Conventional wisdom is that you should be able to deposit your hard-earned money into a traditional savings account and earn a reasonable interest rate to build wealth with minimal risk.
But with interest rates at historic lows, savers resort to high interest savings accounts and other banking alternatives to earn up to 5% APY – and potentially more.
Diversifying into these accounts can help your idle cash work harder.
Table of Contents
- Where to Get 5% Saving Accounts
- High Interest Savings Accounts
- Rewards Checking Accounts
- Prize-Linked Savings Accounts
- Cryptocurrency Loans
- Small Business Bonds
- Prepaid Debit Cards
Where to Get 5% Saving Accounts
There are several options to earn more interest on your deposits. However, the higher interest rate may only apply to a portion of your account balance.
You may also have to complete specific actions like making a minimum number of debit card purchases or enrolling in direct deposit to earn a higher rate.
While you won’t earn 5% interest with every option, you can make more interest than a traditional brick-and-mortar account or even an online savings account.
High Interest Savings Accounts
You may appreciate the convenience of having your cash savings in a single online high yield savings account.
This account type earns significantly more interest than a traditional savings account. However, you might be able to earn more interest by moving part of your reserves to these savings accounts offering tiered interest rates.
- FDIC or NCUA insured up to $250,000
- No account service fees
- Easy to earn high interest rate
- As little as $1,000 may earn interest rate bonus
- Excess balance earns a low interest rate
Digital Credit Union
Earn 6.17% APY on the first $1,000 at Digital Credit Union with a Primary Savings account. Any remaining balance earns 0.25% APY.
There are no service fees and you will need to maintain a minimum $5 balance.
Blue Federal Credit Union
Your first $1,000 earns 5% with an Accelerated Savings account at Blue Federal Credit Union.
The remaining balance earns between 0.25% and 1.38%, depending on the balance tier.
There isn’t a minimum opening deposit or ongoing balance to maintain. However, a $5 balance with Blue Federal may be necessary to keep your credit union membership.
Service Credit Union
A Primary Savings account from Service Credit Union lets you earn up to 5% APY. You will need to make a minimum $5 opening deposit and the first $500 earns 5.00%.
Any remaining balance earns 0.25% APY which is better than most local banks but there are better places to park your extra cash.
If you want a bank with a social mission, consider Aspiration to support social and environmental causes with your banking activity. They donate 10% of their profits to charity and qualifying card purchases can support causes.
Start by opening a Spend & Save cash management account and subscribe to the Aspiration Plus plan for $7.99 per month ($5.99 monthly if you pay annually).
Your first $1,000 in savings can earn 1% APY on the first $10,000. Balances over $10,000 earn 0.10% APY. However, you must make at least $1,000 in debit card purchases for the month to earn this bonus interest rate.
Other ways to offset the monthly fee are using the 55,000+ fee-free ATMs and shopping at the Conscience Coalition partners offering 10% back on purchases.
Here’s our full Aspiration review.
Rewards Checking Accounts
Your best option for earning more interest with minimal risk can be FDIC-insured rewards checking accounts and can double as a free checking account.
This account type can earn more interest than a savings account and also pay your monthly bills. Unlike savings accounts, these accounts don’t limit you to six monthly withdrawals like high interest savings accounts.
- Can earn more interest than high-yield savings accounts
- FDIC insured
- Must complete monthly activities
- Bonus yield may only apply to a portion of account balance
Consumers Credit Union
A Consumers Credit Union Rewards Checking account earns up to 4.09% APY – and it’s free.
The enhanced interest rate applies to the first $10,000.
You will need to complete these actions to earn the highest rate:
- Enroll in paperless documents
- Make at least 12 debit card purchases each month
- Have at least $500 in direct deposits, mobile check deposits or ACH deposits
- Spend at least $1,000 on a Consumers Credit Union credit card
If you don’t want a credit card from this institution, you can earn 2.09% on the first $10,000 by completing the first three steps.
There are tiered interest rates for balances exceeding $10,000:
- 0.2%: $10,000.01 to $25,000.00
- 0.1%: $25,000.01 and up
Not achieving the necessary steps means you only earn 0.01% on your entire balance for the month.
Two other benefits include unlimited ATM reimbursements and personal checks.
