, as there’s no cap on the number of deposits and withdrawals you can make each month. You’ll typically get a checkbook and a debit card so you can write checks or use your card to make purchases and withdraw cash on the go.

Most checking accounts don’t earn interest, but more and more interest-bearing options are starting to pop up. Perhaps the biggest drawback of a checking account is overdraft fees, which you may face if spend more money than you have in your account.

2. Savings accounts

As its name implies, a savings account is designed for saving. You earn interest on the money you keep in the account, but you typically won’t get an ATM card or checks. You’re also limited to six withdrawals a month per Regulation D.

3. Money market accounts

Think of a money market account as a savings/checking account hybrid. You get the benefits of a debit card and the ability to write checks, but you also earn the same competitive interest rate as you would with a savings account. On the downside, money market accounts are typically limited to six withdrawals a month and they may require deposits of $500 or more to get started.

4. CDs

With a certificate of deposit, you agree to lock your money away for a set period of time (usually anywhere from three months to 10 years). In exchange, you get a fixed interest rate that won’t change even if rates drop.

The only catch is that you can’t withdraw your money before your CD matures. If you do, you’ll pay early withdrawal penalties.

5. Retirement accounts

There are several different types of retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s and Traditional and Roth IRAs. Depending on the plan you use, you may gain access to tax breaks, employer matching and other special benefits to help you grow a sizeable nest egg for retirement. But there’s typically a yearly contribution limit, and you may pay penalties if you need to access funds early.

6. Brokerage accounts

A brokerage account is an investment account designed to buy and sell investment products, including stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds and bonds. Open a brokerage account with an investment firm, which can then place trades on your behalf. Some full-service brokerage accounts also offer personalized service and financial advice through a financial advisor.

7. Cash management accounts

With a cash management account (CMA), you can spend, save and invest in one fell swoop. CMAs have similar features to checking accounts and may come with an ATM card, a debit card and check-writing capabilities. They also function as a savings account by offering competitive interest rates.

And since nonbank providers, such as brokerage companies, generally offer cash management accounts, you may also be able to invest in securities using the same account.

VIDEO: Which bank account is right for you?

Compare different types of bank accounts

This table highlights the major differences between the five types of bank accounts:

Checking accountSavings accountMoney market accountCertificate of deposit (CD)Retirement account
Best forThose who want a basic spending account to pay bills, transfer funds and make purchasesThose who want to earn interest on their savingsThose who want a checking and savings hybrid that earns interest but is accessibleThose looking for a short-term investment with a locked in interest rateThose who want to save and invest for retirement
Earns interest
Monthly fees
Minimum deposit$0 to $25$0 to $100$2,500 to $10,000$500 to $10,000Varies
ATM access
Checkwriting
FDIC or NCUA insured
Withdrawal limits
six a monthsix a monthCan’t withdraw until maturityCan’t withdraw until retirement age

Things to consider when choosing the type of bank account for you

Here are a few features to keep in mind when finding the best type of bank account for your needs:

  • Financial goals. Why are you opening a bank account? If it’s to spend money, go with a checking account. If it’s to save and build wealth, go with a savings account or CD. If you want a little bit of both, a money market account may fit the bill.
  • Fees. Bank account fees include overdraft, ATM, daily balance, paper statement, and monthly maintenance fees. Look for an account with $0 monthly fees and read through the fine print to know how to avoid other associated fees.
  • Minimum balance requirements. Some accounts come with minimum opening deposit requirements. Depending on how much money you want to keep in your account will help you determine which bank account you’ll want to open.
  • Interest. Although savings accounts are a popular choice to grow your money, there are checking accounts that earn interest. Compare interest rates and how it’s compounded to decide which account is right for you.
  • Banking needs. Everyone has unique banking needs. Some prefer convenience and flexibility, while others want to earn rewards and interest. The best bank account will help you manage your finances efficiently and reach your goals.

Best bank accounts by type

The best bank accounts are transparent and flexible and offer perks that help you reach your financial goals. When considering the best accounts, we looked at factors like interest rates, ease of use, ATM access, deposit requirements, monthly fees and additional perks.

Best overall bank account for money market saving

CIT Bank Money Market

3.9
★★★★★

Finder score

The CIT Bank Money Market account has a low opening deposit, no monthly fees and a competitive 1.55% APY that's seven times higher than the national average.

For more accounts that give you flexible access to your savings, compare our list of best money market accounts.

Best overall bank account for CDs

Marcus by Goldman Sachs High-yield CD

4.5
★★★★★

Finder score

Marcus by Goldman Sachs High-yield CD takes home the gold for best overall bank account for CDs thanks to its hassle-free online application process, low minimum opening deposit and strong APYs across all CD terms.

For more accounts that fit your savings goals, compare our list of best CDs.

Best overall bank account for savings

Synchrony High Yield Savings

4.3
★★★★★

Finder score

This Synchrony account wins for best overall bank account for savings because it grows your money fast with a strong APY and gives you plenty of ways to access it when the time comes.

For more accounts that fit your goals, compare our list of best savings accounts.

