While consumers almost always turned to their neighborhood bank for a new savings account just a decade ago, the entire banking landscape has changed. The same big banks offer their customers checking and savings accounts — including supposed “high-yield” savings accounts — but the big players like Chase and Bank of America now have increased competition from online banks and even robo-advisors.
If you’re in the market for a new savings account, you should strive to compare options from your regular bank as well as online providers who might offer a greater financial return on your savings. After all, the point of a savings account is helping you stash away money for emergencies or a goal, and with the benefit of earning interest on your deposits. It makes sense that you would want a new savings account that offers a generous interest rate with minimal fees that’s also easy to use.
To help you in your search, we compared all of the top savings accounts from major banks and credit unions, online banks, and even robo-advisors. While the CIT Bank Savings Builder account came out ahead in our ranking due to its high potential APR, nonexistent fees, and low barrier to entry, there are plenty of other accounts to compare. With that in mind, let’s dive in.
Important Factors for Choosing an Online Savings Account
When it comes to any financial product, competition is always a net positive for consumers. The fact that more online savings accounts are available today than ever puts increasing pressure on larger banks and credit unions, who in turn have to improve their offerings to remain competitive. Here are the most important factors you should consider before opening a new account:
- Annual Percentage Yield, or APY: This factor determines how much interest you’ll earn on your deposits. Ideally, you’ll wind up with a savings account that has the highest APY you can find.
- Minimum Account Requirements: Also note that some savings accounts require a minimum amount to get started, or to secure their highest APY. Make sure you understand minimum account requirements that can help you avoid fees and receive the highest rate of return.
- Banking Fees: Also watch out for fees like account maintenance fees, account opening fees, and transaction fees.
The Best Online Savings Accounts of 2022
The best savings accounts for 2022 vary widely depending on the type of provider you choose to move forward with. We compared the top options in this space so we could highlight the best savings accounts within every niche.
Best Online Savings Accounts – Reviews
The banks we’ve included in this guide offer higher APYs, low fees, and plenty of perks, but that doesn’t mean each one will suit your needs. The following banking reviews can help you gauge how each savings account works, fees you might have to pay, and any highlights you should be aware of.
CIT Bank Savings Builder
The CIT Bank Savings Builder Account comes with a low barrier to entry, although you’ll earn a significantly higher return on your savings if you can meet some basic requirements. Their highest interest tier (currently .90% APY) goes to individuals who can maintain a $25,000 balance or contribute at least $100 per month to their account. While the minimum balance requirement of $25,000 is pretty steep, the fact you can earn the highest APY with just a $100 deposit each month is pretty sweet. Not only will you secure a higher APY with regular deposits, but this feature actually encourages you to save more money over time.
This savings account also comes with no ongoing fees or hidden fees, and you can set it up online with ease.
- Earn 0.90% APY with a $100 minimum opening deposit
- No ATM fees, plus up to $30 in other bank’s ATM fees reimbursed per month
- No monthly service fees
- No bank branches
- Limited account options
Discover Online Savings
While Discover is well known for its popular rewards credit cards, this bank also offers affordable personal loans and competitive banking products. Their online savings account currently comes with an APY of 0.80% and with no minimum deposit requirement and no monthly fees.
You can open an online savings account with Discover without having to visit a physical bank branch, and your Discover account may come with broad ATM access depending on where you live.
- No monthly fees nor minimum opening deposit
- No balance requirements
- No physical locations
- Lower APY that some competing banks
Betterment’s savings account, which is known as the Betterment Cash Reserve, lets you earn a variable rate of up to 0.75% APY on amounts you deposit. This account lets you execute unlimited transfers into or out of your account, and there are no monthly maintenance fees regardless of your balance.
You can set this account up online with ease, and your balance is eligible for FDIC insurance up to $1 million dollars. Also note that you don’t have to use the Betterment platform for investing to be a savings account customer.
- Up to 0.75% APY
- Minimum $10 deposit but no minimum balance after that
- No debit card
- No physical locations
UFB Direct is another online bank that offers a high APY with no hidden fees. The current top tier of interest (currently 0.81% APY) goes to anyone who maintains an average balance in their account of $10,000 or more, and there is no minimum deposit requirement to get started.
This account also comes with a free debit card, and you won’t pay any maintenance fees or service fees. Free transfers within UFB Direct accounts are also available, and you can access your online account from anywhere in the world.
