Cash management accounts are cash accounts offered by a financial institution other than a bank or credit union – often through a broker. A cash management account can be used in place of a checking or savings account, or in addition to one.
These types of cash accounts are often overlooked as a way to generate value. If you are looking for a good robotics advisor or online broker, don’t forget about the additional tangible benefits that a good cash management account can offer. As fees go down, brokers and robo-advisers increasingly compete for feature-rich services to differentiate themselves – and that means value to you!
Many large cash management accounts (CMAs) offer a ton of features and benefits. Some of the more popular or desirable features include:
- A competitive annual percentage return (APY)
- Free ATMs
- A current account
- Debit card
- No monthly fees
- No overdraft fees
- Advance paycheck direct deposit
- “Rounded” investment
- A wallet line of credit
Many robo-advisers and brokerage houses offer these services at no additional cost, so you can find a really attractive cash management account with a ton of perks.
The distinction between a brokerage account and a traditional bank account continues to crumble. More and more financial institutions are taking care of everything. So in many cases, you can actually use the cash management account as your primary bank account even if you don’t take advantage of the associated investing features at all.
And that’s a reason to consult with brokers and robo-advisers to see how they stack up against a traditional bank, and whether it would make sense to move at least part of your business there.
Best cash management accounts in December 2021
Wealthfront is best known as a robo-advisor, but its cash management account is perhaps the best among investment-oriented sites. It offers many of the most popular features: interest on balances, no-fee ATMs, benefit verification, debit card, and no monthly fees.
But you’ll also get some of the rarer features, such as accessing your direct deposit up to two days earlier and a wallet line of credit, which allows you to borrow money from your balance. placement without credit check. And, oh yes, Wealthfront also offers a top-notch investment service.
Interactive Brokers offers one of the best trading experiences, but also has some attractive cash management features that can make it a real “go anywhere” account. All funds will be held in your investment account, but with the associated debit card you can pay your bills directly from the account. If you exceed your available cash, you will accumulate a margin balance and pay interest rates that are only 1.5% above the benchmark rate – so cheap.
You’ll also be able to use mobile check deposit, pay bills to any payee, and have automatic payroll deposit. When interest rates were higher, Interactive Brokers paid some of the best rates in the industry for cash balances, but with the Fed lowering rates to zero, the broker did the same.
Fidelity has rightly earned a reputation for being a friendly company, and you will see it in its CMA. You will not be burdened with account fees, and the account has no minimum. You will be reimbursed for ATM fees when you use the account’s debit card, and you will be able to write checks using the account, as well as access to bill payment and mobile check deposit. If you’d rather just add a debit card or bill payment to your existing brokerage account, Fidelity can do that as well.
You can really turn your brokerage account into an all-in-one account here without the hassle.
Betterment’s cash management account is no slouch, and it’s one of the best offered by robo-advisors. Betterment’s CMA is technically made up of two accounts – checking and savings – but the experience will be seamless. Betterment offers competitive returns and traditional verification features, including a debit card. ATM fees are also reimbursed worldwide. The checking account is FDIC insured up to $ 250,000, while the savings account is protected up to $ 1 million by Betterment partner banks.
You will be able to sign up for the account without creating an investment account, if you are not ready to take your relationship to the next level. Total cost: $ 0.
Charles Schwab has long been known as an investor-friendly institution, and he takes this representative to his cash management account at Schwab Bank. Schwab’s checking account has no monthly fees or account minimums and offers unlimited discounts on ATM fees worldwide if you use the associated debit card. You will also not pay foreign transaction fees.
If there is one downside, it’s that Schwab’s interest rate is not competitive with the other CMAs listed here. But maybe that doesn’t matter much in a world where rates are close to zero. You will need a Schwab brokerage account to open a checking account, but you can open one at the same time and you won’t pay any fees on it. When you are ready to invest, you can quickly mix money between the two accounts.
Ellevest offers a cash management account as part of all of its service levels, which means you can get started with an investment account and CMA for just $ 1 per month. It’s actually two accounts, Checks and Savings, both FDIC insured up to $ 250,000 with Ellevest’s partner bank. You will get a debit card with rewards and also be able to avoid overdraft fees. You can access ATMs at no cost if you have received a payroll direct deposit in the past 30 days and you will not pay any additional account fees.
You can also activate a rounding feature that rounds all purchases to the next dollar and deposits the difference to the savings account and then to your investment account. When you’re ready to move to an investment account, Ellevest is good to go.
In addition to commission-free transactions in stocks, options, and cryptocurrency, Robinhood offers an attractive, FDIC-backed cash management account. You’ll get a competitive interest rate on your money as well as a debit card (or even virtual for Apple Pay and Google Pay). You can use bill payment or cut checks, if necessary.
With Robinhood’s CMA, you will avoid maintenance fees and overdraft fees (because the debit card will prevent overdrafts) and have access to 75,000 free ATMs on the network. This is a great addition if you already use Robinhood for your trading, or even if you are not.
At the end of the line
While you’re looking for a traditional bank account or even a popular fintech app, don’t overlook the benefits of using a broker or robo-advisor for your cash management account. You often won’t need to use the investing features, but they will be there as your financial life grows.
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