Best Banks for Savings Accounts

Our guide to finding the best savings account interest rates at banks

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The top rate you can currently earn from a nationally available savings account is 1.10% annual percentage yield (APY), offered by Sallie Mae's SmartyPig Savings Account. That's more than 20 times the national average for savings accounts of 0.05% APY, and it's just one of the top rates you can find in our rankings below. Culled from our weekly rate research on more than 200 banks and credit unions that offer nationwide savings accounts, even the tenth-best rate on the list pays 0.80% APY.

Best Savings Accounts:

  • SmartyPig by Sallie Mae - 1.05% APY
  • Affirm - 1.00% APY
  • Chime - 1.00% APY
  • Fitness Bank - 0.95% APY
  • ConnectOne Bank - 0.90% APY
  • Varo - 0.81% APY
  • nbkc bank - 0.80% APY
  • Salem Five Direct - 0.80% APY
  • CFG Bank - 0.80% APY
  • Customers Bank - 0.80% APY
  • Prime Alliance Bank - 0.75% APY
  • First Foundation Bank - 0.75% APY

Note that some banks opt to call their savings accounts "money market" accounts. Traditionally, money market accounts offer the ability to write checks, while savings accounts do not. The accounts you'll find in our ranking below all operate like savings accounts and have no check-writing privileges, even if the name might suggest otherwise.

Below you'll find the top savings account rates available from our partners, followed by our complete ranking of the best savings account rates nationwide.

This week's top savings account rates in the country are listed below in order of APY. Where more than one institution has the same rate, we've ranked accounts by those requiring the smallest minimum ongoing balance.

Sallie Mae, SmartyPig High Yield Savings Account - 1.05% APY

  • Minimum initial deposit: $0
  • Minimum ongoing balance: $0.01
  • Monthly fee: None
  • ATM card: No
  • Mobile check deposit: No
  • Checking accounts available: No
  • CDs available: No
  • Note: The advertised APY applies only to the first $2,500 of your account balance, followed by a lower interest rate tier on the amount up to $10,000, a third APY on funds from $10,000 to $50,000, and finally a last tier for amounts above $50,000.

Affirm, Savings Account - 1.00% APY

  • Note: Only available and accessible via the Affirm mobile app
  • Minimum initial deposit: Any amount
  • Minimum ongoing balance: Any amount
  • Monthly fee: None
  • ATM card: No
  • Mobile check deposit: No
  • Checking accounts available: No
  • CDs available: No

Chime, High Yield Savings Account - 1.00% APY

  • Minimum initial deposit: Any amount
  • Minimum ongoing balance: $0
  • Monthly fee: None
  • ATM card: No
  • Mobile check deposit: Yes
  • Checking accounts available: No
  • CDs available: No

Fitness Bank, Savings Account – 0.95% APY

  • Minimum initial deposit: $100
  • Minimum ongoing balance: $100
  • Monthly fee: None with $100 ongoing balance; otherwise, $10/month
  • ATM card: No
  • Mobile check deposit: No
  • Checking accounts available: No
  • CDs available: No
  • Note: In order to earn its highest rate, Fitness Bank requires an average daily step count of 12,500, which is tracked through its app. However, additional APY tiers are offered for lower step counts.

ConnectOne Bank, Online Savings Account - 0.90% APY

  • Minimum initial deposit: $2,500
  • Minimum ongoing balance: $2,500 to earn stated APY
  • Monthly fee: None
  • ATM card: No
  • Mobile check deposit: Yes
  • Checking accounts available: Only local where they have branches
  • CDs available: Yes

Varo, Savings Account - 0.81% APY

  • Minimum initial deposit: $0.01
  • Minimum ongoing balance: $0.01
  • Monthly fee: None
  • ATM card: Only with linked Varo Checking Account
  • Mobile check deposit: Yes
  • Checking accounts available: Yes
  • CDs available: No

nbkc bank, Everything Account - 0.80% APY

  • Minimum initial deposit: $0
  • Minimum ongoing balance: $0
  • Monthly fee: None
  • ATM card: Yes
  • Mobile check deposit: Yes
  • Checking accounts available: Yes
  • CDs available: Yes

Salem Five Direct, eOne Savings - 0.80% APY

  • Minimum initial deposit: $100
  • Minimum ongoing balance: $0
  • Monthly fee: None
  • ATM card: No (only with connected checking account)
  • Mobile check deposit: Yes
  • Checking accounts available: Yes
  • CDs available: Yes

CFG Bank, High Yield Money Market Account – 0.80% APY

  • Minimum initial deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum ongoing balance: $25,000 to earn stated APY (or earn a slightly lower rate with a $1,000 minimum balance)
  • Monthly fee: None with $1,000 ongoing balance; otherwise, $10/month
  • ATM card: No
  • Mobile check deposit: Yes
  • Checking accounts available: No
  • CDs available: Yes
  • Note: Although this account has "money market" in its name, it offers no check-writing privileges but instead operates like a savings account.

