A money market account, or MMA, is a low-risk savings account that lets you earn a return with a variable rate.
They’re not the highest-earning accounts, but MMAs are an alternative to high-yield savings that can help you earn a bit of interest on the money you set aside short-term.
The best money market accounts today offer as much as 4% or more, and the latest rate hike from the Federal Reserve means that money market account rates will keep going up.
Here are the best money market account rates, how to determine if an MMA is good for you, and other factors to consider.
Best Money Market Rates for January 2023
|Prime Alliance Bank||3.65%||$0|
Here’s Where to Start
- Bank Overview
- What Is a Money Market Account?
- What to Know About Money Market Rates
- Money Market Accounts and Compounding Interest
- Is a Money Market Account Safe?
- Who Should Get a Money Market Account?
- When Is a Money Market Account a Good Investment?
- How to Choose a Money Market Account
- Money Market Pros and Cons
- Money Market Terminology You Should Know
- Money Market Account FAQs
How We Chose These Banks
- This list does not represent the entire market. To rank the money market accounts you’re most likely to be considering, we began by analyzing 25 of the most commonly reviewed and searched-for money market accounts.
- Then, we eliminated any credit unions, which have membership requirements that limit who can open an account with them. Many credit unions offer competitive terms for those who qualify; check your local area or use a credit union locator to compare rates.
- We also eliminated any banks that don’t make information on rates and fees easy to find on their websites.
- Next, we eliminated any banks that charge monthly service fees. Many banks offer ways to waive such fees, such as maintaining a minimum daily average balance of a set amount. But enough other banks offer a simpler path with no monthly service fee, so we think it’s worth skipping any bank that charges one.
- Then, we eliminated any banks offering rates of less than 0.60%, a reasonable benchmark given current rates.
- Finally, we made sure all of the institutions offering these accounts are FDIC insured, which gives greater security to your funds in the unlikely event of a bank failure.
The annual percentage yields (APYs) shown above are as of December 14, 2022. These are the rates offered for the lowest minimum deposit to open an account. Some banks offer higher promotional APY offers, or higher APY for higher balances than are shown above, but we kept our list to the basic entry point rates available with no strings attached and outside of any promotional period or offer.
The NextAdvisor editorial team updates this information regularly, though it is possible yields have changed since they were last updated. Also, some APYs may vary based on where you live.
This Week in Money Market Rates
Many money market accounts are now on par with high-yield savings accounts. This week, rates for many of the best money market accounts went up at banks, including Prime Alliance Bank, Quontic Bank, and Redneck Bank. Based on the financial institutions we track at NextAdvisor, the average money market rate is currently 3.11%.
Redneck Bank MMAs come with a free VISA debit card and no minimum account balances. You need $500 to open a money market account with them.
Redneck charges $3 a month for paper statements, but electronic statements are free. If you make more than six transactions in any given month, you’ll be charged $5 for each additional transaction.
You’ll need $100 to open a CIT Bank money market account. It doesn’t charge any monthly service fees.
With CIT Bank, your interest is compounded daily, and you get your earnings monthly. It charges $10 for each transaction over the six-per-month cap, but it limits the maximum fee to $50 per month.
Quontic scales its APYs. If you plan to deposit over $150,000 into your MMA, you’ll get the highest yield it offers. Account balances between $5,000 and $149,999 get the mid-tier APY. If you plan to put less than $5,000 into your MMA, you can still open an account with Quontic (its minimal initial deposit is just $100), but you’ll get its lowest APY.
Quontic Bank doesn’t charge monthly service fees. It compounds interest daily and pays earnings monthly.
Prime Alliance Bank
MMAs from Prime Alliance Bank come with no minimum balance requirements or monthly service fees. You can also have your interest payments sent to an external bank account via ACH.
You’ll get access to the mobile app, which you can use to deposit checks.
Sallie Mae doesn’t require a minimum account balance and doesn’t charge monthly service fees.
Its interest rate gets compounded daily, and you get your earnings paid out every month.
Discover advertises, “No. Fees. Period.” For example, it doesn’t charge fees for balances below its minimum or withdrawals from its in-network ATMs.
It’s another institution offering higher APYs for higher account balances. To earn the most interest possible with Discover, you’ll need to keep at least $100,000 in your MMA.
TIAA’s MMAs come with its Yield Pledge promise. According to this promise, it looks at all competitors’ yields each week and adjusts yield as necessary to make sure it’s in the top 5% of what it deems “Competitive Accounts.”
To earn the most with them, you’ll need at least $100,00 in your MMA. It scales MMA APYs in five tiers, with accounts under $10,000 earning the least.
You’ll need $500 to open a money market account with TIAA. It doesn’t charge a monthly account fee.
Many customers love Ally Bank for its ease of use and customer service.
For example, you can use Ally’s app with your MMA, making it possible to deposit checks from your phone. Ally also doesn’t require a minimum account balance or charge monthly maintenance fees. You’ll pay $10 per excessive transaction (transaction over the six-per-month cap), but Ally is currently refunding these fee charges.
