What makes for the best savings account or money market account?
High bank rates are certainly a plus, but since savings and money market rates are subject to change at any time, consistency is also a key factor. After all, customers don't want to jump to a bank offering the best savings rates only to see those interest rates go away in a month or so.
To point customers towards the best savings account options for 2017, MoneyRates.com looked at a combination of high rates and consistency. By identifying the accounts that consistently offered attractive rates over the past year, MoneyRates.com has identified the best savings accounts and money market accounts of 2017.
Best Savings Accounts for 2017
The following accounts combined consistency and competitiveness by offering the best savings account rates throughout the past year. This makes them a good place to start your search for an attractive rate this year. As a bonus, 11 accounts are presented rather than the usual top 10, due to a tie for tenth place:
1. Salem Five Direct
This was a newcomer to the America's Best Rates survey last year, but made a splash by leading the survey in three of the last four quarters, and finishing second the other time. While it is still a relatively small bank with under $5 billion in deposits, if it keeps offering such attractive rates, it is bound to enjoy healthy growth.
Salem Five Direct offered an average rate of 1.091 percent over the past year, and this was up to 1.100 percent in the most recent survey. The good news for consumers is that this is an online savings account, making it more widely available than accounts from a small bank.
The bank's eOne Savings account requires $100 to open, but customers do not have to maintain a minimum balance. On top of its high savings rate, Salem Five Direct's account is free of monthly fees and customers can manage their money using the bank's online and mobile banking tools.
2. SFGI Direct
This is another relatively small bank with a good chance to grow through a combination of competitive rates and online banking. SFGI Direct offered an average rate of 1.060 percent for its savings account over the past year to place second overall. To earn this high rate, customers need to have a balance of just $1. Like many of the online savings account options on the list, the bank does not charge monthly maintenance fees.
3. Goldman Sachs Bank USA (tie)
This entry into retail banking offered a 1.050 annual percentage rate (APY) in each of the four quarters of last year, good enough to earn Goldman Sachs Bank USA a tie for third. Its Online Savings account does not require a minimum to open and there are no transaction fees. Goldman Sachs Bank USA has a minimum of $1 to earn its advertised APY. [Goldman Sachs Bank USA is a MoneyRates.com advertiser.]
3. Synchrony Bank (tie)
Like Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Synchrony offered a savings account rate of 1.050 percent in each of the last four quarters, so it too meets the test of combining consistency with competitiveness. In fact, Synchrony Bank led this overall ranking a year ago, so it has been delivering solid results for an extended period.
Synchrony's high yield savings account has no minimum balance to earn the stated APY and the bank offers a rewards program for its online bank accounts.
5. Radius Bank
Radius Bank offered an average rate of 1.021 percent last year, though this dropped to 1.00 percent in the second half of the year. That was still good enough to keep its savings account in the top 10 of the quarterly America's Best Rates survey, and in the top five for the year overall. The bank's high yield savings account requires $10 to open and has no minimum balance requirement. There are several bank rate tiers, with balances of $2,500 and above earning the highest advertised APY.
6. Ally Bank (tie)
Round numbers seem to have a certain magic to them from a marketing perspective, and Ally Bank was one of three banks to offer a savings account rate of exactly 1.00 percent for all four quarters of last year. The bank offers its free online savings account with mobile app features like remote check deposit and has 24/7 customer service to give customers more control over their finances.
6. Barclays Bank (tie)
Barclays also offered a 1.00 percent savings account throughout last year. Like Ally, it is a repeat member of this annual list of the best savings accounts with no minimum opening balance or monthly maintenance fees. Deposits earn interest immediately after they are posted to your Barclays Online Savings account.
6. iGo Banking (tie)
The third member of the "1.00 percent club" is a newcomer to this list this year. The online bank's free savings account requires no minimum opening balance to earn this high interest rate.
9. CIT Bank
With an average rate of 0.954 percent, CIT Bank makes the top 10 again after making the top five last year. CIT's High Yield Savings account has a minimum opening deposit of $100 and does not have monthly maintenance fees.
