Finding the Top Savings Account in 2019
The best savings accounts are those which grow your money, give you the freedom to do with it as you like and don’t cost a lot to maintain. At SmartAsset we analyzed more than 120 different savings accounts to find the top overall options, as well as others which are the best for people in specific situations.
|Ally Bank Read More||2.20%||$0|| |
|CIT Bank Read More||2.45%||$100|| |
|CIBC Bank USA Read More||2.39%||$1,000|| |
|Barclays Read More||2.20%||$0|| |
|Synchrony Read More||2.25%||$0|| |
|American Express National Bank Read More||2.10%||$1|| |
|Capital One Read More||1.00%||$0|| |
|PNC Bank Read More||0.01%||$25|| |
|Chase Bank Read More||0.01%||$25|| |
How We Determine the Best Savings Accounts
SmartAsset’s team of personal finance experts rounded up an exhaustive list of more than 120 different savings accounts. We scored each on their APY, minimum balance, monthly fees, bonuses, customer support, product offerings and customer experience.
Ally Bank: The Top Savings Account
At Ally Bank you get a savings account with a relatively high interest rate and a platform that makes it easy to control your money. Ally Bank currently offers a 2.20% APY compounded daily, one of the highest rates for the accounts SmartAsset analyzed. (A savings calculator can help you see how your money will grow over time at different rates.) However, if the rate is what is most important to you, you will be able to find higher rates at other banks.
What sets Ally apart from the other banks we reviewed is the customer experience. With Ally you do not need a minimum deposit or minimum balance to open an account. You also do not have to worry about monthly maintenance or hidden fees. Depositing, withdrawing and sending money is simple at Ally. The mobile app is easy to use and comes with 24/7 chat support if you have any issues. You also get versatility with Ally.
You can open up a free checking account when you open your savings account and transfer money between the two. From your checking account you can withdraw money by using an ATM or a debit card. You can make free withdrawals at any of the 55,000 Allpoint ATMs throughout the country. The main downside to Ally Bank is that it is an entirely online bank. You cannot drive to your nearest Ally Bank location because those do not exist. They also do not accept cash deposits. If you find yourself frequently depositing cash or visiting a brick-and-mortar bank location, banks with branch locations may be better for you.
Best Savings Account Rate: CIT Bank Savings Builder Account
The Savings Builder account from CIT Bank features a 2.45% APY, placing it among the best rates available right now. An APY this good doesn’t come without strings attached, though. To gain eligibility for it, you’ll need to maintain an account balance of at least $25,000 or make $100 or more in monthly deposits to your account. Should you fall short of both of these requirements, your APY will shrink to 1.17%.
A $100 opening deposit is all that’s needed if you want to open a Savings Builder account with CIT. There’s also no monthly fees to remain an account holder. Add on top of this that your balance will compound on a daily basis, and this savings account has about as strong an interest-earning potential as any of its competitors.
In addition to its online banking website, CIT Bank offers solid mobile apps for both Apple and Android devices. Through this medium, you can check the balances of your CIT accounts and transfer funds between them. One service notably missing from the app: the ability to transfer money to an outside financial institution.
Interest Earned on $10K Deposit at CIT Bank*
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Runner-Up for Best Savings Account Rate: CIBC Agility Online Savings Account
The Agility™ Online Savings Account from CIBC Bank USA features one of the best interest rates on the market at 2.39%. Although you’ll need a minimum initial deposit of $1,000 to become an account holder, there’s just a $1 minimum to maintain the above APY. On top of that, CIBC does not charge monthly account maintenance fees, meaning all interest earnings stay in your pocket.
CIBC Bank USA, the American arm of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), has more than 20 branches throughout Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin. Contrary to a traditional savings account, you can only manage your Agility Online Savings Account through CIBC’s website and mobile app. Both Android and Apple users can download the app, which currently holds an average rating of 3.5 stars between the two competing stores. Some of the services available through these platforms include digital account statements, updated transaction histories, mobile check deposit and a money transfer program called Interac e-Transfer®.
Perhaps the weakest area of this savings account is its inability to allow for timely and simple withdrawals. This is mostly due to the fact that you cannot take out money at a branch, nor is there direct ATM access. While it may be slightly inconvenient, CIBC checking account holders can transfer money from their Agility account into their checking account and make a withdrawal at any ATM. Should you encounter an ATM fee, CIBC will reimburse you for anywhere from $6 to $50 a month depending on the type of checking account you have. Aside from this, the bank affords customers just three ways to withdraw funds:
- Make a transfer to another CIBC Bank USA account
- Make a transfer to or initiate a transfer from an account at another financial institution
- Request a paper check online, over the phone or in writing
Interest Earned on $10K Deposit at CIBC Bank USA*
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*Using current interest rates.
Barclays Savings Account: Competitive Interest Rate With No Minimum
Because the Barclays Online Savings Account has no minimum initial deposit requirement, the 2.20% APY is easily accessible. This APY applies to all balances, meaning there are no hoops to jump through to keep earning at the aforementioned rate. Monthly fees are completely nonexistent as well, ensuring that every dollar you make on interest stays in your account.
To help you maximize your savings, Barclays has created a “savings assistant” that will show you exactly what you have to do to reach your savings goals. In addition to this tool, the bank has a highly-rated mobile app for both Apple and Android devices. Some specific features of the app are account balances, transaction histories, intra-bank transfers and 24/7 complimentary access to your FICO® credit score.
