Over the next few months, we’ll be answering some commonly asked questions on all things money matters. Something you’re dying to know? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s the difference between a money market and a savings account?
While similar in function, there are a few fundamental differences between a money market and a savings account. Let’s take a closer look…
Both are low-cost, easy-to-understand accounts, with relative flexibility, designed to help people save money. Unlike other money-saving products, like a certificate of deposit (CD) or an investment account that you might purchase through a broker or investor, saving and money market accounts allow you to add to, use, or withdraw your funds without a lot of restriction.
Every financial institution’s rules are different, but in general, after you open an account, the bank or credit union will pay you a certain amount of interest for keeping your funds with them. Usually the interest is tiered, so the more money you keep in the account, the higher your rate of interest.
Most institutions will also allow a savings or money market account to be tied to a checking account as a “backup” in case you overdraw the checking account. However, federal law does limit the number of certain types of withdrawals per month from a savings or money market account, so if you go over six in one month, then you should expect to pay a fine for any additional withdrawals.
Interest rates on money market and savings accounts vary by institution, requirements and location but generally pay between 0.10% and 1.00%. As long as your bank or credit union is FDIC or NCUA-insured, then your deposits up to $250,000 are covered, per depositor, per ownership category.
If you need an account to help you save for a goal, like a vacation, emergency fund or at-home project, then both savings and money markets are great options. The main difference between the two is how you can access the funds. Most institutions allow a certain number of checks to be written off of a money market account per month, or even use a debit card, so if you need to access the funds more often, then you may want to open a money market account.
For this reason, many banks often require a higher minimum deposit to open an account or earn interest. But be aware, both types of accounts usually come with a fee if your balance dips below a certain amount.