See a savings account that catches your eye? We regularly update bank data, but recommend taking a moment to confirm the account details on the bank’s website before you apply.
investor.com quick tip: Prepare to be (mildly) inconvenienced
High-yield savings accounts aren’t designed to handle day-to-day cash needs like bill payments or instant withdrawals. Transfers in and out of accounts are done electronically, which you’d think would be zippy, but the journey from your savings account into a linked bank account at another institution can take days to clear. (Just managing expectations here!)
While some high-interest accounts can handle digital or mailed check deposits or come with an ATM card, daily/monthly withdrawal limits may apply. We know that all these rules seem as antiquated as burying money in a coffee can out under the tire swing; we’ve accepted them as the price we must pay to get a decent interest rate on our savings.
Winner: Milli — Best Overall
Milli is an app-only savings account offered by the First National Bank of Omaha, a large, established regional FDIC-insured bank. Its gangbusters interest rate helped it unseat our longtime No. 1 high-interest winner, Bread Savings (formerly Comenity Direct) for best high-interest, low-fee, basic app-based savings account.
If all you’re looking for in a savings account is a killer APY, Milli delivers. Its financial focus is clearly on being an interest-rate leader, not splurging for a sleek website — it’s little more than a splash page and FAQs directing you to download the app — or expansive customer service support (in-app chat and email 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. CST are your options).
As with any of the digital-only high-yield account providers, comfort with app-based account management (and a dollop of patience) is a must: The only way to move money in and out of your Milli Savings Account is to link it to an external bank account (your checking or savings account at another bank). If zippy transfers is a priority, there’s the option to open and link a no-interest Milli Bank Spending Account, which comes with a debit card.
investor.com quick tip: Track and ye shall achieve
Setting specific savings goals (“car down payment,” “vacation,” “meniscus repair knee surgery”) with a set dollar amount you aim to save by a certain date increases the likelihood you’ll achieve them. Milli’s “Jars” (in the app) let savers track and manage up to five separate savings goals. Set a target savings amount, end date, and upload a photo for each to create your own vision board. Milli maths out how much you need to stash each month to fill up your jars.
Runner-up: UFB Direct — High APY + Available Rate Boost
UFB Direct is the online-only division of Axos Bank, through which it gets its FDIC coverage on deposit accounts. Although the UFB High-Yield Savings Account is technically a tiered-rate account (with the APY based on the account balance), currently all tiers — from $0 to $100,000-plus — earn the same yield. And, boy, check out that yield.
In addition to its competition-crushing APY, UFB offers a 0.2% Freedom Rate Boost. Fair warning: You’re gonna have to work for it. Earning the entire APY boost requires:
- Maintaining a $10K balance in your savings account to earn an additional 0.10% on your savings.
- Opening a UFB checking and setting up a minimum of $5,000 in monthly direct deposits to boost your savings account APY an additional 0.10%
- Making at least 10 approved debit card transactions per statement cycle to get the final 0.05%.
UFB provides ATM card access to its high-yield account. Although the bank charges no ATM fees, customers have to cover whatever costs they incur at non-UFB machines and abide by the $310 daily ATM withdrawal limit. Also, only six withdrawals per statement period are allowed, whether initiated by ATM, ACH or wire transfer, or carrier pigeon (our submission to the UFB suggestion box in case anyone asks).
For those with big account balances, UFB’s InsureGuard+ Savings cash sweep program provides expanded FDIC insurance coverage beyond the standard $250,000 per depositor, per ownership category. It raises the coverage cap by spreading your cash across multiple FDIC-insured partner banks. You still manage and track your balances through UFB, though are subject to the rates and withdrawal rules at each individual institution. (It’s similar to the way Betterment Cash Reserve works, providing additional peace of mind if you have a massive cash cushion to deposit.)
Podium finisher: Bread Savings — Historically High APY Leader
Bread Savings (part of FDIC-insured Comenity Capital Bank) has consistently offered an APY that outshines competitors since we began tracking high-yield savings accounts in early 2021. (Bread also offers CDs.) Though it lacks certain account features (no ATM card access, doesn’t accept cash deposits) and requires a $100 minimum opening deposit, Bread Savings has typically been one of the first movers to bump up its APY when the Fed was on its interest-rate raising tear.
Some customers have reported technical difficulties that required calls to Bread’s customer service to resolve. We found this tidbit in the fine print that may be at the root of some complaints: “For a seamless experience when signing up for an account, please use a browser other than Internet Explorer such as Chrome, Edge or Safari.” (A PSA from our copy editors: A comma before “such as Chrome …” might help clear up some of the confusion.)
Other helpful info for new Bread Savings accountholders:
- Accounts are considered “new” during the first 30 days after they are opened.
- Deposits to new accounts must be made via automated clearing house (ACH) transfers and received before 5 p.m. CST on a business day.
- Although your money starts earning interest the moment it’s received, it will generally not be available to withdraw until the tenth business day after Bread gets the transfer. (Transfers after the initial get-to-know-you period are typically reflected in your account within one to two business days.)
- Even after the 30-day “new account” period, the availability of funds from mobile check deposits that total more than $5,000 in a single day may be delayed.
