The Best Savings Accounts of 2019

 

Savings Interest Rates Keep Your Money Growing

As of the second quarter of 2019, savings rates at five of the largest online banks in the U.S. are nearly 2.00% APY. These are some of the highest savings rates available in the past 10 years!

What does it mean for you?

As a saver, you’re winning — especially if you stick with a top-notch online savings account.

If growing your savings is your key motive for opening an account, then a high-interest savings account might be what you’re looking for.

We analyzed more than 60 savings accounts from the top traditional banks, online banks, and credit unions to uncover the ones that deliver the highest and most consistent rates, money market and low-fee savings accounts helping you grow your savings faster.


Best Low-Fee Savings Account

Savings won’t mean much if you’re constantly losing it to high fees.

Whether the fee is for excessive withdrawals or monthly maintenance, we scoured banks to find out which keep fees at a minimum.

Our Pick: Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings

  • Best Feature: No transaction fees
  • A competitive interest rate without worrying about fees

The Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings account keeps it simple when it comes to saving.

In addition to one of the top interest rates, the account comes with no monthly fees and no transaction fees at all. So, you can just focus on growing your savings.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs Savings Account Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • Earn a very high interest rate
  • No minimum deposit required
  • No monthly fees
  • No transaction fees
  • $0 minimum to earn APY
  • No branch or ATM access
  • No mobile app – web only

Read the full editor’s Marcus Online Savings account review.

Market-Leading Savings Rate

Our Pick: BrioDirect High-Yield Savings

  • Best Feature: Market-leading savings rate
  • No maintenance fees

The BrioDirect High-Yield Saving account helps savers stay focused on building their deposit balance by rewarding them with one of the top interest rates with no minimum balance requirements.

Additionally, the account comes with no monthly fees and no transaction fees at all.

BrioDirect Savings Account Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • Earn a market-leading interest rate
  • No monthly fee
  • No branch or ATM access
  • No mobile banking apps

Read a full editor’s BrioDirect High-Yield savings account review.

Best Account With Consistently Good Rates

A high-interest rate is great, but not if you can’t count on it remaining at that level. That’s why we keep track of banks that offer the most consistent interest rates on savings accounts.

The winners are the banks that change their interest rates the least of all others in the industry, giving customers a reliable savings rate.

Our Pick: Discover Online Savings Account

Discover Bank is hyper-focused on helping customers build savings and its savings account is designed for that common financial goal.

  • Best Feature: Consistently high rates
  • Great mobile banking apps
  • No monthly maintenance fee
  • FDIC Insured

As one of the biggest online banks, it has kept savings rates competitive on a consistent basis — so you don’t have to keep switching banks in search of a high APY.

Moreover, the account comes with no monthly fee and the mobile banking apps allow you to access your account at any time from anywhere.

Discover Online Savings Account Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • Earn a consistently high interest rate
  • Great mobile banking apps
  • No monthly fees
  • No branch or ATM access

Read a full editor’s Discover Bank Online Savings account review.


Our Methodology on How We Picked

How did we decide what makes a great savings account? We researched around 250 savings accounts from the top banks for this guide.

The Best Savings Account picks are based on the consistency of high-interest rates, fees, minimum balance requirements, and account features.

The overall rank for each institution within a specific category is dependant on how many days in the quarter that institution’s score was among the top 10.

On the surface, savings accounts seem simple, but there are a number of things you need to pay attention to when picking a savings account:


Interest Rates

The interest rate is one of the most important aspects of a savings account. It can be the difference between losing to inflation and keeping pace with it. It can also accelerate your progress towards long-term savings goals.

Compounding, or the ability to earn interest on interest, is what makes interest so powerful. Imagine you’re trying to save $15,000 for a down payment on a home. Learn more about how compound interest works.

Your plan is to put $100 a month into a savings account each month until you reach your goal.

If you’re earning no interest, it will take you 150 months, or 12.5 years to reach your goal. If you’re earning 5% interest, it will take you less ten years.

You’ll have contributed $12,000 and earned more than $3,000 in interest after 10 years. More than 20% of the money for your down payment will have come from interest.

Why high interest rates are important

After X Years… Average Savings APY at Top National Banks: 0.026% APY Average Savings APY at Top Online Banks: 2.00% APY
0 $10,000 $10,000
1 $10,003 $10,202
3 $10,008 $10,618
5 $10,013 $11,052
10 $10,026 $12,214
Total Interest Earned $26 $2,214

Many online banks offer savings interest rates with higher APYs than national banks. Some credit unions may also offer higher rates on limited amounts if you meet balance and transaction requirements.

