The Federal Reserve announced rates would once again remain unchanged at its latest Federal Open Market Committee meeting, maintaining its target range of 5.25% to 5.5%. Still, rate cuts are expected to begin later this year based on indications from the central bank.
So what does that mean for savings rates? Now’s the time to act if you want to set money aside for an emergency fund or start a sinking fund.
“The possibility of an economic slowdown later in 2024 makes it especially important to prioritize building an emergency fund,” said Ken Tumin, senior banking industry analyst at LendingTree. “Opening a high-yield savings account now and taking advantage of today’s high rates can help grow your emergency fund.”
While the national average for savings accounts is only 0.47%, some of today’s top high-yield savings accounts earn annual percentage yields, or APYs, up to 5.35%. If your extra cash is sitting in an account earning less than 1%, you could be missing out.
Read on to learn more about today’s top savings rates.
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
What the latest Fed move means for savings rates
Rates took off in 2022 after the Fed began increasing its benchmark federal funds rate to curb soaring inflation. When the Fed raises the benchmark rate, banks typically follow suit, increasing rates on consumer products like savings accounts, certificates of deposits, loans and credit cards. But with the Fed pausing rate hikes at its last four meetings, banks across the board have left savings rates largely untouched.
Still, experts believe that savings rates will remain high until the Fed begins dropping rates, with signals that rate cuts are possible later this year.
“2023 was a great year for savers, and while rates are still high, they are expected to trend downward in the spring,” said Ben McLaughlin, chief marketing officer and president of digital savings marketplace Raisin. “Now is an opportune time for savers to take advantage of high interest rates on HYSAs.”
Here’s where rates stand compared to last week:
CNET Average Savings APY
*Weekly percentage increase/decrease from Feb. 5, 2024, to Feb. 12, 2024.
The average APY for the top high-yield savings accounts we track at CNET is 4.88% -- with some accounts offering as high as 5.35%. We haven’t seen any significant changes in weeks, and the only individual change we’ve seen recently was Discover’s high-yield savings account, which decreased its rate from 4.35% to 4.30% on Feb. 8.
Since savings rates are variable, that means your APY is likely to go down in the coming months. So the sooner you open a high-yield savings account, the longer you can enjoy a great rate.
Why you should open a high-yield savings account
The sooner you open a savings account, the longer you’ll be able to enjoy high rates. Even after rates fall, high-yield savings accounts will continue to offer significantly better APYs than traditional ones. So, don’t let anticipated rate drops stop you from making the switch. Opening an HYSA can be a smart strategy in any rate environment.
Here’s what makes HYSAs stand out:
- High rates: HYSAs often have APYs 10 times higher (or more) than the national FDIC average.
- 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. You can open a new account from an online bank in minutes and set up recurring transfers or direct deposits to start funding it.
How to find the best high-yield savings account for you
In addition to a competitive APY, keep these factors in mind when comparing savings accounts:
- Minimum deposit requirements: 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.
- Fees: Monthly maintenance and other fees can eat into your balance. Avoid unnecessary charges by looking for a bank with 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 with 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: Look for a bank that belongs to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or a credit union that belongs to the National Credit Union Administration. Accounts at these institutions are protected up to $250,000 per account holder, per category in the event of bank failure
- Customer service: You want a bank that’s responsive and offers convenient support options if you ever need assistance with your account. Read online customer reviews to see what current customers say about their experiences. You can also contact customer service to get a feel for what it would be like to work with the bank.
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.