- Earn up to 0.81% APY
- No maintenance fees nor minimum balance
Citi Accelerate Savings
If you are hoping to open a savings account with a bank that may have physical branches in your area, Citibank is worth considering. This bank has branches throughout the country, but you’ll also be able to access over 60,000 ATMs through their network.
In terms of their online savings account, their highest tier of savings currently earns 1.01% APY. On their Citi Elevate Account Package, a monthly service fee of $4.50 may apply, but you can have this fee waived if you maintain a balance of at least $500 in your account, or if you link an eligible checking account with a balance of $5K or more.
- Earn up to 1.01% APY
- 723 bank branches in the U.S. and over 65K ATMs
- Monthly maintenance fees range from $4.50 to $25
Alliant Credit Union
Alliant Credit Union is a nationally available credit union that makes it easy to become a member. Their online savings account is also competitive, featuring an APY of 1.60% and no monthly fee if you agree to electronic statements.
This account also comes with a minimum deposit requirement of just $5, and you can access your money via thousands of ATMs in their network. This account also comes with no maximum balance amount, and you can open it online.
- Earn 0.75% APY
- Monthly fees may be waived by opting for paperless billing
- Required average daily balance of $100 to qualify
- No physical locations
SoFi Money is an all-in-one virtual money account that lets you score some pretty awesome perks without any ongoing fees. This account lets you earn 1.10% APY with no monthly account fees or maintenance fees, and you will even get all your ATM fees reimbursed worldwide — a huge benefit if you travel often and want a free way to access some cash.
The SoFi Money account also comes with a free ATM card and a mobile app that makes it easy to keep track of your account balance and transactions no matter where you are. If you’re in the market for a loan, you should also check out SoFi’s student loans, personal loans, and other financial products.
- Earn 1.25% APY
- No minimum balances or fees
How We Found the Best Online Savings Accounts
The best savings accounts offer perks and benefits you may not find with your regular bank. Here are the main factors we considered as we compared online banks, big national banks and credit unions, and savings accounts from brokerage firms and robo-advisors:
First and foremost, we looked for savings accounts that offer a competitive APY. Since not everyone wants to keep tens of thousands of dollars in a savings account, we also looked for accounts that don’t require a high balance to earn their highest interest rate.
Easy Minimum Balance Requirements
We gave precedence to accounts that don’t require a steep minimum balance requirement to open an account. All the savings accounts we profiled in our ranking come with a minimum balance of $100 or less to get started. Several of the accounts we included don’t require any money to get started.
Low Fees or No Fees
We also looked for accounts with no monthly maintenance fees or hidden fees. While we did include a few accounts that come with a monthly maintenance fee, we made sure monthly fees could be avoided with a minimum amount on deposit each month or an agreement to receive electronic statements.
Finally, we checked for accounts that offer easy access to your funds, either through online account transfers or a nationwide network of ATMs. While not all of the accounts we profiled connect with a network of ATMS, they all let you transfer money easily between accounts online or using a mobile app.
What to Know About Online Savings Accounts in 2022
The most important thing to understand about savings accounts in 2022 is that, by and large, your local neighborhood bank can’t compete with major online players. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the national average savings account rate for accounts with less than $100,000 on deposit was just .09% in January of 2020. That’s a small fraction of what some of the best savings accounts pay, which means you could be leaving money on the table if you don’t move your savings over to a more competitive bank.
How much could you lose? Let’s imagine for a moment you keep $50,000 in emergency savings year-round just in case you lose your job, face a major loss in income, or face some unexpected bills. If you earned just .09% on your account balance and left it alone, you would have $50,452.01 in your account after ten years. By moving your savings over to an account that earns 1.70%, on the other hand, you would have $59.258.11 in your account after ten years.
In addition to higher interest rates that let you secure a considerably more generous return on your savings, the best savings accounts of 2022 also come with no monthly fees or fees you can easily avoid. With that in mind, you should strive to compare at least 2-3 new savings accounts to the savings account you’re currently using. When you do, you will likely find a new account would help you earn more interest with lower fees and better perks.
The bottom line: Spend some time comparing the best savings accounts on our list in terms of how much interest you could earn, the ATM networks you may be able to access, and other perks you might score along the way. If you avoid this task and stick with your brick and mortar savings account for a few more years or even a decade, you could live to regret it.