A high-yield savings account can serve as a useful middle-ground for your money, offering protection of your principal, the safety of federal insurance, and a yield that’s higher than regular savings account though less than you might earn from more risky investments. This article enlists all you need to know about a high-yield savings account.
A high-yield savings account is a savings account that typically pays 20 to 25 times the national average of a standard savings account.
Usually, people have held a savings account at the same bank where they hold their checking account, making transfers between the two informal and quick.
But with internet-only banks, as well as traditional banks that have opened their doors to customers across the country using online account opening, the competition on savings rates has skyrocketed, creating a new category of “high-yield savings accounts.”
Given the difference between high-yield savings account rates and the national average, the increase in earnings is significant.
If you’re holding $5,000 in savings, for instance, and the national average is 0.10 percent APY, you would return just $5 over the course of a year. If you in its place put that same $5,000 in an account earning 2 percent, you’d earn $100.
You may also discover that, unlike traditional brick-and-mortar institutions that offer a one-stop-shop for all your banking needs, the institutions offering high-yield savings accounts typically limit their features or offer few or no other products.
Various don’t offer to check accounts and few provide ATM cards, requiring all inflows and outflows to the savings account to occur by electronic bank transfer or mobile check deposit if it’s available.
Also, the federal insurance you’re provided against bank failures from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and credit union disappointments from the National Credit Union Association (NCUA).
Whenever you’re considering opening an account at a new institution, simply check that it is an FDIC or NCUA member.
You’ll also discover that the federal regulation limiting withdrawals from a savings account to six per monthly cycle will be in result of any kind of bank savings account, whether it’s a traditional or a high-yield account.
Given all this, it’s worth learning how to find and open a high-yield account and seeing that it would be worth adding one to your financial portfolio.
4 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Savings Account
Check out these 4 factors before making a final decision.
1. Opening an Account with an Online or Traditional Bank
In recent times, the number of online digital banking users surpassed 161 million in the U.S., according to Statista. That’s a 20% increase from 2014.
That doesn’t mean people have turned their backs on traditional banks and credit unions. Also, they are Mostly still prefer building a banking relationship and face-to-face interaction with a banking representative.
But more and more consumers are considering online banks. They may lack a personal connection. But they offer better rates and terms because they have fewer overhead costs than on-site banks.
A great number of online and traditional banks and credit unions are full service and offer checking and savings accounts. Some online banks also offer CDs, money market accounts, loans, and more.
Most online banks offer account access via an app. However, you may also schedule recurring deposits into your account.
2. High-Yield Savings Account Interest Rates
Most high-yield savings accounts are obtainable online or at a physical location near you. All come with FDIC insurance, so your money is protected (up to $250,000 per account).
When choosing a high-yield savings account, look for one that offers an annual percentage yield (APY) greater than on a standard savings account.
Also, the APY controls how much interest you’ll earn in a year, so the higher the APY, the faster your savings will grow. As APY’s are variable (not fixed), they vary with the federal rate and depend a great deal on the economy’s strength.
So the more robust the economy, the better the average.
3. Flexible Access to Money
Though APYs are low, high-yield savings accounts are still a good (and safe) way to create an emergency fund. But there’s a catch. Withdrawals from your account are restricted to six per month by law.
Go over the monthly limit, and you’ll face hefty fees.
However, if you want the flexibility to access your money more often, you may consider an interest-bearing checking account instead.
More so, no matter how much money you have to deposit, there’s little doubt you can save extra cash with high-yield savings options from Credible.
4. Added Bank Fees
Many online, traditional banks and credit unions charge fees, but surely not all. Therefore, the costs can really add up, especially when the average customer can pay more than $300 a year in bank fees.
So, to grow your money as fast as possible, it’s vital to shop for a bank that charges few fees or no fees at all.
The many reasons they might charge you fees and penalties on high-yield savings accounts include:
1. For opting to accept paper statements.
2. For making over six withdrawals from your account in one month.
3. To close your account before a precise time period.
4. If your balance falls below a specified amount during a statement cycle.
5. Monthly service charges or maintenance fees.
6. If you don’t maintain an average daily balance.
Because of the impact on personal finances by the coronavirus pandemic, many banks—online and traditional—are stepping up to help their customers by waiving many standard fees and consequences.
