Best of

10 Best High-Yield Online Savings Accounts of October 2019

Margarette BurnetteOctober 1, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Summary of 10 Best High-Yield Online Savings Accounts of October 2019

BankAPYLearn More
Citizens Access Online Savings Account

Citizens Access Online Savings Account

at Citizens Access,

Member, FDIC

2.00%

With $5000 minimum balance

at Citizens Access,

Member, FDIC

Goldman Sachs Bank USA Online Savings

Goldman Sachs Bank USA Online Savings

at Goldman Sachs Bank USA,

Member, FDIC

1.90%

With $0 minimum balance

at Goldman Sachs Bank USA,

Member, FDIC

American Express National Bank High Yield Savings Account

American Express National Bank High Yield Savings Account

at American Express National Bank,

Member, FDIC

1.90%

With $0 minimum balance

at American Express National Bank,

Member, FDIC

Discover Online Savings

Discover Online Savings

at Discover,

Member, FDIC

1.90%

With $0 minimum balance

at Discover,

Member, FDIC

Barclays Online Savings Account

Barclays Online Savings Account

at Barclays,

Member, FDIC

1.90%

With $0 minimum balance

at Barclays,

Member, FDIC

Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Savings

Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Savings

at Alliant Credit Union,

Federally insured by the NCUA

1.80%

With $100 minimum balance

at Alliant Credit Union,

Federally insured by the NCUA

CIBC Bank USA Agility™ Savings

CIBC Bank USA Agility™ Savings

at CIBC Bank USA,

Member, FDIC

2.05%

With $0.01 minimum balance

at CIBC Bank USA,

Member, FDIC

Bank5 Connect High Interest Savings Account

Bank5 Connect High Interest Savings Account

1.90%

With $100 minimum balance

Axos Bank™ High Yield Savings

Axos Bank™ High Yield Savings

1.30%

With $1 minimum balance

Ally Bank Online Savings Account

Ally Bank Online Savings Account

1.80%

With $0 minimum balance

BankAPYLearn More
Citizens Access Online Savings Account

Citizens Access Online Savings Account

at Citizens Access,

Member, FDIC

2.00%

With $5000 minimum balance

at Citizens Access,

Member, FDIC

Goldman Sachs Bank USA Online Savings

Goldman Sachs Bank USA Online Savings

at Goldman Sachs Bank USA,

Member, FDIC

1.90%

With $0 minimum balance

at Goldman Sachs Bank USA,

Member, FDIC

American Express National Bank High Yield Savings Account

American Express National Bank High Yield Savings Account

at American Express National Bank,

Member, FDIC

1.90%

With $0 minimum balance

at American Express National Bank,

Member, FDIC

Discover Online Savings

Discover Online Savings

at Discover,

Member, FDIC

1.90%

With $0 minimum balance

at Discover,

Member, FDIC

Barclays Online Savings Account

Barclays Online Savings Account

at Barclays,

Member, FDIC

1.90%

With $0 minimum balance

at Barclays,

Member, FDIC

Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Savings

Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Savings

at Alliant Credit Union,

Federally insured by the NCUA

1.80%

With $100 minimum balance

at Alliant Credit Union,

Federally insured by the NCUA

CIBC Bank USA Agility™ Savings

CIBC Bank USA Agility™ Savings

at CIBC Bank USA,

Member, FDIC

2.05%

With $0.01 minimum balance

at CIBC Bank USA,

Member, FDIC

Bank5 Connect High Interest Savings Account

Bank5 Connect High Interest Savings Account

1.90%

With $100 minimum balance

Axos Bank™ High Yield Savings

Axos Bank™ High Yield Savings

1.30%

With $1 minimum balance

Ally Bank Online Savings Account

Ally Bank Online Savings Account

1.80%

With $0 minimum balance

Citizens Access Online Savings Account

at Citizens Access,

Member, FDIC

APY

2.00%

With $5000 minimum balance

Goldman Sachs Bank USA Online Savings

at Goldman Sachs Bank USA,

Member, FDIC

at Goldman Sachs Bank USA,

Member, FDIC

APY

1.90%

With $0 minimum balance

American Express National Bank High Yield Savings Account

at American Express National Bank,

Member, FDIC

APY

1.90%

With $0 minimum balance

Discover Online Savings

at Discover,

Member, FDIC

APY

1.90%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

$200

Requirements to qualify

Barclays Online Savings Account

at Barclays,

Member, FDIC

APY

1.90%

With $0 minimum balance

Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Savings

