Editor's Note
  • March 23, 2018 - To keep our review current, we've updated our top picks to take into account the customer service, fees, and APY offered by online banks as of March 2018. Our new top pick, Ally Bank, came out on top in all of these areas.

The Best Savings Account

To find the best savings account, we focused on online banks. Our top picks all feature high interest rates, are convenient — you don’t have to live in a particular part of the country to have access to them — and have great customer support features for when you have a question about your account or want to learn more about banking. Whether you’re looking for an introductory savings account, or are trying to maximize your interest rates, online banks offer great savings accounts that outcompete their brick-and-mortar competitors.

Our overall favorite is Ally Bank. With a 1.75% APR — twenty-four times the national average 0.06% APR — it has one of the highest interest rates on the market. In this case, high interest rate doesn’t mean sacrificing on customer features, a trade-off that some online banks make in the race to save money. But Ally impressed us with its fast and friendly customer service, and the ability to contact them however we chose — by phone, email, live chat, even Facebook — at any hour of the day.

Discover Bank is another strong contender for the best savings account. Its interest rate is currently 1.75% APY — just edging out Ally Bank. That said, Discover Bank’s fees for things like overdrafts and domestic wire transfers were a little steeper than Ally's. These costs have the potential to cancel out any additional savings you might see from the slightly higher APY. Additionally, you’ll be sacrificing a couple of customer service options by going with Discover, since they only offer phone support (albeit 24/7), and they don’t have a live chat or email option.

Our Picks for the Best Savings Account


Best Overall
Ally Bank Online Savings
Ally
Great customer service, competitive 1.75% APY, and limited fees.

Ally Bank won first place in our customer service test, offering the most resources and most friendly representatives. If you need to get in touch, their lines are open (with a live representative) 24/7, and they have a phone line option to select if you have impaired hearing. If you’d like to skip the phone, you can also contact Ally Bank through its live chat, email support, or through one of its social media pages (like Facebook and Twitter).

If you do a lot of on-the-go banking, Ally Bank also offers a mobile app. Through it, you can manage fund transfers — whether they’re one-time or recurring — and deposit checks. If you have a checking account through Ally Bank, you can also pay bills through the app. Unfortunately, you’ll still need to use Ally’s website to locate ATMs (another consideration only if you hold a checking account; you won’t be able to have a debit card directly attached to your savings account).

Currently, Ally Bank’s high-yield online savings account has a 1.75% APY rate — more than 24 times as much interest as the national average. Even though this currently isn’t the highest APY rate on the market (remember, APY can fluctuate frequently), Ally Bank has a strong track record of staying competitive. It has consistently outperformed our other top picks over the past three years. This was especially true in 2015, when Ally Bank’s APY rate was 1.00%, compared to Discover Bank (0.95%), American Express (0.85%), or Bank of Internet USA (0.61%).

Although Discover Bank’s currently offers a higher APY rate for its savings account, historically Ally Bank has offered better APR rates.

Like all of our top picks, Ally Bank doesn’t charge a maintenance fee or require a minimum balance, and it doesn’t charge an inactivity or dormant account fee. That said, you will need to put some funds into your savings account within 30 days of opening it, or they will close the account. Ally Bank also charges a $10 fee for excessive transactions, and warns that if you’re consistently treating your savings account more like a checking account, they will close your savings account or convert it into a checking account.

One final caveat: You won’t be able to make international wire transfers with Ally Bank. Ally charges $20 for each domestic outgoing wire transfer, and official / cashier checks are free, but for international transfers, you’ll want to check out our other top pick, Discover Bank.


Runner-Up
Discover Bank
Discover
Good customer service, an impressive 1.75% APY, and the ability to send international wire transfers — though fees are generally higher than Ally.

Discover Bank stands out for having the highest interest rate of our top picks — 1.75% APY.

You can calculate compounding interest yourself:Bank of Internet USA’s handy APY calculator lets you see exactly how much money different interest rates can net you over a set period of time.

Discover’s other leg-up on Ally Bank is that Discover lets you make international wire transfers from your savings account, while Ally only lets you make domestic wire transfers. If you work with international banks frequently, Discover Bank will let you directly transfer money to those banks.