That makes it an excellent time to stash away some extra cash. So, if you’re interested in quick and easy ways to save money,
Best High-Yield Online Savings Accounts
This is where you’ll get to see all you want below in the chart.
LendingClub Bank High Yield-Savings Account
LendingClub Bank Review
Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Savings Account
None ($1 for paper statements)
Alliant Credit Union Review
Comenity Direct High-Yield Savings Account
Comenity Direct Bank Review
Quontic Bank High Yield Savings
Quontic Bank Review
CIBC Bank USA Agility Savings Account
CIBC Bank Review
Vio Bank High Yield Online Savings Account
None ($5 for paper statements)
Vio Bank Review
Ally Bank Online Savings Account
Ally Bank Review
Citibank Accelerate High-Yield Savings
Live Oak High-Yield Online Savings
Live Oak Bank Review
Marcus by Goldman Sachs High-Yield Online Savings Account
Marcus by Goldman Sachs Bank Review
TAB Bank High Yield Savings
TAB Bank Review
Pentagon Federal Credit Union Premium Online Savings Account
0.60% APY, $100 minimum opening deposit/$2,500 minimum for APY
Overview: LendingClub Bank was formed when LendingClub purchased Radius Bank. The deal closed in February 2021 and Radius Bank deposit products became LendingClub Bank products in July 2021.
Perks: LendingClub Bank offers a competitive APY on its High-Yield Savings account, which includes an ATM card. There are no monthly maintenance fees.
What to watch for: Only balances of $100 or more earn interest, and a $5 minimum balance is needed to keep a High-Rate Savings Account open.
2. Alliant Credit Union
0.55% APY, $5 minimum opening deposit/$100 minimum for APY
Overview: In 1935, what’s now we found Alliant Credit Union as the United Airlines Employees’ Credit Union. Alliant presently has 500,000 members.
Perks: You won’t pay a monthly maintenance fee as long as you choose online statements.
What to watch for: Only balances of $100 or extra earn interest.
3. Comenity Direct
0.55% APY, $100 minimum opening deposit
Overview: Comenity Direct is an online bank that offers both a high-yield savings account and five terms of CDs. Comenity Direct launched those savings products in 2019.
Perks: The high-yield savings account requires just $100 to open.
What to watch for: Official checks cost $15 each and there’s a $5 fee for each paper statement.
4. Quontic Bank
0.55% APY, $100 minimum opening deposit
Overview: Quontic Bank was recognized in 2005 and is based in New York.
It required a $100 minimum deposit to open a Quontic Bank High Savings account. Quontic Bank also offers four terms of CDs that offer terms ranging from six months to three years and require a $500 minimum deposit.
Perks: Quontic Bank High Savings account doesn’t operate a monthly maintenance fee.
What to watch for: You’ll pay $10 for each withdrawal that surpasses six in a statement cycle.
5. CIBC Bank USA
0.52% APY, $1,000 minimum opening deposit
Overview: CIBC Bank USA, previously The Private Bank and Trust Co., was founded in 1991 and is based in Chicago. However, I knew its online banking unit as CIBC Agility, which offers the Agility Online Savings Account.
Perks: The Agility Online Savings Account doesn’t have a monthly maintenance fee.
What to watch for: You’ll need $1,000 to open the Agility Savings Account.
6. Vio Bank
0.51% APY, $100 minimum opening deposit
Overview: Vio Bank, established in 2018, is the national online division of MidFirst Bank. However, MidFirst Bank has been an FDIC-insured bank since 1934 and was established in 1911.
Vio Bank offers both a High-Yield Online Savings account and CDs. Vio Bank’s High-Yield Online Savings account has one of the top yields around, and all balances receive this APY.
Perks: Vio Bank has consistently offered one of the highest APYs available.
What to watch for: There’s a $5 fee for paper statements and a $10 charge for each withdrawal beyond six in a monthly statement cycle.
