Best Savings Accounts of September 2021


Traditional savings accounts are usually offered by brick-and-mortar banks. Online savings accounts don’t have the overhead of running physical branches and so can offer higher interest rates. As such, the best online savings accounts are often high-yield. Early on, many bank customers were concerned that hackers might gain access to their information. As a result, online banks attracted deposits by offering interest rates that brick-and-mortar banks couldn’t match.

Now, the banking world has turned upside down. Many people prefer the convenience of online banking. Indeed, traditional brick-and-mortar banks have created online systems to give their customers the same online services.

Here are some of the key differences between savings accounts at online and brick-and-mortar banks:

  • Interest rates. The best online banks still offer far better rates than their brick-and-mortar counterparts, especially on basic savings accounts. Many brick-and-mortar banks pay next to nothing in interest, relying on other features to bring customers in.
  • Hours of operation. Online banks are always available to conduct regular business. You don’t have to worry about branch location hours or what transactions your brick-and-mortar bank will let you do through an ATM.
  • ATM networks. Unlike online banks, brick-and-mortar banks have extensive networks of proprietary ATMs. However, many online banks partner with a nationwide fee-free ATM network or offer ATM fee rebates.
  • Customer service. Online banks typically have call centers that provide service on an extended schedule, a few give their customers 24/7 support. Some also offer online chat assistance. However, no online bank can match the in-person relationships brick-and-mortar banks offer. These are their main competitive advantage over their internet-focused rivals.
  • Account access. Most online bank transactions require customers to transfer funds electronically. This typically takes a couple of days to complete. Wire transfers are available for more time-critical needs, but you’ll often pay an extra fee. When you need quick access to your money and an ATM won’t cut it, brick-and-mortar banks let you immediately withdraw as much as you need at a branch.
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The type of bank that’s best for you depends on which features are most important to you. Unless you really need to be able to visit a branch and speak to a live person, an online bank should be able to satisfy your needs most of the time. Plus you can earn a higher APY in the process.

The best savings accounts have a high APY, no monthly maintenance fees, and FDIC insurance. Keep those things in mind as you compare your savings account options.

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