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The Best Online High Yield Savings Accounts

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by Chris Thompson Updated

Finding the Top Online High Yield Savings Accounts

Online banks, which don’t have the burden of needing to maintain branches, have an edge over traditional banks in terms of the perks and interest rates they can offer. Still, not every online bank may be a good fit for you. At SmartAsset, we took a look at several online banks with high-yield interest rates and determined the best. To see which online high-yield savings account is right for your needs, read on. 

Bank APY Minimum Deposit Highlights
Synchrony Synchrony logo Read More 2.05% $0
  • Best High-Yield Online Savings Account
  • No monthly fee
Citizens Access Citizens Access logo Read More 2.25% $5000
  • Online Savings Account with Highest Yield Rate
  • No fees
Ally Bank Ally Bank logo Read More 2.00% $0
  • Best for Customer Experience
  • Mobile app with check deposit
Capital One Capital One logo Read More 1.00% $0
  • Best High-Yield Savings Account with Branch Locations
  • Variety of bank account options
American Express American Express logo Read More 2.00% $0
  • Top High-Yield Account
  • No minimum deposits or balance required
  • Minimum to Earn APY - $1
Alliant Credit Union Alliant Credit Union logo Read More 1.60% $5
  • Best High-Yield Savings from Credit Union
  • No monthly fee

How We Determine the Best Online High Yield Savings Accounts

SmartAsset’s team of personal finance experts rounded up an exhaustive list of different online savings accounts. We scored each on their APY, low fees and an easy to use mobile app for on-the-go banking.

If you're interested in saving money, consider opening up a CIT Savings Account. Earn over 8 times the national average with a 2.25% APY on balances of at least $25,000 OR monthly deposits of $100 or more with an initial $100 minimum deposit.

Best High-Yield Online Savings Account: Synchrony Bank

Synchrony Bank
CIT Savings 2.25% APY
Our Rating: 5/5
How we calculated this rating

With a 2.05% APY, Synchrony has the best overall high-yield savings account. With a high-yield savings account, you don’t need to worry about paying monthly fees or maintaining a minimum balance - making Synchrony particularly valuable for new or young savers. With the exception of one branch in New Jersey, Synchrony is entirely online. They make it easy to manage your funds, however, with a mobile app and an easy-to-use website. 

The main downside to Synchrony is that it does not offer a checking account, which would allow for easy transfers between accounts. If you want to send your savings funds to a checking account, you would have to do so through an electronic funds transfer, which can take a couple days. Synchrony helps make up for this, however, by allowing ATM withdrawals from a robust network of ATMs. You can also fund an account with a mobile check deposit in the app. Just be aware you only have six free transactions per month on the account.

Online Savings Account with Highest Yield Rate: Citizens Access Bank

Citizens Access

The Online Savings Account from Citizens Access Bank is, as its title indicates, a completely web-based savings account. You need a minimum initial deposit of $5,000 to receive the 2.25% APY associated with this account. It is rare these days to find a savings interest rate that high, as the current market average is just 0.09%. Add onto this that Citizens Access does not charge any fees, and you’ve got yourself a savings account with some impressive earning potential.

Citizens Access Bank employs a standard online banking website that’s accessible via both a mobile and desktop browser. You can check your account’s current and available balance, view past transactions and initiate online money transfers. These features are the lifeblood of the bank’s services, as it’s a branchless bank based entirely online. But unlike much of Citizens Access’ competition, it doesn’t offer a mobile app. However, its engineers have optimized the mobile version of its website to mimic an app on both Apple and Android phones.

Best for Customer Experience: Ally Bank

Ally Bank
CIT Savings 2.25% APY
Our Rating: 5/5
How we calculated this rating

Unlike at Synchrony and DollarSavingsDirect, you can get a free checking account at Ally, which can make transferring and withdrawing funds much easier. Rather than waiting for money to transfer, you can internally move money between your checking and savings account whenever you please. 

Ally checking accounts also come with an interest rate of their own. As we discuss more in our best checking account review, Ally checking offers the highest interest rate for amounts under $50,000 - making it one of the best accounts for young professionals. Furthermore, Ally will reimburse you up to $10 per month for out-of-network ATM fees (in addition to having a network of 55,000 in-network ATMs).

