5 best online savings accounts for March 2021 | finder.com

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Best online savings accounts of March 2021

These accounts are known for their higher interest to help you earn even more.

Updated . What changed?

Fact checked

Best for ATM access: Synchrony High Yield Savings

0.55%

APY

  • Free ATM card
  • Earn customer rewards
  • Monthly fee: None
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This article was reviewed by Marguerita Cheng, a member of the Finder Editorial Review Board and award-winning advocate for ethical financial planning for over 20 years.

The best online savings account offers a competitive APY, no fees and tools to help you manage your money from anywhere — without ever having to step foot in a physical branch. Online accounts typically have higher interest rates because the bank has lower overhead.

We researched over 45 online savings accounts to determine which ones are best suited to help you grow and manage your money on the go. Convenience, rates, fees and other perks can all affect your ability to save, so our research involved the following criteria: APY, fees, minimum deposit requirements, customer service options and account features.

What’s changed in 2021?
We replaced the Wealthfront Cash Account with Discover Online Savings as the best online savings account for low fees because it has virtually no fees and more features.

5 best online savings accounts

This table highlights the best online savings accounts along with how much interest you can earn in one year on a $1,000 initial deposit and a $100 monthly deposit.

Savings accountBest forAPYInterest earned in a yearMore info
Synchrony High Yield Savings accountATM access0.55%$8.54Go to site
Discover Online SavingsLow fees 0.40% $6.21Go to site
Barclays Online Savings accountNo minimum balance requirements0.4%$6.21Read review
TAB Bank High Yield SavingsHigh APYs0.65%$10.10Read review
Live Oak Bank Business Savings accountBusinesses0.6%$9.32Read review

A closer look at the best online savings accounts

Take a closer look at the best online savings accounts by comparing their pros, cons and features.

Best for ATM access

Synchrony High Yield Savings

Synchrony High Yield Savings logo
Finder Rating: 4.9 / 5

★★★★★

Apply now
at Synchrony's secure site
0.55%
APY
None
Fees
None
Min. opening deposit
  • Free ATM card. Unlike most savings accounts, this one comes with a free ATM card for easy withdrawals.
  • 0.55% APY. This competitive APY is higher than most competitor's rates.
  • No fees for more than 6 transactions. Unlike other banks, Synchrony doesn't charge fees when you make more than six transactions a month.
  • Limited transactions. Although Synchrony doesn't charge a fee for excess withdrawals, your account could close if you repeatedly go over the six-transaction limit. Some banks are temporarily waiving the excessive withdrawal limit in light of the coronavirus pandemic, so check with Synchrony to see if this policy is still in place.
  • Withdrawal limits. You can't withdraw more than $1,000 a day at ATMs and $500 at point-of-sale locations.
  • Limited in-person support. Synchrony has one branch location in Bridgewater, New Jersey.
Interest compounding Daily
Minimum to earn interest $0
Monthly transaction limit 6
Fee per transaction over limit $0

Best for low fees

Discover Online Savings Account

Discover Online Savings Account logo
Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5

★★★★★

Apply now
at Discover's secure site
0.4%
APY
None
Fees
None
Min. opening deposit
  • Competitive APY. Discover's 0.4% APY consistently ranks as one of the highest in the nation.
  • Minimal fees. With the Discover Online Savings account, you won't pay for monthly maintenance, excessive transactions, insufficient funds, account closures and more.
  • Auto redemption. Open a Discover Cashback Debit checking account and have your rewards automatically deposited into your savings account each month.
  • Limited deposit options. As with most online accounts, you can't deposit cash. The only ways to add money are through direct deposits, online transfers and mobile check deposits.
  • Wire transfer fees. Discover is light on fees, but expect to pay $30 for outgoing wires, which is average for the industry.
Interest compounding Daily
Minimum to earn interest $0
Monthly transaction limit 6
Fee per transaction over limit $0

Best for no minimum balance requirements

Barclays Online Savings

0.4%
APY
None
Fees
None
Min. opening deposit
  • High APY. The Barclays Online Savings account earns interest 20x higher than the national average at 0.4% APY.
  • No maintenance fees. You'll never have to worry about monthly fees with this account.
  • No minimum deposit. Open your Barclays Online Savings account with as little or as much money as you'd like.
  • Excessive transaction fee. You'll pay $5 for every withdrawal you make over the six monthly transaction limit. But this rule could be temporarily suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, so contact Barclays for more information.
  • No cash deposits. Similar to most online savings accounts, you can't deposit cash directly into your Barclays account.
  • Five-day hold on deposits. Once you make a deposit, funds will post to your account after five business days.
Interest compounding Daily
Minimum to earn interest $0
Monthly transaction limit 6
Fee per transaction over limit $5

