Online savings accounts typically offer higher savings rates than traditional banks to attract new customers.
But there's another reason online savings accounts can offer higher savings rates and that's due to cheaper operating costs than brick-and-mortar banks.
Online banks don't have to worry about operating costs related to multiple branch locations. The costs can be passed to customers in the form of high-yield online savings accounts.
The current national savings rate hovers around 0.13% APY but it doesn’t mean your savings goals should be on pause. If you bank at larger financial institutions like Chase or Bank of America, you'll likely earn a measly 0.01% APY.
Grow your money faster with a high-yield savings account through the magic of compound interest. The higher your account balance, the more money you'll earn in compound interest.
We’ll review online savings accounts that offer higher interest rates as well as alternatives to savings accounts that earn higher rates.
Top Online Savings Accounts Nationwide
1. Current Banking – Earn 4.00% APY on balances up to $6,000
Current is an online-only bank formed in 2017. Based in New York City, Current is a neobank offering alternatives to traditional banking. Current accounts are hybrid accounts that combine checking and savings components and there’s also an account for teens. Current is not a bank; it’s a financial technology company. All Current banking services are provided through partnerships with Choice Financial Group and Metropolitan Commercial Bank, Members FDIC.
Savings Accounts are offered through Savings Pods: A Savings Pod is like an account within your Current account that allows you to set a savings goal and put away money specifically for that goal. Current account holders can create up to 3 Savings Pod for a total of $6,000. All you have to do is enable the interest feature on your Current account and move money to one of your Savings Pods.
Current Account Features:
- $10 minimum opening deposit.
- Overdraft up to $200 without any overdraft fees.
- Faster direct deposits (up to 2 days earlier).
- 40,000 Fee-Free ATMs.
- Mobile Check Deposit.
- Savings Pods.
- Earn up to 15x points for unlimited cashback at participating retailers.
2. Quontic Bank – Earn 2.15% APY
Quontic Bank is a digital bank, headquartered in New York, that offers checking, savings, money market, and certificate of deposit (CD) accounts. The bank operates online in all 50 states with a single brick-and-mortar branch in Astoria, New York.
Quontic Bank High-Yield Savings. Earn 2.15% APY with the Quontic High Yield Savings account. To open the account, you’ll need to deposit a minimum of $100. There are no monthly service fees, and customers have access to more than 90,000 surcharge-free ATMs. Interest is compounded on a daily basis and credited on a monthly basis.
Quontic Bank High-Yield Savings Features:
- The minimum opening deposit is $100.
- No Monthly Service or Overdraft Fees.
- 90,000 ATMs across the nation.
- Fully Mobile & Online Banking.
- Mobile Check Deposit.
- Our US-based Customer Service is available by phone or email.
3. CIT Bank Savings Connect – earn 2.40% APY
Savings Connect Account. Earn 2.40% APY with the Savings Connect Account.
Saving your money with a bank that doesn’t offer a checking account means you would have to transfer your money between banks, which could take a couple of days. CIT Bank's Savings Connect Account offers a higher rate along with a checking account that comes with a debit card, giving you easy access to your savings.
Savings Connect Account Features:
- The minimum to open a Savings Connect account is $100.
- Easy access to your Savings Connect/eChecking account through Zelle, Bill Pay, and your CIT Debit card.
- CIT Bank doesn’t charge ATM fees and reimburses up to $30 in other U.S. bank’s ATM fees on eChecking accounts.
- No monthly service fees.
- Deposit checks remotely and make transfers easily with the CIT Bank mobile app.
4. Chime High Yield Savings – earn 1.50% APY
Chime is an online-only banking services app that offers an alternative to traditional banking. Chime serves an estimated 12 million customers with checking, savings, and credit card services.
Savings Account Offered:
- Chime Savings Account earns 1.50% APY – You must open a free Chime Spending account in order to open the Chime Savings account. The linked Chime Spending account gives you easy access to your funds through a debit card and free nationwide ATM withdrawals.
- Chime Savings Round-Ups – Every time you use your debit card to make a purchase, Chime will automatically round up the change (to the nearest $1). Then, it will deposit that change into your Chime savings account.
