When it comes to savings accounts, where do you even begin?
Do a quick search, and you’ll find many savings accounts with different options with varying percentages, monthly fees and minimum requirements. Not to mention the many types of financial institutions themselves — online-only, banks and credit unions — and it can get overwhelming fast.
Keeping this in mind, we’ve rounded up the best savings accounts — including ones at online banks and traditional brick and mortar — of 2023. We’ve included top information you need to know before opening or switching an account.
And before we move on, yes, we recommend that Penny Hoarders have a savings account — keeping your cash in a box under your bed is not a solid, or safe, financial plan. We want you to feel empowered so you can get the best proverbial bang for your buck.
We’ve ranked the very best savings accounts available today to help get you started.
Best Savings Accounts of January 2023
Free Savings Accounts at a Glance
Synchrony Bank High-Yield Savings Account
CIT Savings Builder Account
Ally Online Savings Account
Alliant High-Rate Savings Account
Discover Savings Account
Capital One 360 Savings Account
Barclays Online Savings Account
American Express High-Yield Savings
Marcus Online Savings Account
Quontic High-Yield Savings
Synchrony High-Yield Savings
No monthly fees
Multiple ways to access money (including ATMs)
3.75% APY on all balances
With Synchrony, you can access your money through an ATM, electronic transfer to an external account, wire transfer or a paper check in the mail (remember, it’s an online-only institution). And if you’re interested in similar accounts, check out our list of the overall best high yield savings accounts.
Read The Penny Hoarder review of Synchrony bank for 2022.
For more information on Synchrony’s no fees accounts, check out our full buy in bulk
CIT Savings Builder Account
No monthly fees
Earn up to 1.00% APY
Low minimum required balance
With CIT Bank, you can get your money via electronic transfer, wire transfer (free if you have $25,000 or more in the account) or paper check. Bonus: You can get reimbursed up to $30 a month for using other bank’s ATMs. CIT Bank’s mobile app also has a solid rating; at the time of writing, the app has a 4.6 rating on the App Store and 3.4 on Google Play.
For more information on the CIT Savings Builder account, check out our full CIT Bank review.
Ally Online Savings
Highly rated mobile app
Up to 3.30% APY
Free tools to help you save more money
To earn up to 3.30% APY from Ally, here’s what you need to know: Ally’s three online savings account balance tiers are less than $5,000, between $5K and $24,999.99, and $25K or more. Ally will pay the particular APY based on the tier your end-of-day balance falls in. You can transfer money via direct deposit, electronic transfer, wire transfer or paper check.
For more information on the Ally Online Savings account, check out our full Ally Bank review.
For more information about Ally Online Savings account, read our full review of Ally Bank.
Alliant High-Rate Savings
Low minimum balance required
Free ATM card
Joining Alliant requires some effort. You need to fulfill one of these five requirements:
Be a current or retired employee of a business that is partnered with Alliant.
Have an immediate family member or domestic partner who banks with Alliant.
Be a member of an Alliant-related organization/association.
Live or work in one of the following communities in Illinois.
Become a member of Foster Care to Success, Alliant’s partner charity.
Once you join, you’re eligible to open a high-yield savings account for $5 (which Alliant will reimburse you for!).
For more information on the Alliant High-Rate Savings account, check out our full Alliant Credit Union review.
Debit card offering cash back
Highly rated mobile app
While Discover doesn’t offer an ATM card for its FDIC-insured savings account, you can sign up for Discover Cashback Debit (it’s free!), which earns up to 1% cash back on up to $3,000 a month. The linked debit account provides an easy way to transfer funds; otherwise, you can rely on electronic transfers, wire transfers and paper checks.
For more information on the Discover Savings account, check out our full Discover review.
Capital One 360 Performance Savings
Highly rated mobile app
3.30% APY on all balances
No monthly fees
If you don’t open a linked checking account for easy ATM access with Capital One, you can still get your funds via the traditional (but slower) means.The Capital One Performance Savings Account is a good option for people who prefer to bank with a well-known entity.
For more information on the Capital One Performance Savings account, check out our full Capital One review.
Barclays Online Savings
No minimum balance required
Secure, 24/7 online access to funds
With this Barclays savings account, users can deposit and withdraw funds in a number of ways, through direct deposit, an electronic transfer, paper check and more. If you’re looking for additional savings options, Barclays offers online CDs as well.
For more information on the Barclays Online Savings account, check out our full Barclays review.