Discover Bank did well in our customer support evaluation, although they didn’t impress us quite as much as Ally. Like Ally Bank, Discover Bank has 24/7 customer support, and you can contact them via phone or their social media platforms. However, Discover doesn’t offer a live chat or an email option – for an immediate response you’ll need to hop on the phone.

Aside from having fewer contact options than Ally Bank, our primary complaint with Discover Bank is that its fees are steeper than Ally’s. Neither bank charges monthly maintenance, minimum balance fees, or inactivity / dormancy fees, but Discover Bank’s other fees typically run $5 to $10 more expensive than Ally Bank’s (which means you could easily lose that extra $10 in interest from our example above). In particular, Discover Bank’s higher outgoing wire transfer and excessive transaction fees mean that some customers are likely to save money by choosing Ally.

We liked Discover Bank’s mobile app, which lets you check your account balances or submit a deposit on-the-go. You’ll also be able to locate the nearest ATM (and the app will let you know ahead of time if it’s in-network and fee-free, or not) through the app. Like Ally Bank, you won’t be issued an ATM card if you only sign up for Discover Bank’s savings account, so this last feature is only a consideration if you also hold a checking account through Discover.

Our Top Picks’ Secondary Fees

Ally Bank Fees
Discover Bank Fees
Outgoing Wire Transfer Fee
$20*
$30
Stop Payment Order
$15
$15
Overdraft Fee**
$25
$30
Excessive Transaction Fee
$10
$15
Official Bank Check
Free
Free

*Ally Bank only allows domestic wire transfers. Discover Bank charges a flat rate of $30 whether it is an international or a domestic wire transfer.
**Ally Bank and Discover Bank only apply an overdraft fee a maximum of once per day.

Other Savings Accounts to Consider

Finding the best interest rate may seem like the first priority when finding the best savings account, but since APYs change, sometimes on a daily basis, it can be tricky to find the savings account with the absolute highest interest rate. If you’d like to shop around, below are three good options that impressed us with their customer service and high rates, but didn’t stand out quite enough to be top picks.


Another to Consider
American Express
American Express
Competitive APY on par with Ally, but slightly less robust customer support.

American Express First Savings Bank currently offers the same interest rate as Ally Bank for its high yield savings account: 1.45% APY. It also scored highly in our customer service evaluation. You can contact them 24/7 by phone, and via their social media profiles. Unfortunately, its live chat feature is only to support current customers (you won’t be able to ask questions as a prospective customer), and like Discover, it doesn’t have a support email address. Additionally, while we like that American Express offers an app, it’s only useful for its credit card customers to make payments; you won’t be able to make transfers or check savings balances on it.


Another to Consider
Alliant Credit Union
Alliant Credit Union
Offers a 1.45% APY, but there are more fees to keep track of.

Alliant Credit Union also stands out for offering a 1.45% APY rate for its online savings account. That said, we weren’t impressed with the number of fees it levies on its accounts. In addition to $10 inactivity and dormancy fees, you’ll be charged a $10 closing fee if you close your account within 90 days of opening, and $5 for each manually paid check and ACH item. Customer service-wise, Alliant does fairly well. They don’t have a live chat option, but they do have 24/7 phone service, an app, as well as email and social media support options.


Another to Consider
Bank of Internet USA
Bank of Internet USA
A 1.30% APY, but strong customer support. Worth checking if you're a comparison shopper.

Bank of Internet USA currently has the lowest interest rate of our top picks: 1.30% APY. This still is a vast improvement over the nationwide average of 0.06%, but historically, Bank of Internet USA has had lower interest rates than our other top picks. That said, Bank of Internet USA also scored well on our customer service test, with live chat, email and social media support, as well as 24/7 live phone support.

Money Market Accounts, CDs, and IRAs are also great ways to save.

Standard savings accounts are the most common way to save money and grow your wealth, but they aren’t the only option. Depending on your goals and circumstances, it might also make sense to look into money markets, certificates of deposits (CDs), and IRAs. You can check out our review of the best IRA account, or read our review of the best banks, which includes discussion of CD rates. To learn more about money markets, we’d suggest reading up on the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s overview of the topic.

Our Savings Account Review: Summed Up

Savings Account
Best...
Ally Bank
Overall
Discover Bank
Runner-Up