Savings Accounts Explained: How They Work

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Saving money is an essential financial habit that can help you achieve your financial goals and build a secure future. Opening a savings account is one of the most common and effective ways to save money. A savings account is a type of bank account that allows you to deposit money and earn interest on the balance. So whether you’re saving for a rainy day, a down payment on a house, or a dream vacation, a savings account can help you get there. In this guide, we will explore the benefits of savings accounts, how they work, and provide tips for choosing the right savings to account for your needs.

What Is A Savings Account?

A savings account is a bank account designed for individuals to deposit and store their money while earning interest on the balance. These accounts typically have lower interest rates than investment accounts but offer easy access to funds for everyday expenses and emergencies.

What Is A Savings Account?

How does a savings account work?

A savings account allows you to deposit your money into a bank or financial institution, where it is held and earns interest over time. You can withdraw from the account as needed, although some accounts may have limits or fees for excessive transactions. The interest rate on a savings account is typically lower than other investment accounts but offers stability and easy access to funds. However, the bank may charge fees for certain services if the account balance falls below a minimum threshold.

Why do you need a savings account?

A savings account can help you achieve your financial goals by allowing you to accumulate money over time and earn interest on your balance. It can also serve as a safety net in case of unexpected expenses or emergencies. A savings account can provide financial security and peace of mind, essential to a comprehensive financial plan.

Why Do You Need A Savings Account?

Savings Account Advantages

Savings accounts offer several advantages for individuals looking to save money:

  • Security: Savings accounts are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) up to $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank. The depositor’s money is still safe and insured if the bank fails.
  • Interest: Savings accounts earn interest on the deposited money, meaning the account balance will grow over time. While interest rates on savings accounts tend to be lower than other investments, they still offer a way to earn some return on your savings.
  • Liquidity: Savings accounts offer easy access to your money when needed. You can withdraw funds from the account anytime through an ATM, in person at a branch, or by transferring funds electronically.
  • Convenience: It is easy to open a savings account and maintain it. Most banks offer online and mobile banking options, making monitoring your account balance, transferring funds, and setting up automatic savings plans easy.
  • Goal-setting: Having a separate savings account can help you set and achieve savings goals, whether building an emergency fund, saving for a down payment on a house, or saving for a vacation. With a dedicated savings account, you can track your progress and see how close you reach your goal.

Earn The Highest Interest Rates On Savings Today

Fixed annuities are almost identical to Certificates of Deposit (CDs) accounts and provide higher interest rates and penalty-free withdrawals for income.

TermInsurance CompanyAPY
N/AMoney Market Account – Optimum Bank5.26%
N/AMoney Market Account – FVC Bank5.26%
N/ASavings Account – CloudBank 24/7 5.26%
12 MonthsBread Savings CD5.50%
48 MonthsClear Spring Fixed Annuity5.15%
5 YearsAthene Fixed Annuity5.30%
10 YearsEquitrust Fixed Annuity6.00%
*Fixed annuities are only for saving money to use in retirement.

Disclaimer: This is a review. The Annuity Expert is not associated with a bank or credit union. However, fixed annuities are sold at most financial institutions. We aim to help you find the highest interest rates for your retirement savings. We may receive a small referral fee if you purchase something using a link in this guide.

Find And Compare The Highest Interest Rates

Find the highest interest rates for your savings, ranging from 3 months to 10 years, all in one place.

Savings Account Disadvantages

While savings accounts offer several advantages, there are also some disadvantages to consider:

  • Low-interest rates: While savings accounts earn interest, the rates are typically lower than other investments. This means you may not earn as much on your savings as you would with other investment options.
  • Fees: Some banks charge fees for maintaining a savings account, especially if you don’t meet specific requirements, such as maintaining a minimum balance, making regular deposits, and over-draft fees.. These fees can eat into your savings and reduce the overall return on your investment.
  • Inflation: Inflation can erode the purchasing power of your savings over time. While earning interest can help offset the effects of inflation, your savings may lose value in real terms if the interest rate is lower than the inflation rate.
  • Limited transactions: Savings accounts may limit the number of transactions you can make each month, such as a maximum of six withdrawals or transfers. If you need more frequent access to your money, you may need to choose a different type of account.
  • Opportunity cost: If you’re putting money into a savings account, you may miss out on other investment opportunities offering higher returns. While savings accounts are generally low-risk, low-reward investments, other investments may offer higher returns, albeit with more risk.

How to maximize earnings from a savings account

Here are some tips to maximize earnings from a savings account:

  • Then, shop around for the best interest rates: Compare interest rates offered by different banks and choose a savings account with a high-interest rate. This can significantly increase the amount of interest earned on your savings.
  • Look for accounts with bonus interest rates: Some banks offer promotional or bonus interest rates for a limited time. These rates can be higher than the standard interest rate and help you earn more money on your savings.
  • Choose an account with no or low fees: Avoid savings with high fees, such as maintenance or transaction fees, as they can eat into your earnings. Instead, look for accounts with no fees or low fees.
  • Maintain a high account balance: Some savings accounts offer tiered interest rates, meaning the interest rate increases as the account balance grows. Maintaining a high account balance can help you earn a higher interest rate and increase earnings.
  • Use automatic savings plans: Many savings accounts allow you to set up automatic transfers from your checking account regularly. As a result, you can consistently contribute to your savings account and earn more interest by automating your savings.
  • Avoid withdrawing from the account frequently: Savings accounts have transaction limits, and exceeding these limits can result in fees and lower interest rates. Instead, limit your withdrawals and transfers to maximize your earnings.
  • Reinvest your interest: Consider reinvesting your interest into your savings account to earn compound interest. Over time, this can significantly increase your earnings.

