What Is A High Yield Savings Account?

Looking for higher returns to save money for long-term goals? A high yield savings account is what you need.

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If you have a checking account at your local bank, you possibly have a savings account there as well. Many people deposit their money into a savings account to receive interest and watch their money increase over time. But some savings accounts extend a much higher return than others which is where high-yield savings accounts come into play.

Though the national average return on a traditional savings account is just 0.06%, a high-yield savings account applies much higher interest earnings to your savings.

For this reason, people store their cash in a high-yield savings account to accomplish their goals more swiftly — whether it’s saving up for something in the short term, like a vacation or planning to make a large expenditure down the road, for instance, a down payment on a home.

What is a High Yield Savings Accounts?

High-yield savings accounts stand out from conventional savings accounts in that they compensate you with a higher interest rate, letting your money to increase even quicker as it lies in your account.

The interest rate that these accounts present is stated as APY, or annual percentage yield. The higher your APY on certain savings accounts, the swifter your money grows.

It’s crucial to take note of, though, that the APY that savings accounts offer when you register can alter at any time. These rates are changeable and frequently go up or down in accord with the Federal Reserve altering its benchmark interest rate.

Although the current economic climate has triggered savings rates to decline as of lately, the highest-yielding accounts can still earn you more money than ordinary savings accounts. With the national average APY on savings accounts at just 0.06%, it’s very probable that regardless of what your high-yield savings account offers, it will still earn you more than a normal savings account. And as the economy recuperates and the Fed later increases interest rates back up, APYs on the savings account will follow suit.

Not only does your money earn an improved return in a high-yield savings account, nonetheless you still have your cash available to you when you need it just like in a normal savings account. Your money in a high-yield savings account should be federally insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which suggests that deposits up to $250,000 are secured if the bank were to experience unexpected failure.

How High-yield Savings Accounts Work?

Compound interest lets your savings to increase quickly in a high-yield savings account.

Contrasted to simple interest, compound interest implies you earn interest on both your principal balance and the interest it earns. With simple interest, it is just computed based on your principal, or the balance you have in your savings excluding interest.

How regularly your interest is compounded is based on the savings account. Some compound daily, while others compound monthly. The more your interest compounds, the better your return.

With a high-yield savings account, you can withdraw or transfer money (including electronic transfers, checks, and wire transfers) out of your account up to six times per month without having to pay a penalty fee or take the risk of having your account closed. Nevertheless, this federal law, called Regulation D, has been provisionally revoked for all savings deposits during the coronavirus outburst as people are demanding more urgent access to their money.

While a solid APY plays a big role in selecting a high-yield savings account, you will also want to view the fine print. Since online banks don’t have the overhead costs that brick-and-mortar banks have to consider, they may extend a higher APY. But it could come with starting deposits, minimum balance conditions, and monthly fees, so be sure to read carefully.

Benefits of a High Yield Savings Account

Some banks need you to make large deposits to open high-yield savings accounts. Moving forward, you also have to keep large balances to escape heavy fees, earn interest, or even keep your account open.

But in the era of the internet, it’s simple to evaluate savings accounts to discover the ones with the highest rates and the best provisions. In fact, many online banks are proposing the best rates and conditions on their savings accounts in order to contend with their brick-and-mortar equals.

For example, some of the most popular online banks offer savings accounts with annual percentage yields (APYs) that rise above 1.00%. And they need very little in return. Numerous let you open one with any amount you’d like. And from there, you don’t even require to keep a minimum balance or incur monthly service fees.

Some banks also connect your savings accounts to debit cards. You can make use of these cards to make unrestricted withdrawals at any ATM. Also, many banks work with large ATM networks like AllPoint. This implies you can gain access to your money fee-free at thousands of ATMs throughout the country. In some instances, banks will even pay back fees for using non-network ATMs.

Disadvantages of a High-Yield Savings Account

There’s something known as Regulation D that you ought to be careful of. This isn’t really a downside on the part of the bank or the account. It’s just another annoying government regulation. In fact, it regulates all savings and money market accounts.

This rule restricts some transactions and withdrawals to six per monthly statement cycle. The following transactions count toward those six.

  • Transfers to other accounts even with the same bank
  • Automatic transfers like those occurred to pay bills or fund another account occasionally
  • ACH withdrawals
  • Point of Sale (POS) transactions made with a debit card
  • Transfers managed by phone
  • Transfers made through check or debit card

Nevertheless, you can make limitless withdrawals through ATMs and from tellers at physical branches.

What to Consider When Choosing a High-yield Savings Account?

Here are a few crucial things to think about when hunting for a high-yield savings account.

