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online savings accounts reviewed
hours of research
We’ve researched over 45 online savings accounts to bring you the top four best accounts for high APYs, low fees and no minimum deposit requirements.
Best online savings accounts
Barclays Online Savings account
Best for no fees or minimum balance requirements
- High APY. The Barclays Online Savings account earns interest 20x higher than the national average at 1.6% 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.
- 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.
Synchrony High Yield Savings account
Best for ATM access
- Free ATM card. Unlike most savings accounts, this one comes with a free ATM card for easy withdrawals.
- 1.7% 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.
- 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.
PNC High Yield Savings account
Best for high APYs
- High APY. Has one of the highest savings account rates we’ve seen to date at 1.75% APY.
- No minimum balance requirements. Open your PNC account without a monthly deposit, but expect to fund it within 60 days or your account may close.
- No monthly fees. Your savings can grow uninterrupted thanks to no monthly fees.
- Limited support. The only way to chat with customer service is by phone or email.
- Not available in every state. You can only open this account if you live in a state that doesn’t have a PNC branch.
Wealthfront Cash Account
Best for low fees
- No fees. Wealthfront has no hidden fees or minimum balance requirements.
- Low minimum deposits. Open your account with as little as $1.
- High APY. Offers a 1.82% APY, which is 20x higher than the national average.
- Limited access. While it’s easy to transfer money from one bank to another, you can’t visit an ATM or branch to access your money.
- No internal transfers. If you have a Wealthfront Investment account, you can’t easily transfer money to that account from a Wealthfront Cash account.
- Lack of other products. Wealthfront doesn’t offer any other financial products outside of savings and investment accounts.
How we chose the best online accounts?
Ever wondered what makes an online savings account better than the others? We did the research to determine which accounts are best suited to help you reach your financial goals. 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 2020
In January 2020, we updated our scoring methodology to be more comprehensive and added pros and cons to each account — giving you a better idea of how each one stacks up.
Types of online savings accounts
There are several types of online savings accounts to choose from:
- Regular savings account. An interest-bearing bank account that allows up to six transactions a month.
- 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 earns a higher interest rate than standard savings accounts, but requires a higher minimum balance.
- 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.
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:
|Features||Online savings account||Regular 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 to choose an online savings account
There are three non-negotiables you should look for when shopping around for an online savings account:
Compare top online savings accounts by APY
How do online savings accounts work?
To sign up for an online account, you often need to link an active transaction account — like an everyday checking account at a traditional bank. That’s because most online savings accounts don’t come with a debit card. The only way to access your money is by transferring it to your transaction account, where you can then access it through your bank’s branches and ATMs.
Online accounts don’t usually 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.
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.
What features do online savings accounts offer?
If you think an online savings account might encourage you to save, compare the features available across accounts to find the right rate and most convenient options for your needs.
What are the upsides and downsides?
Consider the benefits and drawbacks of an online savings account before logging on.
- Generally no minimum balance. The majority of online savings accounts remain in good standing no matter how much they hold. Some even allow you to open an account without a deposit. If you’re interested in a bank, ask about terms and conditions before making a decision.
- Competitive rates.Interest rates on online savings accounts are typically higher than those 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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