Customers Bank, The Ascent Money Market Savings Account - 0.80% APY

  • Minimum initial deposit: $25,000
  • Minimum ongoing balance: $25,000 to earn stated APY
  • Monthly fee: None
  • ATM card: No
  • Mobile check deposit: No
  • Checking accounts available: Only with linked Ascent Money Market Savings Account
  • CDs available: Only with linked Ascent Money Market Savings Account
  • Note: Although this account has "money market" in its name, it offers no check-writing privileges and instead operates like a savings account.

Prime Alliance Bank, Personal Savings Account – 0.75% APY

  • Minimum initial deposit: Any amount
  • Minimum ongoing balance: $0
  • Monthly fee: None
  • ATM card: Only with linked checking
  • Mobile check deposit: Yes
  • Checking accounts available: Yes
  • CDs available: Yes

First Foundation Bank, Online Savings Account – 0.75% APY

  • Minimum initial deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum ongoing balance: $0
  • Monthly fee: None
  • ATM card: No
  • Mobile check deposit: Yes
  • Checking accounts available: Yes in Calif., Nev., and Hawaii
  • CDs available: Yes in Calif., Nev., and Hawaii

What Are the Advantages of a Bank Savings Account?

Opening a savings account enables you to maximize what you earn from the money you keep at a bank or credit union. While it's true that some checking accounts pay interest, the vast majority don't. And even the ones that are interest-bearing pay only a pittance on your funds.

So for anyone who has more money in the bank than needed to cover the daily transactions of their checking account, a savings account provides an opportunity to move surplus cash to an account paying a competitive interest rate.

Another benefit of opening a savings account is that it can help you organize your money according to your needs and goals. For instance, you can use a savings account to hold your emergency fund or to collect money you're accumulating for a large financial goal, like a home purchase or future vacation. By keeping these funds separate in a savings account, you can easily distinguish what's available for day-to-day spending (i.e., your checking account balance) vs. what you've saved for emergencies or long-term goals.

Lastly, savings accounts can help put the brakes on spending. Given how accessible your checking account funds are, it can be tempting to use that money impulsively. In contrast, money you have siphoned off to a savings account will involve at least one extra step to access, which might be just enough of a mental and transactional obstacle that you think twice before dipping into your funds for a non-essential purchase.

Key Takeaways

  • A savings account can help you earn more than you would by holding everything in checking, can keep daily expense money separate from long-term savings, and can minimize temptations to spend savings on frivolous or unplanned purchases.
  • Dozens of high-yield savings accounts earn 20 to 25 times the national average rate, with most of the highest-paying accounts coming from online banks.
  • Moving money in and out of a savings account can be done via electronic funds transfer, with some banks also offering mobile check deposit or ATM access.
  • Each account is insured by the FDIC for up to $250,000, or for credit unions, by the NCUA, for the same amount. Withdrawals or transfers from these accounts are limited by federal law to six per monthly statement period.

How Do Banks Make Money on Savings Accounts?

It's no surprise that banks offer savings accounts to further their own profit-making objectives, rather than simply looking to help consumers. Since one of the primary ways a bank generates revenue is to make loans to consumers and businesses and collect the resulting interest payments, they require a supply of funds in order to make those loans.

Offering checking, savings, money market, and certificate of deposit accounts is one way banks attract the capital they need in order to lend money to other customers. It's also how they can enhance their profit-making ability, as the interest rates banks pay on deposit accounts are lower than the rates they can collect on loans. In fact, as we've pointed out, most checking accounts pay no interest at all. And the national average rate for savings accounts is just 0.06%. So when a bank can extend an auto loan for 6% or a credit card rate of 15% to 25%, they generate revenue on the difference, or spread, between the rate of interest paid and interest earned.  

Can I Open a Savings Account Online?

Traditionally, consumers opened a savings account at the same bank where they held their primary checking account. And for many Americans, this is still the case. However, with the advent of the Internet, personal banking options have exploded, and now the most lucrative savings accounts are available online.

