Best Savings Accounts of 2021: High Yields & Low Fees

In the era of online banking, competition among savings accounts has become fierce. Many banks offer free savings accounts that come with a host of features, including high interest rates. To help consumers sort through the countless available options, GOBankingRates identified the Best Savings Accounts of 2021 based on the following factors:

  • Minimum deposit to open the savings account
  • Monthly maintenance fee on the account
  • Minimum balance required to avoid a fee
  • Annual percentage yield

Here are GOBankingRates’ Best Savings Accounts of 2021:

Best Savings Accounts of 2021

Savings Account Next Steps

Axos Bank High Yield Savings

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Citizens Access Online Savings

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Synchrony Bank High Yield Savings

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Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings

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Wells Fargo Bank Way2Save Savings

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Capital One 360 Performance Savings

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Ally Bank Online Savings

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JPMorgan Chase Bank Chase Savings

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Betterment Cash Reserve

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FNBO Direct Online Savings

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American Express® High Yield Savings Account

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Barclays Bank Delaware Online Savings

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Comenity Bank High Yield Savings Accounts

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Discover Bank Online Savings

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Sallie Mae Bank High Yield Savings

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TIAA Bank Basic Savings

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NBKC Bank Everything Account

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First Internet Bank Free Savings

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EmigrantDirect American Dream Savings

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My Savings Direct High Interest Savings

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Generally speaking, savings accounts don’t offer as many features as checking accounts, which makes it easier to choose the best ones. The ideal savings account will have no fees, no minimums and a high APY. Each of the accounts below excels in these areas, so you should be able to find a good option here no matter what you’re looking for. Many of the banks are perennial winners and holdovers from the last year’s GOBankingRates Best Savings Accounts list. Read on for a more detailed overview of each account so you can decide which one suits you best.

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Axos Bank: Best Savings Account

Why we like it: Its High Yield Savings account stands out for its 0.81% APY with no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements.

Benefits

  • Free ATM card
  • Low $250 minimum deposit to open an account
  • No maintenance fees
  • No minimum balance requirements to earn interest
  • Interest compounded daily

Drawbacks

  • Online only, no branches

Savings Account

High Yield Savings

Minimum Deposit

$250

Monthly Fee

$0

Minimum Balance to Avoid Fee

$0

Minimum to Earn Interest

$0.01

APY

0.81%
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Citizens Access: Online Savings

Why we like it: With absolutely no fees and an ultra-high yield of 0.60%, Citizens is a great choice for those with $5,000 or more to deposit.

Benefits

  • No fees for anything
  • Easily transfer funds online, set up direct deposit or deposit checks by phone or mail
  • No minimum balance

Drawbacks

  • Can take 2 to 3 business days to transfer funds
  • $5,000 minimum deposit to open an account

Savings Account

Online Savings

Minimum Deposit

$5,000

Monthly Fee

$0

Minimum Balance to Avoid Fee

$0

Minimum to Earn Interest

$5,000

APY

0.60%
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Synchrony Bank: High Yield Savings

Why we like it: Synchrony Bank offers one of the highest yields available for a savings account with no fees and not requiring a minimum deposit.

Benefits

  • Easy withdrawals via ATM, online or by phone
  • No fees
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • 24/7 online and mobile banking
  • Ultra-high APY for a savings account

Drawbacks

  • Subject to closure if account balance remains at $0 for more than 60 days

Savings Account

High Yield Savings

Minimum Deposit

$0

Monthly Fee

$0

Minimum Balance to Avoid Fee

$0

Minimum to Earn Interest

$0.01

APY

0.65%
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Marcus by Goldman Sachs: Online Savings

Why we like it: Goldman Sachs is one of the most well-known names in banking, and its consumer division Marcus offers a user-friendly, no-fee, high-interest savings account.

