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The Best Online Savings Accounts in December 2018

The Best Online Savings Accounts in December 2018
30 Dec

The Best Online Savings Accounts

Updated December 27, 2018

After years of low interest rates, there is a pricing war happening for online savings accounts. Long gone are the days of 0.01% APY. If you are willing to open an online savings account (which is FDIC insured), you can now easily get a 2.05% APY or higher. Interest rates are only increasing online: traditional brick and mortar banks continue to pay very low rates. A typical savings account at a big bank only pays 0.01% APY.

The best online banks offer perks like no minimum balance, ATM access and much higher interest rates than the average savings account. Here are the best online savings accounts (and this post is updated regularly).

1. High Rate: Synchrony Bank – 2.20% APY, no minimum balance (and ATM access)

Synchrony Bank

Synchrony Bank pays a healthy 2.20% APY. There is no minimum balance requirement and no monthly fee. In addition to the great rate, you can get an ATM card. Most internet-only banks require you to transfer funds electronically, which can take a few days. If you ever need quick access to your funds, the ATM card makes access easy. You might not recognize the Synchrony brand in the banking space, but it is a large, well-capitalized business. Synchrony used to be a part of General Electric (GE), and was spun out as a separate company. Unfortunately, the digital experience is not the best and there is no app.

2. High Rate: Barclays Bank – 2.20% APY, no minimum balance

Online Savings Account from BarclaysBarclays is a large, old British bank, based in London and with more than 325 years of history. Although Barclays is huge in the United Kingdom, it is a challenger brand in the US. Barclays offers savings products with highly competitive rates. These deposits are used to fund their rapidly growing American credit card business. The online savings account has a 2.20% APY with no minimum balance to open and no monthly fees. Your deposits are FDIC insured up to the legal limit. The Barclays website has a good look and feel. And you can have the confidence of keeping your money with one of the world’s largest and oldest universal banks.

3. High Rate: American Express National Bank – 2.10% APY, no minimum balance (and no fees)

High Yield Savings Account from American Express National BankOur sponsored advertiser, American Express National Bank, offers a Personal Savings account, which earns a 2.10% variable APY. The account charges no monthly fees and requires no minimum deposit, making it an affordable account to open. You must fund your account within 60 days of applying for the account, and the FDIC insures your deposits up to $250,000. Overall, the account is a great option for anyone who wants the flexibility of earning a high interest rate on a sum of money you’ve stashed away, minus the withdrawal restrictions of a certificate deposit.

4. High Rate: Goldman Sachs Bank USA – 2.05% APY, no minimum balance (but no ATM access)

Goldman Sachs Bank USA

Our advertiser Marcus by Goldman Sachs, the consumer bank of Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs, offers a 2.05% APY on deposits. There is no minimum balance and there are no transaction fees. Upon opening the account, you can deposit funds via electronic transfer, wire transfer, or deposit by check. You can get access to your funds via electronic transfer or wire transfer. Goldman has been investing heavily in Marcus, its online consumer bank. Marcus is already offering some of the best savings accounts and personal loans in the market, and further expansion is expected. The savings account has consistently been paying one of the highest rates in the market. With a 2.05% APY, you can get one of the highest rates in the market from a well-known brand. The maximum deposit is $1,000,000 and deposits are FDIC insured up to the $250,000 limit.

5. Top Choice: Ally Bank – 2.00% APY, no minimum balance and you can get a free checking account

Online Savings Account from Ally BankAlly is a bank without branches that has consistently been paying high interest rates on savings accounts. Ally has no minimum balance requirement and will pay 2.00% APY. Even better, you can open a free checking account (also with no minimum balance requirement and eligible for the 1% cash back offer). This makes access to your savings account incredibly easy – because you can transfer funds online (or via the app) and have immediate access via checks, debit cards and ATMs. With an Ally account, you will have access to their full suite of expanding (and market-leading) products.

