8 of the Best Savings Accounts in 2020

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young woman with piggy bank via dreamstime
Image Credit: Dreamstime

Looking for the best savings account to grow your money in a safe way? There are a lot of choices out there.

Here at Team Clark, we’ve done the research by poring over rates, fees and consumer complaints to deliver this list of the best savings accounts for your money.

Check Out These Picks for Best Savings Accounts

Finding the best savings account can sometimes seem like looking for a needle in a haystack because of the wide variety of options out there.

But we’re here to help you cut through the clutter and noise so you can move from a bank that’s paying you next to nothing to actually earning some money on your money.

To do that, we looked for five things to help identify the best savings accounts:

  • High interest rate
  • Low or no minimum opening deposit
  • Low or no account fees
  • FDIC or NCUA insurance to protect your deposits
  • Low level of consumer complaints

The first four are easy to determine. For the final bullet point, we checked with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) database of consumer complaints about banks, which dates back to 2012.

We were looking to see a low overall number of complaints about the banks and credit unions we picked. Plus, we drilled down even further by reading complaints specifically about their savings accounts.

We also took care to make sure that any complaints which were filed got resolved to the consumer’s satisfaction — often with monetary relief for whoever filed the complaint.

So, in summary, we were looking for that sweet spot of high interest rate and low/no fees or minimum balance requirements coupled with a high level of customer satisfaction.

Check out this alphabetical list that details what we found:

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  1. Alliant Credit Union
  2. Ally Bank
  3. Capital One
  4. Discover
  5. FNBO Direct
  6. Marcus
  7. PenFed Credit Union
  8. Simple

1. Alliant Credit Union

Alliant Credit Union logo

  • 1.60% APY
  • No monthly fees (with e-statements)
  • $5 donation to open
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Network of surcharge-free ATMs
  • National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) protection of your funds up to $250,000
  • Zero consumer complaints on CFPB database

As a credit union, Alliant only offer its products and services like this High-Rate Savings Account to members.

You may be able meet the membership qualifications based on geography or the business you work for. But if you don’t, membership is open to anyone who makes a $5 donation to the nonprofit Foster Care to Success.

To earn interest, you must maintain a balance of at least $100. The only fee associated with this account — a $1/month paper account statement fee — can be avoided by getting e-statements.

Alliant is partnered with a network of more than 80,000 free ATMs for access to your money.

And — notably — Alliant has zero consumer complaints logged with the CFPB!

2. Ally Bank

Ally Bank logo

  • 1.60% APY
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum opening deposit
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Network of surcharge-free ATMs
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) protection of your funds up to $250,000
  • 125 of 128 consumer complaints on CFPB database resolved satisfactorily

Ally is a longtime favorite among Team Clark members. There are no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements for this online savings account.

You get access to the Allpoint network of more than 43,000 surcharge-free ATMs. Plus, Ally will reimburse up to $10 per statement cycle for fees charged at other ATMs nationwide.

Kim, the executive producer of The Clark Howard Show, says she’s been a longtime customer of Ally Bank.

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“I’ve found Ally to be a simple, clean and straightforward way to handle my banking. I’ve had a checking account with Ally for about seven years, but I only moved my savings account to Ally about a year ago. The interest rate on their savings accounts had always been a little higher than where my money had been, but in December of 2018 Ally raised their rate to a level that I couldn’t refuse. It was a full percentage point higher than my previous bank’s rate, and that was enough incentive for me to move my savings account. Even though their savings interest rate has since dropped a little, I currently have no plans to chase a higher rate because my experience with Ally has been flawless thus far.”

Kim raises an important point that bears repeating. If you’re already earning a reasonably high rate of interest on your savings, then it’s probably not worth moving money just to chase a tenth of point in interest elsewhere.

3. Capital One

Capital One logo

  • 1.70% APY
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum opening deposit
  • Mobile check deposit
  • FDIC protection of your funds up to $250,000
  • 326 of 336 consumer complaints on CFPB database resolved satisfactorily

The Capital One 360 Performance Savings offers a high rate, but beware of possible access issues.

There’s no ATM card access with this account, so that may be a potential drawback for some. In order to get your money, you need to transfer it out to a linked account or physically visit a Capital One branch.

Of course, if you’re trying to build savings for the long haul, not having the easiest access to your money may not be such a bad thing.

