Best Money Market Accounts

Earn interest with one of these checking-savings hybrid accounts

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A money market account can be a useful financial tool when you have funds you want to save, but that you also want to keep easily accessible should you need withdrawals at any time. Essentially a cross between a savings account and a checking account, money market accounts generally pay interest, allow for some number of free withdrawals per month, and offer the ability to write checks on the account. Some also offer ATM and debit card access to your funds.

But not all money market accounts are created equal, varying more than you might expect on interest rates, fees, withdrawal rules, and balance requirements. To lead you to your own best option, we surfaced over a hundred money market accounts that are available to customers nationwide, and then filtered it to 20 with the highest interest rates. From there, our research on fees and features took us to our top picks below.

It’s important to note that having your money market account at the same bank or credit union where you have your checking account is not necessary, and is unduly limiting. Instead, consider the ease of connecting accounts via online banking as your motivation to broaden your search to other institutions, as this is where you’ll almost certainly find the best rates and features.

When choosing the best money market account for your needs, rates should be a primary consideration. But possible fees, how many withdrawals are allowed per month, and what different deposit and withdrawal avenues are offered should be carefully weighed as well. Our expert-chosen list of the top national contenders puts that research at your fingertips, making it easy to choose the best money market account for how you personally bank.

The Best Money Market Accounts for 2021

Best Overall : Patelco Credit Union

Patelco Credit Union

Patelco Credit Union

With the highest interest rate around on modest balances, no monthly fees or minimums, and even free checks, Patelco Credit Union is our winner for the best all-around money market account.

Pros
  • Nation-leading interest rate on balances below $25,000

  • No monthly maintenance fees

  • No minimum opening or ongoing balance

  • Free checks always

  • An ATM card and Zelle capability

Cons
  • Less competitive rate once balance reaches $25,000

  • Withdrawals limited to six per month

  • Check writing limited to three checks per month

  • No debit card

  • Credit union membership required (but it’s free)

You may never have heard of Patelco Credit Union, but this California credit union founded in 1936 is open to U.S. adults anywhere in the country, with an exceptionally easy and cost-free membership process. A great reason to join is that Patelco’s money market account pays the highest interest rate you can currently find among nationally available money markets, while offering most or all of the features you’ll need and charging no monthly fees.

The interest on Patelco’s Money Market account is a declining rate, meaning you earn the best rate on low balances, and lower rates at each higher balance tier. Specifically, on your first $2,000, you’ll earn an eye-popping 2% APY. Then on the next $3,000, you’ll earn 1%, which still far exceeds the rate paid by our other contenders. The resulting blended APY for a $5,000 balance is a very attractive 1.40%.

The interest rate stepdowns continue, and at $25,000, your blended rate becomes 0.59% APY, which is about the same as the highest rate you’ll see from other providers. At $50,000, the blended APY is 0.47%, which can still compete, but other options may start to seem more appealing.

Where you also score with Patelco is its lack of monthly maintenance fees, its provision of free checks (including refills anytime you run out), no minimum balance (not even to open the account), and even the ability to pay people or accept money via the very convenient Zelle service.

The only things missing are a debit card, which some money market accounts provide (at Patelco you’ll get an ATM card), and unlimited transactions. Patelco limits check and electronic withdrawals to six per month, unless you meet certain withdrawal requirements such as a pre-authorized ACH transfer or in-branch withdrawals. But some banks offer a higher limit. Also, Patelco limits check transactions to three per month.

Best for Debit Users : Axos Bank

Axos Bank

 Axos Bank

If having access to your money market funds via debit card is useful to you, Axos Bank is an excellent option. Its provision of a combined ATM/debit card along with unlimited withdrawals, a great interest rate, and no fees earns it our honors for best money market account for debit users.

Pros
  • Highly competitive interest rate

  • No minimum ongoing balance

  • No monthly maintenance fees

  • Unlimited number of withdrawals every month

Cons
  • Must open with a minimum $1,000 deposit

  • No refunds on ATM charges

  • Paper checks carry an order charge

Right behind Patelco’s exceptionally high rates on low balance amounts, the 0.60% APY paid by Axos Bank’s money market account is at the top of the national charts. And you earn the same APY on all balance amounts, whether you have $1,000 socked away or $100,000.

Axos, which was founded in San Diego in 2000 as one of the first digital banks, also stands out for having eliminated its monthly withdrawal limit when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, with no current plans to bring it back. (The change is based on the Federal Reserve’s COVID-19-related suspension of Regulation D, which previously stipulated six maximum withdrawals per month). So if you want to use your debit card liberally, or just use the account for a large amount of online payments and transfers, you can do that at no expense with an Axos account.

There are no monthly fees on the Axos money market, and no minimum balance requirement. To start things off, though, you’ll have to make an initial deposit of at least $1,000.

