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Top Online Banks For High Interest Savings and Checking

Published 10/7/08 (Modified 3/8/11)
By MoneyBlueBook

Updated List Of The Best High Yield Online Savings Banks Below!

With the current flight to quality amidst the widespread economic meltdown, American consumers concerned about the safety of their money and investments are increasing turning to trusted online banks and high yield savings accounts for the FDIC insurance protection they afford. For those of you looking for the best online banks in terms of those that offer the highest interest rates for checking and savings accounts, you've come to the right place. The following compilation below is a short list and summarized review of what I believe to be the current top five online banks among the many banking choices in the market today. While most of the high interest banks found online offer similar banking features like direct deposit, online bill pay, automatic savings, and the ability to apply for new high yield savings accounts online, they are not all the same. Certain online banks clearly stand out from the pack in terms of proven high marks and rankings in reputation and customer support. Below, I've listed what I believe to be the top 5 online savings and checking banks. As an active high interest bank interest rate chaser, I intend to regularly update the list and my reviews to reflect major interest rate changes and shifts in reader preference.

As a reflection of the much lower overhead expenses that they enjoy, online savings banks tend to offer much better annual percentage yields (APY) for savings accounts, money market accounts, and CD's than more familiar big banking names like Citibank, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wachovia, Wells Fargo, and Sun Trust. Even the ones that operate separate online banking divisions apart from their brick and mortar branches almost always reserve their best CD rates and best interest rate promotions for their banking websites. With the growing popularity of online banking and electronic transfer conveniences, high interest online banks like FNBO Direct, WT Direct, E-Trade, HSBC Direct, ING Direct, Countrywide, and Capital One Direct have rapidly surged in popularity. Online banks have certainly come a long way and with the much higher interest yields that they offer, many of the top online savings banks now rival the account management features and reputations of the larger commercial brick and mortar giants.

The following is a short list of the top 5 online banks that I believe provide the best mix of important banking support services and high yield savings rates. Not only do they all provide full FDIC insurance coverage limits for account deposits, all of them have been around and doing business for many years. While some of the online banks may have names that are unfamiliar to some people, you can rest assured that the ranked recommendations on my list have been personally tested and thoroughly reviewed. Without further ado, here is my quick and easy list of the best online banks followed by short reviews.

Reviews Of The Best Overall High Yield Savings Bank Offers In Terms Of Account Features and Interest Rate

EverBank Review - Highly Recommended!

In terms of high yield money market interest rate offers, EverBank Savings offers one of the highest, if not the highest interest rate deals available. Despite whatever rates have been promoted by other high savings banks, EverBank always seems to be one percentage ahead of the competition in terms of its introductory APY interest rate, which lasts for 3 months with another competitively high rate thereafter. This popular online savings bank has always held particular appeal to those seeking a safe and secure way to earn high interest income. Since its inception, EverBank has won numerous banking award accolades including high praise from CNN Money Magazine as one of its Top 3 Best Of Breed Online Banks. The other two best of breed ranked banks included E-Trade Bank and HSBC Direct. Along with its high interest money market account, EverBank also currently offers a very attractive high interest FreeNet checking account option as well (an attractive interest rate rarity when it comes to checking accounts). The company also offers extra savings options such as special foreign currency denominated deposit accounts for those looking to hedge against currency risk and to get more fancy with their online banking.

2) E-Trade Savings - 0.95% APY - Etrade Bank Review

For some people out there, E-Trade's appearance on this list of the best online banks may come as a pleasant surprise. Better known for its online discount broker program, E-Trade also runs a traditional banking component as well, featuring high interest savings and checking accounts. For those who want true flexibility and transferability when it comes to moving their money between their E-Trade brokerage account and their online savings, E-Trade's Complete Saving Account is a recommended choice. Frequently in other cases, the problem with splitting your online savings and your brokerage accounts among different companies is the multi-day lag time required for ACH transfers. With E-Trade, there is no such problem as internal electronic transfers between your E-Trade banking and trading accounts are nearly instantaneous.

3) FNBO Direct - 1.50% APY - FNBO Direct Review

The FNBO Direct high interest savings account is one of my personal favorite choices among the high interest bank offers available. As the online savings arm of the First National Bank of Omaha, FNBO Direct interest rates have always been one of the highest out there. With full FDIC insurance limit coverage for account deposits, and with a very long and reputable history in the banking business, FNBO Direct is one of the safest choices among the top online banks. Currently, FNBO Direct customers enjoy no monthly maintenance fees and no minimum account requirements to enjoy the highest APY rate on their savings account deposits. For the convenience of FNBO account holders, there is even an ATM card option for those who want live, in-person access to their money.

