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Originally Published: Sep 14, 2022
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Originally Published: Sep 14, 2022 Last Updated: Sep 23, 2022 34 min read
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Direct Deposit to Make Saving Simple and EasyBest for Account VarietyBest Credit Union
Discover Bank Savings AccountsBarclaysCIT Bank PenFed
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APY

2.10%

2.00%

2.00%

1.50%

Minimum Deposit

None

$0

$100

$5

Maintenance Fee

None

None

None

None

Monthly Withdrawal Limit

6 per month (currently waived until further notice)

6 per month

6 per month (currently waived until further notice)

6 per month (currently waived until further notice)

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No fees at all, except for outgoing wire transfers

Online transfers to and from other banks

The largest variety of savings products, particularly CDs

The credit union with the best variety of savings products and highest APYs

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Discover Bank Savings Accounts
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APY

2.10%

Minimum Deposit

None

Maintenance Fee

None

Monthly Withdrawal Limit

6 per month (currently waived until further notice)

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No fees at all, except for outgoing wire transfers

Direct Deposit to Make Saving Simple and Easy
Barclays
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APY

2.00%

Minimum Deposit

$0

Maintenance Fee

None

Monthly Withdrawal Limit

6 per month

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Online transfers to and from other banks

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CIT Bank
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APY

2.00%

Minimum Deposit

$100

Maintenance Fee

None

Monthly Withdrawal Limit

6 per month (currently waived until further notice)

Company Highlight

The largest variety of savings products, particularly CDs

Best Credit Union
PenFed
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APY

1.50%

Minimum Deposit

$5

Maintenance Fee

None

Monthly Withdrawal Limit

6 per month (currently waived until further notice)

Company Highlight

The credit union with the best variety of savings products and highest APYs

When shopping around for the best savings account, you want to look at annual percentage yields (APYs), minimum balance requirements and fees. Credit unions, online banks and brick-and-mortar banks offer different rates to help your money grow. What’s more, almost every bank offers a mobile app to help you to keep track of your savings and manage your account on the go.

Ahead we review the best savings accounts of 2022, covering details such as APYs and minimum deposit requirements so that you can choose the best fit for you.

Read on to learn more about Money’s picks for best savings accounts.

Our Top Picks for Best Savings Accounts of 2022

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Best Savings Accounts Reviews

Why we chose it: Bread Savings’ online savings account offers the essential features you need to manage your account and features a high 2.15% APY.

Pros
  • No maintenance fees
  • Highest APY of any bank on our list
  • Mobile deposit available
Cons
  • No checking account or money market account
  • No IRAs
  • $100 deposit required to open a savings account
HIGHLIGHTS
APY
2.15%
Minimum deposit requirements
$100
Other Fees
$25 per outgoing wire transfer / $15 per official check request / $5 per paper statement request

Bread Financial offers a high-yield savings account with an APY of 2.15% — the highest on our list. The account has no monthly maintenance fee and you can make unlimited transfers and mobile check deposits.

The only other savings products that Bread offers — certificates of deposit — also have the highest APYs among the companies on our list. The 1-year CD starts out at 3.00% APY, which is already as high as many of the highest APY CDs. Meanwhile, the 5-year CD features an impressive 3.65% APY.

Bread’s high APYs come with a small tradeoff: there’s no checking account available. This means that you must transfer the funds to another bank to withdraw the cash. Likewise, its mobile app is somewhat barebones, only offering basic tools to manage your account finances, such as the ability to check your balances and make transfers.

Runner-up: Barclays Online Savings

Barclays offers a no-frills online savings account with a competitive APY of 2.00%. Its CD offering is similarly attractive, with a rate of 3.25% on a 60-month CD. On the other hand, it doesn’t offer any additional savings products such as IRAs or money market accounts.

Barclays savings has its own dedicated mobile app from which you can track your balances, make mobile deposits and transfer funds to a different bank account.

