I recommend maximizing savings using multiple banks for checking and savings. I also recommend avoiding all fees if time-effective for you based on how much time things take versus how much you make per hour or minute, etc. I personally bank with Marcus (Goldman Sachs) for 1.5% (2/2/18) savings, Wells Fargo for checking and savings (my only bricks and mortar account), Alliant for around .65% (2/2/18) interest checking, Discoverbank for 1% cash back debit card purchases, in addition to other banks.
Here are my recommendations on savings & checking accounts:
1 or more Bricks & Mortar bank: I use Wells Fargo. By a monthly direct deposit of $30 from my Wells checking account, my savings account is free. That said, a savings account with Wells Fargo is unnecessary in my opinion.
Online banks for higher interest & otherwise: Marcus by Goldman Sachs (>2% interest in November 2018) or some of the other top banks listed here for savings and here for banks with both checking and savings. Keep in mind that the rates for many of these banks go up and down. It's best to find how long the high rate has been going and look at rate trends for that individual bank before banking with it so that you don't have to keep going from bank to bank, unless that's effective based on the worth of your time and the amount in banks. My account with Goldman Sachs has remained high for years. To look at rates over time, visit here, search for a bank, click on rates, and click on the type of account you're looking to open. CIT Bank currently has some of the highest rates for a semi-standard high yield savings account without too many stipulations and a long history of high rates. The one stipulation about that one that is rather different, but that allows the Savings Builder Account to be above a number of my other high yield accounts, is that you need to put $100 into the account every month or have $25k in the account.
(I may receive a commission if you acquire a CIT Bank account through that link, so if you determine it'd be best for you, it'd be greatly appreciated)
Dave Ramsey's first baby step is to establish a $1,000 emergency fund. I recommend establishing that with DCU with a >6% interest rate in November 2018 for amounts from $5-$1,000. It may be a hassle to establish initially, but a little hassle, in my opinion, is worth between double and triple the prevailing interest rates for accounts without a similar $1k cap.
Most online banks won't let you deposit cash into ATM's fee free. Alliant Credit Union is an exception. They also do ATM reimbursements for non-network ATM's. Their interest rates are steadily high (1.45 for savings & .648 for checking at the time of this writing). The speed of their transfers might be the highest of any bank/credit union I have an account with. I've been very satisfied with them. When I had issues logging into their mobile app, the problem resolved itself after I deleted and redownloaded it. When an ATM wouldn't accept my deposit, I was able to reach a person in customer service, then received a follow-up call from someone else to ensure that my issue had been resolved. I experienced multiple positive improvements in my accounts after signing up with them. The offer their banking customers special offers that are not offered to the public. I capitalized on one such offer and got a credit card with no balance transfer fee, a $500 bonus after $2500 of spending, and no annual fee. They seem to like to keep customers happy. A bonus that high with no associated annual fee and relatively moderate spending is quite rare.
Here are some of the top rates I found on 8/31/15 on the link for top banks above:
1 or more Bricks & Mortar bank:
Wells Fargo is the biggest with the most branches. The checking account I have with them, which I get for free with a minimum $1k/month total in direct deposits, provides free cashiers checks upon request as well as free next business day transfers to other banks/credit unions that I have, the fastest free transfers I have with any bank to other institutions.
Bank of America (3rd most branches nationally, whereas Chase at #2 has no local branches in SE VA) requires half (250) the direct deposit that Wells Fargo requires for free checking (500).
Discoverbank for 1% cashback debit card purchases up to $3k. Great for those that are anti-credit card and when locations have too high of credit card fees or don't accept credit cards.
Langely Federal for 10 cents cashback per purchase (great for $1 purchases, etc.).
Also you might research high interest checking accounts, especially for larger checking accounts. An example review of such checking accounts is listed here.
Kasasa is a company that I usually don't recommend for those with access to credit cards that works through banks to provide very high yields on checking accounts as well as some options for cashback debit purchases. You can check out the options based on location here. One option that's not mentioned can be found here that has branches in Virginia Beach & other parts of the South Side.
If you jump through various hoops, remember that some checking accounts can give as much as 5% interest up to certain limits, which is much higher than savings accounts. Other checking accounts give airline miles. Prior to choosing your next checking account, be sure to do the research to find what's best for you, comparing fees, requirements, rates, etc.
Keep in mind that if you're not getting a few percent for your $, you might not be keeping up with inflation even. After setting up good banking and checking accounts that will remain competitive, even if not the best, I recommend devoting more time to education and primary income investment as well as other sources of supplemental income through investments. The percentages are just too low with banks right now to spend too much time on it. I work with investors if you want to consider real estate investing in your investment portfolio.
Note: The content on this site is not provided by a bank or issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of a bank or issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank or issuer.