- Like many high-yield accounts, Bread only allows account holders to make six withdrawals per statement period. (Pro tip: Initiating an ACH (automated clearing house) transfer is the way to go to avoid wire transfer fees ($25 a pop) or requesting a physical check ($15).) Additionally, withdrawals are capped at $5,000 per day. But if you need to take out more, simply call Bread customer service and they’ll raise the withdrawal limit.
These terms aren’t necessarily unique to Bread Savings. That’s why it’s always a good idea to read all FAQs and account agreements (here’s Bread’s) to avoid any panic situations while you’re money’s in limbo.
High-yield savings account ratings and rankings
Investor.com collects and monitors more than 250 data points to score high-yield savings accounts on the factors that matter most to savers. As any saver would expect, a provider’s APY — arguably the most important feature for shoppers — carries the heaviest weight in our analysis. But other factors — such as ease of use, accessibility, and cash management tools — also feed into each provider’s overall star rating. (See more nerdy details below in “How we scored.”)
Click on table header to sort by bank name, overall rating, APY, or minimum deposit.
Good to know
Interest rates on high-yield accounts are variable and will bounce around over time. A few banks base account availability/interest rates on the customer’s state of residence. (Yes, PNC Bank, we’re talking about you!) Investor.com tracks and updates annual percentage yields — APYs — on the reg, but it’s smart to verify the going rate on the provider’s site before opening an account. ICYMI, here's why the APY and "interest rate" you see on your account are different.
Other banks tested
In addition to the nine top-ranked online high-yield savings accounts featured above, the list of high-yield savings accounts we include in our comparisons includes the following:
Affirm — Affirm isn’t your average bank; in fact, it’s not a bank at all. It’s a fintech company known primarily for its “buy now, pay later” lending service (similar to Afterpay). But it also offers a high-yield savings account, Affirm Savings (via a third party, Cross River Bank), that pays a healthy (though not blockbuster) APY on deposits. But don’t expect any extra features at Affirm; it’s a no-fee place to park some of your money, and not much more.
Alliant — With its inclusive credit union membership requirements (a $5 donation gets you in the door), easy sign-up ($100 minimum to earn interest), ATM card access, and the ability to set up multiple high-yield accounts to track individual goals, Alliant’s High-Rate Savings Account competes with any big-name bank out there — at least in terms of tools and functionality. The APY simply hasn’t kept up with the competition as of late. However, if you’re looking for a flat-rate cashback credit card, we’re huge fans of the $0-fee Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card, which pays back 2.5% on up to $10,000 of purchases per month.
Ally Online Savings Account — Because Ally Bank offers everything from personal loans to investment accounts, its high-interest account is ideal for those who want the convenience of conducting all banking business at a single online-only institution. The Ally Online Savings Account is replete with tools to help you find “unused” money in the budget to pad your account balance. We particularly like the Surprise Savings feature, which sweeps “safe-to-save” money from your linked checking account (at Ally or another bank) into your Ally savings account; and Buckets, which let you digitally earmark money for up to 10 separate savings goals, all while earning the same APY across the board. The APY — not the best, but still competitive — provides extra incentive to let Ally’s tools dig through the couch cushions. Note that the account does not come with ATM card access, though the bank’s Money Market Account does.
American Express High Yield Savings Account — Apprehensive about putting your cash cushion in one of those newfangled neobanks? If you can handle a bit of APY FOMO, consider the American Express High Yield Savings Account. There’s a certain comfort that comes with dealing with an established financial institution, not the least of which is 24/7 live customer support. (Our calls were answered quickly by friendly, knowledgeable staff.) Plus, Amex allows unlimited monthly withdrawals from this no-fee, no-minimum high-interest account. However, like much of the competition, there is no ATM card access. And you’ll have to wait one to five business days before deposits are available for withdrawal. (You’ll still earn interest during the delay.)
Apple Bank Savings Account — A lot of hype accompanied the launch of the Apple Bank Savings Account, administered via Goldman Sachs. But currently, the APY simply doesn’t deliver. Plus the account is only available to Apple Card cardholders with an iPhone, which is why you’ll only see the Apple Bank Savings Account mentioned on the credit card application page. (investor.com doesn’t review iPhones, but we do have an Apple Card review.)
Barclays Online Savings — To say Barclays is an old hand at banking is an understatement. The nearly 300-year-old institution is a household name in the U.K. — less so in the U.S., where there are just a handful of branches and the offerings are limited to online-only savings and CDs. (All accounts are FDIC-insured.) The Barclays Online Savings account has a $0 minimum deposit and $0.01 balance requirement to earn interest at an APY that closely mirrors what other established banks offer (read: worthwhile, but not gangbusters). Customers are allowed to make an unlimited number of monthly withdrawals. However, despite Barclays laying claim to rolling out the world’s first ATM machine (in North London in 1967), ATM access isn’t included with the high-yield account. Transactions are limited to electronic deposits/withdrawals to an external bank, mobile check deposit (with individual and daily dollar limits), and Ye Olde Paper Checks sent via snail mail.
Capital One 360 Performance Savings — Here’s the high-yield account to consider if going fully digital isn’t your style. Capital One maintains hundreds of brick-and-mortar branches (how old-school!) where you can conduct business in person or stop by for a snack and cuppa joe at a Capital One Cafe location. Like its online-only peers, the 360 Performance Savings account requires no minimums and charges no monthly maintenance fees. It makes it easy to track multiple savings by separating them into dedicated savings accounts that earn the same interest rate. Although Capital One has a vast ATM network, 360 Performance Savings doesn’t come with an ATM card. If easy access is a priority, you can open a no-minimum, no-fee (and low-interest, FYI) Capital One 360 Checking Account which comes with an ATM/debit card. Geeky aside: Kudos to Capital One for spelling out its funds availability policies clearly and thoroughly, not buried in a downloadable PDF or 13 clicks deep on its website.
