Here's How Much $20,000 Earns You in a Savings Account

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page. APY = Annual Percentage Yield. APYs are subject to change at any time without notice.

KEY POINTS

  • A $20,000 balance could earn you anywhere from a few dollars with a low interest account, or up to $950 with a High Yield Savings Account like CIT Platinum Savings that pays 5.00% APY for balances of $5,000 or more
  • High-yield savings accounts are the best option because they earn much higher interest rates.
  • These are offered by online banks, which have the same $250,000 of FDIC insurance as the big banks.

The right savings account is a must to get the most from your money.

Since last year, there have been several interest rate hikes. While savings accounts previously offered barely anything, that's no longer the case. Many of the best savings accounts now have APYs from about 3.5% to over 5%.

However, not all banks offer anywhere near that much. For example, if you stick with a big bank, odds are you'll earn a significantly lower interest rate. Some of them offer as little as 0.01%.

It's a smart move to earn as much interest as possible, but it's even more important when you have a large amount of savings. To demonstrate that, let's look at how much $20,000 in savings will grow, depending on the account you choose.

How much $20,000 earns you in a savings account

Savings account APYs (annual percentage yields) vary quite a bit. The table below shows how much you'd earn in one year depending on your account's APY. It compares APYs of 0.01%, since that's what some big banks offer, the current national average of 0.35%, and a few rates available right now through high-yield savings accounts.

Our Picks for the Best High-Yield Savings Accounts of 2024

APY
4.50%
Min. to earn
$0.01
APY
4.25%
Rate info Circle with letter I in it. See Capital One website for most up-to-date rates. Advertised Annual Percentage Yield (APY) is variable and accurate as of April 11, 2024. Rates are subject to change at any time before or after account opening.
Min. to earn
$0
APY
4.25%
Rate info Circle with letter I in it. 4.25% annual percentage yield as of June 21, 2024
Min. to earn
$1

APY Interest earned in one year
0.01% $2
0.35% $70
3.50% $700
4.00% $800
4.50% $900
4.75% $950
5.00% $1000
Data source: Author's calculations.

There's no arguing that you lose a lot of money if you keep your savings in the wrong place. You're looking at a difference of several 1,000s between the top savings accounts and those with a subpar to even an average APY.

Why do savings account rates differ so much?

The primary reason why some savings accounts have much higher interest rates is because they're offered by online banks. These banks usually don't have branches you can visit, which saves them money on overhead costs. Banking locations and the staff to run them aren't cheap. Because online banks save in this area, they can pay more interest than brick-and-mortar banks.

Online banks also need to offer those competitive rates to attract and retain customers. Big banks already have established brands and massive customer bases, so they don't need to compete on interest.

This means in-person banking normally isn't an option if you want a high interest rate. Some high-yield savings accounts also don't offer a debit card. You may need to transfer your money to a checking account first to withdraw it. While this isn't always convenient, it's not a huge drawback. After all, savings accounts are designed for storing your savings, not moving money back and forth.

How to maximize your savings

If you don't have a high-yield savings account already, it makes sense to open one. You'll earn much more interest, and there's no downside. Online banks are just as safe, as they offer the same FDIC insurance as the big banks. That covers up to $250,000 per account in the event of bank failure.

There are plenty of high-yield accounts to choose from. While APY is one of the most important features, also look at minimum deposit requirements. Not all accounts have these, but some require a minimum balance to earn the APY. Check for monthly maintenance fees, as well. Most of the top online banks don't charge these, but it's still good to double check.

Once you've found an account you like, you can sign up online. You'll need to provide your address, Social Security number, and possibly a scan of your government-issued ID. The process of opening a bank account online is usually quick and easy. After that, transfer over your savings to start earning interest.

These savings accounts are FDIC insured and could earn you 11x your bank

Many people are missing out on guaranteed returns as their money languishes in a big bank savings account earning next to no interest. Our picks of the best online savings accounts could earn you 11x the national average savings account rate. Click here to uncover the best-in-class accounts that landed a spot on our short list of the best savings accounts for 2024.

Two of our top online savings account picks:

Rates as of Jun 21, 2024 Ratings Methodology
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Citizens Access® Savings Capital One 360 Performance Savings
Member FDIC. Member FDIC.
Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
4.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
4.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor

APY: 4.50%

APY: 4.25%

Min. to earn APY: $0.01

Min. to earn APY: $0

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