7 Best Savings Accounts

Saving money seems to be getting more difficult with the cost of living consistently rising, but savings accounts still offer a way of accumulating a nest egg. Most people simply go for convenience and open up a savings account with the same bank at which they maintain their primary checking account, but it may be beneficial to shop around before making that decision.
While most banks offer low interest rates at or below an 0.05% APY, there are a few institutions willing to pay out more. The best way to capitalize on that APY is by starting out with a $20 monthly deposit and increasing that amount by $5 every three months. By quickly building up your base savings amount, you can take better advantage of the APY.

In addition to offering a higher APY, some banks offer better customer service in the form of premium features. A key component is online banking that allows automatic transfers and mobile check deposits. Additionally, some banks offer accounts that don’t rely on monthly service fees. The ideal is to locate those savings accounts that don’t deduct a monthly service fee at all, but there may be some institutions that place restrictions on this feature. They may require a predetermined number of direct deposits each month or participation in paperless statements.

Male hand putting a coin into piggy bank

Another important feature to keep in mind is the availability of your funds. You want to ensure you will have ATM access without fees, when you need it. This goes hand in hand with the online banking feature, because the ability to transfer your funds to other accounts may also be a concern. Together, these two features can ensure you’ll have access to your money as you need it. Emergencies do happen and, as this is one reason for opening a savings account in the first place, experiencing difficulty accessing your funds when needed defeats the purpose. By seeking out online savings accounts, you may be able to find a bank that offers most of these services and other premium features to make your experience even more rewarding.
Here’s a look at the top 7 savings accounts:

Discover Bank

Primarily known for their credit cards, Discover has expanded its services to include savings and they’re offering incentives to attract customers. Already, they have one of the best rated mobile banking apps and they don’t charge a monthly service fee on their savings accounts. An account can be opened with any deposit, as Discover doesn’t require a minimum deposit.
Discover bank also doesn’t require a minimum balance, making it easy for new customers to join and take advantage of their impressive 1.30% APY rate. Interest is compounded daily and paid monthly and their accounts are FDIC insured, providing an added sense of security.

Synchrony Bank

Also rating at the top with a 1.30% APY is Synchrony Bank. They also don’t charge a monthly service fee, nor do they set a minimum balance. There is no minimum to open the account either. Although this is an online-only bank, they do supply customers with an ATM card. This makes Synchrony Bank much more alluring, because most online banks require customers to transfer funds to another account to access the money.
On the downside, they offer a limited online banking experience, which is surprising considering the digital nature of their business. Also surprising, the bank doesn’t offer a mobile app of their own.

Ally Bank

Ally Bank offers a slightly lower interest rate with a 1.25% APY, but they do add a free checking account. Additionally, there isn’t a minimum balance on either the savings or the checking accounts. Much like any brick and mortar institution, Ally Bank provides customers with the complete package, starting with a full service mobile app. In addition to online access, customers get debit cards, check writing, and ATM access. They also provide a transfer feature that allows their customers to move money to and from other banks without a fee. They do limit customers to six transactions per statement cycle.

Alliant

Alliant is unique because it’s a credit union and a high interest bearing one at that. They also offer a 1.25% APY. Additionally, as a credit union, Alliant is owned by its members, which means they can also get a lower rate on loans. As one of the best credit unions in the country, Alliant offers top rates and a long list of perks. Among them is one of the nicest digital experiences available that starts with an efficient and user-friendly website. They do require a $5 minimum deposit to open an account. They do charge a monthly service fee, but it’s waived for customers who opt for their eStatements.

Dollar Savings Direct

Here, you’ll find the highest rate on the list with a whopping 1.50% APY, however there’s concern that the rate may drop down the road. Dollar Savings Direct is a division of Emigrant Bank, which also offered customers the highest rate on the market. After a brief period, Emigrant reduced their rate to 1.00% APY. Customers interested in taking advantage of the high interest on this savings account should be wary and continually monitor Dollar Savings Direct for changes to their rates. They also promise no fees and no minimums, along with online access. They can also link your account to a checking account, making access to your money more efficient.

Salem Five Direct

This bank is competitive with the high 1.50% APY, but Salem Five Direct does require a minimum initial $100 deposit. Based out of Salem, Massachusetts, they have been doing business for over 150 years and all of their accounts are insured by the FDIC up to the established limit. There are no monthly maintenance fees. Unfortunately, this is another instance where the digital experience could use some tweaking. They do have a mobile app, but some reviews indicate it doesn’t compare with the apps of some of its competitors. However, as a long-standing community bank, Salem Five Direct prides itself in providing live and friendly customer service representatives who are just one phone call away.

Barclays

The last bank on this list offers a 1.30% APY and also doesn’t charge a monthly fee. Barclays does require customers to maintain a minimum balance of $1, however. There is no minimum deposit required to open the account. As for the website, Barclays offers one of the most user-friendly sites in the industry and a friendly customer service department. They offer perks such as online transfers to your other bank accounts and direct deposit availability. Unfortunately, this is one of those banks that don’t provide ATM access. Instead, customers are limited to transferring funds to their linked checking accounts, which can take a few days.