April 14, 2024


Savings accounts are a solid place to stash your cash for an emergency fund or other short-term savings goals. If you’re letting your money sit in a traditional savings or checking account that earns less than 1% annual percentage yield (APY), you’re missing out on interest. 

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Right now, the best high-yield savings accounts earn up to 5.35% APY, more than 10 times the national savings account average of 0.47%. For interest-bearing checking accounts, that average is even lower, at 0.07%. 

Over the last two years, we’ve been able to maximize our interest earnings with savings accounts that earn high APYs. But the clock is ticking. The Fed forecasts three interest rate cuts in 2024, which could bring variable savings rates down.

Read on to learn more about today’s top savings rates.

Key takeaways

  • Today’s top high-yield savings accounts earn up to 5.35% APY. 
  • The Federal Reserve held rates steady at its latest policy meeting, so savings rates should remain high for the time being. 
  • Opening a high-yield savings account now allows you to get greater returns than you would with a traditional account.

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:

APYs as of March 28, 2024, based on the banks we track at CNET.

What interest rate policy means for savings rates 

High interest rates have caught everyone’s attention over the last couple of years. As the Fed steadily raised the federal funds rate 11 times to fight record inflation, borrowing money with a credit card or loan became more expensive. But banks also raised interest rates on consumer products like savings accounts and certificates of deposits. 

The Fed opted to leave the federal funds rate unchanged at its last several meetings, maintaining its target range of 5.25% to 5.5%. That means savings rates are likely at their peak. 

Here’s where rates stand compared to last week:

CNET Average Savings APY Weekly Change* FDIC Average
4.88% -0.20% 0.47%
APYs as of March 28, 2024. Based on the banks we track at CNET.
*Weekly percentage increase/decrease from March 18, 2024, to March 25, 2024.

Experts expect rate cuts to begin later this year. But after the most recent Consumer Price Index report revealed an uptick in inflation, the timeline for future rate cuts is less clear. 

Since savings rates are variable, your APY is likely to go down once the Fed drops rates. Yet even after rates fall later this year, high-yield savings accounts will continue to offer significantly better APYs than traditional ones. 

Benefits of opening a high-yield savings account now

Savings rates have been high for the last few years. And even though the rate environment may shift in the next several months, a high-yield savings account can always be a smart and low-risk savings strategy. 

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.

What to consider before choosing a high-yield savings account 

High-yield savings accounts usually have higher APYs than traditional savings accounts, which help you yield a bigger return. But there are other factors you should consider when choosing the right account for your financial goals. 

“Some accounts have mandatory minimums, transaction fees or other charges you might not expect,” said Ben McLaughlin, chief marketing officer and president of digital savings marketplace Raisin. “These hidden fees can chip away at your savings, so be sure you are satisfied with the terms and conditions before opening an account.”

In addition to APY, you should 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.

Methodology

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.



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