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.

 GE Capital Retail Bank – Optimizer+plus High Yield Savings - 0.95% APY*

GE+Capital+Retail+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.

Barclays Bank – Online Savings - 0.90% APY*

Barclays
The British banking giant, Barclays, launched an online bank for U.S. customers in May 2012. Their savings account rate is currently one of the best in the nation. There’s no minimum balance requirement or monthly fee, although they reserve the right to close your account if you have less than a $1 in there in excess of 180 days. You can make deposits via online transfer, snail mail or remote deposit capture using your smartphone or computer. It’s also worth noting that their overdraft fee is fairly reasonable at $5 per item, although we hope you never have to learn from experience.

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!

Discover Bank – Online Savings - 0.85% APY*

Discover
Discover makes it easy to manage your savings account and Discover card online. You can access both from the same mobile app, too. The Discover Online Savings account has no monthly fee or minimum balance, however it does require a $500 minimum deposit to open the account. Use their online calculator to determine your interest earnings over a period of time and compare against national averages.

FNBO Direct – Online Savings - 0.85% APY*

FNBO+Direct
An FNBO Direct savings account is as simple as they come – no minimum balance or monthly fee, and just $1 will open a new account. It’s easy to transfer money from one account to another. Plus, you can use Popmoney to send payments to friends or family members. Finally, if you’re in the market for a new checking account as well, FNBO offers an interest-bearing online checking account to further compliment your savings goals.

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.

Sallie Mae – High-Yield Savings Account - 0.80% APY*

Sallie+Mae
The Sallie Mae savings account already has no minimum balance requirement, no monthly fees, and one of the top rates in the nation, but it gives you an even better value if you’re saving for college. If you have a Sallie Mae Upromise account, which is a cash back education rewards program, you can link it to your savings account to be eligible for a 10% match on your earnings. Sweet!

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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  • Jerry

    I have to say that GE Online Saving is REALLY BAD. At first, they wouldn’t make deposit to my external bank to verify. Next, I re-added external bank info and it removed saving account. Then I got an email saying my credit doesn’t look too good.(What is my credit score has anything to do with saving?) Then I called them and they fixed everything. This morning I got two deposit to verify. I entered the amount, then it complained that it is not correct. After several try, my account froze and told me to call. Before I made a call, I looked up my saving account info and guess what? it disappeared. I called anyway. They put me on hold. When they came back, they told me that my account has disappeared and the reason will be sent to me in mail and wouldn’t tell me why I can’t have my account. Basically, they told me to go save somewhere else… what the ???? Stay away from them!!!!

    • Bob West

      been using GE for some time now and easy to set up, and manage. I guess there is a lemon in everything, but I am ok with them

  • Ty Quando

    Sorry for showing my age, but when I was in 2nd grade you got 5 1/8 % interest on savings and this current inability to get more than 1% is all about the banks getting Congress to permit them to act as brokerage firms so that they give you nothing on savings accounts and when you want anything above 1% they steer you to their brokerage departments which are staffed by young weasels cheating you a thousand different ways. I know this because both JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo have done it to me.

  • browneyedgirly

    Smarty Pig offers 1.0% – Higher than anything listed here…

    • NWjohn

      Very true, thanks for the tip! We don’t list Smarty Pig here because they are not an actual bank or credit union (however funds are held on deposit at BBVA Compass bank). Also, while your funds can be withdrawn straight back into another account when you reach your goals, Smarty Pig tends to favor redemption in the form of gift cards or a reload-able debit card, which incentivizes savers to use their funds for specific purchase goals rather than other long-term goals like building an emergency fund or saving for education.

      • browneyedgirly

        I agree about the incentives but with self control it’s a really good option. I love that they allow you multiple goals under one account.

      • YDM MDY

        that’s good to know in case one would need cash right away.

    • Cyndrome

      Been using SP since 2010. Never been charged a fee or had any issues with transfers. Also, there is no obligation to purchase specialized gift cards upon redemption; it’s only an option.

  • YDM MDY

    wow. i didn’t know there were so many options. i’m with a credit union that only offers .100% on a regular savings account. :( will look more into the options presented. thx! :)

  • B.Willy

    [BoB] Bank Of BangKok 3.11%. .10% Annual Increase. Join Now Best BANG for Your Kok, I mean Buck.

