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Best savings accounts for December 2022

Best available rates across different account types for Wednesday, December 07, 2022
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Best online savings accounts and rates in December 2022

Citizens - 3.75% APY, $5,000 minimum balance to earn APY (no ATM access)

Citizens Bank Logo
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
3.5

Overview

Citizens is the online bank division of Citizens Bank. It offers a high-yield online savings account and CDs with terms between six months and five years. The online savings account doesn’t have a maintenance fee, but you’ll need at least $5,000 to open one.

Invest Rate
3.75% APY
Loan
$5,000 minimum opening deposit

CIT Bank - 3.60% APY, no minimum balance needed for APY

CIT Bank Logo
Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
4.6

Overview

CIT Bank’s Savings Connect account can be opened with just $100. The bank offers a competitive APY and doesn’t charge a monthly service fee for this account. It also has a Savings Builder account, a checking account, a money market account and CDs.

Invest Rate
3.60% APY
Loan
$100 minimum opening deposit

Bread Savings - 3.50% APY, $100 minimum to open account (no ATM access)

Bread Savings Logo
Rating: 4.1 stars out of 5
4.1

Overview

Bread Savings is an online bank that offers a high-yield savings account and five terms of CDs. Bread Savings requires at least $100 to open this account. 

Invest Rate
3.50% APY
Loan
$100 minimum opening deposit

Popular Direct Logo
Rating: 3.4 stars out of 5
3.4

Overview

A Popular Direct High-Rise Savings account is opened through Popular Bank. You’ll need to deposit at least $5,000 to open the account, but there’s no monthly maintenance fee.  Popular Direct also offers mobile deposit. 

Invest Rate
3.35% APY
Loan
$5,000 minimum opening deposit

Citibank - 3.25% APY, $1 minimum for APY (ATM access)

Citibank Logo
Rating: 4.3 stars out of 5
4.3

Overview

Citibank’s high-yield savings account pays well above the national average as well as higher than many of the savings rates offered by some of the nation’s largest banks. There’s no minimum balance requirement to earn the APY and no minimum to open an account. But the APY is only available in select markets.

Invest Rate
3.25% APY
Loan
$0 minimum opening deposit

Synchrony Bank - 3.25% APY, no minimum balance needed for APY (ATM access)

Synchrony Logo
Rating: 4.3 stars out of 5
4.3

Overview

Synchrony Bank’s High Yield Savings account earns a competitive yield, and it has ATM access. There are no monthly fees, no minimum deposit to open, and no minimum balance required.

Invest Rate
3.25% APY
Loan
$0 minimum opening deposit

Ally Bank - 3.00% APY, no minimum balance needed for APY and a free checking account (no ATM access)

Ally Bank logo
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
5.0

Overview

Ally Bank’s Online Savings Account has a competitive APY, doesn’t require an opening deposit, and there are no monthly service fees. Ally Bank also has 24/7 live customer care available.

Invest Rate
3.00% APY
Loan
$0 minimum opening deposit

American Express National Bank - 3.00% APY, no minimum balance needed for APY (no ATM access)

American Express Savings Logo
Rating: 4.8 stars out of 5
4.8

Overview

American Express is best known for its credit cards. But it also offers a competitive savings account. The account also has no fees and lets you link your external bank account. The company also offers a variety of CDs.

Invest Rate
3.00% APY
Loan
$0 minimum opening deposit

Barclays Bank - 3.00% APY, $0.01 minimum balance needed for APY (no ATM access)

Barclays Logo
Rating: 3.9 stars out of 5
3.9

Overview

Currently, you’ll earn a competitive yield with the Barclays Online Savings Account. You don’t need to make a minimum opening deposit, and it doesn’t charge a monthly service fee. Products from Barclays are only available online in the U.S.

Invest Rate
3.00% APY
Loan
$0 minimum opening deposit

Capital One - 3.00% APY, no minimum balance needed for APY (no ATM access)

Capital One Logo
Rating: 4.9 stars out of 5
4.9

Overview

The Capital One 360 Performance Savings Account earns a competitive yield. It doesn’t have a monthly service fee and you won’t need a minimum deposit to open this account.

Invest Rate
3.00% APY
Loan
$0 minimum opening deposit

Discover Bank - 3.00% APY, no minimum balance needed for APY (no ATM access)

Discover Logo
Rating: 4.8 stars out of 5
4.8

Overview

Discover is best known for its credit cards, but it also offers a savings account, money market account, checking account and CDs. The Discover Bank Online Savings Account doesn’t have a minimum deposit requirement. And it doesn’t have a monthly service fee. 