4) HSBC Direct - 1.55% APY - HSBC Direct Review

With a wide international and national banking presence, HSBC Direct is one of the safest online banking choices out there. Not only do they have a growing network of banking branches all over the world, they've also been acknowledged and ranked by various reputable personal finance websites like Kiplingers as one of the best cyberbanks out there. HSBC Direct is widely touted for its great customer service, ATM debit card availability, online bill payment feature, and low minimum balance requirement to get the top APY interest rate - just $1.

5) Dollar Savings Direct - 2.00% APY - Dollar Savings Direct Review

Dollar Savings Direct is a newly acquired online banking division of Emigrant Bank, the same people who brought you the Emigrant Direct American Dream Savings Account. As the Internet banking component of Emigrant, Dollar Savings Direct is becoming a popular high interest savings account option for competitive interest rate chasers and those looking for the safety of FDIC insurance coverage. The new Dollar Savings Account is easy to open and offers deposit customers a high yield savings choice with no monthly fees or account maintenance minimums. However, to open a new�� account, you'll need an initial minimum deposit of $1,000, however thereafter, there is no obligation to maintain that amount. Any balance below $1,000 will only accrue interest at a rate of 1% APY.

6) ING Direct - 1.40% APY - ING Direct Review

If you read personal finance blogs or financial articles frequently, one thing that seems to be universally agreed upon is that ING Direct is a great online savings bank. ING Direct is well known and appreciated for its online simplicity and streamlined website interface that makes it easy for both advanced users and novice online banking customers to use. The company's very popular Orange Savings Account is not only remarkably quick and painless to open, the high yield savings account also imposes no monthly fees or account balance minimums. ING Direct also makes it extremely easy for customers to create multiple sub-accounts to help them plan and manage savings goals and objectives in an efficient, paperless way. Another great bonus feature is that the bank is one of the few major online banks to offer customers the ability to earn free ING Direct referral money for sign ups.

7) WT Direct - 1.76% APY - WT Direct Review

Offering some of the highest APY interest rates for their top rated high yield savings accounts, it's no wonder WT Direct is a popular option for those looking to get the highest interest rates for their life savings. While there is no requirement to have a linked checking account, and there are no monthly account fees or account balance minimums, a WT Direct savings account deposit balance of $10,000 or more is needed to get the highest top tier rate. This online bank option from Wilmington Trust Savings Bank is a highly recommended option for those with substantial assets. Currently, banking customers get to enjoy unlimited linked external accounts between WT Direct and their other financial institutions or online brokerages. This benefit affords WT Direct customers greater ACH transfer ease and account management convenience. As with all major online banks, WT Direct customers are fully FDIC insured from bank failure or loss within the insurance coverage limits.

In summation, I encourage readers to discuss their views and opinions about my short list of the top online banks that offer the best high yield savings accounts for deposits. Got a gripe or disagreement with my opinion or views? Feel free to vent. If you concur with my selections, I welcome your comments of agreement as well. If you have any further recommendations for those of us looking for the safest places to save or invest money, please feel free to share.

Disclaimer: Discover is a paid advertiser of this site.
Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the Discover online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards.

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25 Responses to “Top Online Banks For High Interest Savings and Checking” 

  1. Dan says:

    Bruce beat me to the punch. Yes Venture Bank Direct is at 3.8% APY. For online banking, it's a great return with easy setup.

  2. Art says:

    GMAC's Online Savings Account does NOT have check-writing. The Money Market Account has check-writing. The Online Savings Account is currently paying 3.75%. I've been with GMAC for three years --- so far, so good!

  3. donb says:

    These rates are way out of date and need updating.

    Emigrant bank is now paying 4% with their online accounts.

    don

  4. D says:

    Ray,

    This article is a perfect example of what I have been looking for. However, it is out of date.

    I would urge you post the rates on you homepage in a left or right of middle column like a tracker index.

    D

  5. ratechaser says:

    The company that issues my prepaid reloadable Visa debit card, NetSpend Corporation, offer a 5% APY savings program tied to the card. You just load money on your card, and then go to their online account center and move any amount across to the savings program. When you need it you just move it back on to the card. From what I can see on the site there are no minimum or maximum balance requirements or limitations.