Savings accounts rates at the top national banks

Bank Offered APY
Chase 0.01%
Bank of America 0.03%
TD Bank 0.05%
Citizens Bank 0.01%
KeyBank 0.01%
SunTrust 0.01%
Citibank 0.04%
Wells Fargo 0.01%
PNC Bank 0.01%
U.S. Bank 0.01%
Average 0.02%

Teaser Rates

You might be willing to put up with the occasional fee if you have a big chunk of change in your savings account and that tasty interest rate makes it worth your while.

However, that interest rate you signed up for might not be the one you’re getting a year, six months, or even three months down the road. And then, your account choice might not look like as nearly a good of choice anymore.

This is commonly called a teaser rate or an introductory rate, and the difference between what you get going in and what it changes to can be drastic, with your interest payments at times being cut nearly in half.

To be sure, a lot of banks won’t be completely forthright about how much you’ll be charged for certain services. We read the fine print to ensure you’re getting the best and most consistent rates for your savings account.


Fees and Minimums

Fees and minimums are the other major aspect of savings accounts that you need to watch out for. The entire idea of a savings account is for it to be a safe place for your money.

You can hardly call a savings account “safe” if your bank will take the money from you with fees.

Unfortunately, many banks are now charging fees for even the most basic accounts.

Maintenance Fees

You may think that banks are happy simply to have your business, but the truth is many banks charge a fee for you to maintain an account with them.

The fees can range anywhere from $6 to $8, which may not sound all that much per month, but can actually add up to a hefty sum on a yearly basis.

If you’re keeping only a few hundred dollars on the account, the sum would definitely be much less than the savings yield you’re getting.

Bank of America, for example, has a $8 monthly fee on its basic savings account. Chase has the $5 fee for its Chase Savings account.

Since the interest rate at both banks is so low, those fees can easily outpace the interest you can earn.

There are usually ways to avoid fees on savings accounts. Bank of America will waive its savings account fee if you maintain a $500 minimum balance.

You can also avoid the fee if you have a checking account with Bank of America. Similarly, Chase will remove the fee with a minimum balance of $300, or a monthly repeating transfer of $25 from a Chase checking account.

Banks use fees to encourage their customers to act in specific ways.

Savings accounts minimum balances to avoid monthly fees

Bank Fee Minimum Balance to Avoid Fee
Bank of America $8 $500
Citibank $4.50 $500
Chase $5 $300
Wells Fargo $5 $300
U.S. Bank $4 $300
PNC Bank $5 $300
TD Bank $5 $300
BB&T Bank $0 $0
SunTrust Bank $0 $0
Ally Bank $0 $0
Capital One 360 $0 $0
Marcus by Goldman Sachs $0 $0
Discover Bank $0 $0
American Express National Bank $0 $0
Synchrony Bank $0 $0

If you don’t hit the minimum balances, some institutions will charge you if you don’t have another account at the same bank, like a checking account. This can limit your options when it comes to diversifying your banking.

Overdraft Fees

Overdrafts these days cost at least $30, and that’s for each occurrence of an overdraft check.

If you don’t keep tabs on your check issuances you could easily run up more than a hundred dollars in total overdraft fees in a day, even if your account balance only dips a few dollars into the negative, because banks usually process checks with the largest amounts first.

Overdraft Protection

You could of course, always do away with overdraft charges when you sign up for overdraft protection where the bank effectively provides you with an “instant” loan when you issue an unfunded check.

This could cost you much less than a per check overdraft fee, with annual fees usually around $10 to $30.

But people who often need overdraft protection are those who maintain low balances on their accounts, and in that case, a $30 cost, on an account that maintains only a $300 balance, would still be a 10% negative interest.

ATM Fees

ATM fees may only cost you a buck or two per withdrawal, but these can also add up in a month if you don’t watch your transactions.

If you use an ATM outside your bank’s network, you could be slapped by fees both by your bank and the bank to which the ATM belongs to.

And take note of changes; the fees aren’t getting any lower.

Paper Fees

Going green has perks that go way beyond the environmental benefits. Used or canceled checks are now saved as digital images and for many, this is fine.

However, when the time comes that you may need a copy of your check for tax purposes for instance, you’d have to pay for it.