You can earn up to 3.50% APY by opening an HMBradley deposit account and completing these actions each month:
- Earn 3% interest: Save at least 20% of your quarterly direct deposits
- Earn 0.5% interest: Make at least $100 in monthly purchases on an HMBradley credit card and have at least $2,500 in monthly direct deposits
At a minimum, your balance earns 1.00% APY, which is higher than most online banks. The first $100,000 earns interest.
Your first $10,000 with an Emprise Bank High Interest Checking account can earn 1.75% APY and the remaining balance earns 0.20%.
The monthly requirements to earn the bonus interest rates are:
- Make at least 12 debit card transactions
- Enroll in eStatements
- Make at least one direct deposit, withdrawal or automatic deposit
There are zero monthly service fees and the minimum initial deposit is $100 but there is no ongoing minimum balance requirement.
The Axos Bank Rewards Checking account awards up to 1.25% APY.
Each of these actions earns 0.4166% (1.25% total) per month:
- Receive at least $1,000 in direct deposits
- Make at least 10 debit card purchases ($3 purchase minimum)
- Complete another 5 debit card purchases (15 total card purchases)
You only need $50 to open an account and the interest rate applies to your entire balance.
Earn at least 1% back with Radius Rewards Checking:
- Debit card purchases earn 1% back
- Balances between $2,500 and $99,999.00 earn 0.10% APY
- Balances above $100,000 earn 0.15% APY
Other benefits include worldwide ATM fee rebates and no monthly service fees.
Here’s our full Radius review.
Postpaid T-Mobile customers can earn up to 4.00% APY on the first $3,000 cash deposits with T-Mobile MONEY by making at least 10 debit card purchases monthly. Balances above $3,000 earn 1.00% APY which is higher than most online banks.
If T-Mobile isn’t your cell phone carrier, you can earn 1.00% back on your account balance.
Prize-Linked Savings Accounts
Consider prize-linked savings accounts if online savings and checking accounts don’t inspire you to save more money. These accounts are free to join, can earn interest and win cash prizes.
Your deposits can earn interest but the APY is lower than most high-yield accounts. But you can win cash prizes by making weekly deposits.
- Can win cash prizes
- Deposits earn interest
- Interest rate can be lower than high-yield bank accounts
- May not win prizes
Yotta Savings deposits earn a 0.20% APY savings reward. In addition, the first $250,000 has FDIC Insurance from Evolve Bank.
Every $25 you deposit earns tickets for the weekly prize draw to win up to $10 million.
Use the referral code JIM4 to get 100 bonus tickets when you sign up.
A second option is depositing at least $5 into a Crypto Bucket to earn an average 8% APY interest rate. The platform converts your fiat currency into cryptocurrency stablecoins but you forfeit FDIC Insurance.
Here’s our full Yotta Savings review.
PrizePool awards 0.30% APY on all deposits in an FDIC-insured account. Each dollar in your account earns one daily ticket for the weekly prize draw too.
In addition to potentially winning one of the 4,000 weekly cash prizes, you can also win a $25,000 monthly grand prize.
Cryptocurrency is a highly volatile asset that isn’t a good fit for many wealth-building strategies. But if you’re a long-term holder and can stomach the wild price swings, it’s possible to earn interest by making crypto-backed loans for these coin types:
- Legacy coins: Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin
- Altcoins: Aave, Matic, PolkaDot, Dash
- Stablecoins: USD coin (USDC), Gemini dollar (GUSD), Binance dollar (BUSD)
Traders desiring margin loans pay you interest for lending your positions. While it’s possible to earn more than 5% interest, your portfolio value by more than the interest yield.
As cryptocurrency loans are risky, you might only allocate a small portion of your cash despite the higher interest rates.
The are several lending platforms you can join and maybe get free Bitcoin along the way. The yields and investment options can vary by service and current market demand.
BlockFi lets you earn up to 8.6% APY for crypto-backed loans when you fund an Interest Account. The platform awards monthly interest. You can make one free withdrawal for a cryptocurrency and stablecoin each month.
You can also open a trading account to trade cryptos and stablecoins.
- Stablecoins are dollar-backed and have minimal volatility
- Can earn more interest than other options
- Extremely volatile
- Asset value may decline more than interest yield
Celsius awards up to 17% APY with weekly interest payments for select cryptos. Like other platforms, most of the well-known coins and stablecoins only earn between 5% and 8%.
