Savings Account Reviews

Savings accounts do more than help you save money for important future life events and emergencies. They protect you from monetary losses related to theft and both man-made and natural catastrophes. Savings accounts also create the financial security that you need to maintain healthy money-handling habits. The high debt that is often the result of financial insecurity forces many people to live paycheck-to-paycheck. Living without a savings account as a safety net drives them to think so much about now rather than later when they earn and spend money that they forget this important tool for financial stability.

Valuable Guidance

Reviews offer you the opportunity to research extensively a bank or credit union and products and services before investing your time and hard-earned money. Reviews give you personal stories that guide you away from making the types of poor savings account decisions that are typically based only on the most commonly-considered factors, such as the proximity of the financial institution to your home and the popularity of a particular bank or credit union brand.

Savings account reviews on this site explore four main areas that we believe all consumer banking reviews should cover:

  • Interest Rates
  • Service Fees
  • Customer Service
  • Overall Satisfaction

We also ask reviewers to submit a summary of their unique experiences so that you can receive the same types of personal examples that you normally receive from family, friends, co-workers and others in your trusted social circles. These summaries offer you broad, sometimes national and international, individual perspectives and referrals that you would have only gained traditionally from face-to-face and phone interactions.

Extra Value

As you scan through the many available reviews, we ask that you keep in mind that the above savings account review areas often reveal much more than basics about each topic. Reviewers also typically offer important details that many people usually do not consider automatically when thinking about the setup of a savings account, such as:

  • Daily Interest Rate
    You should always look for a rate that is as high as possible based on current competitive rates. Unlike with credit products where your balance increases based on an interest rate until you repay the money that you borrowed, your bank or credit union pays you based on an interest rate that accrues daily because you decided to allow the financial institution access to your funds. Although the average interest rate is currently below one percent, never settle. Compare interest rates and pick the one that comes closest to that rate or higher.
  • Premium Rate
    Some financial institutions describe short-term savings accounts for short-term goals like holiday presents and vacations as "Premium" products. A "premium rate" product refers to a savings account where the consumer receives an incredibly high rate because they maintain an extremely high balance. As long as you stick with that agreed upon balance or go to a higher amount, you receive a rate that is above and beyond that particular institution's average rates and sometimes national average rates as well. Typically, the bank or credit union also waives any type of service charges. Always look for Premium Rate details if you plan to set up a savings account with a high balance.
  • Minimum Balance
    Another important area to consider is the minimum balance requirement. Financial institutions typically penalize consumers with extra fees when they set up small balance savings accounts or their savings account balance goes below the minimum. You might see "no minimum balance" listed with or without additional fees. As you review minimum balance options, check that you are not going to get hit with a fee at some point. Also, look for exceptions to the rule. Many financial institutions, for example, waive this requirement if you set up automatic, recurring deposits into the account.
  • Hidden Fees
    Reviewers often talk about their good and bad experiences with monthly hidden or unexpected fees. Look for reviews that specifically mention important details about accounts that had "maintenance," "service" and other types of fees and accounts that did not have them. Important details include the amount of any fee, the date the fee hit the account every month, the terms related to the fee and any options for waiving the fee. A bank or credit union might only provide these important details in the fine print at the bottom of a website page or contract.
  • Online Banking
    Whether you are a highly tech-savvy person or not, you probably enjoy online banking services with your current financial institution. Check reviews for details about features and tools that are important to successful online banking, such as a user-friendly interface, secondary password protection like a password security image and high-end encryption, automatic inactivity log out and account update tools for real-time name, address and contact changes. Reviews can often also reveal if a bank or credit union offers other features and tools that are convenient beyond day-to-day banking, such as downloadable statements that you can print as proof of income when doing taxes or submitting an application for healthcare or financial assistance services.
  • Rapid Money Handling
    If you dislike running to the bank every time you want to deposit a check, you can always try to set up automatic deposits. When that option is not available through your employer or a client, you can also set up mobile check deposits where you take a photograph of the check using your smart phone and an app. This option works great when you receive checks from other sources throughout the year as well, such as rebate and birthday money checks. Additionally, you might need money for an emergency. Look for examples of banks and credit unions that allow you to access your savings rapidly from an ATM.
  • Account Protection
    Some financial institutions do not insure funds. Always look for confirmation that any bank that you are interested in is a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or FDIC-insured and that any credit union is a member of the National Credit Union Administration. Beyond common account security online, many financial institutions now also offer enhanced security that includes ID theft protection. Look for mention of ID theft services, such as credit score checks, account monitoring, cash access during theft and investigation and legal representation services.
  • Customer Service Access
    Emergencies happen 24 hours a day and seven days a week during good and bad weather, which is why customer service access is critical when you need help with a financial product. Many consumers believe incorrectly that savings accounts are not as important as checking accounts when it comes to customer service because the money is not as accessible, but you might have an emergency that requires immediate action, such as a computer error or savings account data theft. Check our reviews for details about 24/7 customer service and each financial institution's optimal methods for customers to reach out to a live person face-to-face, over the phone or via chat.
  • Sign-Up Bonus
    Most consumers look for incentives when setting up credit card accounts, such as preferred interest for a short term period and cash or points for every dollar spent using the account. What many of them do not realize is that some financial institutions offer savings account sign-up bonuses. As with any business, banks and credit unions want you as a customer and do anything they can to get your business, including offer sign-up incentives.
  • Questions to Ask
    Reviewers usually list the types of actions that they took that gave them the best and worst results. They talk about the actions that pleased them the most and the actions that they regretted the most, including the questions they asked that helped them and the questions that they wished they had asked at the time. Always review these questions carefully and the results and then take from the examples the questions that you feel might best help you when you are ready to contact the financial institutions about your research and personal savings account needs.