at Alliant Credit Union,

Federally insured by the NCUA

at Alliant Credit Union,

Federally insured by the NCUA

APY

1.80%

With $100 minimum balance

CIBC Bank USA Agility™ Savings

at CIBC Bank USA,

Member, FDIC

APY

2.05%

With $0.01 minimum balance

APY

1.90%

With $100 minimum balance

APY

1.30%

With $1 minimum balance

APY

1.80%

With $0 minimum balance

High-yield savings advantages

A high-yield savings account can earn well over 2% APY, which is much higher than the national savings average of 0.09% APY. If your money is in an account that earns a high interest rate, your balance will grow faster without any additional effort on your part. A balance of $10,000 would earn about $10 in an account with a 0.10% APY. That same balance would earn about $230 in an account with a 2.30% APY.

How to choose the best high-interest savings account

Look for accounts that have high interest rates and low service charges. You want to make sure you don’t have to pay a fee to the bank each month. Some institutions don’t charge monthly fees, while others do but will waive them if you meet a balance minimum.

Be willing to look beyond the larger, well-known banks. Many smaller institutions — including online banks — have savings accounts with attractive rates and low deposit requirements.

Accessing your funds

With online banking, you can access your account securely day or night. Online banks offer the highest savings rates on the market while charging fewer fees than traditional banks. Online banks often offer good websites and mobile apps that typically let customers deposit checks and pay bills.

Do the best online savings accounts have fixed rates?

No, rates are variable and can change over time. The accounts featured in this article are among those with the consistently highest rates.

How often savings rates change

Institutions typically don’t change savings rates on an hourly, daily or even weekly basis. In fact, it’s common to see some rates remain unchanged for several months. 

It’s important to note, however, that rates are variable and theoretically can change at any time. In addition, many banks will change their rates based on what their competitors are doing. You will often see groups of banks increase or decrease their APYs at around the same time, especially if the Federal Reserve recently hiked or cut rates.

To get the best yield for your money, check out the best rates on a regular basis — at least once a month.

How to open an account

Depending on the type of bank, you can open a high-rate account either online or in person. You’ll need to provide your Social Security number and contact information, along with at least one form of identification, such as a driver’s license or a passport. (For a joint account, everyone wanting access to the account must provide this information and ID.) The bank will often require you to deposit money into the new account right away. You can do that by depositing cash or checks, or through a wire transfer.

What to do if you can’t open a high-interest savings account

Occasionally, a bank may not approve an application to open an account. This is likely because of issues with a customer’s previous banking history.

Unpaid bank fees and bounced checks can result in a negative file on ChexSystems, a consumer reporting agency that financial institutions use to evaluate a prospective customer’s banking history.

There are options for customers who have a ChexSystems file, including opportunities to open alternative accounts. For more information, read our primer on what to do if you have a ChexSystems record.

How often can I take money out of a savings account?

Savings accounts are subject to a federal rule called Regulation D, which limits the number of convenience withdrawals to a maximum of six per month. Affected withdrawals include online withdrawals, overdraft protection transfers and transfers initiated by telephone. If you have more than six of these transactions each statement cycle, your bank may levy an excess withdrawal fee each time you go over the limit.

Withdrawing cash from an ATM or from a branch teller does not count toward this limit.

»Want to learn more about savings withdrawal limits? Read our primer on Regulation D.

Is my money safe in an online savings account?

