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Options trading Here are the best money market accounts right now


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Options trading Here are the best money market accounts right now

Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies, and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. We may receive a small commission from our partners, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.CIT Bank: Best money market account overallCFG Bank: Best money market account APYSynchrony Bank: Best money market account for…

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Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies, and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. We may receive a small commission from our partners, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

Banks and credit unions are battling it out to offer higher rates and better terms for people who want to use a money market account. That’s great news for savers, because you have several strong options for the best account to build your savings.

It’s important to note that, unlike certificates of deposit (CDs), you do not lock in a fixed interest rate when you open a money market account. The annual percentage yield (APY) is variable, since it’s based on what the Federal Reserve does. So while it’s smart to look at interest rates when comparing money market accounts, it’s not the be-all and end-all.

Below you’ll find our picks for the best money market accounts right now. Each of these accounts is insured by the FDIC and appropriate for modest and super savers alike. Our top picks are free of monthly service fees, with the exception of CFG Bank, which waives its fee if you maintain an account balance of $1,000. Users can access each of these accounts online or with a mobile app.

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Options trading CIT Bank: Best money market account overall

Why it stands out: CIT Bank offers one of the highest money market account rates you’ll find, and it’s currently higher than the bank’s high-yield savings account APY. You’ll earn the same rate regardless of how much money is in your account, and there’s no minimum balance requirement.

CIT Bank’s minimum deposit of $100 is lower than many competing money market accounts’ requirements, and it doesn’t charge a monthly service fee. You’ll pay $10 if you exceed six transactions per month and $25 if you overdraft, but these amounts are pretty standard for money market accounts.

You can link your CIT Bank money market account with PayPal and Zelle to make payments. 

Rate: 1.65%

Minimum opening deposit: $100

What to look out for: No check writing or debit card access. You can make payments from your account digitally through sites such as Zelle and PayPal, but it might be inconvenient to not be able to write a check, pay with a card, or withdraw money from an ATM.

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Options trading CFG Bank: Best money market account APY

Why it stands out: Many money market accounts offer a higher APY to accounts with higher balances. Typically, there’s a big difference between most companies’ highest and lowest rates. But CFG’s lowest rate of 1.63% is already higher than most competitors’ top rates. CFG’s best rate of 1.73% is one of the highest you’ll find today.

Right now, CFG’s rate of 1.63% is 0.02% lower than CIT’s rate. However, CFG’s APY bumps up to 1.73% once you hit $25,000. Money market rates fluctuate, but CFG is known for offering some of the best rates out there. So if you plan to deposit a significant amount of money into your account over the years, CFG could be the best choice for earning as much interest as you can.

Rate: You’ll earn a 1.63% APY with an account balance of $1,000 to $24,999. You’ll earn a 1.73% APY with a balance of $25,000 or more.

Minimum opening deposit: $1,000

What to look out for: Minimum opening deposit and account balance. You’ll need $1,000 to open a money market account with CFG. You’ll need to maintain this amount to earn interest and to avoid a monthly service charge of $10. Also, remember that money market account rates can fluctuate with the federal funds rate. Although CFG’s rate is the best now, that may not always be the case.

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Options trading Synchrony Bank: Best money market account for ease of access

Why it stands out: Synchrony’s money market account comes with checks and a debit card. You can use the debit card at any ACCEL or Visa Plus ATMs for free. Synchrony doesn’t charge you ATM fees, but if the ATM operator charges you a fee, Synchrony will reimburse you up to $5 per month. 

Rate: 0.90%

Minimum opening deposit: None

What to look out for: Mediocre interest rate. Synchrony’s high-yield savings account offers a higher APY than its money market account. If the accessibility that comes with checks and a debit card is important to you, then you may prefer the money market account. But if a higher yield matters and you like other aspects of banking with Synchrony, you might prefer its savings account.

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Options trading Capital One 360: Best money market account for low fees

Why it stands out: The Capital One 360 money market account doesn’t charge a monthly service fee. It also doesn’t charge an overdraft fee or excess transaction fee. While other companies may charge a fee for overdrafting, Capital One doesn’t give you the option to overdraft — your transaction will simply be denied.

Rate: If your balance is under $10,000, you’ll earn a 0.50% APY. If your balance is $10,000 or more, you’ll earn a 1.30% APY. 

Minimum opening deposit: None

What to look out for: Account balance. If you keep under $10,000 in your money market account, you’ll only earn 0.50% APY. However, 0.50% is still higher than the average rates for checking accounts and regular savings accounts.

Also, many money market accounts charge a fee for exceeding the federally mandated number of six transactions per month. Rather than charging you, Capital One may close your account if you exceed the transaction limit three times in 12 months.

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Options trading Premier Members Credit Union: Best reverse-tiered money market account

Why it stands out: While some money market accounts offer higher rates for higher balances, Premier Members Credit Union takes the opposite approach — it rewards people who have lower balances with higher rates. Premier Members also doesn’t require a minimum balance, and it includes check-writing privileges.

Rate: Premier Members Credit Union’s reverse-tiered rates are as follows:

  • $0 to $2,000: 2.00% APY
  • $2,000.01 to $5,000: 1.10% to 2.00%
  • $5,000.01 to $10,000: 0.72% to 1.10%
  • $10,000.01 to $50,000: 0.34% to 0.72%
  • $50,000.01 to $100,000: 0.30% to 0.34%
  • $100,000.01 to $250,000: 0.21% to 0.30%
  • More than $250,000: 0.15% to 0.21%

Minimum opening deposit: $5

What to look out for: Account balance. You may start with a low balance and earn a high rate, but if your account balance grows substantially, you could end up earning less than you would with a different company.

