No one wants to see their hard-earned cash sitting in the bank and earning a miniscule amount of interest. Instead, most people want their money to work hard and churn out even more moolah at a healthy rate.
Achieving that may be as simple as switching banks or even just swapping account types. Or trying a couple of other smart financial moves that can help your wealth grow.
Read on to learn smart strategies that can help you earn more interest than you are currently.
What Is Interest?
Interest is the percentage paid when money is borrowed or loaned out. Here are a couple of examples.
• When you deposit your money into an account at a financial institution, the bank may pay you interest. This is your reward for keeping your cash there, where they can lend some of it out or otherwise use it as part of their operations.
• When you borrow money (like a mortgage or car loan) or open a line of credit (say, for a credit card), you pay interest to your lender. You are paying for the privilege of using their money.
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How Do You Earn Interest?
When you deposit money into a bank account, you are in effect loaning them the money. They pay you interest in return.
The financial institution can use that money in any number of ways, including lending it out to others. Say you deposit $10,000 in a savings account that earns a 3% interest rate. The bank could then use some of your money and that of other depositors to make a $100,000 mortgage loan at 7% to a borrower.
The difference between the 7% they are charging the person with the home loan and the 3% they are paying you and other savings account holders is one of the ways banks make money. And it’s also a good example of how and why you earn interest on your deposit.
How Does Interest Work?
Interest can work in a couple of different ways.
• With simple interest, interest is earned only on the principal, or the amount of money you deposited.
• With compound interest, interest is generated on the principal and the interest as it accrues. This makes your money grow more quickly. Interest can be compounded at different intervals, such as quarterly, monthly, or daily.
Here’s an example of what a $10,000 savings account would look like at the end of a year if you earned 3% simple interest:
$10,000 principal +$300 interest = $10,300 at the end of the year.
However, if that interest was compounded daily, by the end of the year, you would have:
$10,000 principal + $304.53 interest = $10,304.53 at the end of the year.
While it doesn’t sound like much, over time, the difference is amplified. If you’re wondering how to make money with interest, consider what the numbers would look like after 10 years:
Simple interest: $13,000
Compound interest: $13,498.48
It can be wise to check with financial institutions and see how often interest is compounded. The more frequent the compounding, the more your money will grow.
Recommended: How to Get Your Money to Work Harder
7 Ways to Gain Interest on Your Money
Now that you understand what interest is, consider these seven ways you might help your money grow faster thanks to the power of interest.
1. High-Interest Savings Accounts
Want to earn more interest on savings? Some banks offer high-interest or high-yield savings accounts that can pay higher rates than traditional savings accounts, while still providing fairly easy access to your money.
How big a difference can this make? In mid 2023, regular savings accounts were paying as little as .01% to .15% annual percentage yield (APY) while high-yield accounts were in the 4.25% to 4.75% zone. When looking for a good interest rate for a savings account, most people would rather snag the latter.
Typically, these high-interest accounts limit you to six withdrawals or transfers per month per Federal Reserve requirements. While this Regulation D rule has been suspended since the coronavirus pandemic, some banks will still charge fees or have other penalties for more than six withdrawals, so be sure to check.
You are more likely to find high-interest savings accounts at online-only banks. Because these institutions tend to have lower operating costs than brick-and-mortar banks, they often offer higher rates than traditional banks. They may also be less likely to charge monthly fees.
A high-yield savings account can be a great place to build an emergency fund or save for a vacation or home repair while providing safety and liquidity.
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2. Rewards Checking Accounts
Checking accounts are traditionally used for storing money that you use frequently, and they typically don’t pay interest. However, some banks offer rewards checking accounts. These may pay higher interest rates than traditional checking and savings accounts. For instance, as of mid 2023, while some standard checking accounts paid zero interest, rewards accounts offered up to 3.30% APY.
However, there may be some restrictions. For instance, the balance that earns the elevated rate may be limited. In addition, you may have to meet certain direct deposit or debit card transaction requirements each month to earn the higher rate.
Like other checking accounts, rewards checking accounts are highly liquid and typically come with check-writing privileges, ATM access, and debit cards. Plus, deposits can be withdrawn at any time.
If you’re considering a rewards checking account, however, you may want to first make sure you can meet any requirements.
💡 Quick Tip: Your money deserves a higher rate. You earned it! Consider opening a high-yield checking account online and earn 0.50% APY.
3. Credit Unions
Another of the best ways to earn interest on your money is to consider joining a credit union.
Unlike banks, credit unions are owned by the people (or members) who hold accounts at the credit union. Because of this, these financial institutions work for the benefit of account holders instead of shareholders.
In some cases, that can translate into lower fees, better account perks, and higher interest rates. To join a credit union, you typically need to live or work in a certain geographic area or work for a certain employer.
If you have a credit union near you, you may want to check the rates it offers and see if you can get a good deal.
4. Money Market Accounts
A money market account is a type of deposit account that usually combines the features of both checking and savings accounts. This kind of account often requires a higher minimum balance to open than a standard savings account and typically earns a higher interest rate.
Some money market accounts also come with a debit card or checks (which you generally won’t find with savings accounts), but financial institutions may require that they not be used more than six times per month. Some will charge a fee if you go over that number.
