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The best online high-yield savings accounts of March 2021
|Bank||APY||Minimum deposit||Next Steps|
|0.40% APY||$0||Learn More|
|0.50% APY||$0||Learn More|
|0.50% APY||$0||Learn More|
|0.40% APY||$0||Learn More|
|0.40% to 2.80% APY||$0||Learn More|
|0.42% to 0.50% APY||$100||Learn More|
|0.57% APY||$100||Learn More|
|0.50% APY||$0||Learn More|
|0.50% APY||$0||Learn More|
*As of March 2021, the national average APY on savings accounts is 0.04% according to the FDIC.
Savings rates for the largest US banks
|Citibank||0.04% - 0.50%||Learn More|
|Capital One||0.40%||Learn More|
|PNC Bank||0.01% - 0.40%||Learn More|
|TD Bank||0.01% - 0.25%||Learn More|
|Bank of America||0.01% - 0.05%||Learn More|
|Chase Bank||0.01% - 0.05%||Learn More|
|U.S. Bank||0.01%||Learn More|
|Charles Schwab Bank||0.05%||Learn More|
|Wells Fargo||0.01% - 0.02%||Learn More|
You really can't go wrong with a high-yield savings account. If you've decided to store your money in a high-yield account, where it's growing but still accessible, you're already doing better than the 75% of Americans who are leaving money on the table.
It's important to note that, unlike certificates of deposit (CDs), you do not lock in a fixed interest rate when you open a high-yield savings account. The annual percentage yield (APY) is variable since it's based on what the does. So while it's smart to look at interest rates when comparing high-yield savings accounts, it's not the be-all and end-all.
Note also that high-yield savings accounts' rates have been decreasing in response to the coronavirus pandemic and struggling economy in 2021. But considering these accounts still offer higher rates than your average brick-and-mortar bank, it's still a good idea to use them to save money.
Below you'll find our picks for the best high-yield savings accounts right now. Each of these accounts is free of monthly maintenance fees, insured by the FDIC, and appropriate for modest and super savers alike. Users can access each of these accounts online or through an app.
Our expert panel for this guide
We consulted banking and financial planning experts to inform these picks and provide their advice on finding the best high-yield savings accounts for your needs. You can read their insights at the bottom of this post.
We're focusing on what will make a high-yield savings account most useful, including high APY, low costs, and more.
Why it stands out: Discover offers a competitive rate, and it's a solid low-fee option — there's no fee for insufficient funds, excess transactions, or monthly maintenance. You also don't need an initial deposit to open an account.
Discover offers 24/7 customer service, both over the phone and online chat.
What to look out for: No out-of-network ATM fee reimbursements. Discover has a large ATM network, and it doesn't charge a fee for using an ATM outside the network. But unlike many banks, it won't reimburse any fees charged by out-of-network ATM providers.
Why it stands out: Ally has been a power player in the high-yield savings space for a few years now, and it consistently nabs top awards for online banking. It's a particular favorite among millennials, who tout its accessibility and ease of use. You can deposit checks through the mobile app and open multiple accounts in minutes.
Ally makes it easy to save for specific goals. Assign each account a nickname, like "Emergency Fund" or "Travel Account" to track your progress and stay motivated. You may decide to open a separate account for each goal, but Ally has a bucket feature that allows you save for multiple goals in one account.
What to look out for: An excess transaction charge. Like most banks, Ally limits the number of transfers in and out of its high-yield savings account to six times per statement cycle. Each transfer over the limit will incur a fee of $10. However, Ally is not charging an excess transaction fee during the coronavirus pandemic.
Why it stands out: Marcus pays one of the most competitive rates in the industry right now. It doesn't require an opening deposit or minimum account balance, and it doesn't charge monthly maintenance fees. Marcus' mobile app has also received positive reviews.
What to look out for: Mobile check deposit and customer support availability. Although users give the Marcus mobile app good reviews, the app doesn't allow you to deposit paper checks digitally. Marcus also has more limited customer service hours than many competitors, both over the phone and online chat.
