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Saving For The Future: The Features of The Best Savings Accounts

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Opening a savings account excites most millennials about as much as collecting the $200 for ‘Passing Go’ in a game of Monopoly. You sink some cash into a high-interest savings account that you will not touch until the proverbial rainy day. If you live in Phoenix, your savings account remains untouched for most of the year (haha). On the other hand, rainy days abound for the Seattle savings account holders.

A savings account sounds like a bland way to stash away money, but you can spice up your finances by considering six features that define the best high-interest savings accounts.

1. Take an Interest in Interest Rates

Consumer Federation recently released a report that stated only four percent of the United States based banks pay interest on savings accounts of more than 0.25. Money market accounts pay higher interest rates, but you have to carry a much higher minimum balance and pay more in transaction and account maintenance fees. Shopping for the best basic savings account rates involves researching what banks pay interest for customers who open online accounts. Many banks, such as CIT Bank offer online savings accounts that pay nearly 2.45% APY (some of the highest rates in the nation). You will never get rich by opening a savings account, but you still want your hard-earned cash to work for you in the form of the best interest rate.

2. Automatic Deposits

When you accept a new job, one part of the new employee orientation involves completing a form that dictates how you want your paycheck deposited. We all want a large chunk of our pay to go directly into a checking account. Yet, the best savings accounts like Capital One 360 Savings offer a feature that allows for an automatic deposit. “Most people don’t have the time or discipline to make regular contributions to savings on their own,” said Steve Brobeck, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America. Choose a bank that transfers a set percentage of your pay each week to your bank account. Even better, some banks make automatic transfers from checking to savings accounts one time per month.

3. Low Monthly Fees

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Savings accounts should not cost banks much money to maintain. After all, the transaction activity for a typical savings account amounts to nothing more than regularly scheduled automatic deposits. However, banks like to collect fees on anything, from withdrawing too much from a checking account to sneezing while you wait in line to make a money market transaction.

Savings account fees vary, depending on the type of account and the average monthly balance of the account.  Consider a bank that charges less than $2 per month in savings account fees and avoids banks that charge a minimum monthly balance fee.

4. Access to Cash

Liquidity, that often thrown around financial term, has relevance for savings account holders. You want to have instant access to your savings account cash via online transfers and withdrawals from ATMs. You might need a substantial amount of money for an emergency that your checking account does not cover. A federal banking law allows only six savings account withdrawals per month. Some banks permit less than six savings account withdrawals a month and on top of that, the banks add transaction fees to give you access to your money.

5. Deposit Insurance

Savings account deposit insurance is a no-brainer, yet many millennials forget to check a bank’s policy on protecting hard-earned cash. Federal deposit insurance protects savings account balances up to $250,000. Some of the highest interest paying banks have acquired Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) protection for savings account holders. This means you do not sacrifice savings account interest yields for gaining a peace of mind.

6. Open an Online Account

It is not just the convenience of opening an online savings account. A growing number of banks offer free online banking tools that help millennials learn how to save money. Here are some of the best online savings account that you can compare:

BANKDETAILSMIN. BALANCE FOR APY APY
axos savings accountbest savings accounts
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • Interest compounded daily
  • 24/7 online access with Online and Mobile Banking
  • FDIC Insured

$0

Member, FDIC

0.61%

Sign up
cit bank logobest savings accounts
  • Higher rates than traditional banks
  • 24/7 Account Access
  • Secure banking features
  • FDIC Insured

$25,000

Member, FDIC

.55%

Sign up
credit karma savings account
  • Earn a high-yield savings rate that’s optimized across a network of 800+ banks
  • Open an account in just a few easy steps and manage it right in the Credit Karma app
  • Your account is 100% free, no matter your balance
  • There's no minimum to open

$0

Member, FDIC

0.40%
Sign up

sofi logobest savings account
  • Get $75 when you make two direct deposits of at least $500 each
  • Hybrid Checking and Savings Account
  • Pay no account fees or ATM fees worldwide
  • Open an account in minutes - all free

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What advice would you give to a beginner who wants to start budgeting and improving their money management skills?

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Jess Holmes
Jess is an associate of Crediful which is a personal finance website that gives advice on credit, debt, loans and other personal finance related topics.

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