Best Online Savings Accounts with High Yield Returns

by Ryan Guina

My local bank offers a basic savings account with a 0.04% interest rate with the opportunity for a lot of fees. If you are a high roller and have a minimum of $30,000 to open an account, you can earn 0.75% interest at that bank (the interest rate “skyrockets” to 0.85% if you can bring $5 million to the table). Oh, and it took me a couple minutes to find that information. Where’s the transparency?

If this situation sounds familiar to you, then I recommend looking into an online high yield savings account where you can earn a better return on your money, avoid most fees, and enjoy added functionality. If you still need a brick and mortar bank, then consider keeping your local account and using the online savings account to stash your emergency fund or long term savings.

How to Find the Best Banks and Rates

best online savings accounts

Open an online savings account today!

All banks are not created equally. There are variations in interest rates, reliability, functionality, and more. When looking for a new bank, consider these features:

  • FDIC insurance. FDIC Insurance is one of the most important features – if the bank is not FDIC insured, keep looking.
  • Interest rates. The higher the better, provided the bank meets your other needs.
  • Account minimums. Some banks require you to deposit a large amount of money to receive the best rates or avoid fees.
  • Fees. Keep these to a minimum.
  • Functionality. Some banks offer great features such as unlimited sub-accounts, high yield checking accounts, Certificates of Deposit, the ability to link to a brokerage account, and more.
  • Access to funds. How quickly and easily can you access your money if you need it? Is there a brick and mortar version of the bank, or is it only online?

Check out our post about the benefits of Chase Checking accounts, this is one great online banking option with perks of free money for signing up!

Top Online High Interest Savings Accounts

The following banks meet the criteria listed above, and each of them offers something a little different than their competitors. These banks are all covered by the FDIC and are great options if you are searching for a new online bank. Bank rates change often, but we do our best to maintain an accurate listing of current high yield savings account rates. Use the following chart for current options, or read more details below the rate chart.

Online BankMin. DepositAccount Details
$500The Discover Bank Online Savings Account has a $500 opening deposit plus no minimum balance. Also available: money market accounts, certificates of deposit (CD) and an IRA CD. For more information visit:
- Discover Bank Review.
- Official Discover Bank Website.
$1Rated the top online bank in 2008 by Kiplinger’s and has a 4 out of 5 star rating from Bankrate’s Safe and Sound Ratings. for more information, visit:
- Official FNBO Direct website.
Ally Bank ® No Nonsense. Just People Sense.   $1Ally Bank offers savings accounts and CDs, including a no penalty CD. Ally Bank also offers the ability to create sub-accounts for targeted savings.
- Ally Bank Review.
Click here to start saving with Capital One 360!$1Create up to 30 sub-accounts. Capital One 360 also offers CDs, a high interest checking account, and the ability to link your account to ShareBuilder, an online brokerage. For more information, visit:
- Capital One 360 Review
$1,500$1,500 initial-deposit requirement. Features 1.51% Bonus Rate for first three months. No-fees for online banking with minimum account balance of $5,000. Also available: CD's high interest checking, Money market account, more. For more information visit the Everbank website.

$1American Express Personal Savings Accounts currently offer high interest rates on savings accounts, checking accounts, money market accounts, and CDs.For more information, visit:
- American Express Personal Savings Accounts Review.
CIT Bank Savings Account$25,000 (bonus rate)
$100 (standard rate)
CIT Bank offers best in class interest rates, with a bonus rate for balances over $25,000. For more information, visit the CIT Bank Website.

Account Highlights

FNBO Direct. FNBO Direct, the online branch of First National Bank of Omaha, was rated the top online bank in 2008 by Kiplinger’s and has a 4 out of 5 star rating from Bankrate’s Safe and Sound Ratings. There are no minimum balance requirements, no extra fees, and you can easily link other bank accounts with FNBO Direct. You can find more information or open an FNBO Direct account at

Discover Bank. Discover Bank offers top tier online savings and money market accounts which feature high interest rates as well as CDs for Roth IRAs that are among the highest in the nation. For more information about Discover Bank read this Discover Bank Review or visit the Official Discover Bank website.

Capital One 360. Capital One 360 is probably the most well known online bank and they have many attractive features that set them apart from other banks. Their best features include the ability to create an unlimited number of sub-accounts (which makes targeted savings easy), ability to link to their high yield checking account, ability to link directly to your ShareBuilder account, a program to refer friends and family to earn bonuses, good CD rates, and more. For more information, read our Capital One 360 review or visit their website to open an account.

Ally BankAlly Bank. Ally Bank is the new name for what was formerly GMAC Bank. They offer high rates, unlimited sub-accounts, and excellent CD rates. Ally Bank is of the few banks to offer a no penalty CD, which you can break at any time without any fees. Ally Bank accounts have no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirement. You can read more in my Ally Bank review, or you can open an Ally Bank account at

EverBank. EverBank currently offers some of the highest interest rates among online banks, with features including high yield savings accounts, a money market account, checking accounts, CDs, credit cards, and investment accounts. EverBank offers a high introductory rate and has a $1,500 minimum balance to open an account and there are no fees with a minimum balance of $5,000. You can find more information or open an EverBank account at

american-express-savings-accountAmerican Express Personal Savings Account. You are probably most familiar with American Express for the credit cards, but they recently began offering an online savings account as well. They offer very competitive interest rates (well above the national average), and a variety of CDs, ranging from 6 months to 5 years. There is no minimum to open an account, no minimum balance requirement, and no inactivity fees. You can find more information in our American Express Savings Account Review, or open an account at

CIT Bank Savings AccountCIT Bank is one of the top online banks in the US, offering high interest rates across the board, and a bonus rate for those who maintain a daily balance of $25,000 or more. There are no monthly fees and the customer service is excellent. For more information, or to open an account, visit CIT Bank’s website.