Citi Accelerate Savings — Although the Citi Accelerate Savings account requires no minimum balance to open, you’ll want to make sure you maintain a $500 average monthly balance if you don’t also have or open a Citi checking account when you apply. Otherwise you’ll sacrifice a chunk of the APY you earn covering the $4.50 monthly service fee and a $2.50 non-Citi ATM fee if you stray outside the Citi cash machine network. (These fees are waived during the first three months after you open the account.) Maintaining an average monthly balance of $30,000 or higher, in your savings and/or other combined Citi accounts, improves your relationship status with Citi. Citi’s Relationship Tiers qualifies you for fee waivers, ATM fee reimbursement, increased ATM withdrawals limits (above the standard $1,500 per account per business day allowed), and other perks. Note: The Citi Accelerate Savings isn’t available everywhere, so check your ZIP code on its site to see.
Citizens Access Savings — The most notable element of the Citizens Access Savings account is its interest rate. Its variable APY typically puts it in the top third of high-yield accounts investor.com tracks. The account lacks the polish of some of its peers; wire transfers (in or out) are not supported — you’ll need to make online transfers to another U.S. bank account — and no branches/ATM access means cash deposits and withdrawals are moot. (You can, however, ask Citizens Bank to mail you a check.) The Citizens Access mobile app offers mobile check deposits and basic account management, but no tools. Citizens offers extended phone support, but we’ve heard that lengthy hold times can be an issue.
Discover Online Savings Account — Like other big-name banks offering high-yield accounts, the Discover Online Savings Account stands out not for its APY (it’s competitive, but not the highest), but for providing more robust services like 24/7 phone support, overdraft protection (if linked to a “funding account” to cover overages), and a suite of other products. Pairing the high-interest account with a no-fee Discover checking account gets you ATM access to your cash and 1% cashback on up to $3,000 qualifying debit card purchases each month. (Check out our Discover it Cash Back card review if you really want to maximize your earning potential to the tune of 5%.) Note that savings account withdrawals, including transfers into a checking account, are limited to six per calendar month.
- Note: Discover sometimes offers bonuses to new Discover Online Savings customers who meet minimum deposit requirements.
E*TRADE Premium Savings Account — E*TRADE is an established name among individual investors. (Our sister site, StockBrokers.com, gives it high marks for its low-cost, tool-rich, beginner-friendly platform.) The no-minimum E*TRADE Premium Savings Account is part of its expanded suite of banking offerings (savings and two types of checking accounts) made possible when the company was acquired by Morgan Stanley Private Bank in 2020. The main selling point for savers is that the Premium Savings Account comes with double the FDIC deposit coverage available at most other banks. Individual accounts are insured up to $500,000 and joint accounts up to $1 million due to Morgan Stanley’s ability to sweep money from Premium Savings into other FDIC-insured member banks. (The Betterment Cash Reserve account is another option for savers sitting on big balances.) Account consolidation and easy transfers into your investment account may be attractive if you’ve got an IRA or other trading account at E*TRADE. Note that customers are allowed six withdrawals/transfers out per calendar month.
LendingClub High-Yield Savings Account — Although the LendingClub High-Yield Savings Account is technically a tiered-rate account, it currently applies the same APY to all four balance tiers. The $100 minimum deposit buys you access to a good-but-not-great APY akin to other online banks that have more robust (meaning pricier-to-service) product offerings, such as CDs, checking accounts and loans. FDIC-insured LendingClub got out of the peer-to-peer loan game after it acquired Radius Bancorp and became LendingClub Bank. (Side note: In 2021 LendingClub paid an $18 million settlement fee when the FTC sued the neobank over deceptive loan fees and misleading borrowers about loan application approvals. While this doesn’t affect its savings products, it may color customer decisions about doing business with the bank.)
The reason to consider the LendingClub high-yield account is that it comes with an ATM card. You can make surcharge-free transactions at SUM or MoneyPass ATMs, and LendingClub doesn’t charge fees for using an out-of-network machine, but you may still owe the bank/ATM operator. Daily withdrawal limits range from $500-$2,000, depending on account balance and how long it has been open. Account age and balance also dictate daily incoming and outgoing transfer limits.
Live Oak Bank Savings Account — Live Oak is best known as one of the nation’s largest Small Business Administration (SBA) lenders with expertise in dozens of industries. But it also offers CDs and high-yield savings accounts for both small businesses and consumers. The APY on the Live Oak Bank Savings Account for consumers has remained steady since investor.com began tracking rates a few years ago. It’s not always at the top of the pack, but if you’re looking for a consistent rate, you’ll find it here. Like the majority of online-only banks, Live Oak has no minimum deposits or maintenance fees. It’s also one of a handful of banks that has continued with the COVID-era policy of allowing unlimited monthly withdrawals (up to $250,000 allowed per transfer day!). However, with no ATM access, only electronic transfers (and mobile check deposit) are offered. Live Oak offers limited customer service phone support (8 a.m.-8 p.m. ET M-F), but customers can submit a request for support via the app and on the dedicated support website.
