We value our editorial independence, basing our comparison results, content and reviews on objective analysis without bias. But we may receive compensation when you click links on our site. Learn more about how we make money from our partners.
Compare different types of savings accounts
The best account depends on how much you're trying to save — and for how long.
Some savings account types provide total access to your money while others are created to help you keep your hands off. Learn how the most common savings products work to find the one that’s right for you.
Compare types of savings accounts
Types of savings accounts
There are five basic types of savings accounts that you can consider for depositing your money:
Each of these have specific structures and features to help you save long or short term and affects how easily you can access your money.
To find the right one for you, consider the monthly fees, interest rates and requirements to withdraw your cash.
How do I compare savings accounts?
A traditional savings account provides a safe haven for your excess cash. Compare accounts based on:
|Interest rate.||Factor in the rate, when it’s calculated and how often it is paid into the account. Look to see if the interest is fixed or if it’s a variable rate that could change without notice.|
|Fees||If the account has fees, can they be waived by meeting certain conditions? If so, can you easily meet those conditions?|
|Introductory offers||Some accounts offer cash signup bonuses or introductory interest rates to help you start saving. But don’t be so tempted by an introductory offer that you sign up for an account you won’t be happy with in the long run.|
|Accessibility||What options do you have for depositing and withdrawing money? While a lack of bank branches might be a dealbreaker for some, others may be more focused on whether a bank has an easy-to-use app. Look for a bank with access options that fit your needs.|
|Linked account opportunities||If you regularly move money to your savings account, it could be useful to have a linked checking account at the same bank.|
|Minimum deposit requirements||You could be required to make a minimum deposit before this type of account can be opened.|
How do I compare money market accounts?
A money market account works much like a traditional savings account but tends to offer a higher interest rate. In exchange, most will have higher minimum opening deposit requirements.
Compare money market accounts based on:
|Interest rate||Factor in both the rate and how often interest is compounded. The more often interest is compounded, the more you’ll earn.|
|Fees||Check to see if you are going to be charged for the monthly maintenance of the account.|
|Interest conditions||In some cases, you may need to meet certain requirements, like a minimum balance or minimum monthly direct deposits to earn interest.|
|Minimum deposit amount||You’ll likely be required to make and maintain a minimum deposit with this type of high-interest savings account.|
|Access options||Money market accounts tend to come with more access than traditional savings accounts, which can be a good or bad thing, depending on how much self control you have. While accounts with debit cards and check-writing capabilities make it easier to access your money, that also means that it’s easier to spend away.|
|Linked accounts||Some money market accounts allow you to open linked trading accounts to invest your money.|
How do I compare CDs?
A certificate of deposit (CD) is a type of high-interest savings account where you lock your savings away for a set amount of time. This type of savings product is ideal for people who have time to build savings, or for investors who want a low-risk account that still yields a return on their investment. Features you should look at with this type of account include:
|Penalty fees||Your money is locked into a CD, but in some instances you may be allowed to make an early withdrawal. This will incur a penalty charge as well as adjustment in the interest rate.|
|Monthly fees||Look out for any ongoing monthly charges for a CD account.|
|Interest rates||Interest rates are typically tiered, with earnings being higher when you choose longer terms and have a higher investment deposit.|
|Minimum deposit||The amount you can invest varies, but typically the minimum deposit amount is between $500 and $5,000, with some banks requiring up to $10,000.|
|When and how interest is paid||You will likely be given options with how often you want your interest payments to be deposited into the account. In some cases, those payments will be made at maturity of the account or into a nominated checking account and you will not receive the benefit of compound interest. CDs with compound interest tend to earn more.|
|Linked account||Most banks require that you have a separate account linked to make transfers easier.|
|Account maturity||Check to see the procedure for closing the account once it’s reached maturity. In some circumstances it will be rolled into a new CD automatically if you do not provide the bank with instructions beforehand, and you’ll have to pay a penalty fee if you want to take it out.|
How do I compare cash management accounts?
Cash management accounts are hybrids, giving you the benefit of earning interest on your money while still allowing you to transact like a checking account. This type of account makes it easy to manage all of your finances from one place. Features to compare when considering this type of account include:
|Transaction fees||This could include ATM fees and fees for spending money overseas or in a foreign currency.|
|Monthly fees||Check what the fees are, and if there’s any way to have them waived.|
|Linked debit card||For easy access to your money, you might be provided with a debit card linked to the account.|
|ATM network||If you make multiple cash withdrawals throughout the month, you’ll want an account that is linked to a large ATM network.|
|Competitive interest rate||Check to see what the interest rates are, how it’s calculated and paid and if there are any requirements you’ll need to meet.|
How do I compare retirement savings accounts?
When choosing a savings component within a retirement account, factor in:
|Monthly fees||The monthly fees for your account could make a difference in your savings potential.|
|Type of account||Traditional and Roth IRAs, 401(k)s, bonds, CDs and savings accounts all work differently and are taxed differently. Many people use a combination of accounts to build a retirement plan.|
|Accessibility||This includes both your ability to access the funds early and how you can access your funds once you’re retired.|
Each account type is unique, but they all can be compared based on interest rates, fees and accessibility. To find the best option for you, compare savings accounts and learn more about what’s available.
Frequently asked questions
Compare types of savings accounts
Image source: Getty Images
Ask an Expert