Why we chose it: Ally Bank’s “buckets” and “boosters” features on its mobile app helps customers better manage their personal finances.

Pros
  • Savings "buckets" make it easy to visualize and keep track of savings goals
  • No minimum deposit required
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Mobile check deposit available
Cons
  • No IRAs
  • No ATM access for online savings account (you can still use ATMs without a fee)
HIGHLIGHTS
APY
2.10%
Minimum deposit requirements
None
Other fees
Returned deposit item $7.50 / Excessive transactions fee $10 per transaction / Expedited delivery $15 / Outgoing domestic wires $20

Ally Bank’s online savings products feature competitive APYs, but the most stand-out features are its smart saving tools called “buckets” and “boosters” that help you organize and analyze your money, making your savings goals much easier.

Saving buckets function as digital envelopes that you can use to divide your savings into different categories without the need for multiple bank accounts — you can create up to 10 savings buckets within one account.

Boosters are optional automated savings tools that help grow your savings in different ways. There are three different boosters:

  • Recurring transfers - You can set recurring transfers from your checking account so you can grow your savings on a schedule that makes sense for you.
  • Round ups - Ally will automatically round up eligible transactions to the nearest dollar up until $5. Once $5 or more have been rounded up, Ally automatically transfers the amount to your savings account.
  • Surprise savings - Each month, Ally analyzes your checking account for any amounts that are considered "safe to save" and automatically transfers them to your savings account.

Ally also offers IRA accounts with rates that match its more traditional savings products. The APYs on its other accounts (savings, money market, CDs) are only 0.10% - 0.30% lower than other comparable banks.

Why we chose it: Competitive APYs and a wide variety of savings products make PenFed our choice for best credit union for savings accounts.

Pros
  • Only $5 required to open
  • Offers all "standard" savings products (savings, money market, CDs, IRAs)
  • Special offers and discounts for members
Cons
  • Membership required to open an account
  • Online savings account APY is among the lowest on our list
  • No ATM access for online savings account
HIGHLIGHTS
APY
1.50%
Minimum deposit requirements
$5
Other fees
Non-PenFed ATM withdrawal fee ($1.50) / Returned deposit check ($5) / other fees unrelated to account maintenance

PenFed Credit Union is open to residents of all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and Okinawa. PenFed stands out for offering a wide range of savings products and having some of the most competitive APYs among credit unions.

PenFed’s online savings account has an APY of 1.50%, which is among the lowest of our top picks, but its money market certificates (the credit union equivalent of a certificate of deposit) offer a competitive 3.25% APY.

Other savings products include a regular savings account, IRAs and money market accounts, with their APYs ranging from 0.05% to 3.20%. Though the regular savings account has the lowest APY at 0.05%, it does allow you to withdraw your money at an ATM — unlike the online savings account.

The best part about membership with PenFed are the associated discounts on several services, such as car and home insurance and car rentals.

Why we chose it: Synchrony’s high-yield online savings account is the only one on our list that allows you to withdraw funds at an ATM, making it our pick for the best savings account for ATM withdrawals.

Pros
  • Included debit card allows you to use savings funds to pay for daily expenses
  • Highest CD rate available for terms as short as five years
  • No monthly service fees or minimum deposit requirements
  • Savings goal calculator
Cons
  • Only $5 in ATM fees refunded per month
  • $1,000 daily ATM withdrawal limit
  • $500 point-of-sale transaction limit
HIGHLIGHTS
APY
2.15%
Minimum deposit requirements
None
Other fees
ATM withdrawal fees (determined per bank, refunded up to $5 per month)

Synchrony Bank offers several online savings products, including a high-yield savings account, money market account, certificates of deposit and IRAs. Its savings account stands out for its associated ATM card, which allows you to withdraw funds at any ATM.

The online savings account’s 2.05% APY is among the highest on our list, and its CD rates can go as high as 3.50% for a maximum of 60 months (5 years). Its money market accounts could offer higher rates, but a 1.50% APY is good, if not outstanding.