This company offers interest on more cryptocurrencies than competitors.
You can also get $50 in free Bitcoin by transferring at least $400 in existing crypto holdings.
Gemini is another leading cryptocurrency exchange with many options for trading or earning up to 8% interest with the Gemini Earn feature.
The Gemini dollar stablecoin (GUSD) is one of the most lucrative options and can be less volatile than other tokens.
This platform is available in all 50 U.S. states – many exchanges exclude at least one state.
Small Business Bonds
If you don’t have the risk appetite for cryptocurrency but want to earn fixed returns, consider investing small business bonds. The investment minimums start at $10.
These loans can award 5% interest which is higher than most government or corporate bonds. The asset-backing can minimize downside risk of small business bonds but they can still be riskier than investment-grade bonds.
Peer-to-peer lending is another way to earn more from interest payments than receiving a tiny cut from the bank – loan interest is how savers make money from savings accounts and CDs.
Instead of lending money to individuals without collateral, you can fund asset-backed small business loans.
- Entire balance earns 5%
- Low investment minimum
- Asset-backed loans
- Can be riskier than corporate or government bonds
- May need to invest for the entire bond repayment term
Worthy Peer Capital lets you invest in $10 increments and the entire balance earns 5% APY.
The bonds mature after 36 months but you can redeem your shares without paying an early redemption penalty.
If you like the simplicity of index funds, you will appreciate Worthy. The platform manages the investment portfolio so you only have to buy notes and collect interest.
It’s possible to earn up to 9% in small business bonds with SMBX (Small Business Exchange).
The minimum investment is $10 per note. The maturity date and yields vary by offering.
You can handpick your investments and see how much money other investors are committing. It may not be possible to redeem your shares early.
Prepaid Debit Cards
Prepaid debit cards are a popular option for the unbanked and teens to pay for purchases and avoid overspending.
Some of these cards offer high interest savings accounts to reward your unspent cash. You will need to review the potential debit card fees to decide if the extra income is worth it.
- Savings accounts don’t are fee-free
- Can be more flexible than a traditional savings account
- Hard to avoid debit card fees
- Must have account activity every 90 days
Mango earns 6% APY on the first $2,500 in deposits with excess balances earning 0.10%. There is a monthly limit of six withdrawals.
There is a $5 monthly service fee that you can waive by making at least $800 in monthly direct deposits.
You also pay $3 for ATM withdrawals in the United States but no card purchase fees. Also, you must exhibit account activity every 90 days to avoid an $8.00 inactivity fee.
ACE Flare Account by MetaBank
Earn 6% on the first $2,000 and 0.50% on the remaining balance of an ACE Flare Account by MetaBank. You can make up to six monthly withdrawals like most high-yield accounts.
There are no account fees for this savings account but you must receive at least $500 in monthly direct deposits to qualify.
The balance only earns 0.01% APY if you don’t have qualifying direct deposits.
Having at least $500 in direct deposits also reduces the monthly service fee from $9.95 to $5 for the Flare Account debit card.
Other benefits include Payback Rewards to earn shopping rewards at participating merchants. You can also make up to $400 in free ATM withdrawals at ACE Cash Express locations.
Here’s our full review of ACE Flare Account.
Netspend Savings Account
The first $1,000 of a Netspend Savings Account earns 5% APY. Any balance above $1,000 earns 0.50% APY.
You can fund your account with a linked Netspend debit card.
There are no service fees for the savings account but you are likely to pay fees when using the platform’s debit card.
The Pay-As-You-Go Plan has a $0 monthly service fee but you pay $1.50 per card purchase. Upgrading to the monthly plan waive the $1.50 purchase fee but the monthly fee is $9.95 (or $5 if you receive at least $500 in monthly direct deposits).
Either plan charges $2.95 for ATM withdrawals and $3.95 for cash reloads. You will also pay a $5.95 inactivity fee after 90 days without a transaction. But this is a savings account, not a checking account, so you can only make six withdrawals a month.
Note: Get a $20 credit after loading your card and joining Netspend with a referral.
As you can see, there are many ways you can earn at least 1% interest on your cash instead of a tiny fraction.
These gains can be an excellent addition to your current investment portfolio and can help you sleep easier at night without the heightened risk of alternative assets.