Savings accounts are financial tools to help you put money away somewhere safe for the long term. The best savings accounts feature high interest rates, easy-to-use online accounts, and other helpful features to help you save without complicated rules that could cost you through expensive monthly fees.
Savings accounts are ideal for holding emergency funds, rainy day funds, and money set aside for any other savings goals they may have. You may be on the hunt for the best savings account to get started. Read on for our list of best savings accounts to help you achieve your savings goals.
|Brand||APY*||Bonus||Minimum Deposit||Best for|
Daily compounded interest
Same-day wire transfers for $0
$5 ATM reimbursement
Set and Save feature
*Interest rates current as of August 14, 2022. Rates can change at any time without notice. Check the bank’s website for the latest rates. APY here is provided for comparison purposes and may no longer be accurate.
Best Savings Accounts
- Provides essential savings account features
- Over 60,000 fee-free ATMs
- Round-up feature
Chime’s savings account is a no-frills savings account that provides just the essentials. Chime is an online-only bank that works primarily through a mobile app, making it easy to manage your money on the go. It’s also almost completely fee-free for all checking and savings needs with no minimum balance requirements.
Chime accounts are FDIC-insured, which means they’re very safe. (All the other banks on this list are also FDIC insured.) Chime doesn’t have physical branches, but it does offer over 60,000 fee-free ATMs you can visit in stores like Walgreens and CVS. If you have questions or encounter a problem with your Chime account, you can access their customer service 24/7 via phone, the app, or email.
You can open a new savings account with Chime for free in just a few clicks, although Chime savings accounts require opening a Chime checking account first. Chime is also great for checking accounts, so that’s not necessarily a drawback. Opening a savings account can be done online and takes only a few minutes if you have your personal information handy.
Chime’s other benefits include a round-up feature, which rounds up eligible purchases to the nearest dollar, then transfers that amount into your savings. In addition, Chime’s “When I Get Paid” feature lets you automatically receive a portion of your direct deposit in your savings account, letting you save without the hassle of transferring funds.
If you're starting a savings account for the first time, or perhaps you’re opening an additional account to save for something special, Chime may be a good fit.
- APY five times the national average
- Daily compounded interest
- Zero fees for account opening or excessive withdrawals
- Free mobile deposits and bank checks
If you’re looking for a primary saving account to store most of your savings, or you’re looking for a savings account that checks the boxes for competitive APY and $0 minimums, Discover is a great option to explore.
Discover’s high yield saving account features an APY that’s 5 times the national average, beating out nationwide branch-based competitors like Chase and Bank of America. Discover’s savings account interest is compounded daily rather than monthly like many competitors. This means you earn interest faster, though it’s still paid monthly like most other savings accounts.
Discover has no minimum opening balance requirement or recurring monthly account fees. Bank checks and expedited delivery for bank checks are also free, and there’s no cost for large withdrawals. Most common activities at Discover will not incur fees.
Discover doesn’t have in-person branches – everything is conducted online. The company, however, is known for its 24/7, high-quality customer service. Additionally, opening an online account with Discover is easy. All that’s required is a few pieces of standard personal information, including your Social Security number and address.
- Free same-day transfers up to $100,000
- Great mobile app for banking on the go
- Competitive APY
- No minimum deposit
Marcus is an online bank affiliated with Goldman Sachs, one of the world's largest and most preeminent financial institutions. You can’t go to a physical Marcus branch, but you can use the chat feature on its website or customer service phone number to ask questions or get help at any time.
With Marcus, you can transfer funds of up to $100,000 in the same day without an additional fee, as long as you get the request in on time. In addition, the Marcus app allows you to bank quickly and easily. You can set up automatic transfers to and from your accounts through the Marcus app, track transactions, and monitor interest.
Marcus offers an interesting feature set if you regularly need to transfer large sums of money on short notice and want to save on wire transfer fees. Marcus boasts a high APY and requires no minimum deposit to get started.