There is a limit of $1,000 in ATM withdrawals per day and $500 in point-of-sale (POS) transactions. You also only get up to $5 in ATM fees refunded per month unless you achieve diamond status with Synchrony’s rewards program.

Why we chose it: CIT’s combination of high APYs and several different savings products — from savings accounts to certificates of deposit — make it our choice for the best bank for savings account variety.

Pros
  • Widest variety of CDs on this list
  • Offers custodial accounts for underaged dependents or relatives
  • No minimum balance requirements for active accounts
Cons
  • $100 deposit to open
  • No ATM withdrawal of savings funds
  • Highest CD APY is only available for a 13-month term
HIGHLIGHTS
APY
2.40%
Minimum deposit requirements
$100
Other fees
$10 return deposit item fee / $10 outgoing wire transfer fee for accounts with less than $25,000

CIT Bank is an online bank that stands out for its wide variety of savings products, mainly its four different kinds of certificates of deposit. It also offers custodial accounts to build savings for an underage dependent or relative.

CIT’s online savings account, “Savings Connect,” features a 2.10%% APY, which is among the highest on our list. Its money market account APY is 1.40% — a fairly competitive rate, if not the highest.

Lastly, its CD rates can go as high as 2.20%, though the highest rate only applies to the 13-month CD. Every other CD product has rates under 1%, which is lower than what other banks on this list offer.

Why we chose it: Discover’s lack of fees, from maintenance fees to excessive transaction fees — and even official check fees — makes it our pick for the best savings account for no fees.

Pros
  • 24/7 phone customer service
  • No fees of any kind
  • Multiple savings products offered
Cons
  • Unable to withdraw savings funds at ATMs
  • Limited to 6 transactions per month
  • $30 fee for outgoing wire transfers
HIGHLIGHTS
APY
2.15%
Minimum deposit requirements
None
Other fees
$30 per outgoing wire transfer

Discover offers online savings products that feature almost no fees across the board, even administrative ones that other accounts usually include (such as official check fees). Discover only charges a $30 fee for outgoing wire transfers from your account.

Beyond its notable lack of fees which can help you grow your savings at a faster rate, Discover’s online savings account offers a competitive 2.00% APY. Similarly, its money market accounts feature a 1.90% APY for balances under $100,000 and 1.95% APY for balances over the same amount.

Its certificates of deposit offer terms up to 10 years in length with APYs up to 3.25%. Discover also offers IRAs and IRA CDs with rates of 2.00% and up to 3.25%, respectively.

Last but not least, Discover offers 24/7 phone customer service, which is uncommon.

Why we chose it: The fact that SaveBetter partners with ten different financial institutions to offer a variety of savings products — including money market accounts and certificates of deposit — makes it our choice for best savings account marketplace.

Pros
  • Ten different financial institutions for comparison shopping
  • Open an account in less than 5 minutes
  • Some partner institutions offer higher APYs than any other bank on our list
  • Several savings products for comparison shopping
Cons
  • Does not directly offer any savings products
  • Highest APY banks have several requirements to earn the highest rates
HIGHLIGHTS
APY
Varies by bank
Minimum deposit requirements
Varies by bank
Other fees
Varies by bank

SaveBetter is an online marketplace that partners with ten different banks and credit unions so that customers can comparison shop for different savings products. You can comparison shop for regular savings accounts, high-yield savings accounts, money market deposit accounts and certificates of deposit.

All accounts are federally insured with competitive interest rates, low or no fees, deposit insurance coverage and no withdrawal limits.

SaveBetter’s partner banks each have different savings products that can adapt to the needs of individuals. Whether you prefer to have ATM access to your funds or a no-frills saving account that only allows electronic transfers, there is something for everyone.