In short, yes. Most online banks are federally insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., up to $250,000 per depositor. If the account is with a credit union, the account will likely be insured through the National Credit Union Administration, also for $250,000 per depositor. This means that if a bank or credit union were to fail and go out of business, you would not lose the money you have in the account, up to the insured amount.

» Want to know more about how your money is protected? Read how FDIC and NCUA insurance programs work.

What is the difference between a high-interest savings account and a money market account?

Money market accounts are a type of savings account. They generally come with high APYs, high minimum deposit requirements and some check-writing privileges. NerdWallet’s guide on money market accounts can help you learn more about these products and help you decide if a money market account is a good place to stash your funds.

A high-interest savings account, on the other hand, typically does not come with checks, though it will still offer a strong APY.

High-yield savings account terminology

Here’s a look at some important savings terms to know.

Savings account: A deposit account from a bank or credit union that typically earns interest.

Money market account: A type of savings account that often offers higher interest rates in return for a steep minimum deposit. (Think $5,000 or more.)

Interest: Money a bank pays into an account over time.

Compound interest: Compound interest is the interest you earn on both your original money and on the interest you keep accumulating. In an account that pays compound interest, the return is added to the original principal at the end of every compounding period, typically daily or monthly. Each time interest is calculated and added to the account, the larger balance earns more interest.

Annual percentage yield: The APY, or annual percentage yield, is the amount of compound interest an account earns in a year. The calculation is based on the account's interest rate and the number of times interest is paid during the year.

» Read more about 10 essential banking terms you need to know

More top choices for the best savings interest rates

Here are seven more competitive choices for high-yield savings. These banks may have a higher minimum balance to earn interest, or a slightly lower APY. But when you're shopping for the account that fits you best, they're worth checking out.

  • Popular Direct, 2.30% savings APY, $5,000 minimum to open account (read full review).
  • FNBO Direct, 2.00% savings APY, $1 minimum to open account (read full review).
  • HSBC, 2.05% savings APY, $1 minimum to open account (read full review).
  • PurePoint Financial, 2.00% savings APY, $10,000 minimum to open account (read full review).
  • Vio Bank, 2.27% savings APY, $100 minimum to open account (read full review).
  • Synchrony, 1.90% savings APY with no minimum to open account (read full review).
  • CIT Bank, 2.10% savings APY with $100 minimum to open account (read full review).

» Interested in getting money from banks? See NerdWallet's best bank account promotions and bonuses

Last updated on October 1, 2019

Methodology

We took a close look at over 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 yields, minimum balances, fees, digital experience and more.

Financial institutions surveyed include: Alaska USA Federal Credit UnionAlliant Credit UnionAlly BankAmerica First Credit UnionAmerican ExpressAspirationAssociated BankAxos BankBank5 Connect, Bank7, Bank of AmericaBank of the WestBarclays, BB&T, BBVABoeing Employees Credit Union, BMO Harris, Capital One 360Charles Schwab BankChaseChime, CIBC U.S.CITCitibankCitizens AccessCitizens Bank, Comerica Bank, Commerce BankConnexus Credit UnionConsumers Credit UnionDiscover Bank, E-Trade, FidelityFifth Third BankFirst National BankFirst Tech Federal Credit UnionGoBankGolden 1 Credit UnionGS BankHSBC Bank USAHuntington BankKeyBank, MetaBank, M&T BankMovenNavy Federal Credit UnionPentagon Federal Credit UnionPNC, Popular Direct, PurePoint Financial, Radius Bank, Redneck Bank, Regions BankSallie Mae BankSantander Bank, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, Security Service Federal Credit Union, Service Credit Union, SimpleState Employees’ Credit Union of North CarolinaState Farm BankSuncoast Credit Union, SunTrust Bank, Synchrony BankTCF BankTD BankTIAA BankUnion BankUFB DirectUSAAU.S. BankVaro, Vio BankWells Fargo and Zions Bank.

How we rate banks and credit unions