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The 5 best online savings accounts: Put those digital tools to use

What is the best online savings account? The Ally Online Savings Account is the best overall.
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Written by Lena Borrelli, Contributing Writer on
Reviewed by Elyse Betters Picaro

Today, most of us have transitioned to a mobile-first lifestyle, using our computers and phones for everything from writing term papers to scheduling a grocery delivery. So it comes as no surprise that the banking world has also gone digital. 

Many online banks offer some of the best rates and tools available; it's just a matter of choosing which one is best for you. We surveyed multiple banks and financial institutions to explore what options are available for your banking needs. Based on our in-depth, ongoing study, these are the best online savings accounts in 2022:

Ally Online Savings Account

Best online savings account overall

Ally High Yield Savings Account

Features and fees:

  • APY: 0.50%
  • ACH transfers: $0
  • Excessive transaction fee: $10 per transaction
  • Incoming wires: $0
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Outgoing wires: $20
  • Returned deposit item: $7.50

Ally's High Yield Savings is our pick for the best savings account because it has few fees matched with a good APY. You will pay none of the usual fees that banks charge, waiving the cost for such things as ACH transfers, excessive transactions, and incoming wires. There also is no monthly fee. Ally is a company that proudly boasts its ability to help consumers save twice as much when using the digital savings tool available. It offers buckets that you can use to create, prioritize, and complete tasks, while boosters are used to increase the funds in your savings account. You can easily add funds to your accounts through recurring transfers that happen each month automatically, taking one more thing off your plate. If you want to build your savings faster, you have the option of a recurring transfer that will round each purchase to the next dollar.  

Pros

Cons

  • Easy online access
  • Savings tools
  • Few fees
  • No brick-and-mortar locations
  • No cash deposits

Axos High Yield Savings Account

Best for easy access to your account

Axos High Yield Savings Account

Features and fees

  • APY: Up to 0.61%
  • ATM card: $0
  • Foreign transaction fee: $0
  • Incoming wire: $0
  • Outgoing wire: $35 domestic / $45 international
  • Paper statements: $5

With the Axos High Yield Savings Account, the rate you receive all depends on the balance in your account. The more you have in your account, the lower your rate will be. So you must maintain an account balance of $24,999 or less in order to receive the best rate. You also must pay the minimum opening deposit of $250 when you open your account, so you will need to be prepared to handle this expense. 

The benefit is that this savings account comes with a complimentary debit card, plus a convenient online banking dashboard that keeps you in control of your finances at all times. If you can meet the account requirements, this could be a fantastic option when you want a high yield savings account with a higher APY.  

Pros 

  • Impressive APY
  • ATM card available
  • Automated 24/7 support

Cons 

  • No live support
  • Rate dependent on balance

Discover Online Savings Account

Best for no fees

Discover Online Savings Account

Features and fees

  • APY: 0.60%
  • Bank check: $0
  • Excessive withdrawal fee: $0
  • Expedited delivery for official bank checks: $0
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Insufficient funds: $0
  • Stop payment: $0

According to Discover, its Online Savings Account can help you earn up to five times the interest over the country's national average. While not the highest rate on our list, you save a ton in the fees that you would normally face elsewhere. 

You do not need to pay a minimum opening balance, and Discover does not require you to maintain a monthly balance. So if you encounter a financial emergency, you will not be penalized for a low account balance. For everyday savings, you can benefit from automatic transfers that work monthly. 

One of the best parts about Discover, however, is its 24/7 customer service, giving you the extra assurance that help is just a phone call away -- no matter the time or day. With no ATM access or cash deposits, however, this is not the account you want when you work a lot with cash. 

Pros 

  • 24/7 customer service
  • Few fees

Cons

  • No ATM access 
  • No cash deposit

Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield Online Savings Account

Best customer service

Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield Online Savings Account

Features and fees

  • APY: 0.60%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly fee: $0

Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a popular savings account, and it makes sense. Account holders benefit from 24/7 customer service, so help is always within reach. There is no monthly fee and no minimum balance requirement, making it a great choice if you are just getting started with your savings. 

You can rest assured that your account comes with the added support of Goldman Sachs, a long-standing financial institution. It is important to note that Marcus is not a bank, however, so you will not have the luxury of any ATM access or mobile check deposits; the only way to make deposits is to transfer funds from a checking account. Despite this, you do have the option of other traditional services, like wire transfers and check deposits. If you need to make a same-day transfer, you can transfer in up to $100,000 from other banks. 

