2024 Excellence in Banking Awards: Top Performers and Innovators 

From deposit accounts like checking and CDs to innovative ways to invest your money, find the best rates, lowest fees, and most cutting edge banking products for 2024.
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By Kristin Marino

The landscape for savings, certificates of deposit, and money market accounts has transformed significantly in recent years.

While the returns on these deposit accounts were once minimal, the situation has evolved positively over the past 1-2 years. We are experiencing some of the highest interest rates for these accounts in over a decade, presenting a remarkable opportunity for savers and investors. 

This current financial climate offers an unprecedented opportunity to save and invest more effectively. However, the critical question is how to ensure that you are capitalizing on the best available rates. This requires staying informed and possibly seeking expert advice to navigate these favorable conditions to your maximum advantage. 

We analyzed and compared hundreds of financial institutions and services to find the best accounts and products in personal finance for 2024, placing emphasis on the best interest rates and returns. 

See which products and accounts made the list and check back soon for updates. Our recommendations change throughout the year as new interest rates, accounts, and products become available to consumers. 

Best Deposit Accounts

Deposit accounts enable you to put your money in a safe place when you use a federally insured bank. They include checking, savings, money market, and CD accounts. Browse our selections below and learn more.

The Best High Yield Savings Accounts

Best CD Accounts

Best Money Market Accounts

Best Checking Accounts

Best Cash Management Accounts

Best Investment Accounts

Investment accounts enable you to put your money towards investments that can give you a steady return on your money and come in more flavors than you might realize. You can choose investment accounts you manage yourself or have a robo-investor or investment professional suggest short- and long-term investments. Here are some of the best in each category.

Best Online Brokerage Accounts

Best Robo-Advisors

Best Real Estate Investing Platforms

Best Alternative Investing Platform

Best Personal Loans

Personal loans can be used for just about any reason, from debt consolidation to home improvement and emergencies. The best personal loans offer good APRs, a variety of loan terms, and a chance for consumers with less-than-perfect credit to qualify. The best loans below offer all this and more.

Best Personal Loans

Methodology: How We Chose the Top Performers and Innovators 

Best Savings Accounts 

Our comprehensive analysis encompassed more than 60 savings accounts, employing a methodical, weighted scoring system to ascertain the finest options available.

This evaluation was grounded in several critical criteria: interest rates, which formed the bulk of the assessment at 55%, followed by the accessibility and convenience of the account at 15%.

We also considered the impact of monthly and one-off fees and minimum opening deposit requirements, each contributing 10% to our evaluation.

Additionally, we evaluated the availability and efficacy of money management tools and the quality of customer service, with each of these factors accounting for 5% of our overall scoring.

This approach ensures our recommendations are based on a holistic and detailed analysis of what truly defines the best savings accounts. 

Best CD Accounts 

We conducted an in-depth analysis of more than 65 CD accounts, employing a rigorous weighted scoring system to identify the top performers based on key criteria.

Our evaluation primarily focused on interest rates, carrying the most significant weight at 65%.

Additionally, we assessed account access and convenience, which accounted for 15% of our analysis. Minimum opening deposit requirements and the variety of options available were also factored in, each contributing 10% to our overall assessment.

This methodology ensures that our recommendations are rooted in a thorough and comprehensive examination, ensuring we pinpoint the most advantageous CD accounts. 

Best Money Market Accounts 

Our examination covered more than 60 money market accounts, employing a systematic weighted scoring system to discern the optimal choices based on crucial criteria.

Our analysis focused primarily on interest rates, representing the major share at 60%. We also looked at account access and check writing capabilities, constituting 15% of our assessment.

Minimum opening deposit requirements and associated fees both contributed 10% each to our comprehensive analysis.

Additionally, we considered the effectiveness of money management tools, accounting for 5% of our overall scoring.

This thorough approach ensures that our recommendations are grounded in a detailed and holistic analysis, pinpointing the most favorable money market accounts available. 

