Money Market Account vs Money Market Fund: What’s the Difference?

By Paulina Likos · June 23, 2022 · 7 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

Money Market Account vs Money Market Fund: What’s the Difference?

Money market accounts and money market funds may sound like the same thing, but the former is actually a savings account, while the latter is a kind of investment. It’s not a matter of one being better than another; they are simply different financial products, and each can play an important role in a person’s money management.

Here, learn more about them, including:

•   What is a money market account?

•   When to consider a money market account?

•   What is a money market fund?

•   When to consider a money market fund?

•   What are the similarities and differences between these two accounts?

What Is a Money Market Account?

A money market account (or MMA) is a kind of savings account, which is one of the most common types of bank accounts. It allows account holders to earn a higher savings rate compared to a conventional savings account.

Thanks to its higher-than-standard annual percentage yield (APY), it can be a good option to earn interest. Simply put, your money can grow faster than it would at a lower APY account. (Interest earned will be taxable, as with other savings accounts.)

Another benefit is that money market accounts usually have some of the features of a checking account. These may include a debit card and check-writing abilities. It gives you easy access for spending money from your savings account.

This account type, however, typically involves a higher minimum balance compared to a traditional savings account. There may also be a maximum of six withdrawals per month from a money market account, whether by ATM, check, debit card or electronic transfer.

If a money market account does have this kind of restriction, it may not be that problematic. Other types of high-yielding savings accounts can have stipulations as well. For instance, certificates of deposits (or CDs) have maturity dates and will likely enforce early withdrawal penalties if you need access to your cash prior to the account’s maturity. But money market accounts may allow you to access your money regularly without incurring any penalties.

Recommended: What is a Good Interest Rate on Savings?

Are Money Market Accounts Safe?

If you open a money market account with a bank that is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), you can consider your money to be safe. FDIC-insured banks give account holders peace of mind because even in the rare event of a bank failure, your money is insured up to $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank. In other words, a money market account is a very safe deposit account.

When to Consider a Money Market Account

Account holders can consider a money market account if they want to improve their savings rate and get higher rates compared to traditional savings accounts. If you have an existing savings account and you want to put your extra cash to work for higher yield, a money market account could be a suitable option. It can be appropriate for short-term savings, though it may not be the best long-term savings account option.

Keep in mind that many money market accounts, unlike some other common types of savings accounts, may have minimum deposit requirements. The higher the yield you’re searching for, typically, the greater the minimum deposit may be. In addition, there may be monthly fees for these accounts.

Money market accounts are also great for account holders who want the flexibility to write checks, withdraw cash, and even a debit card for purchases. These features, which typically come with checking accounts, are some of the upsides of a money market account.

What Is a Money Market Fund?

Also sometimes referred to as money market mutual funds, money market funds are a type of mutual fund. Whichever term is used, these funds allow investors to purchase securities that may provide higher returns compared to interest-yielding bank accounts. There are a variety of types of money market funds, but many popular ones invest in debt securities with short-term maturities. This account is typically known as a lower-risk type of investment since it invests in high-quality, short-term debt securities.

Money market mutual funds are typically offered by brokerage firms and can be used as a savings or investing vehicle. The typical profile of a money market fund account holder is someone who wants to stow their cash away for a short period of time as an alternative to investing in the stock market. These funds tend to experience very low volatility compared to the stock market, which can have higher levels of short-term volatility.

Depending on the specific fund, earnings may or may not be taxable.

Ready for a Better Banking Experience?

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account and start earning up to 4.50% APY on your cash!


Are Money Market Funds Safe?

Unlike a money market savings account, which is federally insured, money markets mutual funds are not FDIC-insured, though they are subject to the scrutiny of the Security and Exchange Commission. That means you could potentially endure a loss of your funds.

While there isn’t an FDIC safety net, money market funds likely invest in high-quality securities, so the risk of loss tends to be very low. The investments in the fund, for example, may be Treasury bills or certificates of deposit. For these reasons, money market funds have a reputation for being safe investments although you are not protected against losses.

When to Consider a Money Market Fund

You may want to consider opening a money market mutual fund vs. a money market account (or any other vehicle) if you are seeking a low-risk investment with what are probably higher yields compared with savings accounts. More specifically, they may be a good option if you are, say, an investor looking to build up cash holdings through a high-quality investment vehicle that pays dividends reflecting short-term interest rates.

That said, investors must consider the fees attached to money market funds. Many investment vehicles charge a management fee or an expense ratio. This can range considerably, but the average rate last year 0.12%, so if you had $20,000 invested, you’d pay $24. This expense can eat away at your investment returns.

Similarities Between a Money Market Account and Money Market Fund

Money market accounts and money market funds definitely have very similar names and actually overlap in some important aspects. Here are some of the key ways in which a money market account vs. fund are the same:

•   Both options are a great place to keep cash in the short-term.

•   Both options are low-risk and offer yields that help boost your cash position.

•   These financial vehicles offer easy access to your funds.

Differences Between a Money Market Account and Money Market Fund

Now, here are some of the most important differences between a money market account and a money market fund:

•   A money market account is a savings account while a money market fund is an investment vehicle.

•   Money market accounts are insured by the FDIC while money market funds are not federally protected.

•   You open a money market account with a bank or credit union, but you invest in a money market fund via a brokerage firm.

•   Money market accounts may or may not charge account fees; money market funds probably carry maintenance fees.

The Takeaway

Money market accounts and money market funds can be great tools for safely building wealth. However, they are different kinds of products: A money market account is a savings account that earns interest while providing checking-account style access (say, via a debit card). Money market funds are an investment vehicle that puts your money in historically low-risk debt securities. Depending on your money goals and style, either or both can be a positive part of your financial portfolio.

If you’re looking to grow your personal finances day to day, consider using the mobile banking app from SoFi. When you open our Checking and Savings with direct deposit, you can earn a competitive APY. What’s more, you won’t pay any of those usual account fees that can eat away at your cash.

Better banking is here with up to 4.50% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

Are money market funds safe in a crash?

While not immune to losses, money market funds are relatively safe investments since they invest in high-quality debt securities.

Can you lose money in a money market fund?

Since money market funds are an investment, they are not insured by the FDIC. There is a possibility of loss, but money market funds are known for investing in very low-risk debt securities.

What are money market funds?

Also known as money market mutual funds, money market funds are a low risk investment account. They allow investors to purchase securities that typically provide higher returns than interest-yielding accounts.

Is a money market account considered cash in the bank, like a savings account?

Yes. A money market account is a savings account with some checking account features. Money can be withdrawn at will, but there may be a limit regarding how many of these transactions you can complete in a given month. Check with your financial institution for specific account details.


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.


SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.50% 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 4.50% 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 4.50% 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 8/9/2023. 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.

SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Also, past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals, and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . SoFi Invest refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing—The Automated Investing platform is owned by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC registered investment advisor (“Sofi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC, an affiliated SEC registered broker dealer and member FINRA/SIPC, (“Sofi Securities).
2) Active Investing—The Active Investing platform is owned by SoFi Securities LLC. Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
3) Cryptocurrency is offered by SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, a FinCEN registered Money Service Business.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of Sofi Digital Assets, LLC, please visit www.sofi.com/legal. Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or prequalification for any loan product offered by SoFi Bank, N.A.


Photo credit: iStock/max-kegfire
SOBK0422007

All your finances.
All in one app.

SoFi QR code, Download now, scan this with your phone’s camera

All your finances.
All in one app.

App Store rating

SoFi iOS App, Download on the App Store
SoFi Android App, Get it on Google Play

TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender