The 5 Best High-Yield Savings Accounts in 2018

In choosing the best high-yield savings accounts, we looked for the highest interest rates offered at both traditional and online-only banks. However, we also considered the additional conditions that account holders must meet at different banks if they want to qualify for the maximum rates on their deposits. Here are a few of the best high-interest savings accounts.

Best High-Yield Savings Account: Barclays Online Savings

Consider this if you're just looking for a high interest rate savings account.

APY 2.05%
Minimum Balance to Earn APY $0.00
Monthly Fee $0.00

Among all the banks we covered, Barclays Bank provided the best interest rate for a high-yield savings account. The Barclays Online Savings Account earns 2.05% APY on any balance, with no required monthly fees or minimum amount in your account. The lack of fees and high rate make Barclays Bank our top pick among all high-yield savings accounts.

As an online account run by Barclays Bank, Barclays Online Savings lets you manage your balance through the company's website or mobile app. Once opened, the account can be connected to a checking account at any other bank or credit union. This is an important feature: since Barclays Bank doesn't offer any checking account products, you'll need to keep your checking balance at another institution.

Best Online High-Yield Savings: Discover Online Savings

Consider this if you prefer an all-in-one online app for checking and savings.

APY 1.90%
Minimum Balance to Earn APY $1.00
Monthly Fee $0.00

Discover's Discover Online Savings account earns 1.90% APY, a rate that's almost as high as the best offer currently available. In addition, Discover is part of Discover Bank, which goes above and beyond the typical online bank by providing online checking accounts in addition to high-yield savings.

Through Discover's mobile app, you can manage not only your Discover Online Savings balance but also make transfers to and from the company's other products, such as Discover Cashback Checking or any Discover credit card. All in all, the strong interest rate and convenient links to other bank accounts make Discover Online Savings our choice as the best online savings account.

Best High-Yield Savings for Low Balances: DCU Primary Savings

Consider this if you're looking for a high interest rate savings account, but don't want to put a lot of money in.

APY 5.12%
Minimum Balance to Earn APY $5.00
Monthly Fee $0.00

Digital Credit Union's DCU Primary Savings earns 5.12% APY on up to $1,000.00 in your savings balance, making it the best choice for people just starting to save. This rate is by far the highest return you'll find on any deposit account, even though the $1,000.00 limit poses a significant disadvantage to people with larger balances.

Unlike most other high yield savings accounts, the DCU Primary Savings account requires that you join a credit union to access its high rate. While this isn't particularly difficult, you will need to spend about $10.00 to qualify for membership. If your initial deposit is already close to the $1,000.00 limit, you'll probably want to use Digital Credit Union's free automatic transfers to make sure that you're maximizing your earnings by keeping the balance under the limit each month. Despite the extra work it might require, this account's 5.12% APY is a rare value compared to today's average rates.

Best High-Yield Savings for Kids: Alliant Kids Savings Account

Consider this if you're looking to start a college fund for your kids.

APY 1.90%
Minimum Balance to Earn APY $100.00
Monthly Fee $0.00

With an interest rate many times greater than almost every other child-oriented savings account, the Alliant Kids Savings Account Account is our top recommendation for parents who want to start saving for their children. This account earns an interest rate of 1.90% for balances that meet an average daily balance of at least $100 every month. The credit union will also donate the initial $5 required to open the account.

While Alliant's status as a credit union means that it has a more selective application process, you can easily qualify for membership with a $10.00 donation to its non-profit partner, Foster Care to Success. Finally, Alliant Kids Savings Account is only available for children age 12 and younger, but parents can secure the same interest rate for older children with the standard Alliant High-Rate Savings Account.

Best High-Yield Savings Bonus Offer: TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Money Market

Consider this if you're looking for a high interest rate money market account.

APY 2.15%
Minimum Balance to Earn APY $5,000.00
Monthly Fee $0.00

Although you'll need $5,000 to open an TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Money Market Account, the introductory APY of 1.31% is currently the highest rate you can find on a money market account. After one year of earning at this strong bonus rate, your rate with this account will move down to 2.15%—still above-average compared with other options.

Bonus APY1.31% for 1 year after account opening
Standard APY2.15%
Opening Minimum$5,000.00
Monthly Fee$0.00

Besides the bonus rate, TIAA Bank's Yield Pledge promises to keep your interest rate within the top 5% of similar accounts offered at major banks. Unfortunately, this pledge only takes into account the largest banks, which offer some of the lowest money market rates. Compared to online-only banks, TIAA Bank's 2.15% APY after the first year is only slightly above average. It may be more efficient to seek other high yield options once the promotional rate expires.

Summary of Best High-Yield Savings Accounts

For a faster head-to-head comparison of these accounts, refer to the following summary. These are the best high-yield savings accounts available.

Best For...Account NameAPYOpening Minimum
Highest APYBarclays Bank2.05%$0.00
High-Yield Online SavingsDiscover Online Savings1.90%$0.00
Low BalancesDCU Primary Savings5.12%$100.00
Kids' High-Yield SavingsAlliant Kids Savings Account1.90%$5.00
Bonus Savings RateTIAA Bank Yield Pledge Money Market2.15%$5,000.00

Finding Other High-Yield Savings Accounts

If the options above are unsuitable for your finances or unavailable in your area, keep in mind that there are dozens of other options that offer interest on your savings. People who are determined to avoid online-only banks should be prepared to accept rates much closer to the FDIC's calculated national average of 0.06% APY for regular savings accounts and 0.08% for money market accounts. With interest rates remaining historically low, it's unlikely that you'll see bank savings rates go higher than the 1.00% figure shown in some of the online accounts above.

Another factor to consider is the effect of your total savings balance. If you have more to deposit in savings, you may be able to open premium savings accounts that require higher balances to open and maintain. Even these accounts don't usually come close to the rates offered online, but if you also have investments and loan accounts to consider, it might be easier to open a premium savings account at a major national bank that lets you integrate all your finances.

Chris Moon

Chris is a Senior Research Analyst at ValuePenguin who has covered deposit accounts and home loans since 2016. He has contributed insights and opinions to the New York Times and many other publications.

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