The same holds true for bank statements and other paper documents.

The good news is, most banks only charge when you request a copy of an old check or statement.

If you request for your checks to be delivered with your paper statement on a monthly basis, you’ll get both free of charge.

Returned Checks

Are you aware that you could still get charged through no fault of your own?

Yes, some banks do charge the depositor’s account when a check deposited gets returned. The lesson here?  Only accept check payments from persons or organizations that you trust.

Closing Account Fees

If your bank fees get really bad and you want out after only a few months, don’t expect them to make it easy for you.

For the brief period they have served you, and for closing an account, whether it’s less than 90 or 180 days, you may need to pay a small fee.


Recurring Transfers

The ability to set up recurring transfers is a very useful feature for a bank account to have.

Recurring transfers can be used to send money to an investment account, move it to a vacation account, or otherwise automate your financial life.

If you’re saving up for multiple financial goals at once, recurring transfers make it easy to do without having to spend hours entering transfer requests.

Setting up a recurring transfer should be a free feature at banks that offer it. Savings accounts are designed to make your financial life easier, and recurring transfers take that a step further.


Withdrawal Limits

You have the best of intentions to build larger savings, but we all know reality creeps in when you’re not expecting it.

There may be times when you’ll have to access those funds for urgent matters. It could be once a month or several times a month.

What you might not have read in the fine print is that too many withdrawals in a month can cost you. It is federal law for banks to limit withdrawals to a maximum of six per month for savings accounts.

Banks could charge an excess withdrawal fee for each withdrawal after reaching the limit. Read more about excess withdrawal fees and how does it compare across the top banks.

Some banks will start charging after three or four withdrawals per month.

If these excess withdrawals become frequent, the bank could automatically convert your savings account to a checking account or close your account entirely.

Savings Withdrawal Fees at Top U.S. Banks

Bank Savings Withdrawal Fee Maximum # Of Fees Charged Monthly
Bank of America $10 after the first 6 withdrawals (fee waived if you maintain $20,000 in account) 6
Chase $5 after the first 6 withdrawals (fee waived for Chase Premier Savings accounts with a balance of $15,000 or greater, or $25,000 or greater in Chase Business Premier Savings accounts) 6
Citibank Does not charge No maximum
U.S. Bank $15 after the first 6 withdrawals 6
PNC Bank $15 after the first withdrawal No maximum
Capital One $10 after the 6 allowed No maximum
TD Bank $9 after the first 6 withdrawals for Money Market/Savings accounts (fee waived for Savings Overdraft Protection transfers)

$3 after the first 3 withdrawals for Club Accounts

6
BB&T $3 after the first 3 withdrawals for Regular Savings accounts

$15 after the first 6 withdrawals for MoneyRate Savings accounts

No maximum
SunTrust $6 after the first 6 withdrawals for Select Savings, Personal Savings, and Essential Savings accounts

$15 after the first 6 withdrawals for Signature Money Market Savings accounts

6
Ally Bank $10 after the first 6 withdrawals No maximum
Union Bank $15 after the first 6 withdrawals No maximum
Wells Fargo $15 after the first 6 withdrawals 3
Discover Bank $15 after the first 6 withdrawals No maximum
Regions Bank $3 after the first 3 withdrawals No maximum
Synchrony Bank Does not charge No charge, but if this happens on more than occasional basis, the bank reserves the right to close the account for misuse
Santander Bank $5 after the first 6 withdrawals No maximum, plus if you repeatedly exceed these limits, Santander will convert your account to a non-interest bearing checking account

Overdraft Protections

Overdraft fees are big business for banks. The banks, in turn, often offer a way for you to use your savings accounts to “protect” you from these fees. But the reality is they don’t complete protect you, and only lessen the burn.

The way overdraft protection works by linking your savings account to your checking, and will automatically transfer funds to cover should you accidentally overdraft your checking.

Sounds like a nice enough feature, and it makes sense. After all, you had the money — just not in the right account. Anything to avoid that pricey $38 overdraft fee.

The problem is, this service often isn’t free. You’re being protected from overdraft, to be sure, but you’re still paying something for the service.

Overdraft transfer fees cost about one-third of your typical overdraft fee.

So while you are paying less than normal, you’re still being charged — making this one important feature. This is one feature to inquire about when evaluating your top savings account options.