Synchrony has a few ways you can conveniently withdraw and deposit from your MMA.
It offers an optional ATM card to handle transactions. Synchrony doesn’t charge ATM fees and will reimburse you up to per statement cycle for other banks. However, you won’t be refunded for ATM fees abroad.
You can also request checks for your MMA and make wire transfers.
What Is a Money Market Account?
Money market accounts (MMAs) are a bit of a hybrid between checking accounts and savings accounts. They generally offer higher interest rates than traditional savings accounts, with more liquidity (ability to access your money) than a certificate of deposit (CD). But interest rates are very similar to high-yield savings or CDs. They also give you the opportunity to use your money like a checking account, but with limitations.
Basically, a money market account is a place to securely store your cash reserves, like a savings account, with some checking-like features. Some money market accounts allow you to write checks from the account or use a debit card attached to it, for example, but you’re usually limited to six transactions a month.
The real perk with MMAs is they can offer a nice yield, especially for a savings-style account.
What to Know About Money Market Rates
An MMA is a common suggestion to round out a financial portfolio, according to financial advisors Kolton Kyne, with Ameriprise Financial, a financial planning firm based in Minneapolis, and Matthew Shiney, of Edward Jones, an investment firm based in Saint Louis. They give people decent returns thanks to high-interest rates and compound interest, along with the benefit of liquidity.
Today, interest rates are up from pandemic-era lows under 1%, and reaching 3% APY or more. The Federal Reserve has increased interest rates throughout this year to combat rising inflation levels, and banks have followed with higher rates on savings products like money market accounts.
Right now, MMA interest rates are still steadily increasing, so it could be a good time to invest your money into one. These are variable accounts, so unlike CDs, your interest rate will increase with rate hikes even after you open and fund your account. Keep in mind that if you choose an MMA, they often come with higher account balance minimums than most savings accounts.
Money Market Accounts and Compounding Interest
Money market accounts compound your interest daily or monthly, adding interest on top of your interest so that you earn more money over time. Compound interest is a big perk of MMAs, and combined with easy access to your cash — unlike with a CD, savings bond, or other investments — can make them an appealing option for earning interest on your savings.
Is a Money Market Account Safe?
Money market funds at major banks — those insured by the FDIC — are considered safe and secure. Just make sure any institution where you open an MMA is FDIC-insured, which covers your deposit up to $250,000 in the unlikely event the bank or institution fails.
Who Should Get a Money Market Account?
If you’ve got plenty of cash available to meet minimum balance requirements and you prefer the ability to write checks from your account, a money market account could be right for you. But if you’re looking for the best rates and a stable place to sock away emergency funds, a high-yield savings account should be sufficient.
When Is a Money Market Account a Good Investment?
Money market accounts deliver the best returns when the markets are performing well, like right now.
Most MMA rates are bouncing back from the pandemic, so now could be a good time to open a new MMA. Since markets are on the upswing, an MMA can offer you a high-yield savings account with more liquidity than a CD. Just make sure you pay attention to the account balance minimums with any MMA you seriously consider.
How to Choose a Money Market Account
Finding the best MMA comes down to a few factors:
Since the MMA is probably going to come with things like account balance minimums and limit you to six transactions per month, you want to get something in return. Look for an interest rate higher than a high-yield savings account.
Balance restrictions and perks
Many financial institutions that offer MMAs adjust what you get from the account based on how much money you keep in it. It’s helpful to have a ballpark idea of how much money you plan to keep in your MMA for two reasons. First, you can make sure you’ll be over the account balance minimum. Secondly, you can see what type of APY you can expect based on your account balance.
Account fees and minimums
These days, it’s not too difficult to find a money market account that doesn’t require a minimum balance. In fact, several of the options on our list of best accounts offer this benefit. However, keep an eye out for banks that do require a minimum balance to open an account. Typically, the higher the rate offered, the higher the minimum balance they’ll require. Also, watch out for excessive transaction fees. Some banks charge upwards of $10 for each transaction over the 6-per-month limit set by the Federal Reserve.
The right bank
Since MMAs are backed by the FDIC, you can rest easy knowing your money’s secure unless you plan to deposit more than $250,000. So choosing the right bank or credit union to open your account comes down to what you value in a financial institution. If you like to do everything from your phone, check out your app options. If you value customer service, look for an institution offering 24/7 live support.
Money Market Pros and Cons
Potential for high yields between the APY and daily compound interest
Liquidity, i.e., the ability to use the money in your account for up to six transactions a month
FDIC-insured account balance up to $250,000
Rates fluctuate with the market, leaving you with lower yields when interest is low
Some banks limit to six transactions per month or monthly billing cycle
Many MMAs come with account balance minimums and only offer the highest APYs to account with large balances
What Are the Risks with Money Market Accounts?
With an MMA, you take on some of the risk of market volatility. Your financial institution will assess your interest rate regularly (usually on a daily basis) and adjust it based on money market performance. When the markets aren’t performing well — like in a pandemic-throttled economy, for example — you’ll get a lower interest rate and, consequently, less in the way of earnings.
