Pros and Cons of Money Market Accounts

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In an ever-evolving financial landscape, savers and investors have tons of options to store and grow their money. One such instrument is the money market account. But as with any financial product, there are benefits and potential pitfalls. Keep reading to learn the money market account pros and cons.

What Is a Money Market Account?

Money market accounts are a type of savings account that usually offers a higher interest rate than traditional savings accounts. Moreover, it offers more flexibility, allowing for limited check-writing and debit card access.

Money Market Account Pros and Cons

Money market accounts come with their own set of advantages and drawbacks. Here’s a look at each.

Money Market Account Pros

A money market account combines the best of both worlds — the higher interest rates of investment funds and the accessibility of traditional savings accounts. Here’s a look at the notable benefits:

  1. Higher potential returns: One of the primary benefits of the money market account is its potentially higher interest rates compared to standard savings accounts. This means your savings can grow at a faster rate.
  2. Liquidity: The dual nature of money market accounts, combining features of both checking and savings accounts, provides savers with easy access to their funds, be it via checks or debit cards.
  3. Safety: If you’re banking with an FDIC-insured institution, your money market account funds are secured up to the FDIC limit, ensuring your money’s safety against potential bank failures.

Money Market Account Cons

Despite its attractive features, a money market account still has some drawbacks.

  1. Variable interest rates: The interest rates of money market accounts can be variable, which means they might decrease over time, affecting your potential earnings.
  2. Minimum balance requirements: Often, these accounts come with the caveat of maintaining a minimum balance. Failure to meet this threshold can result in fees or reduced interest earnings.
  3. Transaction limits: While the money market account offers flexibility in terms of access, there’s a cap on the number of monthly transactions you can make without incurring fees.

What Are the Risks of a Money Market Account?

Here are a few money market risks to know:

  • The interest rates can be variable, meaning they may decrease over time.
  • If the account’s interest rate doesn’t keep pace with inflation, the real value of the savings could diminish.
  • Though rare, there’s the risk of the financial institution failing, though most accounts are FDIC-insured up to the legal limit.
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Can You Withdraw Money From a Money Market Account?

Yes, one of the primary advantages of a money market account is the ease of access to funds. You can withdraw money, but it’s essential to remember there’s a federally mandated limit. Typically, you’re allowed six withdrawals or transfers per statement cycle without incurring fees. Exceeding this can lead to penalties or other restrictions.

How To Open a Money Market Account

Opening a money market account is a straightforward process, not very different from opening a standard bank account:

  1. Research and compare: Start by researching various financial institutions, including online banks, traditional banks and credit unions. Look for competitive interest rates, minimum deposit requirements, fees and other features.
  2. Gather necessary documentation: Typically, you’ll need proof of identification, a Social Security number or taxpayer identification number and a proof of address.
  3. Visit the institution: While many banks allow online account creation, some might require a physical visit. If that’s the case, ensure you have all the necessary documentation.
  4. Fill out an application: This can usually be done online or in person. The application will require personal information, employment details and might ask for initial deposit details.
  5. Make the initial deposit: Some money market accounts might have a minimum deposit requirement. This deposit can usually be made via a bank transfer, check or in some cases, cash.
  6. Set up online or mobile access: Once your account is open, make sure to set up online and mobile banking features, if available. This will allow you to monitor your balance, make transfers and manage your account efficiently.

Is a Money Market Account Right for You?

Now that you know the money market pros and cons, you may wonder if it’s right for you. The money market account is an excellent fit for individuals aiming to strike a balance between decent returns and liquidity. If you’re someone with a lump sum that you might need access to in the near future — be it for an unexpected expense, a vacation or any other short-term need — a money market account can be ideal.

If locking in a fixed interest rate for an extended period appeals more to you, perhaps a certificate of deposit might be more appropriate. Alternatively, for those seeking higher returns and who are okay with taking on some risk, investing in the stock market or other investment avenues could be more fruitful.

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Final Take

Understanding the money market account pros and cons is pivotal before making any decisions. While these accounts offer a middle ground between earning potential and accessibility, they might not be for everyone. It’s essential to align your financial goals, risk appetite and liquidity needs when considering where to park your money.


Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding money market accounts.
  • Is there a downside to a money market savings account?
    • Yes, while they offer higher interest rates than traditional savings accounts, money market accounts can have variable interest rates, which might decrease over time. Additionally, they often come with minimum balance requirements and transaction limits.
  • What is a con of a money market account?
    • One significant drawback is the variable interest rate. This means the interest you earn isn't fixed and might decrease, affecting your potential returns.
  • What are two disadvantages of a money market account?
    • Some disadvantages to know are:
      • Variable interest rates that might decline over time.
      • Monthly transaction limits, where exceeding can result in fees.
  • What are the benefits of a money market account?
    • Money market accounts typically offer the following benefits:
      • Higher interest rates than standard savings accounts.
      • Provide easy access to funds via check-writing and debit cards.
      • If held at an FDIC-insured institution, the funds are secured up to the FDIC limit.

Editor's note: This article was produced via automated technology and then fine-tuned and verified for accuracy by a member of GOBankingRates' editorial team.


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