Although it offers nationwide access to ATMs using its online locator tool, Axos does not provide any ATM fee reimbursements. Also, though your first box of Axos money market checks is free, you’ll incur a $6 shipping charge, and no free checks after the first set.

Read the full Axos Bank review.

Best for High Balances With Low Activity : Prime Alliance Bank

Prime Alliance Bank

Prime Alliance Bank

Want to earn as much as you can on a high balance, but have no need for ATM or debit transactions? Prime Alliance’s money market account is a rate leader that trades frills for a simple, straightforward account at a great rate, making it our top choice for high balances with low activity.

Pros
  • Highly competitive interest rate

  • No minimum opening or ongoing balance

  • No monthly maintenance fees

Cons
  • No ATM or debit card

  • Withdrawals are limited to six per month

  • Ordering paper checks will cost you

For those who want their money market account to be a simple place they’ll park cash without a lot of need for transactional withdrawals, Prime Alliance provides an easy to use account that pays a nation-leading rate of 0.60% APY. That rate applies to all balances, so if you’re regularly holding $50,000 or more, this account can pay off.

Founded in 2004 in Woods Cross, Utah, north of Salt Lake City, Prime Alliance charges no monthly fees on its money market account, requires no minimum balance at any time, and can even be opened with nothing. Ordering checks will cost you, but sets ordered through the bank are inexpensively priced.

The biggest downside here is that withdrawals from this account can only happen by check, electronic payment, or electronic transfer. No ATM or debit card is available with this account. And like the majority of money market accounts, withdrawals are capped at six per month.

Best for Ultimate Flexibility : Ally Bank

Ally Bank

 Ally Bank

Though Ally doesn’t offer the tip-top rate among money markets, it does rank among the highest, and offers about as many ways as possible to access your money. That’s why we’ve chosen it as the best money market account for those who want a lot of transactional flexibility.

Pros
  • Competitive interest rate

  • No minimum balance or monthly fees

  • Combined ATM/debit card, plus Zelle capability

  • Free checks always

Cons
  • Withdrawals limited to six per month

  • Slightly lower rate than highest-paying options

  • ATM fee reimbursements capped at $10 per month

Ally may be an online-only bank, but it’s also a Top 20 U.S. bank by size, making it a major banking player with significant resources at its disposal to hone its online interface and mobile app. Federally insured since 2004, Ally is the largest online-only bank in the U.S. by assets.

Ally has been able to fine-tune its high-yield account lineup for years, and its money market account is a good example of how Ally combines multiple customer-friendly facets into a single account, at the same time as paying a rate near the top of industry charts. Currently, Ally is paying 0.50% APY on all money market balances.  

Where Ally particularly shines is in the wide variety of ways it allows you to access your funds. It provides a combined ATM/debit card, and if you should be charged ATM fees upon using the card, Ally will reimburse you for up to $10 in fees each month. It also provides not only your first box of money market checks, but a refill set as well, anytime you run out. Lastly, Ally’s participation in the Zelle network makes it easy for you to electronically (and sometimes instantly) send money to, or receive money from, someone else.

Ally’s money market account also boasts no minimum balances to open or maintain the account, and no monthly maintenance fees. It does, however, limit withdrawals to the standard six per month (though it is currently waiving the $10 excessive withdrawals fee during the COVID-19 pandemic).

Read the full Ally Bank review.

Best for Frequent Transactors : Synchrony Bank

Synchrony Bank

 Synchrony Bank

For those who don’t feel they can get by with just a half dozen withdrawals per month, Synchrony Bank offers a money market account with a much more generous withdrawal limit, while still offering a competitive interest rate and no monthly fees, making it our pick for those needing to make frequent transactions.

Pros
  • Competitive interest rate

  • No minimum balance or monthly fees

  • Up to 15 withdrawals per month

  • First set of checks free

Cons
  • The ATM card is not a full debit card

  • ATM fee reimbursements capped at $5 per month

  • Slightly lower rate than highest-paying options

Synchrony is one of the banks that has turned the Fed’s COVID-19 pandemic-triggered elimination of maximum withdrawal limits into a selling point for its money market account, allowing account holders to make up to 15 withdrawals and transfers per month. That’s two and half times the six-withdrawal limit typical across the banking industry, and is useful for those who want to actively and frequently move money in and out of their money market account.

It also pays a competitive interest rate of 0.50% APY on all balances, charges no monthly maintenance fee, and makes no requirements on a minimum opening or ongoing balance. Even the first set of checks is provided free of charge, but you’ll have to pay for your own checks after the first box runs out.

Perhaps more important for some, the ATM card is not a debit card. While it can be used for point-of-sale purchases as a PIN-based transaction, it does not offer full debit card capabilities. Also, though Synchrony provides fee reimbursement on ATM charges, it caps that offer at just $5 per month.

