Online banks offer higher interest rates than brick-and-mortar banks. This means that stashing cash in an online savings account now pays off because they have fewer overhead costs. Since online banks are vying for to be your new online bank, they tend to offer higher yields.
Banking online is safe, FDIC insured and is a great way to earn interest on your money as it is protected. But which online banks offer the best savings accounts in 2021?
What are the best savings accounts for online banking?
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Banks with the Best Savings Accounts
Here are Smart’s selections for the best savings account rates from top online banks.
Rates are current as of August 2021.
CIT Bank 0.40% APY (tiered) – By rewarding those who actively add to their savings, the CIT Bank Savings Builder Account helps people build their savings account balance while developing good saving habits. You’ll need $100 to open this account, but there are no account maintenance fees and you do almost all of your transactions through their app.
Discover Bank 0.40% APY – If you’re not sure about online banking, using a reputable, established company like Discover Bank should offer some peace of mind. Zero-fee savings, checking and money market products, along with industry-leading interest rates make Discover Bank a great option for online banking.
Synchrony Bank 0.50% APY – Similar to other banks on this list, Synchrony Bank offers an annual percentage yield that is significantly higher than the national average. If you are looking for a high-yield account to grow your savings, but also want ATM access to your funds, Synchrony is a good choice.
Ally Bank 0.50% APY– Ally offers high rates, low fees, an easy-to-use app, and great customer service. There are no physical branches for Ally Bank, but they offer a $10 monthly credit to apply towards ATM fees, making it easy to use an ATM if you need one.
Barclays Bank – 0.40% APY – Barclays has no physical branches in the United States but makes up for it with a very competitive annual percentage yield. There are no monthly fees and no minimum balance you must maintain.
Other banks with high interest rates:
- Marcus by Goldman Sachs – 0.50% APY (no minimum balance)
- American Express National Bank – 0.50% APY (no minimum balance)
- Credit Karma Savings – 0.30% APY (no minimum balance)
- My Savings Direct – 0.25% APY (no minimum balance)
- CIBC Bank USA – .52% APY ($1,000 minimum balance)
- Citizens Access – 0.40% APY ($5,000 minimum balance)
- PurePoint – 0.40% APY ($10,000 minimum balance)
How to Open an Online Savings Account
You’ll need some basic information to open an online savings account. If you’ll have a co-owner on the account, you’ll need their information too. Typically, you’ll need to provide your name, current address, other recent addresses if you’ve moved recently, and your Social Security number.
When you are ready to open an online savings account, make sure you make sure the online savings account has the features most people utilize. What are the benefits of the online banking?
The Benefits of The Best Online Savings Accounts
Opening a savings account excites most consumers about as much as collecting the $100 for ‘Passing Go’ in a game of Monopoly. You sink some cash into a high-interest savings account that you will not touch until the proverbial rainy day. If you live in Phoenix, your savings account remains untouched for most of the year (haha). On the other hand, rainy days abound for the Seattle savings account holders.
A savings account sounds like a bland way to stash away money, but you can spice up your finances by considering six features that define the best high-interest savings accounts.
1. Take an Interest in Interest Rates
Consumer Federation recently released a report that stated only four percent of the United States based banks pay interest on savings accounts of more than 0.25. Money market accounts pay higher interest rates, but you have to carry a much higher minimum balance and pay more in transaction and account maintenance fees. Shopping for the best basic savings account rates involves researching what banks pay interest for customers who open online accounts.
Many banks, such as CIT Bank offer online savings accounts that pay nearly .40% APY (some of the highest rates in the nation). You will never get rich by opening a savings account, but you still want your hard-earned cash to work for you in the form of the best interest rate.
2. Automatic Deposits
When you accept a new job, one part of the new employee orientation involves completing a form that dictates how you want your paycheck deposited. We all want a large chunk of our pay to go directly into a checking account. Yet, the best savings accounts like Aspiration offer a feature that allows for an automatic deposit.
“Most people don’t have the time or discipline to make regular contributions to savings on their own,” said Steve Brobeck, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America. Choose a bank that transfers a set percentage of your pay each week to your bank account. Even better, some banks make automatic transfers from checking to savings accounts one time per month.
3. Low Monthly Fees
Savings accounts should not cost banks much money to maintain. After all, the transaction activity for a typical savings account amounts to nothing more than regularly scheduled automatic deposits. However, banks like to collect fees on anything, from withdrawing too much from a checking account to sneezing while you wait in line to make a money market transaction.
Savings account fees vary, depending on the type of account and the average monthly balance of the account. Consider a bank that charges less than $2 per month in savings account fees and avoids banks that charge a minimum monthly balance fee.
4. Access to Cash
Liquidity, that often thrown around financial term, has relevance for savings account holders. You want to have instant access to your savings account cash via online transfers and withdrawals from ATMs. You might need a substantial amount of money for an emergency that your checking account does not cover. A federal banking law allows only six savings account withdrawals per month. Some banks permit less than six savings account withdrawals a month and on top of that, the banks add transaction fees to give you access to your money.
5. Deposit Insurance
Savings account deposit insurance is a no-brainer, yet many millennials forget to check a bank’s policy on protecting hard-earned cash. Federal deposit insurance protects savings account balances up to $250,000. Some of the highest interest paying banks have acquired Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) protection for savings account holders. This means you do not sacrifice savings account interest yields for gaining a peace of mind.
6. Open an Online Account
It is not just the convenience of opening an online savings account. A growing number of banks offer free online banking tools that help millennials learn how to save money. Here are some of the best online savings account that you can compare..
What advice would you give to a beginner who wants to start budgeting and improving their money management skills?