As the Federal Reserve raises interest rates in 2022, savings account yields — that is, how much interest you can earn by parking your money in them — will likely rise too. Savings rates at banks do tend to mirror federal interest rates, but increases often come weeks or months after Fed rate hikes.
The best savings accounts charge no monthly fees and provide annual percentage yields, or APYs, that help you fight rising inflation and build your savings for an emergency fund or a large purchase like a vacation, automobile or down payment on a home. Online-only banks, also called neobanks, will offer higher yields on your savings, but lack physical branches for in-person banking services. Traditional banks provide branches and kiosks for easier cash deposits, but at a cost of lower interest or monthly fees.
Savings accounts also serve as a counterweight for checking accounts, and work well in tandem. Whereas checking accounts provide convenient access to your money for day-to-day transactions, savings accounts let you put extra money away to earn more interest and grow your balance. Whether you’re opening your first savings account or looking for a new place to store your money, read on to learn our picks for best savings accounts.
If you’re comfortable working with a financial institution that’s exclusively online, Chime’s high-yield account offers the best combination of features for a personal savings account: no fees, convenient ways to move money in and out, a slick app — and one of the higher interest rates available at 0.5% APY. You also get a free Chime checking account — the two are a money package deal, like conjoined twins — which serves as the primary mechanism for depositing and withdrawing funds.
You can deposit checks remotely via Chime’s modern, capable app, and the included Visa debit card can be used at more than 38,000 MoneyPass and Visa Plus Alliance ATMs. (You can also deposit cash at any store in the Green Dot network, which includes Walgreens, CVS and Family Dollar, though the onerous $4.95 per deposit fee should make that an option of last resort.) There’s no minimum balance required, and Chime lets you round up purchases to the nearest dollar and deposit the difference in your savings account (similar to Acorns, the micro-investing service).
We picked Chime as the best all-around savings account for April 2022 because of its high interest rate, lack of fees, high-quality mobile app and lack of a minimum balance. We also liked its automatic savings features and integration with Chime’s checking accounts.
Sallie Mae, perhaps best known as a student loan provider, also offers a goal-based savings account with no minimum deposit and the highest APY currently available. The company frames its SmartyPig account as “a free online piggy bank for people saving for financial goals like holiday gifts, vacations, and even retirement.” That noted, using this bank account to save for retirement isn’t recommended — especially because of Sallie Mae’s odd, regressive approach to interest rates, which start at a 0.70% higher APY on balances below $2,500 and gradually decrease to 0.55% on balances above $50,000.
As such, this account is best-suited to people who are new to saving their money, who plan to build or maintain balances under $10,000 and who might ultimately benefit from less convenient access to their money. That’s because the SmartyPig account comes with no ATM card, Sallie Mae doesn’t have branches where you can make deposits or withdrawals, and there’s no app to enable easy online savings account transfers. (Though you can transfer or withdraw funds at any time through the bank’s web-based interface, customers are encouraged to set up a recurring automatic deposit from a paycheck or other account.) Still, if you’re looking to save a modest amount of money for a specific purpose — and maximize your interest rate while you’re doing it — SmartyPig is worth a look.
We selected Sallie Mae’s SmartyPig savings account as the highest APY account for April 2022 because it has the best overall rate of return on your money, even with the reduced interest rate for higher balances.
LendingClub’s savings and checking accounts work well together, providing unusually high APY rates and integrated features, at the cost of a lack of physical service: LendingClub is a former peer-to-peer lender that has been offering online-only banking services since 2020.
It takes a bit of savings to generate the top APY at LendingClub High-Yield Savings. The first $2,499 of your balance earns interest at only 0.50%. Every dollar on top of that earns the 0.70% rate. It’s a tricky equation, so you’ll need to keep a decent balance to get an overall rate that’s competitive.
LendingClub has no monthly fees and no minimums. It accepts cash deposits at MoneyPass ATMs that allow deposits.
We chose LendingClub High-Yield Savings for best checking/savings account integration because of the high APY and lack of fees. Also, LendingClub offers a variety of competitive checking accounts that include automatic savings features.
Selecting the top bank for in-person banking is tricky: If you bank in person often, your best choice will likely depend on where you live. However, a number of large commercial banks with brick-and-mortars are now providing savings accounts that are competitive with online-only offerings.
Chase provides an enormous number of branches throughout the lower 48 states of the US. If you need a physical branch for a money order or want a face-to-face interaction about a banking issue, it’s likely Chase has a branch that’s not too far from your vicinity. It has a $25 monthly fee, unless you meet the $15,000 minimum balance requirement.
We chose Chase Premier Savings as the best savings account for in-person banking because of its high number of branches and geographic spread across the US. Also, its APY for savings accounts is slightly higher than other big-bank competitors — though it’s much lower than online savings account options.