Joel of Team Clark uses both this particular Capital One account and the next one in our list…

4. Discover

Discover logo

  • 1.60% APY
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum opening deposit
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Network of surcharge-free ATMs
  • FDIC protection of your funds up to $250,000
  • 135 of 137 consumer complaints on CFPB database resolved satisfactorily

Unlike a lot of the other best savings accounts on this list, the Discover Online Savings Account frequently distinguishes itself by offering a sign-up bonus.

“I use Discover because I got a sign-up bonus and they have a solid rate,” Joel says. “I still have my Capital One account but keep most of my cash currently with Discover.”

Joel was able to score a free $200 by keeping his money with Discover for a month. He liked the service so much after that initial trial run that he decided to remain a customer.

“The signup bonus was sweet and their customer service is solid,” he says.

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Meanwhile, accessing your cash is easy through 60,000 surcharge-free ATMs courtesy of the Allpoint and MoneyPass networks.

5. FNBO Direct

FNBO Direct logo

  • 1.70% APY
  • No monthly fees
  • $1 minimum opening deposit required
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Network of surcharge-free ATMs
  • FDIC protection of your funds up to $250,000
  • 8 out of 8 consumer complaints on CFPB database resolved satisfactorily

The FNBO Direct Online Savings Account offers a high rate of interest. This bank also has a notably small number of complaints related to its savings account products.

When it comes to accessing your cash, you can either use one of Allpoint’s 55,000 surcharge-free ATMs or transfer money to your linked account at another financial institution.

Theo of Team Clark has been a longtime customer of FBNO Direct and remains happy with the service.

“I started back before the financial crisis when FNBO had a 5% interest rate. I’ve seen it go down over the years, of course,” Theo says. “But even so, their interest rate is always competitive even though we’re in lower interest rate environment right now. And the customer service has been just fine. I’ve never had a problem.”

6. Marcus

Marcus logo

  • 1.70% APY
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum deposit to open
  • FDIC protection of your funds up to $250,000
  • 22 of 23 consumer complaints on CFPB database resolved satisfactorily

Marcus by Goldman Sachs offers a competitive interest rate, no fees and low barrier to entry so anyone can start earning something on their savings.

However there are two drawbacks with Marcus:

  1. You can’t access any ATMs.
  2. You can’t deposit a check using your mobile phone. Instead, you have to send it in through snail mail.

7. PenFed Credit Union

Pentagon Federal Credit Union logo

  • 1.60% APY
  • No monthly fees
  • $5 to open
  • NCUA protection of your funds up to $250,000
  • 28 of 28 consumer complaints on CFPB database resolved satisfactorily

Like Marcus, Pentagon Federal Credit Union’s Premium Online Savings account offers a high interest rate and no fees. But once again, some customers may be turned off by the lack of ATM accessibility and the fact that you have to mail checks in for deposit to a physical address.

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Furthermore, the Premium Online Savings account is only available to PenFed members. But the good news is membership is open to anyone with your initial $5 deposit.

8. Simple

Simple banking logo

  • 1.75% on balances below $10,000
  • 1.90% on balances above $10,000
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum opening deposit
  • Mobile check deposit
  • FDIC protection of your funds up to $250,000
  • 39 of 39 consumer complaints on CFPB database resolved satisfactorily

Simple offers a single free app designed to help you with both banking and budgeting. Built into the app is the ability to earn a high rate of interest with their Protected Goals Account.

Since Simple is not a bank itself, it relies on BBVA Financial Corporation behind the scenes to administer all banking activity. Fortunately, BBVA has a solid record of complaint resolution with the CFPB.

Final Thought

If you’re earning a paltry rate of interest on your savings account — say, the 0.01% to 0.06% as you would with any of the nation’s Big 4 banks — it’s time to give them the heave-ho. Move your money somewhere more lucrative!

To that end, you’ll definitely want to see our guide to How to Switch Banks in 4 Simple Steps.

However, if you’re already earning a good rate of interest — something like 1.60% APY or 1.70% APY — then you should think twice before jumping ship.

It may not be worth it to move all your direct deposits, automatic payments, and external linked accounts just for a couple tenths of a point of higher interest.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. We’re just here to help you identify the best of the best savings accounts out there. You may also want to check out our list of the Best Online Banks: Free Checking and High-Interest Savings Accounts.

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