Savings are crucial for any financial plan, but how much you can earn with a savings account can vary significantly from bank to bank. If you’re getting a meager interest rate with a traditional savings account, you could be missing out. Consider that the national savings rate is 0.47% annual percentage yield (APY), but today’s top high-yield savings accounts offer APYs as high as 5.35%. The national average for interest-bearing checking accounts is a meager 0.07%.
“Many consumers let their savings sit in checking accounts earning next to zero interest, where your money is losing value due to inflation,” said Ben McLaughlin, chief marketing officer and president of digital savings marketplace Raisin. “It’s not as bad as stuffing it under your mattress, but your cash won’t be working as hard as it can for you.”
If you’re earning less than 1% APY with your existing checking or savings account, now’s the time to take advantage of the power of compound interest. Read on to see the highest rates you can get with today’s best high-yield savings accounts (HYSAs).
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
How the Fed’s next move might affect savings rates
Rising savings rates were the story for the better part of 2022 and 2023. As the Federal Reserve regularly raised the federal funds rate to combat inflation, banks raised rates on consumer products from CDs and savings accounts to credit cards and loans.
But with the last three Fed meetings resulting in rate hike pauses, the end of 2023 saw savings rates plateau. Here’s where they are compared to last week:
CNET Average Savings APY
*Percentage increase/decrease from Jan. 15, 2024, to Jan. 22, 2024.
Experts predict the Fed’s next meeting on Jan. 30-31 will result in another pause, with rate cuts to begin later this year.
“While I don’t have a crystal ball, I think that the Fed will likely hold off on making any changes at the next meeting at the end of January,” said Dana Menard, CFP, founder and lead financial planner at Twin Cities Wealth Strategies. “The Fed usually likes to see a bit more stability before making moves in the opposite direction they just came from.”
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.
Benefits of opening 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.
Consider these factors before choosing a high-yield savings account
In addition to APY, you should also weigh the following 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.