The best money market accounts (MMAs) can be a great low-risk investment for your emergency fund or extra cash. They offer better interest rates than personal savings accounts, but are more liquid than certificates of deposit (CDs).
You can find the best money market account rates available using our tool below.
The Best Money Market Accounts in 2019
- BBVA Money Market Account
- Sallie Mae Money Market Account
- TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Money Market Account
- Capital One
- Discover Bank, Member FDIC
- BMO Harris Bank
#1: BBVA Money Market Account Rate
With its combination of high interest rates and customer-pleasing perks, the BBVA Money Market Account is the one to beat. The 1.50% APY is among the best money market rates available, and it applies to any balance. You can open your BBVA account with just $25, making it a great MMA to use when you’re beginning your savings journey. There’s a $15 monthly service fee, but it’s waived if you maintain a minimum balance of $10,000 or transfer at least $25 a month from your BBVA checking account.
Though other withdrawals are limited to six per month (standard for money market accounts), BBVA allows unlimited ATM withdrawals. The account also offers mobile check deposit and check-writing privileges.
- Competitive money market interest rate
- Can open the account with just $25
- Unlimited ATM withdrawals
- Check writing
- 24/7 online access
- Monthly service fee if you don’t transfer at least $25 a month or meet minimum balance requirement.
#2: Sallie Mae Money Market Account Rate
Though they’re better known for student loans, Sallie Mae has an online bank offering high-yield savings options, including a money market account. Sallie Mae comes in as a close second to BBVA with a money market interest rate of 1.85% APY. Better yet, there are no minimum deposits or monthly fees with Sallie Mae, which also offers check writing and mobile check deposit.
The major downside here compared to BBVA is that there are no ATM withdrawals, which can make your cash harder to access.
- Competitive interest rate
- No minimum deposit or maintenance fees
- Mobile check deposit
- Check writing
- 24/7 online access
- No ATM withdrawals
#3: TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Money Market Account Rate
Formerly known as EverBank, TIAA Bank sets itself apart from the crowd by promising to keep its interest rate among the top 5% of banks nationwide. It also offers a new-customer promotional APY of 1.85% for a year. Other perks include no fees on positive balances, check writing, and mobile check deposit.
On the downside, you need $5,000 to open an account. And though the promotional APY is among the highest money market rates around and the yield pledge is unique, TIAA Bank’s ongoing balance-based APY of 1.00% to 1.70% isn’t as impressive as the interest rates offered by some of its online-bank competitors.
- Interest-rate pledge
- No monthly service fees as long as you have a positive balance
- Check writing
- Mobile check deposit
- ATM withdrawals
- 24/7 online access
- Minimum deposit is $5,000
- Non-promotional interest rate lower than some competitors
#4: Capital One
The Capital One money market account has no minimum deposit or monthly maintenance fee, and allows you to open either an individual or joint money market account. All Capital One money market accounts are FDIC-insured up to allowable limits. Your APY will vary depending on your balance: in order to keep the best rate (2.00% in August 2019), you’ll need to maintain an account balance of $10,000 or more. In addition to robust online and mobile app platforms, you can also visit a Capital One Cafe to open or manage your money market account. Whichever option you choose, opening a new MMA takes only five minutes.
- No fees
- No minimum deposits
- No minimum balance
- No debit card or check-writing option
- $10,000 minimum to get highest yield
#5: Discover Bank, Member FDIC
Like many banks, Discover Bank, Member FDIC offers a higher yield on its money market account when you carry a balance above a certain threshold. However, there’s only a slight variance between its two tiers, making Discover an attractive choice for individuals with lower balances. In many ways, Discover’s money market account operates more like a checking account that just happens to have a high yield. You get access to 60,000 ATMs across the country in addition to check writing abilities and a debit card. While you’re still subject to monthly transaction limits, this gives you much more flexibility in how you access your funds compared to many other banks. Plus, Discover recently removed all fees from its deposit accounts, including insufficient fund and stop payment order fees.
- High APY regardless of balance
- Check-writing and debit card option
- High balance requirement for best APY
You don’t have to worry about account minimums or a monthly maintenance fee when you open a money market account with Ally. However, as of August 2019 its online savings account offers significantly higher rate than its MMA rate. On the plus side, you do receive a debit card and checks with a money market account from Ally.
