Financial planners agree that it’s essential to have a savings account as part of your personal finance playbook. However, not all Americans are on the same page. Nearly 78% of banked U.S. households had a savings account in 2017, according to the FDIC. But this data also suggests that more than one-fifth of U.S. households did not have a savings account in 2017.
DepositAccounts has looked at the 100 largest metros in the U.S. and the percentage of households with savings accounts to see where savings accounts have the biggest fanbase.
Everybody should have a savings account. It’s the place to stash and grow money not meant for immediate spending. Furthermore, you should keep your money in a savings account with a competitive interest rate to maximize your yield. Read on to see how your city matches up against the rest.
- Among the 100 largest U.S. metro areas, Seattle has the greatest percentage (84%) of households that own at least one savings account. Charleston, S.C., ranked no. 10, isn’t that far behind, though, with 79.6% of households owning a savings account.
- New Orleans lands at the bottom. At 68.1%, New Orleans has the lowest percentage of savings account-owning households.
Where are Americans most likely to have savings accounts?
This heat map shows how the largest 100 U.S. metro areas rank for residents owning savings accounts.
Cities on the higher end of the spectrum tend to be coastal metro areas, plus a few outliers in the Midwest. Ken Tumin, founder of DepositAccounts.com, speculates that credit union membership might determine which cities are home to people who hold more savings accounts.
“Almost all credit unions require members to maintain a share savings account,” he reminds us. “Thus, these top 10 metros may have a high concentration of credit union branches.”
Another possibility is that those top 10 metro areas may have the highest number of people with large savings. Tumin points out that a savings account would be more important to them, to keep their money growing more efficiently, than a checking account. Meanwhile, those without much savings don't benefit much from keeping a savings account in addition to a checking account.
On the other end of the spectrum, most of the metros with lower percentages of savings account holders are in East Central and Midwest regions of the country, a belt ranging through the Ohio Valley into the Mississippi Delta.
This is not to say there’s a lack of access to worthwhile savings rates in those regions. Online and nationally available savings accounts would allow residents in states like Ohio and Tennessee benefit from some of the best savings account rates in the industry.
Where can you find the best savings accounts?
No matter where your city is on the map, you can give your savings an easy boost by moving your money over to a competitive savings account. Typically, the best savings accounts are offered by online banks. Without branches, these banks have more room in their budgets to offer high-yield accounts, especially when compared to more traditional brick-and-mortar banks.
As of June 2019, the average online savings account rate was 1.69%, compared to 0.28% average APY at brick-and-mortar banks. Credit unions fell even lower, with an average savings account rate of 0.25%. Using these rates, an online savings account with a $5,000 starting balance could earn around $85 in interest over a year without any extra contributions, while a brick-and-mortar account would earn a mere $14 in that same time span. The average credit union savings account would earn about $12.50.
When choosing a savings account, there are a few factors to take into consideration. Of course, you’ll want to look for the highest APY available to ensure your money is growing as best as it can. You may want to check whether the advertised rate is a promotional rate. If so, that promising rate may only be available to certain geographic areas or accounts opened at a certain time, for example.
It’s also important to note whether an account requires a minimum balance to earn the advertised APY. Several online savings accounts don’t require a minimum balance, so you can open an account with whatever amount you choose. This is helpful if you don’t have a large balance to start with. However, other accounts can require minimums of $5,000 or higher. Take those into account before you commit to an account.
Online savings accounts also have a leg up on brick-and-mortar accounts in that they don’t usually charge a monthly fee. By nature, fees set back your savings no matter what your interest rate is. So it’s best to avoid a monthly set back whenever you can and online savings accounts can help you do that.
DepositAccounts looked at the 100 largest U.S. metros to find the cities with the highest (and lowest) percentage of households that have savings accounts, according to S&P Global, in 2019.