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Other savings accounts we considered

Some savings accounts didn’t meet the standards to be included in our top list but are still worth looking into. For example, some of the following accounts offer competitive APYs but can have a monthly service fee or minimum balance requirement, making them a poor choice for some individuals.

American Express

Pros
  • 24/7 customer service
  • No maintenance fees
  • No minimum balance requirements
Cons
  • No money market accounts
  • Credit card account required to link savings account to the mobile app

American Express offers several savings products with competitive APYs, such as a high-yield savings account with a 1.90% APY and certificates of deposit with up to 3.00% APY for a 5-year term. It also offers IRAs with similar rates, depending on whether you choose the HYSA IRA or CD IRA.

American Express is one of the few banks we reviewed that offers 24/7 customer service either through its mobile app or on the phone. You should note that mobile app access to your savings account is currently only available if you also have an American Express credit card account.

Capital One

Pros
  • No minimum required deposit
  • Children's savings account offered
  • No account maintenance fees
Cons
  • No money market accounts offered
  • No IRAs offered

Capital One’s 360 Performance Savings account currently offers an APY of 2.00%, making it one of the better online savings accounts right now, especially if you already do most of your banking through Capital One. Likewise, its 5-year CD has an APY of 3.25%, which is on par with other top-performing CDs.

Although Capital One does not offer savings products such as money market accounts and IRAs, they do offer a children’s savings account. The Capital One mobile app allows you to manage your accounts from your phone and even request customer support 24/7, although this only applies to automated customer service.

Chime

Pros
  • Automated savings tools (percentage of checking deposits, change roundup, etc.)
  • No maintenance fees
  • No minimum deposit or balance requirements
Cons
  • Checking account required to open a savings account
  • No direct deposits into savings account
  • Low APY for an online savings account (1.50%)
  • No other savings products offered aside from a basic savings account

Chime is an online bank account that is designed to help people develop better saving habits. In order to open a savings account with Chime, you also need an associated checking account. This way, Chime allows you to set aside a percentage of your direct deposits for savings or deposited rounded up change from everyday purchases into your savings account.

Although Chime offers a comparatively low APY — 1.50% — its basic savings tools make it a worthwhile alternative for anyone who has trouble building even a basic emergency savings fund.

Citibank

Pros
  • Offers no-penalty CD option
  • Mobile deposit available
Cons
  • $500 minimum balance to waive maintenance fee (if not linked to a checking account)
  • Additional requirements to waive maintenance fee if linked to a checking account

Citibank offers nearly every type of savings product from online savings accounts to IRAs. Although it doesn’t offer standalone money market accounts, they are available as part of its IRA offering. Citibank’s saving APY is currently 2.00%, and its CD rates can go as high as 2.85% for an 18 month term.

While Citibank’s rates are middle-of-the road, its savings products are a good choice for current customers who don’t want to shop around for a different bank. Likewise, individuals who prefer in-person service can visit one of Citibank’s 600+ physical branches across the U.S.

It should be pointed out that Citibank’s requirements to waive its maintenance fees can be pretty strict for some individuals:

  • Savings linked to checking: make an eligible monthly direct deposit or bill payment and maintain a combined total balance of $1,500 across all of your accounts.
  • Savings not linked to checking: maintain a $500 minimum monthly balance.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Pros
  • 24/7 phone and online customer support
  • No-penalty CD offered
Cons
  • No IRAs offered
  • No money market accounts offered

Marcus by Goldman Sachs is an online bank that focuses on offering savings and investment products, loans and credit cards. The APYs of their savings account and certificates of deposit are competitive — 2.15% and up to 3.30%, respectively.

Marcus’ 13-month no-penalty CD (meaning you won’t have to pay a fee for withdrawing your funds early) stands out for its 2.20% APY, which is higher than similar products at other banks. Marcus is also notable for its 24/7 customer service both online and over the phone.

