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Best High-Yield Savings Accounts

| MoneyRates.com Senior Financial Analyst, CFA
min read
The best online savings accounts offer high yields consistently. These banks were chosen because their rates remained high over an entire quarter.

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Interest rates have been falling, but you may actually be able to raise your savings account rate.

This is because high-interest savings accounts offer a clear advantage over most savings accounts.

Where can you find one of these high-yield savings accounts? A good place to start looking is at online accounts.

The latest America's Best Rates survey found that, in the last quarter of 2019, online savings accounts paid an average interest rate of 1.28%. This is 19 times the average rate of 0.067% offered by traditional, branch-based savings accounts.

Of course, savings account rates are subject to change at any time, and there are plenty of online savings accounts from which to choose. How can you know the one you pick will continue to offer one of the highest savings account rates?

Here's the key:

Even though savings account rates can change at any time, banks that consistently offer one of the highest rates tend to stay near the top.

This study identifies ten accounts that offered consistently strong rates during the fourth quarter of 2019 - and that sets them up to be among the likely leaders in 2020.

High-Interest Savings Accounts

The list below shows the best savings account rates during the fourth quarter of 2019. What's notable about this list is that it is based on average rates offered over the course of the calendar quarter - not just at a single point in time.

So, if it's consistently high rates you are looking for, this list is a good place to start.

Shopping for rates is especially important now that interest rates are generally falling. You can either accept earning less interest on your savings this year, or you can do something about it. Switching to one of the best high-interest savings accounts may give you an opportunity to earn more interest even as rates fall.

The following were the ten best savings accounts in the most recent America's Best Rates survey:

America's Best Savings Account Rates: 4th Quarter, 2019
Rank Bank 2019 Q4 Avg APY
1st PlaceSFGI Direct2.22%
2nd PlaceUFB Direct2.06%
3rd PlaceMySavingsDirect2.03%
4th PlaceSalem Five Direct1.95%
5th PlaceFNBO Direct1.88%
6th PlaceSynchrony Bank1.88%
7th PlaceCapital One Bank1.84%
8th PlaceBarclays1.84%
9th PlaceiGoBanking1.82%
10th PlaceMarcus by Goldman Sachs1.81%
(Note: While there appear to be ties at 1.88% and 1.84%, the bank rates involved are actually separated by a tiny fraction of a percent.)

Compare the Best High-Yield Savings Accounts

These accounts have one thing in common: They all offer highly competitive savings account rates. You can learn more about each of these accounts in the profiles that follow.

SFGI Direct Savings Account

AVERAGE APY (4th quarter 2019): 2.22%

ACCOUNT MINIMUM: $500 minimum to open an account, then $1 minimum balance to earn interest

TYPE OF ACCOUNT: Online savings

DETAILS: SFGI Direct is the online division of Summit Community Bank, which had $1.8 billion in deposits as of September 30, 2019. Summit Community Bank was founded in 1995. It is based in Moorefield, WV and has 38 physical locations.

FEATURES: The SFGI Direct Savings Account offered the highest APY in the most recent America's Best Rates survey plus the convenience of online banking, including access anywhere you can go online and 24/7 service.


UFB Direct High Yield Savings Account

AVERAGE APY (4th quarter 2019): 2.06%

ACCOUNT MINIMUM: Requires a balance of $10,000 or greater in order to earn interest, though there is no minimum to start an account.

TYPE OF ACCOUNT: Online savings

DETAILS: UFB Direct is an online banking brand of Axos Bank. San Diego-based Axos Bank is primarily an online-banking institution which had over $9 billion in deposits as of September 30, 2019.

FEATURES: This savings account offers a complimentary ATM debit card, mobile deposits and SMS Banking for areas where there is no WiFi access.


MySavings Account from MySavings Direct

AVERAGE APY (4th quarter 2019): 2.03%

ACCOUNT MINIMUM: None

TYPE OF ACCOUNT: Online savings

DETAILS: MySavings Direct is a division of Emigrant Bank, which is based in New York City and was established in 1850. As of September 30, 2019, Emigrant Bank had over $4.3 billion in total deposits.

FEATURES: Besides having a competitive interest rate, MySavings Account offers easy access with online availability and no minimum-balance requirement. Better yet, MySavings Account can be linked to your existing checking account to facilitate automated saving.


