The Best Online Savings Accounts in 2019

We'll help you understand the fees, interest rates, and features of these top 14 online savings accounts.


Traditional savings accounts are not the ideal environment to help your money grow over time, but the new trendy online versions are changing that. With the increasing number of online savings accounts offering what appear to be amazing interest rates (with caveats like minimum balances and transactions, of course), you can grow that nest egg you're sitting on. But how do you pick the right one?

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Aim for These Four Key Features in Online Savings Account

Any excellent online savings account will have the following key characteristics:

  • A competitive interest rate
  • A safe place to keep your money (FDIC insured)
  • No Fees (or very minimal fees)
  • Easy Access and liquidity

Like any financial decision, you need to be sure that the online savings account you choose is right for you.

To help you suss out the best online savings accounts, we’ve put together a brief guide that breaks down some of the most popular online savings accounts, their details, and some of the things you might need to know if you had $15,000 to put into an online savings account.

HSBC

2.30% APY

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Ally

2.20% APY

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CIT

2.40% APY

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Marcus

2.25% APY

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PNC

2.35% APY

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HSBC Direct Savings

About HSBC: HSBC is a brick-and-mortar bank that offers a direct savings account online. By size, it is the 14th largest bank in the U.S., and launched this particular online savings account in 2018. HSBC also offers other kinds of savings accounts (that are very different from the one outlined below) in its brick-and-mortar banking offices, so be sure to do your homework before signing up.

HSBC is FDIC insured and has been in business since 1865. It has more than 200 branches all over the U.S. All APY rates are subject to change at any time. The below rates are as of May 2019.

HSBC Bonus: For a limited time, get a $125 bonus when you open a HSBC online savings account. Read more here.

HSBC Direct Savings

  • Interest Rate: 2.30% APY
  • Compounding Period: Monthly
  • Fees: Zero monthly maintenance fees. Only $1 required to open an account.
  • ATM Access: None
  • Can you bank in person? No. While HSBC does have branches around the country, this online account only allows online and telephone communications.
  • Can you bank online? Yes

If you deposited $15,000 in an HSBC Direct Savings account and just let it accrue interest, in one year you would have $15,348. Find out more about the HSBC Direct Savings Account, here.

The Takeaway: HSBC’s direct savings account offers a good return, but there is a minor catch — the account must be opened with money transferred from outside of HSBC, and you cannot be an HSBC customer already.

Synchrony High-Yield Savings Account

About Synchrony: Synchrony is an online bank that offers Online Savings Accounts, CDs, Money Markets and IRAs. Synchrony Financial also offers retail credit cards for companies like Gap, JCPenney, and Lowe's. It used to be a part of GE and was spun off as a separate entity.

Synchrony is FDIC insured and has been in business for the last 85 years (under GE). All rates are subject to change at any time. The below rates are current as of May 2019.

The High-Yield Savings Account

  • Interest Rate: 2.25% APY
  • Compounding Period: Daily
  • Fees: None
  • ATM Access: Yes. Synchrony says that it doesn't charge fees for ATM usage and will refund up to $5 per ATM fee that other banks charge. It uses the Accel Network of ATMs.
  • Can you bank in person? No. Synchrony is an online-only bank.
  • Can you bank online? Yes.

If you deposited $15,000 into a Synchrony High-Yield Savings Account, you could have $15,341 after one year. Learn more about the details of Synchrony’s High-Yield Savings details, here.

The Takeaway: You can get an ATM card for this savings account, but remember, like all savings accounts, you can only have six transactions within a statement cycle. If you go beyond that, Synchrony could close your account for misuse. You can access your money via ATM, online, or via phone, while funds transfers are handled through a linked Synchrony account, via EFT, or using the mobile app. Synchrony also offers customers what they call “Perks” for keeping money in the account. You can learn more about the perks, here.

CIT Online Savings Accounts

About CIT Bank:

CIT is an online bank that specializes in online savings accounts, CDs and Money Markets. While it can be easily mistaken, CIT is not related to Citibank. CIT stands for Commercial Investment Trust, and was founded in 1908.

