What is a money market account?
A money market account is a savvy way to save, especially if you’ve already accumulated a fair amount of funds to put away.
A money market account is a type of savings account that typically requires a higher minimum deposit and daily balance, yet it offers higher interest rates than most standard savings accounts.
You also get to retain the convenience and flexibility of a regular savings account by making withdrawals as you need them without the wait time of other savings accounts. You might even be able to write a few checks from your account, depending on the bank.
This makes your funds much more accessible compared to an account like a CD with a predetermined term. There are never any penalties so you can get your money when you need it while still earning above-average yields.
Ready to get started saving? Check out our top picks for this year’s top money market accounts.
BBVA offers a competitive introductory APY for their money market account, with no minimum balance required.
You just need $25 to open your account. For the first 12 months, you’ll earn a 0.75% APY on the funds in your account. Once the introductory period ends, you’ll receive a standard rate on your account.
When you open a money market account with BBVA, you’ll have to pay a $15 monthly fee, unless you meet one of two exemptions.
The first is if you maintain a daily minimum balance of at least $10,000 each quarter. The other option is to set up a minimum $25 monthly transfer into account. The funds must come from your BBVA checking account.
Another perk is that you can link it to your checking account to serve as overdraft protection. With most savings accounts, you can make up to six withdrawals each month.
UFB Direct is a division of Axos bank, and it offers an online money market and savings accounts for consumers. And like many online banks, UFB is able to offer much higher rates than what traditional brick-and-mortar banks can offer.
For instance, the UFB Premium Money Market boasts an APY of 1.90%. Customers have limited check-writing privileges, and the account comes with a complimentary debit card.
It’s free for customers to transfer money between accounts. And UFB Direct’s mobile app makes it easy to manage your money and deposit checks.
However, you’ll need to have a minimum balance of $5,000 to open the account. And you’ll only earn the 1.90% APY if you maintain an account balance of $25,000 or higher. If your account balance is less than $25,000, you’ll receive a 0.50 APY.
And if you have other accounts through Axos Bank, you’ll need to check to make sure you don’t exceed FDIC guidelines.
If you don’t have a large nest egg but still want to take advantage of high money market rates, consider CIT Bank.
The minimum opening balance is just $100 and the APY is 1.85%. With no opening fee or monthly service fee, you’ll only pay fees for wire transfers, overdrafts, excessive transactions, and stop payments.
Interest compounds daily so you can maximize your already-high yield. When you’re ready to make a transaction, simply use People Pay online or through the mobile app. Like other money market accounts, you’re allowed to make six withdrawals or transfers from your CIT Bank account for each statement cycle.
With minimal fees and an extremely competitive yield, CIT Bank’s money market accounts are ideal for savers of all kinds, especially those starting off with smaller amounts of funds.
AbleBanking’s money market account offers a 1.85% APY with a below standard $250 minimum deposit to open your account.
This is a really accessible threshold for a money market account, so it’s a great way to get your foot in the door without needing an extremely high opening balance.
However, you can only link your account to one external U.S. bank, so you must be comfortable with transferring money from only one location.
On the plus side, transfer times are quick, with same-day transfers occurring before 5:00 p.m. on your AbleBanking money market accounts. Plus, it’s just a 2-3 day wait when transferring to and from an external bank. Compare that to a 5-10 day wait with other banks, and it’s not really that long.
On top of that, they also make it easy for charitable giving. In fact, every time you open a new account, AbleBanking donates $25 to the charity of your choice. It must be a 501c(3) organization, but other than that, you can pick whatever non-profit you’d like.
Also, if you refer a friend to open an account with AbleBanking, you get an additional $25 to donate on top of your friend’s donation as a new customer.
You also can donate to non-profits directly from your money market account without incurring any hidden fees. AbleBanking is a great choice if you’re looking for a strong money market account with a good dash of altruism.
Betterment is best-known as a robo-advisor, but they also offer a high-yield savings account. There’s no minimum balance required to open the account, and you can earn a rate of 1.83% APY.
When you bank with Betterment, there are no monthly fees, and any ATM fees you incur will be reimbursed. You can transfer money between your accounts as much as you need to. And your account is eligible for up to $1 million in FDIC insurance.
And best of all, Betterment is planning to release a checking account and debit card very soon. So this could be the perfect complement to your Betterment savings.
However, you won’t have access to any branch locations, which some people may consider a downside. And you won’t be able to write checks from your account.
Did you know Sallie Mae doesn’t just service student loans? It has a whole area of banking features. One of these is a money market account with a 1.75% APY.
There’s no minimum deposit required so you can either start saving from scratch or transfer over existing funds when you open your account. Plus, you get to write checks directly from your account. Add to that no monthly fees and you have a strong contender for your savings goals.
To make a deposit, simply choose one of four convenient options: depositing a check electronically through your mobile phone, setting up a direct deposit, transferring funds electronically, or mailing in a check.
You can easily transfer funds from your money market account to your linked bank account and the process only takes 2-3 business days to post to your other bank.