Because it’s affiliated with Goldman Sachs, its reputation provides further comfort to individuals choosing to save with one of the biggest names on Wall Street.
- Access to savings assistance when you open an account
- Virtual buckets to help allocate savings for goals
- Boosters automatically increase savings rate
- No monthly fees
Ally Bank is a popular online bank that regularly ranks among the top banks for low fees and good interest rates. It ranks well for customer service and connects to a low-fee brokerage offering in addition to banking.
Ally’s best savings feature is its virtual buckets for savings accounts. These buckets are akin to virtual envelopes, so users can set up different savings goals to apportion their money each month and eliminate the need for multiple savings accounts. Users can have up to 10 online buckets that earn interest just like the rest of your Ally savings.
Ally furthers their savings assistance through its additional features. Those include automatic recurring transfers called Boosters, surprise savings when Ally predicts you can afford it, and optional savings round-ups. Ally Savings accounts don't require any monthly fees for typical banking activity.
- High savings APY
- No minimum deposit or balance requirements
- Reimbursement for out-of-network ATMs
World travelers looking to access savings at any ATM in the world may want to consider Synchrony’s savings account. In addition to a competitive high yield savings account interest rate, the account automatically reimburses you for out-of-network ATMs in the United States up to $5 per month. That should cover a monthly withdrawal from your savings.
Synchrony’s savings account boasts one of the highest APY interest rates reviewed for our best savings accounts list. It also offers accounts with no minimum deposit or balance requirements and no recurring fees for maintaining the account.
Global ATM support could make Synchrony a standout option for Americans living abroad for extended periods who will want to take out cash from ATMs while traveling. Accounts are generally very low cost for regular use, though Synchrony’s tech isn’t cutting edge, which could be a turnoff to some high-tech banking customers.
- Set and Save feature for automatic deposits
- Extra perks through Citi’s account packages
- 65,000 In-Network ATMs throughout the US
Citibank is one of the biggest banks in the world, with a huge network of branches and ATMs around the United States. It earned a spot on this list due to that big network for in-person support alongside a handful of useful automatic savings features and benefits for loyal customers who do most of their banking with Citi. If available in your area, the Citi high yield savings option is one of the best interest rates you’ll find from a big, traditional bank.
Citi provides savings accounts with automatic assistance features as part of its offerings. For example, its “Set and Save” feature enables users to set up automatic deposits into their savings account each month to reach their savings goals more easily. Users must choose an account package to reap the benefits of the extra services when signing up.
Citibank savings accounts require fees when balances fall below $500. Under that threshold, you will have to pay a $4.50 monthly charge. Additionally, there is a $2.50 service fee for every non-Citibank ATM transaction. However, Citibank doesn’t require a minimum deposit to open an account.
Citibank operates 600 branches throughout the U.S., plus a network of over 65,000 ATMs nationwide. While the Citi savings account is only available in certain states, it could be a good fit if you are a resident where it’s offered.
Why You Should Open a Savings Account
Savings accounts are useful for countless reasons. Here are some of the most common reasons to open a savings account:
- Keep emergency funds: People often say money can’t buy you happiness, but money can buy you security. The main reason you should open a savings account is to save funds necessary for emergencies. You never know what unexpected medical bills, house expenses, or other unfortunate events you might have to pay for.
- Short-term savings needs: Short-term goals like a vacation or an upcoming wedding may be expensive. Savings accounts are a great way to set aside money for future events.
- Long-term savings goals: Perhaps you’re planning on paying for your children’s college education or dreaming of purchasing a rental property to make passive income. Savings accounts can be great vehicles for also saving for future goals.
- Potential earned interest: Instead of simply stashing money in an envelope at home, where your money sits there earning nothing, you can earn interest on your money when storing it in a high-yield savings account. Traditional savings accounts only yield about 0.1%, according to recent Federal Reserve data. High-yield savings accounts typically offer a more impressive 1.4% average. The worst accounts from traditional banks pay as little as 0.01%.
