What Is a Cash Management Account?

Cash management accounts are offered by brokerages and provide checking and saving features.
Chanelle Bessette
By Chanelle Bessette 
Edited by Sara Clarke
What Is a Cash Management Account?

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A cash management account, or CMA, is a cash account that combines services and features that are similar to checking, savings and/or investment accounts under one product. CMAs are typically offered by nonbank financial service providers, and some CMAs can provide high interest rates and reasonable or no fees thanks to low overhead that comes from online-only services. 

Top cash management accounts
Want to compare CMAs? See NerdWallet's picks of some of the best cash management accounts available.

While providers vary in what they offer, here are some of the typical features, benefits and drawbacks of cash management accounts.

Pros and cons of cash management accounts


  • Fewer accounts to manage.

  • Potentially higher interest rates than standard bank accounts.

  • Benefits similar to checking and savings accounts.

  • Federal insurance on your account, often provided through third-party bank partners.


  • Interest rates might be higher with online savings accounts or by investing.

  • Customer service may not be face-to-face.

Wealthfront logo
Learn More

on Wealthfront's website

Wealthfront Cash Account

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Min. balance for APY


Betterment logo
Learn More

on Betterment's website

Betterment Cash Reserve – Paid non-client promotion

Betterment logo


Min. balance for APY


What are the benefits of a CMA?

Simplified account ownership. A CMA can streamline your finances by allowing you to make transactions, earn high-yield interest and sometimes use a credit line that’s attached to your investment securities all without having to transfer funds between different accounts.  

Above-average interest rates. Some cash management accounts have annual percentage yields that are higher than what most brick-and-mortar banks offer. For example, Betterment’s cash management account, Betterment Cash Reserve, has a 5.00% APY**, whereas the average national interest rate on savings products is 0.45% APY.

Betterment says: "*Current promotional rate; annual percentage yield (variable) is 5.50% as of 4/2/24, plus a .50% boost available as a special offer with qualifying deposit. Terms apply; if the base APY increases or decreases, you’ll get the .75% boost on the updated rate. Cash Reserve is only available to clients of Betterment LLC, which is not a bank; cash transfers to program banks conducted through clients’ brokerage accounts at Betterment Securities."

Alternative to checking and savings accounts. Cash management accounts often come with mobile check deposit, check writing, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. insurance through third-party banks (sometimes even multiple times the usual coverage amount), bill pay, money transfers, goal setting, overdraft programs and more.

Things to consider about CMAs

You might not get in-person customer service. Like online banks, the nonbank financial service providers that offer CMAs tend to have remote customer service so that they can have lower overhead and pass the savings onto their customers in the form of higher interest rates. While technology is making it easier to get virtual support, online cash accounts can be a challenge for people who prefer face-to-face interaction. 

Other financial products may have higher interest rates. If you’re looking for a strong return on your money, consider checking out NerdWallet’s list of high-yield online accounts in addition to cash management accounts. Or, if you’re looking to put away your savings for a long period, consider investing it instead for even higher returns or consider opening a certificate of deposit.

Is a CMA right for me? 

If you’re a fan of online banking, chances are that you’ll like the similar features that cash management accounts have to offer. While face-to-face customer service might be swapped for virtual assistance, the savings in overhead allows some of these cash accounts to provide high interest rates and streamlined account features. Make sure you evaluate what a CMA offers and what fees it charges before you open an account.

» If high rates are a priority, you can also check out NerdWallet’s best savings rates.

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