CIT Bank is FDIC insured and offers two kinds of online savings accounts. One options is the Savings Builder Account, which requires a minimum monthly deposit of $100 or a minimum account balance of $25,000 in order to earn the highest APY. The other option is a High Yield Savings Account, and while it offers a lower APY compared to the Savings Builder, it does not have the same maintenance requirements.

CIT Savings Builder Account

  • Interest Rate: 2.40% if you meet either one of two criteria:
    • at least $25,000 in the account
    • at least $100 per month deposited

If you fall short of either on a monthly basis, your rate will drop to 1.28% APY

  • Compounding Period: Daily
  • Fees: None
  • ATM Access: None
  • Can you bank in person? No. CIT does not have brick-and-mortar banks.
  • Can you bank online? Yes.

If you deposited $15,000 into the Savings Builder account in one lump sum, you’d need to contribute an additional $100 per month to maintain the higher rate. Using CIT's savings calculator shows that you would end up with around $16,580 at the end of one year. The account compounds interest daily and pays out interest monthly.

If you do not meet the account criteria, you would slide to the lower rate and have $15,193 after one year. Your interest rate is determined after an evaluation period.

CIT Premier High Yield Savings Account

  • Interest Rate: 1.55% APY
  • Fees: None
  • ATM Access: None. You have to get your money out by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) or physical check. Same for when you open the account.
  • Can you bank in person? No. CIT does not have brick-and-mortar banks.
  • Can you bank online? Yes.

A calculator at MagnifyMoney shows that at 2.40% APY you’d earn roughly $360 additional dollars in interest with a CIT Savings Builder Account, leaving you with $15,360 at the end of one year.

The Takeaway: CIT offers some of the best APYs in the business, but its rules are somewhat complex. Depending on how much work you want to do to save, this might be a slightly more high-maintenance account than you need or want.

Ally Online Savings Account

About Ally Bank:

Ally is one of the most well-known online banks in the business, and it has some of the best customer service, too. Offerings include savings, checking, CDs and investing accounts.

Ally Bank has been in business since 1919 and began its life as an automobile financing company, GMAC, which was owned by General Motors. It changed its name to Ally bank in 2009 and went public in 2014.

Ally Bank is FDIC insured.

Ally Online Savings Account

  • Interest Rate: 2.20% APY
  • Compounding Period: Daily
  • Fees: No hidden fees
  • ATM Access: Yes. The same six-transaction rule that applies for all savings accounts applies to the Ally account, too. Ally will refund up to $10 per month in ATM fees and uses the Allpoint ATM system. You need to have a checking account to get an ATM card, however.
  • Can you bank in person? No. Ally does not have brick-and-mortar banks.
  • Can you bank online? Yes, and they have an easy-to-use app to deposit checks.

If you deposited $15,000 into an Ally Savings Account, you could have $15,333 by the end of one year.

The Takeaway: Ally Bank offers one of the easiest and clearest online banking options out there. They offer a variety of options, too, and make it really easy to get your money should you need it.

Marcus High-Yield Online Savings Account

About Marcus:

Marcus is a Goldman Sachs product. Marcus is the company’s consumer brand, but does not currently offer ATM cards, access to ATMs or any other sort of real-life banking interaction. It’s all online.

Marcus obviously has its roots in Goldman Sachs which has been around since 1869 when Marcus Goldman opened the bank in New York. Marcus was the name of the personal loan branch, and in 2017, adopted the name for its online banking arm.

Marcus is FDIC insured.

Marcus High-Yield Online Savings Account

  • Interest Rate: 2.25% APY
  • Compounding Period: Daily
  • Fees: None. Just keep $1 in your account to earn the APY.
  • ATM Access: None. You can get your money via EFT or wire. Deposits are made via wire, EFT or mailed checks.
  • Can you bank in person? Nope.
  • Can you bank online? Yes, but Marcus doesn’t offer a mobile app.

If you deposited $15,000 into a Marcus High-Yield account, you could end up with $15,341 at the end of one year.

