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Do you need a savings account you can’t touch?

Savings you can't withdraw from can help you grow your balance.

Do you have trouble saving money? Is the temptation of having cash easily available too great to resist? A savings account you can’t withdraw from could help you save up and meet your financial goals.

Compare accounts that make it difficult to withdraw from

Name Product 1-year APY 18-month APY 2-year APY 3-year APY 5-year APY
Quontic Bank CD
Lock in a high rate. Minimum of $500 required to open. Open your account in 3 minutes or less
State Exchange Bank CD
Locally-owned independent community bank. FDIC insured. No fees.

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Annual percentage yield (APY) Fee Minimum deposit to open
American Express® High Yield Savings
Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5: ★★★★★
American Express® High Yield Savings
Enjoy no monthly fees and a competitive APY with this online-only savings account. Accounts offered by American Express National Bank, Member FDIC.
Finder Rating: 3.4 / 5: ★★★★★
$5 per month
(can be waived)
Digit analyzes your spending and automatically saves an appropriate amount every day so you don't have to think about it.

Compare up to 4 providers

Certificates of deposit

There are a few different types of accounts that lock your money away, preventing you from spending it. A certificate of deposit (CD) locks your money away from one month to five years, while it earns a fixed interest rate. It’s more restricting than a traditional savings account because you can’t access your money until the term is finished. If you need to make a withdrawal, you’ll need to give 31 days’ notice and pay a penalty.

There are a couple of key benefits to CDs. First, you get the security of a fixed interest rate and a guaranteed return on your investment. If interest rates drop while your money is locked away, your savings won’t be affected.

Second, these accounts are set up to discourage you from dipping into your savings balance. You typically can’t access the funds immediately, so any money you deposit is safe from the risk of impulse buying and unnecessary spending.

On the other side of the coin, CDs are not all that convenient if you ever need access to your funds in an emergency, and you also won’t benefit from any interest rate increases until your deposit matures.

Featured certificates of deposit

Bank12-month APY
Limelight Bank0.55%
CIT Bank0.3%
American Express0.2%
Wells Fargo0.01%
Chase Bank0.01% to 0.05%

What to look for in a CD

Consider the following features when comparing the pros and cons of a CD account:

  • The fixed interest rate. Interest rates can vary greatly between banks and the term you choose. Look around for the best interest rates — but make sure there are no unexpected fees attached.
  • How often interest is calculated. Check to see whether interest is calculated on the account daily, monthly, quarterly or yearly. The more often interest is calculated, the more your balance grows.
  • Term length. When comparing accounts, evaluate the features of accounts with the same term length. For example, only compare six-month CDs with other six-month CDs. If your bank doesn’t offer the term you want, look elsewhere.
  • Fees for early withdrawal. It’s worth checking what fee you’ll incur if you need to withdraw your money before the term ends.
  • Where the interest is paid. Is the interest you earn paid back into the same or different account? Do you need to open a linked account with the same financial institution to receive interest payments?
  • Loyalty bonuses. If you want to reinvest your money into another CD after your first deposit matures, will you be rewarded for your loyalty with a bonus interest rate?

Hard-to-access savings accounts

Savings accounts offer the benefit of compound interest, and they charge minimal or no fees while giving you quick and easy access to your money. Savings accounts also allow you to continually add money to start building your nest egg. Scheduling an automatic transfer into your account each month can quickly build a sizable savings balance.

Some savings accounts offer features to keep you from falling prey to impulse buys. If you have trouble keeping your hands off your savings, consider getting an account without a debit card so that you can’t make withdrawals outside of business hours. Getting an account that doesn’t allow transfers is also a good idea.

As the name suggests, savings accounts are designed to help you save money, not spend it. The Federal Reserve imposes a limit of six withdrawals per month on savings accounts. This means that if you withdraw money more than six times a month, your bank can prevent the withdrawal, charge you a fee — or even close your account. If you want regular access to your money, use a checking account.

What to look for in a savings account

Not all savings accounts are created equal. There are a few things to watch out for when signing up for a new account:

  • How often interest is compounded. The more often interest is compounded, the more money you’ll earn.
  • Minimum balance amount. Banks often have a minimum amount required to open an account. Some banks even have a minimum balance requirement for the life of the account, and you can quickly accrue fees if your balance dips too low.
  • Linked account requirements. Some banks will require you to also open a linked checking account with them to open a savings account. If this is the case, make sure the checking account is suited to your needs and doesn’t have any hidden fees.
  • Hidden account fees. Exorbitant bank fees can quickly defeat the purpose of any interest earned on an account, so read the fine print to make sure you’re aware of any ongoing fees, withdrawal fees or other transaction charges.
  • Accessibility. Check to see whether your account can only be managed online or whether you also have branch, mobile banking and phone banking access.

Individual retirement accounts

If you’re saving up for your retirement, an individual retirement account (IRA) might be your best option. Any money that you put into a traditional IRA account typically cannot be withdrawn without a penalty until you reach retirement age, and contributions are tax deductible at both the federal and state level. TD Ameritrade offers IRAs with both money market accounts and CD options.

Bottom Line

Certificates of deposit and savings accounts can both help you save money. If you think you might need access to your money in the near future, or you want to add money each month, a savings account may be your best option. But if you can commit to keeping your hands off your savings for a specified period of time, a CD can help you add interest and save up. A lot of savers use both options — when your savings account starts to get comfortably high, you can pull money out and put it into a CD. If you choose one with a high interest rate, you can sit back and watch your savings grow.

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