The Best High-Yield Online Savings Accounts For 2012

I‘ve been writing about banks and savings accounts on this site for a few years now, reviewing some of my preferred banks, and looking at why they’re the best ones currently on the market.

It’s been a while since I did a post talking about which accounts are currently the best available, so today I thought I would do a post summarizing what I think are the current best savings accounts out there for most people. It should be noted that this is just my opinion, and you can probably find your own favorite banks out there as there are a ton of good ones out there right now.

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best savings accountsBest Savings Accounts For 2012

Among the criteria that I used when choosing these banks include banks that have good rates (I know it’s relative, the rates are nowhere near where they used to be), they have no fees for most things, and that they have good customer service. Having been with banks that had no or non-existent customer service that part was important to me.

Here is a quick listing of some of my favorite banks right now. I currently have accounts with two of these banks, and may end up switching to another because of a better interest rate. All of them, however, are great banks to work with.

Bank
Open Account
Interest Rate (APY)
Min. Deposit
Review

CIT Bank Savings Account
1.05%
0.90%
$25,000
No Minimum
CIT Bank Review

American Express Savings Account
0.90%No MinimumAmerican Express Bank Review

Ally Bank High Yield Savings
0.95%No MinimumAlly Bank Review

EverBank Yield Pledge Money Market Account
1.01%$1,500EverBank Bank Review

ING Orange Savings Account
0.75%No MinimumING Direct Bank Review

Discover Bank Savings Account
0.80%$500Discover Bank Review

FNBO Direct Savings
0.65%No MinimumFNBO Direct Online Savings Review

Current Best Savings Accounts

So after having a quick look at the table above I thought I’d go a bit more in depth with each bank, and talk about why they made the list. Something to keep in mind is that the rates on these accounts are constantly changing. I try to keep them up to date on this site, but if you want to make 100% sure that the rate is current, just click through the link on this page to the bank’s site.

All of these banks are going to be safe places to stash your cash, and are all FDIC insured.

All the banks listed are fee-free type banks, and you can save quite a bit of money as compared to traditional bricks and mortar banks. I know my old bricks and mortar bank loves to assess fees for no reason at all, part of the main reason I switched.

These banks are also all great with customer service, not something a lot of people are used to. I’ve had great luck using the customer support phone and chat teams at Ally, for example. So without further ado, let’s jump right in with my current top dog in online savings accounts.

CIT Bank Savings – Best Savings Account Pick

CIT Bank savings account is my current pick for best savings account. They currently offer some of the highest rates when it comes to their online savings account. Rates vary depending on your deposit amount, but if you deposit more than $25,000 it is currently at 1.05%. They also have a great line of Achiever CDs. The CDs will range anywhere from 1.08% for a 12 month CD, up to a 1.80% for a 5 year, and are a great option if you’re considering starting a CD Ladder.

If I were looking to start a new savings account today CIT Bank savings would definitely be at the top of my list.

CIT Bank Savings Details

American Express Savings

American Express savings account is another great option, from a company that is better known for their credit cards.

Your Amex savings is FDIC insured up to $250,000 per depositor, and beyond that they’re an established name that you can rely on being there for years to come, no need worrying about them being a fly-by-night operation. In fact, they’ve been rated 5 star safe and sound by BankRate.com!

They have no fees to open or maintain an account, and they’re currently offering one of the best rates in the business. I’ve also heard from others that their customer service is exceptional.

American Express Savings Details

Ally Bank Savings

Ally Bank savings account is one of my favorite online banks, and is one of the banks I currently work with. They have been around for a few years now with their current branding, but previous to that they were known as GMAC bank. Ally has a lot of very good commercials running talking about  just how customer focused they are, and in my experience that is true. I’ve been extremely happy with their customer service via the phone and chat, and their site has a ton of great features like remote check deposit (perfect for bloggers who get a lot of checks like me!).

Ally also has one of the best rates available right now for savings accounts. They also have some great CD options, with a no penalty CD, and their popular rate adjustment CDs.  They are safe and sound and are FDIC insured – and I haven’t been charged a fee since I started with them.

Ally Bank Savings Details

ING Direct Savings

ING Orange savings account is another great savings account that has been one of the favorites of personal finance bloggers for  years, myself included.  Last year all of that was in doubt when Capital One bought out ING Direct and there was a lot of rumor and innuendo that ING would be changing for the worse.  Capital One has since made assurances that they won’t be changing things, and the ING Direct we all know and love will be around for the long haul.  That’s a relief as I am a customer with ING.