American Express High-Yield Savings
No minimum balance requirements
Up to nine withdrawals allowed
With American Express high-yield savings, electronic transfer, wire transfer and paper check are the only ways to access your money. On the plus side, you can make up to nine withdrawals or transfers during a monthly statement cycle. This is higher than the six withdrawals or transfers that many high-yield accounts typically offer.
For more information on the American Express High-Yield Savings account, check out our full American Express review.
Marcus Online Savings
No minimum balance requirement
Marcus by Goldman Sachs withdrawals are limited to electronic transfer and wire transfer. You also cannot deposit checks via the app. If you’re looking for an account you can set-and-forget while earning higher interest, this could be an attractive option for you with a well-known company.
After you have padded your savings account with enough cash to cover emergency expenses and your other savings goals, you’d be better off opening an IRA or 401(k) or investing in stocks.
Quontic High-Yield Savings
$100 to get started
Interested Quontic customers can open this high-yield savings account with $100 and in as little as three minutes. Users can take advantage of up to six free withdrawals per statement cycle (and pay $10 after that). You won’t get a debit card with this account, but you’ll have access to services such as remote check deposit and bill pay.
Savings Accounts Terms to Know
Before you embark on your savings account search, here are a few key terms to know:
Interest: The amount of money you earn on your account balance. For example, if you have a savings account that earns 2% interest annually, you’d end up with $1,020 on a $1000 balance at the end of the year.
Compound interest: The financial concept of your balance increasing by earning interest on the interest. Here’s a bigger breakdown on what compound interest is and how it’s calculated.
Interest rate: An interest rate is the amount of money you earn on your account balance. The average rate on a U.S. savings account is 0.30% according to the FDIC.
APY: Short for annual percentage yield, APY is the amount of interest you can earn on your money kept in a bank or financial institution.
Minimum balance requirement: Some accounts require customers to keep a certain balance to earn perks like higher interest rates or avoid fees. A bank might require you to keep a minimum monthly balance of $25 in an account to avoid being charged a $5 fee, for example.
What Is a Savings Account?
A savings account is an (often) interest-earning account where you can store your money at a bank, credit union or financial institution. Typically, you keep your funds there for long-term goals instead of using it for everyday expenses. For example, savings accounts are a great tool to save up for a car, a house or college tuition. More importantly, they are an excellent place to build and store an accessible emergency fund.
Are Savings Accounts Safe?
Savings accounts that are secured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) are safe. These designations — FDIC and NCUA — are consumer protections. If you store your money with a financial institution insured by either organization then your account is federally protected up to $250,000.
What Monthly Fees Do Savings Accounts Have?
Savings accounts sometimes have monthly fees, which is why you want to take any and all fees into consideration before you go with a particular account. Here are examples of common monthly fees associated with savings accounts:
Paper statement fee
Withdrawal fee (users are usually allotted a set number of withdrawals per statement cycle, and you’ll get charged if you go over it)
Some banks also require that your account have a minimum monthly balance. Further, a financial institution might waive your monthly maintenance fee (for example) if you keep a set balance in your account each month.
What Do the Best Savings Accounts Have in Common?
The best savings accounts tend to have the following in common:
Low or no fees (or ways to nix fees by completing certain actions)
A good interest rate
Additional banking products available
A mobile app
Perks, like free financial coaching
Physical and online locations
The “best” savings account will ultimately come down to your individual wants and needs, but this list is a good starting point.
Pros and Cons of Savings Accounts
Here’s a breakdown of some high-level pros and cons that come with a savings account.
Interest-earning ability (and remember, online-only banks tend to offer higher rates)
Many national banks and credit unions offer in-person business hours and 24/7 service online
Easy access to money compared to other savings vehicles (like a CD)
ATM access, and sometimes ATM-fee reimbursement
Interest rates are variable and not always high
Some accounts have lots of fees
ome banks might not have a solid mobile or online banking experience
Overall, a savings account is a good method to safely grow your money. If you’re comfortable keeping your money away for a longer period of time where you can’t as easily access it in exchange for a higher interest rate, there are other savings options for you.
Online vs. Traditional Savings Accounts
Before the advent of the internet, brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions were the only place to securely store and earn interest on your money. However, over the last couple decades, online banks have transformed the way we think of safely storing our money.
Because of online banks’ low overhead (fewer staff and few or no physical locations), they can offer much better interest rates on savings accounts. If you’re comfortable banking entirely online or via an app, an online savings account could be a solid option for you.
Alternatives to Savings Accounts
Common alternatives to savings accounts include certificates of deposit (CDs), where you store your money for a fixed term for a slightly higher interest rate, and money market accounts, which typically offer a higher APY but have significantly higher minimum balance requirements. A high-yield savings account is also a popular alternative to a traditional savings account because you tend to earn more interest on your money.
