NerdWallet’s Top High Yield Savings Accounts for the Digital Age

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Online savings accounts offer industry-leading interest rates, the perfect solution for building an emergency fund or any number of other savings goals. But despite what some might say, it’s not all about yield when it comes to finding the best savings account. From how you access your account to added perks and features, online savings accounts are more diverse than you might think. NerdWallet has sifted through the offers to bring you our top high-yield online savings account deals.

Ally Bank – Online Savings - 0.87% APY*

Ally+Bank
Besides being a pretty shade of purple, Ally’s online banking system has some of the best perks in the business. In addition to sending checks by mail, you can scan and upload them yourself with Ally eCheck Deposit, or just take a picture with your smartphone and deposit the check via Ally’s mobile app. Ally also lets you link to an unlimited number of external bank accounts, just in case you happen to have, like, ten. No judgments here.

Synchrony Bank – Optimizer+plus High Yield Savings - 0.95% APY*

Synchrony+Bank
This high yield online savings account goes above and beyond a great interest rate by offering a loyalty rewards program for diligent savers and long-time customers. OptimizerPlus perks include travel discounts, ATM fee reimbursements, free checks, and special rate offers. But this account has more to offer than a few perks. With a yield of 0.95% APY, the Optimizer+plus High Yield Savings has one of the highest rates in the industry. There’s a $5 monthly fee, but a $50 balance will easily waive it.

CIT Bank – CIT Savings - 0.95% APY* for balances of $25,000+

CIT+Bank
CIT’s savings account offers a tiered interest rate structure, so while their regular yield is already competitive, you can boost your interest earnings even more if you can maintain $25,000 in the account. At that level you’ll earn a top-tier 0.95% interest.   CIT Savings has no monthly fees and requires just $100 to open a new account. Parents can also consider setting up a CIT account as a custodial account to help save (tax-advantaged) for education or other costs that benefit a child.

Capital One 360 – 360 Savings - 0.75% APY*

Capital+One+360
Capital One 360’s online savings option provides a trio of great benefits: a high interest rate, no fees, and easy access via mobile app or online banking. The 360 Savings account also offers a few nifty perks such as the ability to split your account into multiple sub-accounts, give them names like “Christmas Fund”, and transfer money to them automatically. This is perfect for the highly organized super saver.

Bank5 Connect – High-Interest Savings - 0.90% APY*

Bank5+Connect
Bank5 Connect’s online savings account comes with all the benefits of a full-service online bank that many people have come to appreciate, all while paying out one of the nation’s highest yields. Customers can choose from a full range of accounts, including checking and CDs, and easily access those accounts for check deposits or other needs with their mobile app (available for iPhone and Android). Bank5 Connect is also investing in their customers’ financial education, with a series of videos, podcasts, and articles available on a variety of topics. If you’re the type to be hesitant about trying new banks, know that this one is an online division of BankFive, a Massachusetts-based bank that’s been serving its community for nearly 160 years!

Why bank online?

Online banks save a ton of money on personnel and maintenance costs because they have no physical branches. The result is more money for you. Better yet, online savings accounts are surprising easy to maintain. You have to manage your account online, but you can access your money 24/7 and transfer it between accounts anytime. You can’t talk to a representative in person, but they’re always available online or over the phone. And, if you need to withdraw money or deposit checks, you can always do that via mail, usually for free. By federal law, you’re limited to six withdrawals a month with any savings account, online or otherwise, so you won’t need to worry about that much. Thus, if you’re tech-savvy, an online savings account is incredibly convenient.

Looking for an account with a brick-and-mortar bank instead? Check out our tool to find savings account rates closer to home.

Should you open a savings account?

A savings account is a good place to set aside money you might need to access quickly, but ideally would like to save. A savings account is great for building an emergency fund, for example, or setting aside money for a large purchase or vacation. At many banks, you can link your checking account to a savings account to make easy transfers, or transfer money automatically from one account to the other, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get a good interest rate. It pays to shop around.

Traditional wisdom holds that if you’re hoping to earn the maximum amount of interest on your savings, you’ll be happier with a CD or money market account, which require that you leave your investment alone for a set amount of time, often several years or more, to get the best rate. In normal times, both of these accounts give higher interest rates than savings accounts. But now, interest rates are so low that many CD’s don’t clear the 1% APY mark. Since CD rates are so low, why lock yourself in?

*Rates updated weekly

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  • travis90

    They don’t need your money the FED will buy back (print money) bonds from banks. As long as this tapering continues rates will not increase. I was getting 5% in 2005 from HSBC now it’s .25%.

    • bob

      Inflation rates may be a factor when dealing with interest rates, but they’re not the only factor. Again, our banks are being wiser with our money. The fewer loans and credit cards given out, means less income for a bank. The reason online banks have higher interest is simply due to lower overhead costs. This is not an inflation problem. In fact inflation rates are a lot lower than they were 6, even 8 years ago. Please be logical and learn something about what you’re talking about before you complain.

  • travis90

    The FED feeds them AKA prints money we are just an annoyance. HSBC paid 5% in 2005 and now .25%.

    • bob

      After the financial crisis that hit around 2009, banks keep their purse strings tighter than before. This is not some government conspiracy, it’s our banks being wiser with the money we entrust with them. Shouldn’t we be excited about that? As for the money printing comment, inflation is not a bad thing. Its one of many ways we stabilize our economy.