Why it stands out: Capital One 360 makes it easy to save for various goals. Set a savings goal and your target amount, then schedule recurring transfers from your Capital One 360 Checking account until you've saved the full amount.
The account also pays a competitive rate with no opening deposit, minimum account balance, or monthly charges.
What to look out for: Limited customer support over the phone. You can chat live online with a representative, but Capital One doesn't offer 24/7 service over the phone.
Why it stands out: Varo has a tiered interest rate system, but even its lower APY is competitive with what most banks pay. Varo also doesn't charge monthly fees.
What to look out for: Tiered APY. To earn the highest interest rate each month, you must make at least five debit card transactions AND receive minimum $1,000 in direct deposits. You'll also only earn the highest interest rate on balances up to $10,000.
Why it stands out: This is a good option if you want to open both a checking and savings account with CIT Bank. It has a tiered interest rate. You'll earn the higher rate if you direct deposit $200 per month from another account into the CIT Bank eChecking Account each month. But even if you don't qualify for the higher rate, the lower-tiered rate is still competitive.
What to look out for: Checking account. You must open a checking account to qualify for this savings account. If that's a problem, you may like the CIT Bank Savings Builder High Yield Savings Account, which doesn't make you sign up for checking.
Why it stands out: Vio offers one of the top savings rates right now, and the bank doesn't charge a monthly service fee. Although it requires an opening deposit, you don't have to maintain a minimum balance to earn interest.
What to look out for: Minimum deposit. You'll need at least $100 to open an account with Vio. Also, bear in mind that interest rates fluctuate with the federal funds rate, which means you aren't necessarily guaranteed to earn the highest rate with this account forever. There are still good reasons to open a high-yield savings account when interest rates are low, but be aware they can change.
Why it stands out: Besides offering a high APY (annual percent yield) , American Express doesn't require an opening deposit or charge a monthly service fee. It also offers 24/7 customer support over the phone, and it won't charge a fee if you go over the federal limit of six transactions per month from your savings account.
What to look out for: No mobile app. There is an app for American Express credit card customers, but not banking customers.
Why it stands out: Chime makes it easy for you to automatically save. You can round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and move the spare change into your savings account, or set up a percentage of your paycheck to go directly into savings.
What to look out for: Checking account. You must open a Chime Spending Account before opening a Chime Savings Account, because the two frequently work in tandem. If you're looking for a place to open a savings account but not a checking account, then you may prefer another one of our top picks.
Other online high-yield savings accounts we considered
- HSBC Direct Savings Account (Member FDIC) : HSBC Direct offers a competitive rate, but the mobile app has received negative reviews.
- Synchrony High-Yield Savings Account (Member FDIC): This is a solid savings account, but the rate is a little lower than what you'll earn with our top picks.
- Betterment : This robo-adviser's high-yield cash account doesn't limit transfers. However, Betterment requires a $10 initial deposit and its APY is lower than what you'll find with our top picks.
- Wealthfront: This account offers unlimited transfers in a statement cycle as well as checking account features including a debit card, online bill pay, and direct deposits with the ability to get paid two days early, but its APY is lower than competitors' rates.
- Comenity Direct: You'll earn a decent rate with Comenity Direct, but the app has received negative reviews in the Google Play store.
- Barclays (Member FDIC) : A fine high-yield savings account with a competitive APY, it lacks distinguishing factors.
- CIBC Bank (Member FDIC) : You only need to maintain a balance of $0.01 to earn interest on this high-yield savings account, but you have to put down $1,000 to open the account in the first place.
- Fitness Bank (Member FDIC) : This unique high-yield savings account determines your APY by the number of steps you take on an average day. While there's potential to earn a high rate on your money, it's conditional on your level of commitment.
- Citizens Access (Member FDIC) : Despite offering a respectable APY, the minimum deposit to open a high-yield savings account here is $5,000.
- MySavingsDirect (Member FDIC) : This high-yield savings account earns a decent rate, but there are others with better user experience and similar features that earn more.
- BrioDirect (Member FDIC) : The competitive APY makes this account a decent choice for savers, but some customers have complained that their initial funds transfer took longer than expected.
