If you are looking for a place to put your savings without all the frills of a full service bank, these institutions might be right for you.
If you haven’t been paying attention, there’s a sizeable movement towards online savings accounts, and online banks in general. People who are paying attention to interest rates, and intent on maximizing returns, stand to gain quite a bit over some traditional banks savings accounts.
Some of the best online savings accounts don’t necessarily fill all the roles of a traditional banking roles, but some do. Some of the banks with the highest APYs don’t yet offer checking accounts, but if you’re just looking for a high APY account to park your savings, most offer significant benefits. At the same time, you can expect even those banks without a full line of services to continue building their portfolio of services.
Lower overhead, and cost structures compared to traditional banks, has allowed online banks to offer significant financial benefits.
Below are some of the details for our picks for best online savings accounts. Click here to see our ratings methodology
Summary: Synchrony finds their way to the top of the list do to their high APY, great customer satisfactions scores, and reviews across the web.
Another bonus of their high-yield savings account is there is no minimum balance, and no monthly maintenance fee.
They also give customers easy access to cash via Plus, NYCE, and STAR ATMs, and will reimburse up to $5/month of out-of-network ATM fees.
Be aware that Synchrony does not currently offer a checking account, which is why it is moved down on our list of best overall online banks. They do however offer some check writing capability through their money market account.
That said, if you don’t need checking, it’s hard to find a better institution to put your money than Synchrony.
In addition to the high-yield savings account, they also offer money market, CD, and IRA products.
Summary: Barclays also offers an extremely competitive APY while scoring consistently across our other ratings factors.
As with Synchrony, their savings account has no minimum balance, and no monthly maintenance fee.
Barclays does not offer a checking account, nor does is have ATM access. To withdraw your money, you will need to initiate an ACH transfer to another institution, or have a check mailed to you.
In addition to the savings account, they also offer competitive rates on CD’s.
Summary: CIT Savings Builder offers one of the highest APYs we have seen at any bank. Keep in mind that they do have a tiered rate system, so the 2.45% is only for account with more than $25,000, or accounts with less that $25,000 but monthly deposits of at least $100. If you have less than $25,000 and are not making these deposits, then you earn an APY of 1.17%
They also have no monthly maintenance fee, which is fairly standard for the good online savings accounts out there.
They do not offer checking, or the ability to withdraw funds via ATMs, so don’t use them if you need convenient access to cash.
If you are simply looking for a place to put away savings, and earn one of the highest rates you’ll see on a savings account, the CIT Bank is one you should consider.
APY – This was one of our top ratings factors for online savings accounts, because many people are purely looking to earn high returns on their money with these accounts. For those who don’t need the other features such as checking, and ATM access, the higher APYs are a more important factor.
Fee Structure – These are something that everyone wants to avoid, and we believe the best banks deal with fairly. Some institutions still have outdated practices, with far too many fees. Ensuring that a bank provides all banking services, while offering low fees is another critical ranking factor.
Online Ratings – We know our site is not the only one who reviews companies. In fact, there are plenty of good review sites that we respect, and we take into account what others on the web are saying about companies. We also take into account user ratings when we can verify they are unbiased reviews from actual users. That can be difficult, so we pay more attention to the companies we know and trust.
BBB Rating – We take into account BBB ratings because it is a good indicator of how well a company responds to customer complaints. All companies with a certain volume of business will have some level of customer complaints. Those that have a history of dealing with complaints quickly and professionally are the ones we think you should deal with.
Years in Business – We use the length of time a company has been in business as a factor in how we rank most businesses. If a young company truly shines in all categories, they may still be among our top list, but since they have a limited history to prove longevity, we do discount their overall score. This may account for why you don’t see some of the newest companies in the market at the top of our list.
What is an online savings account?
An online savings account is one that does the majority of it’s business outside of a traditional brick and mortar model. These banks may or may not have more traditional features such as checking, CDs, and Money Market accounts available. The benefit of these online savings accounts is the higher returns they can earn you on savings.
What are the benefits of an online savings account?
Because an online bank can operate with lower overhead, they can pass on some of those cost benefits to customers. They can also offer considerable convenience to someone who is comfortable banking outside of a traditional branch. Depositing checks for instance can be as easy as taking a picture, and submitting it through their mobile app.
What are the drawbacks of an online bank?
Because online banks have few, if any, physical locations, it is difficult to sit down with someone in person for assistance. That said, most online banks have good phone support in the event you need help. The other thing to look at with your bank is what types of accounts you can set up. Not all online banks offer checking accounts for instance. In fact, some of the banks with the highest interest rates on savings accounts, do not currently offer checking.
How do I deposit checks and cash with an online savings account?
This will vary by bank, but in general there are a few ways you can make deposits to an online bank. 1) You can link your online bank to another local bank or credit union, and make an ACH transfer. Many online banks offer free ACH transfers so this does not add cost. 2) Use their mobile app to scan and deposit if they offer this feature. If you are depositing cash, you can convert that to a money order, and deposit the money order using the same app. 3) Mail a check for deposit.
Do they have ATM’s?
Some online savings accounts do have ATM access, but that is not the case for all of them. If you need access to your money through an ATM, be sure to look carefully at the bank you select. Some will not have any ATM access at all, while others will have it only for their checking accounts.