The Takeaway: Marcus is backed by one of the most well-known financial institutions, and offers one of the best APYs in the industry. If you need easy access to your money though, this probably isn’t for you.

Barclays Online Savings Account

About Barclays:

Barclays is a big, old British bank that has been around for 325 years. Really. They have a relatively small presence in the U.S., but they are growing. According to MagnifyMoney, it uses the savings deposits to fund its American credit card business. (Read that twice so you understand it.)

Barclays is FDIC insured.

Barclays Online Savings Account

  • Interest Rate: 2.20% APY
  • Compounding Period: Daily
  • Fees: None. Just keep $0.01 in your account to earn the APY.
  • ATM Access: None. Also, if you go over the six-per-cycle transaction limit, there is a $5 per transaction fee.
  • Can you bank in person? No.
  • Can you bank online? Yes, there's also an app for depositing checks and managing your account.

If you deposited $15,000 into a Barclays Online Savings account, you could end up with $15,333 at the end of one year.

The Takeaway: A big old bank that offers a really good APY. Just know where your money is going. (Read the part about funding a credit card business one more time.)

PNC High-Yield Savings

About PNC:

PNC has been in business for 160 years, and is based in Pennsylvania. It has physical branches in 19 states and only offers its online high-yield savings accounts in states where it doesn't have local branches.

PNC is FDIC insured.

PNC High-Yield Savings

  • Interest Rate: 2.35% APY
  • Compounding Period: Daily
  • Fees: None. Just keep $1 in your account to earn the APY.
  • ATM Access: No.
  • Can you bank in person? No. You have to reside in one of the states where PNC doesn’t have a physical location to qualify for the account. There are 19 states that are ineligible for the online savings account. Find out more by checking out this story at Bankrate.
  • Can you bank online? Yes, there's also an app for depositing checks and managing your account.

If you deposited $15,000 into a PNC High-Yield Online Savings account, you could end up with around $15,356 at the end of one year.

The Takeaway: If you happen to live in one of the 31 other states where PNC does not have branches in, then this is a pretty great online savings account.

Discover High-Yield Online Savings Account

About Discover:

Discover Bank is the online bank that is owned by Discover Financial, the people behind the popular Discover credit card. The company plays in the student loan, personal loan, home loan, and credit card business.

Discover is FDIC insured.

Discover High-Yield Online Savings

  • Interest Rate: 2.10% APY
  • Compounding Period: Daily
  • Fees: None, unless you go over the six transactions per cycle, or overdraw your account.
  • ATM Access: None, unless you have a Discover Checking account that is linked. Then you can move money to your checking account and withdraw it. Discover has 60,000 no-fee ATMs.
  • Can you bank in person? No.
  • Can you bank online? Yes, and Discover also offers an app for depositing checks and managing your account.

If you deposited $15,000 into a Discover savings account, you could end up with around $15,318 at the end of one year.

The Takeaway: A straight-forward way to earn a decent APY on the cash you need to stash. You can access the money by opening a Discover Checking account and withdrawing (no more than six times per cycle) through your checking account. The fees are also laid out clearly ($15 per transaction over the allotted six, $30 for insufficient funds) on the savings page, too.

American Express Personal Savings

About American Express: While you may know them as a credit card company, American Express also offers savings accounts. The bonus of going with an AmEx savings account is that it easily links with the accounts you already have, and you can connect more than one account to it.

American Express is FDIC insured and has been in business since 1850.

American Express Personal Savings

  • Interest Rate: 2.10% variable APY
  • Compounding Period: Daily
  • Fees: None
  • ATM Access: None
  • Can you bank in person? No. American Express does not have brick-and-mortar buildings for customers.
  • Can you bank online? Yes.

If you deposited $15,000 into an American Express Personal Savings account, you could have $15,318 after one year. Learn more about the details of American Express’ Personal Savings account details, here.

The Takeaway: While AmEx doesn’t offer a way to get your money from the savings account directly, it’s just as convenient to withdraw it through your linked checking accounts. The American Express Personal Savings account offers an excellent way to save, get a competitive interest rate, and work with a well-known financial institution.