Best for High APYs

TAB Bank High Yield Savings

0.65%
APY
None
Fees
None
Min. opening deposit
  • Competitive APY. The TAB Bank High-Yield Savings Account has a 0.65% APY — one of the highest rates available today.
  • No monthly service fee. Every penny stashed in this account will go toward reaching your savings goals instead of having to set some aside for monthly maintenance.
  • No opening deposit. Open a TAB Bank High Yield Savings account with as little as $0 and start earning interest today.
  • High excessive withdrawal fee. Expect to pay $20 when you make more than six withdrawals a month. For reference, most banks charge $5 or $10 for this fee.
  • Account closure fee. You'll also pay a $10 fee to TAB Bank when you close your account
Interest compounding Daily
Minimum to earn interest $1
Monthly transaction limit 6
Fee per transaction over limit $20

Best for businesses

Live Oak Bank Business Savings account

0.6%
APY
None
Fees
None
Min. opening deposit
  • No monthly fees. You won't ever have to worry about service fees eating into your business savings goals.
  • No minimum deposit. Open a Live Oak Bank Business Savings account with as little or as much money as you'd like.
  • Competitive APY. This account earns a 0.6% APY — one of the highest rates available for a business savings account today.
  • No cash deposits. This account doesn't support cash deposits, even if you live near its branch location in Wilmington, North Carolina. If your business regularly handles cash, you may want to explore other options.
  • Excessive transaction fee. Expect to pay a $10 fee each time you make more than six outgoing transactions a month.
Interest compounding Daily
Minimum to earn interest $0.01
Monthly transaction limit 6
Fee per transaction over limit $10

How to choose the best online savings account for you

Here are a few pointers to help you find the best online savings account for your needs:
  • Nail down your priorities when it comes to features. Savings account interest rates fluctuate over time, so you don’t have to go with the bank that offers the highest rate. Instead, focus on one that has a high APY, but has other perks you’re looking for, such as ATM access or savings tools.
  • Look for an account that comes with as few fees as possible. Little bank fees add up to cost you big money over time. Watch out for accounts that try to nickel and dime you with monthly maintenance, excessive transaction, statement or inactivity fees.
  • Make sure the bank or credit union insures deposits. Never bank somewhere that isn’t insured. This one is non-negotiable. If the institution goes under, you could lose all your savings. Instead, look for a bank that offers FDIC insurance or a credit union with NCUA insurance — both insure deposits up to $250,000.
  • Link your online savings account to a conventional account. Many online banks make it easy to transfer money between your linked accounts. If your accounts are with the same institution, you might see same-day transactions.

Online savings account alternatives

There are several types of online savings accounts to choose from:
  • Regular savings account. Typically comes with large branch access and in-person support, but APYs typically hover around the national average, which is currently 0.05%.
  • High-yield savings account. Similar to a regular savings account, but has a higher interest rate and lower fees.
  • Money market account. Comes with checkwriting privileges and while there’s usually no limit on the number of checks you can write, any check written against the account might require a minimum balance. They also earn a slightly higher interest rate than standard savings accounts at 0.06% APY according to the national average and compared to 0.05% APY for savings accounts.
  • IRA accounts. A type of retirement savings account that charges a penalty fee if you need to access the funds before a certain age.
  • CDs. Requires you to lock your money away for a set period of time in exchange for a higher interest rate. You pay a penalty if you need to access the money before it matures.

Online savings account pros and cons

Consider the benefits and drawbacks of an online savings account before applying.

Benefits

  • Generally no minimum balance. The majority of online savings accounts allow you to open an account without a deposit.
  • Competitive rates. You’ll typically find higher interest rates with online accounts than you would at your local bank. You may even qualify for a bonus introductory rate.
  • Flexible terms. Deposit what you can and withdraw whenever you’d like. You often don’t need to meet specific terms, though bonus interest rates may require a minimum deposit monthly.
  • Few fees. Generally, online savings accounts don’t come with transaction or monthly fees. Some have no fees at all.

Downsides

  • Must link to a bank account. Although you don’t face many fees, your linked account may charge you to manage transactions.
  • Transfers are slow between banks. If your linked account is with a different bank, your transactions may not be instant.
  • Six-transaction limit. All savings accounts are subject to Regulation D, which imposes fees or fines for exceeding six withdrawals in a month. But this regulation is currently suspended due to COVID-19, so check with your bank to see if they’re temporarily waiving fees.
  • No bank branches or debit cards. Many online savings accounts aren’t supported by physical bank branches or debit cards, which could be inconvenient if you rely on them.

Watch our short explainer video on pros and cons of online savings accounts:

Are online savings accounts worth it?

Online savings accounts are still worth it even though rates have dropped tremendously since the coronavirus pandemic. Online banks have lower overhead than traditional banks, so they’re able to pass on these savings to you in the form of higher interest rates and lower fees.

What’s the difference between an online savings and a regular savings account?