Synchrony Bank has its origins as a financing division of General Electric (GE). It became an FDIC member in 1988, and in 2015, fully separated from GE to become an independent online bank. 

Read the full Synchrony Bank review.

Best Brick & Mortar Option : Check Locally

What if you really want your money market account to be accessible locally, with in-branch transactions? There is no bank or credit union that provides branches across all 50 states. Wells Fargo comes closest, but the interest rate on Wells Fargo’s money market account—as well as the money market rates at the other Big Four banks (Chase, Bank of America, and Citibank)—hover just above zero, making them suboptimal places to earn money on your savings.

The best way to find a good brick-and-mortar option is to simply explore the banks and credit unions in your community. Armed with what you’ve learned here about typical rates, fees, and features, you’ll be well-equipped to evaluate what the best local option is for you.

One additional possibility is to look at Patelco Credit Union’s “shared branch” network. On Patelco’s website, you can search for credit unions near you that belong to the shared Co-Op network. Once you’ve identified those, inquire whether any allow you to do transactions on your Patelco account inside their branch (some shared branches will only allow ATM transactions from other credit unions).

Bottom Line

As you’ve seen, money market accounts can pay a competitive interest rate on your funds while also offering different arrays of customer-friendly features—if, that is, you make your pick from one of these industry leaders rather than simply opening whatever money market your current bank offers.

Patelco Credit Union is an all-around winning choice, offering lots of features with no fees or minimums, even providing free check orders and the ability to make Zelle payments. You’ll do even better with a Patelco money market account if your balance is typically below $25,000, as you’ll be earning the highest APY currently available.

If other features are more important to you—like a high number of withdrawals per month, debit card access, or a great interest rate on larger balances—one of our other winners should fit your needs and give you peace of mind that you’re earning as much as you can, with as few costs as possible, for the features you value most.

Compare Providers

Financial Institution Why We Picked It Key Benefit
Patelco Credit Union Best Overall Exceptional interest rate on modest balances
Axos Bank Best for Debit Users Full debit card access with no monthly transaction limit
Prime Alliance Bank Best for High Balances With Low Activity An attractive rate for balances that mostly sit
Ally Bank Best for Ultimate Flexibility Access to your funds through every possible channel
Synchrony Bank Best for Frequent Transactors More than double the typical number of allowed transactions

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Limits of a Money Market Account?

For all their useful features, money markets generally aren’t a substitute for your checking account. That’s because, in exchange for a higher interest rate, most money market accounts put a cap on how many transactions you can make in a month. Also, only some offer ATM and debit card privileges.

They also are slightly different than savings accounts. Though they can be viewed as offering more features and accessibility than a savings account, which doesn’t offer check writing or a debit card, the best money market accounts don’t pay as much interest as the top-paying high-yield savings accounts.

What Should You Use a Money Market Account For?

Money market accounts are well-suited to those banking customers who have money in savings that they’d like to keep separate from their transactional checking account, and for whom the ability to write checks is useful. Because our recommended money market accounts pay a decent interest rate on your funds, it’s a good place to stash cash you don’t need on an everyday basis. And if your financial life involves a regular check or two that you write and send every month, a money market can serve as the perfect hybrid between a savings account and a checking account.

How Safe Are Money Market Accounts?

Money market accounts offered by banks and credit unions are just as safe as any other deposit account offered by these institutions, such as checking, savings, and certificate of deposit accounts. That’s because the vast majority of institutions are federally insured by the FDIC for banks and the NCUA for credit unions.

What this means is that, even if the institution fails, up to $250,000 per account holder is insured by the U.S. government. Just be sure the institution where you’re opening your money market indicates the FDIC or NCUA member logo or text.

Be aware that brokerage firms also offer money markets, and typically, these are not federally insured as they are investment accounts rather than deposit accounts. So if protection on your money will help you sleep better at night, be sure to open your money market account at a federally insured bank or credit union.

Are Money Market Accounts Taxed?

The interest paid on a money market account is treated in tax terms the same way as the interest paid on any other kind of bank account. Whether you earn money on a savings, checking, or CD account—or some combination—all of that interest will be reported to the IRS at the end of the year as interest income, which is taxed the same as your regular income.

How We Chose the Best Money Market Accounts

To be able to serve the largest number of readers possible, we began our search by looking only at money market accounts that are available nationwide. This necessarily means the accounts can be opened online from anywhere in the country. Roughly 120 accounts made this first cut.

We then sorted that list on interest rate, as the best accounts are going to be ones that fall in the upper echelon of earning ability. This filter distilled our list to about two dozen accounts that currently pay 0.50% APY or higher.

Lastly, we dug into these to find which ones charge no monthly fee, have reasonable minimum balance requirements, and offer an attractive mix of withdrawal options and limits, resulting in our five winners above.