MySavingsDirect Online Savings Account

About MySavingsDirect:

While it may just look like a web-address-turned-bank, MySavingsDirect is a branch of Emigrant Bank, which was founded in 1860. It doesn't offer any kind of checking account, so you will need to have an outside one to fund your savings account.

MySavingsDirect is FDIC insured.

MySavingsDirect Online Savings Account

  • Interest Rate: 2.40% APY
  • Compounding Period: Daily
  • Fees: None. There's no minimum balances, and no fees for excessive withdrawals.
  • ATM Access: None.
  • Can you bank in person? No.
  • Can you bank online? Yes, but the site did give me pause. It looks like something from the early 2000s, and there's no mobile app. Initial account funding requires an ACH transfer from an existing bank account, and since MySavingsDirect doesn't offer automatic deposits, you'll need to move money manually from a linked checking account for subsequent deposits. Withdrawals can be made via ACH. Remember, these take time to process, so you should be patient.

If you deposited $15,000 into a MySavingsDirect account, you could end up with around $15,364 at the end of one year.

The Takeaway: MySavingsDirect used to be known for having the highest APYs in the space, and it does top out this list. It's a good alternative if you live in a state where PNC has an outpost and want a very competitive savings rate, though you have to be OK with a dated-looking website and restrictions on how you can fund your account.

CIBC Agility Online Savings Account

About CIBC Bank:

CIBC U.S. is the American arm of a Canada-based bank. CIBC has been in the U.S. market since 1991, and is headquartered in Chicago.

CIBC is FDIC insured.

CIBC Agility Online Savings Account

  • Interest Rate: 2.39% APY
  • Compounding Period: Monthly
  • Fees: You need a minimum of $1,000 to open an account. Make more than six transactions per cycle, and you’ll be charged $10 per transaction. Keep a minimum of $0.01 in the account to earn the APY.
  • ATM Access: None
  • Can you bank in person? CIBC has branches in the Midwest, but the Agility Online account can only be accessed online.
  • Can you bank online? Yes, and there's also an app. You can fund your account with recurring transfers from a linked account, direct deposit, or mailed check. Money transfers can be made between CIBC checking accounts and the Agility account.

If you deposited $15,000 into a CIBC Agility Online Savings account, you could end up with around $15,362 at the end of one year.

The Takeaway: It’s not 2.40%, but it is pretty darn close. CIBC has very few locations, mostly in the midwest U.S., and since this is an online-only account, the locations won’t do you much good anyways. Our takeaway? If you want a place to put some money and just let it sit, this is a pretty good bet.

Citi Accelerate Savings Account

About Citibank:

Citibank is the retail banking outfit of Citigroup. It’s one of the few large banks offering a good rate on a high-yield online savings account. There are more than 4,600 Citibank branches all over the world.

Citibank was founded in 1812 as the City Bank of New York. Citibank is FDIC insured.

Citi Accelerate Savings Account

  • Interest Rate: 2.36% APY with caveats. It’s only available in 41 states, and you have to open it with a choice of one of five banking packages from Citi.
  • Compounding Period: Daily
  • Fees: No minimum to open, but must maintain a balance of $500 or more to avoid the $4.50 monthly fee.
  • ATM Access: Yes, but only because you have to sign up for the other banking packages that generally include a checking account with ATM access. Fees for accessing a non-Citibank ATM are $2.50 per transaction.
  • Can you bank in person? Yep.
  • Can you bank online? Yes, and through the mobile app.

If you deposited $15,000 into a Citibank account, you could end up with around $15,358 at the end of one year.

The Takeaway: If you already have a checking account that you like, Citi’s Accelerate probably isn’t for you. You are also out of luck if you don’t live in one of the 41 states where the account is available.

Citizens Access Online Savings Account

About Citizens Bank:

Citizens Bank is the 13th largest bank in the U.S., and Citizens Access is its online arm which currently only offers two options for online banking: a savings account and a CD.

Citizens Access is FDIC insured and has been in business (online) since 2018. Citizens Bank has been around since 1828.

