6 Benefits of Having a Savings Account

By Rebecca Lake · January 23, 2024 · 6 minute read

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6 Benefits of Having a Savings Account

Keeping all your cash in a checking account may seem like the simplest way to manage your money. But if that’s the only type of bank account you have, you’re missing out on all the benefits that come with a savings account.

No matter what your financial goals are or how much money you’re able to set aside, opening a savings account is probably a good idea. You typically don’t need a lot of money to open a savings account, and a high-yield savings account allows you to earn a competitive interest rate while still keeping your money safe and accessible.

Read on to learn why a savings account can be an important component in anyone’s financial toolkit.

1. Separate Your Saving From Your Spending

A savings account is designed to hold money you don’t need right away. Maybe you’re looking to save up for a large upcoming expense, like a vacation, car, or downpayment on a home. Or, perhaps you want to build an emergency fund to provide backup for any unexpected bumps in the road (like a medical bill, car repair, or loss of income). A savings account can help you reach these goals by putting some distance between your savings and your daily spending needs.

Without a savings account, it can be all too easy for the money in your checking account to become an all-purpose fund where you spend more than you planned. If funds earmarked for future spending are stored in your savings account, you might think twice about delaying your future plans for an impulse purchase like new shoes or a fancy meal out.

You might even opt to open multiple savings accounts to help you organize your cash by goals. Maybe you have an emergency fund but are saving for a trip or new furniture. Savings accounts are typically easy to open and separating your money can help you monitor progress towards each goal.

💡 Quick Tip: Tired of paying pointless bank fees? When you open a bank account online you often avoid excess charges.

2. Your Money Is Insured

With investing, you could lose money, break even, or earn a return — there are no guarantees. If you open a savings account at a bank insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) or a credit union insured by the National Credit Union Association (NCUA), on the other hand, your money is guaranteed up to $250,000 per depositor, per ownership category.

This means that even if the financial institution fails, your savings are protected up to that limit. You would either receive that money directly or, more likely, a new account would be opened for you at another bank with the same balance you had before.

Your money is generally safer in a savings account than under the mattress or in a piggy bank. If your stash of cash were stolen or destroyed in a fire or flood, you likely would not be able to get your money back.

3. You Earn Interest on Deposits

Savings accounts typically offer a higher annual percentage yield (APY) than checking accounts, which are designed for spending and not necessarily for accumulating large balances. This allows you to earn money on your money just by letting it sit in the bank.

While the average savings account APY is only 0.47%, some banks and credit unions offer much more than the average. The best savings account interest rates are now around 5.00%. If you put $10,000 into a savings account that pays 5.00% APY, you would earn about $500 in a year. An account paying just 0.40% APY, on the other hand, would earn about $40. The more you deposit, and the longer it stays in the account, the greater the difference in returns.

Generally, you can find the highest APYs and lowest fees at online-only banks. Without the added expenses of large branch networks, online banks are usually able to offer more favorable returns than national brick-and-mortar institutions.

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.

4. It Doesn’t Require a Large Initial Investment

Many investments, such as mutual funds, require a significant amount of money as an initial investment, sometimes thousands of dollars. Savings accounts, on the other hand, typically have a low bar for entry. Traditional brick-and-mortar banks often request an initial deposit, but it can be as low as $25 to $100. Many online-only banks have no minimum deposit requirements.

With some traditional savings accounts, you need to keep your average monthly balance above a certain threshold (such as $300 or $500) to earn a certain interest rate or to avoid monthly fees. Many online savings accounts, however, don’t charge monthly service fees, and don’t require that you keep a specific amount of money in the account to avoid fees or get a certain APY.

5. Your Money Is Accessible

Unlike investment accounts, most savings accounts (even online-online accounts) can be accessed any time at an ATM. Just insert your debit card, tap some buttons, and you can get your money in hand. With a traditional savings account, you can also get cash in person at a teller.

If you need more money in your checking account, you can simply go online or use your bank’s app to transfer money from your savings account to your checking account, even if the accounts are at two different banks.

This is why many people use a savings account for their emergency fund. When the unexpected happens, you can easily access the funds you need and immediately deal with the problem. There’s no waiting period or need to sell off investments to gain access to your money.

That said, savings accounts typically come with withdrawal limits, often six per month. If you exceed your bank’s monthly limit, you may get hit with a fee. These limits aren’t necessarily a bad thing, though. After all, savings accounts are designed for saving rather than spending.

6. You Can Put Saving on Auto Pilot

Finding extra cash to set aside each month isn’t always easy. A great way to make sure you’re working towards your near-term savings goals is to establish an automatic monthly deposit into a savings account. This can help you build up your savings without thinking about it.

You can automate saving by setting up a recurring transfer from your checking account to your savings account on the same day each month (perhaps right after you get paid). Or, you might choose to automatically direct deposit a portion of each paycheck into savings, with the rest going to checking.

It’s fine to start small. Since the money will get added to your account every month without fail, putting just $50 or $100 a month into savings can add up to a significant sum over time.

If you’re married or in a domestic partnership, you might consider opening a joint savings account to help you work towards mutual goals. You can each set up an automatic deposit into that account, doubling your efforts.

💡 Quick Tip: Want a simple way to save more everyday? When you turn on Roundups, all of your debit card purchases are automatically rounded up to the next dollar and deposited into your online savings account.

The Takeaway

Opening a savings account is a good way to keep savings safe and easily accessible while earning a higher interest rate than checking accounts provide. This type of account can be a great choice for your emergency fund or to work towards short-term savings goals, like a vacation, home upgrade, or large purchase.

If you decide a savings account is what you need, shopping around to compare APYs, account fees, and features can help you choose the right savings account to meet your goals.

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.

Photo credit: iStock/Povozniuk

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.

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.


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