Is Ally's online savings account safe?
Online savings accounts almost always pay more than stationary banks. So it is worth knowing how they work and how to start earning interest easily.
Can you open an account online?
The first step towards higher rates is to open an account. The process is simple and you can do it all online. That means you can get started now and open a savings account online - you don't have to go to the branch, print forms, or wait a few days (and lose momentum).
In the past you needed a "linked" account at a stationary bank, but those days are behind us.
Where do you open an account
There are many good online banks to choose from. Look for a bank that does what you want, whether you are looking for the highest rate or you want to reverse ATM fees. Look out for helpful features such as the ability to open a checking account and pay bills online, as well as the ability to deposit checks on your account.
Do you need a suggestion to get started? Both Ally Bank and Capital One 360 offer respectable online savings accounts, and Ally reimburses ATM fees (up to certain limits) when you use their checking account.
If you go with the highest paying bank, keep in mind that things will change over time. The bank with the highest APY could fall behind in about a year today. Don't be too busy trying to get the highest rate (unless you have a large balance, probably no point switching banks) - the most important thing is simply to earn a competitive rate.
Remember to include local banks and credit unions in your search. Even some megabanks have online accounts, and these accounts can make sense depending on your needs. They probably don't pay as much as internet banks, but you have the option to work with a cashier (for a fee) from time to time as the need arises.
How to open an account
To open your account, visit the website of the institution with which you want to create a bank. Look for something like "open an account" and you are on your way. You will need to provide a lot of personal information (such as your social security number, date of birth, and physical address). So make sure you have a few minutes to complete the process. Learn more about what to expect when opening a bank account online.
Is it safe?
Online banking is usually safe. There are always risks, but you can manage those risks.
Digital security: It is safe to open an account online as long as the information you provide is transmitted through secure channels. Most banks, web browsers and apps ensure that thieves cannot see anything you are transmitting (everything is encrypted or "encrypted" so that no one can use it). Assuming your device has not been compromised - you have current operating systems , Antivirus programs, browsers and firewalls - your data should be safe. However, be careful when using public Wi-Fi and make sure you have real banking apps on your mobile devices (jailbroken phones are riskier to use).
From day to day Online banks are generally safer than traditional banks.
There are no checks in the mail to be lost or stolen and you are less likely to be walking around with a wad of money. Instead, you'll likely do everything electronically, including moving money, paying bills, and making purchases with a debit card (note that you generally can't make purchases or pay bills from a savings account - you'll need a checking or money market account).
Bank failures are always a possibility, but they are rare. Make sure any online bank you consider is FDIC insured (or covered by NCUSIF insurance if it is a credit union) and keep your deposits under the maximum coverage limits. This way, hopefully, you will experience only minor inconvenience if your bank goes down.
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