7. Ally Bank
0.50% APY, $0 minimum opening deposit
Overview: Ally Bank began in 2004 and is headquartered in Sandy, Utah. Also, Ally Bank surpassed 1 million customer accounts in 2012 and currently has about 2.3 million customers.
However, adding to its no-penalty CD, Ally Bank also offers checking and money market accounts, term CDs, and two terms of a Raise Your Rate CD.
Perks: Ally Bank doesn’t have a monthly service fee, and it also doesn’t require a minimum opening deposit. Official checks are free for savings account customers at Ally Bank.
What to watch for: An outgoing domestic wire will cost $20.
0.50% APY, $0 minimum opening deposit/$1 minimum for APY
Overview: The Citi speed-up Savings account has a competitive APY in select markets. It’s not available in some larger states, such as California and New York state. The savings account doesn’t need a minimum balance to open the account.
Meanwhile, there is a $10 monthly service fee if you have a checking and savings account linked and don’t meet the requirements to have the fee waived.
Perks: Savings accounts not linked to a checking account are subject to a $4.50 monthly fee should the average monthly balance fall below $500.
What to watch for: There is a $4.50 monthly service fee if your savings account isn’t linked to a Citi checking account.
9. Live Oak Bank
0.50% APY, $0 minimum opening deposit
Overview: Live Oak Bank is an online bank founded in 2008 and based in Wilmington, North Carolina. However, it offers a modest yield on its savings account.
Besides its savings account, Live Oak Bank also offers seven terms of CDs.
Perks: Live Oak Bank’s Online Savings account doesn’t have a monthly service fee and there is no minimum balance requirement.
What to watch for: There’s a $10 dormant account fee for accounts with no activity for 24 straight months. Accounts with a balance of less than $10.01 are assessed, a fee that doesn’t overdraw the account, and then it is closed.
10. Marcus by Goldman Sachs
0.50% APY, $0 minimum opening deposit
Overview: Marcus is Goldman Sachs’ consumer-banking unit, which offers a savings account, a variety of CDs, and three no-penalty CD terms.
Perks: Its savings account doesn’t require a minimum opening deposit, and it doesn’t have a monthly service fee. Marcus by Goldman Sachs has an app on iOS and Google Play.
What to watch for: There isn’t a minimum deposit required, and the account doesn’t have a monthly service fee.
11. Synchrony Bank
0.50% APY, $0 minimum opening deposit
Overview: Synchrony Bank is an online bank that offers a savings account, money market account, regular CDs, IRA CDs, and IRA money market accounts.
Perks: Synchrony Bank’s High Yield Savings account offers a competitive yield and doesn’t require a minimum deposit.
What to watch for: There are savings accounts and money market accounts that propose a higher yield than Synchrony Bank’s High Yield Savings account.
12. TAB Bank
0.50% APY, $0 minimum opening deposit
Overview: it established TAB Bank in 1998 in Ogden, Utah, as a banking service inside truck stops. TAB (Transportation Alliance Bank) serves both businesses and individual customers.
It offers several checking accounts, a couple of savings account options, a money market account, and CDs in eight terms, from six months to five years.
Perks: You won’t need to make an initial deposit to open the High-Yield Savings account at TAB Bank.
What to watch for: Also, you need to keep at least $1 in the account. Also, a cashier’s check costs $15.
13. Pentagon Federal Credit Union
0.50% APY, $5 minimum opening deposit
Overview: it established Pentagon Federal Credit Union in 1935. It has over 2 million members and is based in McLean, Virginia.
PenFed offers nine terms of CDs, ranging from six months to seven years.
Perks: they can open The Premium Online Savings Account with just $5 and there is a monthly service fee.
What to watch for: You can join Pentagon Federal Credit Union through employment, association membership, military affiliation, or through other methods.
14. TIAA Bank
0.50% APY, $25 minimum opening deposit ($0 for Rhode Island residents)
Overview: TIAA Bank is a division of TIAA FSB and has nine branches, all in Florida.
