Editorial note: Any opinions, analyses, statements, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the authors' alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any provider of the products listed below.
Money market accounts (MMAs) are unique savings vehicles that operate like a hybrid of savings and checking accounts. While there are exceptions, money market accounts typically earn at much higher rates than traditional savings accounts. In Mar. 2019, money market account rates averaged 0.391%, while savings accounts averaged 0.273%.
Because of their competitive rates, money market accounts are a great option for those who are focused on maximizing savings. They’re also good accounts for people with high balances, as MMAs tend to require high deposits and balances. Plus, an extra feature that often distinguishes MMAs from savings accounts is the presence of a debit or ATM card or the ability to write checks with your account. Not all money market accounts have this feature, however, while others offer it upon request. This makes some money market accounts more convenient than a traditional savings account, for easier access to funds.
Whether you’re looking for the highest rates, easy access or both, we’ve found the best money market accounts below.
All rates are current as of 3/4/2019
The best national money market accounts
How we chose the best national money market accounts
To find the best money market accounts, we looked at a few important factors:
- High interest rate: We found the accounts with the highest APY from nationally available banks.
- ATM access: ATM/debit card abilities set money market accounts apart from regular savings accounts. We looked for accounts that offered this feature for increased convenience.
- Low to no fees: We also wanted to ensure you don’t pay exorbitant fees that can decrease your earnings on your accounts.
#1 Western State Bank
Western State Bank offers the highest interest rate on its online High Yield Money Market Account. This rate applies to balances less than $2 million. Any balances over that threshold will still earn at a pretty competitive rate.
The High Yield Money Market doesn’t require a minimum balance to open, nor does it charge a monthly fee, which makes it easy to maintain. You can access the account online and on mobile. The account doesn’t include a debit/ATM card, nor checks, so you can’t access your funds with an ATM.
Western State Bank was founded in 1902. It is currently headquartered in Devils Lake, N.D. with locations in North Dakota and Arizona.
MIN TO EARN: $0Learn More
#2 All America Bank
All America Bank offers the best money market rate with its Mega Money Market® account. This competitive rate applies to balances of $50,000 and below, though. So if you have a high balance over that amount, you’ll earn at a much lower rate. You’ll need to open the account with at least $500. You also need to enroll in electronic statements to earn your rewards. Paper statements cost $3 anyways, so you’ll do better to go paperless. Still, All America Bank makes wallet style checks available to customers.
Also labeled as a checking account by the bank, the account is still limited to six withdrawals or transfers per statement cycle just like a savings account. Each transaction over that limit will cost you a fee of $5.
Family-run All America Bank has been around since 1927. Its branch locations are limited to Oklahoma, but you can access thousands of ATMs worldwide.
MIN TO EARN: $500Learn More
#3 UFB Direct
The UFB Direct Premium Money Market account earns at a high interest rate reserved for high balances, specifically on balances of $25,000 and over. Accounts with less than $25,000 will earn at a 0.50% APY instead. You’ll need at least $5,000 to open the account. Maintaining this balance daily will also waive the $10 monthly fee.
In addition to free online and mobile access, you may also receive a free Visa® debit card upon request. You can use this card at any ATM in the country, but UFB Direct won’t refund you for ATM surcharges. The UFB Direct Premium Money Market account includes check-writing abilities. The bank will even provide free postage-paid envelopes. You’re still limited to six transfers and withdrawals on this account each month.
UFB Direct is a branchless division of Axos Bank, which is also entirely digital. Axos Bank, founded in 1999, provides FDIC insurance for your UFB Direct deposits.
MIN TO EARN: $25kLearn More
on UFB Direct's website
Requiring at least $100 to open, the earn.bank Money Market Account earns at a competitive interest rate on all balances. You can fund your account through online transfers and mobile check deposits. The account does not include a debit/ATM card, or the ability to write checks. You can download the bank’s app for free in the Apple App Store and on Google Play. In fact, it helps to keep your account management online, especially by enrolling in free eStatements since paper statements will cost a whopping $25 fee. There is also a $10 monthly maintenance fee that you can waive with a $10,000 minimum average daily balance.
Established entirely online, earn.bank is a division of Silvergate Bank, which provides FDIC insurance on your earn.bank deposits.
MIN TO EARN: $100Learn More
on earn.bank's website
You’ll need a good chunk of change to open an iGOmoneymarket account. It requires at least $25,000 in new money to open and to start earning interest at its competitive rate. Along with online banking access, the account includes an iGObanking Debit MasterCard.
iGObanking is an online banking division of Flushing Bank.
MIN TO EARN: $25kLearn More
Ken’s methodology for choosing the top money market accounts
Even though there is no official definition of a money market account, I consider check writing to be an important feature that sets it apart from a savings account. Both money market accounts and savings accounts have the same withdrawal limitation as defined by federal regulation. That limits withdrawals (including checks) to no more than six per statement period except for ATM cash withdrawals and a few other types of withdrawals.
To be included in my top money market list, the account must offer check writing. In addition, the money market account must have a history of competitive rates.
#1 All America Bank
This bank’s Mega Money Market Account has offered competitive rates for more than ten years. The account is often the rate leader. However, the top rate only applies to balances up to $50k. The portion of the balance over $50k earns a much smaller rate.
The Mega Money Market Account has no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements. The minimum opening deposit is $500, with a limit of one account per individual. There is a $3 monthly charge for paper statements, with eStatements available at no charge.
All America Bank’s online division, Redneck Bank, also offers the Mega Money Market Account with the same rates and features.
