When deciding where to invest cash, two key considerations are interest rates and fees. While interest rates are critical, which is why we maintain a list of high interest savings account options, the fees banks charge are equally important. A fee of just $10 a month can easily erase the interest earned on small balances at today’s prevailing interest rates. And that’s why it’s critical to find a free savings account to park you money.
So we’ve started this list of savings accounts that do not charge a fee to open or maintain an account. In some cases, banks will charge a fee if the account balance falls below a certain minimum. We’ve included some of these options, like EverBank, because the interest rates are competitive. For these banks, we’ve indicated the necessary minimum balance to avoid the fees.
Ally Bank: With Ally, there are no fees to open an account or to maintain the account. And Ally’s money market account comes with an ATM Visa debit card.
Capital One 360: Formerly ING Direct, Cap One 360 offers a no fee savings account that pays a very high interest rate.
Discover Bank: Discover Bank offers a high rate savings account with no opening fees or monthly maintenance fees. It also sports one of the top interest rates on an FDIC-insured account.
E-Trade: If you use E-Trade brokerage services, its savings account option may be an ideal place to park your cash. There are no minimum balance requirement or account fees. The interest rate on this account, however, is not competitive with the other options listed, so E-Trade savings is really only option if you also use its brokerage services.
HSBC: With HSBC, you get a competitive interest rate with no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements.
EverBank: Last on our list is EverBank, which does have a minimum deposit requirement of $1,500 and charges a monthly maintenance fee of $8.95. So why did EverBank make our list? Two reasons. First, the monthly maintenance fee is charged if your average monthly balance falls below $5,000. If you plan to keep more than that in the account, the monthly fee is waived. Second, EverBank’s interest rates are some of highest available in any FDIC-insured account. So if you plan to save more than $5,000, EverBank is a top choice.
Keep in mind that all banks charge fees for certain types of transactions, like wire transfers for example. But these fees only apply if you choose to use certain special services. For basic savings account deposits and withdrawals, there’s no need to pay fees when there are so many free savings accounts to choose from.
Published or updated March 12, 2013.