All savings accounts serve the same purpose, but some accounts do a better job at helping you reach your savings goals. Since fees, access and other variables can all affect the way you save, we analyzed nearly 100 savings accounts to determine the best ones. In doing so, we considered factors like annual percentage yield (APY), monthly fees, minimum deposit requirements, minimum balances to earn interest and signup bonuses.
For 2020, we created two new “Best for” categories: one for college students and one for no opening deposits. We also replaced Vio Bank High Yield Online Savings with TAB Bank High-Yield Savings for the category Best for high rates because Vio’s rate dropped in October.
Free ATM card. Access your money at any time with a free ATM card.
0.65% APY. Your money earns a solid 0.65% APY.
Limited transactions. Synchrony may close your account if you go over six monthly transactions. But due to the temporary suspension of Regulation D, you may not incur a penalty. Contact Synchrony to see if it's currently allowing excessive withdrawals.
Daily withdrawal limits. There's a $1,000 daily limit on ATM withdrawals and a $500 daily limit at point-of-sale locations.
Limited in-person support. Synchrony has one branch location in Bridgewater, New Jersey.
0.5% APY. This account's APY is higher than the national average, which is 0.06%.
No minimum balance. You're not required to keep a certain amount in your Barclays Online Savings account.
No maintenance fees. You won't pay any monthly fees with this account.
Excessive transaction fee. You'll pay $5 each time you go over the monthly six transaction withdrawal limit. But due to the temporary suspension of Regulation D, you may be able to go over this limit without penalty. Contact Barclays to verify.
No cash deposits. This account doesn't support cash deposits or withdrawals. Instead, you must electronically transfer funds to and from a linked bank account.
Five-day hold on deposits. There's a five-day hold on all funds deposited into your Barclays Online Savings account.
Up to $500 signup bonus. Use code NEW500 and get a $100 bonus when you deposit at least $10,000, $200 when you deposit $20,000, $300 when you deposit $30,000, $400 when you deposit $40,000 or $500 when you deposit $50,000 within 10 days of account opening. You'll need to maintain that daily average balance for at least 90 days.
Minimal fees. You won't pay a dime to maintain the account.
Automatic Savings Plan. Set up automatic transfers from your other Capital One accounts to speed up your savings.
Costly outbound wires. You'll pay $30 to process domestic outbound wires.
Cap on transactions. Capital One may close your account if you exceed this limit. However, Regulation D is temporarily suspended, so contact the bank to see if this limit is still in place.
0.5% APY. Earn a solid 0.5% APY on all account balances.
No minimum balance requirements. Open this account with as little or as much money as you'd like.
Special features. Kids can set savings goals and parents can set up automatic savings plans for their kids' allowances.
Online only. You can only open this account online.
Limited support. You can't live chat for assistance outside of business hours and phone support is limited to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
Minimum to earn interest
Monthly transaction limit
Fee per transaction over limit
How do I find the best savings account for me?
The best savings account for you depends on your needs and goals. Do you want to earn the highest interest rate possible? Are you creating an account for you kid? Think about why you’re saving, then choose the best savings account type for your situation.
This account is great for beginner savers. Consider a basic savings account if you’re okay with regularly moving money between accounts and you want the security of a bank you’re familiar with and can visit. This is a “Set it and forget it” option.
This option is ideal for experienced and advanced savers. If you want a better rate of return on your money, make regular deposits and don’t intend to make frequent withdrawals, you should consider this option.
If you are a business owner or are self-employed, a business savings account could be a good option. This account allows you to separate your business and personal transactions. However, you won’t have access to your savings.
Help your child get a jump start on saving for their future with a kids’ savings account. Parents can monitor the account while kids develop good money management skills.
Pros and cons of savings accounts
With so many savings options out there, it can be hard to determine how to pick the best one for you. Consider these benefits and drawbacks to look out for:
Low opening deposits. You can open some savings accounts with as little as $0, making it easy to get a jump start on saving for your future.
No monthly fees. Thanks to competition, you’ll find that many savings accounts waive monthly maintenance fees or don’t charge them at all.
Set it and forget it. Savings accounts allow you to grow your money without thinking about it. You can make one large deposit and let it earn interest, or schedule payments into your account to help it grow.
Transfer funds. With the growing popularity of mobile and internet banking, most banks let you easily transfer money between your savings and other bank accounts.
Protect other accounts. If you have your checking and savings account at the same bank, you can link them for free overdraft protection.
Limited accessibility. Most savings accounts don’t come with a debit or ATM card. You also may pay a fee if you make more than six outgoing transactions a month. Although this federal regulation is temporarily suspended during the coronavirus pandemic, some banks are still limiting transactions.
When shopping around for the best savings account, look for one that has these features:
Low fees. The best savings accounts don’t charge monthly fees at all. Others sweeten the deal by ditching fees for overdrafts and ATMs.
Competitive APYs. You want an account that’s going to compound and reward you for saving. The best ones have competitive APY at least 10x higher than the national average.
Low opening deposit. There are plenty of accounts that let you get started with as little $0 but some may require you to have $500 or more. Note any opening deposit requirements and make sure you can comfortably meet them.
Easy access to your money. Most savings accounts don’t come with ATM cards, but some do. Think about how you want to access funds and find an account that matches your needs.
Good customer service. Make sure you can reach someone if you need help with your account. Some banks offer 24/7 customer support and others are only available during normal business hours.
Money market accounts. Want the accessibility of a checking account with the earning power of a savings account? A money market account might be right for you. But be prepared for higher opening deposits.
Digital bank accounts. Many digital banks offer two-in-one accounts designed for spending and saving. Some even have budgeting tools to help you better manage your money.
CDs. If you’re confident you won’t need your money for a while, lock it away in a high-yield CD where it’ll earn a competitive interest rate.
College savings accounts. Often called a 529 plan, college savings accounts provide tax advantages for money saved up for future education expenses. But if the money is spent on anything else, taxes and penalties may apply.
Whole life insurance. If you want to save up for a major purchase or retirement, you can put your money into the cash value portion of a whole life insurance policy. If you need access to cash, you can withdraw it, borrow against your policy, surrender the policy or even sell it.
Health savings accounts. Save up for medical expenses using a tax-free health savings account. But you’ll need a high-deductible health insurance policy to get started and you’ll pay a penalty if use the money for non-medical expenses.
Bonds or other investments. If you’re interested in higher rates of return and are willing to accept more risk, you could consider investing in government or corporate bonds. There are no guarantees with bonds, but they’re less volatile than stocks, mutual funds and ETFs.
How to make the most out of your savings account
Follow these steps to use your savings account to its fullest potential:
Maintain a minimum balance. Some accounts may require you to hold a monthly minimum balance to earn a higher rate or to avoid a fee. Make sure you maintain that balance to see your savings grow.
Monitor account activity. Take advantage of your online or mobile app to monitor your activity and stay on top of any unexpected charges or fees.
Get a strong rate. Decide whether your rate is enough or if it’s worth shopping around for other savings accounts with higher interest rates.
Consider investing. After your savings account has grown, you may want to consider other types of investments. Money market accounts and CDs can provide better returns than standard savings accounts, whereas mutual funds, stocks and other investments can offer even greater potential.
Compare savings accounts
Use the table to sort and compare savings accounts by APY, fee and minimum deposit to open. Enter your deposit amount into the calculator to see how much interest you could earn.
The best savings accounts feature low opening deposits and high APYs to help you grow your nest egg. As always, compare your options until you find a savings account that has everything you need.
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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