The best savings accounts of 2019 are offered almost exclusively online. That’s because, unlike brick and mortar banks, online banks don’t have to pay for buildings, maintenance, utilities, and other costs many traditional banks take on.
Online banks are typically able to pass those savings onto their customers — usually in the form of a higher interest rate and lower fees. That’s why you can often find savings accounts that pay 20x the national average in interest with no account management fees, annual fees, or hidden fees.
Does finding a savings account with a high APY really matter? You bet it does. Keep in mind that the average savings account is currently paying just .09% according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). That is significantly less than the best online banks can offer.
If you’re overwhelmed by all the different banking options available today, you’ll be happy to know we did a ton of research to figure out which online banks can help you earn a higher interest rate on your deposits with minimal fees and fine print.
The following banks offer the best combination of benefits you can find today, making them an easy choice if your goal is building up your savings or finding the best place to store your emergency fund.
Best Savings Accounts of 2019
#1: CIT Bank Savings Builder
It’s hard to beat the CIT Bank Savings Builder Account, which offers 2.20% APY if you meet a few basic requirements. Earning 2.20% APY requires a constant balance of $25,000 or more in your account, but you can also earn that rate if you can commit to a monthly deposit amount of at least $100. This account also comes with no annual fee or monthly maintenance fees, and you only need $100 to get started.
- Pros: Low minimum to get started; earn highest APR with just $100 in deposits each month
- Cons: Some competing banks offer higher rates
#2: Marcus by Goldman Sachs
Marcus by Goldman Sachs offers impressive online savings account with a high rate of return. You’ll earn 2.00% APY on your deposits in this account and you’ll never have to worry about account management fees or application fees. There’s no minimum deposit amount to get started either, so you can open your account and start saving without any barriers.
- Pros: No minimum balance requirement, no fees
- Cons: Lower rates than some competing accounts
#3: Vio Bank
Lesser-known Vio Bank offers online savings account with one of the highest rates you can qualify for today. Sign up to earn 2.42% APY on your savings account with no monthly fees. The minimum initial deposit requirement is just $100, so getting started with this account is a breeze.
- Pros: High-interest rate and low minimum initial deposit requirement
- Cons: Vio Bank isn’t as widely known as others on this list
#4: Barclays Bank
While Barclays is mostly known for its banking products in the UK, they also offer a wide range of credit cards, savings accounts, and personal loans within the U.S. This includes their high-yield savings account option, which helps customers earn 2.00% APY on their deposits.
There are no monthly maintenance fees required for this account, and there’s no minimum balance to get started. You can even create your new account and fund it online.
- Pros: No fees and no minimum initial balance requirement
- Cons: You can qualify for a higher rate with a different bank
#5: Ally Bank
Ally Bank also offers its own high-yield savings account with a high rate of return and no monthly maintenance fees or other fees. You’ll earn 1.90% APY on your deposits with Ally Bank, and there’s no minimum deposit amount to get started. Ally Bank is also highly rated, partly because they offer 24/7 customer support and all the digital banking tools they offer.
- Pros: No minimum amount required to open an account and no fees
- Cons: Lower APY than some competing banks offer
#6: My Savings Direct
My Savings Direct is another lesser-known online bank that offers a high APY on banking deposits without any crushing fees. You’ll earn 2.25% APY on your savings with this account, and you’ll never pay account maintenance fees or any other fees. You can open an account with any minimum deposit amount as well, making this a smart choice for those just starting to save.
- Pros: High APY, no fees, and no minimum amount to get started
- Cons: They don’t offer an app, nor do they offer checking accounts
#7: Comenity Direct Bank
Comenity Direct Bank offers high-yield savings accounts and competitive Certificates of Deposit (CDs). Their savings account lets you earn 2.25% APY, and you only need $100 to open an account. There are no monthly maintenance fees or hidden fees, and you get free online statements as well.
- Pros: Earn a high APY with no hidden fees
- Cons: Customer service is not available 24/7
#8: Popular Direct
Popular Direct Bank offers one of the highest interest rates available today, albeit with a heftier minimum deposit requirement. This high-yield savings account lets you earn 2.40% APY, but you’ll need at least $5,000 to get started. While that’s an extremely competitive rate, you should note that this account comes with inactivity fees, account closure fees, and other fees.
- Pros: This account comes with one of the highest rates available today
- Cons: High minimum deposit requirement and plenty of fees to watch out for
#9: HSBC Direct
If you’re looking for a high-yield savings account with a great rate and minimal fees, you should also check out the high-yield savings account offered by HSBC Direct. This account gives you 2.20% APY on deposits as well as plenty of helpful money management tools.
There are no monthly maintenance fees or hidden fees to be aware of, and the minimum amount required to open an account is just $1.