- SFGI Direct (Member FDIC) : Although SFGI Direct's high-yield savings account earns a respectable APY, it requires $500 to open an account.
- Credit Karma: This high-yield savings account pays a relatively low rate, and as a credit and loan company, Credit Karma's expertise is not in traditional banking.
- Personal Capital : This is technically a cash account, which makes it easy to sweep some money into investments, but pays a very low APY on your savings.
- HMBradley: This hybrid checking and savings account offers high rates, but you have to save at least 20% of your deposits to earn the maximum APY.
- SoFi Money: This hybrid checking account/savings account offers 20% cash back on Lyft rides and unlimited ATM reimbursements worldwide, but its APY is less than what you could earn with other savings accounts.
- USAA Savings Account (Member FDIC) : This account could be a good fit for military members and families, but you'll earn a low rate and need at least $25 to open an account.
- Axos High Yield Savings (Member FDIC) : You'll earn a high APY with this account, but it requires an opening deposit of at least $250.
- UFB High Yield Savings (Member FDIC) : UFB offers a high APY on balances of $10,000 or more.
- Nationwide My Savings Account (Member FDIC): You need $100 to open an account with Nationwide, and its interest rate is only so-so.
- Citi Accelerate Savings: This account pays a high APY, but it's only available for residents of certain US states.
- TIAA Basic Savings Account: It's easy to waive the $5 monthly fee, but TIAA's rates are a little lower than what you'll find with our top picks.
Frequently asked questions
Why trust our recommendations?
Personal Finance Insider's mission is to help smart people make the best decisions with their money. We understand that "best" is often subjective, so in addition to highlighting the clear benefits of a financial product or account — a high APY, for example — we outline the limitations, too. We spent hours comparing and contrasting the features and fine print of various products so you don't have to.
How did we choose the best online high-yield savings accounts?
There are a lot of high-yield savings accounts out there. Through our research, we've found that the best high-yield savings accounts are offered by banks with a strong online presence, robo-advisers, and other internet-only financial companies.
In addition to polling Insider employees for their favorite picks, we reviewed high-yield savings accounts at nearly two dozen institutions to identify the strongest options. We also cross-referenced our list against popular comparison sites like Bankrate and Nerdwallet to make sure we didn't miss a thing.
While interest rates are an important aspect of any high-yield savings account, several offer the same annual percentage yield (APY). To differentiate between them, we also considered minimum deposit and balance requirements, transfer limitations, and any other standout features. Importantly, we didn't consider any high-yield savings accounts that impose monthly maintenance fees.
How does a high-yield savings account work?
High-yield savings accounts are typically offered by online-only banks, or by brick-and-mortar banks that offer online-only savings accounts. Banks can typically pay higher rates on these accounts because they don't have to cover expenses that come with physical branch locations.
A high-yield savings account rate is variable, which means it can fluctuate after you've opened the account. Your bank will usually email you to tell you the rate will go up or down soon.
Are online high-yield savings accounts worth it?
Yes — a high-yield savings account has very few downsides, if any. There's no risk that you'll lose money, your account is insured by the FDIC (usually up to $250,000, but up to $1 million in some cases), and it gives you a shot at beating inflation.
The only time a high-yield savings account may not be worth it is if you're paying excessive maintenance fees that eat into your interest payments or you find yourself restricted by the monthly transfer limit or time it takes for your money to get to your checking account.
Which banks have the best savings interest rates?
Generally you'll find the best savings interest rates at 0.04% APY. The best high-yield savings accounts offer an APY of about 0.50%.. Nationally, the average traditional savings account earns just
If you're more comfortable banking with a brick-and-mortar, a traditional savings account may be a better option for you. Just know that you may not be getting the best possible interest rate.
How often do high-yield savings rates change?
Interest rates on high-yield savings accounts closely follow the federal funds rate. That is to say, rates are variable and can change multiple times per year at the whim of the Federal Reserve.
The Fed meets eight times a year and decides whether to increase, decrease, or leave interest rates untouched. If the Fed cuts rates, the APY on your savings account can drop within days. When rates are lower, you won't earn as much interest on your savings. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't save at all. When interest rates inevitably go back up, you'll see a greater return on your money than if you started from scratch.