Best Checking Accounts  

Our assessment reviewed more than 60 checking accounts, employing a weighted scoring system to find the best options based on critical criteria.

Among these factors was the evaluation of interest rates, commanding the lion’s share at 60%. We evaluated account access and check-writing capabilities, accounting for 15% of our overall assessment.

Minimum opening deposit requirements and associated fees both contributed 10% each to our analysis. We considered the effectiveness of money management tools, constituting 5% of our scoring.

This rigorous approach ensures that our recommendations are founded on a detailed and holistic analysis, identifying the best-suited checking accounts for our audience. 

Best Cash Management Accounts 

We examined 10 cash management accounts, employing weighted scores to identify the best based on critical criteria. APY formed the majority at 55%, while account minimums and fees contributed 10% and 15%, respectively. User experience and transparency collectively weighed 10%, alongside access. This concise approach ensures our recommendations stem from a focused analysis, pinpointing the top cash management accounts for consideration. 

Best Online Brokerages 

Our analysis included over 25 online brokerage accounts, employing a strategic weighted scoring system to identify the most optimal choices based on key factors.

Foremost among these factors was commission and other fees, commanding the majority at 50%. We also scrutinized account minimums, contributing 20% to our overall assessment.

The selection of investment options held significant weight, accounting for another 20% of our comprehensive analysis. Furthermore, we considered the accessibility of the platform, attributing 5% to our scoring.

Money management tools were also considered, constituting 5% of our evaluation. This approach ensures that our recommendations are grounded in a detailed and comprehensive analysis, pinpointing the best online brokerage accounts for our audience. 

Best Robo-Advisors 

Our evaluation extended to more than 25 robo-advisors, employing an unbiased weighted scoring system to discern the best options based on key criteria. Central to our evaluation was the assessment of commission and other fees, commanding the majority at 50%.

Furthermore, we scrutinized account minimums, contributing 20% to our overall assessment. The variety of investment selections held significant weight, accounting for 10% of our comprehensive analysis.

Additionally, we assessed the accessibility of the platform, attributing 5% to our scoring. User experience and transparency were carefully considered, collectively contributing 10% to our evaluation.

Finally, we considered the availability and effectiveness of customer support options, constituting 5% in our assessment.  

Best Real Estate Investing Platforms 

Our analysis covered more than 10 real estate investing platforms, using a weighted scoring system to identify optimal choices based on critical criteria. The evaluation prioritized commission and other fees, comprising 50% of the assessment.

We examined account minimums, contributing 20% to the overall evaluation. The variety of investment selections held significant weight, accounting for 10% of the analysis.

Platform accessibility was assessed, and 5% was attributed to scoring. User experience and transparency played a crucial role, collectively contributing 10% to the evaluation.

Finally, we considered the availability and effectiveness of customer support options, constituting 5% of our assessment. 

Best Alternative Investing Platforms 

Examining 10 alternative investing platforms, we applied weighted scores to ascertain the best based on key criteria. Commission and fees dominated with 50%, while the minimum amount to open an account was 20%.

Investment selections and access/user experience each contributed 10% and 15%, respectively. Customer support wrapped up the analysis with a 5% weight.

This approach ensures our recommendations prioritize essential elements, guiding users to the most fitting alternative investing platforms. 

Best Personal Loans 

Our review of over 15 personal loans involved a weighted scoring system to pinpoint the best based on key criteria. APR took the lead at 55%, while origination and other fees contributed 20%.

Loan amounts and requirements each accounted for 10%, with access and user experience collectively holding 5%. This analysis ensures our recommendations are grounded in essential factors guiding individuals toward the most suitable personal loan options. 

The banking landscape in 2024 is evolving rapidly, driven by technological advancements and shifting financial trends. Key among these changes is the integration of AI-driven virtual assistants, offering personalized financial guidance and sophisticated automated tools.

Banks are also innovating with hybrid account models and moving towards cardless transactions, signaling a significant shift in how we manage our finances. 

