Best Money Market Account Rates for 2021

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.

In this article

    The best money market accounts in 2021

    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.

    Min. Deposit
    $0
    APY
    0.40%
    Monthly Fee
    $0
    SimpleScore
    4.3 / 5.0
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    SimpleScore Sallie Mae 4.3
    Min. Deposit 5
    APY 5
    Customer Satisfaction N/A
    Perks 2
    Monthly Fee 5

    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 money market interest rate is 0.40% APY. Better yet, there are no minimum deposits or monthly fees with Sallie Mae, which also offers check writing and mobile check deposit.

    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.

    APY
    0.40%
    Min. Deposit
    $500
    Monthly Fee
    $0
    SimpleScore
    4.3 / 5.0
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    SimpleScore TIAA Bank 4.3
    Min. Deposit 4
    APY 4
    Customer Satisfaction N/A
    Perks 4
    Monthly Fee 5

    It also offers a new-customer promotional APY of 1.01% 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 0.40% isn’t as impressive as the interest rates offered by some of its online-bank competitors.

    Capital One Money Market Account Rate

    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.

    Min. Deposit
    N/A
    APY
    N/A
    Monthly Fee
    N/A
    SimpleScore
    3.8 / 5.0
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    SimpleScore Capital One 3.8
    Savings APY 4
    1Y CD APY 3
    Customer Satisfaction 4
    Mobile App 4
    Product Variety 4
    • No fees
    • No minimum deposits
    • No minimum balance
    • No debit card or check-writing option
    • $10,000 minimum to get highest yield

    Discover Bank, Member FDIC Money Market Account Rate

    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.

    Min. Deposit
    $2,500
    APY
    0.30% ($1 – $99,999)
    Monthly Fee
    $0
    SimpleScore
    3.8 / 5.0
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    SimpleScore Discover Bank, Member FDIC 3.8
    Min. Deposit 2
    APY 4
    Customer Satisfaction 4
    Perks 4
    Monthly Fee 5
    • High APY regardless of balance
    • Check-writing and debit card option
    • High balance requirement for best APY

    BMO Harris Bank Money Market Account Rate

    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.

    Min. Deposit
    $5,000
    APY
    0.05%
    Monthly Fee
    $0
    SimpleScore
    2.6 / 5.0
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    SimpleScore BMO Harris Bank 2.6
    Min. Deposit 1
    APY 1
    Customer Satisfaction 2
    Perks 4
    Monthly Fee 5

    BMO Harris offers a 0.05% APY for its Platinum money market account, but you’ll need a $5,000 opening deposit in order to qualify.

    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.

    Synchrony Money Market Account Rate

    No matter how much you deposit in a Synchrony money market account, you’ll receive 0.35% APY. It’s certainly not the highest on the list, but it’s still noteworthy compared to most banks today.

    Min. Deposit
    $0
    APY
    0.35%
    Monthly Fee
    $0
    SimpleScore
    4.5 / 5.0
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    SimpleScore Synchrony 4.5
    Min. Deposit 5
    APY 4
    Customer Satisfaction N/A
    Perks 4
    Monthly Fee 5

    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 0.35% 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 account

    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.

    We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the MMAs we recommend. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

    Methodology

    SimpleScore

    The SimpleScore is a proprietary scoring metric we use to objectively compare products and services at The Simple Dollar.

    For every review, our editorial team:

    • Identifies five measurable aspects to compare across each brand
    • Determines the rating criteria for each aspect score
    • Averages the five aspect scores to produce a single SimpleScore

    Here’s a breakdown of the five aspect scores and their rating criteria for our review of the best money market accounts of 2020.

    Why do some brands have different SimpleScores on different pages?

    To ensure the SimpleScore is as helpful and accurate as possible, we developed unique criteria for every category we compare at The Simple Dollar. Since most brands offer a variety of financial solutions, their products and services will score differently depending on what we’re scoring on a given page.

    However, it’s also possible for the same product from the same brand to have multiple SimpleScores. For example, if we look at CD products for Ally, it scores a 4.6 out of 5 for our CD SimpleScore metrics. However, when we apply the metrics we measure for money market account SimpleScores, Ally scores a 4.4 out of 5. These two different financial products have two separate SimpleScore metric ratings to account for differences between them. We adjust our ratings based on industry standards for each category.

    Have questions about our methodology?

    Email Hayley Armstrong at hayley@thesimpledollar.com.

    Minimum deposit

    We compared the required minimum deposit to open a money market account. The lower the minimum deposit, the higher the score.

    APY

    MMA holders want great returns on their investments. That’s why we awarded brands with higher APYs.

    Customer satisfaction

    We leveraged J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study and 2020 U.S. Direct Banking Satisfaction Study to rate each brand for customer satisfaction. The higher the satisfaction score, the higher the SimpleScore.

    Perks

    Customers should be able to leverage their accounts, which is why we awarded brands that offer perks like ATM withdrawals, check-writing abilities, mobile check deposit and waived monthly fees.

    Monthly fee

    It’s annoying to pay to use your account. That’s why we awarded brands that have low or no monthly fees.

    Saundra Latham

    Contributing Writer

    Saundra Latham is a personal finance writer and editor. Her work has appeared in The Simple Dollar, Business Insider, USA Today, The Motley Fool, Livestrong and elsewhere.