10. Discover Bank (tie)
Another returnee from last year's list, Discover kept its savings account rate at 0.950 percent for all four quarters of last year. In addition to customers earning 5x the average national savings rate, its free online savings account perks include no minimum balance fee and free official bank checks.
10. FNBO Direct (tie)
FNBO Direct stayed neck-and-neck with Discover throughout the year by consistently offering a 0.950 percent rate, and also returns from last year's list. Customers can open an FNBO Direct Online Savings account with a minimum of $1. There are no minimum balance requirements with this free savings account.
Best Money Market Accounts for 2017
Here are the best money market accounts that offered the highest rates over the past year:
1. Able Banking
A newcomer to the list this year, Able Banking is still quite a small institution, but its online money market offering and its competitive rates should help it grow its reach and reputation. Able Banking achieved the highest average money market rate for the past year by holding its rate steady at 1.00 percent for each of the last four quarters.
There is a $250 minimum to open a personal money market account with Able Banking. In addition to feeling good about earning a high rate, new customers will receive $25 from the bank to donate to the 501(c)3 charity of their choice.
2. BBVA Compass
This bank's money market account placed second with an average rate of 0.970 percent last year. This did drop as the year went along, but this account still ranked in the top 10 in the most recent quarterly survey. The BBVA Compass ClearChoice Money Market account requires $25 to open. Balances above $10,000 waives the monthly service fee, otherwise the account charges $15 per month.
3. Sallie Mae Bank
Sallie Mae topped this list a year ago, and stayed competitive with an average money market rate of 0.923 percent. The bank's money market account has no minimum balance requirement and does not charge monthly service fees.
4. Santander Bank
Another repeat from last year's top 10, Santander offered an average money market rate of 0.915 percent in 2016 and raised its rate in the fourth quarter. Santander has two options for this deposits product: its Money Market Savings account and Premier Plus Money Market Savings account.
The basic account has a minimum opening deposit of $15. There is a $10 monthly maintenance fee, but customers with balances of $10,000 can waive this charge. The premier money market account features additional perks like a dedicated banker.
5. Ally Bank (tie)
This account has been a model of consistency, offering a rate of 0.85 percent not just over the past year, but for the year before that as well. Like its high yield savings account, the money market account offered by Ally does not have monthly maintenance fees.
5. Synchrony Bank (tie)
Synchrony Bank has been in sync with Ally Bank, offering consistent money market rates of 0.85 percent over the past two years. This free money market account has no minimum balance requirement.
7. Discover Bank (tie)
Though it ranks a little below them with an average money market rate of 0.80 percent, Discover Bank joins Ally and Synchrony in making the top 10 for both savings and money market accounts. Additional benefits include more than 60,000 free ATMs and free check reorders. Discover's online money market account charges $10 for minimum balance fees, but customers with $2,500 or above in their account do not pay this fee.
7. First Internet Bank (tie)
A newcomer to this list, First Internet Bank matched Discover for consistency and competitiveness by offering a money market interest rate of 0.80 percent for each of the last four quarters. Money market balances $250,000 and under earn an APY of 0.80% and there is a chance to earn a higher APY with balances above this. The bank requires a $100 minimum opening deposit. Customers can expect to pay a $5 monthly service charge, but can avoid this fee with a balance of $4,000.
9. Mutual of Omaha Bank
Its average of 0.664 percent over the past year placed ninth, though this did drop off late in the year. The bank's online money market account option has an opening deposit requirement of $1,000. Balances of $1,000 or more waives the $10 monthly maintenance fee.
10. TIAA Direct
This money market account averaged 0.639 percent over the past year to earn a spot in the top 10. The TIAA Direct account has a $2,500 minimum opening deposit, but does not have a minimum balance requirement or charges monthly fees.
Savings and money market rates are subject to change at any time, so you should check the latest rates before signing up for any account. However, given the frequency with which the above accounts have offered competitive rates, these names would be good ones to include in your search.