Invest Rate
3.00% APY
Loan
$0 minimum opening deposit

Marcus by Goldman Sachs - 3.00% APY, no minimum balance to earn APY (no ATM access)

Marcus by Goldman Sachs Logo
Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
4.2

Overview

The high-yield savings account from Marcus requires no minimum deposit to open and no minimum to earn the competitive APY. There are no monthly fees and the account opening process is easy.

Invest Rate
3.00% APY
Loan
$0 minimum opening deposit

How to choose a savings account

Savings accounts are a good option for achieving your money-saving goals. You’ll want to choose a savings account that offers a competitive annual percentage yield (APY) on your money. It can pay to choose one that either doesn’t have a monthly service fee or has a minimum balance requirement that you can meet to waive the fee.

Here are some steps to follow as you look for the best place to stash your savings:

1. Determine what the money will be used for.
 
2. Figure out when you’ll need to access the funds. Money to purchase a car in the next year might be best kept in a savings account, for example.
 
3. Shop around. You’ll want to research banks and credit unions and compare rates. Check to see if there are any minimum balance requirements or monthly maintenance fees that could negatively impact you down the line. Generally, rates are highest at online banks, but it’s possible for a brick-and-mortar bank or a credit union to offer competitive yields.
 
4. Determine your risk tolerance. Money that needs to be safe and can’t be lost should usually be in a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) account that’s within FDIC limits and guidelines.
 
5. Open the savings account and deposit the funds into your account.
 
6. Consider setting up a split direct deposit to automatically add to your savings.

What to know about savings accounts

What is a savings account and how does it work?

A savings account is a type of financial account found at both banks and credit unions. These federally insured accounts typically pay interest, but often at lower rates than other interest-bearing financial products insured by the government, like certificates of deposit (CDs).

In exchange for lower rates, savings accounts offer more liquidity, allowing for up to six types of withdrawals or transfers per statement cycle (and potentially more). That makes savings accounts ideal for stashing money you may need access to if unexpected costs arise.

Savings accounts can play a crucial role in your financial health. Unlike a CD, which forces you to lock up your money for a specified period of time, there’s no set term for maturity with a savings account. So, a savings account is a good spot to park your emergency fund. A CD isn’t a good place for emergency savings since withdrawing your money before the CD term ends will likely result in a potentially costly fee.

Who should get a savings account?

Most consumers would benefit from having an emergency fund and additional savings. Some banks make it easy by allowing consumers to open multiple savings accounts for different savings goals.

A savings account should be a part of a diverse portfolio that could also include CDs for locking away money for longer terms, as well as the best investments to build your retirement nest egg. As a general rule, savings accounts are for money that you may need in the short term and that you don’t want to expose to any risk that could cause you to lose principal. CDs are generally better suited for money that can be left untouched for one, three or five years, since CDs typically charge penalties for early withdrawals.

Savings accounts aren’t for everyone, including those who aren’t able to maintain any minimum balance requirement that may result in fees.

Here’s who may benefit from opening a savings account:

  • College savers: Saving for college is one of the biggest expenses parents face. Saving for students should be a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Future retirees: A savings account is one of the vehicles that should be used to prepare for retirement and should be a part of your retirement plan.
  • Disciplined planners: It’s critical to have an emergency savings account. This account should be able to cover at least six months’ worth of expenses. You never know what the future will hold.

What fees are associated with a savings account? 

Savings accounts may charge a service fee if the minimum balance requirement isn’t maintained. Some savings accounts, however, don’t require a minimum balance or only require a nominal amount — and still pay competitive APYs. If the account’s minimum balance requirement is too high, consider finding a bank offering a similar APY with no minimum balance requirement — or at least a lower one. Finding a savings account with no monthly fee is the easiest way to avoid having surcharges eat into your interest earnings or principal.

Out-of-network ATM fees are another charge to watch out for, as are fees for closing a savings account before a specified period, typically three to six months. An overdraft fee is what a bank charges you any time you withdraw more money from your account than what you have in it. Banks may also charge fees for sending wire transfers, or purchasing cashier’s or official bank checks, utilizing funds in a savings account.

Is my money safe in a savings account?

Money deposited in a savings account at an FDIC bank or at an NCUA credit union is safe. The standard FDIC deposit insurance amount is $250,000 per depositor, per FDIC-insured bank, per ownership category. At NCUA credit unions, the standard share insurance amount is $250,000 per share owner, per insured credit union, for each account ownership category.

Savings terms to know

  • Compound interest: Method of calculating interest where interest earned over time is added to the principal. Compounding is usually done on a daily or monthly basis and more frequently it is done, the faster your savings can grow.

  • Interest: Money that you earn for having your funds deposited with a bank.

  • Interest rate: A number that doesn't take into account the effects of compounding.

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY): A rate that takes into account the effects of compounding during the year. It’s best to compare yields rather than interest rates.

  • Minimum balance requirement: The minimum amount needed in a savings account to avoid a monthly maintenance fee.

