The best high-yield savings account helps you build your nest egg at record speed with a high APY and fewer fees. That’s why we researched over 80 accounts to bring you the best high-interest savings accounts available today.
How’d we do it? By digging into important factors like interest rates, monthly fees, availability and minimum deposit requirements.
We removed these accounts from our list in October 2020 because their APYs dropped too much: CIT Bank Savings Builder High Yield Savings, HSBC Direct Savings, Popular Direct Select Savings, Dollar Savings Direct Dollar Savings, BrioDirect High-yield Savings and RSI Bank Go Digital! Savings. We also added Varo Savings to our alternatives section because, while the APY is competitive, you must have a Varo Bank Account to get started.
First Foundation Bank Online Savings Account is located throughout California, Nevada and Hawaii. But anyone in the US can open an Online Savings account and take advantage of no monthly fees and a high interest rate.
High APY. Earn 0.75% APY across your entire account balance.
Optional ATM card. Withdraw cash on the go when you request your free ATM card at account opening.
No service fee. You won't pay anything to maintain this account.
Opening deposit. You need at least $1,000 to open this account and earn 0.75% APY.
New money only. If you're an existing customer, you must fund this account with new money to qualify for the advertised APY.
Excessive transaction fee. You'll pay a whopping $20 fee each time you make more than six outgoing transactions a month. Most banks usually charge $5 to $10. Although this policy could be waived temporarily due to COVID-19.
The SmartyPig Savings account from Sallie Mae is a free account that helps you save for all your short and long-term goals.
No fees. The SmartyPig savings account doesn't have any monthly or withdrawal fees.
Competitive APYs. Even Sallie Mae's lowest APY tier of 0.65% is higher than most high-yield savings accounts available today.
Goal tracking. Create goals in your SmartyPig account and have money automatically dispersed between those goals when you make a deposit.
APY drops as balance grows. Most savings accounts reward you with more interest as your balance grows, but SmartyPig does the opposite. You'll earn: 1.05% on balances up to $2,500, 0.95% on balances from 2,500.01 to $10,000, 0.75% on balances from $10,000.01 to $50,000, 0.65% on balances of $50,000.01 or more.
Limited customer support. The only way to reach customer service is by phone at 877-751-6884. There's no email or live chat support.
The Rising Bank High Yield Savings Account has no monthly fees and a competitive 0.6% APY. But you'll need to keep at least $1,000 in the account to earn interest.
Competitive APY. Earn 0.6% APY on your total balance when you keep at least $1,000 in the account.
ATM card. Most savings accounts don't come with an ATM card, but this one does.
High opening deposit. You'll need to set aside at least $1,000 to open this account.
Account closure fee. Expect to pay a $10 fee if you close your account within 120 days of opening.
Minimum to earn interest
Monthly transaction limit
Fee per transaction over limit
How to choose the best high-yield savings account for you
There are a few simple steps you can take to ensure you choose the best high-yield savings account for your needs:
Look for a high interest rate. Some banks pay as much as 5% interest, but only the first $1,000 of your money. Others may pay a flat rate on your total balance. Read the fine print so you know how much you can expect to earn.
Investigate potential fees. Read the account’s Fee Schedule to see if you’ll be charged fees for maintaining the account. Bonus tip: most online savings accounts don’t have a monthly fee.
Consider accessibility. There are usually several ways to access your savings, including mobile, online and phone banking. But some accounts even come with ATM cards. Decide how you plan to use your funds and choose an account that aligns with your needs.
Look for bonus features. Some savings accounts come with budgeting features. Other come with automatic savings programs to help you reach your goals.
Should I switch to a high-interest savings account?
Switching to a high-yield savings account can earn you more money with a higher interest rate and save you more money with lower fees. It’s a win-win.
The table below shows how much money you’d earn by switching from a savings account with a 0.01% interest rate to one with a 1%, 2% or 3% rate.
First-year switch benefit (3% vs. 0.01%)
Alternative high-yield savings accounts
These accounts have high APYs, but they didn’t make our best list because they have limited availability or strict or unusual account requirements. That said, they may still be good options depending on your needs.