Benefits

  • Backed by an industry-leading Wall Street firm
  • Easy to link other bank accounts online for incoming and outgoing transfers
  • One of the best savings account rates available
  • No fees

Drawbacks

  • • No ATM card access

Savings Account

Online Savings

Minimum Deposit

$0

Monthly Fee

$0

Minimum Balance to Avoid Fee

$0

Minimum to Earn Interest

$0.01

APY

0.60%
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Wells Fargo Bank: Way2Save Savings

Why we like it: Set up automatic savings when you link a Wells Fargo checking account to your Way2Save savings, and enjoy multiple ways to waive the low monthly service fee.

Benefits

  • Waive the $5 monthly fee with a $300 minimum daily balance or an automatic, recurring deposit
  • Only $25 minimum deposit to open an account
  • Access more than 13,000 Wells Fargo ATMs nationwide
  • Get a free ATM card and/or link to your current Wells Fargo debit or ATM card

Drawbacks

  • Relatively low APY

Savings Account

Way2Save Savings

Minimum Deposit

$25

Monthly Fee

$5

Minimum Balance to Avoid Fee

$300

Minimum to Earn Interest

$0.01

APY

0.01%
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Capital One: 360 Performance Savings

Why we like it: The Capital One 360 Performance Savings account is a great example of an easy-to-use, high-yield account with no fees or minimums.

Benefits

  • High APY
  • Top-rated mobile app with 24/7 account access
  • Digital savings tools, including automatic transfers
  • Mobile check deposit
  • No minimums to open or maintain

Drawbacks

  • No mail deposits available

Savings Account

360 Performance Savings

Minimum Deposit

$0

Monthly Fee

$0

Minimum Balance to Avoid Fee

$0

Minimum to Earn Interest

$0.01

APY

0.50%
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Ally Bank: Online Savings

Why we like it: Ally is a perennial winner when it comes to its online savings account, boasting 24/7 customer service with a live person, no fees and high yields.

Benefits

  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • 24/7 customer service with a live person
  • Free official/cashier’s checks
  • 0.60% APY

Drawbacks

  • No cash deposits

Savings Account

Online Savings

Minimum Deposit

$0

Monthly Fee

$0

Minimum Balance to Avoid Fee

$0

Minimum to Earn Interest

$0.01

APY

0.60%
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JPMorgan Chase Bank: Chase Savings

Why we like it: Chase Bank is a renowned name in the industry, with a robust mobile app, mobile deposits and an APY of 0.01%.

Benefits

  • Access to more than 4,700 branches and 16,000 Chase ATMs nationwide
  • Low monthly fees
  • A number of ways to waive fees easily
  • Robust banking app
  • Mobile deposits

Drawbacks

  • You can find higher APYs elsewhere

Savings Account

Chase Savings

Minimum Deposit

$25

Monthly Fee

$5

Minimum Balance to Avoid Fee

$300

Minimum to Earn Interest

$0.01

APY

0.01%
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Betterment: Cash Reserve

Why we like it: Betterment bank’s Cash Reserve account is a no-fee, high-yield account that offers no limits or fees on withdrawals.

Benefits

  • Place your savings into “buckets” for special occasions or to build your emergency reserves
  • Earn more than the national average APY
  • Money is FDIC-insured for up to $1 million

Drawbacks

  • Withdrawals can take 1 to 2 business days
  • Only available to customers of Betterment, LLC

Savings Account

Cash Reserve

Minimum Deposit

$10

Monthly Fee

$0

Minimum Balance to Avoid Fee

$0

Minimum to Earn Interest

$0.01

APY

0.40%
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FNBO Direct: Online Savings

Why we like it: A free account with a high interest rate is what most online savers seek. FNBO Direct provides that with a 0.60% APY in a secure account, requiring just $1 to open.

Benefits

  • First-class online security
  • Easy way to send and receive funds via PopMoney
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • No minimum balance requirement

Drawbacks

  • $1 minimum to open an account

Savings Account

Online Savings

Minimum Deposit

$1

Monthly Fee

$0

Minimum Balance to Avoid Fee

$0

Minimum to Earn Interest

$0.01

APY

0.60%
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American Express® High Yield Savings Account

Why we like it: One of the most respected global financial services firms, American Express National Bank, Member FDIC offers a savings account no monthly fees with one of the best yields available.

