Advertiser Disclosure

10 Best High-Yield Online Savings Accounts of 2019

Feb. 20, 2019
Banking, Savings Accounts
At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.


The best online savings accounts give you a safe place to park your money while providing high-yield savings rates.

Because online banks don’t have the expense of maintaining branches, they can offer high-interest savings paying upward of 2% APY — many times higher than the national average of 0.10%. That may not sound like much of a difference, but it adds up.

Our Nerds did extensive, independent research on dozens of banks to find the best high-yield savings accounts. We looked for the best savings interest rates plus great digital tools, free access to plenty of ATMs and more.

Best high-yield savings accounts
Goldman Sachs Bank USA

at Goldman Sachs Bank USA,

Member, FDIC

Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings

4.0 NerdWallet rating
American Express National Bank

at American Express National Bank,

Member, FDIC

American Express National Bank High Yield Savings

4.0 NerdWallet rating
Barclays

at Barclays,

Member, FDIC

Barclays Online Savings

4.0 NerdWallet rating
HSBC

at HSBC,

Member, FDIC

HSBC Direct Savings

3.5 NerdWallet rating
Discover

at Discover,

Member, FDIC

Discover Bank Online Savings

4.5 NerdWallet rating

PurePoint Financial Online Savings

3.0 NerdWallet rating

Axos Bank High Yield Savings

4.0 NerdWallet rating

Alliant Online Savings

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Bank5 Connect High-Interest Savings

4.0 NerdWallet rating

FNBO Direct Online Savings Account

4.0 NerdWallet rating

 

NerdWallet’s best high-yield savings accounts

Read on for more details about NerdWallet’s top high-yield online savings accounts.

And keep in mind: When you have sufficient funds stored in your deposit accounts (see what’s recommended) and you’re willing to take on some risk, look to investing. The stock market’s average annual return is 8%. A good place to start is the top IRA accounts, once you have a cash cushion in a high-yield savings account.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs, 2.25% APY

4.0 NerdWallet rating
Goldman Sachs Bank USA

at Goldman Sachs Bank USA,

Member, FDIC

Marcus by Goldman Sachs pays a highly competitive 2.25% APY on savings deposits (as well as strong CD rates for longer-term savings goals). This online bank charges no monthly fees, and there is no minimum balance required to earn interest. But the bank doesn’t offer a checking account or access to an ATM network. And its savings account requires another bank account to make deposits and withdrawals. (For CD rates and more, read our Marcus by Goldman Sachs review.)

[Back to top]

American Express National Bank, 2.10% APY

4.0 NerdWallet rating
American Express National Bank

at American Express National Bank,

Member, FDIC

The well-known credit card company offers a savings account with an impressive annual percentage yield of 2.10%. With American Express, there are no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. But the company does not offer ATM cards or checks.

Barclays Online Savings, 2.20% APY

4.0 NerdWallet rating
Barclays

at Barclays,

Member, FDIC

Barclays, an online division of the global financial services company, offers U.S. customers a high-yield savings account accessible through a streamlined website. There’s no monthly fee or minimum balance requirement. With a 2.20% APY, the interest rate is among the highest out there. Customer service is available by phone. Like Goldman Sachs, the bank has no checking account or ATM network. (For more about the bank, read our Barclays review.)

HSBC, 2.25% APY

3.5 NerdWallet rating
HSBC’s Direct Savings account is an online option from the well-known international bank. It pays a competitive 2.25% APY and has no monthly fees. In addition, you need only $1 to open an account. Direct Savings also comes with HSBC’s set of online management tools. Customers can set custom savings goals, track income and create email alerts.

 

[Back to top]

Discover Bank, 2.10% APY

4.5 NerdWallet rating
Discover

at Discover,

Member, FDIC

Discover Bank has a strong APY of 2.10%. The bank’s website is easy to navigate, and both its iOS and Android apps receive high ratings. There’s one branch in Delaware, but customer support is available by phone 24/7. Discover also has a $150 or $200 bonus for first-time savings customers. There is no monthly fee, but note that the deposit requirement to earn a bonus is fairly substantial at $15,000 or or $25,000, respectively. (Details below.)

For more about the bank, including its highly rated checking account, see our Discover review.


[Back to top]

PurePoint Financial, 2.35% APY

3.0 NerdWallet rating

This is a strong account for higher balances, paying out a 2.35% APY if you have at least $10,000 in the account, and 0.25% below that amount.

There are no monthly fees, and mobile and online features are solid, as expected for this largely online bank.

[Back to top]

Axos Bank High Yield Savings, 1.30% APY

4.0 NerdWallet rating

Axos Bank has a high-yield savings account that earns 1.30% APY on all balances and comes with an optional ATM card. There is no monthly fee or minimum balance requirement. If you have questions, you can reach the bank through live chat and, 24/7, by phone. The bank, formerly known as Bank of Internet, is also notable because it also offers a Rewards Checking account that earns interest and has unlimited ATM reimbursements.

[Back to top]

Alliant, 2.10% APY

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Many credit unions restrict their membership by area or employer, but Chicago-based Alliant Credit Union is different. You can apply for membership by indicating your support for the charity Foster Care to Success. (Alliant will make a $5 donation on your behalf.) Members can open an Alliant savings account that pays a 2.10% APY on balances of $100 or more. The credit union waives the $1 monthly fee if you choose e-statements. Phone support is available 24/7.

A $5 minimum deposit is required to open an account, but Alliant has you covered there: The credit union pays you a $5 bonus when you open an account. (See our Alliant review for more details.)

[Back to top]

Bank5 Connect High-Interest Savings Account, 2.05% APY

4.0 NerdWallet rating

A Bank5 Connect High-Interest Savings Account comes with an APY of 2.05%. There are no monthly service fees if you enroll in electronic statements.

You’ll need to keep at least $100 in your account to earn the high APY.

[Back to top]

FNBO Direct Online Savings Account, 2.25% APY

4.0 NerdWallet rating

An FNBO Direct online savings account can help your money grow with an APY of 2.25% and no monthly service fees. There are also no steep minimums — you need just $1 to open an account.

You can access your account with the bank’s mobile app. The online bank is a division of First National Bank of Omaha.

[Back to top]

High-yield online savings accounts FAQs

What is an online savings account?

Online savings accounts are offered by online banks and credit unions. These types of financial institutions rarely have branches, which means customers won’t have access to in-person assistance. Online savings accounts do, however, earn more interest than accounts offered by traditional brick-and-mortar institutions.

Customers can fund online savings accounts with transfers from other banks as well as with mobile check deposits.

What is the average savings account rate?

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the average annual percentage yield, or APY, for savings accounts is just 0.10% APY. Savings rates at large national banks tend to be very low. A Bank of America basic savings account, for instance, earns just 0.03% APY (rates may vary by location).

What is a high-yield savings account?

A high-yield savings account can earn well over 2% 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 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 will likely 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 FDIC, 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.

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 five 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, 2.36% savings APY, $5,000 minimum (read full review).
  • Synchrony, 2.25% savings APY with no minimum (read full review).
  • Ally Bank, 2.20% savings APY with no minimum (read full review).
  • CIT Bank, 2.45% savings APY with monthly deposits of at least $100 in the Savings Builder account (read full review).
  • Citizens Access, 2.35% savings APY, $5,000 minimum (read full review).

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


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, BBVA CompassBoeing Employees Credit Union, BMO Harris, Capital One 360Charles Schwab BankChaseChimeCITCitibankCitizens 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. BankVaroWells Fargo and Zions Bank.

How we rate banks and credit unions

About the author