Comparing the Different Types of Deposit Accounts

By Janet Siroto · June 22, 2023 · 9 minute read

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Comparing the Different Types of Deposit Accounts

There are many reasons why you might want to sock away some cash and perhaps earn interest while you’re at it. Perhaps you’re saving up for a down payment on a house or gathering funds for an epic cross-country road trip. Or maybe you are trying to build up a healthy emergency fund or save for grad school. Or you might just need a safe place with good rewards to store your paycheck as you pay bills.

Whatever the scenario may be, a deposit account can be the answer. There are several different kinds of these accounts that can help your money stay secure but accessible and perhaps earn an annual percentage yield (APY) to help it grow.

Here, you’ll learn about the different account options that are available, including the pros and cons of each.

Basic Checking and Savings Accounts

There are several different kinds of basic checking and savings accounts. You may find standard accounts, premium accounts, and other variations offered by financial institutions. Here are the pros and cons of these deposit accounts.

Checking Account Pros and Cons

First, the pros:

•   A checking account usually has very low monthly account fees or no monthly account fees.

•   A checking account typically allows access in multiple ways. You can write checks and get an ATM card or debit card. You might get access to online and mobile banking apps so that you can mobile deposit money and pay your bills.

•   These accounts provide a hub for your financial life: You have a home for your paycheck to be direct-deposited, you’ll have records of your transactions, and more ways to anchor and track your money.

•   You’ll usually enjoy FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) or NCUA (National Credit Union Administration) insurance of $250,000 per account holder, per account ownership category, per insured institution. Some institutions offer enhanced coverage, too.

•   You may find an interest-bearing checking account, though the rate is usually not as much as a savings account.

Next, the cons:

•   Many checking accounts pay no interest or very low interest, so you’re not helping your money grow.

•   There can be minimum balance requirements on checking accounts, especially ones with enhanced levels of service.

•   You may be charged accounts fees as well, which can cut into your cash.

Savings Account Pros and Cons

Savings accounts come with slightly different pros and cons. First, the upsides:

•   Most of the different kinds of savings accounts don’t charge account fees.

•   Savings accounts are interest-bearing, meaning your money can grow, especially through compound interest. However, not all savings accounts are created equal: Some standard accounts pay quite low interest. Look to online vs. traditional banks for higher rates (more on this below).

•   These accounts are also typically insured by FDIC or NCUA.

As for the downsides:

•   You probably can’t access your account via checks or a debit card. You will likely be limited to transfers and ATM withdrawals.

•   In addition, while the Federal Reserve has lifted the six-transaction limitation on savings accounts due to the pandemic, many banks still impose some transfer and withdrawal limitations on savings accounts.

•   You may encounter minimum balance requirements and fees if you go below that amount.

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5 Other Deposit Account Options

Here are some other deposit account types you might consider beyond checking and savings:

1. High-Interest Savings Accounts

Some banks offer special, high-interest savings accounts that can offer much higher rates than traditional savings accounts. Some institutions don’t charge monthly fees for these accounts while others do but will waive them if you meet a balance minimum.

As with all savings accounts, you may be limited in terms of the number of withdrawals or transfers you can make each month.

One good place to look for this type of account is at an online bank. Because these institutions typically have lower operating expenses than brick-and-mortar banks, they can often offer rates that can be considerably higher than traditional banks, and may also be less likely to charge monthly fees.

2. Money Market Accounts

A money market account is a type of deposit account that pays interest on deposits and allows withdrawals.
Money market accounts are similar to standard savings and checking accounts, except that they typically pay higher interest rates, require higher initial deposits, and may also require minimum balances, which can run anywhere from $100 to $10,000.

Unlike standard savings accounts, some money market accounts also come with a debit card and checks, although institutions may require that they not be used more than six times per month.

You may want to keep in mind the difference between a money market account vs. a money market fund. A money market account is a federally insured banking instrument, whereas a money market fund is an investment account.

Typically, money market funds invest in cash and cash-equivalent securities. It is considered low risk but doesn’t have a guaranteed return.

3. Certificates of Deposits (CDs)

A certificate of deposit (CD) is a product offered by consumer financial institutions, including banks and credit unions, that provides a premium interest rate in exchange for leaving a lump-sum deposit untouched for a certain period of time.

The bank determines the terms of a CD, including the duration (or term) of the CD, how much higher the rate will be compared to the bank’s savings and money market products, and what penalties will be applied for early withdrawal.

CDs offer different term lengths that usually range from a few months to several years. Interest rates tend to be higher for longer terms. Some CDs have a minimum deposit amount that can be over $1,000 or more, though there are banks that offer CDs in any amount.