  • Money market account: A type of savings account that may offer checks, and/or an ATM or debit card for teller machine withdrawals. Here’s more on the best money market accounts.

What is needed to open a savings account?

Whether opening an account online or in a bank or credit union, you’ll likely be asked for similar information. That’s because all banks have to comply with certain rules and regulations for new account openings.

Requirements for opening a savings account online

To open an account online, you’ll typically need your social security number, address, date of birth, as well as contact information. And you might need to scan a copy of a government issued photo ID. A bank will also likely ask for your occupation.  

And you might need a routing number and account number or debit card number to make an initial deposit – especially if the bank requires a minimum opening deposit.

Requirements for opening a traditional savings account

Banks will likely have some slightly different requirements for opening a savings account online, though most require U.S. citizens to provide a form of ID and a social security number. You might also need to lift any credit freezes you have set in order to open the savings account. 

Here are sample requirements at three of the largest banks in the U.S. for opening a bank account:

Do you need to scan/submit your driver’s license/photo ID?

  • Bank of America: No.
  • Chase: The online application requires information provided on an ID.
  • Wells Fargo: ID information can either be entered on the website or a photo of the ID can be taken and submitted.

Do you need to lift a credit freeze/security freeze? (If you have one)

  • Bank of America: Yes.
  • Chase: Yes.
  • Wells Fargo: Maybe. A visit to a Wells Fargo branch may be required.

Do you need to fund the new account immediately using an existing routing number/account number?

  • Bank of America: No for checking and savings accounts, but yes for CDs.
  • Chase: No. You have 60 days to fund the account and will be closed if not funded within 60 days.
  • Wells Fargo: Yes, a deposit of at least $25 is required.
 

Pros and cons of a savings account

Savings accounts, like all financial tools, come with benefits and risks. It's wise to weigh the pros and cons to see if one of these accounts is ideal for your financial situation.

Pros

  • Security: Savings accounts at an FDIC-insured bank are federally insured up to at least $250,000, making them great places to stash cash.
  • Liquidity: You can access your savings in your account when needed. Savings accounts typically allow for up to six withdrawals or transfers per statement cycle, but you won't have to sell investments in order to get your money out.
  • Earnings: The money you keep in a savings account earns interest over time and compounds, offering a return on the principal.
  • Higher interest: The best savings accounts usually earn more interest than a checking account – and some even have a higher yield than money market accounts.
  • Low-fee options: There are many savings account options that either have a $1 minimum balance or no minimum. With these options, it’s easy to avoid a maintenance fee.
  • Access: Many savings accounts allow you to access your savings at ATMs with an ATM card. Just make sure the ATM is in the network to avoid any fees.

Cons

  • Low interest: Savings accounts do pay interest, but it's often much lower than can be earned with other savings vehicles like certificates of deposit or even some money market accounts. That can lead to a big opportunity cost — you may find higher returns elsewhere.
  • Accessibility: Unlike checking accounts, savings accounts often have a limit on the number of withdrawals and transfers you can make each month. Withdraw over the bank’s limit and you could get hit with an excessive withdrawal fee.
  • Fees: Some banks charge minimum balance fees. Those maintenance fees can eat up any interest earned and your principal very fast, especially with low interest earnings.

Alternatives to savings accounts

A savings account might be the right account for you. But there are other options that you should consider – depending on your savings goals and time horizon for using your money.

Savings accounts vs. money market accounts 

Money market accounts are savings deposit accounts that may allow limited check-writing privileges or access to a debit card.

Savings accounts and money market accounts are very similar. They’re both savings deposit accounts. A money market account is a better choice if you’d like to write checks from your savings account.

Savings accounts vs. checking accounts

Checking and savings accounts serve different roles, but it’s important to have both. Generally, checking accounts are used for ongoing cash flow needs, permitting as many transactions as needed. A checking account is typically where paychecks are deposited and where money to pay bills is kept. However, many pay very little interest or none at all.

Savings accounts, on the other hand, are meant for stashing cash and typically don’t offer check-writing abilities. Their liquidity is more limited, but they typically carry a higher APY. 

Here are some of the biggest differences between checking and savings accounts:

  • Purpose: Checking accounts are meant to be transactional — money can be taken out frequently with few restrictions. Savings accounts aren’t as liquid; they are meant to house your cash for longer periods.
  • Fees: Though there are exceptions, checking accounts often carry fees for services and slip-ups, such as maintaining too low of a balance or spending more than what’s in the account. Savings accounts typically charge few, if any, fees.
  • Interest: Many traditional checking accounts don't pay interest, while savings accounts do, though the yields might not be as robust as those found on CDs.

Savings accounts vs. CDs

Savings accounts are intended to be liquid — you can add money to the balance or make a withdrawal whenever you want. Savings accounts generally earn a variable APY. 

