The Savings Showdown: WHO HAS THE BEST ACCOUNTS?

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cashplant_landerIt’s a well known fact that interest rates on savings accounts are incredibly low. In fact, the average savings account is hovering around 0.06% according to the FDIC. 0.06%? That’s such a far cry from pre-crisis times, it’s shocking.

At rates that low one might ask, why even have a savings account? Why don’t I just place my hard-earned money under the mattress? I can’t blame you. However if you did that, you’d be leaving money on the table (or under the mattress). There are much better options out there; savings account options that earn 10-15 times the average rate of 0.06%.

We’ve scoured high and low to find the best accounts. In our search, we’ve come across two that stand above the rest. You’d be in good shape if you had either of these accounts, but after some thorough analysis, one of them truly earns the title of best savings account.

Monthly Minimums

This one’s pretty simple. Ally Bank Online Savings requires absolutely no balance ($0), while Synchrony Optimizer Plus requires $30 to avoid a $5 fee. $30 is incredibly low compared to major banks such as Bank of America, which requires a $300 balance to avoid the $5 fee. However, you can’t beat Ally’s $0 minimum.

Winner: Ally Bank

Bank Reputation

This might not have been of much importance to us pre-2007. Times have changed though and we need to put in a little more thought into where we bank. Both of these banks are backed by the maximum allowable FDIC guaranteed deposit of $250,000; meaning if the bank defaults, the US Government guarantees that you’d receive all of your money up to $250,000. This is the same guarantee that the household names like Bank of America, Chase, etc. have.

Ally Bank is a pretty well-known name at least in the online banking world. In fact, Ally Bank has been rated the Best Online Bank in 2011, 2012, and 2013 by Money® Magazine. That’s no small feat when there are hundreds of competitors. How do they do it? Reviews cite great customer support, products with great rates, and an easy to use online portal.

Synchrony Bank is a great bank as well, in fact the company is wholly owned and operated by GE. When most think of General Electric, they think of their kitchen appliances; they think of a trusted, American brand name. GE has parlayed their brand trust into banking, with a solid reputation in the industry for offering high rates and great service.

Synchrony is doing everything right and has earned the trust of millions of Americans, but we can’t argue with the experts at Money® Magazine on this one.

Winner: Ally Bank

Customer Service and Ease of Use

Both companies have good customer service according to online reviews. 3 star reviews don’t sound great for a consumer tech product or a restaurant, but for an industry that’s really suffering from an image problem, 3 stars are some of the best ratings received. Comparatively, Bank of America had 1.6 stars, HSBC had 1.4 stars and Chase came in at 2.5 stars.

Both online portals are state of the art and incredibly intuitive. Both have an American English speaking support team that were very attentive and easy to deal with.

In the end, there was a slight differentiation as Synchrony seemed to be a little more responsive. We assume this is due in large part to their parent company GE, which has a lot of experience in managing customer service.

Winner: Synchrony Bank

Interest Rate

This one’s easy as Synchrony Bank is offering just a little higher of an interest rate.

Winner: Synchrony Bank


As we said in the beginning, you’d be very well off with either one of these great accounts. When it comes down to it, it really depends what matters more to you. Are you aiming to get the absolute highest rate possible? Or will you sacrifice a small difference in APY and side with the bank that’s just slightly higher rated? Both of these are good options regardless of their rates, but we like to always recommend banking products that we use ourselves. For that reason, Synchrony Bank takes the cake!


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