Sallie MaeSallie Mae Bank. Sallie Mae just opened a new consumer banking division and they currently offer some of the highest rates in the nation. Sallie Mae is FDIC insured, has no minimum balance requirements, and no fees. Salllie Mae also has a unique arrangement with Upromise – you can earn a 10% annual match on Upromise earnings. For more information, please read this Sallie Mae Savings Account Review for more information.

SmartyPig. SmartyPig is a different kind of bank, offering high interest rates and an incentive to save. SmartyPig is FDIC insured and has no minimum balance or fees. To open a SmartyPig account, you need to declare a savings goal, then set up automatic deposits toward your goal. This is an easy process and only takes a few minutes to set up. For more information about SmartyPig’s great interest rates or to open an account, see this Smarty Pig review.

Photo credit: Carly Jane1

Published or updated October 7, 2016.
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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Craig

Does your bank offer a money market account at a higher rate? Citibank does this and pretty sure the set up and everything was free. Same rates as the online accounts.


2 Ryan

Craig, Yes, they offer 0.10% interest for standard money market accounts, and bump it up to 0.75% if you can maintain a minimum daily balance of $10,000.

All of the online banks mentioned above have a minimum of 0.95%, up to 2.5%. So they are better options for stashing cash, especially if you don’t have $10,000 at the moment.


3 Financial Samurai

I would seriously suggest looking into 5 yr CDs and ladder your money. Every year you earn only 1.5% is like losing 2.5% because you’re not in a 5 yr CD.

Sure, inflation may go up, bringing up rates with it. However, simply then lock in that year’s bonus or cash reserves in a higher yield and repeat.

Citibank was offering 4% for a 5-yr, and they are still offering 3.75%.

It adds up… if you have $500,000 in savings and miss out on 2.5% every year, that’s $12,500!


4 Ryan

Financial Samurai, I have a 5 year CD ladder for a good portion of my savings, but it is also nice to (and sometimes necessary) to retain flexibility with some funds. Most of these banks offer very attractive CD Rates, so it is very possible to save in CDs and in a savings account.

Here is more information about How to Build a CD Ladder.


5 Financial Samurai

Hey Ryan – Sounds good man. BTW, how on earth do I upload my picture in my profile on your site? I’m a computer dummy. 🙂


6 Ryan

Go to Gravatar and sign up for a free account. You can upload an avatar which will display on sites based on which e-mail address you use.

You can set up Avatars to display in the WordPress Dashboard under Discussion Settings if your theme is set up for them. Many themes have this capability enabled. I currently use Thesis, which you can read about here: Thesis Premium WordPress Theme Review.


7 Martin

Thanks for the information, as a Canadian moving to the USA the number of banks to choose from were astronomical making a financial institute to choose from to be very difficult. Outside of Credit Unions we only have maybe 10 banks in the whole of the country and for the most part they service nationwide.

For those moving to the USA I would probably recommend HSBC since they are the only international bank on this list which can make it easier moving money in and out of the country.


8 Jerry

Has anyone tried the discover high yield savings? They offer 2%…wondering if they are good or bad. I have my savings in ING now but every month they keep lowering my APR.


9 Steve

I wonder why none of these lists ever include Stonebridge Bank (, I’ve used them for years now and they have always had high rates with low or no fees, here’s some of the current rates, free interest checking @ 0.10% APY (yeah its low but I only keep min in that & just transfer online to MM), and Premier Money Market @ 1.45% APY with “Minimum average daily balance of $1,000 to avoid $10 monthly service charge” (I’m pretty sure I’ve dropped below that amount in the past & have never been charged, but I think it used to be if you were below said amount it was 0% APY with no fee, I can’t remember), the CD’s currently range from 1.40% (6 month) to 2.75% (60 month) APY. My understanding is they are mostly internet based with only 4 B&M locations. So the thing I really wonder about is, are they some hidden gem I should enjoy sharing & keep or is there something I’m missing and I should run far away…anyone???


10 Ryan


I haven’t heard of them before, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a good bank. I went to BankRate’s Safe and Sound Ratings and looked up StoneBridge Bank.StoneBridge is a relatively small bank compared to some of the banks mentioned in this article. Because the audience of this website is nationwide, I don’t focus on small or regional banks, or banks with membership requirements. That is because there are so many of them and they aren’t always the best option for people who live across the country, particularly when some of the larger banks have a more extensive ATM network, more B&M locations, and excellent online features.

If you are happy with them, then by all means, enjoy your hidden gem!


11 william stevenson

I wish to tell all the members of the younger generation to be aware of all the investment opportunities that are available and for God sake save every dime you can. Retirement is right around the corner, don’t be caught short.



What is, their site is very confusing. I see you reference them from time to time, do you recommend the site for credibility?


13 Ryan

Larry, is an industry leader for objective bank rankings (see their Safe and Sound rankings) which are based on public information, regulatory filings, etc. They also offer a wide array of tools, including calculators and comparison tools. Their site is legitimate and has been referenced by all of the major news outlets, such as CNN, Yahoo. MSN, etc. (they also advertise heavily on some of these sites).


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