Best High-Yield Savings Account with Branch Locations: Capital One 360

Capital One 360

The bank that best marries a high-yield online savings with branch access is Capital One. Banking entirely online can be uncomfortable for some, and Capital One provides a happy medium. The 1.00% rate is not nearly as high as the three banks above, but at the end of the day, you want to feel comfortable with where you deposit your money. Capital One has branches in the Northeast, Texas and Louisiana, so if you live in those areas, Capital One can be a great option. 

The savings account has no monthly fees and doesn’t require a minimum balance. Capital One also provides 24/7 customer service and has a mobile app with 4.5 stars on the App Store. As with Ally, Capital One offers a suite of banking products - including a checking account - that also accrues interest.

Top High-Yield Account: American Express National Bank

American Express National Bank
CIT Savings 2.25% APY
Our Rating: 5/5
How we calculated this rating

The 2.00% APY and the management of the American Express brand makes the Personal Savings account one of the best around. It’s particularly suited for customers who do not want to be tempted to withdraw their funds. American Express does not provide an ATM or debit card, unlike Synchrony, leaving electronic fund transfers as your only option for withdrawing your money. American Express does allow you to use the account to pay off American Express credit card bills, which may make this account more advantageous for Amex cardholders. Furthermore, because the account does not have any monthly fees or a required minimum balance, new and experienced savers can enjoy the benefits of the account. 

One thing to be wary of is if you plan to deposit your funds via check. The account does not come with a mobile check deposit like Ally or Synchrony. Your only option is to mail your check to the main office in Utah. If you’d rather not go through that process, Ally and Synchrony will be better options.

Best High-Yield Savings from Credit Union: Alliant Credit Union

Alliant Credit Union

The Alliant High-Rate Savings account offers one of the highest rates around at 1.45%. Like the accounts above, Alliant’s savings account is virtually free, as you only need $5 to maintain the account. You do, however, need to maintain a balance of at least $100 to earn interest. There are also no monthly fees so long as you opt for eStatements as opposed to paper statements. Assessing your funds is also easy with Alliant, as it has an ATM network of 80,000 machines - five times the number Chase has. 

We would compare the experience you will find at Alliant similar to that of Ally. Alliant only has branches in five states - California, Colorado, Illinois, Texas and Virginia -  so if you don’t live in those, you will find a banking experience to be entirely online. Also like Ally, you can open up a high-yield checking account that lets you quickly transfer funds. Alliant also has a reliable mobile app that lets you to keep track of your funds on the go. The app does support mobile check deposit. 

The biggest disadvantage to Alliant is that it is a credit union, which requires membership. As opposed to most credit unions, however, Alliant makes membership fairly easy. The traditional method would be to be apart of a recognized organization. If you are not, however, you only need to donate $10 to the Foster Care to Success organization. 

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Best Places to Save

SmartAsset’s interactive map highlights the places in the country where people have the opportunity to save money. Zoom between states and the national map to see the best places to save.

Rank County Median Household Income Cost of Living Purchasing Power Estimated Tax Rate

Methodology Where you live can have a big impact on how easy it is to save money based on several regional factors. Our study aims to find the most suitable places for people to save based on median household income, average living expenses and income tax burden.

First, we calculated the average cost of living in each county for a household with two adults (one working). We then created a purchasing power index for each county. This reflects the counties with the highest ratio of household income to cost of living.

To better compare income tax burdens across counties, we applied relevant deductions and exemptions before calculating federal, state and local income taxes for a family making $50,000 annual income in each location. Next, we created an effective tax rate index for each county, which reflects the counties with the lowest ratio of income taxes to the assumed $50,000 annual income.

Finally, we calculated the weighted average of the indices to yield an overall best places to save score. We used a three-fourths weighting for purchasing power and a one-fourth weighting for tax rates. We indexed the final number so higher values reflect places that are better to save.

Sources: US Census Bureau 2016 5-Year American Community Survey, MIT Living Wage Study