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Amex entered banking years ago. Today, they offer great rates with low fees. Check out our take in this American Express savings account review.

By far, the most requested review on Consumerism Commentary is for the American Express Personal Savings Account. Amex offers one of the highest interest rates available with this savings account, making it very attractive from the surface. Once you own an account, how does it hold up against All, Discover, CIT and other online savings accounts?

I opened an account to find out.

First of all, if the bulk of your savings is earning less than 0.5% APY, it’s time to change. There is usually no excuse for settling for interest rates that low. It’s simple and easy to double or triple the interest you receive in your account every month. Granted, this might not add up to a lot of money. But high yield savings accounts help to ensure your cash will at least hold its value when up against inflation. Your money loses value over time when sitting in a low-interest or no-interest account.

Banking Deal: Earn 1.20% APY on an FDIC-insured savings account at Barclays.

Application process

After visiting the American Express website, I was impressed with the application process. You can zoom in on the overview screen by clicking on the image included here.

The first step is entering your personal information. If you have an American Express savings account currently, you can easily link your current account to the application.

As I do not have a savings account with AMEX, I entered my personal information. Following this, I entered the amount I intend to deposit from my external bank account. There is no minimum deposit, and I decided to start with $500. While there is an option to send a check, I chose to pull the funds from an existing bank account via an electronic transfer (ACH). After confirming my personal information and deposit amount, I agreed to the standard terms of service and entered my external banking information (routing number and account number). I chose to link this account to my personal Wells Fargo brick and mortar checking account.

The strength of American Express, in this first impression, is the bank’s professional appearance. Each step through this process, the bank’s website was very helpful in letting me know what to expect and when to expect it. When I confirmed my external banking information, it was clear that I would need to verify two test deposits into my newly-linked Wells Fargo account. I immediately received an email with instructions for verifying the test deposits, and I received a welcome kit in the mail in [three] days. It took three days, from Friday to Monday, for the deposits to hit my Wells Fargo account.

Verifying deposits

After the weekend, I checked my Wells Fargo account and saw two small test deposits from American Express. Once again, AmEx outlined the process clearly, as you can see from the image here. To finalize the link between my new American Express account and my existing checking account at Wells Fargo, the bank required me to enter my email address, a verification code that was sent to me via email, and the amounts of the two test deposits.

After the confirmation, American Express allowed me to create an online user identity for viewing statements and otherwise operating my new bank account. User names for the American Express Personal Savings Account require at least two numerals, so I was unfortunately forced to use a non-standard user ID. For the first time, I chose to receive online statements in lieu of paper statements. This is a trend I want to continue; I receive too much paper in the mail, and electronic states — when chosen without paper statements — will help reduce my clutter, as well as on a small scale, help the environment.

Using my American Express Personal Savings Account

As of today, I am waiting for my initial deposit to reach my new American Express savings account. Although there is not much I can do, I am able to look at all features contained in the website and get a feel for its operation. My first order of business was customizing the account names. I also looked at the options for downloading activity into applications like Quicken. American Express supports Quicken through the “Web Connect” service as well as Microsoft Money. There are options for QIF and CSV downloads, too.

There are not many different things you can do with this savings account. Although the bank recently lowered the interest rate offered on these accounts, the rates are still comparatively high. The deposits at American Express Bank are fully insured by FDIC, which means there is no risk in depositing your money up to the FDIC maximum, currently $250,000 for an individual savings account. American Express does not currently offer a checking, bill-payment, or other “transactional” account, so this type of service is fine for letting the cash you need to sit and grow, losing as little value to inflation as possible in a savings account.

American Express Interest Rate

On July 14, 2017, American Express Bank increased the rate on its online savings account to 1.15% APY.  This keeps them in the for online banks, but there are a few banks who are currently offering a better interest rate on savings.  Those banks are:

  • Dollar Savings Direct 1.40%
  • CIT Bank – 1.35%
  • Ally Bank – 1.20%
  • Barclays Bank – 1.20%
  • Synchrony Bank 1.20%

Outside of an online savings account, there isn’t much else to the deposit side of American Express. They do offer a range of CD’s, but the interest rates on those are simply not good.  A six month CD will net you an APY of 0.40% and a five year CD comes in at 1.70%.  Keep in mind that these rates can change at any time. Check our high yield savings account page for current rates.

The ease with which American Express allowed me to open an account was terrific.  Their clean interface, transfer options and overall appeal is something that I’m not sure any other online bank can match (for my taste).  That said, their interest rate, while strong, is a bit lower than some other online banks.  If I were a rate chaser, AMEX would not have my business.

