Saving money is great, but earning interest on that cash is even better. And while historically low interest rates are great when you need a loan, they don’t help much when you want to put your money to work. Thankfully, there are several savings accounts currently available that offer high-interest yields. They vary in terms of fees, balance minimums, and extra perks, so you have plenty of options available. Review each one carefully before picking the right one to house your hard-earned money.
Savings Accounts with No Opening Balance Required
A lot of high-interest savings accounts require you to make a minimum deposit in order to open an account. But not everyone wants to start off their savings account with a ton of cash, especially for those just beginning to save. Luckily, you can still access high-interest accounts without worrying about any type of starting deposit. Here are our top picks that don’t require any cash upfront.
We like Ally because there’s no minimum balance required to earn interest. And at 1.0% APY, you can start to see that interest accrue relatively quickly compared to other savings accounts that only offer a fraction of a percentage point. There’s no monthly maintenance fee and you can receive wire transfers at no cost, plus you can transfer funds to any other bank account up to six times per statement cycle (after that it costs $10 per transaction per federal law). If you’re only making a few withdrawals each month, Ally is a great choice.
If you make frequent check deposits, you can use the Ally eCheck Deposit app on your smartphone to take a picture. Then just mail in the paper check using a postage-paid envelope. This is good because you won’t have to worry about finding a branch or ATM each time you need to make a check deposit.
Like many other banks, Ally charges a $25 overdraft fee, so do be mindful of your balance.
Synchrony has one of the highest rates on a standard savings account, amounting to 1.05% APY. Plus, there’s no minimum daily balance so you can earn interest at this prime rate no matter what your current level of savings may be. With ATM fee reimbursements up to $5 per cycle, you also get ease of access and quick convenience that many high-interest savings accounts simply don’t provide. However, if you prefer to electronically transfer funds to access your savings, the process may take a few days from start to finish.
There are no monthly maintenance fees with Synchrony, and the bank offers a perks program that includes hotel and travel discounts. The benefits you receive spread out over a tiered system, so the higher the balance you have and the longer you’ve had an account, the more perks you receive.
When you hear the name Goldman Sachs, you might think of Wall Street investment bankers, but the company also operates GS Bank for individuals. A GS Bank online savings account offers a competitive 1.05% APY and has no minimum balance needed to earn that interest rate. There is, however, a maximum balance of $250,000 you may keep in your account.
To make a deposit, you have four options. You can send an electronic transfer from any bank, send a wire transfer, mail a check, or enroll in direct deposit from your employer or Social Security. When you’re ready to withdraw funds, you can log onto your account online and request an electronic transfer or call the toll free phone number to take out money. You can do all of this while enjoying no transaction fees and no monthly service fee.
Barclays Dream Account motivates you to save money by offering cash bonuses for exhibiting positive savings habits. But even before those bonuses, the interest rate is already comparable to other high-yield accounts, weighing in at 1.05% APY. The downside is that you can only deposit up to $1,000 a month. Still, the bonuses might make it worth your while to add a Dream Account to your portfolio of current savings accounts.
Here’s how it works: On top of the 1.05% APY, you’ll also receive two opportunities to earn bonuses on the interest you’ve already earned in a six-month period. The first reward comes from making a deposit of any size for six consecutive months. At that point, you’ll earn an extra 2.5% on the interest you earned during that period. The other way to get a bonus is to not withdraw any funds for six consecutive months, which also earns you 2.5% on interest accrued during that time frame. You can get either bonus or both of them, giving your account a nice little extra cushion as time goes by. If you’re planning on saving more than $1,000 a month, you will of course either need an additional savings account or need to choose another one altogether.
MySavingsDirect is an online division of Emigrant Bank, which has been around since 1850 and is one of the oldest savings banks in New York City. Its online presence now makes its high-interest savings account available to consumers throughout the country. With an APY of 0.85%, it’s still among the strongest options currently available. Even better is that the account comes with no fees and no minimum deposits.
Signing up for a savings account is easy to do online. All you need is to verify that you’re at least 18 years old and provide a valid tax ID number (your social security number works just fine), your address, and a personal checking account to link to your savings account. This makes transferring funds simple and convenient.
This bank operates almost entirely online, so you need to be comfortable with an electronic process if you’re considering a MySavingsDirect account. When you first open the account with a deposit, you can either mail in a check or electronically transfer funds online, but once it is set up, you can only use the electronic funds transfer to deposit or withdraw funds— just know that it can take two to four days processing time. Withdrawals, on the other hand, are held for five business days before they’re available (which is done for security reasons); therefore, be sure to plan your need for funds well in advance so you don’t run the risk of being late with any payments.
Savings Accounts with Opening Balance Required
Some of the best high-interest savings accounts do require an initial deposit to open your account. But most of them aren’t extremely high thresholds and don’t create a barrier for many people. If you’ve already started saving money and have funds to deposit into your new saving account, check out these options for great yields along with a small required opening balance.
Citi Bank is another fee-free savings account offering a solid 0.95% APY. Like Ally, there’s no required daily balance minimum, so this is another option to earn interest if you don’t meet the minimum balance qualifications of some of the other high-interest savings accounts. To open your account, you’ll need to deposit at least $100. After that, don’t worry about monthly fees — there are none with Cit Bank’s savings account.
There are no physical locations for Cit Bank, which means everything happens online. To compensate, they have a great online portal and mobile app to access your savings account, and if you have a question or problem, their customer service is prompt, friendly, and reachable via phone. A downside to Cit Bank is that it takes five to ten days to make your funds available once you’ve deposited them, but you can send money either by electronic transfer, mailing a check, or by wire transfer. Yes, the process is a little slow, so this isn’t a place to keep money you anticipate needing quick access to, but if you like a low-maintenance account with no fees, then Cit Bank is a good option.
Discover offers a high-interest savings account that beats out most of its large-scale national peers. While there is a $500 minimum deposit to open the account, you don’t have any minimum balance to maintain after that. And with a 0.95% APY, you can start earning fast. In fact, since interest is compounded daily (and dispersed monthly), you’ll earn $47.73 each year on a $5,000 balance. Plus, there is no monthly fee to worry about, so you truly get paid to keep your money in your Discover account.
What are you charged for with a Discover savings account? Just a few things that are typical of most banks. The most expensive item you’re likely to encounter is a $30 insufficient funds fee, although it’s capped at just one fee per day. You’ll also be charged $15 for each excessive withdrawal over the federal maximum of six per month. Finally, a six-month stop payment costs $15. If you have the cash to open a $500 savings account and prefer working with a large financial institution, then Discover Bank is definitely worth considering.
Salem Five Direct
Salem Five Direct’s eOne Savings currently offers a 1.10% APY for new customers until January 1, 2017. It only takes a $100 deposit to open your account to get this highly competitive rate. After that, there’s no minimum balance you have to maintain and there isn’t any monthly fee to pay, but this high interest rate only applies to balances up to $500,000. After that, your account is automatically switched to a Statement Savings Account that only earns an APY of 0.05%. In order to get the most out of Salem Five Direct, keep an eye on high dollar balances so you don’t effectively cut your interest rate to nearly zero.
Salem Five Direct does charge fees in certain situations that you’ll want to educate yourself on so you don’t rack up unnecessary fines. For example, if you don’t elect to enroll in electronic account statements within the first 30 days of opening your account, you’ll be charged $2.75 each month for paper statements. You might also incur fees for certain types of transfers performed outside of the bank’s online system. It’s best to read all of the details and fine print before making a decision to make sure your preferred banking habits don’t result in exorbitant fees.