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*
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*
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’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’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’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