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.
We added a list of the top best savings accounts, so you can easily compare pros and cons to find the right one for you. American Express’ High Yield Savings account did not make our 2020 list because of its APY drop. It went from 1.90% in 2019 to 1% in 2020. While Betterment’s APY decreased from 2.44% APY, it remained on our list for its 0.4% rate and unlimited withdrawals.
Editor's pick: American Express® Personal Savings High Yield Savings
No monthly fee
No minimum balance
Editor's pick: American Express® Personal Savings 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.
Free ATM card. Access your money at any time with a free ATM card.
1.05% APY. Your money earns a solid 1.05% 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.
1% APY. This account's APY is higher than the national average, which is 0.09%.
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?
Think about the ways you save money. Do you need access to your accounts or do you want to tuck a large chunk of money away for the future? Match your savings style to the points below to help you 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.
If you are an investor and cash management is part of your investment strategy, you may want to consider a money market account. This account allows you to earn a high interest rate but it usually requires you to maintain high balances.
This account is great for long-term savers. If you want a guaranteed interest rate and don’t need access to your savings, a CD could be a good way to save.
Benefits of the best savings accounts
There are so many savings options out there, it can be hard to determine how to pick the best for your savings style. Here are the benefits to look for:
A $0 minimum deposit. With some savings accounts, you can open the account with a low, or even no, initial deposit. Some accounts don’t require a minimum monthly balance requirement to earn interest or avoid fees.
No monthly fees. Thanks to competition, you’ll find that many banks waive monthly maintenance or account-keeping fees.
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, look for banks that let you easily transfer money between your savings and other bank accounts.
Protect other accounts. A great feature of some savings accounts is their ability to protect against overdrafts for a linked checking account. If the checking account runs out of money, you’ll simply draw the funds from the savings account without any penalty.
What are the biggest drawbacks of savings accounts?
Savings accounts are a great place to start growing your money, but they’re not without drawbacks:
Limited accessibility. Typically, federal law limits the amount of activity you can have in your savings account to six transactions per month, and most accounts don’t come with a debit or ATM card. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, Regulation D is currently suspended and some banks are allowing you to make more than six transactions without penalty. Contact your institution to see if it’s changed its policy.
Fees. If you don’t meet the terms of your savings account, such as monthly minimum deposits, you may get hit with fees.
Introductory rates don’t last. Keep in mind that if you opened an account with a special offer or promotion with a higher interest rate it will expire at the end of the introductory period.
Is it best to have separate or joint savings accounts?
Joint accounts are a great way to reach joint financial goals. Generally, joint accounts allow up to two account holders, but some providers allow for even more. Before opening a joint savings account, consider if it’s right for your financial situation.
When interest rates are low, where can you get the best return for your money? If the best high-interest savings accounts aren’t enough or don’t fit your financial goals, there are other ways of getting the most out of your money.
Consider these other ways to save:
Whole life insurance. If you want to save up for a major purchase or save for 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. Some policies can consistently pay more than 5% interest on the cash value. Universal life insurance policies offer the potential for even greater returns because they focus more on investments.
Health savings account. If you want to save up specifically for medical expenses, a health savings account can provide tax advantages for any money you put into it, and your savings roll over from one year to the next. However, to open an account, you’ll also need a high-deductible health insurance policy, and you’ll pay a penalty if you spend the money on anything unrelated to medical expenses.
College savings account. 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.
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. Either the government or company whose bonds you buy pays them back with interest or it’ll default on them.
How to get the most out of your savings account
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.
Rates. 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.
Shirley Liu is Finder's global program manager. She was previously the publisher for banking and investments and has also written comparisons for energy, money transfers, Uber Eats and many other topics. Shirley has a Master of Commerce and a Bachelor of Media, Journalism and Communications from the University of New South Wales. She is passionate about helping people find the best deal for their needs.
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