Marcus by Goldman Sachs — The no-minimum Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a competitive-rate high-yield savings account that offers a few convenient extras that set it apart from some of the competition. The first is same-day ACH outgoing transfers of $100,000 or less if initiated by 12 p.m. ET on a business day. The second is 24/7 phone support. Marcus allows unlimited withdrawals monthly (ACH, wire, request-a-check), but the savings account does not come with an ATM card.
- Special referral bonus offer: Current and new customers are eligible for a 1% APY rate boost for three months for both the referrer and referee. Referrers can earn up to five referral bonuses per calendar year which will be applied to your account consecutively.
PayPal Savings Account — Synchrony Bank is the FDIC-insured institution behind several PayPal-branded banking products, including the PayPal Cashback Mastercard (worth a look, fyi) and the PayPal Savings Account. Synchrony offers its own high-yield savings account with — get this — an APY that outshine’s PayPal’s interest rate. (See more about Synchrony Bank High Yield Savings in our top picks, above.)
Why choose the lower-rate white-labled offshoot over an account at the Synchrony Bank mothership? If you’ve got money that sits in your PayPal Balance (formerly “PayPal Cash”) Account, linking it to the no-minimum PayPal Savings Account turns it into an interest-earning opportunity. (Note: A PayPal Balance Account is required, and only customers with a PayPal personal — not business — account in the U.S. are eligible for the savings account.) The account also lets you set up and automatically transfer money into separate savings goals.
Another differentiator is that PayPal’s payment tech is incorporated into the PayPal Savings Account, enabling users to add money to the account by using a linked Visa or Mastercard debit card (limits may apply) or from a confirmed linked bank account. There is only one withdrawal option: Transferring money from your PayPal Savings Account into your PayPal Balance account. From there you can move the money to your linked bank account or debit card, which typically takes one to three business days. Instant transfers are available, but it’ll cost you 1.75% of the amount transferred (or $0.25-$25). We suggest planning ahead and going with the free standard transfer option.
PNC High Yield Savings — PNC is one of the few national banks offering a high-yield savings account — but only to customers that don’t live within driving distance of one of PNC Bank’s 2,400 branches. The online-only account (no monthly service fee, no minimum balance requirement) is available in the following states: AK, AR, CT, HI, ID, IA, KS, LA, ME, MA, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, ND, OK, OR, RI, SD, TN, UT, VT, WA, WY. PNC mans the phones seven days a week, but only until 9 p.m. ET on weekdays and 5 p.m. on weekends.
Savings account shoppers who prioritize easy access will like that the PNC High Yield Savings account comes with an ATM card where you can hit up roughly 60,000 PNC or partner ATMs without paying a transaction fee. You’re on the hook for any out-of-network ATM surcharges. (Other PNC accounts come with ATM fee reimbursment.) PNC also charges an additional $3-$5 fee when using non-PNC machines in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and in foreign countries. Although unlimited withdrawals are allowed from the high-yield account, only the first six per statement cycle are free: PNC charges a $3 excessive transaction fee each additional time you tap the account. Like all high-interest accounts, unlimited deposits are allowed, and PNC’s app supports mobile check deposits, but has daily/monthly deposit limits ($2,500 and $5,000, respectively, for accounts that have been open 30 days or longer).
Sallie Mae High-Yield Savings Account — Sallie Mae Bank — yup, the same Sallie Mae that services your student loans — is also a competitor in the savings realm, offering CDs, a money market account and two high-yield savings accounts. Though this hasn’t always been the case, the plainly named Sallie Mae High-Yield Savings Account pays a slightly higher APY than its neighboring SmartyPig Account. There is no minimum opening balance requirement and Sallie charges no monthly maintenance fees. An external bank account is required to set up and fund your account, and account management is done entirely through the website, mobile app, or via old-school text banking. Beyond mobile check deposit, features are sparse. There is no chat support, and live customer service is only available weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. Although there are no monthly limits on the number of withdrawals you’re allowed to make, keep in mind that neither the Sallie Mae High-Yield Savings Account or the SmartyPig Account provide ATM access, so it’s best for serious savers who don’t foresee needing quick cash from the account.
Sallie Mae SmartyPig — The no-fee, $0 minimum SmartyPig Account — one of two high-interest accounts Sallie Mae offers — is designed to help customers achieve savings goals. What’s unique about this account is that it allows you to create separate sub-accounts to fund multiple savings goals simultaneously, and track progress against a save-by deadline. (There’s a $50 minimum starting balance per goal account and recurring transfers must be $10 or more.) The downside: SmartyPig’s APY is currently lower than what’s on offer in its other high-yield account. In previous iterations SmartyPig was a tiered-rate account paying a higher APY on lower balances to encourage savers to start saving. (Currently the same APY applies to alll balances.) Access is limited to electronic deposits and withdrawals (ACH/direct deposits, electronic fund transfers, mobile check deposits). Wire transfers ($20) require submitting a form and providing a copy of your state-issued ID. Mobile check deposit is supported, and basic account management can be done via the website and app.
- SmartyPig referral bonus available: Earn a $10 reward for every friend you refer who sets up and funds an account with at least $25.
