If you're planning to save your stimulus check, look for a savings account with 3 features

If you're planning to save your stimulus check, look for a savings account with 3 features

January 3, 2021

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  • Saving your second stimulus check could be the right move, but it's important to save it in the right savings account. If you're looking for a new one, there are several things to keep in mind before opening. 
  • Your savings account should be a high-yield savings account, which offers a higher interest rate than most accounts with virtually no other differences.
  • Saving in an account that has features that fit your goals and preferences is also important. 
  • Any savings account you're considering should offer easy deposits and transfers. Consider setting up a small, regular automatic transfer when you open your account to grow your savings easily over time.
  • See Business Insider's picks for the best high-yield savings accounts »

The $600 stimulus check won't go very far for most American families. 

But if you're still working and don't need it to pay bills, saving it could be a smart move. With the right savings account, that $600 check could kickstart a new savings habit.

Whether you want to start an emergency fund, save for a down payment on a house, or save for future college expenses, now is the time to get going. Here's what to look for if you're considering opening a new savings account to stash your stimulus check and work towards your goal.

1. A competitive interest rate

Interest rates are now far from record highs, as they've dropped significantly since January 2020. But, simply having a rate that's higher than what's offered on savings accounts at traditional banks can still make a big difference. 

The average savings account has an interest rate of 0.06%, but high-yield savings accounts are an easy way to make your money grow faster. Typical high-yield savings account interest rates range from 0.10% to 0.40%. While it may not seem like a big difference, it can add up over time. And, when interest rates do rise again, your savings will be in the right place to take advantage.

Online banks tend to have higher interest rates than brick-and-mortar banks, so it might be worth checking with any online banking services you use to see what options are available.

2. It's the right savings account for your goal

There's no one-size-fits-all answer on where to open the best savings account. It comes down to what your goals are. 

If you're planning to use your savings as an emergency fund, opening your account somewhere where it's out of sight might be a better move than keeping it at the same bank as your checking account. If you're planning to use the money as a down payment on a house, make sure that you'll be able to easily get the money from your account with a wire transfer. 

Considering how the bank is accessed is also important. Do you often deposit cash? If so, you'll want to make sure you have ATM access or a branch nearby. If you like to do your banking on a computer or phone app, make sure the bank you're considering has an easy-to-use app or interface that you don't mind working with. 

Think about your goals for this account, and choose the account that has those features. Not only could it save potential headaches later, but it will make saving just a little bit more tailored to your needs.

3. It allows simple, automatic transfers between accounts

Most online checking and savings accounts come with the option to set up automatic transfers between accounts. This is a huge advantage for anyone wanting to build wealth over time. 

Choose an account that will allow you to set up and make automatic transfers easily and for free. Most banks allow this, but you'll want to make sure that it's simple enough to set up and maintain over time. 

Automating savings with transfers is an easy and hassle-free way to grow your savings. Keep adding to your account, and it could grow to a considerable amount over time. A $600 deposit today and $100 per month could grow to $6,671 after five years of consistent savings, assuming an interest rate of 0.4% that compounds monthly.

Slow and steady saving makes a big difference, and having the right account will make that easier.

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