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5 Best savings accounts
Savings accounts that give you the most bang for your buck
Opening a savings account is a smart move. You’ll need a checking account to pay your bills, of course, but a savings account is a good place to stash away some of our income and put it to work for you. Your money will gain interest in the savings account and you’ll establish a nice rainy day fund for yourself. So a savings account is a good idea, but which one is right for you? They’re not all created equal, of course.
Check out our recommendations below, and read on to learn more about what makes a good savings account.
|✓ No monthly fees|
✓ No minimum balance required
✓ Robust mobile app makes savings and planning easier
✓ Set up recurring transfers easily
✓ 0.60% APY
|✓ No monthly fees|
✓ No minimum deposit to open
✓ Minimum balance of 1 cent!
✓ App offers real-time alerts for all transactions
✓ Automatic savings feature
✓ 0.50% APY
|✓ No monthly fee|
✓ $5 to open
✓ No minimum balance
✓ Mobile app makes it easy to check balance and transfer funds
✓ 6.17% APY
|✓ No monthly fees|
✓ No minimum to open
✓ No insufficient funds fee
✓ Manage account and set up notifications from the mobile app
✓ 0.50% APY
|✓ No monthly fees|
✓ $1 minimum to open the account
✓ Mobile check deposit
✓ View statements and make transfers with mobile app
✓ 0.15% APY
What kind of bank do I want?
There are several kinds of banking institutions that you’ll want to consider, each with its own pros and cons. For example:
- A big bank: Might have a lower APY, but what it lacks in interest, it can make up for in security and accessibility. You’ll have access to ATMs (and even bank offices) over a large area, which is nice, and you’ll have the confidence of a large, historical institution to fall back on.
- A digital banking provider: Newer providers, like Chime, are digital-only. They have convenient banking apps, and usually have no minimums or hidden fees. They’re fairly new, so they don’t have the track record of the huge banks, but they are often perfect for young people.
- A local bank or credit union: There are a lot of options that fall into this category, which is somewhere in between the other two. You can often get great rates or features from some of these banks, so take some time to look them over and consider all your options.
Does a savings account have a minimum balance?
Some savings accounts do have a minimum balance. What does that mean, exactly? It’s the minimum amount of money you can have in your account before you start to suffer penalties. This minimum varies from account to account, so check.
If you don’t keep at least the minimum amount in your account, you can expect to pay a fee, and this fee will recur if you don’t get your balance back up. Look for an account that doesn’t have a minimum balance so you don’t have to worry about it!
What interest rate does a good savings account have?
One of the biggest features that a bank will highlight in a savings account is its interest rate, though it’s not really as much of a factor as they probably want you to believe.
- What is an interest rate? That interest is expressed as a percentage and known as the Annual Percentage Yield (APY). The APY calculates how much interest your account will accrue over the course of a year, factoring in compound interest. In the simplest terms, it’s the amount of money your account will earn in a year. So, if you have $100 in your account and an APY of 1.00%, you’ll have $101 in your account at the end of the year.
- Is the interest rate the most important factor in picking a savings account? Generally speaking, it’s not. As you can see above, we’re not talking about huge interest rates or large sums of money. Banks like to promote the interest rates on their savings accounts, but for most of us, that’s not a huge factor. Sure, it’s nice to have your money grow on its own, but other factors, such as no minimums and ease of deposit and withdrawal are more important for most of us.
What fees are associated with a savings account?
Checking accounts can have hidden fees that can ding you for everything from using an ATM to calling your bank. But savings accounts rarely have fees associated with them. There are certain savings accounts that do have minimum balances. They would charge you a fee if your balance dropped below that amount. Thankfully, these days, you can easily find a good savings account that doesn’t have any minimum balance requirement or any fees associated with it at all. Your bank holds your money and offers you convenient ways to build on your savings and access them, but in the end, it’s your money, and you want to hold on to it, so finding an account with no associated fees is key.
Are savings accounts secure?
The short answer to this question is “yes.” The longer answer is that they are just as secure as other accounts, such as a typical checking account. You might be concerned that your savings account is not secure, but you should know that your bank takes security seriously. If they have a breach, then they lose credibility and people would stop using them, so they emphasize security. This goes for their self-service websites and apps as well. Nothing is ever 100% secure, banking institutions are as secure as you can hope for these days. Besides, if there’s some kind of breach in your bank, there are ways to address the problem, and your bank can help you take action. We hope this doesn’t happen to you, but you shouldn’t concern yourself too much with security.
In addition, these accounts are all backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission (FDIC), a government organization that insures the money you have in your account up to $250,000.
Choosing the right savings account
According to Statista.com, Americans are saving about a third less nowadays than they did in the 1960s. Though personal savings have been trending down the past few decades, recent crises like the financial turmoil of 2008 and the pandemic of 2020 have shone a brighter light on the importance of savings.
Since saving money is important, so, too, is finding the right account to keep your money in. You’ll want to look for an account that has no fees or minimums and one that allows for easy deposits and withdrawals. Having a good interest rate is nice, but it’s not the most important factor to consider.
Take a look at our list above and do a little research. Then, choose the account that’s best for you and let us walk you through the process on how to open a savings account. Then, deposit some money, sit back, and feel secure!
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