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- High-yield savings accounts tend to pay about 2% interest, which is 200 times more than what you get at a traditional nationwide bank with a savings account that can pay as little as .01%.
- Eric Rosenberg has opened a handful of high-yield savings accounts over the years, and avoids accounts that charge fees for going below a minimum balance or otherwise have strings attached.
- He looks for fee-free accounts that pay a high interest rate with no strings, and are be easy to use so he can manage his cash on any device.
When it comes to managing your money, your checking account is the hub of your finances, where new money comes in and expenses come out.
But you shouldn’t use that checking account as a home for too much cash. Beyond a month or so of expenses, you should keep your cash in a savings account to earn more interest. A high-yield savings account may be perfect for this use.
I have opened a few high-yield savings accounts over the years for different purposes, and my current favorites are Ally, Capital One, and Charles Schwab.
Unlike a checking account, I won’t touch my savings account that often. That means I don’t care about ATM fees or most transactional costs. Instead, I focused on the criteria below to make sure I found the right fit.
Zero fees with no minimum balance
The biggest way most banks make money is lending. To fund loans, they use money stored in checking, savings, CD, and other deposit accounts. Not only does keeping your cash savings at a bank not cost it money (beyond customer service and statement costs), but they lend that money out to make a profit.
I’m a strong believer that you shouldn’t have to pay a bank to store money there. That means I would only open a savings account at a bank with no monthly or annual fees and no minimum balances to avoid those fees.
Federal banking regulations restrict you from making more than six withdrawals per month from a savings account. I expect to see some fees for things like cashier’s checks and wire transfers. But for just putting my money there and letting it sit, I would never choose an account that charges fees.
High interest rate with no strings attached
The biggest nationwide banks offer as little as 0.01% interest on savings account balances. The average interest rate around the United States is around 0.1%, or 10 times what you get from the worst accounts. But high-yield savings accounts are paying more than 2%. That’s 200 times what you get at the big traditional banks and 20 times what you get on average.
Don’t settle for average! My sister recently moved her savings from one of the top five banks in the US to Ally Bank for a better interest rate at my suggestion. She called me, excited, the next month to tell me how much she earned in interest. Her only regret was not moving that money sooner.
Some banks try to lure in new customers with teaser interest rates. Some require a minimum balance or certain transaction requirements to get the best rates. Don’t settle for that for savings. Don’t rush into an account without reading the fine print. Look at the bank’s interest rate trends and requirements before signing up.
Easy to use
In 2019, all banks and credit unions should have online systems and apps that make it easy and intuitive to manage your money. I want the option to connect my accounts to an app like Mint. I want the ability to link accounts at other banks and transfer funds at no charge. And, what should go without saying but doesn’t: I want a bank I can trust.
I have tried out a couple of online high-yield savings accounts that I closed for customer service or system issues. Knowing how easy it is to open a savings account online, I won’t sit around and tolerate a poor banking experience. Neither should you!
Also, look out for a history of bad behavior before picking a bank. For example, Wells Fargo has dealt with a string of incidents regarding fraud, mishandling loans, and other breaches of customer trust. I really like Wells Fargo’s community involvement initiatives. I opened accounts there in college after the bank funded a portion of my college scholarship. But I don’t feel like I can trust the company with my money today.
Don’t settle for a bad savings account
We live in a time with great savings accounts and simple self-service to open, fund, and manage your account. Top high-yield accounts take about five minutes to open. Linking to a checking or savings account at another bank takes just a few minutes more.
With less than 15 minutes of work, you can earn more or save on fees. That’s exactly what I did with my money, what I helped my family do with their money, and believe virtually anyone with basic computer skills should do as well.
Millions of people settle for bad interest rates, big fees, poor customer service, and frustrating experiences with their accounts. If that sounds familiar, it may be time to upgrade to a new high-yield savings account to do more with your money.
Considering a high-yield savings account? Take look at these offers from our partners:
- A high school teacher with a 6-figure side hustle says a 2-part strategy helped him become a millionaire at 35
- I ditched my bank when I got married to earn 200 times more with an Ally high-yield savings account, and now I’d tell anyone to try it
- I was 20 years old when the Great Recession struck. Here’s what I wish I’d known about money back then.