Benefits

  • Firm known for worldwide assistance and customer support
  • 24/7 online access
  • Direct deposit available
  • Can link to accounts at other institutions
  • No monthly fees

Drawbacks

  • No complimentary online checking account

Savings Account

High Yield Savings

Minimum Deposit

$0

Monthly Fee

$0

Minimum Balance to Avoid Fee

$0

Minimum to Earn Interest

$0.01

APY

0.40%
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Barclays Bank Delaware: Online Savings

Why we like it: Barclays Bank makes our list again with a high 0.60% APY, no minimum balances and no maintenance fees.

Benefits

  • Online transfers
  • Secure, 24/7 access
  • No maintenance fees
  • No minimum balance requirements

Drawbacks

  • No ATM card access

Savings Account

Online Savings

Minimum Deposit

$0

Monthly Fee

$0

Minimum Balance to Avoid Fee

$0

Minimum to Earn Interest

$0.01

APY

0.60%
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Comenity Bank: High Yield Savings

Why we like it: Enjoy a high APY of 0.60% with no monthly maintenance fees and just a $100 deposit to open the account.

Benefits

  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • Ultra-high APY
  • Mobile deposits and online banking

Drawbacks

  • $100 opening deposit
  • Fees for outgoing wire transfers, official checks and paper statements

Savings Account

High Yield Savings

Minimum Deposit

$100

Monthly Fee

$0

Minimum Balance to Avoid Fee

$0

Minimum to Earn Interest

$0.01

APY

0.60%
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Discover Bank: Online Savings

Why we like it: In addition to no minimum deposit or fees, the Discover Bank Online Savings account offers a generous APY of 0.60%.

Benefits

  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • No charges for official checks or incoming wire transfers
  • No overdraft fee
  • 24/7 customer service

Drawbacks

  • If you exceed 6 withdrawals per month, Discover may refuse the transactions and/or close the account

Savings Account

Online Savings

Minimum Deposit

$0

Monthly Fee

$0

Minimum Balance to Avoid Fee

$0

Minimum to Earn Interest

$0.01

APY

0.60%
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Sallie Mae Bank: High Yield Savings

Why we like it: Sallie Mae Bank made its way onto our list by virtue of its no-fee, no-minimum, high-yield savings account that delivers an APY of 0.55%.

Benefits

  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • Easy online account management

Drawbacks

  • No 24-hour live customer service

Savings Account

High Yield Savings

Minimum Deposit

$0

Monthly Fee

$0

Minimum Balance to Avoid Fee

$0

Minimum to Earn Interest

$0.01

APY

0.55%
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TIAA Bank: Basic Savings

Why we like it: This “basic” savings account is anything but basic, with an ultra-high yield 0.50% APY and $25 opening deposit.

Benefits

  • No monthly fee with $25 minimum daily balance
  • High APY
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Deposit funds via mail, mobile deposit or online transfer

Drawbacks

  • Online banking only

Savings Account

Basic Savings

Minimum Deposit

$25

Monthly Fee

$5

Minimum Balance to Avoid Fee

$25

Minimum to Earn Interest

$0.01

APY

0.50%
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NBKC Bank: Everything Account

Why we like it: NBKC keeps it simple with an “Everything Account” that functions as both a checking and savings account, with a generous 0.80% APY and no minimum balance required.

Benefits

  • No fees, including maintenance, overdraft or foreign transactions
  • No minimum deposit or minimum balance to avoid fees
  • Access to more than 34,000 MoneyPass ATMs nationwide
  • Get reimbursed up to $12 monthly on out-of-network ATM fees
  • Free online bill pay

Drawbacks

  • Online only, no branches

Savings Account

Everything Account

Minimum Deposit

$0

Monthly Fee

$0

Minimum Balance to Avoid Fee

$0

Minimum to Earn Interest

$0.01

APY

0.80%
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First Internet Bank: Free Savings

Why we like it: No monthly maintenance fees, and a $25 minimum deposit to open your account put First Internet Bank Free Savings on our list of best savings accounts for 2021.

