6 Advantages of Having a Savings Account

By Timothy Moore · May 20, 2024 · 8 minute read

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6 Advantages of Having a Savings Account

Sure, you could store all the cash you’re likely to need in the near future in a checking account and call it a day. But that would mean missing out on the many benefits of having a savings account.

While savings accounts don’t offer the returns you could potentially get in the market, they pay interest (generally a lot more than you can earn in a checking account), while still keeping your money safe and accessible. This makes them ideal for housing your emergency funds and money you’re saving for shorter-term goals, like buying a car or going on vacation.

Here’s a closer look at the perks of having a savings account and why this type of account likely deserves a place in your financial toolkit.

Key Points

•   A savings account safely stores money while earning interest, making it ideal for short-term savings like emergency funds or vacation funds.

•   These accounts are insured up to $250,000, providing security against bank failures.

•   Savings accounts offer easy access to funds, unlike some investments that may require time to liquidate.

•   Opening a savings account doesn’t necessarily require a large initial deposit, making it accessible to start saving immediately.

•   Money can be earmarked for specific goals, helping to manage finances effectively by separating funds for different purposes.

What Savings Accounts Are

A savings account is a type of deposit account at a bank, credit union, or other financial institution where you can safely store your money and earn interest. Savings accounts at banks insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) are typically covered up to $250,000 per depositor. Co-owners of joint accounts at the same bank are typically each insured up to $250,000. Credit unions offer similar insurance through the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

Unlike a checking account, which is set up for everyday money management, a savings account is designed to store money you don’t need right away, separate from everyday spending cash. These accounts typically don’t come with checks and debit cards, and some banks may limit you to a certain number of withdrawals per month.

Because savings accounts offer safety, liquidity, and interest, they can be a great place for setting aside money for shorter-term goals, such as:

•   An emergency savings fund

•   A down payment on a house

•   A wedding

•   A vacation

•   A new car

•   A large purchase

•   Home renovations

Dive deeper: How Do Savings Accounts Work?

6 Benefits of Savings Accounts

Here’s a look at some of the main advantages of a savings account.

1. You Earn Interest on Your Deposits

Savings accounts earn interest, expressed as an annual percentage yield (APY). That means you’ll earn money just for keeping your funds in the bank, making it a low-risk way to build wealth. Not every savings account offers the same interest rate, however. While the current national average savings yield is 0.57 percent, top-yielding savings accounts are currently earning APYs above 5% percent.

To see how that translates into actual dollars, let’s say you currently have $5,000 sitting in your checking account you don’t need right away, and you transfer it to a 5% APY high-yield savings account. Even if you don’t add any additional money to the account, you could increase your balance in one year to $5,250, just by letting the initial deposit sit in your new savings account.

Recommended: What Are High-Yield Savings Accounts?

Earn up to 4.60% APY with a high-yield savings account from SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings account and earn up to 4.60% APY - with no minimum balance and no account fees.


2. Your Money Is Insured

Savings accounts are typically insured by the FDIC or NCUA, depending on where the account is held. That means your money is protected against major losses (up to $250,000) in the event that the bank or credit union goes out of business. You would either be paid that money directly or, more likely, a new account would be opened for you at another bank with the same balance as before. This makes a savings account safer than keeping your money in a sock drawer or under the mattress, where it is susceptible to theft or loss.

3. It’s Low Risk

Savings accounts don’t offer high returns compared to what you could potentially make in an investment account over the long term. However, these accounts won’t let you down either. With many investments, you can lose money over the course or days, weeks, months, and even years. The balance on a savings account, on the other hand, will typically continue to go up over time (unless, of course, you make a withdrawal).

If you have money you plan to use within the next couple of years that you can’t afford to lose, a savings account can be the perfect place to store it.

4. It Doesn’t Require a Large Initial Investment

Savings accounts are easy to open and typically do not require you to make a big initial deposit. In fact, many online-only savings accounts allow you to open an account with $0, so you can start saving from scratch. Savings accounts at traditional brick-and-mortar banks may require deposits of $25 to $100 to open a new account. By contrast, many investments (such as real estate and mutual funds) often require a significant amount of money as an initial investment, sometimes as much as several thousand dollars.

Keep in mind, though, that some savings accounts do offer higher interest rates and low (or no fees) if your balance stays above a certain minimum threshold or you meet other criteria.

5. You Can Separate Money for Different Goals

If you’re saving for a particular goal, like buying a car or putting a downpayment on a home, it can be helpful to keep that money in a separate savings account. This helps to ensure that you don’t blow the money on something else, like groceries or clothing.

If you have several things you’re saving for, you might even want to open multiple savings accounts, such as one for emergency savings, one for a new car, and one for a vacation. Separating money can help you visualize progress toward each goal. Some savings accounts let you organize your savings into separate buckets or “vaults” so you can save toward multiple goals within one account.

6. Easy Access When You Need It

Savings accounts are relatively liquid, meaning you can access your money when you need it by transferring it into your checking account or withdrawing it at an ATM or through a teller at a local branch. That’s not true for many investments, which may take a few days to convert to cash. Some investment products, such as real estate properties, can potentially take months or years to sell off.

That makes a savings account an ideal spot for your emergency fund. When an unexpected expense comes up, you can access your funds immediately — and avoid running up expensive credit card debt — in order to cover it.

That said, the money is not quite as accessible as the money in a checking account. Savings accounts typically don’t come with checks and debit cards, and some banks limit the number of withdrawals you can make to six or nine per month. However, you might see these limitations as benefits, since they encourage saving rather than spending.

Recommended: Can You Write Checks From a Savings Account?

Is a Savings Account Right for You?

Savings accounts offer numerous benefits, including insurance on your deposits, higher APYs than checking accounts, and liquidity. Plus, you generally don’t need a large (or sometimes any) initial deposit to get started.

However, the interest you earn on a savings account may not always keep up with inflation, which means your balance could become less valuable over time. As a result, a savings account is generally not the best place to put the money you are saving for a long-term goal, such as retirement or your child’s college education. You might earn a better return if you invest that money in the market.

If you’re interested in opening a savings account, it’s a good idea to research your options and compare APYs, minimum deposits, balance requirements, and any fees. And if you have a savings account but aren’t satisfied with the perks, there’s likely a better fit for you offering the full benefits of a savings account.

Recommended: Perks of Long-Term Savings Accounts

Opening a Savings Account With SoFi

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQs

What is the benefit of a savings account?

The primary benefit of a savings account is that it allows you to grow your money over time (by earning interest), while still keeping it safe and accessible.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a savings account?

Advantages of savings account include:

•   Earning Interest Savings accounts accrue interest on deposited funds, helping your money grow over time.

•   Safety and security Funds in savings accounts are typically insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), providing protection against loss.

•   Liquidity Savings accounts offer easy access to your funds, making them ideal for emergency savings.

Disadvantages of savings accounts include:

•   Lower interest rates While savings accounts offer interest earnings, the rates are often lower compared to other investment options.

•   Inflation risk Inflation may erode the purchasing power of your savings over time, especially if the interest earned does not keep pace with inflation rates.

•   Fees and minimum balance requirements Some savings accounts may have fees or minimum balance requirements, potentially reducing the overall return on your savings.

How is a savings account most useful?

Savings accounts can be most useful for storing your emergency funds and money you plan to spend in the next few months or years, since they pay interest while keeping your funds safe and accessible. However, returns on savings accounts are often lower than what you could potentially earn by investing in the market over time. That makes these accounts less useful for long-term savings goals like retirement or a child’s future college education.


Photo credit: iStock/PeopleImages

SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


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