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Best High-Yield Online Savings Accounts of 2018

Nov. 16, 2018
Banking, Savings Accounts
NerdWallet adheres to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from partners. Here’s how we make money.
We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

The best online savings accounts earn top rates while giving you a safe place to park your money.

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 0.09%. That may not sound like much of a difference, but it adds up (especially with the magic of compound interest).

Our Nerds did extensive, independent research on dozens of banks to find the best high-yield savings accounts. We looked for top 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

4.0 NerdWallet rating
American Express National Bank

at American Express National Bank,

Member, FDIC

American Express National Bank

4.0 NerdWallet rating
Citizens Access

at Citizens Access,

Member, FDIC

Citizens Access

3.5 NerdWallet rating

Barclays Online Savings

4.0 NerdWallet rating
CIT Bank

at CIT Bank,

Member, FDIC

CIT Bank Savings Builder

4.0 NerdWallet rating
Discover

at Discover,

Member, FDIC

Discover Bank

4.5 NerdWallet rating
Ally Bank

at Ally Bank,

Member, FDIC

Ally Online Savings

4.5 NerdWallet rating
Alliant Credit Union

at Alliant Credit Union,

Federally insured by the NCUA

Alliant Credit Union

4.5 NerdWallet rating
HSBC

at HSBC,

Member, FDIC

HSBC Direct Savings

3.5 NerdWallet rating

Bank5 Connect

4.0 NerdWallet rating

Here are more details about NerdWallet’s top high-yield online savings accounts.

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, 2.05% APY

4.0 NerdWallet rating
Goldman Sachs Bank USA

at Goldman Sachs Bank USA,

Member, FDIC

Marcus by Goldman Sachs pays a highly competitive 2.05% APY on savings deposits (as well as strong CD rates for longer-term savings goals). This online bank charges no monthly fees, and the minimum balance required to earn interest is just $1. 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.)

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American Express National Bank, 2.00% 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 2.00%.

With American Express, there are no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. But the company does not offer ATM cards or checks.

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Citizens Access, 2.25%

3.5 NerdWallet rating
Citizens Access

at Citizens Access,

Member, FDIC

Citizens Bank has an online-only division with a savings account that offers top-of-the-line rates. You need $5,000 to open an account, which is high compared to some other banks, but there are no monthly fees. If your balance drops below $5,000, the APY also drops to a less impressive 0.25%. You can deposit checks using the bank’s website, including on your mobile browser, but there is no bank mobile app to download.

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Barclays Online Savings, 2.05% APY

4.0 NerdWallet rating

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 2.05% 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.)

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CIT Bank Savings Builder, 2.15% APY

4.0 NerdWallet rating
CIT Bank

at CIT Bank,

Member, FDIC

Steady savers can earn 2.15% APY when they deposit at least $100 each month in CIT Bank’s Savings Builder account. If you don’t have $100 to deposit each month, you can open a CIT Bank Premier High Yield Savings account and still earn a competitive APY of 1.55%. There are no monthly fees or daily minimum balance requirements for either account, but the minimum opening deposit is $100. (Read our CIT review for details on its savings accounts.)

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Discover Bank, 2.00% APY

4.5 NerdWallet rating
Discover

at Discover,

Member, FDIC

Discover Bank has a strong APY of 2.00%. 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.


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Ally Bank, 2.00% APY

4.5 NerdWallet rating
Ally Bank

at Ally Bank,

Member, FDIC

Ally Bank has one of the best savings accounts when it comes to overall digital experience. The website is easy to use, and the bank’s mobile apps are compatible with Apple, Android and Windows devices. It also offers real-time chat support, unlike many of its competitors. The 2.00% APY is among the best on the market, and there’s no monthly fee or minimum deposit requirement. (Read our Ally review.)

» See Ally’s checking and more on our list of best online checking accounts

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Alliant, 1.95% APY

4.5 NerdWallet rating
Alliant Credit Union

at Alliant Credit Union,

Federally insured by the NCUA

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 1.95% 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.)

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HSBC, 2.01% APY

3.5 NerdWallet rating
HSBC

at HSBC,

Member, FDIC

HSBC’s Direct Savings account is an online option from the well-known international bank. It pays a competitive 2.01% 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.

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Bank5 Connect, 2.05% APY

4.0 NerdWallet rating

It takes just $10 to open a Bank5 Connect High-Interest Savings account, though you will need at least $100 to earn interest. The account, offered by the online division of Massachusetts-based BankFive bank, has no monthly fee and earns an attractive 2.05% APY. You can access your account via bank website or mobile app. Customer service representatives are available by phone seven days a week, and by chat on weekdays.

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More top choices

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.

  • Synchrony Bank, 2.05% savings APY with no minimum
  • PurePoint Financial, 2.15% savings APY, $10,000 minimum
  • Popular Direct, 2.26% savings APY, $5,000 minimum
  • Axos Bank, 1.30% savings APY with no minimum
  • FNBO Direct, 2.00% savings APY with no minimum

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


METHODOLOGY

To determine the best accounts, we took a close look at 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.

Financial institutions surveyed include: Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, Alliant Credit Union, Ally Bank, America First Credit Union, American Express, Aspiration, Associated Bank, Bank5 Connect, BankDirect, Bank of America, Bank of Internet, Bank of the West, Barclays, BB&T, BBVA Compass, Boeing Employees Credit Union, BMO Harris, Capital One 360, Charles Schwab Bank, Chase, Chime, CIT, Citibank, Citizens Bank, Comerica Bank, Commerce Bank, Connexus Credit Union, Consumers Credit Union, Discover Bank, TIAA Bank, Fidelity, Fifth Third Bank, First Citizens Bank, First National Bank, First Tech Federal Credit Union, GoBank, Golden 1 Credit Union, GS Bank, HSBC Bank USA, Huntington Bank, KeyBank, M&T Bank, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, PNC, PurePoint Financial, Qapital, Radius Bank, Regions Bank, Santander Bank, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, Security Service Federal Credit Union, Simple, Star One Credit Union, State Employees’ Credit Union of North Carolina, State Farm Bank, Suncoast Credit Union, SunTrust Bank, Synchrony Bank, TCF Bank, TD Bank, Union Bank, UFB Direct, USAA, U.S. Bank, Varo, Wells Fargo, Woodforest National Bank, and Zions Bank.

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