Benefits

  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Only $25 minimum deposit to open an account
  • Up to $10 in ATM surcharges refunded per month

Drawbacks

  • $3 charge for paper statements
  • Limit of 6 withdrawals per month before $5 fee is imposed

Savings Account

Free Savings

Minimum Deposit

$25

Monthly Fee

$0

Minimum Balance to Avoid Fee

$0

Minimum to Earn Interest

$0.01

APY

0.35%
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EmigrantDirect: American Dream Savings

Why we like it: Affiliated with Emigrant Bank — in business since 1850 — this ultra-high yield online savings account has no fees and can be linked to any personal checking account.

Benefits

  • No minimum deposit required
  • Link to any checking account
  • High 0.50% APY

Drawbacks

  • Must be 18 or older and have a personal checking account to open a savings account

Savings Account

American Dream Savings

Minimum Deposit

$0

Monthly Fee

$0

Minimum Balance to Avoid Fee

$0

Minimum to Earn Interest

$0.01

APY

0.50%
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MySavingsDirect: High Interest Savings

Why we like it: MySavingsDirect High Interest Savings account checks all the boxes for an easy-to-use, high-yield and online-only savings account.

Benefits

  • No minimum deposit required
  • Link to any checking account
  • High 0.50% APY
  • No monthly fees

Drawbacks

  • Must be 18 or older and have a personal checking account to open a savings account

Savings Account

High Interest Savings

Minimum Deposit

$0

Monthly Fee

$0

Minimum Balance to Avoid Fee

$0

Minimum to Earn Interest

$0.01

APY

0.50%
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Tips for Choosing the Best Savings Account

A savings account is usually a simple parking place for money that’s being accumulated toward a goal, such as an emergency fund or a vacation. As such, savings accounts don’t necessarily need all of the bells and whistles that other accounts might offer. What you should really look for in a savings account is security, a high yield, no fees and easy access to your funds.

Since most savings accounts have the same Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. insurance and many charge no fees, the deciding factor might come down to two simple acronyms: APY and ATM. You’ll want an account with a high APY, and you’ll also want an account that doesn’t charge fees to access your funds at an ATM. It’s up to you to decide which of these is a priority, but they are not mutually exclusive. Many of the accounts on this list offer both high yields and no ATM fees, so your search might be shorter than you think.

Savings Accounts vs. Money Market Accounts

Savings accounts and money market accounts are both places to hold your money, but they serve different purposes and typically offer different terms.

Money market accounts are generally designed to be more accessible, and they often come with check-writing capabilities. Money market accounts also typically pay higher yields than savings accounts but might require higher minimum balances. Savings accounts are for customers who may not require frequent access to their funds but want to earn the highest yields available, preferably in a no-fee wrapper.

Take a look at some of the pros and cons of online savings accounts:

Advantages of a Savings Account 

  • Access to cash via ATMs: Some savings accounts offer you access to your cash anywhere in the world via an ATM network.
  • Access to online and mobile banking: The vast majority of modern savings accounts offer the ability to check your account information via your smartphone or the web.
  • FDIC insurance: Savings accounts are insured by the FDIC for up to $250,000 per covered bank.

Disadvantages of a Savings Account

  • Not particularly liquid: Although you can usually access your savings account via an ATM, certain savings account transactions — including pre-authorized, automatic, check or debit card transactions — are limited to six withdrawals per month by federal law.
  • Accounts generally have some type of fees: Most modern online savings accounts don’t charge monthly maintenance fees, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely free of fees. Most still have fees for certain transactions, such as wire transfers, overdrafts or out-of-network ATM transactions.
  • ATM withdrawal limitations: If you’re withdrawing money from your savings account at an ATM, you may only be able to access a few hundred dollars per day, depending on the rules of your particular bank. If you’re banking at an online-only institution, you won’t even be able to go into a branch to take out additional funds.
  • May have minimum balance requirements to avoid monthly fees: Although there are many banks that offer free savings accounts, they might come with restrictions. You may need to maintain a certain minimum balance to keep your account “free” — or even keep your account open at all.

