Savings are an essential part of any financial plan. But to preserve your purchasing power, your savings account must earn interest at a rate higher than the current inflation rate of 3.2%, according to the latest Consumer Price Index report.
“Inflation diminishes the buying power of your money,” said Shinobu Hindert, a certified financial planner and author of Investing Is Your Superpower. “If it doesn’t grow at a rate matching or exceeding inflation, you’ll need more money each year to afford the same goods.”
Traditional savings accounts generally offer paltry interest rates in line with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s national average of 0.46%. But you can earn an annual percentage yield, or APY, of up to 5.35% with one of these top high-yield savings accounts.
While rates remain high, now’s a great time to open a high-yield savings account and boost your savings potential.
Experts recommend comparing rates before opening a savings account to get the best APY possible. You can enter your information below to see CNET’s partners’ rates in your area.
Today’s best savings rates
Here are some of the top savings account APYs available right now:
|Min. deposit to open
|My Banking Direct
The top savings rates remain elevated this week
Banks typically base their savings rates on the federal funds rate. This is a rate set by the Fed that determines how much banks charge each other to borrow and lend money. When the federal funds rate increases, banks tend to raise savings rates on consumer products like credit cards, loans and savings accounts to remain competitive and attract new customers to boost their cash flow.
The Fed has raised rates 11 times since March 2022 to fight inflation. But at its last two meetings it opted to pause rate hikes, leaving savings rates high. Here’s where they stand compared to last week:
|CNET average savings APY*
**Percentage increase/decrease from Nov. 28, 2023, to Dec. 3, 2023.
The next Fed meeting is Dec. 12-13, and some economists expect the Fed to continue to hold rates steady. If this is the case, savings rates are likely to remain high, though some experts predict rates will begin to drop in mid to late 2024.
“The Fed is done raising rates because inflation measures have been decelerating for several months, and the labor market is slowing,” said Ryan Johnson, managing director of investments at Buckingham Advisors. “Consumers should continue to see high rates on savings accounts for the next several months.”
So, the sooner you open a high-yield savings account, the longer you’ll be able to enjoy high rates.
Reasons to open a high-yield savings account today
High-yield savings accounts typically offer higher APYs than traditional savings accounts. Many HYSAs are provided by online-only banks, which often have lower overhead costs than traditional banks with physical locations to maintain. They pass these savings on to customers through competitive APYs and other perks.
Here’s what makes HYSAs stand out:
- High rates: HYSAs often have APYs 10 times higher (or more) than the national FDIC average of 0.46%.
- Low or no fees: Monthly maintenance fees can eat into your savings. Many online banks can charge low or no fees thanks to their lower operating costs.
- Liquidity: You can access money in your HYSA anytime without penalty (as long as you mind any withdrawal limits). CDs, another popular savings product, charge a penalty if you take out funds before the term is up.
- Accessibility: If you open an HYSA at an online bank, you’ll enjoy 24/7 account access through its mobile app. You may also have lots of customer service options, including by phone, online chat and secure messaging.
- Low risk: HYSAs are protected by federal deposit insurance if they’re held at an FDIC-insured bank or NCUA-insured credit union. That means your money is safe up to $250,000 per account holder, per account type.
If you’re earning less than 1% with your current savings account -- some big banks offer as little as 0.01% APY -- you don’t have to close your existing account to enjoy higher rates. Instead, you can open a new account from an online bank in minutes and set up recurring transfers or direct deposits to start funding it.
What to look for when choosing the right savings account
In addition to APY, you should also weigh the following when comparing savings accounts:
- Minimum deposit: Some HYSAs require a minimum amount to open an account – typically, from $25 to $100. Others don’t require anything. How much you have to deposit initially can help you narrow down your options.
- Monthly fees: Avoid unnecessary charges by looking for a bank that has low or no fees.
- Accessibility: If in-person banking is important to you, look for a bank with physical branches. If you’re comfortable managing your money digitally, look for an online bank with a user-friendly app that has all the features you need.
- Withdrawal limits: Some banks charge an excess withdrawal fee if you make more than six monthly withdrawals. If you think you may need to make more, consider a bank without this limit.
- Federal deposit insurance: To protect your money, choose a bank that belongs to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or a credit union that belongs to the National Credit Union Administration.
- Customer service: If you run into any problems with your account, you want a bank that’s responsive and offers convenient support options. Read online customer reviews to see what current customers think about their experiences.
CNET reviewed savings accounts at more than 50 traditional and online banks, credit unions and financial institutions with nationwide services. Each account received a score between one (lowest) and five (highest). The savings accounts listed here are all insured up to $250,000 per person, per account category, per institution, by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or National Credit Union Administration.
CNET evaluates the best savings accounts with a set of established criteria that compares annual percentage yields, monthly fees, minimum deposits or balances and access to physical branches. None of the banks on our list charge monthly maintenance fees. An account will rank higher for offering any of the following perks:
- Account bonuses
- Automated savings features
- Wealth management consulting/coaching services
- Cash deposits
- Extensive ATM networks and/or ATM rebates for out-of-network ATM use
An account will rank lower if it doesn’t have a professional-looking website or doesn’t provide an ATM card, or if it imposes restrictive residency requirements or fees for exceeding monthly transaction limits.
Savings accounts researched
Alliant Credit Union, Ally, Amerant, America First FCU, American Express, Apple Federal Credit Union, Bank of America, BankPurely, Barclays, Bask Bank, Bellco Credit Union, Bethpage, BMO Alto, BMO Harris, Bread Savings, Capital One, Chase, CIBC Bank, CIT Bank, Citizens, Citizens Bank, Community Wide Federal Credit Union, Connexus Credit Union, Consumers Credit Union, Discover, Dollar savings Direct, First Internet Bank of Indiana, Forbright, Laurel Road, LendingClub, Marcus by Goldman Sachs, My Banking Direct, Newtek Bank, Panacea Financial, PenFed Credit Union, PNC, Popular Bank, Quontic Bank, RBMax, Rising Bank, SoFi, Synchrony, TAB Bank, TIAA Bank, U.S. Bank, UFB Direct, Upgrade Premier, Varo, Wells Fargo