Critical Considerations

If you find a bank or credit union that meets your needs except for in one or two areas, keep in mind again that many financial institutions are so eager for your business that they will allow you to negotiate a better "deal" on their products and services. We recommend that you make a list of financial institutions and savings account products based on a tiered system where you write down the top three that meet your needs followed by three more that you prefer, possibly more than the top three, but that seem to have one or two issues that make them unsuitable for your savings goals.

When you are ready to contact the financial institutions for clarification about their savings account products, we recommend the following plan for negotiating to get the type of savings account you desire:

  • Speak with your top tier institutions first and get as many additional details as possible about their savings account terms and fees.
  • Contact your second tier institutions and ask if they would be willing to negotiate at all by, for example, waiving a fee or altering an account requirement.
  • Use the information provided by your top tier list of institutions to negotiate terms with a representative of a more preferred second tier institution.
  • Outline in clear terms with the rep of that financial institution that you would prefer to go with them and their savings account product, but that you are absolutely willing to go elsewhere.
  • If necessary and applicable, quote any reviewer from our site who stated they received similar terms at that particular institution.

Start Now!

You can be in control of your financial freedom and security. A savings account is a wonderful first step that is much better than storing your money in an non-secure jar or an uninsured safe at home or ignoring the need to save for the future entirely.

Our valuable tools can provide you with the information you need to pick and set up a savings account that yields you benefits today AND tomorrow with a trusted financial institution. Reviewers are consumers just like you who share their experiences because they either used similar tools to make good choices in the past or they wish they had access to these tools when they chose their savings products. Although every reviewer's experience is unique and biased at some level, we believe that each review is an opportunity to receive insight into the operations of a wide range of banks and credit unions and their savings products from various customer perspectives.

You do not need to get stuck in a cycle of financial insecurity and debt. You have already taken the first step by coming to our reviews website to research financial institutions and savings account products. The next step is easy. Compare the reviews provided here, note any important details and then follow our tips to pick an institution and product that fits your unique needs.