TIAA also offers a money market account, a checking account, and CD terms ranging from three months to five years.
Perks: The Basic Savings account only requires $25 to open the account. Rhode Island residents don’t need an opening deposit.
What to watch for: it required A $25 minimum monthly balance for the Basic Savings account to waive the $5 monthly service fee. (Residents of Rhode Island are exempt.)
15. Popular Direct
0.45% APY, $5,000 minimum opening deposit
It opened all Popular Direct deposit accounts through Popular Bank.
Perks: Popular Direct has 24/7 customer support.
What to watch for: Closing the account within 180 days will cost you $25. There’s also a $5 dormancy fee that’s charged for not having account activity during a 12-month period.
How to Open a High-Yield Account
Savings accounts can be a great place to stash cash you’ll need for a large future purchase or to simply weather any financial emergencies that arise.
but if you choose the wrong savings account, you won’t earn anything after inflation and fees—and you could even lose money.
Also, the solution? Instead of opening whatever savings account your current bank is offering, look at high-yield savings accounts and open the best-paying one that meets your needs.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to how to do it.
1. Shop for the Top Rates
If you hold your checking account at a major brick-and-mortar bank, odds are high that the savings account rate it pays is not especially competitive. In fact, it might be laughable for how insignificant it is.
But with the internet, hundreds of banks and credit union options are now accessible. If you’re looking to overtake inflation with your savings, moving to a high-yield savings account that is separate from your primary bank might be necessary.
That said, you may already bank at a top-paying institution. So, the smartest first step is to check what you can earn on a savings account at your existing bank or credit union.
With this information in hand, you can comparison shop to find out how much more you might earn on your savings elsewhere.
The next step is to assess the marketplace for how much the best high-yield savings accounts currently pay. Therefore, Investopedia makes this easy for you with our constantly updated guide to the top national high-yield savings account rates.
Every week, our specialists scour the rates of hundreds of banks and credit unions to rank which accounts are paying the highest APY right now.
You may notice online banks presented many of the top rates.
This is because internet-only banks don’t carry the overhead costs of building, operating, and staffing physical branches and can draw from customers nationwide. Therefore, they often pay the most competitive deposit rates in the country.
If you have a strong preference for a brick-and-mortar institution, your finest bet for finding the top available local rate is to call around or research online among the banks and credit unions that operate branches in your community.
2. Choose the Institution That’s Best for You
After you’ve identified the rates, you can find from the top-paying savings account institutions, it’s time to make the right choice for you.
If you’re lucky to find that the savings rate at your existing bank or credit union competes nicely among the country’s best rates, then log in to your institution’s website and open new savings account there.
You’ll like the convenience of one online login for both your checking and savings accounts, as well as instantaneous transfers between the two accounts.
Opening the account will also be significantly streamlined since the bank already have you verified in its system.
If you’re like most rate shoppers, though, you’ll discover that you can earn more by opening a savings account at a new institution. In fact, some of the top national rates are 20 to 25 times higher than the national average.
Also, if a top rate on your contender’s list is from a credit union, be sure you can meet its eligibility requirements; banking at a credit union needs you to first become a member of that institution.
Any credit union appearing on Investopedia’s ranking of the top savings accounts has been identified as one accepting member nationwide. However, some involve a cost to join.
We provide basic details on membership costs for credit unions on our list, but you can almost always find this information on any credit union’s website.
However, the last step in deciding which top-paying institution is best for you is to note any fees and account requirements. Is the quoted interest rate a promotion that will sunset on a certain date?
Is there a minimum balance you’ll be required to keep in the account? Does the advertised interest rate apply only to balances above or below certain minimum and maximum balances?
Are there any unavoidable fees for the account? Checking the answers to these questions should help you narrow the list of top-paying accounts down to one or two.
3. Complete the Account Application
Once you’ve decided which institution to use for your new high-yield savings account, it’s time to complete the required application. Most likely you will do this online. In most cases, it should only take 10 minutes.
Also, you will need to provide the institution with your full name, address, telephone number, email address, and Social Security Number (SSN) because your interest earnings will be taxable income.