Sounds good? Well, it is if you know you won’t be touching that money for the entire term length. If you suddenly need the money, then you will likely have to pay a penalty to withdraw money early from your CD.

While you can get no-penalty CDs or early withdrawal CDs, it’s a good idea to make sure to read the fine print, as many of these accounts only have no penalties or withdrawal fees if you take money out during the first few weeks after you invest. In return for that withdrawal window, you often give up a significant amount in APY.

If ease of access is a concern, it might make sense to invest in CDs that feature fewer restrictions around withdrawals. Or, you could set up a CD ladder strategy where you buy CDs that have different maturity dates, ensuring access to funds as your CDs mature at staggered intervals.

4. High-Yield Checking Accounts

Though interest is normally associated with savings, and not checking, accounts, many financial institutions offer high-yield checking accounts.

These interest-bearing accounts, sometimes called rewards checking, work like regular checking accounts and come with checks and an ATM or debit card.

In return for getting a higher interest rate, these accounts often come with rules and restrictions. You may, for example, only earn the higher rate on money up to a certain limit. Any money over that amount would then earn a significantly lower rate.

You may also be required to make a certain number of debit card purchases per month and sign up for direct deposit in order to earn the higher (or rewards) rate and to avoid a monthly fee.

The benefit of an interest-bearing checking account is that you’ll always have access to your money and you may have fewer limitations on how you can use your account than you might with a savings account, all while still earning a bit of interest.

5. Cash Management Accounts

A cash management account is a cash account offered by a financial institution other than a bank or credit union, such as a brokerage firm. These accounts are designed for managing cash, making payments, and earning interest all in one place.

Cash management accounts often allow you to get checks, an ATM card, and online or mobile banking access in order to pay your bills. They also typically pay interest that is higher than standard savings accounts.

Cash management accounts also generally don’t have as many fees or restrictions as traditional savings accounts, but it’s important to read the fine print.

Before opening a cash management account, you may want to ask about monthly account fees and minimum balance requirements.

Some brokerage firms require a sizable opening deposit and/or charge monthly fees if your account falls below a certain minimum. Others will have no monthly fees and no minimums.

Time vs Demand Deposit Accounts

When you consider different kinds of deposit accounts, you may hear the terms time vs. demand accounts. Here’s how they differ:

•   A time deposit, such as a CD, requires you to keep your money with a financial institution for a particular period of time.

•   With a time deposit, if you withdraw funds before the end of the term, you may face penalties.

•   With a demand deposit account (such as a checking account), you may access your cash whenever you like.

•   While you won’t pay a penalty for withdrawing money, you may earn a lower interest rate than with a time deposit account.

Here’s the difference between these two kinds of accounts in chart form:

Type of AccountAccessFeesInterest
Time DepositAt the end of a predetermined time periodPenalties for early withdrawalMay be higher than demand accounts
Demand depositAt the account owner’s discretionTypically no penalties for withdrawalsMay be lower than time deposit accounts

Opening a Bank Account With SoFi

If you’re looking for a safe, convenient place to keep your money and also earn some interest while you’re at it, there are a number of great options to pick from.

When you open a Checking and Savings account with SoFi, you’ll spend and save in one convenient place, while earning a competitive APY and paying no account fees. Plus you’ll have fee-free access to 55,000+ ATMs worldwide within the Allpoint Network.

SoFi Checking and Savings: The better way to bank.

FAQ

What are the different types of deposit accounts?

There are several different kinds of deposit accounts, including checking, savings, certificate of deposit (CD), cash management, and money market accounts.

What is the most common type of deposit account?

Among the most common types of deposit accounts are a standard checking account or other kind of checking account.

Is a CD considered a deposit account?

A CD is considered a deposit account, but a time deposit vs. a demand deposit. That means that you are supposed to let the money stay in the CD until it reaches the maturity date or else you will likely be charged a fee. A demand deposit account, on the other hand, can be accessed when you please.

3 Great Benefits of Direct Deposit

  1. It’s Faster
  2. As opposed to a physical check that can take time to clear, you don’t have to wait days to access a direct deposit. Usually, you can use the money the day it is sent. What’s more, you don’t have to remember to go to the bank or use your app to deposit your check.

  3. It’s Like Clockwork
  4. Whether your check comes the first Wednesday of the month or every other Friday, if you sign up for direct deposit, you know when the money will hit your account. This is especially helpful for scheduling the payment of regular bills. No more guessing when you’ll have sufficient funds.

  5. It’s Secure
  6. While checks can get lost in the mail — or even stolen, there is no chance of that happening with a direct deposit. Also, if it’s your paycheck, you won’t have to worry about your or your employer’s info ending up in the wrong hands.


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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 recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit 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, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, 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.


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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