SoFi Checking and Savings — SoFi’s high-yield savings account is actually a twofer: It comes with a free (mandatory) checking account, which is opened automatically when you sign up. Checking account balances earn a 0.50% APY. The more competitive high-yield savings account yield is the selling point, as long as customers fulfill one of two requirements: Either 1. Set up a monthly direct deposit into your SoFi checking or savings account (any amount will do), or 2. Deposit a minimum of $5,000 each month into one of those accounts. Otherwise the APY on savings is just 1.20%. SoFi Checking and Savings comes with an ATM/debit card and free access at Allpoint network machines within certain limits — there’s a $1,000 daily limit for withdrawals; $6,000 daily limit on for debit card transactions. Other nice touches that come with your SoFi membership include goals-based savings tools (“Vaults”), peer-to-peer instant payments, two-day early access to directly deposited paychecks, and free career coaching.
- Special offer: New customers and existing ones who have no history of direct deposit transactions can earn a $50-$250 cash bonus by setting up a qualifying direct deposit within 25 days of the promotion period. The promotion ends at midnight on 12/31/23.
How we scored high-yield savings accounts
Investor.com collected more than 250 data points to score high-yield savings accounts from more than 30 providers. Here’s what we looked at to rate their offerings:
Interest rate (APY): The goal for any saver is to eke out the highest amount of interest possible. During the historically low-interest-rate environment of the past several years, no provider blew our socks off. However, when rates started to rise, savers no longer had to settle for zero-point-bupkis returns. An account’s annual percentage yield (or APY) carried the heaviest weight in our high-yield savings account scoring algorithm. Almost every top-scoring account (4.5 stars and up) sports an APY of 4.5% or higher. However, it's important to note that interest rates on these accounts are variable and will change over time.
Hassle factor: A savings account is a simple deposit product. That doesn’t mean that every bank’s offering is easy to use. Some financial institutions apply burdensome requirements to unlock the highest available interest rate — or simply qualify to open an account. When scoring high-interest accounts, we factored in ease of use (each account’s “PITA factor,” as it became informally referred to around the office), to call out particularly high-maintenance account rules.
Some examples of pain-in-the-tuchus rules we noted:
- Customers must open an additional savings or checking account at the institution to facilitate transfers in and out of the high-yield savings account.
- Requiring a set number of monthly transactions to earn the top APY (e.g., a set number or dollar amount of direct deposits or ACH — automated clearing house — transfers into the account each month).
- Restrictive withdrawal rules (e.g., ACH/wire transfers only; no ATM card access)
- Limited customer support options and hours.
Account fees: Fees are the scourge of savers. It’s simple math. For example, a monthly $10 fee will wipe out more than half of the interest you’ll earn in a year on a $5,000 balance earning a 4% APY. The good news is that the majority of the top banks we reviewed charged no monthly maintenance or other frivolous fees. Any ones they did charge were easily avoidable by, for example, signing up for electronic statements.
Minimum deposit or balance maintenance requirements: Some banks require a minimum deposit either to open a high-yield savings account or to be eligible for the advertised interest rate. Our research found that there are plenty of providers that require neither. Still, if you keep a flush balance, be aware of banks with tiered rates that pay lower APYs on higher dollar amounts.
Accessibility: Today, maximum accessibility means hiccup-free online banking, a fully functional user-friendly app, 24/7 customer support (email, phone, chat) and an ATM card for immediate access to cash. Surprise!: None of the banks we put through the paces (even the really good ones) have it all. But the best ones come pretty close.
Savings management tools: Some people just want a no-frills parking spot for their cash. But others appreciate accounts with additional cash management tools. Although not heavily weighted in our scoring model, we factored in perks that help savers more effectively manage their money. (Hat tip to banks that allow customers to digitally allocate and track saving for multiple goals and offer automated savings, budgeting tools, calculators, and educational content.)
Other banking services: The availability of other banking services (checking accounts, loans, credit cards, CDs, retirement accounts) shouldn’t be a high priority when shopping for a high-rate savings account. But it can be a factor for those who prefer to consolidate their financial services. We scored providers on their entire suite of services, but weighted this factor lower than other more critical high-yield savings account features.
'Is that a real bank?'
It’s a question we, too, asked when conducting our research. UFB? Milli? Varo? Bread? Bask? FirstBankCom of FirstNetness? (Kidding on that last one: We made it up.) Rest assured, not only did we seek out the best high-yield savings accounts, but we ensured that they were also the best safe high-yield savings accounts.
All the account providers listed are FDIC-insured (or backed by the credit union counterpart, the National Credit Union Association, NCUA), which provides coverage against loss on balances up to $250,000 per depositor, per ownership category. Some accounts (like Betterment Cash Reserve and E*TRADE Premium Savings) provide even higher FDIC coverage, offering peace of mind to savers with big balances.
What is a high-yield savings account?
An online high-yield savings account is more or less identical to a regular savings account, with one big difference: The interest you can earn in a high-yield account is up to 12 times more than the national average paid by regular savings accounts. APYs on old-school, traditional savings accounts hover around 0.4%. High-yield accounts pay 3% to 5%.
Like regular savings and checking accounts, online high-yield savings accounts are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (for banks) or the National Credit Union Administration (for credit unions). Secure transactions, online and/or mobile accessibility and customer service are typically also part of the package. Many banks also offer educational materials and tools to help savers, such as articles, calculators and automatic saving features.