CDs (or Certificates of deposit) are for money that you’d like to earn a fixed APY on. Generally, CDs have a term that you need to keep your money in the CD for. Your bank will likely charge an early withdrawal penalty if you take your money out before the CD’s term ends.

Savings accounts vs. money market mutual funds

With a savings account, you deposit your money into an account and earn an APY. Your money is insured by the FDIC – up to at least $250,000 – if the bank is an FDIC bank. 

Money market mutual funds aren’t FDIC insured and you purchase shares when you deposit money into this product. 

Savings accounts vs. no-penalty CDs

With a savings account, you can generally withdraw your money whenever you want, and without a penalty. 

With a no-penalty CD, you can also generally withdraw your money anytime – without a penalty – after having the CD for six days. However, the yield on no-penalty CDs is usually much less than a regular CD. 

Savings accounts vs. other bank accounts

Some savings accounts – especially at online banks – are known to have high yields. 

Some interest checking accounts may have high yields also. But they might have caps and rate tiers that limit the balance that offers that competitive yield. 

Savings account FAQs

Recap: Bankrate's best online savings accounts and rates for December 2022

To recap, here are top online banks offering the best online savings accounts for December 2022:

  1. Citizens - 3.75% APY
  2. CIT Bank - 3.60% APY
  3. Bread Savings - 3.50%  APY
  4. Popular Direct - 3.35% APY
  5. Citibank - 3.25% APY
  6. Synchrony Bank - 3.25% APY
  7. Ally Bank - 3.00% APY
  8. American Express National Bank - 3.00% APY
  9. Barclays Bank - 3.00% APY
  10. Capital One - 3.00% APY
  11. Discover Bank - 3.00% APY
  12. Marcus by Goldman Sachs - 3.00% APY

Bankrate's experience on financial advice and reporting

At Bankrate, we regularly survey approximately 4,800 banks and credit unions in all 50 states to provide you with one of the most comprehensive comparisons of interest rates. All of the savings accounts below are insured by the FDIC at banks or the NCUA at credit unions. When selecting the best savings account for you, look for the highest yield while also considering introductory rates, minimum balances and accessibility.

We strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. We follow strict guidelines to ensure that our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers. Our editorial team receives no direct compensation from advertisers, and our content is thoroughly fact-checked to ensure accuracy. The top banks listed below are based on factors such as APY, minimum balance requirements and broad availability.

Research methodology

Bankrate’s editorial team regularly updates rates featured on this page about every two weeks. We mainly look for the highest APYs and break ties using the minimum balance to open a CD. Bankrate’s editorial team has reviewed nearly all of the banks and credit unions that it tracks, and researches rates weekly for more than 70 popular banks and credit unions. These institutions were selected because they offer competitive APYs, are larger (based on the amount of deposits or assets), frequently appear in internet searches or other possible factors. These banks and credit unions typically offer accounts that are available nationwide. All of these banks are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) and all of the credit unions are National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) credit unions, insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF). Choosing an FDIC-insured bank or NCUA-backed credit union ensures your money is safe as long it’s within insurance limits and guidelines.

Banks we monitor

These financial institutions are featured in our savings rate research: Alliant Credit Union, Ally Bank, Amerant Bank, America First Credit Union, American Express National Bank, Axos Bank, Bank 5 Connect, Bank of America, Bank of the West, Barclays, Bask Bank, BECU (Boeing Employees Credit Union), Bethpage Federal Credit Union, BMO Harris Bank, Bread Savings (formerly Comenity Direct), BrioDirect, Capital One Bank, Chase Bank, CIBC USA, CIT Bank, Citibank, Citizens, Citizens Bank (Rhode Island), Credit One Bank, Comerica Bank, Customers Bank, Delta Community Credit Union, Discover Bank, Emigrant Direct, Fifth Third Bank, First Citizens Bank, First Internet Bank, First Technology Federal Credit Union, FNBO Direct, Golden 1 Credit Union, Huntington National Bank, Investors Bank, Investors eAccess, KeyBank, Limelight Bank, Live Oak Bank, M&T Bank, Marcus by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley Private Bank, MySavingsDirect, Navy Federal Credit Union, NBKC Bank, PenFed Credit Union, PNC Bank, Popular Direct, PurePoint Financial, Quontic Bank, Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union, Regions Bank, Salem Five Direct, Sallie Mae Bank, Santander Bank, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, Security Service Federal Credit Union, SoFi Bank, State Employees' Credit Union, Suncoast Credit Union, Synchrony Bank, TD Bank, TIAA Bank, U.S. Bank, UFB Direct, Union Bank (California), USAA Bank, Vio Bank, VyStar Credit Union, Wells Fargo and Zions Bank.