Saving and investing are the keys to living a life free from debt. Everyone knows that, right?
The hard part is knowing where to put your hard-earned money.
High-yield savings accounts are a top choice since they tend to have much better interest rates than traditional bank accounts. It seems like everyone and their brother is offering a new savings product they claim is “the best.” How do you know which to choose?
When considering online savings accounts, American Express probably isn’t the first one that comes to mind. They’re best known for their credit cards, but they have a great personal savings account option, too.
If your goal is to get the best bang for your buck, the American Express Personal Savings account has competitive interest rates that can help.
It’s on our list of best high-yield savings accounts and offers an excellent interest rate. Think it might be right for you? Here’s a rundown of the good and the bad to help you decide.
American Express Personal Savings at a Glance
No monthly fees
- No minimum balance
- Link current bank accounts
- 24/7 account access
- No transaction fees
- Access online and by phone
- Easy to automate savings
- Can still make deposits by check
What is American Express Personal Savings?
American Express Personal Savings is an online savings account you can use to set money aside and build your savings. Like most savings accounts, you earn interest on the money you deposit.
Since it’s a high-yield savings account, you earn a higher rate of interest than you would with a traditional savings account. The rate currently sits well above 2% APY, and there’s no minimum balance requirement to cash in on that high rate.
It’s easy to link your current accounts to transfer money in and out. After funding your new account, you’ll start to earn interest right away. Have a check to deposit instead? No problem – you can just mail it in.
Accessing Your Money
One thing to note is that your American Express Personal Savings doesn’t come with debit or ATM access. This might be a deal breaker for you given that there’s no quick way to get cash in your hand. But if you think about it, this is a huge advantage.
One of the most challenging parts of saving money is avoiding the temptation to spend it. If you don’t have a debit or ATM card, you won’t fall prey to impulse spending.
You still have easy access to your money by making a transfer to a linked account. From there, it’s as simple as withdrawing your cash from your linked account after the transfer is complete.
It can take one to three days for the transaction to process. But once you have the money, you’re free to spend it however you’d like.
What I Love About the AMEX Personal Savings Account
Obviously, the high interest rate is one of the biggest draws for using this account. The national average interest rate on traditional savings is only 0.10%, and that’s pretty terrible. It might not seem like a big difference, but you could earn hundreds of dollars more in interest every year with an account like the American Express Personal Savings account.
I also love that you don’t need a minimum deposit to open an account. With as little as $1, anyone can start benefiting by earning a nice interest rate from account. And, you keep earning as long as your balance is at least $1.
Another great feature is that it requires you to make a deliberate decision to spend your money. Sometimes having a small hurdle can mean the difference between staying on track or blowing your budget. With the American Express Personal Savings account, taking your money out using a debit card or ATM isn’t an option.
It requires a little effort on your part to spend the cash you’ve been saving. Transferring an amount to one of your linked accounts is easy enough if you log in online or make a quick phone call. But, it does take a couple of days for the deposit to show up.
If you struggle with saving money in general, automating the process can do all the work for you. American Express Personal Savings lets you set up automatic recurring transfers from any of the accounts you connect to it. Using this to your benefit can help you reach your savings goals even faster.
Where the Account Falls Short
Online banks come with a lot of benefits over their brick-and-mortar counterparts. The American Express Personal Savings is no exception. The fee-free banking and no minimum deposit or balance requirements are sweet advantages over some of the other high-yield savings account options.
Still, sometimes having an online-only bank comes with a few drawbacks.
As you’d expect, AMEX Personal Savings doesn’t have a physical location. Without a branch on every corner, you won’t have the ability to spend your cash instantly. With that said, accessing your funds by making a transfer to a connected account takes a simple request and can be done 24/7. It might take a day (or three) for the transaction to process, however.
Plus, like all savings accounts, federal regulations limit how many withdrawals you can make in a month. When depositing funds into a savings account, the goal is to leave it alone and let it build over time. For that reason, the monthly limit of six outgoing transfers usually isn’t a problem.
How to Use the American Express Personal Savings Account
The best way to use an American Express Personal Savings Account is different for everyone. Here are some ideas to get you started!
- Standalone savings – Keeping some money separate from your checking account is an important part of reaching your savings goals. If it sits in your checking account, it’s easy to give in to the temptation to spend it. Instead, set up a standalone account to build your savings. You can even use it as a sinking fund for things like a new car, down payment on a house, or another financial goal.
- Vacation fund – If you think traveling is one of the best things in life, the Personal Savings from American Express is a great place to stash money for your next adventure. The high interest rate helps your cash grow much faster than a traditional savings account, which gives you more to spend on your next vacation.
- Emergency fund – To avoid relying on your credit card and racking up debt when something goes wrong, an emergency fund is essential. It’s important to use discretion before spending from this account, but the money is there when you need it. A high-interest savings account is an excellent choice to help you keep this money separate from your regular spending money.
- Christmas budget – It is possible to celebrate Christmas without breaking the bank. Even with your best efforts, there’s no doubt that it’s expensive. Using an online savings account can help keep you out of debt the next holiday season. Setting up automatic recurring deposits requires no effort from you, but ensures you have funds when December rolls around.
American Express Personal Savings: The Verdict
Everyone loves free money, and that’s basically what earning interest is. The higher your rate, the more “free” money you get. That’s what makes online accounts so great: they have some of the best rates around. It’s also a great way to get a good return with low risk.
Tapping into a high-yield savings account is easy with the American Express Personal Savings. It doesn’t require a minimum deposit, and you can start earning interest on your money right away. And, with no monthly fees or transfer charges, your money will be put to good use.
With the ability to set up an automatic transfer, reaching your savings goals can happen even faster and without thought. If you want to set money aside for an emergency fund, your next vacation, or another savings goal, American Express Personal Savings accounts deserve your consideration.
Do you have an online high-yield savings account? What are you saving for? Tell us in the comments below!