» Go deeper: Learn more about high-interest vs. regular savings accounts.
What are the benefits of a high-yield savings account?
The biggest benefit is having a separate and safe place to park money that you don’t need to (or want to be tempted to) access every day, where it will earn a higher rate of return than you’d get elsewhere. A high-yield account is a great holding pen for an emergency fund, savings for an upcoming trip or home renovation, a child’s quarterly tuition payment and so on.
Here are some of the pros and cons of a high-yield savings account:
- Pays a much higher interest rate versus traditional savings and checking accounts.
- Easy to access (primarily online) and manage by linking to an external bank account.
- May come with an ATM card.
- The majority of accounts are federally insured.
- Subject to federally mandated withdrawal limits of six times per month (with some exceptions during COVID-19).
- Interest rates fluctuate based on the federal funds rate, unlike for certificates of deposit (CDs), where rates are locked in.
Why not just stick with a traditional savings account?
We’ll let the numbers do the talking. The national average APY on a regular savings account is 0.45%, according to the FDIC.
What about big banks that offer “premiere,” “performance” or otherwise Very Special Interest Rates on savings account balances to customers who qualify ? Behold!:
Underwhelmed? Same. We even tried to present the best-possible earnings scenario by featuring the highest available savings rates. (Also noted are the minimum balance and other requirements to get those rates.)
While it can be more convenient to do all of your banking at a single financial institution, banks don’t offer a lot of incentive to park your cash in a regular savings account.
How much can I earn with a high-yield savings account?
The national average APY on a regular savings account is 0.42%, according to the FDIC, but there are national banks that pay many times that — anywhere from 0.61% to 5% interest. Some banks offer even higher rates for depositors who meet certain requirements. (See our top picks above. )
Note that interest rates on online high-yield savings accounts are not guaranteed forever; they are subject to change without notice at any time. Interest rates often fluctuate in accordance with the federal funds rate. Your earnings will depend on the current APY, your account balance and any associated account fees.
Dayana’s tip: Keep an eye on your APY
“The interest rate and corresponding APY for savings accounts are variable and are set at our
You’ll find nearly identical verbiage in the fine print of every bank’s disclosure documents. And, okayfine, it’s normal to see rate fluctuations on high-yield savings accounts because the APY is variable — bobbing up and down based on the federal funds rate.
It’s the “set at our discretion” part that sets my teeth on edge. It seems that some banks* use “at our discretion” and “at our convenience” interchangeably, increasing the APY within existing accounts only if customers notice something amiss.
*I’m not naming names until we can verify the practice. But if you’re a high-yield savings account provider, not cool. Not cool at all.
Advertised APY vs. your actual APY
On the r/Banking Reddit channel (my favorite weekend reading along with r/10s, as in “tennis,” get it?) some customers have reported a rather alarming practice regarding “APY set at our discretion” practices: Downward interest rate adjustments are quickly applied to their savings accounts. But when the APY goes up? Crickets.
TL;DR: Keep an eye on your account’s APY (check it weekly or monthly) and compare it to the advertised rate. If it’s different, be proactive. My Reddit friends say they’ve gotten the higher rate retroactively applied to their savings accounts by contacting the bank directly via phone or online chat. — Dayana Yochim, Senior Writer, investor.com
Who has the highest paying high-yield savings account?
Seven banks lead the pack when it comes to paying the highest interest rate in their high-yield savings accounts. They are:
- Milli Bank: 5.25%
- UFB High-Yield Savings Account: 5.25%
- Bread Savings: 5.15%
- Salem Five Direct eOne Savings: 5.01%
- Bask Interest Savings Account: 5.10%
- Varo Savings Account: 5% on balances up to $5,000, 3% on amounts above that
All of these accounts are FDIC insured and the minimum required balance to open an account ranges from $0 to $100.
How does a high-yield savings account work?
A high-yield savings account is much like a regular bank account: You deposit money and it earns interest. Currently, interest for a regular savings account sits around 0.42%, per the FDIC national average. A high-yield savings account allows you to earn many times that. Note that savings accounts have some drawbacks compared to, for example, checking accounts. Although some high-yield savings accounts come with an ATM card or offer check-writing privileges, most have more restrictive access, requiring customers to electronically transfer money from the savings account to an external linked bank account, which can take several days to clear. Also, withdrawals from savings accounts are limited to six a month per federal regulation, unless otherwise stated.
Is my money safe in a high-yield savings account?
How do I choose a high-yield savings account?
When choosing a high-yield savings account, here are five main factors to review before you decide where to open an account.
- Annual percent yield (APY): The interest rate that is earned on your funds.
- Compounding method: The rate at which your interest compounds, either daily or monthly. Daily will accelerate the amount you earn in interest faster than monthly.
- Minimum deposit requirement: What is the amount needed to open (or keep open) your savings account? Also, see if there’s a balance required to earn a certain interest rate.
- Account fees: Are there any associated account fees such as monthly fees, paper statement fees, or outgoing wire transfer fees?
- Access: What are the rules around withdrawals and deposits? Most savings accounts limit withdrawals (or transfers out) to six per month. Does the account come with an ATM card (few do)? How long do transfers take?
How do you open a high-yield savings account?