Pros 

  • 24/7 customer service
  • Same-day transfers
  • Goldman Sachs Banking

Cons 

  • No ATM card
  • Must have good credit

Sallie Mae Bank SmartyPig Account

Best for students

Sallie Mae Bank SmartyPig Account

Features and fees

  • APY: Up to 0.70%
  • Fees
  • Minimum monthly requirement: $0
  • Minimum opening balance: $0

The Sallie Mae Bank SmartyPig Account is specifically geared toward students. Many young adults carry the burden of student loans, making it challenging to save. The SmartyPig account, however, can help with its goal trackers. If there is something specific you are saving for or you simply want to add milestones, it's easy to organize and track. Either way, you set up a buy-now-pay-later option with your account that helps when you find yourself strapped for cash. 

To keep your account growing, you can choose from either biweekly or monthly deposits. If you hit a snag or fall behind with a payment, you can always access your funds in an emergency. There is no monthly minimum, and you receive a high APY when you keep a balance of $10,000 or less. Even with balances over $5,000, there is still a high APY of 0.55%. 

Pros 

  • High APY
  • Withdrawals available
  • Few fees

Cons

  • Restricted customer service hours
  • APY is dependent upon balance

What is the best online savings account?

The best online savings account is the Ally Online Savings Account. 

Savings account

APY

FDIC insured

Recommended Credit

Minimum opening balance

Monthly maintenance fee

Ally Bank Online Savings Account

0.50%

Fair, Good, Excellent

$0

$0

Axos Bank High Yield Savings Account

0.61%

Good, Excellent

$250

$0

Discover Bank

0.60%

Good, Excellent

$0

$0

Marcus by Goldman Sachs High-Yield Online Savings Account

0.60%

Good, Excellent

$0

$0

Sallie Mae Bank SmartyPig Account

0.70%

Not disclosed

$0

$0

Which is the right account for you?

With so many financial institutions to choose from, it's challenging to determine the best online savings account for you. To help, here are our recommendations:

Choose this savings account..

If you...

Ally Bank Online Savings Account

Want a little help with your savings

Axos Bank High Yield Savings Account

Want regular ATM access  

Discover Bank

Don't want to waste money on fees

Marcus by Goldman Sachs High-Yield Online Savings Account

Want a competitive APY with same-day transfers

Sallie Mae Bank SmartyPig Account

Are a student looking for extra help with saving

How did we choose these online savings accounts?

These are some of the factors we considered:

  • APY: The annual percentage yield, or APY, is one of the biggest factors people look for because it helps to determine how much interest you will earn. The higher the APY, the more you stand to earn in interest.
  • Fees: Most accounts have some sort of fee, like monthly maintenance fees, wire transfers, excessive transactions, and paper statements. Before you choose an account, consider how much these fees will impact your savings. 
  • Balance requirement: There is usually an account requirement that applies, whether it is the amount you must deposit to open the account or a minimum you must keep in your account each month.   
  • Support: Easy access to customer service is critical when opening and maintaining a new account. Look to see what availability and methods each account offers for customer service.
  • Insurance: Check to see if your account is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). FDIC will offer up to $250,000 in insurance for your savings account, protecting you from fraud.  

What is APY?

APY stands for annual percentage yield. This is the amount of interest you will earn on your account balance. 

What is an online savings account?

An online savings account is one that operates online, using digital services and tools that allow you to bank anywhere you have mobile access. Many accounts are offered by banks based solely or primarily online, offering an easy convenience that is perfect for today's modern world. 

Are online savings accounts safe?

Online savings accounts are available through several reputable banks and financial institutions. Be sure to confirm that your account is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which will provide you with up to $250,000 for your funds.

Are there alternative accounts worth considering?

There are many other online savings accounts that could help you save. These are the ones that almost made our list:

  • Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Savings: Recommended for children
  • Barclays Online Savings: Designed for long-term savings
  • High Yield Chime Savings Account: Excellent mobile app
  • Synchrony Bank High Yield Savings: Kind to small balances
  • Vio Bank High Yield Online Savings Account: Superior digital tools

While looking for a new bank account, also check out our picks for the best savings accounts for all of your financial needs.

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