- High-yield savings accounts are great for emergency funds, down payments, and savings goals.
- I particularly like Ally Bank’s high-yield savings account for its combination of low fees and competitive rates.
- Its easy-to-use interface also allows you to set up automatic transfers and create “buckets” of money for your separate savings goals.
- See Business Insider’s picks for the best high-yield savings accounts »
When I was a kid, my mom took me to a local bank to open my first savings account. My “Dinosaver” account came with a free dinosaur toy, which was a pretty big selling point for me as a young boy. But these days, I care a lot more about interest rates than toys and gifts from my bank.
Today, I keep a good chunk of my savings at Ally Bank, which I also suggest to my sister, friends, and other people who want to level up their savings. Let’s dig into the details of Ally Bank Savings to see why I recommend it to just about anyone.
Ally’s account doesn’t let fees eat into your savings
As a former banker, I firmly believe you should never have to pay any fees to keep your money in a savings account. Some big banks charge you $10 or $15 per month if you don’t keep at least a certain minimum balance. That’s a bad deal for customers. You shouldn’t have to pay a monthly fee regardless of your balance.
Ally Bank’s Online Savings Account doesn’t charge any fees for regular activity. You may get charged for overdrafts, depositing bad checks, sending outgoing wires, and other less-common activity. But for just keeping your money in the bank, you won’t pay a thing regardless of your balance.
Interest rates are important for big balances, and Ally’s are competitive
My sister followed our parents’ example and had her bank accounts at the same big, traditional bank during college. But after getting charged a fee for going under the minimum balance one month, she took a closer look at the terms. She called me up and said, “Did you know my savings account pays just 0.01%?” I did know, and helped her decide where to put her money for better rates.
Like every other bank, Ally’s interest rate varies — in the past year it’s climbed above 2%. But even at 1.60%, that’s 160 times more than my sister would get with her old account. After years of earning practically nothing for her savings, she called me after a month at Ally excited by how much she earned. Less than 2% interest probably won’t make you rich, but it’s a lot better than the average savings account.
Multiple accounts and savings buckets give you more control
Money-smart households are sure to save for emergencies. I keep part of my emergency fund at Ally Bank. After dealing with a few big annual bills, I decided to store more for other purposes at Ally, as well.
I opened a second savings account at Ally where I put away $250 per week for my property taxes and insurance. Ally makes it easy to have multiple accounts, but you can also save for specific goals in one Online Savings Account.
With savings buckets, you can divvy up one savings account for multiple goals. For example, you might want to save for a trip, down payment on a home or new car, taxes, or anything else you choose. Savings buckets act like sub-accounts inside of an existing savings account. You can add up to 10 buckets per savings account.
Power up your account with smart saving features
While I love my Schwab checking account for the ability to use any ATM in the world with no fee, it doesn’t give me the best tools for automated savings. It doesn’t even offer the ability to save on a weekly schedule, so I set that up through my savings account at Ally. But that’s just scratching the surface on what Ally can do.
In addition to setting your own recurring transfer schedule, Ally has a “Surprise Savings” feature that transfers in savings based on your income and spending habits automatically and behind the scenes.
Just like savings product Digit, which charges a monthly fee for a similar service, computers at Ally analyze what’s safe-to-save without overdrafting. It makes surprise transfers to grow your savings balance with almost no effort.
Don’t leave your savings in a poor-performing account
A bad savings account is still better than keeping your money under the mattress or in a coffee can buried in the backyard, but you should expect more of a bank than just FDIC insurance and a pretty lobby. You should expect low fees and competitive interest rates with no exceptions.
Ally Bank offers consistently great rates and low fees on all of its products, including checking, savings, and investment accounts. I spend a big portion of my day reviewing bank accounts, and I use Ally bank myself. It’s one account I’d recommend to just about anyone.
Eric Rosenberg is a former bank manager and corporate finance and accounting professional who left his day job in 2016 to take his online personal finance side hustle full-time.