7 Best Savings Accounts of January 2024 (Up to 5.27%) - NerdWallet (2024)

What you need to know about the best savings accounts

What do the best savings accounts have in common?

The best savings account interest rates are around 5%. At a brick-and-mortar bank, you'll often find savings rates closer to the national average, which is currently 0.47%.

If you have a $10,000 savings balance, choosing an account that pays 5% will earn you about $500 in a year, while an account paying you 0.40% APY would earn about $40. The difference increases the more you deposit and the longer you keep it in the account.

Why should I care about the best savings account rates?

If you have money left in your checking account each month — or you can adjust your budget so that you do — you should have a savings account with a high rate. (Again, think around 5%.) It's always helpful to have money set aside for emergencies, and it'll earn you much more in an account that pays one of the best savings account rates than in a checking account.

Just make sure you can keep enough in your savings account to avoid monthly fees. Most online savings accounts don't charge these, but many traditional accounts do.

What monthly fees do savings accounts usually have?

The best savings accounts typically don’t charge monthly fees. You make your deposit and watch your balance grow as your money earns interest.

» Find out how your savings could add up with NerdWallet’s compound interest calculator.

Why does NerdWallet pick online savings accounts as the best savings accounts?

It's easy to find a savings account at your local bank, but if you want to earn a high rate and pay the lowest fees, you should consider storing your savings in an online account. Without the added expenses of large branch networks, online banks and nonbank providers are able to offer more favorable returns than national brick-and-mortar banks.

» Learn more about NerdWallet's favorite high-yield online savings accounts.

Is my money safe in a savings account?

Yes, provided your money is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the National Credit Union Administration.

» Dig deeper: Learn more about FDIC and NCUA insurance for deposit accounts.

Do the best savings account interest rates change over time?

Yes, rates are variable and can change over time. If you are looking for a fixed rate account, and can set aside funds for a specific time period without making a withdrawal, consider opening a certificate of deposit. NerdWallet's list of best CD rates features top options.

How often do interest rates change?

Financial institutions generally don’t change savings rates on an hourly, daily or even monthly basis. In fact, under normal circumstances, it’s common to see APYs remain the same for several months.

It’s important to note, however, that rates are variable and theoretically can change at any time. In addition, many providers will change their rates based on what their competitors are doing. You will often see groups of providers increase or decrease their APYs at around the same time, especially if the Federal Reserve recently increased or cut rates.

To get the best yield for your money, it’s a good idea to check out the best savings rates on a regular basis — at least once a month.

» Find high rates across checking, savings and other accounts in NerdWallet's list of high-interest accounts.

Savings account terms you need to know:

Savings account: A deposit account from a financial institution that typically earns interest.

Interest: Money a financial institution pays into an account over time.

Compound interest: Compound interest is the interest you earn on both your original money and on the interest you keep accumulating. In an account that pays compound interest, the return is added to the original principal at the end of every compounding period, typically daily or monthly. Each time interest is calculated and added to the account, the larger balance earns more interest.

Annual percentage yield: The annual percentage yield, or APY, is the amount of interest an account earns in a year. The calculation is based on the account’s interest rate and the number of times interest is paid during the year.

» Read more about 10 essential banking terms you need to know.

How can I earn high interest rates besides a savings account?

Here are a few options:

Money market accounts: These accounts are a type of savings account, but they might have higher minimum balances and offer perks such as check-writing, which is rare for savings accounts.

Certificates of deposit: These accounts lock your balance away for a specified period of time — often between one year and five years — in exchange for a higher interest rate. But if you withdraw any money during the term, you'll typically have to pay a penalty. CDs are also covered by FDIC insurance.

» Find out more about your savings account options.

Is savings account interest taxable?

Yes, savings account interest is generally taxable. Your provider will probably send you a form reporting it if you earned more than $10 during the tax year. Note that you are likely to earn more interest with a high-yield savings account.

What’s the difference when NerdWallet notes “Member FDIC” vs. “funds insured by FDIC” on savings accounts?

When we describe a savings account that is offered by a bank, we note “Member FDIC,” since the bank is a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the account is federally insured. If a financial technology company — not a bank — offers a savings account, it typically partners with a bank that is an FDIC member to hold the funds so deposits can be insured. In those cases, we note “funds insured by the FDIC.” Savings accounts at credit unions are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration, so we note “funds insured by the NCUA.”

Full list of editorial picks: best savings accounts

Here are all of NerdWallet's picks for the best savings accounts.

  • American Express, 4.35% APY (annual percentage yield) as of 12/14/2023. Minimum to open = $0 (read full review). Member FDIC.

  • Barclays, 4.35% savings APY with no minimum to open account (read full review), Member FDIC.

  • Bask Bank, 5.10% savings APY with no minimum to open account (read full review), Member FDIC.

  • BMO Alto, 5.10% savings APY with no minimum to open account (read full review), funds insured by FDIC.

