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There’s no arguing that a bank account can be a safe place to stash your cash. These accounts typically carry insurance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) on balances up to $250,000, which protects your money in case your bank goes out of business. 

But depending on your goals, you might need different bank accounts for different purposes. Some work better for everyday spending, while others make more sense for growing your savings over time. If you’re in the market for a new bank account, here are five types you might want to open.

5 Essential Bank Accounts

Type of account Account Purpose Considerations

Checking Account

Everyday spending

  • High number of transactions permitted
  • Debit card and/or checks often provided
  • Low or no APY

Savings Account

Short- or long-term savings

  • Transaction limits often apply
  • No debit card or checks
  • Higher APYs

Money Market Account (MMA)

Short- or long-term savings

  • Transaction limits often apply
  • Debit card and/or checks often provided
  • Higher APYs

Certificate of Deposit (CD) Account

Long-term savings

  • Money is locked up for a set term
  • Early withdrawal penalties generally apply
  • High APYs

Retirement Account

Long-term savings

  • Money is invested for retirement
  • Early withdrawal penalties generally apply
  • Investment values fluctuate based on market performance

1. Checking Account

A checking account is ideal if you need a place to put cash for your monthly bills and daily expenses. This type of account gives you quick access to your cash, and usually comes with a companion debit card and checks. Paying by debit card can be more secure than carrying cash, and you can deposit funds or make withdrawals at ATMs using your card. 

Many banks also let you set up automatic bill pay from your checking account, making it easier to stay on top of your bills. Checking accounts are available at most banks and credit unions, and many financial institutions offer mobile apps for convenient account access. 


  • Easy access to your money
  • High number of monthly transactions permitted
  • Often comes with companion debit card or checks


  • Earns no or low interest
  • May have monthly fees
  • May require a minimum balance

Recommended Checking Accounts

Account Intro Bonus Minimum deposit required Monthly maintenance fee Learn More

SoFi Checking and Savings

$50-$300Expires June 30, 2024 More Info

New customers can earn a $300 bonus for opening a new SoFi Checking and Savings account and receiving a total of $5,000+ in qualifying direct deposits within the specified evaluation period; receive $1,000 - $4,999 in qualifying direct deposits to earn a $50 bonus.

N/A $0
Axos Bank logo

Axos Rewards Checking Account

Up to $300Expires June 30, 2024 More Info

Use the promo code AXOS300 when you apply for a Rewards Checking account by June 30th, 2024. Then have qualifying direct deposits to earn up to a $300 bonus!†

$50 $0
Chase logo

Chase Total Checking® Account

$300Expires July 24, 2024 More Info

New Chase checking customers enjoy a $300 bonus when you open a Chase Total Checking® account with qualifying activities

N/A $12 with options to waive More Info

Chase Total Checking customers can have their monthly maintenance fee waived by receiving direct deposits totaling $500 or more in new money each monthly statement period, maintaining a daily balance of at least $1,500 at the beginning of each day, or maintaining an average beginning day balance of $5,000 or more in any combination of linked qualifying Chase checking, savings and other accounts

2. Savings Account

Another must-have is a savings account, preferably one with a high interest rate. A high rate could mean the difference between nominal annual earnings and hundreds of extra dollars in savings. 

For instance, I recently deposited $10,000 into a high-yield savings account with an annual percentage yield (APY) of over 5% after contributing to a regular savings account with a 0.25% rate for years. My new account has been open for about six months, and I’ve already earned over $200 in interest. I would’ve earned just $12.50 in six months with my original account. 

Many online banks offer high-yield savings accounts, which can be ideal for growing your balance over time. These accounts provide easy access to your money, though transaction limits and monthly fees may apply. Rates may also fluctuate often, depending on federal policy changes and the economy. 


  • May have high interest rates
  • Fairly easy access to your money
  • Often have low minimum opening deposits
  • Good vehicle for short- or long-term savings


  • Transaction limits may apply
  • May have monthly fees
  • No companion debit card or checks
  • Rates can fluctuate

Recommended High-Yield Savings Accounts

Bank Account APY Features Learn More

BrioDirect High-Yield Savings Account

5.35% More Info

*Annual Percentage Yield (APY) is accurate as of 5/1/2024. Rate is subject to certain terms and conditions. You must deposit at least $5,000 to open your account and maintain $25 to earn the disclosed APY. Rate and APY may change at any time. Fees may reduce earnings.

$5,000 min. deposit
No monthly fee

UFB Direct logo

UFB Direct Secure Savings Account

5.25% More Info

UFB Direct breaks balances into five tiers, but, currently, there is only one interest rate.

No minimum deposit
No monthly fee

SoFi Checking and Savings

0.50% - 4.60% More Info

Customers earn 4.60% APY on savings balances when they set up recurring monthly direct deposit of their paycheck or benefits provider via ACH deposit. Alternatively, deposit at least $5,000 each month to earn 4.60% APY on your savings balance. Checking balances earn 0.50% APY

No minimum deposit
No monthly fee

CIT Bank logo

CIT Bank Platinum Savings Account

5.00% More Info

Earn 5.00% APY on balances over $5,000. Balances of less than $5,000 earn 0.25% APY. Annual Percentage Yield is accurate as of May 6, 2024. Interest rates for the Platinum Savings account are variable and subject to change at any time without notice.

