Money market accounts haven’t been drawing much attention in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. Recent figures from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) show that the average savings account rate and the average money market account rate are currently at 0.06% APY, as of writing.
Still, there are a small handful of banks paying interest rates on money market accounts that rival those of certificates of deposit (CDs). And unlike CDs, money market accounts don’t tie your money up for a year or more just so you get the highest bank interest rates.
Below we’ve found the most lucrative money market offers available now, and share important account details to know before opening a money market. Although Axos Bank currently offers the best return among money market accounts we considered, it’s wise to take a look at Discover, CIT Bank, Nationwide, and BBVA to find the best product for you.
The Most Important Factors for Money Market Accounts
- Availability: While brick-and-mortar banks have money market accounts, you might find competitive rates and terms through online institutions. Online banks tend to offer higher interest rates than their competition.
- Minimum Deposit Requirements: Compare banks based on your minimum deposit amount to find the best money market rates for your savings. You might also get a higher rate for a larger deposit, but the thresholds for higher earnings vary widely.
- FDIC Insurance: Make sure any money market account you open is backed by the FDIC for amounts up to $250,000, which is standard. All of the money market accounts that made our ranking offer FDIC insurance.
- Debit Card Access: If you want to access your money market funds with ease, having a debit card helps. Check whether the money market account you’re considering offers a hassle-free way to access your money when you need it.
The Best Money Market Accounts of 2021
The best money market accounts of 2021 are easy to open and use, while offering a high return rate. The following banks made our ranking based on their money market rates and other considerations:
Money Market Account Reviews
Although the money market accounts on this list feature the best rates and terms, there are some differences among them. For example, factors like minimum deposit requirements can vary, and money market accounts often have their own unique perks.
The following money market account reviews can help you decide between today’s top options.
Discover offers quite a few popular banking products outside of its popular cash-back credit credit cards. Along with home equity loan products and personal loans, it offers money market accounts with no minimum balance fees or other hidden fees.
Standout features that come with Discover money market accounts include access to 60,000 ATMS nationwide, a free debit card, and access to the Discover mobile app. Discover also gives you the option to open your money market account online, but you can get started over the phone as well.
Current Money Market Account Rates: As of writing, the institution offers 0.30% APY on balances under $100,000 and 0.35% APY on balances of $100,000 or more.
What Holds It Back: A major downside of Discover money market accounts is it requires an initial deposit of $2,500 to get started.
BBVA money market accounts don’t have the best rates, but its $25 minimum deposit requirement to open an account makes up for it. That makes BBVA a much better choice if you want to earn interest, but have limited savings right now.
Money market accounts from BBVA also come with up to six free withdrawals per month, and you can manage and oversee your account with ease using the BBVA mobile banking app.
Current Money Market Account Rates: Money market rates range from 0.010% to 0.150% for balances from $25 to $5 million. Rates are current as of writing, and vary by region.
What Holds It Back: A major downside of BBVA is its low rates compared to other financial institutions. However, its money market rates are still higher for balances over $10,000 than the national average of all money market accounts combined.
Money market accounts from CIT Bank don’t have any hidden fees or monthly maintenance fees. You can also open your account with as little as $100, so there’s a fairly low barrier of entry to get started. The best part is, you’ll earn the same money market rate regardless of how much you keep in your account.
Current Money Market Account Rates: As of writing, the CIT Bank money market rate is at 0.45% APY.
What Holds It Back: Like many other money market accounts, CIT Bank limits you to six withdrawals or automatic transfers per billing cycle. Since CIT Bank is an online bank, you’ll also have to open and manage your account online.
Axos Bank is another online institution with an attractive money market account offer. This bank lets you open a money market account with no fees involved. You’ll also earn the same return regardless of how much money you keep in your money market account.
You get access to a free debit card when opening your account. It also offers a $20 referral bonus for each friend you refer to Axos who opens an account and meets minimum requirements.
Current Money Market Account Rates: Axos Bank offers 0.60% APY on all balances, as of writing.
What Holds It Back: Although Axos doesn’t require you to maintain a specific amount of money in your account, it does require an initial deposit of $1,000 to get started.
Nationwide offers a generous money market account rate. Interestingly, its money market product is managed by Axos Bank. The Money Market Plus account from Nationwide lets you earn a generous return on your money market deposits, yet you can also get up to $10 in domestic ATM fees reimbursed per month.
Another benefit of Nationwide is it offers the same high money market rate regardless of how much you keep in your account. You also get access to digital banking tools, like online bill pay and mobile check deposit.
Current Money Market Account Rates: The current rate through Nationwide’s Money Market Plus product is 0.50% APY, as of writing.
What Holds It Back: Nationwide requires a minimum deposit of $1,000 to open a money market account. You also have to maintain at least $1,000 in your account to avoid an $8 monthly maintenance fee.
How We Found the Best Money Market Accounts
While interest rates are easily the most important factor to consider when comparing money market accounts, we dug a little deeper to make sure all the banks in our ranking are reputable and fair. Here are the main factors we took into consideration while looking for the best money market accounts of 2021:
- Minimum Balance Requirements. The best money market accounts have reasonable minimum requirements to open an account, and reasonable minimum daily balance requirements (or no requirements) after that.
- Ease of Setup and Accessibility. We looked for accounts that make it easy to get started, as well as those who don’t punish you if you need to access your funds.
- FDIC Insurance. We only included money market accounts that have FDIC insurance.
- Fees. Money market accounts with no account opening fees or monthly maintenance fees were given preference. In the event a maintenance fee is charged, we only include banks that make it possible to have monthly fees waived.
- Physical Access to Funds. Finally, we gave higher marks to money market accounts that offer a free debit card and access via a large ATM network. This access becomes important if you need to get your hands on your money market funds in a hurry (i.e. during an emergency).
What to Know About Money Market Accounts
Before opening a money market account, you should understand how these accounts work and how they stack up to online savings accounts. Here are some of the most important factors to keep in mind.
- Money market accounts are actually mutual funds. According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), money market accounts are a type of mutual fund that was originally developed in the 1970s. These accounts were intended to give investors the chance to invest in securities that offer a better rate than traditional savings accounts.
- Money market accounts at a credit union are not FDIC-insured. If you open a money market account at a credit union, your funds are insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).
- Money market returns are guaranteed. Although money market rates aren’t as high as they once were, these accounts offer a guaranteed return with zero risk.
- You won’t get rich with a money market account. If you keep $10,000 in a money market account for 10 years and you earn 0.60% APY, you’ll end the decade with a total of $10,669. If you want to earn passive income, plenty of other strategies can help you secure a better return.
Summary: Best Money Market Accounts of 2021
|Winning Category||Current Money Market Rates||Minimum Account Opening Balance|
|Discover||Broad ATM Access||0.30% APY on balances under $100,000 and 0.35% APY on balances of $100,000 or more||$2,500|
|BBVA||Low Opening Balance Requirement||0.010% to 0.150% for balances from $25 to $5 million||$25|
|CIT Bank||No Fees||0.45% APY||$100|
|Axos Bank||Highest APY||0.60% APY on all balances||$1,000|
|Nationwide||ATM Fee Reimbursement||0.50% APY||$1,000|