What is a High-Yield Savings Account?

It’s already late February, so hopefully, by now, you’ve already received your annual bonus. Or perhaps that tax refund direct deposit might be hitting your checking account in the next few weeks. In any case,  if you have (or will soon have) a few spare bucks lying around, our latest post on What is a High-Yield Savings Account is for you!

What is a high-yield savings account?

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or the FDIC, the average savings account currently has an annual percentage yield, or APY, of 0.09 per cent. In other words, let’s say you deposited $100 into an average savings account at an average bank on the first business day of 2019. If you leave those $100 alone throughout the current year and make no new deposits to the savings account, by the end of the first business day of 2020, your account would (or should) have a balance of US$100.09.

Needless to say, 9¢ isn’t much to show for a year, especially after considering that around $8,000,000,000,000 (no, that’s not a typo, that’s $8 trillion) are currently invested in savings-type accounts around the country.

As opposed to average, 9¢-or-less savings accounts, high-yield savings accounts pay more interest, thus generating a higher yield for you. High-yield savings accounts, including the account options that we explore below, tend to be offered primarily by online banks due in part to the simple fact that these banks simply spend less than brick-and-mortar institutions (e.g. no branches, fewer employees, etc.).

Five Stellar High-Yield Savings Accounts

Understanding What is a High-Yield Savings Account would be much better if you go through our list. To help you get a bit more than 9¢/year on your savings, we’ve put together a list of five high-yield savings accounts, each of which offers an APY of at least 23 times the national average. If you don’t already have one of these accounts, it’s time to rethink how you manage your personal savings!

Ally Bank

Do you have Ally Bank’s Online Savings Account?

If you answered no to this question, we strongly suggest familiarizing yourself with Ally Bank’s website. Ally’s Online Savings Account is honestly one of the industry’s most competitive products, offering an APY of 2.20 per cent, which is more than 24 times the national average. Also, unlike many of its competitors, Ally has no monthly maintenance fees and no minimum balance requirements. On top of this, Ally offers all the standard benefits that you might expect from a brick-and-mortar bank, including checking accounts, online banking and an app with mobile check deposit, which is probably why Americans poured nearly $13 billion worth of new deposits into Ally in 2018.

American Express

Thought Amex was just about nice credit cards and traveller’s cheques?

For over 10 years, practically any adult resident in the U.S. has been eligible to apply for American Express’s Personal Savings High Yield Savings Account.

The Personal Savings High Yield Savings Account offers a 2.10 per cent APY and is easy to open. No fees, no minimum balance requirements and the account can be opened for free (although any account not funded within 60 days will be closed).

While the Personal Savings High Yield Savings Account is not accessible through the Amex app, online banking is available and the account can be linked to an American Express card in online banking, proving for a seamless experience for Amex cardholders.


Canada has given us a lot over the years, from Peter Jennings and Alan Thicke to The Weeknd and, more recently, the CIBC Agility™ Online Savings Account.

The Agility™ Online Savings Account brings real meaning to Justin Bieber’s “Santa Claus Is Coming to The town,” offering a whopping 2.39 per cent APY—over 26.5 times the national average!

The Agility™ Online Savings Account also comes with great perks, such as direct deposit, no maintenance fees, no minimum daily balance, and access to the CIBC US Mobile Banking App.
Unfortunately, though, the best things in life aren’t free and a $1,000 deposit is required to open this account so you might end up waiting until after your tax refund comes through to get started with this one. Fortunately, after the account has been opened there’s no need to keep your $1,000 with CIBC; you only need to maintain a balance of 1¢ to earn the 2.39 per cent APY.


If you thought that Goldman Sachs only counts high-net-worth individuals among its clients, you’re wrong.

Well, sort of.

Marcus, an offshoot of Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs, counts high-yield savings accounts and personal loans among its offerings. It is one of the names to remeber when wondering about What is a High-Yield Savings Account? Marcus’s Online Savings Account offers an APY of 2.25 percent—there’s no minimum deposit to open an account and the account has no maintenance fees. $100 in Marcus’s Online Savings Account would earn $2.25, or exactly 25 times the national average, over the course of a year. There’s one downside to Marcus though—you’re stuck tracking your finances from your bulky, old desktop or from your heavy laptop, as there’s no snazzy app to track your savings from the convenience of your smartphone!

PNC Bank

Have you heard of PNC Bank?

If yes, then this account probably won’t be to0 helpful to you, as PNC’s High Yield Savings account is only available to residents of the 31 states (excluding the District of Columbia) where PNC currently does not have a brick-and-mortar branch.

But, if you live in one of those 31 primarily western states, then you’re eligible for PNC’s impressive 2.35 per cent APY. Plus, as the only major brick-and-mortar bank on this list, PNC offers a lot of perks that the other banks mentioned above don’t, including a full suite of personal financial products, such as credit cards and checking accounts, which can be easily integrated with your High Yield Savings account through PNC’s online and mobile banking offerings.

Like the other accounts, there are no maintenance fees associated with the High Yield Savings account and no minimum daily balance requirement. You can open the account for free and can earn the 2.35 per cent APY on balances above $1; however, the High Yield Savings account is a six-month commitment, as closing the account within six months will entail a $25 penalty.