This is true in two respects. First, traditional brick-and-mortar banks all have online banking capabilities at this point, and almost all of them allow an account to be opened online. So establishing a new savings account can generally be done from the comfort of your home, rather than requiring you to visit a bank branch.

Second is the important rise of Internet-only banks. These institutions are FDIC-insured banks that offer all the same protections on your funds as a traditional physical bank. However, all of an Internet bank's transactions are initiated and carried out online, with no physical branches to build, staff, operate, or maintain. Without the expense of operating a physical footprint in one or multiple communities, online banks enjoy cost savings that allow them to offer higher rates on deposits than traditional banks can typically extend.

Which Bank Has the Highest Rate on a Savings Account?

The leading savings account rate in the country can fluctuate at any time, as banks and credit unions are free to adjust their rates on savings accounts whenever it suits their purposes. However, what you can see from our current ranking of the top rates is that many of the best APYs come from Internet-only banks. Rounding out the top contenders are some online arms of traditional banks and a few credit unions that offer broad, nationwide membership eligibility.

What you may also notice is the absence of the biggest bank names you know. Chase Bank, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo—three of the country's four largest banks by assets—offer savings account rates far below the national average. Competing heavily for deposit funds is something they simply don't do, as their business model and size enables them to secure sufficient capital from other sources.

Among the "Big Four" banks, only Citibank offers a savings account product with a competitive interest rate. But even here, Citibank doesn't make the cut because plenty of smaller and lesser-known banks and credit unions offer higher rates.

What you can count on from our rankings is that these are the definitively highest savings account rates offered in the country from institutions that are open to customers nationwide. We do not rank them according to advertising or sponsorship relationships, or any other criteria other than APY, nationwide availability, and a minimum deposit of $25,000 or less.

How To Use a Savings Account

If your savings account is at a bank other than where you do your primary checking, an important consideration is that moving your money between checking and savings will not be instantaneous. Transfers between the two will be possible through electronic funds transfers, which can sometimes take place in one day, but may take two to four days, depending on the bank and the time of day you initiate the transfer. So a little more advance planning will be necessary whenever you need to withdraw funds from savings.

Also, federal regulation had required all savings accounts to limit withdrawals to six per month. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an interim rule was placed that allows institutions to decide if they want to allow more than six transactions per month. While this rule applies to all banks, the fee they impose for excessive withdrawals varies by institution. So be sure you understand the possible fees and the account's statement cycle.

For deposits into your savings account at another bank, this is similarly possible via electronic funds transfer. But some banks will also offer a smartphone app that allows mobile check deposit or the use of an ATM card or mail-in envelopes for check deposits.

Lastly, all FDIC banks, whether brick-and-mortar or Internet-only, and all NCUA credit unions, carry U.S. government-backed insurance on up to $250,000 of deposits per individual per institution. If your cash in the bank is well under $250,000, then you have nothing to worry about. But if you hold more than that amount in the bank, you'll want to take steps to split the deposits across multiple institutions and/or multiple individuals (such as a spouse) to make sure all of your deposits are insured.

Can I Open Two Savings Accounts at the Same Bank?

Most banks that offer savings accounts will allow you to open more than one. Why would you want to do this? Let's say you want to stash $15,000 away in an emergency fund. But you're also making monthly deposits from your checking account to save for a big trip. By opening two accounts, you can keep these two different pots of money visually and mentally separate, making it easy to see how much you've accumulated towards your vacation goal. Some banks will even let you give each account a nickname of your choosing.

You may also want to keep two savings accounts at different banks. It can be useful, for instance, to hold a savings account at the same bank as your primary checking, so that you have some surplus funds on hand if you need to make an instant transfer to checking.

Since you might be able to earn significantly more on your savings at a different bank, however, sending some of your funds to an auxiliary savings account (after you've kept a little safety cushion at your primary bank) can be a smart move for earning more and also reducing spending temptations.

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. "Regulation D Reserve Requirements." Accessed Aug. 9, 2020.

  2. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. "Federal Reserve Board Announces Interim Final Rule to Delete the Six-Per-Month Limit on Convenient Transfers From the "Savings Deposit" Definition in Regulation D." Accessed Aug. 9, 2020.

  3. Federal Deposit Insurance Commission (FDIC). "Deposit Insurance at a Glance." Accessed Aug. 9, 2020.