How Much Do Americans Have in Savings?

GOBankingRates survey revealed that a high percentage of Americans don’t have any money in their savings accounts. About 50% of women and 30% of men from the survey claimed they have $0 in savings. Although people might see the disadvantages to savings accounts, it’s important to keep the long-term benefits in mind when they need to put money aside for an emergency or a major purchase.

Summary

Because consumers’ needs, budgets, and incomes vary so dramatically, no one bank account will meet the needs of every customer. Fortunately, today’s banks provide plenty of options to choose from. Decide on the banking features most important to you, and you’ll narrow down your choices to find the best savings account for you right now. While interest rates in the United States are currently among the lowest in the world, you can still find plenty of good, safe yields from the accounts on the list above, mostly for little or no cost.

FAQ

The concept behind a savings account is simple: Deposit your money and earn interest. However, there are still many common questions regarding savings accounts, particularly online-only banks. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about savings accounts.

  • What Is a Savings Account?
    • A savings account is an insured place where you can earn interest on your invested funds. Features and benefits, along with fees and yields, may vary from institution to institution.
  • How Does a Savings Account Work?
    • A savings account is merely a holding place for money. Generally, you won’t make many withdrawals from your savings account; you’ll make deposits as you build toward a short-term savings goal. Some banks may offer ATM access to a savings account, but others will require you to transfer money to a checking account to withdraw it.
  • What Is a Savings Account Used For?
    • A savings account is generally used for short-term savings, such as an emergency fund or a vacation.
  • Can I Open a Savings Account with No Money?
    • Each individual bank sets its own account minimum, but many online savings accounts come free of charge. Ally Bank, for example, has no minimum required balance to open an account and no monthly maintenance fees. Savings accounts with no minimum balance and no minimum opening deposit may be perfect to introduce kids to the beauty of saving.
  • What Is a Free Savings Account?
    • In the competitive world of financial services, many savings accounts — particularly from online banks — are now free of monthly maintenance fees. However, even with “free” savings accounts, you may face fees for certain transactions, such as overdrafts or excessive withdrawals.
  • Can I Get Free Money From Opening a Savings Account?
    • Although promotions are more common with checking accounts, some banks do offer bonus payments if you open accounts with a certain minimum balance.
  • What Is the Limit of a Savings Account?
    • Most banks don’t limit the amount that you can deposit into your savings account. However, there are some real-world limitations that you should be aware of. For starters, FDIC insurance only covers the first $250,000 you deposit into a savings account at a single institution, so you’ll want to spread out your accounts if you have more than that saved. Next, some banks lower the interest rate that they pay on larger deposits, so make sure you’re getting the most out of your savings. Lastly, if you’re just using your savings account as an emergency fund, you might want to consider other investments that can help you get a higher return on your money, since most people don’t need $250,000 stored in an emergency fund.

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    Methodology: To discover the Best Savings accounts, GOBankingRates looked at the top institutions in terms of total assets size that had available published data. To determine rankings GOBankingRates looked at the following factors: (1) total assets as sourced from the FDIC; (2) number of branch locations as sourced from the FDIC; (3) minimum deposit to open an account; (4) monthly fees associated with the account; (5) minimum balance needed to avoid the fee; (6) minimum balance needed in account to earn APY; (7) savings APY; and (8) the average mobile app rating between the android and apple stores. All factors were then scored and combined, with the lowest score being best. Factors (1) and (6) were weighed 1.5 times, factor (2) was weighted 2 times, and factor (7) was weighted 4 times. For all Savings and Checking Account data only the basic accounts/products offered at each institution was analyzed. All data is up to date as of November 4, 2020, rates and fees subject to change.

    John Csiszar contributed to the reporting for this article.

    Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the bank advertiser, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. This site may be compensated through the bank advertiser Affiliate Program.

    Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone and have not been endorsed by American Express.

    About the Author

    Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.

    Best Savings Accounts of 2021: High Yields & Low Fees
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