$100 minimum deposit
No monthly fee

3. Money Market Account (MMA)

MMAs are part savings account and part checking account. They often have high rates like a high-yield savings account while offering debit cards or checks similar to a traditional checking account, allowing you to maximize the amount of interest you can earn with low risk. These accounts can be a smart option for short- or long-term savings. 

You might encounter a few drawbacks with a MMA, though. Some accounts require a high initial deposit and minimum balance, and others have monthly fees. Like savings accounts, rates on MMAs fluctuate, and these accounts may have monthly transaction limits. Be mindful of potential limits if you plan to use your account’s companion debit card or checkbook. 


  • May have high interest rates
  • Easier access to your money than savings accounts
  • Good vehicle for short- or long-term savings
  • Often comes with companion debit card or checks


  • Transaction limits may apply
  • May have high minimum balance requirements
  • May have monthly fees
  • Rates can fluctuate

4. Certificate of Deposit (CD) Account

If you have some money you don’t need for a few months or years, a CD is another secure option that could earn you some extra interest. These accounts are widely available and generally offer fairly high rates

Most CD terms range from three months to five years and the accounts may require a modest minimum deposit amount. While CDs offer a guaranteed rate of return for their term, early withdrawal penalties typically apply if you need to access your money before your CD’s maturity date. Penalties often amount to a few months’ interest. No-penalty CDs are also an option if you think you might need to withdraw your funds early.

Despite potential drawbacks, CDs can be a great long-term savings vehicle if you’re comfortable leaving your cash invested for a while. 


  • Generally have high rates
  • Guaranteed rate of return
  • Variety of terms available


  • Money generally locked in for set term
  • Early withdrawal penalties may apply
  • Rates may not keep up with inflation

Recommended CD Accounts

Account 1-Year APY 3-Year APY 5-Year APY Learn More
CIT Bank logo

CIT Bank Term Certificates of Deposit

0.30% More Info

Annual Percentage Yield is accurate as of April 2, 2024. Interest rates for CIT Bank's term CDs are variable and subject to change at any time without notice

0.40% More Info

Annual Percentage Yield is accurate as of April 2, 2024. Interest rates for CIT Bank's term CDs are variable and subject to change at any time without notice

0.50% More Info

Annual Percentage Yield is accurate as of April 2, 2024. Interest rates for CIT Bank's term CDs are variable and subject to change at any time without notice

Capital One 360 Certificates of Deposit

4.80% 4.00% 3.90%
Marcus by Goldman Sachs logo

Marcus by Goldman Sachs High-Yield Certificates of Deposit

5.00% 4.15% 4.00%
Discover Bank logo

Discover Certificates of Deposit

4.70% 3.75% 3.75%

Quontic Bank Certificates of Deposit

4.50% 4.40% 4.30%

5. Retirement Account

A retirement account is another must-have account for your banking portfolio. Starting early with retirement savings can help ensure you have funds set aside when you decide to stop working. While your investments in this type of account will fluctuate in value based on the market, investing in retirement still remains one of the best ways to build savings over the long term. 

You might be able to contribute to a retirement account through your employer, often a 401(k) or 403(b) account. You can also open either a Roth or traditional individual retirement account (IRA) independently, or a SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, or self-employed 401(k) if you’re self-employed. Each type of account is structured slightly differently, though these accounts typically have maximum annual contribution limits and early withdrawal penalties if you take money out before retirement.


  • Investments might grow significantly over time
  • Available from many employers
  • Contribution limits can be high


  • Early withdrawal penalties may apply
  • Investments could decrease during market downturns
  • Fairly low contribution limits with some account

How to Choose the Right Bank Accounts

To find the best bank account for your situation, consider the following factors:

  • Liquidity: Do you want quick access to your money in case an unexpected expense comes up? Or are you OK with investing it for a set timeframe?
  • Goals: What are your goals? Is your top priority maximizing your savings or finding a solid account for daily spending?
  • Rates: In addition to liquidity and goals, consider the rates each account offers. Rates vary across banks, and a higher rate could mean significantly more interest earnings over time. 
  • Fees: Does the account have a monthly maintenance fee? What about overdraft fees? Choosing an account with minimal fees could help you keep more money in your pocket. 
  • Minimum balance requirements: Certain accounts have minimum balance requirements, some higher than others. This happens occasionally with checking and savings accounts and often with MMAs and CDs.
  • Transaction limits: Some accounts also come with monthly transaction limits. Review the deposit agreements on potential accounts to determine if any limits apply.
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The Bottom Line

Having multiple bank accounts can help you stash away cash for different purposes. So if you’re considering a new account, ask yourself whether it makes sense to open more than one. Doing so could help you more easily work toward your financial goals, whether you want a checking account to pay your monthly bills or a high-yield savings account, MMA, or CD to maximize your interest earnings. 

No matter which account options you’re looking into, always compare the factors mentioned above to find the best account for your situation. Consider the rates, fees, balance requirements, and other features.


Jessica Ullrich

Jess is a freelance personal finance writer. She's been creating financial and business content for over a decade. Before venturing into freelance writing, Jess was on the editorial teams at Investopedia, The Balance, and FinanceBuzz. She's created content across several verticals, including budgeting, credit, debt, insurance, investing, loans, and side hustles. In her spare time, you can find Jess reading about money, working in her garden, or spending time with family.