Sallie Mae Bank

Pros
  • Competitive 2.15% APY on its savings and high-yield savings accounts
  • No minimum balance for money market accounts
Cons
  • No IRA products
  • Limited customer service hours (9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Mon - Fri)

Sallie Mae Bank has several savings products that fit a variety of needs, including high-yield savings accounts, money market accounts and certificates of deposit. However, it does not offer IRA products.

Its most notable product is its “SmartyPig” savings account, which has savings tracker tools to help you keep an eye on your savings goals. It also offers referral bonuses of $10 for each person you convince to sign up for the same account.

Varo Bank

Pros
  • Savings tools such as "change round up" and "save your pay" can help you save faster
  • No minimum opening deposit
Cons
  • Only offers a savings account, no other savings products
  • Highest APY only applies up to a balance of $5,000, subject to multiple requirements

Varo Bank stands out for its 5.00% APY, which is far higher than what any other bank currently offers. There is a catch to this high APY tier, though — you have to maintain a positive balance, make recurring direct deposits of $1,000 or more and have under $5,000 in your account every month.

If you are unable to meet these requirements, Varo’s savings APY drops to 2.00%. While this is not the lowest APY on an online savings account out there, it is a very noticeable downgrade from its highest rate.

Savings Accounts Guide

A savings account is a good way to build up an emergency fund or simply put away excess cash that you don’t plan on spending right away. However, there are more savings products than just a traditional savings account, which can be useful for different savings goals.

Read on to learn more about savings accounts and how they compare to the other types of account options.

What is a savings account?

A savings account is a type of bank account that generates interest on the funds that you deposit in it. Unlike interest-bearing checking accounts, the interest rate on a savings account is considerably higher — a checking account may have a 0.0003% interest rate while a savings account has an average rate of 0.08%.

While a basic or traditional savings account has a relatively low interest rate overall, there are different types of savings account with higher interest rates for different savings goals.

How does a savings account work?

Unlike a checking account, funds deposited into a savings account are not meant for everyday use. This means that access to funds you deposit in a savings account is limited to avoid unnecessary spending.

Normally, you have a limited amount of withdrawals per month (up to 6), though many banks allow you to make ATM withdrawals that don't count against this limit. However, this only applies to traditional savings accounts and other types of savings accounts may be stricter (or more forgiving) in limiting access to your funds.

The money that is deposited into your savings account generates interest, which can be calculated daily, weekly or monthly. At the end of your statement cycle, the bank then deposits the accumulated interest into your savings account, helping it grow faster.

Why have a savings account?

Savings accounts are a great way of setting aside money that you don’t intend to use right away. Depending on the type of savings account, you could use it as an emergency fund or even for larger savings goals such as a down payment on a car or home loan.

Like any other financial product, traditional savings accounts come with their own benefits and limitations:

Savings account pros and cons

Pros
  • Can be opened in just a few minutes online
  • Higher interest rate than a checking account
  • Limited access to funds helps with building savings
Cons
  • Lower interest rates than other, more specialized savings accounts
  • Easy access to funds through ATM withdrawals can defeat the purpose of savings
  • Interest earned is considered taxable income

How to choose a savings account

Since the main purpose of a savings account is to help you build your savings, the most important factor when choosing a savings account should be a high interest rate or APY. This ensures that your savings get a small monthly boost on top of any amounts you’re already depositing into the account.

Depending on your specific savings goals or needs, there are also other factors to consider such as:

  • Minimal (or no) maintenance fees
  • No additional fees (such as ATM fees, overdraft fees or ACH fees)
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Mobile app availability

Choosing an account with few or no fees means that you maximize the gains you make from a high interest rate. Likewise, the lack of minimum balance requirements means that you avoid fees if you ever have to withdraw most of your savings in an emergency.

As far as the 24/7 customer service and the mobile app are concerned, it’s always helpful to be able to contact support at any moment if you run into any technical issues while managing your account.

Likewise, mobile banking — being able to view your account balances and access other financial services on the go — is a convenience that will save you valuable time.