Other Important Features

There are some other features we look for in savings accounts that can enhance an account:

The Ability to Open and Nickname Sub-accounts

Some banks let you separate your savings account into multiple pools of cash. You can then add a nickname like “vacation fund” or “down payment” to those sub-accounts. That makes it easy to track multiple goals at once.

Debit Card Access

Savings accounts might also offer debit cards so that you can withdraw your cash more easily. If yours does, be sure to keep track of what ATM network the bank is part of so that you can avoid fees.

Mobile Banking

A high quality mobile banking app can also make or break the savings account experience. Being able to transfer money or check your balance in a pinch is a useful tool. Once you get used to it, it’s difficult to not have those options.

Automatic Savings Programs

Other features, like Bank of America’s Keep the Change program, can help you save in other ways. Knowing all of the miscellaneous features a savings account offers can help you decide on the right account for you.

FDIC Insurance

The FDIC insures every savings account in the United States for up to $250,000. Even if the bank that your savings account is at closes, you’ll get your money back (up to the covered amount).

The FDIC is backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. That means you can don’t have to worry about the FDIC running out of money. Every dollar you put in a savings account is completely safe.


Why Online Savings Accounts Tops Our Picks?

Online banks don’t have to charge fees to stay afloat due to their low overhead costs. By avoiding the need to rent buildings and hire tellers for physical locations, online banks can centralize their operations.

This greatly reduces the cost of running the bank. Online banks also understand that it can be difficult not to have a physical location to visit when you need to withdraw or deposit cash.

That’s why most online banks refund ATM fees, within reason.

Online banks are also able to offer high-interest rates because of their lower costs. As a bonus, online banks tend to have great mobile and online apps, since they’re the main interface customers will use.

Credit unions can also offer low fees and high-interest rates, but for a different reason than online banks.

Credit unions are, in fact, owned by the people who open accounts with them.

That means that they will always be run to try to maximize the benefit of account holders. However, credit unions have eligibility requirements that must be met before you can become a member.

An online savings account can be a great way to stash away your cash and earn interest.

It’s certainly a better option than putting your extra money in a buried coffee can in the front yard or its bank equivalent, the interest-free checking account.

Many people do not realize that certain types of savings accounts can end up costing you money while earning a negligible interest rate.

The associated fees could more than cancel out the money that you’re going to earn. So, your balance could actually get smaller with each passing month. A coffee can isn’t looking too bad now.

When opening a savings account, there are several little tricks banks can use to keep you from noticing discrepancies.

This is a type of deposit account can be a virtually risk-free place to sock away cash until you figure out what else to do with it. But, you need to make sure you’re not going to get blindsided by hidden fees or other costs.


Financial Companies We Surveyed

Savings Accounts We Analyzed

Ally Bank Online Savings Ally Bank MMA
American Express Personal Savings Account Bank of America Regular Savings Account
Bank of Internet Smart Savings Account Bank of the West Classic Savings Account
Bank5 Connect High Yield Savings BankDirect Regular Savings Account
Barclays Online Savings Account BB&T eSavings Account
BBVA Compass ClearConnect Savings BBVA Compass MMA
BMO Harris Statement Savings Capital One 360 Money Market Account
Capital One 360 Savings Account Charles Schwab Bank Investor Savings
Chase Savings Account CIT Money Market Account
CIT Spring Savings Account Citibank Savings
Citizens Bank Green Savings Account Discover Bank
Dollar Savings Direct High Yield Savings Account EBSB Direct High Yield Savings Account
Everbank Money Market Account Fifth Third Bank Relationship Savings
First Internet Bank Regular Savings FNBO Direct Online Savings Account
Goldman Sachs HSBC Everyday Savings ACcount
Huntington Premier Savings Account Incredible Bank Savings Account
Live Oak Bank Savings Account MySavings Direct MySavings Account
Navy Federal Credit Union Share Savings Account PNC Bank Standard Savings
Popular Direct Plus Savings Account Radius Bank High-Yield Savings Account
Regions Bank LifeGreen Savings Account Sallie Mae Bank High Yield Savings
SFGI Direct Savings Account State Farm Bank Savings Account
Suntrust Essential Savings Account Synchrony Bank High-Yield Savings
TD Bank Simple Savings UFB Direct Money Market Account
UFB Direct Premium Savings UmbrellaBank Statement Savings Account
Union Bank Regular Savings Account US Bank Standard Savings
USAA Wells Fargo Way2Save Savings Account