In the old days, a bank was a well-guarded building where wealth was stored. But in the digital age, most of our money never ends up in physical form. With less necessity for maintaining branches, many banks are focusing on creating fantastic customer experiences where the majority of us do our banking — online.
Here are NerdWallet’s top high yield online savings accounts.
Best yield with ATM access: Synchrony High Yield Savings
If a high yield — currently 1.05%* — and ATM access are must-haves for your online savings account, Synchrony is a good option.
Best overall digital experience: Ally Bank
The Ally online savings account can be hooked up to a checking account to serve as overdraft protection, and the bank got glowing reviews from the Pew Charitable Trust in its May 2015 roundup of consumer-friendly banks.
If good design and high-tech customer service are important to you, Ally may be the right choice.
Best yield for power savers: Barclays Dream Account
The bonus rate is retroactive, covering the previous six months, but you can deposit only $1,000 a month into your account. Even though you’re allowed to have up to three Dream accounts, the interest bonus doesn’t add up to a lot of money. Still, it may be appealing to people looking for motivation to save more.
The bank’s overdraft fee is only $5, but there’s no limit on the number of $5 fees you can incur at one time. If a deposit doesn’t clear and you make several withdrawal or transfer requests, you could face multiple overdraft fees.
Customer support is mostly limited to phone access, a downer for people who prefer online help. But if you’re an interest rate maximizer, you really can’t go wrong with the Barclays Dream Account.
Best feature to help you save: Capital One 360
Most people are saving money for multiple goals. You may be building up an emergency fund, saving for your summer vacation and socking away money to replace your elderly car. It can be hard to prevent yourself from mixing those pots of money together, spending too much of your emergency fund on a vacation or buying a junker car because you’re afraid to dip too far into your rainy-day fund.
Capital One 360’s genius solution is to allow online savings account holders to divide their money among multiple accounts — as many as 25. Easily renamed to reflect what you’re saving for, these accounts can be viewed all at once, and money can be transferred between them. There is no monthly fee, and overdraft fees are not an issue because transactions are simply denied if there are insufficient funds in the accounts. Account holders get an interest rate of 0.75%*.
If you like to organize your savings goals into separate categories, you and Capital One 360 are made for each other.
Making banking better
Savings accounts are almost a necessity for protecting some of your money from monthly cash flow needs. Although many brick-and-mortar banks excel at providing online tools, you might be happiest with a bank that focuses all its funds and customer service muscle toward technological solutions.
*Interest rates updated weekly.
Updated June 15, 2015.
Financial institutions reviewed
Banks and credit unions we reviewed for this article: Ally Bank, Bank of America, Barclays, BB&T, Capital One 360, Chase, CIT Bank, Citibank, GE Capital Bank, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, Simple, Synchrony Bank, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.
Do you have a favorite online savings account we didn’t mention? Tell us about it in the comments.
Image via iStock.