The 3 Best Savings Accounts with Great Rates and Benefits

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One of the most basic ways to evaluate savings accounts from different banks is to simply compare the rate of return — i.e. how much will each institution pay you for the privilege of holding your money? However, getting the highest rate of return won’t be much of a benefit if the account comes with a bunch of extra fees and restrictions.

If you’re currently using interest rates alone to choose the best savings accounts, that’s ok. But we at suggest you also consider a few additional criteria.

Best Savings Accounts Features

Here are some of the top features we consider when choosing a savings account – in addition to rate of return, of course:

  1. No monthly fees. You should never have to pay money to save your money in a savings account. And most good savings accounts won’t charge any fees regardless of your balance. Make sure to avoid accounts that charge a fee if your balance drops too low.
  2. Reasonable initial deposit. If you’re opening an account at a young age or at the beginning of your career, you’re less likely to have a large deposit to start. There are plenty of banks who won’t require a minimum initial deposit, and we suggest you work with one of them.
  3. Direct deposit. You may wish to have a set amount of your paycheck go directly into your savings account, and this is most easily accomplished with an automated direct deposit or ACH transfer. Check to ensure that your new bank won’t charge a fee for this service, because they shouldn’t.
  4. Remote check deposits. The option to take photos of your checks and virtually deposit them is super convenient and will make your life immensely easier. Having to travel to a branch to make a deposit in person, or needing to mail in checks is a major inconvenience. And in today’s world, it’s completely unnecessary.
  5. Easy access to your money. What constitutes “easy access” might vary based on your situation. One person may prefer a bank with physical locations while another is comfortable doing all of their banking online or with a mobile app. Today’s highest-yield accounts tend to be offered by banks with an online presence, so you may give up a higher interest rate if you want a bank with convenient locations. Also remember that federal regulations prevent you from making more than six transactions per month and permit your bank to charge fees for additional withdrawals.

Top 3 Best Savings Accounts Available Online

1. CIT Bank Savings Builder Account

CIT is one of the most established online banks and their Savings Builder account is one of the best savings accounts. A good blend of high interest and minimal requirements. The big catch is that you have to do one of two things to earn top rates and avoid fees: Maintain a $25,000 minimum balance, or deposit at least $100/month.

  • Current Interest Rate: 2.30% APY if you maintain a $25K balance or deposit $100/month. You’ll earn 1.26% APY if you can’t do either of these things.
  • Minimum Balance Required: None.
  • Fees: No monthly fees.
  • Ease of Use: The bank is online only, so you’ll have to use a mobile app to make transactions and view your statements. Their mobile app is easy to use and you can also bank via telephone 24/7 should you need to do so.

2. Alliant Bank High-Rate Online Savings Account.

Alliant is officially a credit union, but you can join if you support the Foster Care to Success (FC2S) nonprofit that helps foster youth. Choose this option and Alliant will even make a $5 donation to FC2S for you. You can also join if you’re an employee of affiliated businesses, related to a member or located close to Alliant’s offices in the Chicago area. One of the great features of Alliant’s savings account is that you can easily open additional supplemental savings accounts for specific savings goals or for other family members (like kids). You can have up to 19 of these supplemental accounts connected to your main savings account. Most probably one of the best savings accounts out there. Easily transfer money between these accounts at no cost.

  • Current Interest Rate: 2.10% APY if you have at least $100 in your account.
  • Minimum Balance Required: $5 to avoid account closure or fees and $100 to earn interest.
  • Fees: No monthly fees.
  • Ease of Use: Mobile check deposit, 24/7 phone access and a large network of 80,000 ATMs make using your account easy. You’ll do all of your banking online or via the mobile app.

3. Ally Bank Online Savings Account.

Ally Bank is currently an online-only financial institution, but its roots are in traditional banking and its predecessor began as an vehicle financing division of General Motors in 1919. Ally Financial has existed in its current incarnation since 2009 and is noted for its customer service. Ally’s savings account compounds interest daily, so you may earn a little more if you have a higher balance than you would from other accounts.

  • Current Interest Rate: 2.10% APY.
  • Minimum Balance Required: None.
  • Fees: No monthly fees.
  • Ease of Use: Can call, chat online or email 24/7 to get assistance. Use the mobile app for most transactions. Remote check deposit is available but you can’t easily deposit cash.

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