Because the Fed spent several years raising rates since the Great, it cut interest rates three times toward the end of 2019 in an effort to regulate the economy and sidestep another recession, and it slashed rates twice in 2020. It's nearly impossible to predict with certainty which way rates will go, but you can bet they're going to change one way or another.
Is there a 5% interest savings account?
There is no savings account that offers a 5% interest rate. Today, most high-yield savings accounts top out around 0.50% APY. If you want a higher return and you don't need immediate access to your money, you may consider putting it in a certificate of deposit (CD) or investing in the market.
What's the difference between a high-yield savings account and money market account?
A high-yield savings account and money market account are both savings tools that pay competitive rates on your money. The main difference is thatoften make it easier to access your money by sending you paper checks or a debit card.
This can be convenient if you need to access money quickly in an emergency, but easy access might make it more tempting to spend your savings.
What's the difference between a high-yield savings account and CD?
When you put your money in a high-yield savings account, you should be able to withdraw or transfer funds regularly. The rate is variable, meaning it can change after you open the account.
With a CD, you choose a CD term, probably between one and five years. You put your money in the CD, and you don't withdraw any funds until the term is over. The rate is typically fixed, meaning your APY is locked in from the time you open the account until the term ends.
You can deposit money into your high-yield savings account whenever you want, but most banks only allow you to make one initial deposit when you first set up the CD.
CDs can be good saving tools if you're okay with parting with your money for a while, but if you need access to money sooner, a savings account is probably a better choice.
Which bank is the most trustworthy?
We've only selected high-yield savings accounts at institutions with no public scandals in the past three years. We've also compared each company's Better Business Bureau score.
The BBB grades businesses' trustworthiness based on factors like response to customer complaints, honesty in advertising, and transparency about business practices. Here is each company's score:
|A+ (Grade of partner bank, MidFirst)|
Of our top picks, Ally has the lowest grade. The BBB cites the number of customer complaints on the BBB website as the reason behind the B- grade. On the bright side, only one of those complaints remains unresolved. Chime is not currently rated because it's in the process of responding to previously closed complaints.
The experts' advice on choosing the best high-yield savings account for you
To learn more about what makes a good high-yield savings account and how to choose the best fit, four experts weighed in:
- Tania Brown, Certified financial planner at SaverLife
- Roger Ma, certified financial planner with lifelaidout® and author of "Work Your Money, Not Your Life"
- Mykail James, MBA, certified financial education instructor, BoujieBudgets.com
- Laura Grace Tarpley, associate editor of banking, Personal Finance Insider
Here's what they had to say about high-yield savings. (Some text may be lightly edited for clarity.)
Generally, what makes a high-yield savings account good or not good?
Roger Ma, CFP:
"It might not be as seamless to get your money out of an online savings account as it is a brick-and-mortar, but you don't want to have so much friction where it's such a pain to get the money out when you need it."
Mykail James, CFEI:
"Anything with a fee is not a good high-yield savings account. Anything that restricts how much you can save is, to me, not very good. If I can't save more than $10,000 in this account, and then I have to move it over somewhere else — to me, that's not a really good savings account, because it's not really prepared to help me expand and grow, which is what a savings account is supposed to do. I also look at interest rates, definitely. I look to see when the interest is paid. Is it quarterly, or is it monthly? How often do they pay out interest, and what are the interest rate stipulations?"
How should someone decide whether to put their money in a high-yield savings account, money market account, or CD?
Tania Brown, CFP:
"So I guess we'll start off with how much money you want to put in and ... the level of transactions you want to have. If you want to have any transactions, that automatically takes out CDs. Then you're stuck between the high-yield savings and the money market account."
Laura Grace Tarpley, Personal Finance Insider:
"I would use a high-yield savings account or money market account for short-term goals or an emergency fund. You'll probably want to choose whichever has a higher rate, but money market accounts can be good for emergency savings because they often come with a debit card or paper checks, making it easy to access money quickly. Then use CDs for longer-term goals, like buying a home in a few years."
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.