The best money market account for having easy access to your cash

This post was originally published on this site

Editor’s Note: APYs listed in this article are up-to-date as of the time of publication. They may fluctuate (up or down) as the Fed rate changes. CNBC will update as changes are made public.

Money market accounts (MMAs) are savings accounts that earn higher-than-average interest and help you grow your balances over time. Though you should leave your savings untouched if you are working toward affording a certain goal, MMAs let you access your cash should you ever need to.

MMAs stand out from other savings accounts by offering check-writing privileges, and many also come with ATM cards. With an ATM card, users can make unlimited withdrawals from their MMA immediately and at any time. You don’t have to transfer money into your checking (like with other savings) nor do you have to pay a penalty fee for withdrawing (like with CDs).

The Synchrony Bank Money Market Account ranks on our best MMA list for giving users access to both checks and am ATM card, as well as a higher-than-average interest rate. It stands out for offering out-of-network ATM reimbursements, physical branch access and an IRA money market account.

Below, we review the Synchrony Bank Money Market Account and give you all the details on its features, including the annual percentage yield (APY), access to your cash, perks and fees so you can decide if this MMA is right for you.

Synchrony Bank Money Market Account review

Synchrony Bank Money Market Account

Information about the Synchrony Bank Money Market Account has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the bank prior to publication. Synchrony Bank is a Member FDIC.

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

  • Minimum balance

  • Monthly fee

  • Maximum transactions

    Up to 6 free withdrawals or transfers per statement cycle *The 6/statement cycle withdrawal limit is waived during the coronavirus outbreak under Regulation D

  • Excessive transactions fee

    None, but may result in account closure

  • Overdraft fees

  • Offer checks?

  • Offer debit card?

    No, but ATM card

Pros

  • Access to checks and an ATM card
  • No minimum deposit or balance requirements
  • No monthly service fees
  • Physical branch access
  • Up to 6 free withdrawals or transfers per statement cycle*
  • Free ATM access at machines with Plus or Accel® logos
  • Out-of-network ATM reimbursement of up to $5 per month
  • Offers an IRA money market account so you can keep adding to your retirement plan

Cons

  • No debit card
  • Physical branch is limited to Bridgewater, NJ
  • Account could close if you make more than 6 transactions in a statement cycle*
  • Out-of-network ATM reimbursement is not as high as other accounts

Synchrony Bank Money Market Account APY

The current APY is 0.50%. Users of the Synchrony Bank Money Market Account start earning interest right away with no minimum balances required in their account.

Interest compounds daily and is credited monthly onto you statement date.

Access to your cash

Synchrony Bank account holders can access the cash they put into a MMA fee-free at any one of the thousands of ATMs across the country (and Canada) displaying the Plus or Accel® logos. Synchrony refunds up to $5 per statement cycle of fees from non-network ATM operators in the U.S.

You may also make an electronic transfer to and from accounts both at Synchrony and other banks, set up direct deposit, write or deposit checks and schedule wire transfers. You will receive checks upon request once you accept the account terms and fund your account. Use the Synchrony Bank app to take a picture of your check and make mobile deposits.

Note that all withdrawals (except ATM transactions) and transfers are limited to up to six per statement cycle as required by federal law (limit waived during the coronavirus outbreak under Regulation D).

Perks

The perks you get with the Synchrony Bank Money Market Account include access to checks and an ATM card so you can directly withdraw cash however many times you need, whenever you need to.

To take advantage of this feature, make sure you use an ATM with Plus or Accel® logos so it’s in-network and free of charge. For out-of-network ATM provider fees, Synchrony Bank reimburses users up to $5 per month.

Unlike other banks we found, Synchrony also offers an IRA MMA option so that you can keep adding to your retirement plan. It has a current APY of 0.50% and requires a $250 minimum opening deposit.

And, if you happen to live near Bridgewater, NJ, Synchrony Bank has its physical branch there. Many of the best money market accounts are found by online-only banks so this is unique (though limited to residents in Bridgewater).

Fees

In addition to having no minimum balance requirements, the Synchrony Bank Money Market Account also offers no monthly maintenance fees.

If your transactions (excluding ATM withdrawals) exceed the six-per-statement-cycle limit, your account could close. (Note that this is currently waived amid the ongoing pandemic.)

Bottom line

Our methodology

To determine which money market accounts (MMAs) offer the best return on your money, CNBC Select analyzed dozens of MMAs offered by online and brick-and-mortar banks, including large credit unions.

We found that the APY offered by online banks and credit unions far outpaced those offered by most national brick-and-mortar banks. While many credit unions have good MMA options, they didn’t make our final list because the majority require membership, which can require you to jump through several hoops to qualify. This is a ranking of only MMAs, excluding any money market funds (which are investment products).

We narrowed down our ranking by only considering those accounts that offer competitive APYs, or higher-than-average rates, as well as no (or low) required minimum deposits to open an account and zero monthly maintenance fees.

While the accounts we chose in this article consistently rank as having some of the highest APY rates, we also compared each MMA on a range of other features, including check-writing abilities, debit card and ATM access, website and mobile features, as well as factors such as insurance policies and customer reviews when available. We also considered users’ deposit options and the frequency with which the interest compounds.

All of the MMAs included on this list are FDIC-insured up to $250,000 per person. If you are opening a joint account MMA, the insurance limit is doubled.

The rates and fee structures banks advertise for their MMAs are not guaranteed forever. They are subject to change without notice and they often fluctuate in accordance with the Fed rate. If you open a MMA, the APY you earn is a variable rate — meaning it can go up and down at any time.

Your earnings depend on the amount you deposit into your MMA, your APY, any additional contributions and associated fees, as well as withdrawals that you make from your account. Generally, larger deposits and a higher interest rate will earn you the most money. Any withdrawals will lower your principal balance/earnings.

To open a MMA for the first time, most banks and institutions require a deposit of new money, meaning you can’t transfer money you already had in an account at that bank.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.