My savings account is paying me more interest than I can handle.
Haha- yeah right!
For the past several years my clients have been griping (me included) about how their savings accounts are paying next to nothing.
Many feel like they are paying the banks just to keep their money with them.
Can you relate?
Looking for a top savings account to stash away some cash for a future financial goal should be part of your financial strategy.
Saving for future purchases and expenses is one of the best things you can do to stabilize your financial situation.
Whether you are saving up an emergency fund or just preparing to spend money on a nice vacation next year, you need a great savings account to hold your money.
What to Look for in a Top Savings Account
There’s no need to let your money sit in an account that doesn’t pay interest. That’s one of the worst things you can do with your money because the value of your money will slowly go down due to inflation. You need to generate some interest to combat inflation just to maintain the spending power of the money you have.
Then again interest isn’t everything. So what exactly should you look for in a top savings account?
Interest – High Yield
For me, interest comes first. Generating interest helps protect your money from inflation. Even if inflation is really low, getting some small interest on the side will help you bolster your account over time. Interest isn’t the only important factor, but it never hurts to have someone paying you to store your cash with them.
Having great customer service is another key aspect of a great savings account. If you earn a little bit more interest at one bank but the customer service is awful you will probably regret it. I like to stick to firms that have solid reputations or that I’ve had previous experience with.
Lastly, you want easy access to your funds. If you have to jump through a lot of hoops to pull money out of your emergency fund during an emergency… you won’t exactly be thrilled. Do you have to go to a physical branch? Or can you transfer funds online using your smartphone? Access can be a tiebreaker when you are comparing two very similar banks.
Five Top Saving Accounts to Consider
Here are five great saving accounts to consider.
Capital One 360 Savings Account
I’ve had an account with Capital One 360 Savings longer than I have with Ally, to be honest. That’s because Capital One 360 (formerly ING Direct) was one of the first reputable online banks to exist. As with any industry they now have some stiff competition from Ally, but I still love them.
Here’s what you get with Capital One 360:
- Extremely competitive interest rate. The difference in rates between Ally and ING is so small most people wouldn’t notice. If you aren’t seeking absolute best interest and are looking at the bigger picture, keep reading.
- No minimums. Like Ally you won’t be hit with any minimum balance fees nor will you have to send a ton of money to open an account. You can open an account with as little as $1.
- Easy deposit options. Opening an account is easy — you just link a checking account from another institution like you would with any other bank. Then you transfer your funds over.
- Easy access and management. ING’s user interface is one of the best around. One of the unique things ING offers is “sub-accounts” where you can open up mini-accounts to hold your saving goal money. So you can have a main Savings Account, but have mini-accounts for Vacation Fund, Emergency Fund, and so on.
- Other account options. You can start with a savings account and grow your finances with ING. They offer a robust set of accounts ranging from checking to savings to CDs, mortgages, and investing.
CIT Bank Savings
If you are looking for a bank to just store some of your cash in for a rainy day, then CIT Bank is a great choice. Right now the bank only offers an online savings account and three certificate of deposit options. That’s it.
You might think, “Why would I go with a bank that just does that instead of one with more options like online checking?”
That’s an understandable question. CIT Bank is in the upper tier of interest rates for all of these institutions, and in some cases comes out ahead of everyone else. On top of their high interest rate they also offer a bonus rate tier for customers that have more than $25,000 saved with them. Essentially, it is a loyalty bonus. Not many banks reward you for being extra loyal.
Aside from the great interest I personally think it is sometimes a good thing to limit your account options at a bank. If you open up an account with checking, savings, CDs, investment, and so on it can get tempted to pull money out of the savings or CD to refill your checking account quickly. Having them separated requires more financial discipline at the cost of a little bit of convenience. I think the extra interest you are earning is worth it.
Here’s what you get with CIT Bank:
- Upper tier high yield interest rate with high deposit bonus tier. If you deposit a lot of money with CIT, you won’t find a better interest rate anywhere else online.
- Low minimums. CIT does have a minimum… of $100. That’s measly. And honestly with any of the banks on this page if you saved just $100 you’re going to earn a whopping $1 interest max in the first year. You need to save more money, but CIT requires $100 to get started.
- Easy deposit options. You can fund your account or add additional deposits via easy online transfer from your current bank, mailing in a check, or wire transfer.
- Easy access and management. The user interface is easy to use. You’ll be able to transfer funds to and from your other bank easily.
Ally Bank is one of my favorite banking institutions. (Yes, we bloggers are a weird bunch and have favorite banking institutions while the rest of the world goes about their normal lives.)
Why do I love Ally so much? Let me quote myself from an article earlier this year, Best Online Checking Accounts:
Ally Bank was built on the premise of getting rid of all the crazy fees that normal banks charge while giving customers great rates and great customer service.
I mean, seriously? How can you not love that? A bank that is fighting to end banks gouging customers will get my vote every time. In the linked article above we told you how great Ally’s checking accounts were, but the saving options are great, too.
Here’s what you get with Ally:
- Industry leading high yield interest rate. You won’t earn more interest with a reputable online bank.
- No minimums. At all. That means no minimum deposit, no minimum balance requirement. No minimum balance fees. In fact, you can open an account with as little as $1.
- Easy deposit options. You can fund your account or add additional deposits via easy online transfer from your current bank, mailing in a check, wire transfer, or simply scanning in your deposit.
- Easy access and management. The user interface is top-notch and you’ll be able to transfer funds to and from your other bank easily.
- Other account options. You can start with a savings account and grow your finances with Ally. They offer a robust set of accounts ranging from checking to savings to CDs and IRAs.
American Express High-Yield Savings Account
Yes, American Express, the credit card company that offers fantastic cash back now has a banking arm that offers great interest on your account.
Rates are currently very competitive with some of the larger, well known online banks. Account access is not as sophisticated, but again they are only offering two simple products. If they had a full suite of financial products like mortgages and checking accounts on top of the savings account and CD I will be more stringent. But this is a pretty basic product: deposit money, earn interest, watch it grow.
AMEX also has a 36-month CD that you can drop your money into to earn a slightly higher rate of return. However, the difference is so small that I can’t recommend locking your funds up for 3 years. (If you elect to close a CD before its maturity date you pay back 3 months of interest. That’s dumb.)
Here’s what you get with AMEX’s High Yield Savings Account:
- Great interest. To attract customers, American Express often has some of the highest interest rates available.
- Simple options. You have two account options: high-yield savings and certificate of deposit. Two simple choices rather than an array of confusing options.
- No minimums. You don’t have a minimum balance requirement, and you don’t get hit with a fee for letting your balance get too low.
Whichever way you go, you’ll end up with American Express’ renowned customer service to back you up. You probably won’t need it, but it is always nice to know it is there.
Just like American Express, Discover has gotten into the banking business. Their rates are competitive with other online products, so it is definitely a firm to include in your search for a top savings account.
The product offerings are similar with Discover, but we really like Discover’s online CD. The rates on the CDs are very nice compared to some other players in the industry.
Here’s what you get with Discover Bank’s Online Savings account:
- Great interest. To attract customers, Discover often has some of the highest interest rates available.
- Several account options. You can start with a savings account and expand to an online certificate of deposit, IRA CDs, or a money market account.
- Low minimums. This is the only place that you might downgrade Discover on a bit. The other institutions above require no minimum deposit to open an account. Discover requires a $500 minimum deposit. However, there are still no minimum balance requirements or fees for going below $500, so it isn’t much to worry about.