American Express Bank
Routing (ABA) number 124085066
Established December 1, 2000
FDIC certificate 35328
Location 4315 South 2700 West, Salt Lake City, Utah 84184
Direct Connect Not supported
Web Connect Supported
Mint/Yodlee Supported

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.

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Since many banks are constantly updating their interest rates offered on savings, money market and checking accounts, this chart should come in handy. On the 1st of every month, this page is updated to show the most accurate rate information available.

Banking Deal: Earn 1.20% APY on an FDIC-insured savings account at Barclays.

This list is organized in two sections. The first section includes FDIC-insured savings or money market accounts and the second includes FDIC-insured checking accounts. Each list is sorted alphabetically and unless there is a notation listed, the APY rate applies to all amounts.

New for September 2017: Banks continued to slowly, and I do mean slowly, raise their rates. Ally Bank raised its rate on online savings accounts to 1.20% APY. It bumped its money market account up to 0.90% APY. Why anybody would choose the money market account over the savings account is beyond me. And Discover rates its online savings account rate to 1.15% APY.

Current rates

Use the table below to search for current interest rates available on money market accounts, savings accounts, and certificates of deposit. For historical rates, scroll down.

Historical interest rates

Banks that have lowered or raised their rates in the last month are shown in red and green, respectively.

Bank Account Name Tier Notes 9/1/2017 1/1/2017 1/1/2016 1/1/2015
Synchrony Bank Online Savings All No minimum balance 1.20% 1.05% 1.05% 1.05%
Ally Online Savings All No minimum balance 1.20% 1.00% 1.00% 0.99%
Ally Money Market All No minimum balance 0.90% 0.85% 0.85% 0.85%
American Express Bank High Yield Savings All 1.15% 0.90% 0.90% 0.80%
Barclays Online Savings All 1.20% 1.00% 1.00% 0.90%
Capital One 360 Online Savings All Formerly ING Direct 0.75% 0.75% 0.75% 0.75%
Discover Bank Online Savings All 1.15% 0.95% 0.95% 0.90%
GS Bank Online Savings All No minimum deposit 1.20% 1.05% N/A N/A
Everbank Money Market $5k to $10k Includes 1st year intro rate 1.31% 1.11% 1.11% 1.11%

Savings Account Rates

As you review the current and historical rates for savings accounts and money market accounts, keep the following in mind:

  • Fees: The best offers come with no monthly maintenance fees. Even a small fee can wipe out much of the yield, particularly in the current low rate environment. Before opening an account, make sure you understand what if any fees you’ll pay. The best savings accounts don’t charge fees.
  • Minimum Deposit: Many bank accounts require either a minimum deposit or a minimum balance going forward, or both. Be sure you know these requirements as you shop for the highest yield.
  • Tiered Rates: Some, but not all, banks offer tiered rates based on the amount of your balance. While one might assume that the rates go up as the balance goes up, that’s not always the case. Some banks actually lower the rate for balances over a certain limit.
  • Online Banks vs Traditional Banks: As a general rule, online banks offer the highest rates. Many brick and mortar banks offer yields as low as 0.01%. It’s as if they don’t want your money. In contrast, online banks offer yields of 1.00% APY or more.

Checking Account Rates

With checking accounts, the interest rates tend to be lower. That’s generally fine because most people don’t keep a lot of money in a checking account. Any extra money one has should be moved over to a high-yield savings product. That being said, many banks do offer interest checking accounts. Here it’s critical to consider fees, which are more common than on savings and money market accounts.

Finally, if you know of other bank accounts or deals we should include in our list, please leave a comment below.

The best high-yield online savings accounts offer strong interest rates and great customer service, making them a popular option for savers. In addition, studies show online savings accounts come with lower fees.

Best Online Savings Accounts

“High-yield” is, unfortunately, a bit of a misnomer these days. A decade ago, interest rates were 4% and 5% among select savings accounts and money market accounts. Today, the best rates are around 1%, but some banks offer rates hovering near 0%! This trend will continue until banks and credit unions need more cash from depositors.

Banking Deal: Earn 1.20% APY on an FDIC-insured savings account at Barclays.

Interest rates

Interest rates are important because our money shouldn’t lose purchasing power. Ideally, interest rates offered by banks should beat inflation while preserving the balance without risk. I am not aware of any bank offering a savings option with ongoing interest rates high enough to beat inflation, whether measured by the government-reported CPI-U or by any other meaningful measure of consumer prices. Nevertheless, if your savings is at a brick and mortar bank earning below 0.25% APY, choose one of the better options below.