You will also need to provide detailed information from your driver’s license and/or a photo of the license. (If you don’t have a driver’s license, a passport or other government-issued photo ID can meet this requirement.)
You’ll also need to decide whether you want to open this account as a single individual or jointly with another person, such as your spouse.
If you opt for a joint account, you will need to provide all the same information for the second applicant as you provided for yourself.
In the application, you’ll likely be asked a series of multiple-choice questions about your background, such as past addresses and past or current employers and debts, all of which are designed to verify that you are who you say you are.
Upon successfully answering the questions, something will generally approve your application.
However, if the account you’re opening is at a physical bank in your community, you’ll have the option of opening the account by visiting a branch.
But even with local institutions, online account opening may be a selection on their website. Not only will this save you a trip to the branch, but it will most likely be a faster process than you’ll experience in person with a banker.
4. Fund your New Account
Some institutions require you to set up an electronic transfer of funds from an outside account into your new account immediately during the application process to fund the minimum initial deposit.
Others either won’t have a minimum deposit amount or will allow you to open the account first and fund it later.
A transfer from another bank is the most common means of funding a new savings account. But some institutions will offer you the option of sending a paper check, doing a mobile deposit of a check, or even using a credit card to pay the initial deposit.
Beware of the credit card method, as some card issuers consider this a cash advance, which will carry hefty interest charges beginning the moment you make the transaction.
Whether you do it during the application process or later. Funding your new account from an existing bank account will usually require you to provide the institution’s routing number and your account number.
Therefore, the online application may also ask for your login credentials to that bank so that it can instantly verify the account. Also, if not, it may send two trial deposits to the account you’re linking, which you can use to verify the account over the next couple of days.
5. Enroll in Online Banking and Download the App
Once your new account is opened, you’ll want to enroll in online banking for that institution. Sometimes you’ll be able to do that right away after completing your online application.
For other banks and credit unions, you may have to wait a few days until you get an email or letter with the account information you’ll need for online enrollment.
Once you are set up to check your account online, be sure to note your username and password in a secure place or using password storage software.
You can then move on to setting up the bank’s app on your smartphone or tablet. Downloading the app will be free, but once you open it, you’ll need to enter your username and password in order to interact with your accounts.
6. Establish Beneficiaries
If it was not part of the application process, it’s recommended to log in to your account and designate one or more beneficiaries, who will inherit the balance of your account should something happen to you or to both you and any joint account holder.
Almost all accounts allow for establishing a primary beneficiary, and may also accommodate the designation of secondary beneficiaries, who will inherit the account balance should the primary beneficiary no longer be living.
A typical scenario is to designate one’s spouse as the primary beneficiary (if he or she is not jointly named on the account) and one’s children as secondary beneficiaries. But whom you choose as beneficiaries for this account is up to you.
7. Turn on Alerts and e-Statements
While logged in to online banking, you’ll also want to review your choices for account alerts that can be set or turned off, such as alerts when a deposit or withdrawal over a certain amount post or when your account balance is below a designated threshold.
Therefore, you can often choose whether you want any active alerts sent to you by email, by text, or via notifications from the app.
Also, consider if you’d like to opt for paperless statements. However, electronic statements, or e-statements, are usually recommended as more secure protection against identity theft than receiving statements in the mail.
But the choice is usually up to you. Note, however, that some accounts, especially from online-only banks, may require that you opt into e-statements or charge a monthly fee if you request paper statements.
8. Link any Additional Transfer Accounts
Chances are you have already linked one external bank account to this new savings account when you set up a transfer of your initial deposit.
But with most institutions, you can link many external bank accounts. Meanwhile, this can be useful if you bank at over one other institution or often transfer funds to accounts held by your children.
As soon as you think of other accounts, the link for transfers, start the process quickly so that it will be ready when you need it; the setup can take two days.
9. Follow Your Account’s Rules
Last, you’ll want to be sure you understand all the rules and requirements of your account so you can use it effectively with zero or few fees going forward.
