Deposit Product Ratings Methodology

Our methodology for rating deposit products takes into account factors such as interest rates, fees, and account features.
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MoneyRates ratings for the best rates are based on rates being offered at the time of publication. Weight is also given to institutions and accounts that offer consistently higher rates than average.

We Analyze Rates for the Following Accounts

  • Certificates of deposit (CDs)
  • Checking accounts
  • Money market accounts
  • Savings accounts

We weigh each type of account differently and analyze the following criteria for each account.

Certificates of deposit (CDs)

  • Interest rates
  • Early withdrawal penalties
  • Opening balance required
  • Availability

Checking Accounts

  • Monthly maintenance fees
  • Other fees
  • ATM access
  • Bonuses, incentives, and rewards
  • Availability
  • Balance requirements

Money Market Accounts (MMAs)

  • Interest rates
  • Monthly maintenance fees
  • Other fees
  • ATM access
  • Check writing access
  • Opening balance required
  • Availability

Savings Accounts

  • Interest rates
  • Monthly maintenance fees
  • ATM access
  • Additional savings tools
  • Opening balance required
  • Availability

Rating Specifics

Interest Rates (CDs, MMA, Savings)

We compare interest rates against the national average rates as published by the Federal Reserve Board. We also consider which institutions offer consistently higher rates.

Early Withdrawal Penalties (CDs)

Most CDs come with early withdrawal penalties if you take money out of the account before its maturity date.

Balance Required (CDs, Checking, Savings, MMA)

Most accounts have balance requirements, and in some accounts, like savings, they can be as low as $1 or as high as $100. CDs and MMAs usually have large opening balance requirements.

Availability (CDs, Checking, Savings, MMA)

Some accounts are only available to residents of a specific area or state. We give higher ratings to more widely available products.

Monthly Maintenance Fees (Checking, MMA, Savings)

More accounts are offering no maintenance fees. We give higher ratings to free accounts.

Other Fees (Checking, MMA, Savings)

Banking fees can include over-limit fees, fees for too many withdrawals, and more. We give a higher rating to banks that don’t charge these fees or have minimal charges for them

ATM Access (Checking, MMA, Savings)

Accounts that have free ATM access or are reimbursed for ATM fees receive a higher rating.

Bonuses, Incentives, and Rewards (Checking)

Some banks will offer incentives to new checking customers.

Tools (Savings)

Some savings accounts come with financial management tools and ways to save extra, for instance, if you link savings and checking together. Those features receive extra weight in our rankings

How We Collect Data

We maintain a large database of banking accounts by checking directly with financial institutions, which we update and analyze on a weekly basis. For each category, we analyze approximately 100 different banks, credit unions, and fintech companies to find the top current rates. We narrow down our search based on account accessibility for most people. Only credit unions with open membership and banks that serve clients throughout large portions of the U.S. are included in our ratings.

How We Analyze Data

For each product criterion, our evaluation team assigns a score from 0 to 5. The weighted average is calculated based on the scores for the criteria.

Who Rates the Accounts?

Our team is comprised of financial and industry experts, data analysts, editors, and writers who have 20 years of experience in the finance and banking sectors.

Our experts hold various designations, including Chartered Financial Analyst, Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP), and IRS credentialed Enrolled Agent (EA). They have expertise in all facets of finance, including insurance, investing, lending, retirement planning, student loans, and more. Their work has been published in major media outlets and websites such as The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, AARP, Business Insider, The Balance, Investopedia, The Motley Fool, Credit Karma, Bankrate, and other national publications.

How We Stay Up-to-Date

Interest rates and other bank account factors are subject to change without notice. MoneyRates strives to maintain accurate and up-to-date information. We regularly review our ratings and recommendations to ensure the product is still available and the information is accurate.