ING Direct is know for the no fee savings accounts, in addition to their free checking and investing product through Sharebuilder.  They also have CDs, mortgages and insurance products among other things. As with all the others they are FDIC insured and offer accounts with no minimums or fees – and they have some great features like remote check deposit via their smartphone apps.

ING Direct Savings Details

EverBank Savings

EverBank isn’t one of the most well known online banks, but they do have a solid track record stretching back to when the bank launched it’s first direct to consumer bank accounts back in 2000.  The bank is FDIC insured, has some of the highest available rates and has some great features like remote check deposit.

The only downside I can find to Everbank is that they have a $1500 minimum deposit. For many folks that probably won’t be an issue, but it is the  highest of the banks I’m featuring here.  To go along with that higher minimum deposit, however, is a higher rate than some of the other banks.

EverBank Savings Details

 Discover Bank Savings

Discover Bank has a history that goes back to 1911 when it was launched as Greenwood Trust Company. It was renamed as Discover Bank in 2000, and they now offer among the most competitive rates around. They are FDIC insured, and have a variety of other account options available including classic CDs, money market accounts, IRA CDs and their traditional credit card offerings.

Discover Bank Savings Details

FNBO Direct Savings

FNBO Direct has a long and storied history going all the way back to it’s founding in 1857 when they were trading primarily in gold dust and buffalo hides.  Fast forward to today and they’re one of the top online banks offering a variety of account options including savings, checking and CD accounts. Sadly, buffalo hides are no longer an option. Their savings rates are very competitive, however.

They are a FDIC insured bank, have great 24/7 customer service, no fees and have been named to Kiplinger’s lists of best accounts. Definitely a bank to keep in consideration.

FNBO Direct Savings Details

Reasons To Go With An Online Bank

There are a lot of reasons to sign up for and use an online bank these days.  Here are a few reasons why I’ve switched to an online savings account over the account at my traditional bricks and mortar bank:

  • No fees or minimums: Online savings accounts have traditionally been lower cost accounts when it comes to fees and minimums for the consumer. I know for me I went from a traditional bank where they had monthly fees and account minimums, to my online accounts where I’ve never paid a single fee. Why pay fees when you don’t have to?
  • Better interest rates: The lower costs of running an online bank for the companies often translates to better interest rates.  When I switched savings accounts my interest rate went from next to nothing to where it was actually making interest every month.  While rates are still low right now, you should at least be making something, right?
  • Better customer service: Big bricks and mortar banks can be too big for their britches at times, and their customer service in many cases has suffered. That was the case for me with my big bank, and switching to an online bank has resulted in my family receiving much better service.
  • More convenient:  It may not be conventional wisdom that online banks are more convenient or easier to use, but for me I’ve found that to be the case. My online bank has better ATM distribution than my regular bank.  They also have better online features like remote deposit that save me a ton of time because I don’t have to drive to the bank to make deposits.  In general I think online banks “get it” when it comes to making things easy and convenient for their customers.

So those are a few of the reasons why online banks are a great idea. The banks I’ve listed on this page are only a start and are some of the banks I’ve been most impressed with, or actually use myself. Definitely still do your own research, find the best rates and go with the bank that makes you feel the most comfortable.

Have your own online savings account that isn’t listed here, but you love?  Brag on  your bank in the comments!

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Last Edited: 23rd October 2012

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Comments

    Share Your Thoughts:

    • says

      Yeah, I remember when I first started my personal finance blog, savings accounts were giving you closer to 4-5% at least. Now it won’t even keep up with inflation, but it’s all relative, right?

  1. says

    I was just searching for information on saving accounts with highest interest rate and luckily found your article. The information you have in your article is very detailed. Thanks for your research! Another alternative to high-yield savings accounts would be government savings bonds series I. Their interest rate is currently 2.20% which is a combination of a fixed rate – which applies for the life of the bond – and the semiannual inflation rate.

  2. Benjamin Mathew says

    How about Barclays USA? I don’t have an account but it is a well established bank in the UK. Offers 1% on any deposit.

  3. Matthew says

    Hi Peter:

    Can you refer me to a bank that will let me open an account with funds from a PayPal account? I belong to several survey sites that pay in PayPal funds and would like to open an online savings account with PayPal funds, but would like to keep my regular bank out of it. Thanks for your help, and for this great blog!

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