How to open a savings account?

Opening a savings account is as simple as either applying in person at a local branch or completing the process online. Regardless of which option you choose, you will need to provide the following documents and information when applying:

  • A valid government-issued ID such as your driver’s license or passport
  • Your Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number
  • Other personal information such as your date of birth, address and phone number
  • An initial deposit to fund your new account

How many savings accounts should you have?

The number of savings accounts you should have will depend on the funds you have available to put away. Since the FDIC and NCUA insure depositors up to $250,000 per bank or credit union, having a single savings account is fine as long as your funds stay under that number.

However, having more than one savings account can be a smart move if you’re working towards different savings goals at the same time. For example, you can have a traditional savings account meant to stash money away for unexpected emergencies like car or home repairs and keep a separate high-yield online savings option dedicated to saving up for a down payment on a car loan.

What are the different types of savings accounts?

The words “savings accounts” normally refer to what is considered a traditional savings account, with comparatively low interest rates but greater flexibility in how you can access your money.

However, there are several types of bank accounts that allow you to build your emergency funds as well as or even faster than a regular savings account:

High-yield savings account

This is one of the more popular alternatives to a traditional savings account. High-yield savings accounts (HYSAs) work like a traditional savings account, but feature interest rates up to 20 times higher (sometimes even more).

Unlike traditional savings accounts, HYSAs are mostly online-only products that aren’t offered at local branches. They also offer fewer ways to access your funds, which makes it easier — in theory — to build your savings.

Traditional savings account

This is the most common type of savings account which is offered by banks and credit unions. These accounts will have a higher interest rate than a checking account but are limited in the amount of withdrawals you can make in a month (6 is the standard).

Many traditional banks will often allow you to withdraw money from your savings account through an ATM, which doesn’t count against your six total withdrawals for the month. Unfortunately, a traditional savings account has a generally low interest rate, overall — typically between 0.04% and 0.15%.

A traditional savings account is a good place to put away excess cash you may not need right away, but could be used for unexpected emergencies. They’re particularly useful if you open them at the same institution as your checking account, which makes transfers quicker and easier.

Money market accounts

Money market accounts (MMAs) offer interest rates almost as high as a high-yield savings account (normally around 0.20% lower) while allowing you to use debit cards and giving you check-writing capabilities.

To balance out the greater flexibility in how to access your funds, MMAs have certain limitations and requirements that other savings accounts don’t have. For example, almost all MMAs have a minimum balance requirement that requires you to pay fees if it is not met.

Like other savings accounts, withdrawals are limited to six per month, not counting ATM transactions. You should also note that the interest rate on MMAs is variable and may change at any moment without notice.

Certificates of deposit (CDs)

Certificates of deposit (CDs) are a type of savings account that allows you to store your money for a fixed period of time, offering higher interest rates the longer you choose to deposit your money for.

CDs can have terms as short as three months or as long as several years, though rarely more than 10 years. While you are allowed to withdraw your funds before the specified term, you’ll have to pay a predetermined penalty if you do. Some banks and credit unions offer no-penalty CDs.

Unlike other types of savings accounts, CDs have fixed interest rates. This can be helpful during periods of time when interest rates are declining, but it can also mean that you won't be able to take advantage of higher interest rates later on.

Specialty savings accounts

There are several other savings accounts that can be set up for specific savings goals instead of using them as a general emergency fund. For example, some can be used as a savings fund for a dependent while others can be set up specifically to save for healthcare expenses.

Specialty savings account include:

  • Children’s savings (Christmas Club and other similar accounts)
  • Health savings account (HSA)
  • College funds (529 plans)
  • Individual retirement accounts (traditional and Roth IRAs)
  • Custodial accounts

Many of these accounts have tax benefits associated which allow you to save even more money in the long run. For example, a Roth IRA allows you to withdraw your savings tax-free, provided you meet the requirements, while an HSA lets you contribute money on a pre-tax basis for healthcare expenses.