Citizens Access Online Savings Account

  • Interest Rate: 2.35% APY
  • Compounding Period: Daily
  • Fees: Minimum opening balance of $5,000 and maintain a minimum of $0.01 to earn the APY. No other fees. If your balance goes below $5,000, you earn only 0.25% APY according to MagnifyMoney.
  • ATM Access: None.
  • Can you bank in person? No.
  • Can you bank online? Yes, and through the mobile app. You’ll need to connect a checking account, use the app to deposit, or you will need to mail in a check to open the account. To get your money out, move it back to your external banking account via transfer.

If you deposited $15,000 into a Citizens Access account, you could end up with around $15,356 at the end of one year.

The Takeaway: If you plan to park your money for some time, Citizens Access is a good bet. For those who need to use the money (and cause the balance to dip below the $5,000 mark), other banking products may be better.

PurePoint Online Savings Account

About PurePoint Financial:

PurePoint is part of MFUG Union Bank and has 22 banking offices in Dallas, Chicago, Miami, New York, and Tampa.

PurePoint has been around since 2017.

PurePoint Online Savings Account

  • Interest Rate: 2.35% APY
  • Compounding Period: Daily
  • Fees: Minimum opening balance of $10,000, and maintain a minimum of $0.01 to earn the APY. If your balance goes below $10,000, you earn 0.25% APY. Any transactions over the allowed six per cycle, and you’ll be charged $10 per occurrence. Otherwise, no fees.
  • ATM Access: None.
  • Can you bank in person? In 22 select locations, yes.
  • Can you bank online? Yes, though there is no mobile app.

If you deposited $15,000 into a Citizens Access account, you could end up with around $15,356 at the end of one year.

The Takeaway: If you can stash that $10,000 minimum and keep it there, then this isn’t a bad bet. If you plan to go below the $10,000 limit, look elsewhere for a more flexible savings account.

The Differences of an Online Savings Account Versus Other Savings Accounts

There’s no denying it, online savings accounts have taken off in the last few years. Nearly every bank offers some form of them, but what’s the difference between an online savings account and one of those regular ones you sign up for in person?

The main difference between online savings accounts and “traditional” savings accounts is how you access them. Since most "traditional" savings accounts require that you go to a physical location to open them, you can have regular access to the bank and banking personnel should you need to speak to someone. Online banks, however, do not have any physical locations that you can visit. You have to either call or work with them online to solve any issues. Additionally, most brick-and-mortar banks have an extensive network of ATMs while online banks may have very limited ATM availability.

Additionally, it’s essential to understand a little about how interest rates are determined. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) at the Federal Reserve, commonly referred to as "The Fed," sets interest rates. The Fed will meet roughly eight times in 2019 and make determinations about what the economy may need to keep firing on all cylinders. The FOMC uses various rates to keep the economy correctly tuned, and the federal funds rate generally nudges banks to increase or decrease the rate of earnings on your savings accounts.

When the FOMC sets rates, those rates generally trickle down to banks and the rates they offer customers, but that’s where online banks and brick-and-mortar banks begin to differ. Despite a long period of rate hikes, most brick-and-mortar banks have not passed along the increased earning potential to consumers. Online banks, on the other hand, have been able to increase their rates because they have less physical infrastructure to maintain. In fact, according to LendingTree, the average savings rate you could get from a brick-and-mortar in December 2018 was 0.26% APY (Annual Percentage Yield), whereas online savings accounts were offering 1.25% APY. That’s a significant difference!

Online savings accounts also typically offer lower fees, or no fees and the convenience of banking — you guessed it — online.

 

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The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online applications for full terms and conditions on offers and bonuses. Please verify all terms and conditions of any online savings account prior to applying. This content is not provided by any company mentioned in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such company. Slickdeals.net does not review every company or every offer available on the market.

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About the Author
Abigail Bassett Contributor

Abigail Bassett is an Emmy-winning journalist and video producer who covers personal finance, wellness, tech, travel, autos and food. Abigail spent more than 10 years as a senior producer at CNN. She’s currently a freelance writer and yoga teacher based in Los Angeles.


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