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Reviews

The best high-yield savings account offered by a big bank

CNBC Select reviews the Amex High Yield Savings Account so you can decide if it's right for you.

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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.

When you start looking into opening a savings account at a new bank, there are endless options to choose from. For those who like familiarity, you might be more inclined to choose a big-name financial institution over an online-only bank that hasn't been around as long.

Though the newer, online-only banks typically offer better rates on their savings accounts there are still a few good options from the more well-known, brick-and-mortar banks.

CNBC Select reviewed the high-yield savings accounts offered by the largest banks and/or credit unions by asset size, and we found that the American Express® High Yield Savings Account ranks as our best overall pick in the brick-and-mortar category. This account offers users above-average interest rates, ease-of-use and 24/7 customer service (with good reviews).

Below, we review the American Express High Yield Savings Account and give you all the details of its features, including the annual percentage yield (APY), access to your cash, perks and fees so you can decide if this high-yield savings account is right for you.

American Express High Yield Savings Account review

American Express® High Yield Savings Account

Information about the American Express® Personal Savings High Yield Savings Account (HYSA) has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the bank prior to publication. American Express is a Member FDIC.
  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    0.60%

  • Minimum balance

    None

  • Monthly fee

    None

  • Maximum transactions

    Up to 9 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

    N/A

  • Overdraft fees

    N/A

  • Offer checking account?

    No

  • Offer ATM card?

    No

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Strong APY
  • No minimum balance required
  • No monthly fees
  • Up to 9 free withdrawals or transfers per statement cycle*
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Helpful "Tips & Tools" section on website

Cons

  • No option to add a checking account
  • No ATM access
  • You can't deposit a check via the mobile app

American Express High Yield Savings Account APY

The current APY is 0.60%. Users of the American Express High Yield Savings Account can start earning interest right away, with no minimum balances required in their account.

American Express compounds interest on your savings daily and deposits it into your account monthly.

Access to your cash

American Express offers account holders greater access to their money should they need it during the coronavirus pandemic.

The American Express High Yield Savings Account isn't meant for everyday use, but customers can now make a maximum of nine withdrawals or transfers per monthly statement cycle. This maximum limit of nine is new, in response to the federal six withdrawal/transfer limit being waived under Regulation D in April 2020. (Take note that other banks are allowing unlimited withdrawals or transactions at this time.)

There is no limit on the number of deposits that Amex customers can make into their high-yield savings account.

Customers can easily make transfers and automate their deposits from their external bank account by simply setting it up within a few minutes online. Once your external account is linked (which can take up to two days), transfers typically take less than 24 hours to complete. You can also receive your monthly statement either digitally or by mail at no extra charge to you.

Perks

The American Express High Yield Savings Account stands out for its high-rated 24/7 customer support.

American Express also has a helpful "Tips & Tools" section on its website with educational resources and strategies to help you save. Topics include how much you should save for retirement, how to get more out of your savings and ways to be a better saver.

Fees

There is no minimum balance requirement and no monthly fees with the American Express High Yield Savings Account.

Bottom line

For those looking to save money with a big-name financial institution, the American Express High Yield Savings Account is a popular option. It's a straightforward account with no fees whatsoever and a higher-than-average APY.

If you're searching instead for somewhere you can do all your banking in one place, check out the Discover Online Savings Account, which you can pair with a Discover Cashback Debit Account with ATM access and ranked on CNBC Select's list of the best no-fee checking accounts.

Learn more: Looking for a safe place to stash your cash? The pros and cons of keeping your money in a high-yield savings account

Our methodology

To determine which high-yield savings accounts offer the best return on your money, CNBC Select analyzed dozens of U.S. savings accounts offered by online and brick-and-mortar banks, including large credit unions. We narrowed down our ranking by only considering those savings accounts that offer an APY around 1%, no monthly maintenance fees and low (or no) minimum balance requirements.

While the accounts we chose in this article consistently rank as having some of the highest APY rates, we also compared each savings account on a range of features, including ease of use and account accessibility, as well as factors such as insurance policies and customer reviews when available. We also considered users' deposit options and each account's compound frequency.

All of the accounts included on this list are FDIC-insured up to $250,000. Note that the rates and fee structures for high-yield savings accounts are not guaranteed forever; they are subject to change without notice and they often fluctuate in accordance with the Fed rate. Your earnings depend on any associated fees and the balance you have in your high-yield savings account. To open an account, 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.