• After selling our first home, my husband and I had cash from the sale that we hoped to put into the mortgage on our new home.
  • But when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, we realized we should keep more cash on hand so we decided to open a high-yield savings account.
  • We chose an AmEx savings account because we were familiar with the brand and liked its high interest rate and zero fees. In our first month with the account, we've earned $74.
  • See Business Insider's picks for the best high-yield savings account

When we were getting ready to sell our first home , my husband and I thought we would immediately put the money we made on the sale into the mortgage on our new home. But that's not exactly what happened.

We had an offer fall through on our first home, so by the time we relisted, we had already purchased and moved into our new home. In order to add more money to an existing mortgage and thus lower the monthly payment, you have to do what is called a recast. There's some paperwork involved and, with our lender, we had to wait until we'd made two months of mortgage payments before we could move forward.

By the time we were ready to start the recast process, the COVID-19 pandemic was sweeping the nation and we knew we should hang onto as much cash as possible in the event that my husband lost his job. We decided to put all our money from the sale into savings.

Moving our money to a savings account

We already had a six-month emergency fund in our regular bank savings account but didn't want to just throw the proceeds of our home sale into that fund. We wanted a separate savings account ideally one that paid a higher interest rate than the .05% rate we were getting with our credit union's savings account.

Although there are plenty of local credit unions and banks to choose from, I took a look at the options online as well. I was specifically looking for an account that had zero fees and the highest interest rate I could find at the time.

It was also important to me that we used a company we had experience with. My husband and I have had credit cards from American Express, Chase, and Citibank, so I researched the high-yield savings account options from those financial institutions.

Although I've really enjoyed using Chase's credit cards and earning points and cash back, I was disappointed when I looked into its high-yield savings account option. The rate is similar to other brick-and-mortar banks, but to keep the account fee-free, Chase requires you to open and link to a Chase checking account and make at least five transactions from the checking account per month. My husband and I were not interested in opening up another checking account and thus I decided to pass on this offer.

Settling on an AmEx account

At the time we were researching high-yield savings accounts, Citibank did not have the highest interest rate compared to American Express . The two offered similar features, so we chose to go with the higher rate offered by American Express.

Once I finished my research and chose a company, opening up the account was quite easy. The first step was to fill out an application, then link my bank account so that American Express could run "micro deposits," which help verify your account.

As soon as I saw the micro deposits in my checking account, I logged back into my American Express high-yield saving account and typed the amounts into the prompt.

Once the micro deposits were confirmed, I was then able to fund our new savings account through an automated bank transfer.

Our interest rate has dropped, but I'm not planning to switch banks

Since opening our AmEx high-yield savings account, the rate has dropped below Citibank's rate, though this could change. High-yield savings accounts have variable rates , which are determined partly by the Fed's current rates and partly by how many accounts a bank is trying to attract.

Despite the rate dropping, it's still higher than our regular savings account, and we will continue to earn more money on it as time goes on.

This month alone we've earned $74.09 in interest, which I consider a big win considering the small amount of effort that went into opening up the account.

If you're thinking about opening your own high-yield savings account, do a little research and then get started as soon as possible time is money.

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