- Minimum deposit to open: $0
- Balance to earn APY: $0
- Monthly fee: $0
We like the Chime Savings Account because it does not require a minimum balance to earn the competitive 1.50% APY plus, the rate earned is 10x the national average. Customers have the option to automatically transfer a portion of their paycheck into their Chime savings account.Learn More
5. Betterment Cash Reserve – 2.25% APY
The Betterment Everyday Cash Reserve account offers a market-leading interest rate with FDIC insurance up to $1 million. What's unique about this account is that there are no limits on cash withdrawals. You have the ability to access money in your savings account without penalty unlike banks that impose Regulation D withdrawal restrictions.
Cash Reserve Account Offered:
- Cash Reserve Account earns 2.00% APY – Create separate stashes of cash for specific goals, and even set up auto-deposits for each.
- Minimum deposit to open: $10
- Balance to earn APY: There’s no minimum balance requirement, but any deposits you make into your account must be at least $10.
- Monthly fee: $0
We like the Betterment Cash Reserve Account because it does not charge monthly maintenance fees.Learn More
How online savings accounts work
1. Open a savings account online.
An online savings account works by opening an account online and funding the required opening deposit amount. It's really that simple
2. The financial institution pays you interest.
Banks make money by using your money to make loans to other customers. In return, the bank pays you interest on your savings deposits. That's one reason savings account rates are so low. Banks profit when the rate on the money they lend out is higher than the rate they pay customers who deposit money into savings accounts.
3. Your money is protected.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or FDIC helps protect insured deposits in the unlikely event, an FDIC-insured financial institution fails. The standard deposit insurance amount is $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, for each account ownership category.
4. Limited withdrawals with Regulation D
Online savings accounts offer some of the highest APYs, but by law, the number of times you can access your cash each month is limited. As with traditional savings accounts, online 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.
A penalty fee will be imposed or your account may be subject to closure if you go over the six times withdrawal limit.
The limit is actually a federal law, known as Regulation D. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Regulation D has been temporarily lifted. At this time, customers can “make an unlimited number of convenient transfers and withdrawals from their savings deposits,” according to a statement by the Federal Reserve Board.
Consider bank sign-up bonus offers
Some banks offer sign-up bonus offers to new customers who open an account and meet certain conditions. Bank bonus offers typically range from $25 up to $500 or more.
There can be requirements to earn a checking account bonus like signing up for direct deposit or making a certain number of debit card purchases or maintaining a minimum balance.
There are a few bank bonus offers that don't require a direct deposit but that can be rare to find.
Bank sign-up bonus offers can be a lucrative alternative to earning savings account interest.
Interest rates on bank accounts are at historic lows, but if you find the best rates possible and avoid high fees along with getting a sign-up bonus, you will give your savings balance a quick boost.
Common online savings account terms
- Balance: Your balance is the amount of money you have in your savings account. It will change depending on if you withdraw cash, make additional contributions or accrue interest on what’s in the account.
- Annual Percentage Yield (APY): The amount of interest an account earns in a year.
- Compound Interest: Compound interest essentially means “interest on the interest.” It's the money your bank pays you on your balance plus the money your interest earns over time, helping your savings grow more quickly. Even with today's low-interest earnings, compound interest over the long term can cause your interest earnings to snowball very quickly to help you build wealth.
- ACH transfer: When you want to make small and frequent payments electronically (direct deposit, automated bill payments, etc.); typically always free but usually takes at least one business day to complete the transfer.
- Wire transfer: When you want to move funds from one bank account to another and have the money be available for use on the same business day.
- Mobile deposit: Using your mobile banking app to scan a photo of the check to have the funds immediately deposited into your account.
- ATM networks: ATMs can either be in-service or out-of-network, depending on which bank you have. When you make a transaction at an ATM that is outside your bank’s network, then a fee will most likely be applied by both the ATM operator and your bank. Many online banks offer unlimited ATM fee reimbursement.
Online savings accounts can be a great way to put your savings goals on automatic and not think about it. Having limited access to your savings can help prevent you from frequently driving to your local bank branch and dipping into your savings.
Simply plant your money into an online high-yield savings account and watch it grow through the magic of compound interest. The higher your account balance is, the more money you will earn in compound interest over time.