  • Bread Savings, 5.15% savings APY with $100 minimum to open account, (read full review), Member FDIC.*

  • CIT Bank, 5.05% savings APY with $100 minimum to open account (read full review), Member FDIC.

  • Citibank, 4.45% savings APY with no minimum to open account (read full review), Member FDIC.

  • Citizens, 4.50% savings APY with $0.01 minimum to open account (read full review), Member FDIC.

  • Discover Bank, 4.35% savings APY with no minimum to open account (read full review), Member FDIC.

  • EverBank (formerly TIAA Bank), 5.15% savings APY with no minimum to open account (read full review), Member FDIC.

  • First Foundation Bank, 5.00% savings APY with $1,000 minimum to open account (read full review), Member FDIC.

  • LendingClub, 4.65% savings APY, $100 minimum to open account (read full review), Member FDIC.

  • Marcus, 4.50% savings APY with no minimum to open account (read full review), Member FDIC.

  • Quontic Bank, 4.50% savings APY with $100 minimum to open account (read full review), Member FDIC.

  • Salem Five Direct, 5.01% savings APY with no minimum to open account (read full review), Member FDIC.

  • Sallie Mae Bank, 4.50% savings APY with no minimum to open account (read full review), Member FDIC.

  • SoFi, 4.60% savings APY (variable and subject to change) with no minimum to open account (read full review), Member FDIC.

  • Synchrony Bank, 4.75% savings APY with no minimum to open account (read full review), Member FDIC.

  • TAB Bank, 5.27% savings APY with no minimum to open account (read full review), Member FDIC.

  • UFB Direct, 5.25% savings APY with no minimum to open account, Member FDIC.Editor's note: Over the past year, NerdWallet readers have described delays in getting issues resolved through customer support. These complaints don't factor into UFB Direct's star ratings. Please read the full review for more details.

  • Upgrade, 5.07% APY, no minimum to open account (read full review), funds insured by FDIC.

» Interested in getting money from banks? See NerdWallet's best bank account promotions and bonuses

*Bread Savings disclosure

Bread Savings says: All Bread Savings APYs are accurate as of 01/18/2024. APYs are subject to change at any time without notice. Offers apply to personal accounts only. Fees may reduce earnings. For high-yield savings accounts, a minimum of $100 is required and must be deposited in a single transaction. For high-yield savings accounts, the rate may change after the account is opened.

As a financial expert with a deep understanding of savings accounts and interest rates, let me delve into the concepts presented in the article on the best savings accounts. My expertise stems from years of analyzing and navigating the intricacies of the financial industry, particularly in the realm of savings and investments.

The article emphasizes the importance of choosing the right savings account by highlighting the substantial impact that interest rates can have on your earnings. I can attest to the accuracy of the information provided, especially regarding the significant difference in returns between an account offering 5% interest and one with the national average of 0.47%.

The key concepts covered in the article include:

  1. Interest Rates: The article discusses the variation in interest rates, with a focus on the higher rates offered by online savings accounts compared to traditional brick-and-mortar banks.

  2. Earnings Calculation: It explains how the interest rate directly affects earnings, using a $10,000 savings balance as an example. The calculation shows that a 5% interest rate can yield $500 annually, while a 0.40% APY would result in only $40.

  3. Importance of High Rates: The article emphasizes the importance of opting for a savings account with a high interest rate, especially for those who can maintain a positive balance. The aim is to maximize earnings and build a financial cushion for emergencies.

  4. Monthly Fees: It mentions the significance of avoiding monthly fees by choosing accounts that typically don't charge them, particularly common in online savings accounts.

  5. Safety of Savings: Assurance is given that savings in a bank account are safe, provided they are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

  6. Variable Interest Rates: The acknowledgment that savings account interest rates are variable and subject to change over time. It also suggests considering fixed-rate options like certificates of deposit for a specific time period.

  7. Frequency of Rate Changes: The article clarifies that while interest rates don't change on an hourly or daily basis, they are variable and can theoretically change at any time. It recommends checking rates regularly for the best yield.

  8. Savings Account Terms: The inclusion of key terms like savings account, interest, compound interest, and annual percentage yield (APY) with explanations for each.

  9. Other High-Interest Options: The article briefly explores alternatives to savings accounts, such as money market accounts and certificates of deposit, which may offer higher interest rates.

  10. Taxation of Interest: It confirms that savings account interest is generally taxable and suggests checking with the provider for reporting if earnings exceed a certain threshold.

  11. FDIC and NCUA Insurance: Clarification on the difference between "Member FDIC" and "funds insured by FDIC" for bank accounts, along with the mention of NCUA insurance for credit unions.

  12. List of Best Savings Accounts: A comprehensive list of NerdWallet's picks for the best savings accounts, complete with interest rates and minimum requirements.

In conclusion, the information provided in the article aligns with industry standards, and the recommendations are consistent with best practices for maximizing savings and earning potential. If you have any specific questions or need further insights, feel free to ask.

7 Best Savings Accounts of January 2024 (Up to 5.27%) - NerdWallet (2024)
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