Best overall digital banking alternative

Aspiration Spend & Save Account

4.2
★★★★★

Finder score

Aspiration Spend & Save Account is an eco-friendly cash management account with an eye on sustainability and a competitive APY to boot. If you become an Aspiration Plus member, you can earn up to 3% APY and up to 10% cash back on debit card purchases at specific merchants like Warby Parker and Blue Apron. Plus, your cash is FDIC-insured for up to $2 million. But you'll need to meet the requirements to earn the max APY. Aspiration Plus members that pay $7.99 a month (or $5.99 a month if you pay annually) earn 3% APY on balances up to $10,000 when they spend $500 a month with their Aspiration debit card. Customers on its basic account with no mandatory monthly fee can earn up to 3% APY. And for those who don't meet the monthly spending requirement or have an account balance greater than $10,000, you can still earn some interest if you're an Aspiration Plus member.

For more accounts that combine checking, savings and investment services under one product, compare our list of best cash management accounts.

Best overall bank account for checking

Capital One 360 Checking

4.6
★★★★★

Finder score

We've dubbed this free Capital One 360 Checking account best overall for its reliable interest rate, flexible overdraft options and convenient ATM access. Plus, Capital One doesn't charge foreign transaction fees, and it offers early paydays.

For more accounts that fit your spending lifestyle, compare our list of best checking accounts.

What’s the best type of bank account for me?

The best account for you will depend on what you plan on using it for, so it’s important to identify what you value in your banking experience.

This table highlights the type of bank account that may be right for you depending on your situation:

If you’re a…

Consider this account

Features

Learn more

TravelerDebit cards with international featuresFree accounts with other perks to help you reach your goals
CoupleJoint bank accountAn effective way for couples to manage their money together
Business ownerBusiness bank accountMakes it easy to manage cash flow and keep track of spending for tax and accounting purposes
ChildKids bank accountCan help children learn how to manage their money, comes with parental controls and usually doesn’t have monthly fees
Teen or studentTeen bank accountCan help your child manage earned money and can teach them good habits they can carry into adulthood

Compare popular bank accounts by type

Use the tabs on this table to sort through popular checking, savings, and money market accounts, as well as CDs. Sort each table by minimum deposit and APY to find one that’s right for you.

Name Product Fee Minimum deposit to open Annual Percentage Yield (APY) Offer
BMO Smart Advantage Checking
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
BMO Smart Advantage Checking
$0 per month
$25
N/A
Earn a $400 cash bonus when you have a total of at least $4,000 in qualifying direct deposits within the first 120 days.
Earn a $400 cash bonus after $4,000 deposits in the first 120 days. Pay $0 monthly fees and no minimum balance. Access a large nationwide network of free ATMs. Member FDIC.
Cash Card by Cash App
Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5: ★★★★★
Cash Card by Cash App
$0 per month
$0
N/A
The Cash App Cash Card lets you pay for goods and services both online and in stores using your Cash App balance. Enjoy features like ATM access, direct deposit, instant discounts at select stores and a customizable card.
Chime Checking account
Finder Rating: 4.8 / 5: ★★★★★
Chime Checking account
$0 per month
$0
N/A
Save easily and access your paycheck up to 2 days early with direct deposit. Pay $0 monthly fees, and no minimum balance is required. Access 24/7 support and get daily balance and transaction alerts. FDIC insured.
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Name Product Account type Annual Percentage Yield (APY) FDIC or NCUA insured amount Minimum balance to earn interest Minimum deposit to open Offer Estimated total balance
UFB Secure Savings
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5: ★★★★★
UFB Secure Savings
Traditional savings,Custodial account

5.25%

Up to $250,000
$0
$0
$1,052.50
Bread Savings™ High-Yield Savings
Finder Rating: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
Bread Savings™ High-Yield Savings

5.15%

Up to $250,000
$0
$100
$1,051.50
SoFi Checking and Savings
Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
SoFi Checking and Savings
Traditional savings,Checking

4.60%

0.50%

1.20%

Up to $250,000
$0
$0
Earn up to $250 with a qualifying direct deposit, terms apply. This offer is available until December 31, 2023.
$1,046
American Express® High Yield Savings Account
Finder Rating: 4.9 / 5: ★★★★★
American Express® High Yield Savings Account
Traditional savings

4.30%

Up to $250,000
$1
$0
$1,043
Wealthfront Cash Account
Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5: ★★★★★
Wealthfront Cash Account

5.00%

Up to $8M FDIC insurance
$1
$1
$1,050
Valley Direct High Yield Savings Account
Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5: ★★★★★
Valley Direct High Yield Savings Account
Savings app

5.25%

$250,000
$0.01
$1
$1,052.50
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Name Product Account type Annual Percentage Yield (APY) FDIC or NCUA insured amount Minimum balance to earn interest Minimum deposit to open Offer Estimated total balance
Hanover Bank MMDA through Raisin
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5: ★★★★★
Hanover Bank MMDA through Raisin
Money market

5.26%

Up to $250,000
$0
$1
$1,052.60
Patriot Bank High-Yield Money Market Deposit Account
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5: ★★★★★
Patriot Bank High-Yield Money Market Deposit Account
Money market

5.22%

Up to $250,000
$0
$1
$1,052.20
Quontic Bank Money Market
Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5: ★★★★★
Quontic Bank Money Market
Money market

5.00%

Up to $250,000
$0
$100
$1,050
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Name Product 6-month APY 1-year APY 5-year APY Minimum deposit to open