Fans of brick-and-mortar banks might find it easy to maintain longer relationships with their financial institutions than most of their friends and coworkers.
In fact, a 2017 Bankrate and MONEY survey found that the average U.S. adult has used the same bank account for 16 years — or longer than many people stay at their jobs.
There are certainly perks to building a long-term relationship with your local bank down the street. You might find it's easier to secure better loans, or that the customer service can't be beat. But the money in your savings account could be earning more interest if you shop around for an online alternative.
Online-only banks may not have physical locations, but the resulting low overhead costs mean they often offer higher interest rates and lower fees. And though you lose the face-to-face interaction, the convenience of apps and online banking portals could make up for it, even for the not-so-tech-savvy.
Below, CNBC Select breaks down the pros and cons of both brick-and-mortar and online savings accounts, along with our top recommendations, so you can decide which is best for you.
Brick-and-mortar banks are common among consumers because of their visibility. These are the traditional big banks that you see in most shopping plazas and on billboards, inside sports arenas and in commercials. Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase Bank, U.S. Bank and PNC Bank are all common examples.
You likely opened your first bank account with your local brick-and-mortar bank, but should you continue banking with them? Here are the pros and cons to consider.
Consider our top recommendation: When it comes to opening a brick-and-mortar savings account, a lot has to do with what is in your local area. If you are looking for a big bank with plenty of physical branches across the U.S., Wells Fargo Bank is your best bet.
With about 5,400 physical locations and over 13,000 ATMs, Wells Fargo is the largest brick-and-mortar bank in the nation by number of branches. We rated the WellsFargo Way2Save® Savings as its top savings account because it has a low minimum daily balance requirement in order to avoid the monthly service fee ($5 per month).
$25 to open
$5 per month, with options to waive
Up to 6 free withdrawals or transfers per statement cycle
Each withdrawal over the 6 per month limit will be assessed
Overdraft protection when you link your savings account to your checking account
Yes, if have a Wells Fargo checking account
Online-only banks are a smart choice for savers who don't mind doing all their banking online or over the phone. Though they often offer 24/7 customer service, the one-on-one attention is better with brick-and-mortar banks where you can go in and speak to someone directly rather than a chat robot.
Consider our top recommendation: The best online savings accounts are high-yield ones that offer better interest and low (or no) fees. The Ally Online Savings Account has a strong annual percentage yield (APY) on all balance tiers, no minimum balance and no monthly fees.
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
$10 per transaction
Yes, if have an Ally checking account
Learn more: CNBC Select's top 5 high-yield savings accounts
Opening a savings account is a smart financial move, but whether you go to your local branch down the street or you go completely online is up to you.
If you really value a face-to-face customer experience and are willing to forfeit a higher return on your money for it, then a brick-and-mortar savings account is for you.
On the other hand, if you care most about high interest rates and low fees, an online (high-yield) savings account is the better choice.