  • http://divhut.com Keith Park

    These are all great accounts, but how sad that we get excited over a 1% yield. Not that long ago these savings accounts used to give us 5%. Oh well… sign of the times I guess.

  • Jack Trey

    For everyone complaining that the interest rates on a savings account that is backed by the FDIC is not keeping up with inflation, here’s a little insight. Interest rates on these savings accounts will never reach the level of inflation. Back when they used to pay, say 5%, inflation exceeded that 5%. This is a general rule of finance. In an almost riskless asset with almost absolute liquidity, you will get much less than the rate of inflation every time. If you want to get a higher rate of return, you must either take on more risk that you will not get the return (as seen in stocks, commodities,derivatives), or you must have a less liquid asset (such as a bond) which you cannot exchange for cash at any time. The amount of return on different assets such as a savings account compared to inflation has not changed all that much, everything has just been scaled down.

    Source: Student studying finance at a highly ranked university.

    • John Ferris

      The rate of inflation far exceeds 1%. The government does not count in the inflation rate the cost of food or fuel. Not to mention increases in housing costs. The inflation rate, with just food and fuel factored in, is probably closer to 15-20%.

      • Disqus969

        Yes they do. You don’t know what you are talking about.

      • bob

        Disqus969 is right, the inflation rates factor in ALL of those areas. the current inflation rate is wobbling between 2.5% & 2% so I would think its a stretch to say it far exceeds 1%. In fact at some points in february the inflation rate was below that number. If you’re wanting to add something intelligent, please verify your information first.

    • RV

      If you compare a chart that shows average yearly inflation rates to a chart that shows average yearly savings account interest rates, you will quickly realize that your premise is fatally flawed.

    • bob

      I’d love to agree with you, but unfortunately RV is right. Do some more homework, and hit the books a little harder. Lets take 2009 as an example year. Not the best year financially speaking for the public, but saving rates were on average at 0.46%. The inflation rates that year? It averaged out at -.36%. Savings accounts were .7% ahead of the inflation rate during one of the toughest (recent) financial years. Currently the interest rates are behind inflation rates, but that doesn’t mean they always have been. I doubt this is something you were taught in school, and is simply assumption based off what you’ve learned about the current market.

  • Anonymous

    I have recently tried to sign up for a GE Optimizer+ Savings Account, and found the experience maddenly difficult. Most things can be handled through their website, which is perfectly average. I had some complications with my new account (recent change of address) and had to contact customer service. It was a very frustrating experience. Everyone was very polite, but repeatedly stated “they’ll look into it” and never followed up. After a month of repeated calls and faxing the same documents twice (they were lost the first time), I was then informed that actually, they won’t be able to fix this problem, and I essentially need to cancel my account. I found it all very disorganized and frustrating. It’s not often you need to contact customer service, but for an institution that you’re going to trust with a large sum of money, you want it to work well, and this certainly did not.

    They have also recently been spun off and absorbed into Synchrony Bank; to me this indicates the possibility of volatility in the future and further organizational complications in the near term. In my opinion this is not an institution I would plan on trusting with my money.

    • Anonymous

      I complete concur. I have been having problems with them for the 2 or so months since I opened my account. I have no been able to add external accounts online so when trying to do it by mail they have lost my voided checks multiple times! I am closing my account with them and opening an account with Ally. Too frustrating. The customer service people are perfectly nice, they are just of no help.

  • Seana

    BECU Meber Advantage gives you an APY of 4% on the first $500, after that it’s only .1%, but combined APY makes you much more of a return. It’s free, too. I put my daughter’s into an Early Saver’s account, which gives her a 6.17% on the first $500 and .1% after and she is earnng a combinded APY of 3.47% on $870. Much better than any of the rates I see on here. I have 1 account for me, one for the hubby and one for my kid.

    • thedude

      What good is it if only on the first 500?. Yay. 20 bucks for a year…

      • bob

        It’s called diversifying your money “dude”, something like this is worth it up to the $500. The rest of your money should put in a high interest savings account like Ally until you find another off like that somewhere else. On that $500 you’d earn $4.75 at the highest interest account on this page, $20 is a lot higher than that even if its only on $500. Don’t complain, $20 is high for interest on such a low denomination and is twice as much as the current inflation rate. If you were to do something like this, you set up an auto transfer every month, quarter, etc. to ally/synchrony/etc for the amount of interest earned. This enables you to earn the highest possible interest on your money. Am I the only one who knows you should always diversify? It might be a pain at first to set up, but totally worth it in the long run. There’s even free services out there that would let you manage all those accounts in one place.

    • bob

      Schools Financial Credit Union is doing something similar. Its 7% on the first $500 but then it drops to 0.05% for the rest of the balance. Totally worth it on the first 500, but after that the rest should go into a higher interest account like Ally or Synchrony

  • DJ

    Insight Card Services gives you 5% APY.

    • bob

      Is that a savings account? What would be the strings on that to get that percentage? Is it on the full balance, or just a portion?

  • Yonnie

    Emigrant Bank’s My Savings Direct has a 1.00% interest rate. Is there any reason that it is not on this list?

    • bob

      Thats not a current rate, the current rate (highest when I called the bank) is 0.5% and requires $100 minimum balance. The Banker on the phone explained to me that you probably opened that account quite a while ago which is why the interest rate was grandfathered in.