If you overdraw your account due to insufficient funds, Sallie Mae charges a $19 fee, or whatever funds are remaining in your account so that your balance doesn’t go below zero.
This is quite a generous policy compared to many other financial institutions. For quick transfers and relatively low overdraft penalties, Sallie Mae is worth considering for your money market needs.
Capital One 360
Capital One 360 money market accounts earn 1.75%. There’s no minimum deposit required, but you must have some type of balance to consider the account officially ‘opened’ (even if it’s just a penny).
Currently, Capital One doesn’t offer debit cards or personal checks for the money market account, but you can take advantage of mobile check deposits through your smartphone. Deposits can also be made via electronic transfer, over the phone, by mail, or through approved wire transfers.
Additionally, you can access your account online or through the mobile app. As for withdrawals, you can request them either online or over the phone.
There are no monthly or annual fees charged. However, you should note that there is no overdraft protection offered and you must agree not to withdraw more than your current balance.
As long as you consistently keep track of your balance and don’t mind having a few restrictions in accessing your funds, then the Capital One 360 money market account could be a good option to consider.
Discover Bank is mostly known for offering credit cards, but it also provides a host of online banking products, including a money market account. One of the best things about opening a money market account through Discover is that there are no account fees.
If you have more than $100,000 to save, then you can earn a 1.50% APY. For balances that are under $100,000, you can still receive a 1.45% APY. And with Discover, you’ll have access to over 60,000 ATMs across the country.
Discover also offers a mobile app that makes it easy to track your funds even when you’re on the go. The app lets you deposit checks, temporarily freeze your debit card if it’s lost or stolen, and keep track of your account balance.
Earning 1.05% APY, Axos Bank is another example of a money market account with no minimum monthly balance.
There’s not even an initial deposit required to open the account, so you get access to the benefits without having to save a lot ahead of time.
Axos Bank’s money market account allows you to earn more interest than it’s high-yield savings account, and it also offers more flexibility in accessing your cash. For example, you get limited free check writing abilities and a free Visa debit card.
These two features let you use your savings as a checking account while still earning interest. Of course, if you’re likely to overspend on your savings when it’s unnecessary, you may not want such easy access to your funds.
If you’re still on board (which you should be), then here are a few more perks you might be interested in. You can sign up for automatic bill pay directly from your account, in addition to mobile banking and mobile deposit services.
That makes saving even easier because you can deposit checks into your account straight from your smartphone. Axos is a great choice if you like to have quick, easy access to your funds while still earning interest on what you have.
TIAA Bank (formerly EverBank) offers a high APY of 1.75% to new customers in the first year, but there is a maximum balance of $250,000 to receive that rate.
After the 12-month introductory period is over, your APY depends on your account balance.
Another interesting feature by TIAA Bank is its pledge to keep its APY in the top 5% of money market rates offered by its main competitive accounts.
To open a money market account with TIAA Bank, you must have an initial deposit of $1,500, and you only qualify for the 1.75% introductory APY if those funds are transferred from a non-TIAA Bank account. Still, there’s no monthly fee for this high interest rate, so if you have the money available, it could be a wise move.
You also get a pretty wide range of ATM freedom with TIAA Bank. You can use your Visa debit card at any TIAA Bank ATM throughout the country for free. Any non-TIAA Bank ATM fee you incur is reimbursed in full when you keep your balance above $5,000.
If you’re frequently on the go and want easy access to your cash, it’s a benefit worth remembering while making your decision.
You’ll have to come in with a strong deposit to take advantage of Santander Bank’s best money market rates.
While the opening deposit is just $25, you’ll need a minimum balance of at least $100,000 to qualify for a high interest rate of 1.40% APY. If your balance is less than $10,0000, you’ll earn on a tiered basis:
- $1 to $9,999.99: 0.15% APY
- $10,000 to $49,999.99: 1.15% APY
- $50,000 to $99,999.99: 1.40% APY
You’ll also need that $10k balance to avoid a $10 monthly fee assessed on your account. The other way to avoid that monthly fee and not worry about your minimum balance is to open a checking account at the bank.
So if you are in need of a new bank altogether for both checking and savings, or you need a high yield account for your larger savings fund, Santander Bank is certainly a great place to start looking.
Ally offers a low entry money market account that gives you quick and easy access to your money. Unlike the bank’s traditional savings account, you can access your money with both a debit card and personal checks.
And if you maintain a minimum daily balance of $25,000 or more, you can qualify for a higher savings rate of 0.75% APY. This option is tailored to those just getting started saving and who need easy access to the funds in their money market accounts.
Ally doesn’t charge any monthly maintenance fees and has some nice ATM benefits. Any Allpoint ATM in the country is available for use free of charge, and even if you use another ATM, Ally will reimburse your fees up to $10 each cycle.
Some common fees include a $25 charge if you overdraw from your account (but that is limited to one per day) and a $10 excessive transaction fee if you take out funds over the federal monthly maximum of six times.
Money market accounts certainly have more restrictions than your typical savings account but because they generally come with better interest rates, it can be a great way to save money.
As with any account, it’s essential to make sure you find the best money market account for your needs that banks and credit unions have to offer.