6 Tips for Choosing a Savings Account
You should be aware that banks can change interest rates, develop better apps and update their bonuses, so it is important to understand how to determine the best savings account for yourself.
Here are a few tips:
1. Consider Your Needs
We prioritized high savings rates, ease of funds transfer and mobile apps in our rankings, but maybe for you, two-factor authentication and customer service are top considerations.
Build your own ranking system based on your top two or three criteria. You won’t find a perfect bank that offers everything, but at the very least, you’ll find banks that can meet all of your top needs.
2. Stick With Online
Put your money in an online savings account, unless you have a good reason not to, such as a high interest savings account at a brick-and-mortar credit union or a regular need to get in-person help.
3. Save Only With Insured Banks
Do not put your money into any bank that is not insured by the FDIC. Or, if you go the credit union route, make sure it is insured by the NCUA. We did not include any banks on our list that were not insured.
4. Don’t Be Tempted by Sign-on Bonuses Alone
Earning cash for starting an account with a bank feels awesome, but don’t let the appeal of $100 now prevent you from putting your savings into an account that will earn you $500 over a couple years.
5. Find a No-fee Account
Be wary of accounts with monthly maintenance fees, statement fees or any other miscellaneous charges. You’re more likely to find these fees with a brick-and-mortar bank.
Ideally, find a bank that has an associated free checking account for easy and fast funds transfers.
6. Read the Fine Print
Know what you are signing before you sign it.
If an APY sounds too good to be true, it’s possible there are strings attached — or that the rate is only temporary.
Ask questions and do research when you are confused by any of the terms and conditions, and don’t deposit your savings until you are satisfied with the agreement.
Recapping Our Best Savings Accounts of January 2023
Synchrony Bank High-Yield Savings Account: Best for High-Yield Savings and ATMs
CIT Savings Builder Account: Best for Users Who Need an Incentive to Save
Ally Online Savings Account: Best for Users Who Want to Save Smarter
Alliant High-Rate Savings Account: Best for Users Who Prefer to Bank at a Credit Union
Discover Savings Account: Best for Access to a Cash-Back Debit Card
Capital One 360 Savings Account: Best for Users Who Want to Connect Multiple Accounts
Barclays Online Savings Account: Best for Consumers Saving Toward a Goal
American Express High-Yield Savings: Best for Users Who Like to Make Multiple Withdrawals
Marcus Online Savings Account: Best for Growing an Account You Don’t Need to Touch
Quontic High-Yield Savings: Best for Users Who Want a High APY Above All Else
In determining our top 10, we reviewed more than 20 popular savings accounts and considered what elements seem to be most universally important:
Mobile app and/or online banking availability
Ease of access to funds
Accounts that are FDIC-insured or NCUA-insured
Availability of additional banking products, such as high-yield savings accounts, small-business resources and money market accounts
So, what didn’t we consider when making our list?
Bank bonuses, since banks regularly add and remove them (you can check out our current bank promotions list)
Quality of customer service, since that can be subjective
With that said, it’s important to keep in mind what you consider to be essential in a savings account when doing your research.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Savings Accounts
Here’s a round-up of common questions — and answers — when it comes to savings accounts.
Interest rates are variable and change from time to time. These days, a good interest rate hovers somewhere between 1.00% and 4.00%. With rising interest rates, don’t be surprised to see those rates go up again this year.
Similarly, the best savings account for 2023 will hinge on a variety of factors. Look for an account that offers a savings account with a solid APY that ticks off other boxes — Do you want to be able to view your savings on an app? Bank with an institution that offers additional products? Score a higher interest rate with an online-only bank?
A high-yield savings account is another option to store your money. Similar to a savings account, these accounts typically offer higher interest rates if you follow certain guidelines. For instance, you might be required to maintain a regular balance and be allowed to transfer money out a particular number of times a month. High-yield savings accounts could be a good option for you (and your emergency fund) if you’re disciplined and organized, and don’t need daily access to this money.
First, look for a traditional savings account that offers 1.00% APY or higher. And again, consider a high-yield savings account or online-only savings account, which usually boast higher interest rates.
From there, make saving money regularly — any little bit helps — a habit. With consistency and patience, you’ll earn money on your savings.
Contributor Kathleen Garvin (@itskgarvin) is a personal finance writer based in St. Petersburg, Florida, and former editor and marketer at The Penny Hoarder. She owns a content-writing business and her work has appeared in U.S. News, Clark.com and Well Kept Wallet.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.