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9 Best High-Interest Accounts of March 2021

Our list of the best high-interest accounts.

Margarette BurnetteMarch 1, 2021
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High-interest deposit accounts beat regular bank accounts when it comes to the best places for your money. Whether they're savings or checking accounts, CDs or other types of deposit products, these accounts provide a safe place for your cash while earning a competitive yield. The better rate means your bank balance can grow faster than with standard options.

These accounts usually have online access and many don’t charge a monthly fee. Note that some have transaction or balance requirements to earn the best rates. High-yield checking accounts, for example, might require you to make a certain number of debit card transactions each month. If you can meet the conditions, however, they're worth a look. And while some accounts are offered by banks, others are offered by credit unions or nonbanks (providers that partner with a bank to offer deposit insurance).

NerdWallet did extensive, independent research on dozens of account providers to identify the best options. Read on for more details about NerdWallet’s best high-interest accounts.

Summary of best high-interest accounts

Best accounts for checking

  • Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking.

  • Axos Bank Rewards Checking.

  • Connexus Credit Union Xtraordinary Checking.

Best accounts for savings

  • Varo Savings Account.

  • Sallie Mae SmartyPig Account.

  • Revolut Savings Vault.

Best accounts for CDs

  • Ally Bank CD.

  • Comenity Direct CD.

  • Connexus Credit Union Share Certificate.

Summary of Best High-Interest Accounts of March 2021

Our picks for

Checking

Axos Bank® Rewards Checking

at Axos Bank®, Member FDIC

Axos Bank® Rewards Checking

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Axos Bank® Rewards Checking

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

1.25%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

at Axos Bank®, Member FDIC


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Axos Bank’s Rewards Checking account earns up to 1.25% APY. To earn the rate, you need to receive at least $1,000 in direct deposits each month and make at least 15 debit card purchases (minimum of $3 per transaction) in the same timeframe. Even if you make fewer debit card transactions, you can still earn a competitive rate.

Rewards Checking has no monthly fees and offers unlimited reimbursements on domestic ATM fees.

Read Full Review
Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking

at Consumers Credit Union, Federally insured by the NCUA

Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

4.09%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

at Consumers Credit Union, Federally insured by the NCUA


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

You can earn 2.09% APY on balances up to $10,000 at Consumers Credit Union if you also make 12 monthly debit card purchases, have monthly electronic transactions of at least $500 (this could include direct deposits, mobile check deposits or ACH bank transfers) and receive e-statements.

You can earn even more if you use a Consumers Credit Union credit card. Meet the requirements above and also make $500 in credit card purchases, and you earn 3.09% APY on balances up to $10,000. Make an additional $500 in credit card purchases, and the APY on balances up to $10,000 is 4.09%.

If you meet monthly requirements but have more than $10,000 in your account, the excess earns 0.10% APY or 0.20% APY, depending on the amount. If you don’t meet monthly requirements, your money earns 0.01% APY on all balances.

Read Full Review

Connexus Credit Union Xtraordinary Checking

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Connexus Credit Union Xtraordinary Checking

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

1.75%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Connexus Credit Union’s Xtraordinary Checking account offers 1.75% APY on up to $25,000 to customers who opt-in to e-statements and either make a minimum of 15 debit card purchases or who spend at least $400 per month. If a customer doesn’t meet these requirements, they won’t earn any interest. This account also provides up to $25 in rebates per month for fees at out-of-network ATMs.

Read Full Review

Our picks for

Savings

Varo Savings Account

at Varo, Deposits are FDIC Insured

Varo Savings Account

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Varo Savings Account

APY

2.80%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

at Varo, Deposits are FDIC Insured


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Varo Bank’s online savings account earns 2.80% APY for balances up to $10,000 if certain requirements are met, and 0.40% APY if conditions are not met. Either way, there is no monthly fee, and both options pay much more than the national average for savings accounts, which is 0.04% APY.

Here are the conditions: You must receive at least $1,000 in total qualifying direct deposits and make at least five purchases with the Varo debit card between the first of the month and the last business day of the month. Also, your balance can’t go below zero or above $10,000.

Read Full Review

Sallie Mae® SmartyPig Account

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Sallie Mae® SmartyPig Account

APY

0.70%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

The SmartyPig Account has a tracking feature that lets you set savings goals and create automatic savings transfers to help you reach those goals. There are four account balance rate tiers, with a yield as high as 0.70% APY. The tiers are:

$0.01 - $2,500 earns 0.70% APY $2,500.01 - $10,000 earns 0.70% APY $10,000.01 - $50,000 earns 0.45% APY $50,0001+ earns 0.45% APY

Read Full Review
Revolut Savings Vault - Premium

Revolut Savings Vault - Premium

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Revolut Savings Vault - Premium

APY

4.78%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

To be eligible for Revolut’s highest savings rate, you’ll need to pay a $9.99 monthly fee for a Premium account. There is no minimum balance required to earn Revolut’s highly competitive rate in this account, but you will need to meet certain qualifications. In order to earn more than the Premium account’s base interest rate of 0.28%, you need to spend with your Revolut card to earn the 4.50% bonus. You can make deposits to your account by opting to round up your spare change from your Revolut card purchases or making recurring or one-off transfers.

