Best of - California

7 Best Money Market Accounts

Margarette BurnetteJuly 16, 2020

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The best money market rates help you grow your bank account balance faster compared with accounts with average rates. Depending on your needs, a high-yield savings account might also help you save more. We’ve included a few options at the bottom of the page to help you compare.

What is a money market account?

A money market account is a type of deposit account that often requires a minimum deposit, but may offer a debit card and the ability to write checks. Weigh your options: Some high-yield savings accounts beat money market accounts’ rates, which means you’ll come out ahead in the long run. And the best savings accounts have low to no minimum deposits.

The difference a high rate makes

The average money market rate is about a tenth of a percent. Say you save $10,000 in such an account; after a year, your balance would earn about 10 bucks. Put that same amount in a money market account with a 1% APY, and you would earn just over $100.

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Summary of Best Money Market Accounts

Axos Bank® High Yield Money Market

Axos Bank® High Yield Money Market

APY

0.60%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Rate: This account earns 0.60% APY on all balances.

Minimum balance: There are no monthly maintenance fees.

What you should know: You’ll need at least $1,000 to open an account.

Read Full Review

TIAA Bank Yield Pledge® Money Market

TIAA Bank Yield Pledge® Money Market

APY

0.75%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Rate: First-time TIAA Yield Pledge Money Market accountholders can earn a 0.75% APY introductory rate on all balances below $250,000 for the first year. (To qualify, money must not be transferred from an existing TIAA Yield Pledge Checking or Money Market.) After the first year, accounts earn 0.50%-0.70% APY, depending on the balance.

Minimum balance: You must deposit $500 to open the account, but you won’t need to maintain the balance to earn interest.

What you should know: If you use domestic ATMs that are not in the bank’s network, TIAA Bank will reimburse your ATM fees each month, up to $15. And if your average daily bank balance is at least $5,000, the ATM fee reimbursement is uncapped.

Read Full Review

CIT Bank Money Market Account

CIT Bank Money Market Account

APY

0.55%

With $100 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Rate: CIT Bank has a 0.55% APY on its money market account.

Minimum balance: There's a minimum opening deposit of $100.

What you should know: There is no monthly maintenance fee, and you can send and receive funds using Zelle and PayPal.

Read Full Review

Sallie Mae Money Market Account

Sallie Mae Money Market Account

APY

0.70%

With $1 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Rate: Earn 0.70% APY on any balance.

Minimum balance: There is no minimum balance requirement and no monthly fee.

What you should know: The money market account offers check-writing privileges and free transfers, up to six total withdrawals a month.

Read Full Review

Discover Bank Money Market Account

Discover Bank Money Market Account

APY

0.45%

With $1 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Rate: Discover’s money market account has a 0.45% APY on balances below $100,000. If you have more to deposit, the rate is 0.50%.

Minimum balance: The minimum opening deposit for a money market account is $2,500, but beyond the initial deposit, there is no requirement to maintain a minimum balance. There is also no monthly fee. If you don’t have that much to deposit, or you don’t need to write checks or use a debit card, Discover’s online savings account is an option that has no minimum deposit and a better yield at 0.60%.

What you should know: The bank has over 60,000 ATMs in its network. You can also make debit card purchases and write checks with this money market account, though you’re limited to six of these types of transactions each month.

Read Full Review

BMO Harris Platinum Money Market Account

BMO Harris Platinum Money Market Account

APY

1.10%

With $5,000 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Rate: You’ll earn 1.10% APY provided your balance is at least $5,000. Fall below that, and you’ll earn only 0.01%.

Minimum balance: You’ll need to deposit $5,000 to open the account and qualify for the best rate. This is the highest minimum balance of NerdWallet’s picks; keep in mind that if you have less to deposit, you still have many options.