MIN TO EARN: $500Learn More
#2 Sallie Mae Bank
The Sallie Mae Bank Money Market Account has offered competitive rates since 2016. The Money Market Account rates often exceed the rates of online savings accounts at the well-established internet banks. The Account has no rate tiers or maximum balance. There are no monthly service fee and no minimum balance requirements.
Sallie Mae Bank offers a bank-to-bank ACH transfer service that allows customers to initiate large transfers. One downside with the transfer service is a long hold time. When an ACH deposit of over $5k is made via Sallie Mae Bank's transfer service, the hold time for the amount over $5k is 10 business days.
MIN TO EARN: $0Learn More
This bank’s High Rate Online Money Market Account is fairly new, but from the time it was launched in early 2018, the Account has offered competitive rates. The top rate applies to balances up to $1 million. A $5k minimum balance is required to avoid a $15 monthly fee.
In addition to check writing, bill pay and debit/ATM cards are available for making withdrawals. However, a bank-to-bank ACH transfer service is not available.
MIN TO EARN: $5,000Learn More
This is a new online division of BankUnited which has been operating since the summer of 2018. The Money Market Account rate has remained competitive since BankUnitedDirect began operation. Minimum initial deposit is $2.5k, and a minimum balance of $2.5k is required to avoid a $15 monthly maintenance fee. Maximum balance per account is $250k.
In addition to check writing, a debit/ATM card is available for making withdrawals. Also, the bank offers a bank-to-bank ACH transfer service with no limits on the dollar amounts that can be transferred.
MIN TO EARN: 2,500Learn More
#5 Discover Bank
Discover Bank’s Money Market Account has a long history. I first wrote about the account in 2008. We’ve been tracking the rate since 2009, and during that time, the rate has always been competitive, even after Discover added the Online Savings Account in late 2009. Unlike other banks, the Money Market Account rate has consistently moved higher as interest rates have risen.
Unlike Discover Bank’s Online Savings Account, the Money Market Account has additional withdrawal options which include check writing, online bill pay and a debit/ATM card. The trade-off is a slightly lower rate and a minimum balance requirement to open the account and to avoid a monthly maintenance fee. A little higher rate is available for balances of at least $100k. However, even that rate has typically been below the Online Savings Account rate.
The Money Market Account benefits from Discover Bank’s mature online account management system which makes bank-to-bank ACH transfers easy, even for large amounts.
MIN TO EARN: $100kLearn More
The highest money market rates
The highest money market rates may not offer checking writing capabilities or ATM access and may charge monthly fees that require high balances in order for the fee to be waived. However, if you’re just looking for a savings account with a high rate, these high rate money market accounts may be exactly where you want to place your money. Please keep in mind that the list below just shows accounts that are considered to be money market accounts. There are no savings accounts listed below. If you'd like to see a comprehensive list of high-yield money market and savings accounts, please see Ken's Bank Account Survey.
The highest money market account rates
|Western State Bank||2.50% (up to $3m)||High Yield Money Market||Learn More|
|All America Bank||2.50% (up to $50k), 0.50% ($50k+)||Mega Money Market Account||Learn More|
|Redneck Bank||2.50% (up to $50k), 0.50% ($50k+)||Mega Money Market Account||Learn More|
|UFB Direct||2.45% ($25k), 0.50% (up to $25k)||UFB Premium Money Market - New Money||Learn More|
|earn.bank||2.41% (no minimum)||Money Market Account||Learn More|
|MemoryBank||2.40% (up to $1m), 0.01% ($1m+)||Online Money Market Account||Learn More|
|iGObanking||2.40% ($25k)||GOmoneymarket - New Money Only||Learn More|
|BankPurely||2.40% ($25k)||PurelyMoneyMarket - New Money||Learn More|
|Virtual Bank||2.36% ($100)||eMoney Market Special||Learn More|
|Bank 7||2.35% (up to $1m)||High Rate Online Money Market||Learn More|
The best money market accounts are those that set themselves apart from traditional savings accounts. While it’s not a formal definition, DepositAccounts founder Ken Tumin highly values those accounts that provide check-writing abilities or debit/ATM card access. These features, he maintains, are a step up from a savings account. Without them, an account is more of a savings account than anything, despite its name.
Money market accounts are also a step up from savings accounts, in regards to their interest rates. You can typically earn at a more competitive rate with a bank’s money market account than with its savings account. The trade-off here, however, is often a much higher opening deposit, minimum balance requirement or both.
Luckily, along with savings accounts, CDs and checking accounts, money market account rates have been on the gradual incline since Dec. 2016 when they averaged at 0.188% APY. In Mar. 2019, that percentage had risen to 0.391% APY, with a promising outlook on savings accounts for the new year.
With the average savings account rate (0.273% APY) not far behind money market accounts, it can be a toss-up deciding which kind of account to open.
- If you just want the highest rates: A money market account could be the way to go. It’s important to check for the best rates first. This is especially true with the rise of online banks which continue to amp up the competition for high-yield accounts.
- If you have a high deposit: Money market accounts typically require high minimum deposits. This not only means a high balance to earn interest, but a high deposit to open the account in the first place. So if you’re just starting to get into saving, a savings account with a lower minimum would work better for you.
- If you want more access: If you’ve found yourself wishing you could more easily access your savings account at an ATM, then a money market account is the answer. Many MMAs include either an ATM or debit card which you can use at an ATM to withdraw or deposit funds. Some accounts also include check-writing abilities which, although slightly outdated, offer a way to make purchases with your money market account.