Our picks for

CDs

Ally Bank High Yield CD

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Ally Bank High Yield CD

1-year APY

0.60%

With $0 minimum balance

3-year APY

0.65%

With $0 minimum balance

5-year APY

0.85%

With $0 minimum balance

Minimum Balance

$0

Member FDIC


3-year APY

0.65%

With $0 minimum balance

5-year APY

0.85%

With $0 minimum balance

Why we like it

There is no minimum deposit requirement to open an Ally Bank CD account. The bank also offers a selection of specialty CDs, including one with an 11-month term that lets you make an early withdrawal penalty-free.

Read Full Review

Comenity Direct CD

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Comenity Direct CD

1-year APY

0.63%

With $1,500 minimum balance

3-year APY

0.85%

With $1,500 minimum balance

5-year APY

0.90%

With $1,500 minimum balance

Minimum Balance

$1,500

Member FDIC


3-year APY

0.85%

With $1,500 minimum balance

5-year APY

0.90%

With $1,500 minimum balance

Why we like it

Comenity Direct’s online CD rates are competitive across a range of term lengths. The strong yields make up for the somewhat high minimum deposit requirement.

Read Full Review

Connexus Credit Union CD

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Connexus Credit Union CD

1-year APY

0.71%

With $5,000 minimum balance

3-year APY

0.90%

With $5,000 minimum balance

5-year APY

1.01%

With $5,000 minimum balance

Minimum Balance

$5,000

Federally insured by the NCUA


3-year APY

0.90%

With $5,000 minimum balance

5-year APY

1.01%

With $5,000 minimum balance

Why we like it

Connexus Credit Union’s share certificates require a steep minimum deposit, but the interest rates are among the highest available. You must be a member of the credit union to open a share certificate, but membership is comparatively easy: First join the Connexus Association with a $5 donation, then establish your credit union membership by opening a free savings account and making a $5 deposit.

Read Full Review

Why choose a high-interest account?

Your money can grow faster than in a standard account. This is especially ideal for building a cash cushion, say, for an emergency fund or holiday savings goal. The national average for savings accounts is 0.04% APY. If you put your money in a high-yield account that earns around 1%, it’s earning more than 20 times the national average, with little additional effort on your part.

It's similar for CDs. If you lock your cash up for five years in the average CD, you'd earn only 0.31% APY. But if you can earn closer to 1%, that's more money in your account — about $300 more on a $10,000 deposit — over the CD term.

What to look for in a high-interest account

Search for accounts that have competitive rates and low fees. You don’t want to pay a monthly maintenance charge, because that would likely cost you more than what you would earn, even with a strong interest rate. You may also want to look for extra perks, such as checking accounts that come with ATM fee refunds (in case you’re charged by ATM owners for using out-of-network ATMs), and savings accounts with tools and calculators that make automatic savings deposits easy. Along with stronger yields, the high-interest accounts tend to offer more perks than standard bank accounts.

» Ready to explore more options? Check out our lists of the best high-interest online savings accounts and best checking accounts for this month.

How often do high interest account rates change?

It depends on the type of account. Savings accounts typically have variable rates that can theoretically change at any time. CDs, on the other hand, typically offer fixed rates for a certain term length. The institutions on the list have consistently had some of the best interest rates, whether variable or fixed.

To find out how to get the best return for your money, check out NerdWallet’s lists of the best savings rates and best CD rates on a regular basis.

Money market accounts and cash management accounts are banking alternatives that also have variable rates, and sometimes those rates are competitive with checking, savings and CDs. Read our primers on money market accounts and cash management accounts to learn more about those products.

» Want to learn more? Read NerdWallet’s picks for the best money market account and best cash management account options.

Last updated on March 1, 2021

Methodology

To determine the best accounts, we took a close look at about 70 financial institutions, including the largest U.S. banks based on assets, debit card volume, Internet search traffic and other factors; the nation's largest credit unions, based on deposits as well as broad-based membership requirements; and other notable and/or emerging players in the industry. We rated them on criteria including annual percentage rates, minimum balances, fees, digital experience and more.

Financial institutions surveyed are: Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, Alliant Credit Union, Ally Bank, America First Credit Union, American Express National Bank, Associated Bank, Axos Bank, Bank5 Connect, Bank7, Bank of America, Bank of the West, Barclays, BB&T, BBVA, BMO Harris, Boeing Employees Credit Union, Capital One 360, Charles Schwab Bank, Chase, Chime, CIBC U.S., CIT Bank, Citibank, Citizens Access, Citizens Bank, Comenity Bank, Comerica Bank, Commerce Bank, Connexus Credit Union, Consumers Credit Union, Discover Bank, E*TRADE Bank, Fifth Third Bank, First Foundation Bank, First National Bank, First Tech Federal Credit Union, Flagstar Bank, FNBO Direct, GoBank, Golden 1 Credit Union, Goldman Sachs Bank USA, HSBC Bank, Huntington Bank, KeyBank, Live Oak Bank, M&T Bank, Nationwide Bank, Navy Federal Credit Union, NBKC Bank, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, PNC, Popular Direct, PurePoint Financial, Radius, Redneck Bank, Regions Bank, Salem Five Direct, Sallie Mae Bank, Santander Bank, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, Security Service Federal Credit Union, Service Credit Union, State Employees' Credit Union of North Carolina, Suncoast Credit Union, SunTrust Bank, Synchrony Bank, TAB Bank, TCF Bank, TD Bank, TIAA Bank, U.S. Bank, UFB Direct, Union Bank, USAA, Varo, Vio Bank, Wells Fargo, Woodforest National Bank and Zions Bank.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best High-Interest Accounts of March 2021

Frequently asked questions