Annual percentage yield

One of the most critical factors when selecting a high-yield savings account is the APY.

APY contains the effect of compounding. It’s the interest earned on your initial deposit in addition to the interest earned on top of other interest earnings

And in the situations of APYs, higher is always good. But it’s essential to evaluate the APY against the conditions to earn the yield.

For instance, Bank X pays a slightly higher APY than Bank Y, but Bank X has a higher minimum deposit condition and minimum balance requirement than Bank Y. If you can fulfill the criteria of Bank X, it’s worth contemplating. If not, Bank Y might be the safer option.

Fluctuation in rates

Apart from APY, you’ll also need to think about a bank or credit union’s inclination to change interest rates. Dissimilar to CDs, which lock in a rate for a period of time, savings account yields have a tendency to be variable. That implies they could alter at any time.

A bank may lower or increase an APY for numerous reasons. Your savings account rate could rise if a bank is trying to draw more deposits by offering a provisional promotional rate. Or wider economic factors — like the three Federal Reserve interest rate cuts in 2019, and the two emergency rate cuts from the Fed due to coronavirus in March — have triggered banks and credit unions to reduce their rates. Some savers have noticed their yields decrease in recent months as the Fed has lowered its benchmark rate.

Consider how frequently a bank offers teaser rates that may vary and decide what your prospective earnings could look like after a year. For more peace of mind, take into account a CD or explore savings accounts with a rate assurance for six months to one year.

Minimum deposit required

The minimum deposit needed, sometimes referred to as an opening deposit, can be a big element when determining which high-yield savings account to select.

Minimum deposit amounts differ widely across banks — some need nothing to open an account, while some require a deposit of $10,000 or more.

Think about your budget and determine how much you can reasonably invest when comparing high-yield savings products. If you’re attempting to hit a specific goal, ask yourself how much you’re eager to save and over what period of time.

The more you invest and the better the interest rate, the quicker the compound interest will assist you to reach your goal. But if you can’t pay a particular minimum amount, it’s best to go with an account that requires less of a direct financial commitment.

Accounts needing a higher minimum deposit may offer a higher yield, but that’s not always the situation. Make sure to verify minimum deposit requirements at all institutions you’re contemplating prior to opening an account. Many of the best high-yield savings accounts need a minimum opening deposit of $100 or less.

Minimum balance required

Not only do some high-yield savings accounts require a minimum deposit to open an account, but they may also need a minimum balance to earn the APY or avoid fees.

One common fee banks charge for not keeping a minimum balance in the account is known as the “monthly maintenance fee.” But every so often, as long as you sustain the minimum balance, the bank will remove the fee.

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Similar to minimum deposit amounts, minimum balance requirements can vary from $0 to well over $10,000.

What’s vital to consider when assessing the minimum balance requirements of several high-yield savings accounts is how often you’ll need to gain access to the money, and whether you’ll be able to keep the balance in order to earn the APY.

Withdrawal options

Prior to opening any kind of savings account, it’s essential to consider how frequently you’ll need to gain access to the money.

Regulation D also referred to as “Reg D,” is the reason savers might be restricted to six transactions/withdrawals per month from savings accounts or money market accounts. Though, a provisional final rule instituted this year by the Federal Reserve Board halted the implementation of the six transfer limit and made this number unlimited. Banks might have a higher monthly limit now. For example, American Express National Bank now permits up to nine withdrawals or transfers per month. But some banks might still have a six transactions limit. So, verify with your bank to see its policy and limits.

Furthermore, banks all have their own alternatives and rules for withdrawing and transferring funds. So, it’s important to dive into the specifics of an account before signing up.

Finding the Best High-interest Savings Accounts

Some banks extend tiered interest rates. To earn the highest yield, you may have to maintain a large amount of money in your account. For instance, a bank may propose a high yield, but it might need a deposit of at least $25,000 or even $100,000 to earn that APY.

Some savings accounts extend a competitive yield without needing a high minimum deposit. Those types of accounts are perfect for savers in the course of developing their emergency fund.

Determine how much you stand to make with all of these offers utilizing our simple savings calculator. Take into account other aspects prior to selecting a new bank, including fees, digital capabilities, and branch and ATM access.

How to Open A High-yield Savings Account?

Whether you want to create your emergency fund or save for a vacation or something else, a high-yield savings account can assist you to reach your goals. Opening a high-yield savings account is fairly simple, too. Here is what you’ll be required to do:

  1. Explore around: High-yield savings accounts are offered by online banks, traditional banks with physical locations, and credit unions. The most crucial part of the procedure is to explore around to find the best high-yield savings account with the characteristics you need (like a well-reviewed mobile app or no-fee account).