What you should know: There’s no monthly fee on the money market account, but like many savings accounts, customers are limited to six monthly withdrawals. Go beyond that, and you’ll be charged $15 for each transaction. And the rate above applies only to accounts opened online. If you live in Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri or Wisconsin, you’re not eligible for the rate.

Read Full Review

Redneck Bank Mega Money Market

Redneck Bank Mega Money Market

APY

0.80%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Rate: Redneck Bank’s account pays 0.80%, on up to a $50,000 balance, and there’s no minimum balance to maintain to achieve that rate once you’ve opened the account. However, any balances higher than $50,000 earns 0.25% APY.

Minimum balance: You’ll need $500 to open the account.

What you should know: There’s no monthly fee on this account if you receive electronic statements; if you want paper statements, you’ll pay $3 per month.

Read Full Review

Why high money market rates matter

Your funds grow faster in a high-yield account. The average money market rate is a small fraction of a percent, while the best money market accounts earn rates that are several times more.

» For more savings options, check out NerdWallet's best high-yield online savings accounts

What is the difference between a money market account and a standard savings account?

A money market account is a type of deposit account that often requires a higher minimum balance to open than a standard savings account and traditionally earns a higher interest rate, though recently some high-yield savings accounts have been offering better returns with lower minimum balance requirements.

Some MMAs also come with a debit card or checks — which you won’t find with savings accounts — but institutions may require that they not be used more than six times per month. Some will charge a fee if you go over that number.

A high-interest savings account earns attractive rates but typically doesn't have debit card or check-writing access.

The main reason to open a money market account is to have a higher interest rate compared with a traditional savings or checking account, while also having the ability to write a few checks.

Keep in mind that, in some cases, money market rates and savings rates are fairly similar these days.

» Curious about the difference between money market accounts, basic savings and CDs? Check out NerdWallet's primer on types of savings accounts.

Are money market accounts insured?

Yes, as long as it comes from a bank that’s insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Most banks, including the online banks listed on this page, are insured — 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.

If a bank or credit union were to fail and go out of business, you wouldn't lose the money you have in the account, up to the insured amount. Note that this is different from money market funds, which aren't insured.

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

The difference between a money market account and a money market mutual fund

A money market account is a federally insured account that earns interest. A money market mutual fund, on the other hand, is an investment in short-term debt. It is considered low risk but doesn't have a guaranteed return.

» Learn more about both by reading NerdWallet’s guide on money market mutual funds and primer on federally insured money market accounts.

Top traditional savings options

These days, there isn’t always much difference between the rates paid by money market accounts and the best savings accounts. If you don’t need checks or a debit card, you might consider one of these accounts, which also pay great rates.

  • American Express High Yield Savings, 0.60% APY (read full review).

  • Marcus by Goldman Sachs High-Yield Savings, 0.60% APY (read full review).

  • Barclays Online Savings Account, 0.60% APY (read full review).

  • Citizens Access Online Savings Account, 0.60% APY (read full review).

Last updated on July 16, 2020

Methodology

We took a close look at over 70 financial institutions, including the largest U.S. banks based on assets, internet search traffic and other factors; the nation’s largest credit unions, based on assets and membership; 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 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, Comerica Bank, Commerce Bank, Connexus Credit Union, Consumers Credit Union, Discover Bank, E-Trade Bank, Fifth Third Bank, First National Bank, First Tech Federal Credit Union, FNBO Direct, GoBank, Golden 1 Credit Union, Goldman Sachs Bank USA, HSBC Bank, Huntington Bank, KeyBank, M&T Bank, Moven, Nationwide Bank, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, PNC, Popular Direct, PurePoint Financial, Radius Bank, Redneck Bank, Regions Bank, Salem Five Direct, Sallie Mae Bank, Santander Bank, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, Security Service Federal Credit Union, Service Credit Union, Simple, State Employees' Credit Union of North Carolina, State Farm Bank, Suncoast Credit Union, SunTrust Bank, Synchrony 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.

How we rate banks and credit unions

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