The Battle of the Best Online Savings Accounts

Savings Account Money Global Finance Concept

It used to be that opening any savings account was a smart idea — financial prudence was rewarded yesteryear with a decent interest rate and just about any bank that you went to was a good bet. Now, interest rates vary all across the board and the introduction of online savings accounts have complicated things even further. On top of interest rates, those looking to start an online account have a number of other things to think about.

One of the key considerations should be deposit options, especially if you want to use a method other than direct deposit. Other important factors include ATM access, online and mobile account options, the level and quality of customer service you can expect, and whether the account has any extra perks. The top online savings accounts are flexible, offer a rate near or over 1 percent, and are convenient to use — don’t assume that just because it’s an online account it will automatically be less of a hassle than a traditional account.

If you’re looking to put some cash aside, here are five of the best online savings accounts around.

1. Synchrony Bank

Not only does Synchrony have a good interest rate, it offers you the convenience of accessing your savings with an ATM card. This savings account also has the benefit of not charging monthly maintenance fees or requiring that you maintain a minimum balance. If you’re just getting started with saving or aren’t able to put a ton of money away each month, this is a definite advantage.

Synchrony Bank’s savings account also offers some nice perks, including discounts on hotel stays, spa packages, and car rentals. Synchrony does have a branch in Bridgewater, NJ, but you can live anywhere in the US and open an account online. Keep in mind that to make deposits or get customer service out of the area, you’ll need to rely on using your phone or going online. Overall, this is one of the best savings accounts around today because of the solid rate, the fact that no large initial deposit is needed, and the account’s straightforward structure.

Rate: 1.05% APY

2. Barclay’s Online Savings Account

Barclays is known for issuing credit cards, but they also have an online savings account option separate from their credit offerings. The Barclay’s Online Savings Account is a high yield product with a good interest rate. No minimum balance or month fees are required, and you can open an account online.

There’s not even a minimum opening balance or deposit required to get started with this account, which makes Barclay’s another one of the best savings accounts for those who need flexibility. The bank doesn’t have any physical branches where you can deposit money into your savings account, but Barclay’s does have a highly regarded mobile app and you can reach customer service representatives by phone. For those who would like help maximizing their savings, Barclay’s offers a Savings Assistant tool online that’s free and will help you set and review your financial planning goals.

Rate: 1% APY

3. Ally

Ally Bank helped revolutionize the online account experience, and it is still regarded as one of the best savings accounts for those who don’t mind doing all of their transactions online or by phone. The company’s mobile app and website are easy to use, and Ally also offers online chat support and phone customer service. Ally’s online management portal is very easy to use and makes managing your account online quick and easy.

The interest rate for Ally’s online savings account is strong, and account holders aren’t charged any monthly maintenance fees. There’s also no minimum deposit required when you open an account. If you’d like, you can open an Ally savings account for a trust, and the bank compounds interest daily.

Rate: 1% APY

4. Discover Online Savings Account

If you prefer keeping several thousand dollars in your savings account and already use a Discover card, it may be quite convenient for you to open a savings account with the company. One of the perks of this online savings account is the sign on bonus, which varies from year to year but is typically $100. There are stipulations and minimum deposits attached, however. For instance, in 2016 you have to open a Discover Online Savings Account by October 15th and deposit at least $15,000 to get the $100 bonus.

Still, Discover Bank’s savings account offers a decent interest rate that’s just below one percent. No monthly maintenance fees are charged and you don’t have to keep a minimum balance, but when you open the account you will be required to make a minimum initial deposit of $500. There’s no charge for incoming wire transfers, and the customer service at Discover Bank has a reputation for being of higher quality than the norm.

Rate: 0.95% APY

5. CIT Bank

If you want a fee-free online savings account with a good interest rate and low initial deposit, CIT Bank’s high yield savings account is a great option. The rate is 0.95 percent, which is higher than the average rate offered by other banks. You also only need to deposit at least $100 when you open your account. However, in order to earn interest there’s no requirement to maintain a minimum daily balance.

As CIT is an online bank, there’s no physical branches that you can visit and you’ll need to reach customer service by phone and manage your account online. CIT does have a decent mobile app and this account compounds interest daily, which is an advantage for those who want to see their savings grow as quickly as possible.

In terms of security, CIT’s savings account wins extra points for being careful about protecting data with encryption, monitoring transactions and account activity for irregularities, and safeguarding against viruses and hacking.

Rate: 0.95% APY



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