It can also be a good idea to ask about other fees, such as monthly account fees and penalties, before opening one of these accounts.
Recommended: Guide to Deposit Interest Rates
5. Certificates of Deposit
Certificates of deposit (CDs), which are a kind of time deposit, typically offer higher interest rates than traditional savings accounts in exchange for reduced withdrawal flexibility.
One benefit of CDs is that you lock in the interest rate when you open the CD.
When you put money in a CD, you agree to leave the money in the account for a set period of time, known as the term. If you withdraw your deposit before the term expires, you’ll usually have to pay an early withdrawal penalty.
One benefit of CDs is that you lock in the interest rate when you open the CD. Even if market rates drop, you’ll keep earning the same rate. On the other hand, if rates rise, you’ll be stuck earning the lower rate until the CD matures.
One way to work around this is to open several CDs that mature at different times, a technique known as CD laddering. Having a mix of short- and long-term CDs allows you to take advantage of higher interest rates, if they bump up, but still have the flexibility to take advantage of higher rates in the future.
A CD ladder also helps with the lack of liquidity that comes with CDs. Because of the staggered terms of the certificates, one is likely to be coming due (or available) if you need to use the cash.
6. Bank Bonuses
Many banks offer special bonuses from time to time; these can be a way to boost the earnings on your money. You may want to keep your eyes open for high-yield savings accounts that offer a sign-up bonus or an interest rate bonus. These incentives can boost your earnings, though you may have to maintain a high minimum balance in the account to earn the higher rate.
You may want to keep your eyes open for high-yield savings accounts that offer a sign-up bonus.
Some banks also offer cash bonuses to customers who open new checking accounts. While this may also come with some requirements, such as setting up direct deposit and/or keeping your account open for a certain number of months to earn the bonus, it can be another good way to increase the income you earn on your bank deposits.
7. Bonds or Bond Funds
Another way to gain interest on your money could be with bonds, which are loans that the government or companies issue. These pay investors interest on a regular basis until the bond hits its maturity date.
These investments, however, aren’t insured the way an account is at a bank or credit union by the FDIC or NCUA. U.S. Savings Bonds are backed by the government, but other bonds may carry risk.
|Type of Account||Pros||Cons|
|High-Interest Savings||Higher interest||May have withdrawal limits|
|Rewards Checking||Higher interest, unlimited withdrawals, checks, and a debit card||May have requirements such as certain number of debit card or ATM transactions|
|Credit Union||Higher interest||May need to live in a certain area or work in a certain profession to open an account|
|Money Market||Higher interest; checking account privileges such as a debit card and checks||May charge fees and/or limit number of transactions|
|Certificates of Deposit||Higher interest, guaranteed interest rate||Money must be kept on deposit for a specific time period or else penalties can be assessed|
|Bank Bonuses||Higher interest and/or cash to add to your account||Not offered by all banks; may be minimum deposit requirements or rate may decrease after introductory period|
|Bonds||Pay interest to grow your investment||May not be insured|
Other Ways to Make Your Money Work For You
If you’re planning to park your cash for at least five years or so and you are willing to take some risk, you may want to consider investing your money in the market.
While an investment might generate a higher return, all investments come with the risk that you could lose some or all of your money.
You can better weather this risk by investing for the long term, which essentially means only investing savings that you would not likely need to touch when the market is down.
There are a variety of ways to start investing. If your employer offers a 401(k), that can be one of the easiest ways to start investing. Another option for retirement is an individual retirement account (IRA).
You could also open a brokerage account for financial goals outside of retirement. This is a taxed account, typically opened with a brokerage firm, that allows you to buy and sell investments like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.
If you’re ready to start investing, you may want to speak with a qualified financial advisor who can help you establish your savings goals and risk tolerance and help you develop a personalized investment strategy.
💡 Quick Tip: When you feel the urge to buy something that isn’t in your budget, try the 30-day rule. Make a note of the item in your calendar for 30 days into the future. When the date rolls around, there’s a good chance the “gotta have it” feeling will have subsided.
Creating a SoFi Savings Account Today
If you’re looking to make more interest on your money, you may be able to increase returns by opening a high-yield account at 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.
What does it mean to “gain interest”?
Gaining interest is similar to earning interest. It means that your money (the principal) is growing over time thanks to the interest rate being paid. The exact amount it grows will be determined by the interest rate, how long it sits, and how frequently (if at all) the interest is compounded.
Where can you get 7% interest on your money?
As of mid 2023, only one financial institution offered an account with 7% interest: Landmark Credit Union. It was paying 7.50% annual percentage yield (APY) on its Premium Checking Account, which had requirements for e-statements and direct deposits in order to earn that amount of interest.
How much interest does $10,000 earn in a year?
How much interest $10,000 will earn in one year will depend on the interest rate and how often the interest is compounded, if at all. If the interest rate is 3%, without compounding, it would earn $300. With daily compounding, it would earn $304.53. If the interest rate were 7%, the account holder would have $700 in interest at the end of the year with simple interest, and $725.01 with daily compounding.
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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 http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet..
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.