Salem Five Direct eOne Savings

AVERAGE APY (4th quarter 2019): 1.95%

ACCOUNT MINIMUM: $100 to open, with no ongoing-balance minimum

TYPE OF ACCOUNT: Online savings

DETAILS: Salem Five Direct is the online division of Salem Five Cents Savings Bank. Salem Five Cents Bank is based in Salem, MA and has 37 physical locations. It was established in 1855 and had $4 billion in deposits as of September 30, 2019.

FEATURES: With online availability and a low $100 threshold to open an account, the Salem Five Direct eOne Savings account gives consumers around-the-country access to one of the highest-yielding savings accounts. While the account's best interest rate only applies to balances under $1 million, that won't be a limitation for the vast majority of customers.


FNBO Direct Online Savings Account

AVERAGE APY (4th quarter 2019): 1.88%

ACCOUNT MINIMUM: $1

TYPE OF ACCOUNT: Online savings

DETAILS: FNBO Direct is the online bank offering of the First National Bank of Omaha. As the name suggests, the First National Bank of Omaha is based in Omaha, NE. It was founded in 1857. Besides its online operation, the First National Bank of Omaha has an extensive network of 125 locations, and housed a total of over $18 billion in deposits as of September 30, 2019.

FEATURES: The FNBO Direct Online Savings Account allows you to open an account with as little as $1 and has no ongoing minimum-balance requirement.


Synchrony Bank High Yield Savings

AVERAGE APY (4th quarter 2019): 1.88%

ACCOUNT MINIMUM: None

TYPE OF ACCOUNT: Online savings

DETAILS: Synchrony Bank is based in Draper, UT and was founded in 1988. As of September 30, 2019, Synchrony Bank had over $68 billion in deposits.

FEATURES: Along with a top-ten America's Best Rates yield and the convenience of online banking, the Synchrony Bank High Yield Savings web page has a simple tool that allows you to project how much interest your deposit would earn over various time periods, assuming the APY on the account stayed constant over that time period.


Capital One Bank 360 Performance Savings

AVERAGE APY (4th quarter 2019): 1.84%

ACCOUNT MINIMUM: None

TYPE OF ACCOUNT: Online savings

DETAILS: Capital One Bank is part of a multi-faceted financial institution. The banking operation is based in McLean, VA and had over $250 billion in deposits as of September 30, 2019.

FEATURES: In addition to its highly competitive interest rate, the Capital One 360 Performance Savings Account has one of the top-rated mobile banking apps and allows automated transfers to make it easier to save.


Barclays Online Savings Account

AVERAGE APY (4th quarter 2019): 1.84%

ACCOUNT MINIMUM: None; but in order to post interest, an account must earn at least $0.01 in interest during the period.

TYPE OF ACCOUNT: Online savings

DETAILS: Barclays is a division of a large, multi-national financial firm. Its U.S. online operation was founded in 2001 and is based in Wilmington, DE. As of September 30, 2019, it had $24.8 billion in deposits.

FEATURES: In addition to offering a highly-competitive interest rate, the Barclays Online Savings Account is set up to accommodate digital transfers from other banks to make organizing your savings easy.


iGObanking High Interest Savings Account

AVERAGE APY (4th quarter 2019): 1.82%

ACCOUNT MINIMUM: None

TYPE OF ACCOUNT: Online savings

DETAILS: iGObanking is an online banking division of Flushing Bank. Based in Uniondale, NY, Flushing Bank operates 20 physical locations in the New York City area in addition to offering online banking through iGObanking. As of September 30, 2019, iGObanking had nearly $5 billion in deposits.

FEATURES: iGObanking offers the convenience of online banking tools such as mobile deposits combined with one of the highest savings rates.


Marcus by Goldman Sachs

AVERAGE APY (4th quarter 2019): 1.81%

ACCOUNT MINIMUM: None

TYPE OF ACCOUNT: Online savings

DETAILS: Marcus is the retail brand of financial giant Goldman Sachs, a New York City-based firm which had nearly $150 billion in deposits as of March 31, 2019. Goldman Sachs Bank was founded in 1990.

FEATURES: Marcus by Goldman Sachs gives consumers across the country the online banking advantages of convenient access and a competitive yield. The Marcus savings account web page has a simple calculator that allows you to project how much interest your deposit would earn over various time periods, assuming the APY on the account stayed constant over that time period.


