If you’ve recently searched for a checking or savings account, chances are you may have also spotted money market accounts on the list of offerings from the financial institution. But how do they work? And are they an option you should consider if you want to make your money work harder for you.
Keep reading for the answers to these questions, along with a comprehensive listing of the best money market accounts out there.
What is a money market account?
Simply put, a money market account is a savings account accompanied by checking account features. How so? Well, most are accompanied by a debit card and checks, unlike traditional savings accounts. The key difference is that they pay a higher rate of return than savings accounts, and you may find that the minimum opening deposit and daily balance requirements are substantially higher.
However, they are a great way to earn a return on your money if you happen to be sitting on a large stash and would look to rake in some interest without investing or parking it into a Certificate of Deposit. Even better, you’ll have access to your cash at any time without incurring any early withdrawal penalties or having to wait for the financial institution to cut you a check or wire the funds.
And as mentioned earlier, you’ll have debit card and check writing privileges without an actual checking account. Plus, you’ll earn a return that blows the interest rate on checking accounts out the water.
Top Money Market Accounts
With so many money market accounts to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when exploring your options. So, we’ve compiled a list of the top products to help you get started on your search.
Ally Bank Money Market Account
The APYs on the Ally Bank Money Market Account are as follows:
- A minimum daily balance of $0 to $24,99- 0.90 percent
- A minimum daily balance of over $25,000- 1.00 percent
Even better, you’ll never pay a monthly fee for the duration of the account. You’ll also have access to thousands of fee-free Allpoint ATMs across the US. And in the event you do incur surcharges from ATMs that are out of the Allpoint network, Ally Bank will reimburse you for up to $10 in fees for that particular statement cycle.
You should also know that there are no caps on the number of deposits or ATM withdrawals you can make per month. In addition, remote check deposit with Ally eCheck Deposit or you can elect to use their postage-paid envelopes to deposit funds.
BBVA Compass Clear Choice Money Market Account
The BBVA Compass Clear Choice Money Market Account pays an APY of 1.80 percent to account holders. All you need is a minimum opening deposit of $25 to open an account, and there are no balance requirements for you to meet before you can start earning a return on your money.
However, a monthly service charge of $15 does apply but can be waived if you meet one of the following criteria:
- Schedule a recurring monthly transfer of at least $25 from your BBVA Compass checking account
- Maintain a daily balance of at least $10,000
You can make up to six withdrawals per month without incurring any fees, and the account can also be used for overdraft protection if it is linked to your checking account.
Capital One 360 Money Market Account
Capital One is known for its fee-free checking and savings accounts, but the 360 Money Market account is even more impressive. Not only is it also free of monthly service charges, but this account allows you to earn an APY of 2.00 percent on balances of $10,000 or more. And if your balance is below this amount, you’ll still earn 0.85 percent APY without spending a dime to keep the account open.
Deposits can be made via the mobile app, by setting up a recurring transfer from another bank or your Capital One checking or savings account, or at a physical location. Incoming wire transfers are also permitted. And if you need to make a withdrawal, you can do so online, on the mobile app, or by phone. But only six withdrawals are permitted on a monthly basis.
Account holders can also use the digital savings tools to help them map out, execute, and reach their savings goals faster.
CIT Bank Money Market Account
With an opening deposit of $100 or more, you can be on your way to earning an APY of 1.85 percent with the CIT Bank Money Market Account. There are no monthly maintenance fees, but you will incur a fee of $10 per transaction (capped at $50) once you exceed six transactions in a month.
A unique feature of this account is the ability to not only transfer funds to external accounts but to also send funds to PayPal. Although this amount is limited to $50 per transaction and daily, you also have the option to transfer funds to an external account using the Bill Pay feature (up to the maximum balance in your account). And should you decide to wire funds elsewhere, you can do so free of charge if your daily average balance is less than $25,000. Otherwise, you’ll pay $10 per transaction.
Discover Bank Money Market Account
You’ll need to have a bit more skin in the game to take advantage of all this account has to offer as the minimum opening deposit is $2,500. And if your account balance falls below this amount, you’ll incur a monthly service charge of $0.
However, the Discover Bank Money Market Account pays a generous APY of:
- 1.85 percent on balances less than $100,000
- 1.90 percent on balances that exceed $100,000
Upon opening an account, you’ll be able to access your cash if needed in a jiffy from the network of over 60,000 fee-free ATMs. You’ll also be able to use the funds in your account by swiping your debit card or writing a check.
Another added benefit is the first fee forgiveness feature, which will let you off the hook for the first mishap on an annual basis.
Sallie Mae Bank Money Market Account
While Sallie Mae is thought to only specialize in servicing student loans, they also have a hidden gem in their arsenal. The money market account grants you the ability to make your money grow without incurring any monthly maintenance fees.
The Sallie Mae Money Market Account pays a whopping 2.20 percent APY, and there’s no minimum balance to start earning a return. You will also have check-writing capabilities, and select transfers can be initiated without paying an additional fee.
TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Money Market Account
The TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Money Market Account is another fee-free way to grow your money. Not only will you avoid monthly account fees, but there’s also no cost to use online bill pay or make mobile check deposits.
To open an account, you’ll need to make a deposit of $5,000 or more. While this may seem a bit hefty, you’ll earn an introductory APY of 2.15 percent in the first year. For subsequent years, their tiered earnings structure is as follows:
- 1.10 percent APY on balances between $0.00 and $9,999.99
- 1.15 percent APY on balances between $10,000 and $24,999.99
- 1.60 percent APY on balances between$25,000 and $49,999.99
- 1.70 percent APY on balances between $50,000 and $99,999.99
- 1.90 percent APY on balances between $100,000 and $10,000,000
If your daily balance exceeds $4,999, you will not incur any ATM fees. But for accounts that do not meet this minimum threshold, TIAA Bank will reimburse up to $15 per month in ATM fees.
UFB High Yield Money Market Account
The UFB High Yield Money Market Account pays an APY of 1.60 percent on all balances. A monthly service fee of $10 applies if your balance is below $4,999.99. However, this fee can be avoided if you maintain a daily balance of $5,000 or more.
Mobile deposit is available free of charge, or you can use UFB’s free postage-paid envelopes to get funds to your account without spending a dime. You’ll also receive a debit card when you open an account to use for everyday purchases.
The Bottom Line
A money market account is a great way to take advantage of all the benefits savings accounts have to offer, but also have check writing and debit card privileges. But since not all accounts are accompanied by the same perks, you’ll want to do your homework before moving forward.