Banking » Savings » 8 Things To Know Before Putting Money In Savings Account
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8 Things To Know Before Putting Money In Savings Account

Savings accounts offer the highest rates in the last 15 years. From compounding interest to taxation, here's what to know before depositing
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024
The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024

The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.

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Table Of Content

Before putting money into a savings account, it's essential to be well-informed about various aspects to make the most of your savings.

Here are 8 things to know before opening a savings account:

1. The Interest Rate Is Variable

Unlike a fixed interest rate that you get on CDs or bonds, which remains constant throughout the account's term, a variable interest rate is subject to change based on various factors.

With a variable interest rate, the rate can go up or down in response to changes in the market, economic conditions, or decisions made by the bank or financial institution. 

The fluctuating nature of the interest rate directly affects the earnings on your savings account. If the interest rate increases, you'll earn more money on your savings balance. Conversely, if the rate decreases, your earnings will decrease as well.

2. You Can Withdraw Your Funds Anytime

A savings account is considered a liquid asset due to its high level of accessibility and ease of converting into cash.

Unlike other investments or assets that may take time to sell or have withdrawal restrictions, savings accounts allow individuals to access their funds whenever needed quickly. They offer high liquidity, making them ideal for emergency funds and short-term financial goals. 

Sometimes, customers can even get ATM cards, making withdrawing even easier.

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3. Compound Interest

Compound interest is a powerful financial concept that allows your savings to grow at an accelerated rate over time. Unlike simple interest, which is calculated only on the initial deposit, compound interest takes into account both the initial principal amount and the interest that has been previously earned.

The power of compound interest makes savings accounts a useful tool for long-term financial goals, as your money can continue to grow over time with minimal effort on your part. 

4. Automated Savings and Transfers

Regular contributions to your savings account ensure a steady buildup of funds over time, helping you reach your financial goals more effectively.

Automated savings can be customized to match your preferred frequency and amount, making it a convenient tool for building an emergency fund, saving for a vacation, or any other financial objective. For example:

  • Transfer from checking accounts: set up recurring transfers from their checking account to their savings account without manual intervention.
  • Direct deposit: Once direct deposit is set up, your paycheck will be automatically deposited into your bank account on payday. Simultaneously, the specified portion you allocated for savings will be transferred to your designated savings account.
Things To Know Before Putting Money In Savings Account
Regular contributions ensure a steady buildup of funds over time (Photo by Cherdchai101/Shutterstock)

5. Traditional vs Online Bank Savings Accounts

Traditional bank savings accounts often have lower interest rates than online banks, resulting in slower savings growth. However, Traditional banks have physical branches where you can visit in person for banking needs, and they typically offer in-person customer service.

On the other hand, online banks typically have lower fees and high-yield savings accounts, which enable higher interest rates on their savings accounts, maximizing your savings potential. While the support level is usually lower than traditional banks, online banks can help you maximize interest.

6. Compare to Maximize Earnings

Comparing savings accounts is crucial for maximizing your earnings as it helps you discover the best interest rates for your investment. Analyzing various savings accounts from different banks and financial institutions enables you to identify opportunities to optimize your returns.

Remember, interest rates on savings accounts vary between banks, so comparing rates allows you to select the savings accounts offering the highest rate for your desired term. Even a slight difference in rates can significantly impact your earnings.

Before making a final decision, discussing options with your current bank is wise. As you already have an established relationship with them, they might offer competitive interest rates to retain your funds. This also opens the door for negotiation based on your research.

As you can see, there are significant differences when it comes to savings account rates:

Bank/Institution
Savings APY
Min Deposit
Type
5.00%
$100
Online Bank
4.40%
$0
Online Bank
4.30%
$0
Online Bank
4.35%
$0
Online Bank
4.45%
$0
Traditional Bank
5.21%
$0
Online Banking
4.40%
$0
Online Banking
4.25%
$0
Online Bank
4.35%
$0
Online Bank
5.00%
$100
Online Banking
4.65% The PNC High Yield Savings℠ account is only available to residents of Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas.
$0
Traditional Bank
4.75%
$0
Online Bank
4.50%
$100
Online Bank
3.06% – 3.10%
$0
Credit Union
4.25%
$0
Online Bank
up to 4.60%
$1,000 – $5,000
Online Bank
3.00%
$5
Credit Union

7. FDIC/NCUA Insurance

Whether you opt for a bank or a credit union for your savings account, it's crucial to verify that the institution is either FDIC-insured or NCUA-insured, respectively.

Both types of insurance offer identical standard coverage, protecting up to $250,000 per depositor, per institution, for each account ownership category. This reassures you that your deposits in savings accounts and other eligible accounts such as CDs or money market accounts are secure in the event of financial difficulties faced by the institution.

To maximize your coverage, you have the option to distribute your deposits among various banks or account ownership categories. For example, if your total savings accounts exceed $250,000, you could open savings accounts at different FDIC-insured institutions to ensure that each account receives separate insurance protection.

8. Savings Account Interest Is Taxable

The interest you earn on your savings account is considered income by the tax authorities and is subject to taxation according to your applicable tax laws.

In the U.S., the interest earned on a savings account is typically classified as “interest income.” It is reported on your annual income tax return, and you may receive a Form 1099-INT from your bank or financial institution, which shows the amount of interest earned during the tax year.

The tax rate applied to your savings account interest will depend on your overall income and your tax bracket. Interest income is added to your total taxable income, and you will be taxed based on the corresponding tax rates for your income level.

FAQs

No, interest rates can vary among different banks and institutions. Research and compare rates to find the highest one for your savings.

Compare interest rates, fees, minimum balance requirements, and accessibility options to find a savings account that aligns with your financial goals and needs.

Yes, you can have multiple savings accounts to allocate funds for different goals, such as emergencies, vacations, or down payments.

Online savings accounts are generally safe if they are offered by reputable banks with FDIC or equivalent insurance coverage.

Generally, you will need identification documents, proof of address, and possibly your social security number or tax ID to open a savings account.

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Picture of Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
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