Best Online Savings Accounts

Customer service

When evaluating customer service, there are two important factors to consider. The best banks offer all account maintenance and transfers through a professional, reliable, and easy-to-navigate website. Secondly, live customer service representatives should be knowledgeable, helpful, and available, even if customers should not have to deal with a representative frequently.

Based on my own experiences and reviews from other Consumerism Commentary readers, here are the most-recommended accounts for short-term savings. All of the listed interest rates directly below from our partners and in the table above are current, although interest rates are subject to change by the banks. Although I have nine accounts listed below the table of rates, you don’t need to have accounts with that many different banks. Choose one that fits you the best.


Synchrony Bank Savings AccountAt 1.20% APY, Synchrony Bank offers one of the highest rates available today on an FDIC-insured savings account. With no minimum balance required and no monthly service fees, it’s one of the most popular options. Click here for more details.


ally_120x60-002Ally Bank was selected by Kiplinger Magazine as the best savings account for 2009. Formerly known as GMAC Bank, Ally Bank provides an interest rate for their online savings account of 1.20% APY. Click here for more details.


EverBank has a variety of products including a high yield checking account, a money market account, and world currency CDs. All of these accounts offer top-tier interest rates. For example, first time account holders of Everbank’s Yield Pledge Money Market account earn a new account bonus rate of 1.31% for the first year. After the first year, the ongoing APY is 0.86% for account balances up to $250K. And their Yield Pledge Checking Account for first time account holders for balances up to $100,000 offers a new account bonus rate of 1.31% for the first year and the ongoing APY is a standard 0.86% APY. Click here for more details.


FNBO Direct offers no fees and no minimum balance requirement. It is the online arm of First National Bank of Omaha. FNBO has an interest rate of 1.10% APY. Click here for more details.


Discover Bank offers a solid online savings account with a fast opening process. For example, I opened my account within twenty-four hours. The current interest rate for the Discover Bank Online Savings Account is 1.15% APY. Click here for more details.


CIT Bank was founded in 1908 in St. Louis by Henry Ittleson. Throughout the 20th century CIT continued to grow in all sectors. An FDIC-insured institution, it serves consumers and small businesses with certificates of deposit, savings accounts, and custodial accounts. CIT Savings account offers 1.35% APY on all deposits.


SmartyPig currently sports one of the better interest rates you can find online at 1.15% APY. You can also convert your savings goals into gift cards and earn an additional bonus for each gift card conversion. SmartyPig is not a bank by itself. It is a goal-oriented savings vehicle, a layer, that can be compared with other savings accounts.


Click here to start saving with Capital One 360!Capital One 360 offers no fees and no minimum balance requirement. Like ING Direct before it, Capital One 360 also has a great website and excellent customer service. I’ve found that managing your money with Capital One 360 is just as easy as it was with ING DIRECT. Capital One 360 offers a current interest rate of 0.75% APY .


Barclays is a large, international bank that has been around for 300 years, and operates in over 50 different countries. Barclays offers a 1.20% APY on all deposits, with no minimum balance and no monthly fees.


HSBC Advance offers no fees and no minimum balance requirement. Formerly HSBC Direct, it entered the race with one of the highest interest rates ever available at 6% APY. HSBC Advance Online Savings Account has an interest rate of 0.05% APY for $15,000.


Lending Club Investing offers a significantly higher return than most banks. Lending Club is a social lending site where you can invest in loans issued to individuals and businesses. The most recent average net annualized return for notes by grade A to C is between 5.20% and 8.19%. These investments are not FDIC insured, but Lending Club’s higher rates may be an alternative worth considering.


What is your favorite online savings account? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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One could be forgiven for confusing a savings account with a money market account (MMA for short). There are, however, some key differences between the two account types. Here’s what you need to know about savings accounts and a MMA.

Savings accounts and a MAA are different from each other practically in name only. From a saver’s perspective, there is really no difference.

There are many misconceptions about the supposed differences between savings accounts and money market accounts. If you’ve ever tried to learn about these differences online, even from reading major banking industry websites, you may have received a great deal of misinformation.

Banking Deal: Earn 1.20% APY on an FDIC-insured savings account at Barclays.

Savings Accounts vs. Money Market Accounts

Withdrawal limits

Whether you open a savings account or a money market account at a bank in the United States, the bank handles it the same. It applies your cash to their books as an asset and records a liability in the form of your deposit.