Most banks offer a simple sign-up process for high-yield savings accounts that can be completed primarily online in seven to 10 steps. You’ll be asked to provide some or all of the following:
- Name, address, email, and phone number.
- Date of birth, driver’s license or state identification number, Social Security number (some banks accept an ITIN instead), proof of citizenship, employment information, annual income.
- Answers to security questions to verify your identity.
- Funding account information (bank name, routing number, account number) from which you’ll transfer money into the new account.
- Verification of the funding account. If the new bank does not use an automated account linking provider (e.g., Yodlee, Plaid) you’ll receive two small test deposits to verify the account is yours.
- A minimum deposit to open the account (if required).
» investor.com assist: We’ve got tips to make opening, funding and managing an account go smoothly. See “How do you open a high-yield savings account?”
Dayana’s tip: New accounts have stricter rules
Opening an online high-yield savings account is typically a simple process. But the pace of getting your money into and out of the account can be — how shall I put this? —
pokey frustrating for some.
Many of the creatively expressed NSFW complaints I’ve seen in online forums stem from issues to do with standard banking industry account vetting and verification policies that take place during the first 30 days of account activation. For example, a bank may place a five-day hold on your first deposit before it posts to your account. Deposits over a certain amount may only be partially available for withdrawal. After the get-to-know-you period is over, other annoyances — automated clearing house (ACH) transfer limits, locked accounts due to inactivity — are usually things that are spelled out in lawyerese in the account terms and conditions file. (What? Y’all don’t bump up the font 173% and print it out for your weekend leisure reading, too?)
All this is not to say that every high-yield savings account glitch, annoyance or outright calamity is due to a customer’s misunderstanding of the rules. (I’ve been collecting my own #$^&*@ing bank account-themed war stories for a future scorched-earth Reddit rant.)
Until then, I write here to let people know about the bumpy parts they may encounter when opening a high-yield savings account so they aren’t blindsided by the, ahem, inconveniences. — Dayana Yochim, Senior Writer, investor.com
What is an annual percentage yield (APY)?
The APY, or annual percentage yield, is the growth mechanism for your savings. Unlike simple interest, the APY calculation incorporates the effects of compound interest on your rate of return.
Why’s that important? Because when you deposit money in a savings account, you not only earn interest on your initial investment — you also earn interest on the interest you earn, thus inching up your real rate of return. (Score!) That’s what makes the APY a more accurate calculation of how much money you’ll earn over time.
When you’re shopping around for a place to park your cash, compare APYs (as well as other things like account fees and convenience). Keep in mind that APYs can be fixed (set for a specific term, like with CDs) or variable (as with high-yield savings accounts where rates fluctuate based on the Federal Funds rate).
» See more on what is an APY and ways to weave it into casual conversation.
What banks have 5% high-yield savings accounts?
It depends on when you ask. Interest rates on high-yield savings accounts fluctuate, which means the answer changes over time. At one point in 2023, only one of the banks investor.com tracked offered a 5% APY. As of this writing, seven trusted banks that we track sport rates of 5% or more.
Scroll up the page to compare rates at more than 30 banks. We update APYs each week to stay current with the trends (we’re hip that way).
How much interest will I get on $1,000 a year in a savings account?
The amount your balance earns depends on the interest rate the bank pays and how frequently it’s compounded. In one year, a single $1,000 investment can yield anywhere from a few dollars and change in a traditional savings account to $48 or more in in a high-yield savings account:
One year's interest earned on $1,000
||Annual return (with daily compounding)
We get it: The prospect of waiting patiently to earn less than 50 bucks in a year may not seem worth the hassle of opening a new account. So let’s look at a few other ways to boost that number.
If you’re able to add $100 to your initial $1,000 deposit each month in an account that pays a 4.75% APY, in a year you’ll be able to buy many rounds of fancy coffees (venti-sized, even!) with the $77 you earned in interest.
But let’s say you’re looking for a place to park your $10,000 emergency fund. This is money you theoretically won’t even touch unless you face a true emergency. Leave your cash sitting in a high-yield savings account for a year, and you’ll earn $486 in interest. In five years your account will have paid you $2,681. And in 10 years, $6,080. Left sitting in a regular savings account earning the national average of 0.45%, and in a decade you’d earn just $460 in interest.
How often do rates change?
Interest rates can change pretty quickly and without warning, mainly triggered by moves made by the Federal Reserve based on the nation’s financial health. High-yield savings account rates mirror the federal funds rate. When the Fed cuts the federal rate (as it did at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic), banks tend to follow suit with APYs. Same goes when the Fed raises rates, as they have multiple times in recent memory.
The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee holds regularly scheduled meetings to discuss regular rate changes, but it can also call meetings at random when deemed necessary.
How does compounding work?
Compounding is the vehicle used to multiply your savings and can happen, most commonly, in one of three ways; daily, monthly, and quarterly. The more frequently the interest on your savings compound, the more your money will multiply.
It’s worth noting that the rate at which interest compounds doesn’t have a significant impact on earnings. For example, in one year $10,000 earning 3% in interest compounded daily earns just 37 cents more than the same amount compounded monthly.
What fees do high-yield savings accounts charge?
High-yield savings account fees can vary by bank, but the most common include:
- Maintenance fees: Monthly fees charged to keep the account open. The top banks we reviewed don’t charge this. The few that do will waive the fee if you sign up for direct deposit.