6. Special Deal: Discover – $150-$200 Bonus + 2.00% APY

Online Savings from Discover BankDiscover Bank is famous for its credit cards. But it also has an online consumer bank. The savings account pays 2.00% APY. And now there is a special deal: if you’re able to deposit at least $15,000 into your first Discover online savings account by 01/28/19, you will receive a $150 bonus. If you deposit $25,000, you will receive a $200 bonus. In order to be eligible for this offer, you must apply for the savings account by 01/14/19 and your funds must be deposited by 01/28/19 in order to receive one of the bonuses. Bonuses will then be credited to the account on 02/11/19. During the first year, you would earn $150-$200 on top of the 2.00% APY, making this one of the most lucrative savings accounts on the market. The bonus offer is easy to get (no need to visit a branch), and you get all of the other benefits associated with Discover’s online bank. Use promo code MM1218 when applying for the account. See Advertiser Website for Full Details

7. High Rate: Citizens Access – 2.25% APY, $5,000 minimum balance amount

Citizens Access

Citizens Access is the online division of Citizens Bank. This division was recently created to provide the best savings rates to consumers. While the online division is brand new, the bank its backed by isn’t. Citizens Bank has been around for a while and has grown to have over $122 billion in assets. While you need to deposit and maintain a minimum balance of $5,000 to earn the 2.25% APY, you’ll be funding an account that comes with no fees. If your balance happens to fall below $5,000, the APY will drop to 0.25%. One downside to this online-only bank is that they don’t currently have a mobile banking app. This means that you’ll have to do all of your banking through their website. Luckily, their website is mobile-friendly.

8. High Rate: HSBC Direct – 2.05% APY, $1 minimum to open, no minimum balance to earn APY

HSBC Direct Savings from HSBC DirectHSBC Direct is the online division of financial giant, HSBC Bank. Based on the amount of assets HSBC Bank has acquired to date, it is the 14th largest bank in the U.S. While HSBC Direct may sound like a new player to the online banking game, this division was actually around prior to the 2008 financial crisis and offered extremely competitive rates. After the financial crisis, the bank renamed the online division to HSBC Advance and slowly started to decrease its online savings account rates, much like other online banks were doing around that time.

Fortunately, HSBC has decided to reenter the online banking space. Since the initial launch in July of 2018, the bank has consistently increased its HSBC Direct Savings Account rate from 1.70% APY to 2.05% APY. You only need $1 to open the account and the APY will be applied to any balance below $2 million. You may fund the account via ACH transfer and the account can be opened online. You will have to deposit new money to the account, which means that you cannot be a member of the HSBC Group in the United States. The account doesn’t have a monthly maintenance fee and all deposits are FDIC insured.

9. High Rate: Vio Bank – 2.35% APY, $100 to open

Vio Bank

Vio Bank is the online division of MidFirst Bank, a national private financial institution with over $16 billion in assets. Vio Bank was recently created and is not yet as established as Marcus, Barclays, American Express, Synchrony, and Ally Bank. However, this online bank launched strong with a High Yield Online Savings account offering 2.35% APY on all balances. You only need $100 to open the account. You can fund the account via ACH.

There are a few limitations to keep in mind: incoming ACHs take anywhere between two to five business days to post and the online bank may place a hold your ACH for two or three business days. When you’re ready to transfer funds out of the account, you’ll be limited to $2,000 per outgoing ACH. You’ll also be limited to transferring an aggregate monthly total of $6,000 via outgoing ACHs. As is with every other savings account, you’ll also be limited to making six withdrawals per monthly statement cycle. The good news (aside from the high APY) is that Vio Bank doesn’t charge a monthly maintenance fee. You’ll have to do all of your banking online for the time being as this online bank doesn’t currently have a mobile banking app, but according to the website, it’s coming soon. Fortunately, Vio Bank’s website is mobile friendly so it should be fairly easy to do your online bank from a smart phone.

10. High Rate: CIT – 2.25% APY, $100 to open

Savings Builder from CIT BankCIT is a very large bank that you probably never heard of. It has more than $50 billion of assets and makes loans (and leases) to middle market companies and small businesses. To fund those loans, CIT operates an internet-only bank that pays some of the highest interest rates in the country. They’re currently offering a very healthy APY of 2.25% on their Savings Builder account. You only need $100 to open the account, but you’ll need to meet one of two requirements to earn the high rate. We really like the options that CIT Bank has put in place to earn this high APY. The two ways to continue earning this high rate are:

  1. Make a monthly deposit of $100 or more into this account
  2. Maintain a daily balance of $25,000 or more

Even better: there aren’t any monthly maintenance fees and interest compounds daily. Deposits are FDIC insured.