Other money market accounts accounts we considered and why they didn’t make the cut:

  • TIAA Bank: This money market account offers a decent introductory APY , but its rate drops after the first year, depending on your balance, and it requires a $500 initial deposit.
  • UFB Direct: You need a balance of at least $100,000 to earn UFB Direct’s highest APY, and you must make an initial deposit of $5,000.
  • Investors eAccess: This money market account doesn’t require any initial deposit or minimum account balance, but its APY is slightly lower than more competitive money market accounts.
  • Sallie Mae: Sallie Mae’s account offers an unremarkable APY and lacks distinguishing features from our top picks.
  • BMO Harris: You’ll need to place an initial deposit of $5,000 and maintain at least that amount to earn any interest.
  • Discover: This low-fee account offers higher rates than Capital One, but Discover requires a $2,500 initial deposit.
  • State Farm: You’ll earn a given APY for the first year; after that, your rate will drop to about half that.
  • Redneck Bank: This is another solid reverse-tiered option, but it requires a $500 opening deposit, and rates don’t go as high as Premier Members’ rates.
  • BBVA: You’ll earn a mediocre APY, and pay a $15 monthly service fee if your balance is under $10,000.
  • Ally: Ally doesn’t require an initial deposit, and it reimburses up to $10 per month in ATM fees; however, its APY is lower than some others on our list,
  • Northern Bank Direct: This money market account offers a high APY and doesn’t charge monthly fees, but it requires a $5,000 initial deposit.
  • Sun East Federal Credit Union: Sun East offers a low APY, and you’ll have to make and maintain an account balance of $2,500.
  • Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union Superior Account: This reverse-tiered account offers a solid APY, but you’ll only earn a low APY if you don’t set up a direct deposit of at least $500 per month.
  • Prime Alliance Bank: This money market account offers a high APY, but it lacks features that set it apart from competitors.
  • Pacific National Bank: You’ll need an initial deposit of $5,000 to open this account; you’ll need to maintain a $5,000 balance to avoid monthly fees and $10,000 to earn interest.
  • Northpointe Bank: Northpointe offers a solid money market account, but its APY is slightly lower than competing accounts’ rates.
  • Virtual Bank: This account offers a decent APY and requires a $100 opening deposit, which you must maintain to avoid the $5 monthly service charge.

Options trading Frequently asked questions:

Why trust our recommendations?

Personal Finance Insider’s mission is to help smart people make the best decisions with their money. We understand that “best” is often subjective, so in addition to highlighting the clear benefits of a financial product or account — a high APY, for example — we outline the limitations, too. We spent hours comparing and contrasting the features and fine print of various products so you don’t have to.

How did we choose the best money market accounts?

There are a lot of money market accounts out there. Through our research, we’ve found that the best money market accounts are offered by banks with a strong online presence and mobile access.

We reviewed money market accounts at nearly two dozen institutions to identify the strongest options. We also cross-referenced our list against popular comparison sites like Bankrate and NerdWallet to make sure we didn’t miss a thing. 

While interest rates are an important aspect of any money market account, several offer the same annual percentage yield (APY). To differentiate between them, we also considered minimum deposit and balance requirements, overdraft and excess transaction fees, ability to access funds, and any other standout features. 

Why open a money market account over a high-yield savings account?

Money market accounts typically make it easier to access your money than high-yield savings accounts. Many come with check-writing privileges, debit cards you can use at ATMs, or both. Money market accounts and high-yield savings accounts both offer more interest and nearly as much flexibility as traditional checking or savings accounts. 

Are you on the fence about whether to open a money market or high-yield savings account? You could choose a company and compare its money market and savings accounts. One may have a higher rate, lower initial deposit, or lower monthly fee. 

You may want to work with a specific bank or credit union, but it only offers either a high-yield savings account or a money market account, not both. This limitation could help you make a decision, too.

Are money market accounts worth it?

Yes — a money market account has very few downsides, if any. There’s no risk that you’ll lose money, your account is insured by the FDIC (usually up to $250,000, but up to $1 million in some cases), and it gives you a shot at beating inflation.

The only time a money market account may not be worth it is if you’re paying excessive maintenance fees that eat into your interest payments or you find yourself restricted by the monthly transfer limit or time it takes for your money to get to your checking account.

Which banks have the best money market interest rates?

Right now, the following banks offer the best money market interest rates:

  • CIT Bank
  • CFG Bank
  • Northern Bank Direct
  • Prime Alliance Bank
  • Premier Members Credit Union, for savers with $2,000 or less
  • UFB Direct, for savers with at least $10,000
  • Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union, for savers with less than $25,000

However, rates fluctuate along with the federal funds rate, so banks that offer the highest APY now might not down the road, and ones with lower rates now could hike their rates later.

Generally you’ll find the best interest rates at online banks. If you’re more comfortable banking with a brick-and-mortar, you can usually open a money market account there, too — just know that you may not be getting the best possible interest rate.

How often do money market account rates change?

Interest rates on money market accounts closely follow the federal funds rate. That is to say, rates are variable and can change multiple times per year at the whim of the Federal Reserve. 

The Fed meets eight times a year and decides whether to increase, decrease, or maintain interest rates. If the Fed cuts rates, the APY on your savings account can drop within days. When rates are lower, you won’t earn as much interest on your savings. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t save at all. When interest rates inevitably go back up, you’ll see a greater return on your money than if you started from scratch. 

Because the Fed spent several years raising rates since the Great Recession, it cut interest rates three times toward the end of 2019 in an effort to regulate the economy and side step another recession, and it’s already slashed rates twice in 2020. Although rates are at an all-time low, they will eventually increase and continue to fluctuate over time.

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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

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