- Prevent impulse spending: There’s a psychological component to money that can’t be ignored. Mentally, saving can be challenging because we tend to value immediate gratification. An impulse purchase almost always feels more rewarding in the short term than putting that money towards a savings goal. However, you're less likely to make that impulsive purchase when you can’t access money easily because it’s in a savings account.
How to Choose An Online Savings Account
When choosing a savings account, individuals tend to look at the APY first since it’s essentially the interest ‘sticker price’ you can earn from keeping your money in the account. However, consider various factors when choosing an account to determine which will give you the best overall return and help you reach your savings goals.
- Bank Fees: Bank fees may include monthly charges to maintain the account, transaction fees for exceeding the maximum number of transactions each month, or penalties for dipping below a certain account minimum. Often banks require customers to maintain a minimum balance to keep an account.
- Customer Service: You don’t anticipate something going wrong with your account until it does, and you’ll want to be able to contact the bank or financial institution. Whatever you prefer, either phone, chat, or email, you’ll want to know someone is available for customer support. Checking a bank’s online reviews can give you a good sense of how helpful customer service reps are if you run into trouble.
- Digital Offerings: Does the bank have an app you can easily navigate? Can you deposit checks from your phone? Think about your lifestyle and ask yourself if the bank can keep up.
- Withdrawal Amounts: Federal Reserve regulations impose a maximum of six monthly withdrawals from savings accounts. Some banks give you a little wiggle room or a warning if you go over once or twice, but don’t make it a habit. Other banks charge a fee if you break the six withdrawals per month rule.
- Account Security: Is the account FDIC insured? What are the bank’s online security measures to prevent fraud? Are you immediately notified if there is suspicious activity on your account? All of these questions, and more, are important to answer.
How to open an online savings account
Follow these common steps to open a new account online:
- Go to the bank’s website where you want to open a savings account.
- Click “open an account” or “get started” on the savings account section of the bank’s website.
- You will be prompted to provide some personal information. Typically, this includes your Social Security number, home address, phone number, email, and pictures of your official government ID. If you’re picking a password, use something unique that you’ve never used anywhere else.
- You may be asked to deposit funds into your account to meet minimum account balance requirements. You can deposit money into your new account with an online transfer from an existing bank account.
- The bank will send you a debit card in the mail within a week or so of opening your account if offered with your account. This allows you to withdraw money from ATMs or make purchases with your account funds. When you get your card, activate it using the instructions on the included documents or the sticker attached to the bank card.
Savings account alternatives
Banks do more than savings accounts. Here’s a glance at a few alternatives to savings accounts, namely checking accounts, money market accounts, and CDs.
Checking accounts are similar to savings accounts at a bank, except they don’t usually earn interest, and there typically aren’t stringent withdrawal limits. People often use checking accounts to cover regular monthly purchase items and pay bills. Checking accounts may be an alternative to savings accounts if you plan to make more than six withdrawals per month.
Money market savings accounts
Money market savings accounts are like a cousin to savings accounts. They sometimes provide a higher interest rate than typical savings accounts but not always. However, large minimum deposits and balances may be required with these accounts. A big benefit over traditional savings accounts is access to a check writing feature.
You should note that money market savings accounts differ from money market mutual funds. Money market savings accounts are FDIC-insured bank accounts. Money market mutual funds are riskier investment vehicles that could lose value and are not insured.
Certificate of deposit (CD)
Certificates of deposit, or CDs, are savings vehicles that lock your funds away until a specific future date, called the maturity date. Generally speaking, the longer the maturity date, the higher the interest rate on your CD. CDs generally range from around three months to five years, though plenty of other short-term and long-term options are also available.
If you need to cash out early, you technically can. However, you usually incur a penalty of several months of interest if you take money out of a CD earlier than the maturity date. These are best when you know you won’t need the money until a specific date, and you don’t think interest rates are going up soon.
