A savings account can help you prepare for large purchases like a vacation or a car, and it’s where you stash your rainy-day fund. The best savings accounts provide great customer service and cool savings features, along with higher-than-average interest rates.
Rates above 1% are possible, even in an environment of low national savings account rates. Our savings account search tool can help you find an account with the highest rates, but we’ve dug deeper to assemble our favorite savings accounts for your consideration.
Best interest rate with ATM access
SYNCHRONY HIGH YIELD SAVINGS, 1.05% APY
If you want a relatively strong interest rate, easy-to-avoid fees and a rewards program, Synchrony is a good choice.
Best interest rate and digital experience
ALLY ONLINE SAVINGS, 1.00% APY
Ally is a good choice for people who want a top-tier online experience, along with a strong interest rate.
Best interest rate runners-up
BARCLAYS ONLINE SAVINGS, 1.00% APY
CIT BANK HIGH YIELD SAVINGS, 0.95% APY
360 SAVINGS® BY CAPITAL ONE®
If organizing your savings into separate goals sounds like a strategy that would work well for you, Capital One could be a wise choice.
“To get your $100 Bonus: What to do: Apply for your first Discover Online Savings Account (OSA) by 08/31/16. Enter Offer Code NW716 when applying. Deposit at least $15,000 by 09/15/16. What to know: Offer not valid for existing or prior Discover savings customers. Account must be open when bonus is credited. Bonus will be credited to the account by 10/15/16. Bonus is considered interest and will be reported on IRS Form 1099-INT. Offer may be modified/withdrawn without notice.”
To open the account requires a minimum deposit of $500. There’s no monthly fee or minimum balance to worry about, and the account comes with an APY of 0.95%.
AMBOY DIRECT ESAVINGS
To open the account, you’ll need to deposit at least $100. You can electronically transfer the money by linking the new account to your existing checking account. There is no monthly fee or minimum balance.
Amboy pays interest on balances over $300: 0.3% on amounts up to $2,999, and 0.8% for $3,000 to $100,000, which is the account maximum. Amboy Direct is an online-only division of New Jersey-based Amboy Bank, so your deposits are FDIC-insured.
To get the reference code for the bonus, you’ll need to click on the promotional $50 bonus offer on the Amboy Direct site and enter your email address, or call 1-877-22AMBOY.
360 SAVINGS® BY CAPITAL ONE®
To qualify for the bonus, you must deposit at least $5,000 within the first 10 days after the day you open and maintain that balance on a daily basis for an additional 90 days (following the 10-day period). You also must not have had a savings product with Capital One 360 or ING DIRECT previously. If you qualify for a bonus, you will be paid on or before day 130 (measured from the day after your account is opened). Capital One extended this offer, which now expires 3/31/16 at 11:59 PM EDT (EXPIRED). More details can be found here.
Best full-service bank account, with bonus
The bank gets great ratings from users for its mobile banking apps, and J.D. Power recognized its consistently great customer service. If you’re looking for a traditional, full-service bank, Chase is a solid choice.
Best credit union
ALLIANT CREDIT UNION
The tiny $1 monthly fee is waived if you choose e-statements. Phone support is available 24/7. There’s a $5 minimum deposit, but they’ve even got you covered there: The credit union (formerly United Airlines Employees’ Credit Union) pays you a $5 bonus upon opening.
For those who like the idea of banking with a nonprofit credit union, Alliant offers exceptionally easy membership terms and a good interest rate.
Making banking easier
Keeping your checking and savings accounts at the same bank can be more convenient when you want to transfer money or use one account as overdraft protection for the other. Take a look at NerdWallet’s roundup of the best checking accounts to choose a bank that offers all the products you want.
Have a favorite savings account we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments.
Jeanne Lee is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @jlee_jeanne. NerdWallet writers Virginia C. McGuire and Devan Goldstein contributed to this article.
This article was updated July 15, 2016. It was originally published in November 2012.
To determine the best accounts, we took a close look at more than 50 financial institutions: the largest U.S. banks based on assets, debit card volume and Internet search traffic, the nation’s largest credit unions with broad-based membership requirements, and other notable or emerging players in the industry.
Financial institutions surveyed: ableBanking, Alliant Credit Union, Ally Bank, American Express, AmTrust Direct, Associated Bank, Bank5 Connect, Bank of America, Bank of Internet USA, Barclays, BB&T, BBVA Compass, BMO Harris, Boeing Employees Credit Union, Capital One, Charles Schwab Bank, Chase, CIT, Citibank, Citizens Bank, Comerica Bank, Connexus Credit Union, Discover, EverBank, Fidelity, Fifth Third Bank, First Convenience Bank, GoBank, HSBC Bank USA, Huntington Bank, KeyBank, MetaBank, Moven, M&T Bank, MUFG Union Bank, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, PNC, Regions Bank, Santander, Security Service Federal Credit Union, Simple, State Employees’ Credit Union of North Carolina, SunTrust, Synchrony Bank, TD Bank, Union Bank, USAA, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.