Methodology

To capture a meaningful cross-section of the deposits business, MoneyRates.com developed the MoneyRates Index. This is an index of 100 banks, including 50 of the largest retail deposit institutions in the U.S. plus 25 medium-sized banks and 25 small banks.

Using this index allows our studies to account for all segments of the banking industry. The banks the index includes represent nearly three-quarters of all U.S. deposits.

To account for the fact that savings account rates are subject to change at any time, unlike most rate surveys MoneyRates.com does not simply look at rates based on a single, one-day snapshot in time. Instead, our rate rankings are based on the average rate each bank offered throughout the most recent calendar quarter. This way, our rate studies show not just who offered the best savings account rates, but who offered the best rates consistently.


How to Find High-Interest Savings Accounts

Would you like to earn more interest on your savings? Here are six tips to help you do that:

1. Look online for high-interest savings accounts

Online savings accounts can help you earn a better interest rate in two ways:

  • They increase the number of choices available to you
  • Online savings accounts generally offer higher rates than traditional, branch-based accounts.

The extra choice is important because most banks are local or regional, meaning that the rates you were offered in the past depended very much on where you lived. Now you have access to best-in-class interest rates via online savings accounts and CDs no matter where you live in the U.S.

This is especially important given the size of the rate advantage online savings accounts have over branch-based accounts. The latest MoneyRates America's Best Rates survey found that the average online savings account offered an interest rate of 1.28%, compared to just 0.067% for the average branch-based account.

This means that online savings accounts typically pay you 19 times as much interest. All of the 20 best high-interest savings accounts in the latest survey were online accounts.

2. Go small to earn big

When you consider banking options, look beyond huge institutions with household names. They might have events and stadiums named after them, but these companies tend to offer the lowest savings account rates.

There are four banks offering retail savings accounts that have over a trillion dollars in customer deposits. While the average savings account rate overall was 0.405%, these mega-banks still offer rates of between just 0.01% and 0.04%.

That means the most a $10,000 savings account could earn at one of these mega-banks is $4 a year in interest. Even in an average savings account, $10,000 could earn $40.50 in annual interest; but in one of the best high-interest savings accounts, it could earn about $200.

When you compare these numbers, it's easy to see why it really pays to look beyond the mega-banks if you want a high-interest savings account.

3. Pay attention to rate tiers

Banks sometimes offer different interest rates depending on how much money you give them. These are referred to as rate tiers, with different rates applying to different-sized accounts.

When shopping for rates, pay attention to the rate tier that would apply to the size of account you intend to open. Don't be sucked in by an advertised rate that wouldn't apply to your account size. Instead, look for the best deal you can get for the amount of money you have to deposit.

4. You don't have to accept falling rates

Even though interest rates overall are falling, the fact remains that most bank customers could still raise their interest rates.

That's because there is such a huge gap between the best rates and the average rates. So, most bank customers are accepting rates much lower than others that are readily available on the market.

The latest America's Best Rates survey found that there was 1.811% difference between the best high-interest savings account and the category average. Big differences in rates can also be found among high-interest CDs and money market accounts. So be choosy, because it really pays to get one of the best high-interest savings accounts instead of settling for average.

5. Think long term

As usual, most long-term CDs are paying clearly higher interest rates than savings accounts, money market accounts and short-term CDs. With interest rates falling recently, long-term CDs offer the added advantage of allowing you to lock in an interest rate for a few years. That could make it even more rewarding to commit your money for a longer period in a high interest CD.

Remember, though, there is typically a penalty if you take your money out before the CD's maturity date. So, only commit to a CD with a longer term if you don't think you'll need the money before the CD's term ends. Also, try to find a high-interest CD that carries a fairly small early withdrawal penalty or a no-penalty CD just in case.

6. Minimize your checking account balance

As low as savings account rates may seem, the best ones are still much better than most checking account interest rates. Therefore, you may want to keep a tighter rein on your checking-account balance so more of your money can be earning higher interest in a savings account.

One approach you can try is to have your paycheck directly deposited into savings rather than checking so you can have as much money as possible earning a better interest rate for as long as possible.

With inflation running at around 2% a year, most savings vehicles are actually losing ground to rising prices. High-interest savings accounts and CDs give you a better shot at keeping up with inflation. That could make the difference between increasing or decreasing the value of your money.

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