You’ll possibly discover higher APY offerings at online institutions since they don’t have as much overhead to incur and pass the savings along to savers. As you contemplate your options, think outside APY, too. Evaluate the rates, fees, and services offered to get the best fit for you.

  1. Submit an application: Once you’ve selected a high-yield savings account, you’ll be required to fill out an application. It might seem like a hassle. But it should only consume a few minutes. The bank or credit union will possibly request personal information, as well as your driver’s license number, Social Security number, mailing address, and date of birth. In many instances, you’ll be able to fill out the application online.
  2. Fund your account: Once you’ve been accepted, it’s time to fund your account. You have a few choices. You can finance your account by connecting a checking account to your new savings account and move money from checking to savings. Some banks will also let you snap a picture of a check and make a mobile deposit to your new account. Depending on the bank, you might also be able to finance your new savings account with cash, via a wire transfer, or by mailing in a check.

You’ll need to make certain you deposit sufficient money into the account to fulfill the minimum deposit prerequisite. The bank could charge you a maintenance fee or slap you with a lower-than-projected interest rate until you fulfill the minimum balance required.

Discover High-yield Savings Accounts

Best widely available online savings accounts with top high yield rates:

1. Best Overall Rate: Vio Bank – 0.66% APY, $100 minimum balance to open (no ATM access)

Vio Bank, formed in 2018, is the national online division of MidFirst Bank. MidFirst Bank has been an FDIC-insured bank since 1934 and was founded in 1911, according to the FDIC. Vio Bank proposes both a High Yield Online Savings account and CDs.

Pros: Vio Bank’s High Yield Online Savings account has one of the highest yields around, and all balances get this APY. It also has a low minimum requisite of $100 to open the account. The account has no monthly fee. There is no cost for incoming domestic or international wire transfers. There also aren’t any fees for the outgoing or incoming external transfers. Although the cost of sending a domestic wire transfer is $30.

Cons: You’ll be charged $5 each month for choosing to obtain paper statements for your account. After you make six withdrawals during your monthly statement cycle, you’ll pay a $10 fee for every withdrawal after that.

2. High Rate: Popular Direct – 0.65% APY, $5,000 minimum balance needed for APY (no ATM access)

A Popular Direct Ultimate Savings account is opened via Popular Bank. Popular Bank is an FDIC-insured bank that was created in 1999, according to the FDIC.

Pros: Popular Direct provides an extremely competitive APY on its Popular Direct Ultimate Savings account, which debuted in July 2019. You can deposit a check into your Popular Direct Plus Savings account by making use of your mobile device.

Cons: Popular Direct has a higher minimum balance condition than some other banks. But there are also banks that have higher deposit needs as well. ATM cards are not accessible for a Popular Direct savings account, but you can make an external transfer through ACH. There are some fees to be mindful of. There’s a $25 fee if you close your account within the first 180 days. Also, if your balance goes lower than $500 for any day during your statement cycle, there’s a $4 fee.

3. High Rate: Synchrony Bank – 0.60% APY, no minimum balance needed for APY (ATM access)

Synchrony Bank provides a variety of depository products for consumers. That comprises a savings account, money market account, and several CDs. As an online bank, it has reduced overhead cost, which implies it can pay back those savings to customers in the shape of higher rates. Undeniably, its savings account and other depository products are regularly among the best-paying accounts.

Pros: Synchrony also has a highly rated customer service department accessible by online chat or by phone seven days per week. And customers get hold of a lot of incentives, including complimentary identity theft resolution and travel and leisure discounts. You’ll even receive a dedicated customer service number as a “Diamond” customer. That’s in addition to access to webinars, three free wire transfers per statement cycle, and limitless ATM reimbursements.

Cons: Synchrony Bank doesn’t offer a checking account. It’s not a full-service bank. So, if you’re seeking liquidity, you might want to store your cash elsewhere.

4. High Rate: Comenity Direct – 0.60% APY, $100 minimum to open an account (no ATM access)

Comenity Direct was established in 2018 and introduced its High-Yield Savings Account in April 2019. Comenity Direct is a brand of Comenity Capital Bank. Comenity Bank is best recognized for its co-branded, private label, and business credit card programs. Comenity Bank and Comenity Capital Bank partner with more than 160 retailers worldwide on those credit cards.

Pros: Comenity Direct has one of the top APYs open. Comenity Direct also has customer care representatives accessible on the phone Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Central. On weekends and most holidays, the phone hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central. Moreover, Comenity Direct has the Comenity Direct mobile app. This lets you make deposits and withdrawals. The app, which is accessible for iOS and Android, also allows you to make contact with customer service and verify your balance.