Note that in the case of the HSA, you can only have this type of account if you have what is known as a high-deductible health plan. For the other types of specialty savings accounts, you can check with your bank or credit union to see what options they can offer you.

Traditional savings account vs high-yield savings account

Traditional savings accounts and high-yield savings accounts are very similar in their general purpose and features, but they do have some notable differences:

Traditional savings account High-yield savings account
APY is close to the national average as reported by the FDIC APY is considerably higher than the national average, ranging from 8 to 20 times higher
Can be opened by visiting a local branch Is almost always an online-only product
May allow you to withdraw funds from an ATM Rarely allows for ATM withdrawals, instead relies on electronic transfers
Unlimited ATM withdrawals, may be limited to six “standard” withdrawals per month Limited to six withdrawals per month (this restriction is currently lifted until further notice from the federal government)

In summary, a high-yield savings account is preferable if you want more restricted access to your funds and have a short-term savings goal like a down payment for a car or home loan.

What's the difference between a savings account, a money market account, and a certificate of deposit (CD)?

Although all three of these account are designed with savings in mind, there are some very notable differences between a savings account, a money market account and a certificate of deposit:

Savings account Money market account Certificate of deposit
Low initial deposits ($0-$50) Slightly larger initial deposits ($25-$100) Largest initial deposits (can be as high as $1,500)
May not require a minimum balance Minimum deposit may be required (~$1,000) No minimum balance or deposit required
Flexible interest rates that can go up or down over time Tiered interest rates depending on your account balance Fixed interest rates over set period of time (with some exceptions)
Low interest rates (under 0.20%) High interest rates (over 0.90%) Highest interest rates, based on term length (up to 3.00%)

How much money should you have in your savings account?

Conventional wisdom suggests that you should keep at least three to six months’ worth of expenses put away for an emergency. However, this is not necessarily a realistic goal for everyone.

A good starting goal would be to put away a portion of your paycheck each month so you at least have enough to cover unexpected emergencies like car or home repairs.

As long as you don’t find yourself in a position where you’re forced to dip into those funds, you’ll eventually save up enough that you’ll be able to take advantage of the effects of compound interest (a.k.a. interest on your interest).

Savings Account Glossary

Savings accounts (and financial products in general) have some commonly and frequently-used terms that are not always clearly explained to consumers. Here are explanations to some of the most notable ones:

Annual percentage yield (APY)

The APY on any kind of bank account is the true interest rate after your money has been deposited for a year. It is different from the regular or simple interest rate because it takes into account the effects of compound interest (aka “interest on your interest”).

Interest

You can consider interest to be a fee that the bank pays you for choosing to deposit your money with it. Different bank account types calculate interest differently, with some calculating interest on your daily balance, while others calculate it based on your balance at the end of a month. Most bank accounts will pay out interest at the start of a new month or statement cycle.

Interest rate

This is the amount of interest that the bank pays you. It is normally expressed as a percentage of the total amount deposited in your bank accounts. Each account type will have a different interest rate associated with it and the bank can — and does — often change the interest rate at its discretion.

Compound interest

An easier way to think of compound interest is as “interest on your interest”. Say for example that you have $1,000 dollars deposited and you make $10 in interest over a month. The next time your interest rate is applied, it will be to the total amount of $1,010, which includes the interest accumulated over the previous month.

Compound interest is a powerful tool and is the main way that you can take advantage of your savings accounts and similar financial products that help grow your money.

Maintenance fee

Operating a bank takes money, and one way that banks help cover their costs is by charging their customers an account maintenance or service fee. While not all banks charge account maintenance fees, the ones that do may offer different ways to have them waived.

Liquidity

Liquidity is a term used to describe how easily financial assets or securities can be turned into ready cash. In the context of your savings account, a bank’s liquidity affects your ability to withdraw cash from any one of your bank accounts.