In an environment where interest rates might stabilize, savvy consumers may find it advantageous to lock in favorable rates through savings, CDs, and money market accounts. 

Here’s a snapshot of what we anticipate for banking and interest rates in 2024: 

Stabilizing Interest Rates  

Inflation appears to be easing. Following a period of rate increases, the Federal Reserve has paused rate hikes in its recent meetings. There’s even speculation about potential rate cuts in 2024. While this trend bodes well for those seeking mortgages and loans, it could also indicate a plateau in interest rates for deposit accounts. Now might be the ideal time to secure attractive rates, especially with products like CDs, where interest rates can be fixed. 

The Rise of Personalized Banking and Artificial Intelligence Assistants  

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not just a buzzword. It’s becoming a practical part of daily life, including in the banking sector. In 2024, AI’s presence in banking is expected to grow substantially. This technology is already familiar to investors in the form of robo-advisors, but it’s set to expand into everyday banking for checking and savings accounts. 

Banks like U.S. Bank and Huntington Bank are pioneering this trend, utilizing technology from companies like Personetics. Bank of America’s virtual assistant Erica is also stepping up to offer such advice. The objective is to empower customers to make smarter banking decisions, similar to how robo-advisors assist investors. 

Additionally, fintech firms such as Chime and Acorns are leading the way with automated savings tools, a trend that traditional banks are quickly adopting. 

Soon, your banking virtual assistant will seamlessly operate across all your bank accounts, optimizing your financial management without any required effort on your part.   

Combination/Holistic/Relationship Banking 

Financial institutions are strategically broadening their service offerings to enhance their financial performance beyond traditional loans and deposits. This strategic diversification enables customers to seamlessly oversee and control multiple facets of their finances through a unified portal.  

The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) facilitates effective communication between different accounts, providing customers with real-time updates on the status of each account within a singular interface. 

Using AI-driven technology lets consumers set up automated fund transfers and management. By configuring your primary account, you gain the advantage of having funds automatically distributed among various sub-accounts, streamlining financial management processes, and mitigating the need for manual intervention. 

As we look forward to exciting innovations in the financial landscape in 2024, several combination accounts are poised to emerge. These accounts cater to evolving customer needs and preferences, offering enhanced features and functionalities that go beyond conventional banking services. Keep an eye on these emerging combination accounts as they represent the evolving landscape of financial services, incorporating cutting-edge technologies and customer-centric solutions. 

Cardless Banking Expansion 

Contemporary advancements in financial technology have allowed consumers to conduct most transactions without the necessity of a physical bank card. Using a digital wallet integrated into your mobile device makes it possible to make payments at any point where you can tap your bank card. 

The advent of cardless ATMs presents another way for ATM transactions, using the capabilities of a smartphone’s banking application. This innovation is convenient for people who don’t carry a debit card or seek to minimize their interactions with ATM touchscreens. 

The rise of digital payment modalities indicates a shift toward widespread adoption across diverse demographics, transcending generational boundaries. This evolution is not exclusive to the younger generation, as shown by its permeation into the broader consumer base, signaling a more general acceptance and integration of mobile phone-based payment methods. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to use an online bank?

As long as you use a bank that is a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or a credit union that is a member of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), your money is safe. Even in a traditional bank, money is moved electronically, so there’s no danger in doing the same thing with an online bank.

Are CDs safe investments?

CDs are as safe as savings, checking, or any other bank account provided the bank is FDIC insured and the credit union is NCUA insured.

Are robo-advisors safe for retirement savings?

The automated nature of robo-advisors might not be right for everybody, but they do offer some distinct advantages to people planning for retirement including making sure you are on track to meet your retirement goals and ensuring you have the right investment mix.

About Author
Kristin Marino is a seasoned voice in the finance and education sectors, with rich experience spanning decades as a writer and editor. Kristin has lent her editorial financial expertise to platforms like MoneyRates, The Balance, and MoneyGeek. With a keen ability to distill complex financial concepts into accessible insights, she remains dedicated to guiding readers toward informed financial choices.