Online savings and regular savings accounts have a few key differences you should keep in mind:

FeaturesOnline savings accountRegular savings account
Lower monthly fees
Higher interest rates
Larger ATM network
More branch locations
Longer customer service hours
Quicker access to your money
Better mobile banking experience
Insured deposits up to $250,000

How can I withdraw and deposit money in an online savings account?

Most online savings accounts don’t accept cash deposits and don’t come with an ATM card, but there are still several ways to access your money:

Deposits

  • Direct deposit
  • Remote check deposit
  • Wire transfer
  • Transfer from an external account

Withdrawals

  • Outgoing wire transfer
  • Transfer to an external account

    What is an online savings account?

    An online savings account lets you do all your banking online without having to visit a local branch. Most don’t charge transfer or monthly account fees, offering an inexpensive way to build your savings. With most accounts, interest on your balance is calculated daily and deposited into the account at the start of the following month, but compounding and pay periods vary by bank.

    Are online savings accounts FDIC insured?

    Yes. Most online savings accounts are FDIC or NCUA insured, so you’ll get your money back if the bank were to fail. You can check if an institution is insured by visiting its website or asking a representative.

    Why do online accounts generally offer stronger interest rates?

    Interest rates tend to be higher for online accounts than conventional ones because they don’t require expensive physical branches. By forgoing wages for tellers and branch managers, janitorial staff, utility bills and other expenses, banks can pass the savings on to customers in the form of stronger interest rates.

    As with traditional accounts, rates fluctuate according to the federal interest rate, especially if you received an introductory offer that expires after a set period.

    Do I get instant access to transferred funds?

    It depends. If your online savings account is linked to a transaction account from the same institution, you can generally access transfers instantly. However, if the money comes from another financial organization, it can often take up to three business days for the funds to process into your online account.

    Sarah compares processing time for her accounts

    Sarah owns accounts across multiple financial institutions. She has a Synchrony Bank savings account that she uses for short-term savings, a separate Synchrony savings account for long-term financial goals and a Marcus by Goldman Sachs online savings account for her long-term nest egg.

    When she transfers money between her Synchrony Bank accounts, she sees the transfers complete instantly. However, when she transfers from Marcus to her Synchrony Bank accounts, it can take two business days for the funds to clear. The longer processing time is partly due to increased fraud-prevention measures for transfers among multiple institutions.

    Read up on how to open a bank account online

    Bottom line

    Online savings accounts are notorious for having some of the highest interest rates and lowest fees available on the market. But APYs and fees aren’t everything. Make sure the account you choose has the features and tools you need to reach all your savings goals. As always, compare top savings accounts until you find one that’s right for you.

    Compare online savings accounts

    There’s no shortage of online savings accounts available today. Use the table to sort popular options by APY, monthly fee, minimum deposit requirements and more.

    $
    $
    months
    Name Product Interest rates (APY) Fee Minimum deposit to open Interest earned
    American Express® High Yield Savings
    Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5: ★★★★★
    American Express® High Yield Savings
    0.50%
    $0
    $0
    Enjoy no monthly fees and a competitive APY with this online-only savings account. Accounts offered by American Express National Bank, Member FDIC.
    Aspiration Spend & Save Account
    Finder Rating: 3.8 / 5: ★★★★★
    Aspiration Spend & Save Account

    1.00% on $0 to $10,000 but you’ll need to be enrolled in Aspiration Plus and make at least $1,000 in debit card purchases a month
    $0 per month or $15 per month for Aspiration Plus ($12.50 per month if you pay annually)
    $10
    Deposits are fossil fuel-free and insured by the FDIC. Enjoy a spend and save combo account with unlimited cash back rewards and a $100 bonus when you spend $1,000 in your first 60 days.
    Axos Bank High Yield Savings
    Finder Rating: 4 / 5: ★★★★★
    Axos Bank High Yield Savings
    0.61%
    $0
    $250
    No monthly maintenance fees. No minimum balance requirements. Interest compounded daily.
    CIT Bank Money Market
    Finder Rating: 3.9 / 5: ★★★★★
    CIT Bank Money Market
    0.45%
    $0
    $100
    A savings account with a higher-than-average rate and minimal fees.
    SoFi Money
    Finder Rating: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
    SoFi Money
    0.25%
    $0
    $0
    SoFi Money® is a cash management account that charges no account fees to save, spend, and earn cash back rewards when you spend on brands you love.
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    2 Responses

      Default Gravatar
      GerardJuly 17, 2019

      Do your list of the best online interest savings accounts apply to USD funds as well as CAD funds?

        Avatarfinder Customer Care
        JhezJuly 18, 2019Staff

        Hi Gerard,

        Thank you for your comment.

        U.S bank accounts’ main currency is the USD. If you want to save for CAD, you can apply for a foreign currency account which most banks can actually offer you.

        Before applying, please ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria and read through the details of the needed requirements as well as the relevant Product Disclosure Statements/Terms and Conditions when comparing your options before making a decision on whether it is right for you.

        Regards,
        Jhezelyn

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