A subsidiary of MidFirst Bank, the largest privately owned bank in the US, Vio Bank itself is a purely an online bank. You’ll need to manage all your bank account transactions online — either on the bank’s website or in its mobile apps.
Vio Bank requires initial online savings deposit of at least $100 to open an account. There’s no monthly fee unless you want paper statements, which will cost $5. Vio also charges a $10 fee for “excessive transactions,” i.e. more than six withdrawals per month.
We chose Vio Bank as the best digital savings account because its APY is higher than competitors and applies to all of your money, regardless of your balance. It also charges no maintenance or overdraft fees.
A savings account is a safe place to keep money you don’t intend to spend right away. It is a bank account that generally provides a higher rate of interest on your balance, while limiting the number of withdrawals you can make per month. Most savings accounts will restrict you to six withdrawals per month (the federal limit).
Savings accounts are generally insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for up to $250,000. Saving accounts can be used to build an emergency fund or save money for a specific financial goal like a vacation, new car or down payment on a home.
Savings accounts work similarly to most banking accounts — you can deposit and withdraw money, and you’ll earn compound interest on the balance in your account. You’ll need to fund your savings account in order to earn any interest, and most savings accounts will provide different interest rates based on your balance.
Some savings accounts will charge monthly maintenance fees, though they can usually be waived by maintaining a minimum balance or reaching a minimum threshold of direct deposits per month.
Your withdrawals from savings accounts are usually limited to six per month by federal law. If you break that rule you may face a fee or a conversion of the account into a checking account.
The potential number of savings accounts is as many as banks want to create — students, seniors, veterans and other categories of banking customers have unique savings accounts available to them.
In general, however, there are three different kinds of savings accounts.
Standard deposit account: Our best saving accounts list is composed of these banking accounts. They provide a standard rate of interest for your balance that is usually higher than checking accounts while limiting your access to the money. They generally limit you to six withdrawals per month, although ATM withdrawals can sometimes be excluded from that restriction.
Money market account: Money market accounts can often bridge the gap between checking and savings accounts. While they will usually require higher balances and base their rates on the money market, they do let you write checks. The same six-withdrawal limit applies to money market accounts. Money market accounts are not stock investments in money-market funds.
Certificates of deposit: Certificates of deposit, or CDs, generally provide extra interest for committing your money to a specific term when it cannot be withdrawn. CD terms start at three months or so and can run up to five or 10 years. CDs can be “laddered,” so that a one-year CD can be rolled over into a two-year CD, and then three-year CD, etc.
Most checking accounts are designed to facilitate transactions and payments, whether via a debit card, mobile app such as Apple Pay or a paper check. Most checking accounts don’t offer interest; those that do usually provide a very low rate of 0.1% or less.
Savings accounts offer significantly higher interest rates and online-only banks typically offer the highest yields. These accounts provide a safe place to store money while keeping it accessible. Until recently, savings account holders were generally limited to making six transactions per month.
In normal times, the Federal Reserve limits account holders to six withdrawals a month (to preserve liquidity for financial institutions). In response to the pandemic, the Federal Reserve made a rule change to Regulation D allowing unlimited money withdrawals without a monthly fee penalty.
A high-yield savings account offers a higher interest rate than a traditional savings account. These accounts may have certain deposit requirements, monthly fees or be available only to customers in certain states.
Traditional savings accounts at a bank will have interest rates ranging from 0.05% to 0.1% while high-yield savings can go as high as 1%.
Interest rates in the US and around the world have been low for a long period, mostly since the economic crisis of 2008-2009. Interest rates are generally set low during times of economic downtown or uncertainty in order to spur investment and spending. Low interest rates tend to reward borrowers rather than lenders.
In the US, the Federal Reserve sets a target rate range, which influences the specific interest rates set by individual banks. Since 2009, the Fed has consistently kept rates low, which has led to low interest rates for savings accounts. At the moment, the average interest rate for savings accounts is 0.06%.
That noted, many banks will offer a higher savings rate to attract new customers. The market for high-yield savings accounts is competitive, with some banks offering particularly high rates for an introductory period of time. Because of this, interest rates at financial institutions may change regularly.
Yes. Your bank will send you a 1099-INT form each year when your savings account earns more than $10 in interest.
CNET reviews savings accounts by comparing them across set criteria, including annual percentage yield, monthly fees, minimum deposits or balances and access to physical branches. Because APYs at individual accounts can vary, we look at the estimated annual interest on $1,000 and $10,000 levels of savings.
We reviewed more than two dozen leading traditional banks and online financial offerings to determine our best savings accounts. Along with the aforementioned criteria, we also considered sign-up bonuses and other rewards. All savings accounts must also be insured by the FDIC.
The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.