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The best cash management accounts in 2021

You can earn up to 30% APY with the top cash management accounts.
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Written by Lena Borrelli, Contributing Writer on
Reviewed by Toni Husbands

Sometimes, the best way to make money is to use the money you already have. That is where a cash management account can help. 

Also known as a CMA, a cash management account is a cash account that allows you to earn interest on your existing balance. It manages to combine many of the key features of a checking account, like bill pay, direct deposit, and ATM access, with accounts like savings and investment to help grow your balance based on variable annual percentage yields (APYs). These accounts are sometimes offered by financial service providers, not banks, so there are some features lacking. Many providers do not offer a brick-and-mortar location for you to visit in person, instead of delegating all account services to the digital realm. 

With so many choices today, it can be difficult to find the right cash management account to park your money, but we have done an in-depth analysis of today's leading providers. Based on the most current data available, these are the best cash management accounts today. 

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Image: Betterment

At a glance

Betterment's Cash Reserve program partners with leading banks to provide clients with a high-yield savings solution. When you deposit funds into the Cash Reserve, these program banks pay a variable interest rate to help your savings grow. Program banks include Wells Fargo Bank, HSBC Bank, and Bancorp Bank. The added security of FDIC insurance is up to $1 million for single policies and up to $2 million for joint policies once your money has been deposited with a partner bank. 

You can move money as often as you like without penalty, with withdrawals taking 1-2 business days. You can also set up buckets for different purposes with the added option of auto-deposit to simplify life. For additional support, Betterment offers financial support and retirement planning tools. With the Betterment Satisfaction Guarantee, Betterment will work with you to resolve any issues while waiving the Betterment management fee for up to three months.

Fees

There is a 0.10% APY on your savings account with a variable APY that tracks the Fed Fund Rate. A minimum balance of $10 is required to open your account, but there is no minimum balance after your account is open. 

Pros:

  • Savings buckets to organize your money

  • Joint accounts available

  • FDIC-insured up to $2 million

Cons:

  • No cash deposits

  • Restricted direct deposit 

  • No physical branches

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Image: Casimiro PT / Shutterstock

At a glance

Fidelity has already made a name for itself for investment accounts, so it may come as little surprise that it also has one of the best cash management accounts. 

This is a brokerage account that is FDIC-insured up to $1.25 million while combining the best features of a checking and savings account. Through its FDIC Deposit Sweep program, your account earns interest on your balance while also benefiting from convenient features like ATM withdrawals, access to a debit card, and even free checks. Fidelity partners with program banks that include JP Morgan Chase Bank, Santander Bank, and CitiBank. 

Fidelity's Cash Manager tool is an invaluable resource when it comes to managing your account. Use the service to control your account with minimum and maximum target balances and minimum transfer targets.   

Fees

There are no account or commission fees for Fidelity's Cash Management Account. There is an 0.01% APY on available balances.

Pros:

  • No account or commission fees

  • 7,000+ investment options

  • No account minimums

Cons:

  • Low-interest rate

  • Limited branch locations

  • It does not support cryptocurrency

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Image: Morgan Stanley

At a glance

Morgan Stanley's CashPlus cash management account comes in two forms: the Premier CashPlus and Platinum CashPlus. The Platinum CashPlus offers extra perks, like an annual bonus and extra Experian enrollments. 

Regardless of which account you choose, you can access cash from banks and tellers that take Mastercard. Account management is made easy with both online and mobile app management, plus there are extra perks like Experian identity and credit protection with monthly reporting, real-time alerts, and extra integrated Mastercard protections. Security features include cash management alerts with the ability to lock and unlock your debit card. 

Morgan Stanley also offers a $695 annual engagement bonus when you sign up for Platinum CashPlus.

Fees

Morgan Stanley CashPlus does not have many of the standard fees, such as cash advance, ATM or foreign transaction fees. There is no account fee when you maintain total monthly deposits of $2,500 for the Premier and $5,000 for the Platinum. Otherwise, fees cost about $15 or $45 per month.

There is an APY of up to 0.75%. 

Pros:

  • Use anywhere Mastercard is accepted

  • Unlimited ATM fee rebates

  • Annual bonus

Cons:

  • The high threshold to skip account fees

  • It may be difficult to qualify 

  • Limited FDIC insurance

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Image: Personal Capital

At a glance

Available via Personal Capital Services Corporation, Personal Capital Cash offers a mobile and family-friendly solution to cash management. 

Here, there is the option for a joint account, making it a great option for couples and families. Accounts are FDIC-insured up to $1.5 million for greater protection and peace of mind. To help keep you organized, Personal Capital offers optional direct deposit and monthly bill pay. Plus, you can easily manage all of these services when you access your account via the mobile app or online access. 

There are no restrictions on the number of monthly transfers you can make, although there is a maximum withdrawal of $100,000 per day. 

