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Find the Best Savings Accounts in Iowa

Find out which local bank in Iowa offer the best savings accounts to local residents and compare them to the savings options from online banks.

Iowa may not be known as a financial hub but, for savers, it's a great state to live in. 

If you reside in Iowa, you have access to plenty of local banks that provide savings accounts with no monthly fees and a high level of convenience.

Now:

You'll have to think about how those options compare to online savings accounts, which may be very similar -- but without the physical presence.

We've analyzed the savings accounts at the top 50 banks in Iowa and found the best options to consider.

Don't forget to compare them to online savings accounts, which tend to offer extremely high rates with low fees.

The Largest Banks in Iowa

The largest banks in Iowa, by deposits, are:

  • First National Bank of Omaha
  • Mutual of Omaha Bank
  • Wells Fargo
  • Pinnacle Bank
  • U.S. Bank
  • Union Bank
  • Great Western Bank
  • Bank of the West
  • American National Bank
  • Cornerstone Bank
  • Five Points Bank

This list includes both larger, national banks and more regional or local institutions. If you’re an Iowan looking to open a savings account, some of your best options are:

  • Hills Bank
  • United Bank of Iowa
  • Great Western Bank

You may also want to consider a credit union or online bank.

Online Savings Accounts are Available Nationwide

Local banks may sound appealing for their great service, but there are a lot of banking options out there. You should take the time to consider all of them.

One such option, whether you live in Iowa or anywhere else in the U.S., is an online bank.

Online savings accounts are available nationwide, making it easy for anyone to take advantage of their unique perks and benefits.

Take advantage of higher savings rates

One of the things that really sets online banks apart from their competition is that they are able to pay far higher interest rates and charge far lower fees than brick and mortar institutions.

The primary reason that online banks can do this is cost. Online banks cost much less to run than traditional banks do.

Brick and mortar institutions have to operate an ATM network, rent land to open branches, hire tellers and other staff, pay for security, and so on.

Online banks can operate out of one or two centralized offices, saving a lot of money. Those savings are then passed on to their customers.

Less temptation to spend

Saving money can be difficult but not spending money that you’ve saved can be even harder.

If you’re using a savings account to save toward a long term goal, you might be tempted to spend some of the money you’ve accrued before you meet your saving target.

A perk of working with an online savings account is that it helps keep the money out of your mind.

You won’t be driving past your local bank branch or walking past your bank’s ATM every day.

Out of sight means out of mind and that means you’ll have less temptation to spend the money that you’ve saved.

Better mobile experience

Every bank has a mobile app and website these days but many, especially local banks, offer poor online and mobile experiences.

For online banks, their apps and website are the primary ways to interact with them.

That means that they invest a lot of money in providing the best online and mobile banking experiences possible.

FDIC insurance

If you’re worried about keeping your money safe, you can rest easy with an online bank.

Just like traditional banks, online banks are protected by the FDIC. This means that the bank is insured for up to $250,000 per depositor, per account type.

Even if your online bank goes belly up, you won’t lose any money unless you have more than $250,000 in your savings account.

That’s an unusual situation for most people, so it’s safe to say that your money is as safe as it can be. Should the worst happen, the FDIC will make sure to reimburse you for any amount that you lose.

How to Earn Good Rates at Iowa Banks

One of the major advantages of working with a national bank is that national banks usually offer the same experience, regardless of the location.

That’s great news for people who travel or move frequently since they’ll get the same experience everywhere.

This perk turns into a weakness for people who don’t travel frequently.

If you’re an Iowan and don’t leave your area frequently, you might have trouble finding a national bank with savings accounts that cater to your specific, local needs. In this scenario, local banks are a better option.

Hills Bank

Hills Bank offers a solid savings account option for people who just need a place to store their extra cash.

The Hills Bank Free Savings Account has no minimum deposit requirement and no minimum balance requirement after the account has been opened. To make things even better, there’s no monthly fee to worry about.

The account also comes with a free ATM card that you can use to manage your account or make withdrawals at any ATM on Hills Bank’s network.

As far as interest goes, you’ll earn a relatively low rate. On the bright side, there are no interest rate tiers to worry about, so you’ll earn the same rate regardless of the balance of your account.

United Bank of Iowa

United Bank of Iowa offers the United Savings Account. This account is a good place to store your extra money but has a few hoops that you need to jump through.

In order to open your account, you must make an initial deposit of $50. Once the account is open, there is no monthly fee to keep it open and no minimum balance to worry about. That means that you can add or withdraw money without worrying about fees.

That means that you can add or withdraw money without worrying about fees.

The account’s greatest drawback is that there is a $200 minimum balance to earn interest. If your balance falls below that amount, you’ll stop earning interest until your balance reaches $200 again.

Great Western Bank

Great Western Bank offers a basic savings account service that you can use for your extra cash.

To open your Basic Savings Account you have to start by making a $50 opening deposit. Once the account is open, there is no minimum balance to maintain. You also don’t have to worry about any monthly fees.

If you need access to your money, the bank makes it easy to manage your account online and to make transfers between your checking and savings accounts.

Pros and Cons of Local Banks

Local banks have one major advantage over national banks.

They are far better equipped to offer personalized service.

With a local bank, you have a much better chance of being able to walk into a branch and see a familiar face.

You’ll also have better luck with talking to someone in person if you need help or have questions about your account. With a large bank, you won’t get the same level of familiarity and friendly service in most cases,

The greatest downside of local banks:

Overall convenience isn't as high as national banks.

Bigger banks are likely to have a strong branch and ATM network that allows customers to access a physical location if needed.

Advantages of Big Banks vs. Local Banks

Big Banks Local Banks
Widespread ATM and branch access More intimate, personal service
Better and faster technology and adoption Community-oriented products and services
Uniform service standard across branch network More willing to negotiate and work with customers

What Kind of Account is Right for You?

If you’re still having trouble deciding between an online savings account or a traditional one, ask yourself these questions.

Can you manage your savings digitally?

If you’re a digital native and love working with tech, then an online bank will be a great choice for you.

However:

If you hate computers or are bad with technology in general, you might have trouble interacting with an online savings account.

How often are you visiting branches?

If you’re a regular and everyone there knows your name, you might be missing out on some services by switching to an online savings account.

If you’re more familiar with ATM locations than branch locations, an online bank will be right up your alley.

Do you value in-person customer service?

Online banks save money in large part by employing fewer people per customer.

They don’t need tellers or other bank staff because you can’t visit a branch to get face-to-face help.

Instead, you’ll have to work with someone over an online chat or the phone.

Most Important Features of a Savings Account

Choosing the right savings account can be difficult and overwhelming.

If you’re having trouble deciding, these are the factors that you should be comparing.

Interest rates

Savings accounts help keep your money safe and increase the size of your savings.

Look for the account with the best interest rate. Settling for less is like passing up on free money.

Fees

Savings account fees eat into your balance, shrinking it away to nothing.

Look for the accounts with the no monthly fees. 

The other fee to worry about is the excess withdrawal fee, which is charged when there are too many outgoing transactions in a single month.

Access to your money

Sometimes, an emergency strikes and you need quick access to your cash.

Make sure that any savings account you choose gives you a way to get to your money when you need it.

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