Cons: The account doesn’t provide an ATM card or a debit card for ATM access. But you are able to begin free ACH transfers.

5. High Rate: Ally Bank – 0.50% APY, no minimum balance needed for APY and a free checking account (no ATM access)

Ally Bank opened in 2004 and is headquartered in Sandy, Utah. In 2009, GMAC Bank was converted into Ally Bank. Ally Bank surpassed 1 million Ally Bank customer accounts in 2012 and had around 1.97 million customers, according to its 2019 annual report.

Pros: You can deposit checks remotely with Ally eCheck Deposit. The Online Savings Account also has no monthly maintenance costs. Ally Bank also offers 24/7 live customer care.

Cons: Similar to many online banks, you won’t be able to deposit cash in this account. If you only have the Online Savings Account you won’t be able to obtain an ATM or debit card. You’re only able to deposit $50,000 in a day and up to $250,000 every 30 calendar days through eCheck Deposit.

6. High Rate: American Express National Bank – 0.50% APY, no minimum balance needed for APY (no ATM access)

American Express is well-known for its credit cards. But it also proposes a competitive savings account. The company also presents a range of CDs.

Pros: The online high yield savings account from American Express offers a competitive rate. It doesn’t charge any monthly fees, and it doesn’t need a minimum balance. The power to link current bank accounts poses an easy solution if you have outside accounts that you’d like to see on one platform.

Cons: American Express doesn’t have a checking account, so you’ll require to bank elsewhere to get one. Like other online banks, American Express does not have any branch locations. And it does not offer a mobile check deposit alternative — American Express reserves mobile apps for its credit card customers.

7. High Rate: Citibank – 0.50% APY, no minimum balance needed for APY (ATM access)

Citibank, the retail banking division of Citigroup, unveiled a high-yield savings account known as Citi Accelerate in 2019. The account pays well beyond the national average as well as higher than many of the savings rates proposed by some of the nation’s largest banks. There’s no minimum balance prerequisite to earn the APY and no minimum to open an account. But the APY is only accessible in select markets.

Pros: If you’re already a Citi customer or you’re exploring an account at a bank that has a huge national presence, this high-yield savings account may be worth contemplating. The APY is among the best yields you’ll find at a big bank, and the $0 minimum balance needed to earn the APY makes it simple for anyone to begin saving.

Cons: The account involves a monthly service charge fee of $4.50 if you open the Citi Accelerate Savings account in a Basic or Access Account package. If you select one of those packages, the fee can be removed by maintaining at least a $500 average monthly balance.

8. High Rate: Discover Bank – 0.50% APY, no minimum balance needed for APY (no ATM access)

Discover Bank has been providing deposit products online ever since 2007. Discover is best recognized for its credit cards. But it also offers a savings account, money market account, checking account, and CDs. The Discover Online Savings Account isn’t the highest-yielding account. Although it offers a very good APY and it has no minimum opening deposit and no monthly fee.

Pros: Discover Bank is a good choice for an online bank that offers the most common types of deposit products. Not many online banks provide checking, money market accounts, savings, and CDs. But Discover Bank offers all four and has competitive products in each group. It also offers a good yield on its savings account. Discover Bank might be for you if you would like your checking and savings at the same online bank.

Cons: The Discover Bank Online Savings Account has a reliable APY. But there are higher-yielding accounts available.

High-yield Savings Account Calculator

Use the free high yield savings calculator to understand how your money can increase over time. When you place money in a savings account, the interest you earn builds on itself.

A high-yield savings account can be a beneficial middle ground for your money, offering the security of your principal, the safety of federal insurance, and a yield that’s higher than a normal savings account although less than you could possibly earn from riskier investments. Just be certain to think through how one or more high-yield accounts can best fulfill your financial goals and situation. Then, do your research to discover an account that will boost your earnings at the same time that it allows you to avoid fees without enforcing restrictions that don’t match your needs.

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Charles Bains

Charles Bains

Charles Bains started his insurance career as a marketing intern before pounding the pavement as a commercial lines agent in Orlando, FL. As an industry journalist, his articles have appeared in a variety of trade publications. His insurance television career, short-lived but glorious, once saw him serve as the expert adviser on an insurance-themed infomercial (yes, you read that correctly). Having recently worked for various organizations, coupled with his broader insurance knowledge, Charles is able to understand our client’s needs and guide them accordingly. He is a gem for Insurance Noon as his wide area of expertise and experience have been beneficial in conducting further researches to come up with solutions and writing them in a manner which is easy for everyone including beginners to comprehend.

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