Fees

Personal Capital Cash has no account fees and no minimum balance. There are also no limits regarding the number of deposits or withdrawals for your account. There is a maximum deposit limit of $250,000 per transaction, and you can wire up to $1 million without any fees. 

Pros:

  • No fees

  • Large wire limits

  • Convenient mobile app

Cons:

  • Low APY

  • No ATMs

  • Lacking physical branches

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Image: Robinhood

At a glance

Robinhood brings serious support with program banks, including leading institutions like Goldman Sachs Bank, HSBC Bank, and Wells Fargo Bank.

With its cash management account, you receive access to over 75,000 ATMs, which is far more locations than many other cash management accounts. You also benefit from extra safety protocols, like up to $1.25 million of FDIC protection and Mastercard's Zero Liability Protection against fraudulent transactions. Robinhood utilizes leading security measures to keep your account secure, including encryption, TLS protocol, and machine learning fraud protection.

Account-holders also have the option of extra features, such as transaction notifications and location protection, if your card is used too far from your phone.

Fees

Robinhood offers an impressive 0.30% APY on its cash management account. There are also no fees, including no charges for overdrafts, account minimums, transfers, or foreign transactions.

Pros:

  • No account fees

  • 75,000+ ATMs

  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons:

  • No in-person banking

  • No cash deposits

  • Out-of-network ATM fees

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Image: SoFi

At a glance

In cooperation with The Bancorp Bank, SoFi's cash management account comes with the SoFi Money World Debit Mastercard. You get access to more than 55,000 ATMs across the world without any ATM fees.

How much you earn depends on the amount of money you keep in your account. When you deposit a minimum of $500 into your account each month, you earn an APY of 0.25%, compared to the 0.01% APY that would otherwise apply.  

Even better, SoFi offers a ton of membership perks not seen with other companies. This includes a 0.125% rate discount when you take out a SoFi loan. There are also free career services, including one-on-one consultations for job searches and transitions.  

Fees

SoFi offers an 0.25% APY when you maintain a minimum of $500 in monthly deposits. Otherwise, the APY is 0.01%. There are no ATM or account fees. However, although SoFi does not charge foreign transactions fees, you may face a 0.20% foreign exchange fee from MasterCard.

Pros:

  • High APY

  • No ATM fees

  • ATM fee reimbursement

Cons:

  • Conditional account fees

  • No physical branches

  • Transaction limits

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Image: Wealthfront

At a glance

Wealthfront's cash management account works with banks like Green Dot to provide a debit card with access to over 19,000 ATMs.  

Wealthfront does not just offer individual accounts, either. There are also joint and trust accounts if you are looking for something different from the everyday account. Accounts are FDIC-insured up to $1 million. 

Additional account services include instant transfers and easy bill pay, plus the ability to send and deposit checks. When you use direct deposit for your check, you could receive funds up to two days before your payday. To keep your account secure, there is active fraud monitoring.

Fees

Wealthfront's cash management account holds a 0.10 APY. There are no account, overdraft, or transfer fees, but you will need $1 to open your account.

Pros:

  • Three types of plans

  • Available bill pay

  • Direct deposit up to 2 days early

Cons:

  • $1 million FDIC insurance

  • Low APY

  • A limited number of ATMs

How did we choose these accounts?

To find the best cash management accounts, there are several factors that we analyzed for each provider:

  • APY: The first thing many people consider is the APY or annual percentage yield. This is how much will be earned on your account balance.  

  • Fees: There are many fees that can eat into your earnings, such as an account fee.

  • ATM network: It is important to consider the size of your network and the number of ATMs available for you to use without extra fees. 

  • Debit card: If you regularly want to access your money, a debit card and checks can help you spend as needed.

  • Direct deposit: Some accounts allow you to deposit your paycheck into your account up to two days early when you use direct deposit.   

  • Tools and resources: Some companies offer additional tools and resources, such as fraud protection and even career services. 

Before you choose the best cash management account for you, consider which features are most important to you.

What is a cash management account?

A cash management account (CMA) is an account that receives interest based on the balance you keep in the account. Commonly available through non-bank financial providers, it combines the features of a traditional checking and savings account with the benefits of an investment product. 

How do I sign up for a cash management account?

Many cash management accounts offer easy online signup. You will need to provide personal details to submit your application. Once your account is open, you can link funding sources, like your bank account or direct deposit.

What is the best cash management account?

There are many choices for the best cash management account, but the best option depends on your personal needs. Consider factors like fees, ATM networks, and benefits to differentiate between providers so you can find the best cash management account for your finances. 

Are there alternatives worth considering?

While the accounts above are our picks for the best card management accounts, there are many other options available today. 

Some other cash management accounts we considered include:

  • Aspiration: 1.00% APY

  • LendingClub: 0.15% APY

  • TD Ameritrade: 0.01%


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