- Pros: Excellent interest rate and you only need $1 to open an account
- Cons: Higher APYs are available from other banks
What to Look for in the Best Savings Accounts
Before you choose a new savings account, it helps to know what to look for — and what to avoid. Fortunately, most savings accounts are set up in a similar way, and they all have the potential for similar “gotchas” and fees.
Here are some of the features you should look for in any savings account you’re considering.
Generous Interest Rates
The most important feature savings accounts offer is the annual percentage yield (APY) they dole out on deposits. The interest you’re earning is a crucial piece of the puzzle if you want your savings to keep up with inflation, but it’s also important to compare rates since they can be all over the place.
Chase Bank, which is popular with consumers thanks to their credit cards, checking accounts, and mobile app, only offers a paltry .01% APY on their savings accounts, whereas the best savings accounts available today offer up to 2.40% APY.
What does this mean? If you had $10,000 saved and added $100 to your savings account every month for 20 years, you would have $34,042.83 if you banked with Chase. If you chose an account that earned 2.40% APY, on the other hand, you would have $46,416.28 after 20 years. That’s over $12,000 in free money you could qualify for just by shopping around for the best savings account.
No Monthly Maintenance Fees or Hidden Fees
While the interest you earn is important when you’re shopping around for a new savings account, don’t forget to check for fees. Monthly maintenance fees, transfer fees, inactivity fees, and other fees can chip away at your savings account and add up in a big way over time.
Ideally, you’ll find a new savings account that doesn’t charge any unavoidable fees.
No Minimum Opening Deposit
Some savings accounts required you to have $5,000 or more saved up before you can get started. This type of requirement can be a hardship if you’ve just started saving for the future, and a high minimum deposit amount could even prevent you from opening a new savings account altogether.
Fortunately, many of the best savings accounts available today don’t have a minimum opening deposit requirement. Others require you to have just $1 to $100 to open an account, which is much easier for most people to handle.
No Minimum Account Balance Requirements
Some banks may also require you to keep a minimum amount of money in your savings account after it’s been opened. If you fail to maintain the minimum account balance, you may end up earning a lower interest rate or face fees like a monthly maintenance fee.
Many savings accounts don’t require a minimum account balance when you open your account or any time after, so make sure you compare all your options.
Easy Transfers Between Accounts
It’s important to make sure any savings account you sign up for offers easy transfers between all your accounts. After all, you’ll likely want to transfer more money into your savings account over time, and you may even need to transfer money out of your account. Make sure transfers can be made online and without a lot of hassle or stress.
Access to a Mobile App
The best online banks offer their own mobile apps that let you track your deposits, keep track of your account details, and more. Some mobile apps even let you deposit checks using a smartphone or other mobile device, which makes online banking a whole lot easier.
Also, note that some online banks let you access a certain number of ATMs nationwide. ATM networks can be extremely broad or very limited, and sometimes it depends on where you live. Make sure that, if your savings account offers ATM access, there are included ATMs in your area. You can usually do this through your bank’s website.
Availability of Checking Accounts
Another feature offered by some of the top online banks available today is a co-branded checking account. With a checking account from the same bank as your high-yield savings account, it’s easier than ever to stay connected to your finances and transfer money from either account.
Online Account Management Options
If you’re not interested in heading into a brick and mortar bank to open a new savings account, you’ll be happy to know that most banks — including banks on this list — let you open and fund your account from the comfort of your home. The best savings accounts even offer an online account management page that makes it easy to log in and assess your savings any time of the day or night.
No Limits on Transactions
Some banks limit the number of transactions you can make each month without paying an additional fee. These limits can be reasonable, but they can also be very punishing if you are someone who needs to make a lot of separate transactions each month.
Federal Deposit Insurance
Finally, don’t forget to make sure any bank you do business with offers FDIC insurance on balances up to a certain amount. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), FDIC deposit insurance “covers the depositors of a failed FDIC-insured depository institution dollar-for-dollar, principal plus any interest accrued or due to the depositor, through the date of default, up to at least $250,000.”
If a person had a Certificate of Deposit in their name alone with a principal balance of $195,000 and $3,000 in accrued interest, the full $198,000 would be insured, they note.
If you choose a bank that doesn’t offer this coverage, you could be putting yourself and your savings at risk. The FDIC notes that bank failures do occur sometimes, and that money not under FDIC protection can easily be lost if that ever happens.
Which is the Best Savings Account?
If you’re searching for the best savings account available today, you’re already on the right track. The best way to wind up with a superior savings account is shopping around so you can make an apples-to-apples comparison.
At the end of the day, you’re much more likely to find the interest rates and terms with an online bank instead of the bank you grew up with, so it makes sense to conduct most of your research online. Keep looking for a bank that offers the interest rates and features you want without any fees or fine print. The banks on this list offer some of the best savings accounts available today, so you’re off to an excellent start.