4 Best Money Market Rates for 2021
I’ve never been a big saver, and if you’re anything like me, you could probably use a bit of help in this department. So when I decided to start saving, I really dug into the different options. When you make the choice to start saving for an emergency fund or another mid- to long-term goal, you’ll want to consider setting up a money market account–and you won’t need to do any of the research because we’ve already done it for you.
I’ll get to all the specifics behind money market accounts below, but first, here’s my list of the top four.
Rates are up-to-date as of date of publishing.
Best Money Market Accounts
We start with the very new CIT Bank Money Market account. It’s a little different and more restrictive than most money market accounts but it still packs a good punch. Right now, the CIT Money Market account offers a 1.55% APY. The minimum deposit to open an account is just $100. But I did say it’s a little restrictive. Currently, there is no debit card associated with the account (although they are coming in the future). Also, there is no check-writing ability. To access your funds, you can send an electronic transfer to another bank or send a wire transfer. You can also use PeoplePay to send money to anyone with a bank account or PayPal account or request a check through the mail.
Six withdrawals are allowed per statement cycle and additional withdrawals cost $10.
CIT Bank also offers a savings account with a 1.00% APY as long as you deposit $100 each month or maintain a min. balance of $25,000.
Another great option is Axos Bank. Axos is an online institution, which has both benefits and drawbacks. The benefits are that online only banks tend to offer better incentives (they don’t have the crazy overhead of a traditional bank), but when you have a problem, you can’t physically go somewhere to talk to someone (you can still call, use online chat, secure messaging or Twitter). Axos Bank’s High Yield Money Market account has an 0.25% APR. You’ll need $1,000 minimum balance to open an account, but there are no maintenance fees with this account. With a slightly lower rate than CIT Bank, it does have some other advantages – mainly check writing privileges and debit card transactions. Note that these are limited to six per statement cycle.
Axos also offers a traditional savings account with 0.61% APY.
If you’re looking for a more traditional bank, Discover offers a money market account with no fees. This account is targeted at savers who want quick access to their cash–you can choose from free withdrawal at one of their 60,000 nationwide ATMs, paying by checks or bill pay. There are no fees for withdrawals, as long as you have less than six per statement period. Discover’s Money Market account has an 2.90% APY for balances under $100,000 and 2.95% APY for balances over $100,000. Again, this is lower than the two previous accounts listed, but if you want the comfort of being able to walk into one of their physical banks, this is worth considering. You’ll need $2,500 to open an account.
Discover offers an online savings account with 3.00% APY.
TIAA Bank, previously known as EverBank, offers a “Yield Pledge,” promising their money market account rates will stay in the top 5% (based on data from the Bankrate Monitor National Index survey). There’s no monthly fee and customers are not charged ATM fees. Even if you use a non-TIAA Bank ATM within the U.S. that charges a fee, TIAA will reimburse you whatever that bank charged. You’ll need $500 to open an account. TIAA has a one-year introductory APY of 0.75% and provides you with a debit card that can be used for any purchase or cash withdrawal.
Why Open a Money Market Account
- Higher Rates – If you read all the reviews, you know that money market accounts typically have higher interest rates than savings accounts, which is a prime reason people open them. Without the flexibility of a traditional savings account, they also force people like us to keep our money in one place. If you have trouble saving–or if you find yourself pulling your savings out a little too frequently–a money market account is a good option.
- Diversified Portfolio – A strong financial balance sheet typically consists of investments from across the spectrum. Funds, stocks, deposit accounts etc. Owning a great money market account is important to achieve that portfolio.
- Emergency Fund is Liquid – Lots of financially savvy people use money market accounts for emergency funds– that’s because you still earn a decent amount of interest while leaving the money relatively liquid. You don’t want an emergency fund that takes days or even weeks to access–if you need the money, you need it now. With six free withdrawals a month, if you’re using the account as an actual emergency fund, that should be more than plenty.
- Your Money is Insured – All money is FDIC insured for up to $250,000 per depositor, per bank. This means that the federal government has insured your money should anything happen to the bank holding your funds.
Money Market Accounts vs. Savings
So what’s the difference between a money market account and a savings account anyway? The simple answer – a money market account traditionally earns higher interest rates than a typical savings accounts and may come with other perks such as debit cards or checks. I’ve already provided you with the current rates for my top picks for both money market and savings accounts, but here it is in table format:
|Money Market Rates||Savings Rates|
|CIT Bank||1.55% APY||1.00% APY (Savings Builder)|
|Axos Bank||0.90% APR||0.90% APY|
|Discover Bank||2.90% APY for under $100,000 and 2.95% APY for larger balances||3.00% APY|
|TIAA Bank||0.75%||0.65% APY|
Money market accounts often require a higher minimum balance than a typical savings account. They also don’t provide the flexibility a savings account would–you are limited to six free withdrawals a statement period, unlike savings accounts. But the higher minimum balance and less frequent withdrawals are what gives you the higher interest rate. And if you are looking for a place to park some money, make some interest, but still have fast access to it in an emergency, money markets accounts check off all those buckets.
That’s not to say you can’t find high-interest savings accounts – you can. So, you’ll want to make sure that whatever type of account you open has the combination you need–whether that’s the highest interest rate, the ability to use a check or ATM, or quick withdrawals in emergencies.
Are Money Market Accounts FDIC Insured?
As long as you’re looking at a bank that is FDIC Insured, your money market is too. Most banks will have this, but if you are looking at a money market account through a credit union, you’ll want to make sure they are insured through the National Credit Union Administration.
And as a reminder, when your account is FDIC insured, that means if your bank goes out of business, you won’t have to worry about losing the amount in the account. Remember that limit is $250,000 per depositor.
What to Consider Before Opening a Money Market Account
You’ll want to be clear on why you’re opening a money market account to begin with–do you just want the higher interest rates or are you looking for a debit card to go with it? But in general, here are the top things to consider:
- Interest rate – The interest rate you earn should be one of the biggest considerations for this type of account. You want to make sure you’re money is working for you. A low interest rate means you’ll make practically nothing and if there are any fees, your gains might be wiped out. And remember that money market rates are not fixed – they are variable. That means that as the Fed changes interest rates, your rate will change too.
- Fees – Next up, make sure you understand what fees are associated with the account. Some money market accounts allow for a fixed number of transactions per statement period. That’s because this isn’t a checking or savings account–the bank wants you to put your money in there and keep it there. If there are monthly fees, you’ll want to understand that before you sign up. One or two small fees might be fine, but if you rack up a bunch of fees, you’re better off looking at a traditional savings account.
- Minimum Balance – This ties into the fees section above, but is worth calling out on its own. If you are using this account to help you save but your initial deposit is low, you’ll want to make sure you can cover the minimum balance.
- Immediate Access – Especially if you are using this account as your emergency fund, you want to make sure you have immediate access to your money. Look to see how you can quickly transfer or withdraw funds.
- Checks or Debit – If you think you’re going to need to write checks from your accounts or you find yourself pulling from your emergency account frequently, you’ll want to make sure the account you’re using supports this. But for many readers using a money market account for mid- to long-term savings goals, this is probably not a huge consideration.
If you’ve had trouble saving in the past and are working towards building up your emergency fund or a mid- to long-term savings goal, consider opening a money market account. Make sure you’re clear on your needs–do you want a higher APR or do you need the ability to withdraw cash at an ATM? Knowing this can help you sort through the different options on the market and make the decision that is best for you.
Did I miss one that you love? If you think there’s a bank out there that can compete with the offers you see above, feel free to leave a comment and we’ll check them out.