11. High Rate: PurePoint Financial – 2.15% APY, $10,000 to open

Online Savings from PurePoint FinancialPurePoint Financial is a division of the MUFG Union Bank, N.A., otherwise known as Union Bank. Together, PurePoint Financial and Union Bank have over $120 billion dollars in assets and are powered by one of the largest financial groups in the world, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG). PurePoint Financial’s online savings account currently has an APY of 2.15% with an opening deposit amount of $10,000. You’ll also have to maintain that balance to earn the APY. If the balance falls below $10,000, the APY will drop to 0.25%. The only fee associated with this account is as a result of making more than six transactions per month. If this happens, a $10 Excess Activity Fee will be applied to your account. PurePoint Financial allows you to safely manage your account online via your computer or mobile phone, but they don’t have a mobile app just yet.

12. Highest Overall Rate: Popular Direct – 2.36% APY, $5,000 to open

Popular Direct Plus Savings Account from Popular DirectPopular Direct, the online bank of Banco Popular North America, is currently offering an outstanding APY of 2.36% on their Popular Direct Plus Savings Account. You’ll need $5,000 to open this account and you’ll have to maintain a daily end of day balance of $500 to avoid the $4 monthly service fee. This account does not come with an ATM card. In order to access your money, you would need to transfer funds to and from an existing checking account via an ACH transfer, which can take a few days. Your deposits are FDIC insured. Popular Direct has a mobile banking app and provides account holders with access to online banking.

13. High Rate: Northfield Bank – 2.25% APY, $0.01 minimum to open

Northfield Bank

Northfield Bank is headquartered in Woodbridge, NJ and is mainly a brick-and-mortar bank with locations in Staten Island and Brooklyn, NY and New Jersey. However, they are currently offering an online savings account, which they have named the Platinum Savings Account, with an incredible 2.25% APY. The APY applies to balances below $100,000. If your balance exceeds $100,000 the APY will drop to 0.90%. While you’ll only need a penny to open the account, you’ll need to maintain an average daily balance of $2,500 per statement cycle. If the average daily balance falls below $2,500, you’ll be charged with an $8 fee. If you currently have an account with Northfield Bank, you won’t be able to open this account as they require new money only. This bank does have a mobile app, so you can conveniently manage this account on the go.

Note: Northfield Bank is primarily a brick-and-mortar institution that is trying to offer online options to consumers nationwide. A little patience may be required when filling out the online application and funding the account. If you’re not comfortable with depositing funds with an institution that is learning its way through online banking, we recommend choosing a more established online bank found within this list. We would be remiss, however, if we didn’t include this incredibly high-rate online savings account to this list.

14. High Rate From A Credit Union: Alliant – 2.00% APY, $5 to open and ATM access.

Alliant Credit Union

People love credit unions. Because credit unions are owned by their members, you can get a higher interest rate on your savings (and lower interest rates when you borrow). Alliant is one of the best credit unions in the country, offering some of the best rates on your savings. In addition, Alliant has a great website and digital experience. Anyone can join the credit union and you only need $5 to open the account. Be aware, however, that when you go to apply for this account, Alliant will pull a soft credit inquiry for all applicants. Alliant also mentions that if you have a credit freeze, you won’t be able to apply unless you temporarily release the freeze.

15. Runner-Up: For Small Balance Savers – Digital Federal Credit Union – 6.17% APY up to $1k

Primary Savings from Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU)Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) currently offers a nice account for people who are just starting to save. You can earn an APY of 6.17% with their Primary Savings Account. You will only earn that rate on deposits up to $1,000. Once you have more than $1k, you should consider other accounts on this list. It is a credit union – and your deposits are insured by the NCUA up to the legal limit. Anyone can join the credit union by donating to one of their participating organizations such as Reach Out for Schools, which has a membership fee of $10. You’ll be able to join one their participating organizations when you go to open your account with DCU. DCU is also part of a nationwide CO-OP network that allows their members to have access to shared branches and surcharge-free ATMs throughout the U.S.

How to Find the Right Account For You

Take a moment to calculate how much you could earn using our free saving account comparison tool. Enter your zip code and how much you have to save and you’ll see the best savings accounts for you and save more this year. If you have a large balance, the tool might find better options than the no minimum balance options we’ve listed here.

If you are willing to lock your money into a longer term, consider a certificate of deposit. You can find the best CD rates here.

Your money deserves more than 0.01%. At that rate you’re basically giving a free loan to the bank, not a favor they’d return to you!


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Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

LaTisha Styles

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