    • ryger3351

      Where did you see that? Their own website reports a 0.625% Savings Interest Rate.
      Certificate of Deposits, fixed 36 months is offered at 2.250% to non-resident individuals.
      Where did you see something advertised at 3.110% ?

  • MrsGriswold

    This makes me realize that Wells Fargo sucks

  • TurkishDelight

    These are AWFUL.

    ING Direct Australia has an introductory interest rate of 4.35%, which drops down to a low 2.75% after the first four months.

    However, if you’ve deposited $200 a month for those first 4 months, they give you a 0.5% boost per annum. Thank you, I’ll take that 3.25%.

    And those are LOW. When I first opened an account with ING AU, I had an introductory interest rate of 8%, which dropped to 6.35%. And to think I was disappointed.

    These interest rates are SHAMEFUL. And you’re advertising them like they’re something to be proud of. How on earth do people in the US ever save money??

    Also, given that the web is GLOBAL, perhaps “NerdWallet’s Top 10 High Yield Savings Accounts in the US for the Digital Age” would have been a more apt title.

    • James

      it appears that bank requires one to be an australian citizen.

      • Jackie Zollner

        yep, i saw that too. I was very interested in opening an account. :(

    • http://unicornuproar.com/ Moscato-Moe

      I have 2% interest on my *checking* account on balances up to 15k.

  • jerry

    These banks then lend your money to CC holders for 20-30%

  • Dan

    “How on earth do people in the US ever save money??”

    Uh, we don’t. We’re essentially being forced into debt servitude. The only way to earn interest on money is to invest like the big boys do, in stocks, bonds, or real estate. Obviously the average Joe doesn’t have the time or the wherewithal to do this, and even if he did none of it offers the safety of a steady savings plan in a bank account offering a decent interest rate (say between 5 and 10 percent, which was the norm years ago).

    Gone are the days when one could put in an honest day’s work, save a little each paycheck, and not have to worry about emergencies or retirement. “Saving” money in a bank savings account in America today is actually a losing proposition when inflation is factored in.

    • http://unicornuproar.com/ Moscato-Moe

      I use index funds.

    • Tim

      “when inflation is factored in”

      That’s your key section right there. The tiny interest rates on savings accounts aren’t going to grow your money as fast as inflation will devalue it. So, you lose, even if you save. Factor in how the banks have screwed over savers in South American countries and that’s why so many people are trying to shelter themselves in physical gold. They want to be able to hold ‘something’ in their hand that cannot “vanish” at the push of a computer button like many savings accounts did in some South American countries over the decades.

  • Anonymous

    Savings account don’t have high yields, because loan (especially mortgage) rates aren’t what they used to be.

    Savings accounts may have paid 5%+ in the “good old days aka 1970″ but mortgage rates were also 15%+.

    Savings account, maybe 10,000, that’s $500 a year ($400 more then the stinky modern times).
    Mortgage, probably 200,000, that’s $30,000 a year ($20,000 more then those good old days).

    So that’s…one sec…losing $19,600 (a year) going to back then?

    The reason Americans are in “debt servitude” is because of…not that.

    *Source: I’m a Mortgage Officer who works for a Major Bank*

    • Tim

      But that’s assuming you have a home mortgage loan. Some people recognize the housing prices and the current rebuilding bubble for what it is and understand that housing in many popular cities is currently artificially inflated by banks holding onto the properties.

      The bottom line is, what you save in lower interest rates on mortgage loans, you’re losing on inflated housing prices……….and even more dangerous, when you buy that inflated house, you’re going to lose your butocks when the market price re-corrects again some day. Previous home owners lost before and they are a bit more savvy about what a “good deal” is based on market circumstances. People are onto the bank’s manipulations on home prices. It’s WHY they don’t mind reduced interest.

    • Iminurbase

      Actually you could net 5.5% as recently as 2006 from an ING account, but the true reason was because of the Federal Reserve’s 0 interest rates that has screwed everything.

      The federal reserve’s out of control money printing is what’s causing the booms and busts in the markets.

      -School of Austrian Economics

      I bet you didn’t even know about fractional reserve banking did you?

      Here, take this red pill:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFDe5kUUyT0

      You’re welcome