Besides the federal requirement that you do not exceed six withdrawals from the account in each statement cycle, note whether you have to carry a minimum balance in the account. If so, be sure to keep your balance above that minimum.
Also, look at any other instances that can trigger a fee. Some accounts are simply free, with minimal requirements.
Others have a more complex formula for actions you can take to avoid monthly fees, such as setting up a direct deposit, establishing a recurring transfer, or having a linked account at the same institution.
Whatever the rules, you won’t maximize your return unless you’re careful to avoid fees to the greatest extent possible.
How Does a High-Yield Savings Account Work?
A high yield savings account has minor risks, but the benefit of a higher interest rate. A high-yield savings account pays you interest on the money that you have sitting in the bank’s savings account.
However, most institutions that offer the highest rewards rarely offer other standard banking features and services, so you may need to have your checking account at a different location.
Most high-yield savings accounts don’t offer ATM cards; thus, all incoming and outgoing money would need to be done by electronic transfer or mobile check deposit.
How Much Interest Can you Earn on $1,000?
If you’re able to put away a bigger chunk of money, you’ll earn more interest. Also, Save $1,000 for a year at 0.01% APY, and you’ll end up with $1,000.10. If you put the same $1,000 in a high-yield savings account, you could earn about $5 after a year.
The Cons of a High-Yield Account
While there are a lot of advantages to putting your money into a high-yield savings account, there are a few downsides to keep in mind.
Here are some negatives:
1. Interest rates on high-yield savings accounts are variable and can fluctuate, so while a bank may advertise a high annual percentage yield (APY) when you apply, it likely won’t last forever.
2. While you can grow your money daily and take on zero risk with high-yield savings. Therefore, it is not a certain way to grow your wealth long term.
The rate of inflation can be higher than the yield you earn over time, so it’s better to not keep piling cash into your savings and instead invest your money.
3. Your savings are accessible, but only up to a certain number of withdrawals before you’re hit with a fee. Also, the federal withdrawal limit for online savings accounts restricts the number of times you can access your cash each month.
High-yield savings account holders can only withdraw or transfer money (including electronic transfers, checks, and wire transfers) out of their account up to six times per month without having to pay a penalty fee or risk having their account closed.
4. Most of the online high-yield savings account banks don’t have a physical bank location.
5. While some savings accounts offer ATM cards for easy withdrawals, not all online banks do.
6. You can transfer your funds from one bank to another, but it may take some time, normally 24 to 48 hours.
High-Yield Savings Accounts FAQs
Here are some frequently asked questions about high-yield savings accounts.
QUES: What do I need to open a personal bank account?
Please have the following information available when you begin your application:
Your Social Security numbers
However, Your current residential address
Your email address
Your account number or debit card from another financial institution to make your opening deposit into your new Rewards Checking or High Yield Savings account
You will need to fund the account with a minimum of $100.
QUES: How long does it take to open a personal bank account?
You can apply for and open a personal bank account entirely online in under 3 minutes, start to finish.
QUES: Can I open an account and fund later?
To complete the account opening process, $100 deposit is need
QUES: How do I fund my account and when are the funds available to use?
To make your initial deposit, you can transfer money from your account at another financial institution using your account and routing number or your debit card.
Please ensure that you have sufficient funds available to be transferred. All funds transferred into your account during the first 30 days of your account being opened are held for 5 days for your security.
Except direct deposit from your employer, which is available immediately upon deposit.
QUES: Do you do a credit check when I apply?
Yes, we do a soft pull of your credit. Soft pulls do not affect your credit score. Please note, if you have placed a credit or security freeze on your credit report, your application may need to be manually reviewed.
If the application needs to be manually reviewed it can take up to 5 business days.
QUES: Are there any fees for a High-Yield Savings account?
There is no monthly maintenance fee for a High-Yield Savings account. Your account can be charged a fee under certain circumstances, such as when the account is over withdrawn.
In conclusion, be sure to think through how one or more high-yield accounts can best serve your financial goals and situation.
Then, do your homework to find an account that will maximize your earnings at the same time that it lets you avoid fees without imposing restrictions that don’t fit your needs.
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