#7: BMO Harris Bank
BMO Harris offers a competitive 2.05% APY for its Platinum money market account, but you’ll need a $5,000 opening deposit in order to qualify. If your account drops below $5,000, your rate drops to a very low 0.05%. This account is ideal for individuals who meet that higher deposit threshold. On the plus side, BMO Harris does not charge a monthly maintenance fee. The bank has also been around for 200 years, and provides a solid foundation of resources and support. You can also find physical branches in multiple states across the country.
No matter how much you deposit in a Synchrony money market account, you’ll receive the same 1.20% APY. It’s certainly not the highest on the list, but it’s still noteworthy compared to most banks today. Plus, you’ll get a decent yield even if you don’t have a large balance. In addition to accessing your money through electronic transfers, you can also request checks and an ATM card for your money market account. Another Synchrony option to explore is the high yield savings account, which comes with a much higher 1.80% APY.
What Is a Money Market Account?
A money market account (MMA) is a low-risk savings vehicle that banks and credit unions offer. Banks like MMAs because, unlike personal savings accounts, they can invest that money in other low-risk places including certificates of deposit (CDs) and bonds. The only thing they can do with the cash in your savings account is loan it to others. Also, unlike many personal savings accounts, you may need more cash to open an MMA, particularly at brick-and-mortar banks. Common account minimums are $1,000, $2,500, or even $10,000. Depending on your account, you may be able to write a limited number of checks. Federal regulations will limit you to no more than six electronic, check, or telephone withdrawals from your MMA per month.
In exchange for your larger balance and restricted withdrawals, you’ll receive a better interest rate than you would get with a personal savings account. Overall, an MMA can be a good choice if you want low-risk savings with a slightly higher interest rate as long as you can meet the minimum balance and will need only moderate access to your cash. If you can sock away your cash for a long period, be sure to compare your return from an MMA with what you’d earn from a CD. A CD may have a slightly higher interest rate, but you can’t withdraw cash early without a hefty penalty.
In practice, money market accounts and personal savings accounts can be quite similar when it comes to online, high-yield banks that may offer similar interest rates for each product. You’ll see more of a difference at most local banks, where MMA rates will be substantially higher — this is where the choice between the two becomes more compelling. However, you may run into higher minimum deposits, too. Ultimately, both are excellent places to keep your emergency funds or short-term savings.
Money market accounts vs. money market funds
Be careful not to confuse money market accounts with money market mutual funds (MMFs). You can find an MMA at just about any bank, but a money market fund is a more serious investment product offered by brokerages and the like. MMAs are insured against losses by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC); MMFs are not. (If you open an MMA at a credit union, your money is insured by the National Credit Union Administration.) Your bank guarantees a certain rate for your money market account, but the interest a money market fund earns will fluctuate along with the market. Bottom line? MMAs make sense for savings you need to keep in a liquid, low-risk account; MMFs do not.
Though seasoned investors might not blink an eye before putting their money into an money market fund, here’s another cautionary tale to illustrate how MMFs are different than MMAs. In 2008, during the subprime mortgage crisis, there was a run on MMF deposits after one such fund “broke the buck,” returning only 97 cents for each dollar invested. The panic stemmed from the fact that MMFs try to keep their share prices at one dollar with no fluctuation. Traditionally, your principal is all but guaranteed, and the only question is how much interest you’ll earn. Later studies have shown that dozens more money market fund could have broken the buck if not for regulators’ quick intervention. Though reputable MMFs are still considered very low risk, choosing an MMA that is backed by the FDIC can ease a lot of your worries.
How to Pick the Best Money Market Accounts
Most savers choose a money market account instead of a savings account because they want a higher interest rate. Looking for banks with the highest money market rates will mostly limit your search to online banks.
However, if you prioritize a firm handshake, face-to-face relationships, and more reliable service, don’t overlook local banks in your search for money market accounts. There are plenty that fared well in J.D. Power’s 2018 Retail Banking Study. Just remember that you’re probably going to get a much lower interest rate than you would online.
The factors I considered in my search for the top money market accounts were:
- No or low minimum deposit: While some MMAs are out of reach for average customers because of their high minimum deposits, many online banks have made MMAs more accessible by easing this common requirement.
- High APY: Online banks tend to offer the highest yields.
- No or low maintenance fees: Some banks charge a monthly account maintenance fee regardless of your balance. Others waive it if you maintain a certain balance, and the best money market accounts don’t charge one at all.
- Other fees are reasonable: Note whether a bank is comparable to its competitors when it comes to fees on overdrafts, wire transfers, and the like.
- Miscellaneous other perks: These include everyday things that make banking easier, such as check-writing privileges, unlimited ATM withdrawals, remote check deposit, online bill pay, and 24/7 account access.
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