And because many MMAs come with transaction limits and an account balance minimum, you run the risk of getting charged fees that eat into your returns. Right now, CDs and high-yield savings will probably deliver similar yields without any of those risks (although with CDs, you do lose some liquidity).
View an in-depth look at the pros and cons of Money Market accounts here.
How to Open a Money Market Account
Plenty of financial institutions offer MMAs advertise a three-step process:
1. Give them your information
Usually, this means your address, contact info, and Social Security number (which is why it’s important to make sure you choose a secure, reputable institution).
2. Fund your account
In most cases, you can do this by mailing in a check or making a wire or electronic transfer.
3. Confirm and manage your account
At that point, you should get an email confirming you’re all set up. From there, you can add to your account balance at any point or use the money in your account for up to six transactions a month. Just make sure you never let your account balance dip below the minimum if your MMA has one.
Savings Account vs. Money Market Accounts
Traditionally, money market accounts were a way for savers to earn a much higher yield than they’d find on regular savings accounts. But today, high-yield savings accounts, especially from online banks, are much more common. Money market accounts today are comparable to high-yield savings accounts when it comes to the interest rates you can earn.
One main difference is that MMAs tend to be a bit more flexible in how you can access your money, by providing check writing or debit card access. On the other hand, MMAs also generally have higher minimum balance requirements, which can make them better for people who already have some sum of money saved, rather than those just starting out.
Alternatives to Money Market Accounts
As we’ve mentioned, other savings-style accounts offer comparable rates to MMAs right now. We recommend looking at high-yield savings accounts and CDs. High-yield savings accounts function just like traditional savings accounts, but they offer you higher yields, as the name suggests.
CDs also offer comparably high APYs, but you need to commit to keeping your money in the CD for a set period of time (e.g., five years).
High-yield savings accounts and CDs are usually less to manage than MMAs, which is why we’d recommend them right now when all of their yield rates are about the same. But since the market has rebounded, MMA APYs are up, too. In a few years, MMAs may trounce the yields offered by these other savings vehicles.
Money Market Terminology You Should Know
MMA: Short for money market account. These accounts usually offer higher interest rate yields than traditional savings accounts with some checking account features.
APY: Short for annual percent yield, or the percentage of the money you have in the account you’ll get back in the form of interest over the course of one year. Most institutions calculate your interest rate daily (based on money market performance) and compound your interest periodically (e.g., daily or monthly) to arrive at your APY.
Interest rate: This is the rate at which you’ll earn interest on the money you have in your MMA. Again, many institutions adjust this rate on a daily basis based on current market performance.
High-yield: Generally, this is an umbrella term used to denote that a certain account offers more interest-earning potential than other accounts like it. For example, a high-yield savings account will provide you with a higher interest rate than a traditional savings account. MMAs are considered high-yield accounts.
Minimum deposit: This is the minimum amount of money you need to put into MMAs to open them.
Minimum balance: This is the minimum amount of money you need to keep in your MMA to avoid incurring fees.
Earnings: This is the money your financial institution pays you based on your interest rate and the money you have in your MMA. Usually, you’ll get earnings deposited into your account monthly or quarterly.
Compound interest: This is a huge perk of MMAs. Many MMAs compound interest daily or monthly. Let’s say your interest compounds daily. Each day, your earned interest is credited to your account balance (even if it’s not deposited in the form of earnings yet). That means tomorrow, you can earn interest on the previous day’s interest — and so on. Compound interest is the best interest-based way to earn money quickly.
FDIC deposit insurance: MMAs are backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) up to $250,000. If anything happens to the financial institution you open your MMA, insurance will pay out to ensure you don’t personally lose any money (up to the $250,000 limit).
Transaction limitations: Per limits set by the Federal Reserve Board, institutions offer MMAs will limit you to six withdrawals or transfers per month or monthly statement period. With some MMAs, you can get around the six-per-month limit by making withdrawals/transfers in person at one of the financial institution’s branches or ATMs or making a request by mail or phone.
Money Market Account FAQs
What is a good money market account?
If you’re in the market for an MMA, look for an interest rate in line with competitors. Also check for minimum balance requirements and transaction limits, and make sure they align with how you’ll use the account. You’ll also want to make sure your account is FDIC insured.
How do I open a money market account?
First, choose a money market account that makes the most sense for you. Check things like minimum balance requirements, transaction limits, account accessibility, interest rate, and whether or not the account is FDIC insured. You can usually fill out an application for your account online, but you can also go in person to the financial institution of your choosing. Make sure you have personal information like name, address, and Social Security number readily available. You’ll also need funds for your initial deposit (there may be a minimum you need to deposit to open your account).
How liquid is a money market account?
Money market accounts are highly liquid — meaning the funds in them are available for immediate withdrawal. The only restriction on accessing your money is how frequently you can do it, since some banks limit withdrawals to six times per month.
Are money market account rates taxable?
Generally, you must pay taxes on any interest you receive from a money market account.
Do money market interest rates fluctuate?
Yes, just like high-yield savings accounts, the interest you receive on a money market account fluctuates with the market.