The Best High-Yield Savings Accounts November 2019

Adam Rust

The best online savings account rates - UPDATED for the new Federal Reserve interest rate change on October 30th, 2019

Are you considering stashing away some money in a high-yield savings account?

It’s not a bad idea, given that more than a few leading indicators – most notably the flattening yield curve - suggest that our economy may suffer a setback in the near future.

This week, the Federal Reserve updated its findings from the latest Survey of Housing Economics and Decision-making (the “SHED”). Once again, they concluded that a substantial number of American households have little or no liquid assets. According to the Fed, 39 percent of American households would struggle to tap funds necessary to cover $400 in unexpected expenses. Twenty-seven percent would borrow and 12 percent would have to sell something.

Thus, this list aims to speak to those households. Think of it as the account for “the rest of us.” If you have $25,000 to set aside for six months, there might be other lists that present better options. However, if you fall outside of that segment of the population, this list is for you. I’ve compared the interest rates available to people who set aside only $100 to their savings account.

Online Savings Accounts that we Recommend for You
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1. Comenity Direct High Yield Savings pays 2.15 percent. There is a $100 minimum opening deposit.

2. HSBC Direct,  2.05 percent. At HSBC, you will have to make an initial deposit when you open the account. These rates led my survey. HSBC lowered its rate by 10/100ths of one percent even after two consecutive reductions in interest rates by the Federal Reserve.

3. The Varo Money Savings Account, also available at WiseWage, pays 2.02 percent with no account opening requirement.

Synchrony High-Yield Savings, Marcus by Goldman Sachs, American Express Personal Savings, and Barclay's Online Savings pay 1.9 percent. First National Bank of Omaha’s Online Savings Account currently pays 1.9 percent (APY), regardless of the average balance. You must make a deposit of at least $1 when you establish the account. Capital One 360 also pays 1.90 percent.

4. Ally Online Savings Account and  follow closely behind at 1.8 percent. There is no requirement to make an initial deposit.

5. Discover Bank Savings: 1.8 percent.

6. Axos High-Yield Savings pays 1.3 percent.

7. The CIT Savings Builder pays 1.22 percent for accounts with balances of less than $25,000. You must deposit $100 to open the account.

About my methods:

I put weight on accounts that can be opened without a direct deposit. I like when a good intention can become a new practice, so I am against any additional steps between inspiration and success.

I have excluded some accounts with high fees. For example, Banesco Online Savings currently pays 1.97 percent. You can open the account with a $100 deposit. However, if your balance falls below $300, you will have to pay a $5 fee. I strongly recommend against savings accounts that apply a fee of any kind.

FNB’s First Rate Money Market Savings pays 4/100ths of one percent interest. FNB pays 2.01 percent for accounts that put down more than $25,000.  

Citibank CitiAccelerate Savings pays 4/100ths of one percent. There is a $4.50 monthly fee associated with the account, so you will have to set aside $1,125 before you net your first penny in real interest. Citibank pays 2.36 percent on high-dollar deposits.

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Adam Rust has worked to defend consumers against harmful financial practices since 2005. He has written extensively about overdraft fees, payday lending, credit insurance, student loans, prepaid debit cards, high-cost installment loans, and subprime mortgage lending. The New York Times interviewed him when it reported on the CFPB's rulemaking on prepaid debit cards; subsequently, his research paper framed the debate on consumer protections.

He serves on the Board of the US Faster Payments Council. He is Director of Research at Reinvestment Partners in Durham, North Carolina. He is the author of BankTalk. He is the author of "This is My Home: Challenges and Opportunities of Manufactured Housing" and has testified to Congress on how to redress some of the problems with manufactured housing. See more on his LinkedIn profile.