- Transaction fees: These can be charged for wire transfers (typically around $25 for outgoing transfers), having the bank cut a physical check, or for exceeding the federally mandated limit of six withdrawals/transfers out per month (unless the bank lifts the cap, as many did during the pandemic and continue to do so). If you need to make lots of withdrawals, transferring a lump sum into an external bank account will help you avoid the fee.
- Paper statement fee: Digital statements are becoming the norm. If you request a paper statement, expect to pay a small fee.
- Inadequate balance fees: Charged if there is a minimum balance required to maintain an account and your balance drops below it. The bank may also have the right to close your account due to inactivity.
Should I open a high-yield savings account?
A high-yield savings account is good for money needed for near-term expenses that you don’t want to expose to the unpredictable short-term ups and downs of the stock market. For example:
- Emergency funds: It's wise to have at least three to six months' worth of savings put away in case of an emergency. While it's waiting for an inevitable rainy-day situation to arise, it could be earning interest.
- Weddings and other big planned expenses: The average wedding in America costs $30,433. Many folks save for several years to amass money to foot the bill. Same with home down payments, renovation savings, a child’s upcoming tuition money and any other large purchases on the docket.
- Savings you want to keep separate from your spending money: Out of sight, out of mind, right? If you have a hard time saving money, setting up automated transfers to a separate high-yield account at a bank that’s not your regular one will help. Plus, some high-APY banks have features that look for additional savings from your funding account to move automatically into your savings pool.
Money you need to access every day (to pay monthly bills, stop at the ATM for some carrying-around cash) does not belong in a high-yield savings account. That’s because savings accounts are subject to the Federal Reserve Board’s Regulation D, which limits withdrawals/transfers out to six per month. (Note: Those restrictions were lifted during the pandemic, and some banks continue to allow more frequent withdrawals.) Plus, many high-yield accounts don’t come with an ATM card or check-writing privileges.
Do I get taxed in a high-yield savings account?
The IRS considers the interest you earn in a high-yield savings account taxable income. So, yeah, you’re required to pay federal income taxes (and possibly state income taxes, depending on where you live) — but only on the amount you earn in interest. The money you deposit into the account is not taxable. (Whew, right?)
If you earn more than $10 in interest during the year, your bank will send you Form 1099-INT which tells you the amount of interest it reported that you earned to the IRS. If you earned less than 10 bucks, you probably won’t receive the form. Still, tax laws being what they are, you’re still required to report your pittance in earnings to Uncle Sam to stay on his good side.
Interest earned from a high-yield savings account is taxed at the same rate you pay on other income (e.g. from your job). The good news is that you didn’t have to work that hard to earn the money, right?
How is a high-yield savings account different from a money market account?
Money market accounts are savings accounts that offer interest rates similar to those of high-yield savings accounts, often with accessibility similar to that of a checking account, including checks and a debit card. The catch is that many money market accounts have a minimum deposit requirement, whereas most high-yield savings accounts do not.
Other things to look for in money market accounts: tiered interest rates, where the highest rate applies to higher account balances; and fees, particularly if your balance falls below the required minimum.
How is a high-yield savings account different from a CD?
Certificates of deposit, or CDs, pay a fixed rate of interest for a fixed period of time, usually a few months to several years. Typically, the longer the time frame, the higher the interest rate. The interest rate on a high-yield savings account is variable, meaning it can change at any time.
Another difference between a high-yield savings account and a CD is accessibility. If you withdraw funds before the CD matures — that’s when it reaches the end of the guaranteed rate period — you’ll pay an early withdrawal penalty equal to a certain number of months of interest. With a high-yield savings account, you can access your money at any time without penalty, although federal rules limit the number of monthly withdrawals to six. (This rule was temporarily lifted during COVID-19.)
Bottom line, CDs are better for people who are looking for a guaranteed fixed rate of return for a defined period and don't mind forgoing accessibility to get it.
Are high-yield savings accounts worth it?
If you save money in any way using a bank account, a high-yield savings account is definitely worth it. High-yield savings accounts pay out a higher interest rate (APY) on deposits than standard savings and checking accounts — many pay 12 times more than the national average. Plus, it's easy to find an account that requires no minimum balance to open and maintain and charge no fees.
Another advantage of a high-yield savings account is that it makes it easier to keep your money on task: Instead of relying on mental accounting, you have a separate account devoted to a particular savings goal. You can track your progress and will be less tempted to dip into the account early, which can be an issue when your everyday spending money is mingled with your savings in a checking account.
Do any online stockbrokers offer high-yield savings accounts?
Our mission at investor.com is simple: provide thorough and unbiased reviews of financial services products and providers.
For investor.com's best saving accounts review, published originally in August 2021 and updated most recently in 2023, we collected a total of 256 data points on 32 banks to score and rank high-yield savings accounts.
All 32 institutions passed our initial screening criteria of having FDIC (for banks) or NCUA (for credit unions) insurance, online accessibility, and an interest rate above the 0.45% national average for savings accounts. To test quality and usability, we opened, funded and used high-yield savings accounts at 19 banks for a minimum of three statement cycles. We performed basic account functions (deposits, withdrawals, transfers) on both the desktop and app versions (where applicable), scoured all fine print and disclosures, and had some lengthy phone calls with bank service reps.
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