Can you lose money in a savings account?

It is unlikely to lose money in a savings account, but it is possible to experience a loss of value due to inflation. Savings accounts are typically low-risk investments, and the amount deposited into the account is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) up to $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank. This means that even if the bank fails, you will not lose the money you have deposited up to the insured limit.

However, the interest rate on a savings account may not keep up with inflation, which can result in a loss of purchasing power over time. For example, if the inflation rate is 2% and the interest rate on a savings account is 1%, the real value of the savings account decreases by 1% in terms of purchasing power.

Can You Lose Money In A Savings Account?

Alternatives to Savings Accounts

Here are some alternatives to savings accounts:

  • Money Market Accounts: A money market account is similar to a savings account but typically offers higher interest rates. It may also have higher minimum balance requirements and require a certain number of monthly transactions. Money market accounts may also offer limited check-writing abilities.
  • Certificates of Deposit (CDs): CDs are savings accounts that typically offer higher interest rates in exchange for a fixed term and a minimum deposit. CDs can range in term length from a few months to several years, and the interest rate is typically higher for longer terms. However, withdrawing money from a CD before the end of the term may result in a penalty fee.
  • High-Yield Checking Accounts: High-yield checking accounts offer interest rates similar to or higher than savings accounts. These accounts typically require a certain number of monthly transactions or other requirements to earn a high-interest rate.
  • Treasury Bonds: Treasury bonds are issued by the U.S. government and are considered low-risk investments. Treasury bonds typically have longer terms than CDs and may offer higher interest rates but require a more considerable minimum investment.
  • Stocks and Bonds: Stocks and bonds offer the potential for higher returns but also come with more risk. Stocks represent ownership in a company, while bonds are a type of debt issued by companies or governments. Investing in stocks and bonds typically requires more research and knowledge than investing in savings accounts or CDs.

Are online savings accounts safe?

Online savings accounts can be safe if a reputable bank or financial institution offers them. Online savings accounts are protected by the same FDIC insurance as traditional savings accounts, meaning the government insures deposits up to $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank.

Next Steps

In conclusion, a savings account is a constructive way to manage your finances and save for the future. Not only do these accounts offer security and low-interest rates, but they also provide easy access to everyday expenses. Especially in times of emergency, a savings account can prove invaluable. To maximize your benefits from a savings account, be sure to shop around for the best rate and fees that works best with your budget. Furthermore, staying on top of changes in fees and terms is essential as they may occur over time. Ultimately you should carefully consider all factors when choosing the best savings to account for you; if you’re still uncertain or have questions, feel free to contact an expert who can provide guidance tailored to your needs. Don’t hesitate; to request a free quote today!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a savings account used for?

A savings account is a financial tool used for depositing and storing money over time, typically to earn interest and build a financial cushion or achieve long-term financial goals.

What is a type of savings account, and how does it work?

A high-yield savings account earns higher interest rates than traditional ones, allowing account holders to earn more money on their deposits.

What are the differences between bank accounts and savings accounts?

A savings account is a type of bank account used for saving money, while a bank account is a broader term that includes various types of accounts such as checking, savings, and others.

How do you get a high-yield savings account?

Online banks offer high-yield savings accounts.

How do I open a new savings account with a bank?

Visit a bank branch or apply online.

What is a savings account simple definition?

A savings account stores and deposits money over time, typically to earn interest and build savings.

What are the three types of savings accounts?

The three types of savings accounts are traditional savings accounts, money market accounts, and high-yield savings accounts.

What are savings accounts benefits?

Savings accounts offer benefits such as earning interest on deposits, easy access to funds, and a secure place to store money.

How do savings accounts make money?

Savings accounts make money by earning interest on the deposits made by account holders.

Do savings accounts pay monthly?

Savings accounts may pay interest monthly, depending on the account and the financial institution.

What is the difference between a current and a savings account?

A current account is designed for frequent transactions, while a savings account is intended for depositing and saving money over time.

What is the interest rate for a traditional savings account?

The interest rate for a traditional savings account varies among financial institutions and may change over time. However, it is generally lower than the interest rate for other accounts, such as high-yield savings or money market accounts.

How often does a bank or credit union pay interest on a savings account?

The frequency of interest payments on a savings account varies depending on the policy of the banks or credit unions where the account is held.

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’m a licensed financial professional focusing on annuities and insurance for more than a decade. My former role was training financial advisors, including for a Fortune Global 500 insurance company. I’ve been featured in Time Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, and Women’s Health Magazine.

The Annuity Expert is an online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. My goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning or find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates for you. 

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