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 March 2020, money market account rates average 0.372%, while savings accounts average 0.272%.
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 3/19/2020
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.
- Low to no fees: We also wanted to ensure you don’t pay exorbitant fees that can decrease your earnings on your accounts.
#1 Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union
The Superior Money Market offers its competitive rate to those with lower balances, unlike many other accounts which reserve their best rates for higher balances. Balances above $25,000 will earn the slightly lower rate of 1.00% APY.
To earn either of these rates, however, you must make a direct deposit of at leat $500 each month to any Affinity Plus checking, savings or money market account and enroll in digital statements. Failing to meet those requirements will drop your rate to 0.10% APY no matter your balance. Interest compounds monthly.
You can qualify for Affinity Plus membership depending on where you’re employed or volunteer, where you go/went to school, where you live, work or workship and your relatives and roommates. You can also join by making a one-time $25 dues payment to the Affinity Plus Foundation.
MIN TO OPEN:up to $25,000Learn More
Turn to BankUnitedDirect for the next best rate at 2.00% APY on its Online Money Market Account. You’ll need to open the account with at least $2,500, and while there’s no minimum balance to earn interest, maintaining a $2,500 balance will help you avoid the $15 monthly fee. Interest is compounded and paid monthly on this account.
In addition to online, mobile and telephone access, Online Money Market Account funds can be accessed by check, which you can order over the phone.
BankUnitedDirect is the online banking division of BankUnited, N.A., itself a banking subsidiary of BankUnited, Inc. Founded in 2009, BankUnited, N.A. is based in Miami Lakes, Fla., where most of its branches are located, in addition to several branches in New York.
MIN TO OPEN: $2,500Learn More
#4 Prime Alliance Bank
Prime Alliance Bank’s top 1.97% APY applies to Personal Money Market balances of $10,000 and above. But individuals with balances from $1 to $10,000 can still earn at a solid 1.87% APY. There is no monthly maintenance fee associated with this account.
Prime Alliance was founded in 2004. With one branch in Woods Cross, Utah, the bank still offers its great accounts nationwide virtually.
MIN TO EARN: $10kLearn More
#4 Western State Bank
Western State Bank offers an equally competitive 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
#5 Discover Bank
Don’t overlook Discover Bank and its range of Online Banking products that includes this competitive Money Market Account. This account earns 1.45% APY applies to balances under $100,000. If you have more than that, you’ll earn at the higher rate of 1.50% APY. A $2,500 minimum deposit is required to open the account.
Like a true MMA, Discover’s Money Market Account includes a debit card, which you can use at over 60,000 no-fee ATMs, and paper checks. Discover boasts zero fees for common items like monthly service, checks, expedited delivery, excessive withdrawal, insufficient funds and more.
Discover is accessible online and on its mobile app found both in Google Play and the Apple App Store.
MIN TO OPEN: $10,000Learn 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 check 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
|CFG Bank||2.05% ($25k+) |
|Online CG High Yield Money Market- New Money||Learn More|
|Sun East FCU||2.05%||Max-Yield Money Market Account Promotional||Learn More|
|Affinity Plus FCU||2.02% (up to $25k) |
|Superior Money Market||Learn More|
|Prime Alliance Bank||1.97% ($10k+)|
1.87% (up to $10k)
|Personal Money Market||Learn More|
|Pacific National Bank||1.95% ($5k+)||MMDA Online Special (New Money Only)||Learn More|
|Western State Bank||1.85%||High Yield Money Market||Learn More|
|CIT Bank||1.80%||Money Market Account||Learn More|
|UFB Direct||1.80% ($25k+)|
0.50% (up to $25k)
|UFB Premium Money Market-New Money||Learn More|
|Virtual Bank||1.87% ($100+)||eMoney Market Special||Learn More|
|CNB Bank Direct||1.76%||Premium 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 are still on the gradual incline since Dec. 2016 when they averaged at 0.188% APY, although at a current slight pause in March 2020 where the average stands at 0.372% APY.
With the average savings account rate (0.272% 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.