Open a Fitness Bank Fitness Savings Account online and start saving today. Simply connect the FitnessBank Step Tracker app to your FitBit, Garmin, Apple Health or Google Play app and get paid to exercise. The more steps you take a day, the higher your APY will be.
Earn highest APY your first month. Because there's no data to go off of your first month, you'll automatically receive the highest APY.
Get paid to walk. You'll earn 0.95% APY for 12,500 steps, 0.85% APY for 10,000 to 12,499 steps, 0.75% APY for 7,500 to 9,999 steps, 0.65% APY for 5,000 to 7,499 steps and 0.50% APY for 0 to 4,999 steps.
Different rates for seniors. If you're at least 65, your APYs range from 0.95% to 0.65% and you only have to walk 10,000 steps a day to earn the highest rate.
Monthly fee. There's a $10 maintenance fee, but Fitness Bank waives it when you keep at least $100 as your daily balance in your account.
Low APY for lower steps. If you walk less than 7,500 steps a day, you may find higher rates elsewhere.
Hold on deposits. Fitness Bank holds your funds for three to five business days before they're posted to your account.
The Varo Savings Account has a competitive APY and automatic savings tools to help you grow your money faster. But you have to open a Varo bank account to be eligible for the savings account, which is why it didn't make our best list.
No monthly fees.Open this account with as little as $0.01 and never worry about maintenance fees eating into your savings.
Automatic savings tools. Use Save Your Pay to have a percentage of your money automatically transferred to savings. Use the Save Your Change feature to have transactions rounded up to the nearest dollar and swept into savings.
Can't open directly. You'll have to open a Varo Bank account to open this savings account, which may not be ideal if you already have a spending account you enjoy.
APY rules. To earn 2.8%, you'll need to make at least five qualifying Varo debit card purchases a month, have at least $1,000 monthly direct deposits and keep your balance below $10,000.
Minimum to earn interest
Monthly transaction limit
Fee per transaction over limit
Pros and cons of a high-interest savings account
If you’re considering a high-interest savings account, consider the following advantages and disadvantages:
Reach your goals faster. If you apply for a high-yield savings account that matches your savings style, you can get a head start on reaching your financial goals.
Minimal fees. The majority of high-interest savings accounts don’t charge fees for maintaining the account.
No risk. Savings accounts are considered one of the safest investments in the financial system, next to a certificate of deposit. Most banks are guaranteed by the FDIC, which means that eligible deposits are insured up to $250,000 a person, per bank.
Interest rate changes. Banks can lower their rates for a few reasons. And if your account has a variable interest rate, you may lose out if the federal rate drops. If the rate on your account has changed and you’re not sure why, contact the bank.
Transfer time can take up to three business days. The limited access could prove troublesome if you suddenly need the money for an important purchase. You’re also limited to six monthly withdrawals, due to federal law limitations.
What is a high-yield savings account?
A high-yield savings account — also referred to as a high-interest savings account — offers a competitive interest rate that’s typically 20 times higher than the national average. So if the national average is 0.05%, a high-yield savings account may offer rates around 1%. For comparison, interest rates for traditional savings accounts usually match the national average.
Examples of high-interest savings accounts include:
Online savings accounts. These accounts usually offer easy access for deposits and withdrawals and have some of the most competitive interest rates, but you can only manage your funds via Internet and mobile banking.
Traditional high-interest savings accounts. Brick-and-mortar banks offer various savings account options. High-interest accounts usually come with conditions, such as a minimum opening amount or a minimum balance. If you meet all of the conditions, these accounts can be competitive, though check the fees.
High-yield savings accounts are just as safe as traditional accounts as long as they’re federally insured. If you get an account at a bank, it’ll be FDIC insured. If you open one with a credit union, it’ll be NCUA insured. Either way, this means you’ll get your money back if the financial institution goes bankrupt.
Opening a high-interest savings account can help you take advantage of getting the highest return on your money even when the market rates shift. They’re also a good option if you’re looking to earn more money without losing easy access to your savings in case of an emergency. To get the most out of your account, shop around for the terms and conditions that will save you the most.
Cassidy Horton is a writer for Finder, specializing in banking and investments. She has a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and a Master of Business Administration from Georgia Southern University. Cassidy enjoys educating people about financial services, exploring the Pacific Northwest and watching endless reruns of The Office.
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