Barclays is based out of the United Kingdom (UK), but has around 48 million banking customers around the globe. The bank is fairly new to the U.S., as it has just five branches on American soil in Georgia, New York, Illinois, Texas and Massachusetts. As things currently stand, Barclays only provides savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs) in the U.S.
Interest Earned on $10K Deposit at Barclays*
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Synchrony High Yield Savings: A Higher Interest Rate but Harder to Access Funds
Synchrony Bank is one of the better savings accounts according to our research. There is a tradeoff between a slightly higher interest rate at Synchrony and a slightly better customer experience at Ally.
At Synchrony you will earn more interest in a year than you will with Ally. Synchrony however makes it harder to access your funds. You must transfer your funds to another bank in order to withdraw them. With Ally you can open a checking account which makes withdrawing funds easier.
Both banks do offer ATM access and both allow customers to withdraw without a fee from thousands of ATMS across the country. Synchrony’s network, Plus and Accel, is a bit more robust than the 55,000 ATMs available to Ally’s network. Also like Ally, Synchrony has the drawback of not accepting cash deposits.
We find Synchrony is better than Ally if you truly want a savings account where you won’t be tempted to touch the funds. The extra step of having to externally transfer may be enough to stop you from withdrawing money from the account, which then allows it to grow at the high 2.25% interest rate. Synchrony came in a close second in our analysis and we consider both banks to be great options.
American Express National Bank
American Express® Personal Savings was the third best savings account according to our research. Like the two accounts above, you are getting a savings account with a high interest rate, no monthly fees and no minimum balance. In this case, it comes combined with the good customer service of American Express.
The American Express mobile app makes it easy to track your funds and allows you to initiate transfers whenever you may need. However, getting access to your funds is a bit harder with the Amex account.
Like Synchrony, at Amex you will have a harder time accessing your funds than with an Ally account. With Amex however, you are not even provided an ATM card (which Synchrony does) leaving external transfers as your only option for accessing your funds. We find the main advantage Amex has over Synchrony is if you have American Express credit cards and want to link those cards with your account to pay off bills.
Best Savings Account for Kids: Capital One Kids Savings Account
Instilling good savings practices in kids is important and the Capital One Kids Savings Account is the best option we found to help you with that. The account has a competitive 1.00% APY, plus the great customer experience of Capital One. The account has no maintenance fees and no account minimums.
What makes this a great for account for kids is that it allows parents to educate their children on savings, while also being able to keep a watchful eye over the account. Parents can set up savings goals in the app that their kids can monitor over the years. Parents can also link their accounts directly to the child’s account. This way parents can make deposits as well.
We’d mostly recommend the Capital One account for children roughly between the ages of 9 and 17. For older kids who are starting college, the PNC Virtual Wallet Student is the better option. For children under the age of 9, we’d recommend the Citizens Bank CollegeSaver. A $1,000 bonus means if you open the account before your child’s first birthday, you can earn more than $6,000 (with current interest rates) by the time your child is 18.
Best Savings Account for Students: PNC Virtual Wallet Student
We chose PNC as the best savings account for college students because of how the account is structured, as well as the numerous tools it has to help students manage their money. The PNC Virtual Wallet Student® comes with two savings accounts plus a free checking account. The idea is that it helps college students think comprehensively about spending and saving money.
The first savings account is the Reserve account for short-term savings and the second is the Growth account for longer-term savings. Both are linked to your Spend checking account which allows for an easy transfer of funds. PNC offers a variety of tools to help you manage these multiple accounts. You get a calendar that allows you to see what payments you have upcoming, alerts for when your funds are running low and a budgeting feature that categorizes your purchases. The account also partners with over 50 universities including Georgetown, UPenn and University of Michigan so you get free ATM access on those campuses. You can see a full list of schools if you apply.
The biggest drawback is that the rates for the account are much lower than our top accounts. For even the Growth account, the APY is less than 0.10%. You shouldn’t expect your money to grow too much with this account. It can be helpful for learning how to manage money, but it’s not ideal for growth.
If you want growth and care less about money management tools, the Capital One 360 Kids Saving Account is a great option. If you’re a college student and feel like you don’t need any sort of tailored account, the Ally Bank savings account will be your best bet.
Best Savings Account for Banks with Branch Locations: Chase Savings
Chase will be your best option for a savings account if you prefer to be able to bank in person. Chase has over 5,100 branches in many states making it one of the most accessible banks in the country. If you live in the northeast, west coast, Texas, Florida, Ohio, Illinois or Michigan, a Chase branch should be easy to find.
Chase has two types of savings options, a regular account and a premier account meant for those with high balances. With Chase you can have your financial tools all in the same place. The company allows you to link your Chase checking account directly to your Chase savings accounts, with an easy-to-use mobile app for checking balances and paying bills. You need at least $300 in the account ($15,000 for premier) to avoid paying a maintenance fee. You also need at least $25 to open an account ($100 for premier).
Since Chase is a brick and mortar bank however, you cannot reap the same types of interest rates as you can at purely online banks. With Chase, interest rates are 0.01% in the regular savings account. With the premier, you need at least $50,000 to earn more than 0.07% and that’s only if you meet certain requirements. If you are looking for interest earnings, you will be better off with one of our top 3 savings account options.