Latest News in Savings Accounts

Inflation has wiped out many people's rainy day funds and if you haven’t given your savings account much thought, now might be a good time to make sure you're getting the most from it.

If you had been considering opening a new savings account (or your first), now may be a good time to do so. Many online banks are raising the interest rates on their savings accounts.

Savings accounts FAQ

How does a savings account work?

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As the name implies, a savings account's primary purpose is to help you save money. This means that by design, access to your money is more limited than with a checking account, for example. Transfers out of savings accounts have historically been limited to six per month, though the Federal Reserve has lifted these restrictions until further notice. Likewise, almost no savings account will allow you to directly access funds either through debit cards or checks.

What is the best savings account?

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The best savings account is one that has a high APY, low to no maintenance fees and is insured by either the FDIC or NCUA, depending on the type of financial institution where it is held. Accounts like the ones offered by CIT Bank and Discover Bank meet these requirements, but also offer tools that can help you stay on target with your savings goals and allow you to access your funds quickly in case of an emergency.

How much does a savings account earn in interest?

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Savings account interest rates can vary greatly depending on the global financial situation at the time. According to the FDIC, the national deposit rate for savings accounts is currently 0.10% as of July 18, 2022. This is only the national average, and many savings accounts — such as CIT bank's — are currently offering a higher rate of 0.8% and above. Always keep in mind that the interest you earn on a traditional savings account is taxable and must be reported to the IRS.

What is a good savings account interest rate?

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A good way to compare whether your savings account's interest rate is competitive is to look at the FDIC's monthly report on national interest rates and rate caps. This report can help you determine how competitive your current account's interest rate is than others across the U.S.

What is a savings account used for?

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Because savings accounts have higher interest rates than checking accounts, but lower rates than other financial products such as certificates of deposit, they are ideal for short- to medium-term savings goals. In particular, savings accounts can be very useful for building up a down payment on a mortgage, car loan or even a basic college fund.

What do you need to open a savings account?

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To open a savings account — or any type of bank account — you'll generally need most or all of the following: a valid government-issued ID such as your driver's license or passport; you social security number or individual taxpayer identification number; other personal information such as your date of birth, address and phone number. Many banks will also ask for an initial deposit to fund your new account, so make sure to have either cash or another account's information that you can transfer funds from.

How We Chose the Best Savings Account

Because savings accounts largely have the same features across the board, our picks for the best savings account were mostly based on who could offer the best terms. These days, if a savings account can’t offer things such as zero fees (or easy options to waive them), mobile apps, and small to no minimum balance fees, they’re rarely worth considering.

Likewise, financial institutions that are not FDIC insured — or NCUA insured — are not a good choice, since your money is not protected in cases of bankruptcy or insolvency.

We also looked at:

Rates and maintenance fees

A high interest rate on your savings account is fairly self-explanatory: you always want your money to grow at the fastest rate possible. However, it’s also important to make sure that your savings account isn’t charging you monthly maintenance fees that will cut into your interest earnings.

Minimum balance requirements

While it is not always the case, some bank accounts require either a minimum opening deposit or minimum recurring balance so that you are not charged any additional fees. Where possible, we picked accounts that lacked either of these requirements to ensure you’re able to maximize your savings.

Federal backing and consumer complaints

When looking for a good savings account, it’s important to consider whether the bank is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) if you’re looking into a credit union. Both of these entities insure your deposits up to $250,000 per bank (or credit union) across all of your accounts.

Because federal insurance should be a given for any reputable financial institution, we also looked out for any consumer complaints on file, to make sure that the savings accounts we recommend don’t have an extensive history of consumer disputes.

App availability and customer support

Mobile phones are a part of everyday life and having some way to access your information on the go is all the more important. We favored savings accounts that offered a companion app which allows you to check your balances, as well as make transfers and deposits on the go. We also chose companies that offered flexible customer support hours, in the event that app support is unavailable.

Summary of Money’s Best Savings Accounts of 2022