Enrolling in a high-yield savings account: A step-by-step guide

Everything you need to know to start earning with a high-yield savings account. (iStock)

High-yield savings accounts offered by online financial institutions come with higher interest rates than their traditional savings account counterparts or a checking account. They're FDIC-insured accounts that won't impact your credit score and usually have a minimum balance requirement and minimum opening deposit determined by each individual bank.

Though the current financial climate has led to a decline in savings interest rates, the annual percentage yield (APY) on high-yield savings accounts is still significantly higher than the savings offered by brick-and-mortar banks.

In addition to earning interest, these accounts are easy to open and come with minimal requirements, especially if you bank online. Axos Bank, Vio Bank, Varo and Ally are examples of online-only institutions that offer high-yield accounts, and places like Citi Bank, American Express, Capital One and Goldman Sachs do the same.


Credible can help you find a high-yield savings bank account provider and interest rates that will boost your savings. Check out what options — from each banks' minimum balance requirement to its APY — are currently available.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you open a high-yield online savings account.

1. Compare rates, institutions and requirements

The first step to earning interest on your savings is comparing banks, credit unions and online institutions.

The national average savings account earns just 0.04% APY, according to the FDIC. You can ​check out high-yield savings options​ via the Credible marketplace to save extra cash.

In addition to comparing rates from different institutions, you should also compare the requirements for opening an account. These could include:

  • Fees
  • Monthly withdrawal limits
  • Minimum deposit requirements


Not all accounts have the same transaction fees, annual fees and minimum deposits. To see how high-yield savings accounts can save you money, check out these high-yield savings options via the Credible marketplace.

2. Choose where to open your account

Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to choose a home for your savings account. Your local bank isn’t likely to offer rates anywhere near as competitive as online-only banks because online banks don’t have to worry about the expenses it takes to operate a brick-and-mortar business, meaning they can offer more rewarding rates to their account holders.

If a credit union offers the best rates, be aware that you may be required to become a member, which can carry even more rules.

Finally, factor in the requirements for each account that’s on your list of options, which can help you narrow down the top contenders. It could be useful to speak with a financial advisor to ultimately make your choice on where to open an account.

3. Submit the application

Once you’ve chosen an institution for your high-yield savings account, it’s time to apply.

Applying for a high-yield savings account is a quick and easy process. If you open an account with your local bank, you may have to apply in person. Otherwise, you should be able to complete an application and open an account online in about 10 minutes.

Visit Credible to explore high-yield savings options that could be making more money for you.

The application may require you to provide the following personal information:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Address
  • Contact information
  • Social Security Number
  • Drivers license

If you open a joint savings account, the application will ask for the details above for both applicants.


Your application may also include questions to help confirm your identity. Once your information has been submitted, you should be approved for an account.

4. Start funding your account

Depending on the institution you choose, you may be required to fund your account during the application process. While some banks have an initial deposit requirement, others may not require you to put funds in your account to get started.

The most common way to fund your savings account is to connect an existing bank account. This step will require you to enter your routing and account numbers. You may be able to log in to your bank account directly to verify the account. Alternatively, test deposits may be sent to your bank account to verify it.

If you can’t link to your bank account, some institutions allow you to submit a mobile deposit, mail a check or use a credit card.

5. Set up account details and preferences

With your account opened and funded, consider taking these steps:

Set up online banking: If you enroll in an online high-yield savings account, you’ll probably be prompted to create a login and start online banking during the application.

Download the app: If your institution has a mobile app, download it for easy account access and management features.

Manage alerts: Set your preferences for account alerts regarding deposits, transfers and your account balance. You can opt to receive emails, texts or mobile notifications.

Go paperless: Many institutions charge extra for paper statements. Choosing to receive for e-statements can keep things simple and save you money.

Name beneficiaries: It’s a good idea to designate a beneficiary to inherit your account if you pass away. Many online accounts allow you to designate a primary and secondary beneficiary, like your spouse and child.


Start saving and earning today

A high-yield savings account is a great vehicle for short-term saving goals and emergency funds. With little to no associated costs, easy access to funds and competitive interest rates, a high-yield savings account can be an advantageous personal finance addition to your long-term plan.

Fortunately, opening an account, funding it and being able to access your money couldn’t be simpler. If you don’t want to leave money on the table, you can maximize your earnings with these high-yield savings options on the Credible marketplace.

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