NerdWallet’s Best Savings Accounts, Winter 2014

When it comes to earning interest and keeping your excess cash safe, a savings account is one of the simplest options out there. Unfortunately, national average savings account rates are devastatingly low.  So don’t take for granted that your current bank will have the best account or the highest interest rate. Unlike a checking account, you shouldn’t need to access the money on a regular basis, so choose an account based on the best yield and features, rather than the most convenient location. For more information, try our savings account search tool to find the highest rates at a bank or credit union near you.

Best savings account for a top-notch yield: GE Capital Bank

1.05% APY*
GE Capital's Online Savings is one of our favorites because of its consistently top-notch savings yield, with no required minimum balance to boot. It's perfect for the "set-it-and-forget-it" style saver, who plans to use an online account primarily to stash an emergency fund or short-term savings while interest does some work for you. GE Capital's online calculators are handy to check out how much you'll save and earn in interest over time provided you continue to make regular contributions to the account. You can also browse their articles for savings tips and tricks. GE Capital doesn't currently offer mobile or online check deposits, so the best way to open your account is by linking an existing one at another bank.

Best account for tech-savvy savers: Ally Bank Online Savings

0.99% APY*
For the more tech savvy saver, Ally’s Online Savings account is a great option. Their mobile app allows you to easily manage your account, view transactions, deposit checks, and more. Their savings account has no monthly fees or minimum required balances, and the same holds true for their related accounts like Ally Interest Checking. Finally, Ally’s savings yield is consistently one of the best rates around, so you can watch your spare cash grow quickly.

Best community bank savings account: Radius Bank High-Yield Savings

0.85% APY*
Radius Bank is a community bank with locations in Massachusetts and New York, but savers can take advantage of their top-notch account from anywhere in the U.S. by opening online. Radius' High-Yield Savings account offers a yield that's over 10 times the national average for balances over $2,500, but even if your balance drops below that amount, there's no need to freak out. You'll still earn a small amount of interest and won't have to face any monthly fees. If you don't live near a Radius Bank branch but still want to open an account, just use their mobile banking app to deposit checks!

Best credit union savings account: Alliant Credit Union Regular Savings

0.80% APY*
Alliant's core savings account is a great option for credit union members looking to earn higher interest rates. The account offers a yield that approaches the rate at many online banks, and just $5 is required to get started. You can easily access your cash or make deposits at any of over 80,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationwide. Finally, like a bank, your deposits are of course federally insured by the NCUA. You can qualify for membership in a number of ways, including your location, your employer, or membership to partnering organizations.
* Rates updated weekly

  • LH

    Are you aware of any business savings options with the same or better rates?

  • AD

    I’m having trouble deciding between Barclay’s and Synchrony’s savings account. Which do you think is better. I’m looking for a savings account that not only has a high yield but is also user friendly.

  • wirkkala

    I have trouble understanding the APY, if I open an accont that hast a 0.70% APY, does it mean that after one year, $1000 dollars will be $1007? or $1070? or 1084?

    • dennis


      • wirkkala

        Thanks! so 0.7%… man, the safest ETFs give you 3 times that interest. Banks are horrible.

        • dhj

          1) It cost money to purchase an ETF. First day you would lose ~$7. 2) You always run the risk of losing capital with ETF/Mutual/Etc — purchased early 2008 you would have lost significantly over the course of a year. 3) You shouldn’t consider savings an investment. It’s better than stuffing money in your mattress because even if your house goes up in flames and the economy tanks (to most degrees) you will still have that savings.

          I personally use it as a transfer location to move to other investments. Why have that cash sit in a checking account where it does nothing (or very very little) when it could be in savings earning a bit, safe and almost as accessible due to electronic transfers?

  • Walt

    Wesleyan Investment Foundation offers 1.25% APR/ 1.25 APY for savings accounts under $5000. Over $5000 it offers 1.75 APR/1.76 APY.

    • Patriot123579

      Are they insured? Their site mentions nothing about FDIC or any other insurance vehicle. What’s more, Wesleyan is an investment site predominantly designed to service Christian Churches. I don’t have a problem with that per se, money is money, but it may be important to some people.

      • Walt

        I do not know if they are FDIC insured. I was passing along the information. Though it wouldn’t surprise me if they are not, usually with federal intrusion comes federal over sight which hinders on the unreasonable.

        • Patriot123579

          They’re not FDIC insured. They’re basically a private investment fund. As much as I’m sure they’re financially stable, that’s not really risk I want to take for an quarter or half point of interest.

  • Rian

    The best APY/APR for a savings account which I could find is with Weselyan Investment Group. I do not need the funds for a couple years so I am open to other non-risky options too.
    1. Does anyone know of a higher yielding/safe saving bank than Weselyan Investment Group?
    2. Does anyone know of any low risk investment options as I do not need the funds for at least 2 years?

  • anna

    I love using the American Express personal savings account. It’s APY is .80% no fees and easy to transfer money into the account. Been using it for years.