The government considers both savings accounts and money market accounts as deposit accounts, not transaction accounts. Savings and money market accounts are not meant for frequent transactions. They are both limited by Regulation D, a Federal Reserve Board regulation that indicates that customers may make only six pre-authorized withdrawals from deposit accounts each month.

ATM and teller withdrawals do not count against this limit, but debit card transactions, checks, and online transfers do. You may have read online that only savings accounts have this limitation. However, the limitation applies to all deposit accounts, including money markets.

Interest rates

Money market accounts may offer higher interest rates, but not necessarily.

Take this list of high-yield savings interest rates, for example. It includes both money market accounts and savings accounts, and the most current rates offered. As you’ll notice, the rates across banks don’t prove the hypothesis that money market accounts have higher interest rates in general.

When the same institution offers money market accounts and savings accounts as separate products, the money market account often has a higher interest rate. But even this isn’t consistent from bank to bank.

For example, some banks offer a “high-yield savings account” as well as a traditional savings account. This more impressive-sounding product might provide a higher interest rate at that institution than all other products.

Fees

Banks may assess higher fees and minimum deposit amounts for money market accounts.

Because customers perceive money market accounts as more sophisticated than savings accounts, banks often limit customers to a select audience by requiring a higher initial deposit amount. This is particularly true when the benefit of choosing this type of account includes a higher interest rate.

Furthermore, the bank may charge a monthly or annual fee for the privilege of owning this type of account. While fees and high minimum deposits are common, many banks offer money market accounts for free. Shop around and read the fine print before you commit.

Related: Ally Bank Savings Account Review

Checks

Banks often offer check-writing privileges for money market accounts.

Well, some do and some don’t. Money market accounts are deposit accounts, which means customers may still make only six withdrawals per month, as described above. This is still true, even if the bank provides a checkbook.

Banks differ in how they penalize customers who exceed six withdrawals per month. In most cases, there is a fee for each withdrawal over the limit. Other banks may threaten to close your account if you exceed the limit. Banks may close your account if you exceed the withdrawal limit in three of the last twelve months.

While banks offer checks for money market accounts, some could, in theory, offer checks for savings accounts if they desired. Most do not.

Fun fact: you don’t even need an official document from the bank (or a mail-order check designer) to draw a check on an account. Any piece of paper with your account number, your bank’s name and routing number, the amount, the name of the recipient, and your signature will do. You may not even need to include your account number and bank’s routing number in some cases.

It might be difficult to find someone to accept a check written with a felt-tip pen on a cocktail napkin without a hassle. But courts have ruled in the past that a hand-written document intended to function as a check is considered a legal form of payment. Thanks to the Check 21 Act, paper checks are even less a part of the payment process than they were throughout the twentieth century.

FDIC insurance

Money market accounts and savings accounts are FDIC insured.

FDIC insurance doesn’t come automatically, but it is available for all types of deposit accounts held at banks located within the United States. This includes savings accounts and money market accounts.

More misinformation online states that money market accounts are riskier and could “break the buck” — or drop in value. While this is true for money market funds or money market mutual funds, it is not true for money market accounts or money market deposit accounts.

Money market accounts can be insured by the FDIC just like savings accounts and certificates of deposit. Always check the bank’s website to confirm that the bank is covered by FDIC, and if you are unsure, search for the bank using FDIC’s own Bank Find tool.

If the institution offering savings accounts or money market accounts is a credit union rather than a bank, the insurance comes from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). This coverage is effectively the same as FDIC insurance.

Related: Variety of Savings Accounts: Where I Keep My Cash

Money market funds: not savings accounts and not money market accounts

Money market funds — some institutions go so far as to confusingly call these “money market fund accounts” — are not FDIC or NCUA insured.

The money market fund product is often offered by both banks and brokerages. Banks use the customers’ money to invest in low-risk securities, like government or municipal bonds with short maturities. This differs from both savings accounts and money market accounts, with which banks use deposits garnered to lend to other customers.

With money market funds, the bank hopes to earn more from the bonds than it pays out to investors. A money market fund is an investment vehicle, not a form of savings, though it is almost as safe as an insured deposit account. There was a concern a few years ago during the economic crisis that money market funds would break the buck, but for the most part, investors were safe even during the worst financial crisis of the past few generations.

Investors in money market funds are subject to a management expense ratios that reduce the net return.

The differences between savings accounts and money market accounts are negligible. Plus, most are due to differences created by banks, not inherent differences in the products overall.

Be sure to read the terms of conditions to determine how you may use the account. And understand any fees they may charge you, and be aware of the penalties for not abiding by the terms.

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