Savings Account Terminology
To fully understand and navigate what you’re signing up for when getting a savings account, you need to know some terminology.
- Savings account: A bank account people can use to store funds that provides an established percentage of interest.
- Interest: Money a bank, credit union, or other financial entity provides to individuals who keep money with them. Interest is the percentage of the total money stored in the account and can be calculated in a few ways.
- Compound interest: Anecdotally known as “interest on interest.” Someone earns compound interest not only on the principal money they store in an account but also on the prior interest earned from that account. For example, if you deposit $50 into an account earning 10% interest, you’d have $55 at the end of the term. In the subsequent term, you’d earn 10% interest on $55, not just the original $50 you put into the account.
- Annual percentage yield (APY): A formulaic combination of the annual interest rate an account earns each year and the number of times an account earns interest each year. Most banks will disclose their APY for savings accounts.
Saving is always in style
Choosing a savings account and committing to saving a certain percentage of money per month is one of the smartest financial decisions you can make. Although there are many savings accounts, you can narrow your choices by determining your personal financial goals and seeing if those account fees, minimums, interest rates, and banking features fit your financial habits and goals. With that in mind, you can move forward with the best savings account for your unique goals and needs.
What is a savings account?
A savings account is a monetary account at a bank or credit union where people can house their funds. Individuals receive a small additional percentage of their money, called interest, for keeping their cash in a savings account.
How does a savings account work?
Individuals and businesses put their money into a savings account by depositing. People take money out of their savings accounts through a process called withdrawing. You can save and add funds as often as you’d like, and you’ll earn interest based on the amount saved in the account.
Funds stored in a savings account in the United States are protected for up to $250,000 per depositor per institution by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). For joint accounts, you get up to $500,000 in government insurance. That means you’ll get your money back even if the bank goes out of business.
Should you have more than one savings account?
Maybe, depending on your needs. You can have more than one savings account if you like differentiating accounts for various savings goals. Some savings accounts, like Ally, allow you to distribute funds into savings buckets within an account. This eliminates the need for multiple savings accounts to track different financial goals.
However, you can have too much of a good thing. Too many accounts may be difficult to track, accidentally causing you to incur fees like minimum deposit limits and surcharges.
Is savings account interest taxable?
Yes, usually. Once you earn over $10 in interest within a year, your financial institution will likely send you a form to report for taxes. Even if you don’t get a 1099 form from your bank, you are still required to report interest earned on your annual tax return. If in doubt, work with a trusted tax professional.
How often do interest rates on savings accounts change?
Interest rates can change at any time without notice. While they may stay steady for months, they could change daily. In almost all cases, bank interest rates change following a change in the target interest rate set by the Federal Reserve.
How much money should I have in my savings account?
Some banks require a minimum amount to open and keep a savings account, so you should put enough money in your account to keep the total comfortably higher than the minimum. According to the Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances, average savings for people under 25 is $11,250, then around $27,910 for individuals ages 35 to 44, and $48,200 for individuals ages 45 to 54.
For emergency funds, experts recommend having a minimum of six months of expenses saved. However, some suggest saving one year of costs or more put aside for emergencies.
Sometimes, you may have too much money in a savings account, causing you to miss out on better investment opportunities elsewhere. For example, keeping large amounts in savings may forgo the possibility of investing your money in savings vehicles offering a better rate of return, like a stock market investment. In addition, having cash in savings, as opposed to an IRA or other retirement account, could prevent you from benefiting from tax advantages not available in a regular savings account.
Is my money safe in an online savings account?
If your bank or credit union is a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or National Credit Union Administration, funds in your account are protected and backed by the government up to account limits.
Many banks also offer additional security measures to ensure that your money and personal information remain safe. Some measures include anti-virus software and fraud departments that preemptively deny potentially fraudulent transactions and give you free tools to help spot and recover from identity theft. You’ll want to ensure the bank you choose has a robust security system and channels to contact them immediately should you suspect fraud on your account.