  6. looey says:

    What do you think about the Capital One High Yield Money Market account? I get about 3% APY and no min balance or fees. I changed to that from ING because it's a little higher interest, also has a check-writing feature.

  7. foglifter says:

    looey,

    Where did you get this rate for Capital One? Their rates have been pretty low compared to others over the last few months a few months ago. Current rates are 2% for MMA and 1.5% (2.65% for 10K+) for Online Savings... Probably a bit higher for Costco customers.

  8. looey says:

    Foglifter,
    Thanks for pointing that out, it seems the "high yield" I was promised back in Sept when I opened the account has fallen almost 50%. I'm changing accounts today!

  9. looey says:

    Actually, now that i am looking for a new online savings account, all of the rates that have been recommended by the users on this forum have dropped. looks like GMAC pays 3%, Emigrant pays 3.5 and Venture pays 3.3 as of Feb 1.

  10. foglifter says:

    One more thing about GMAC - 4-star rating at bankrate is important at these days.

  11. TrueRates says:

    Well as of April 20th 2009 all these rates listed as the "top" APY's are all wrong, most of them by over 50% lower. I keep an eye on all the big names, right now 1.6-2.0% are the normal. I have stuck with GMAC I opened it at 2.5% and its holding at 2.25% which is about the highest I have found for banks out there. Saving accounts.

  12. TrueRates says:

    Oh I should mention that my portfolio for the savings account is targeted at the $90,000 + rates. There are some teaser 3.5 or 4 % rates out there but they are only good up to $25,000 limit. Good for some I suppose..

  13. Mac says:

    I have a checking and savings account with Bank of America. Been looking at online rates these days. They are not all that great but at least they offer me solid FDIC limit protection from loss. I want a reliable interest rate driven Internet savings account for high yield interest. Looks like Everbank is a good pick. Dollar Savings Direct looks pretty good too. Any other banking account ideas for savings? If not, I play to sign up and see how they go. I'll report on my experiences!

  14. foglifter says:

    Mac,

    I'd really suggest going with GMAC. I just got a letter from EverBank about fee hikes. I had a few bucks left there as I no longer use EverBank. I immediately called and closed my account.
    Here's what I use right now:
    checking - Patelco (local bank, use it for deposits and for my HSA account)
    checking - Fidelity mySmart Cash account (free ATM/billpay/checks, FDIC core)
    savings - GMAC Online Savings and GMAC MMA (with checks)

  15. Perch says:

    Hey all,

    GMAC has changed its name and website visits are being redirected to the new Ally Bank website.

    Ally Bank, formerly known as GMAC Financial Bank is being marketed pretty heavily...you may have noticed their TV commercials on CNBC and other places online as well. GMAC Bank is working hard to improve its old damaged auto maker image by changing name and branding itself into the new and improved Ally Bank. But the savings account rates and CD rates with Ally Bank are still the same high interest rate offers we've come to expect from the old GMAC. Hopefully, market conditions permitting, high yield savings account promotions and CD deposit accounts with Ally (GMAC) will continue to offer the best rates for months and years to come.

  16. Perch says:

    Also, forgot to mention, I recommend checking out Ally Bank's new no penalty CD deposit accounts. They are different from old traditional classic certificate of deposits in that they impose no penalty fees or charges when you withdraw your CD funds prematurely prior to maturity. Apparently it's a new online banking gimmick or something that Ally is working on. Worth checking out.

  17. Chris says:

    Looking at Ally Bank...no doubt...it's one of the, if not the best bank right now offering the best rates and impressive bank products like no penalty CD's. 1 year classic CD's are 2.80%, online savings accounts are 2.25%, and free checking money market accounts are 1.90 % APY. Definitely worth a review!

  18. Jim says:

    These are pretty good suggestions. I use the ING direct and really enjoy it; however, their apy is always adjusting so they arent always the best rate available. I like that i can add money to my AccountNow prepaid debit card with my ING account. This makes it easier since my money direct deposited to my account already

  19. louisa says:

    the only thing i don't like about online banking is that if you want to make a withdrawal you have to wait for at least 2 days for the transfer from their bank to yours. i know for a fact that is how ING works.

  20. foglifter says:

    louisa,

    ING is not the best example. I bank with Ally and Alliant Credit Union and both do the transfers pretty quickly - 1 day.

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