10 Best Places To Put Your Cash Besides the Bank

Learn where to park your money for the best combination of safety and growth.

franklin's face on a one hundred dollar
Updated June 14, 2024
Fact checked

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

When it comes to managing your cash, traditional bank savings and checking accounts aren’t the only options. 

While banks offer security, there are numerous other places to park your money that can provide better returns and flexibility. 

Here are 10 alternatives to consider, each with its own features and benefits.

Featured partner offer

4.2

Robinhood Benefits

  • Buy and sell stocks 24 hours a day, 5 days a week with Robinhood's "24 Hour Market"
  • Commission-free trading (other fees may apply)
  • No account minimum
  • Trade stocks, options, ETFs, and more
  • Earn 5.00% APY1 on your uninvested cash with Robinhood Gold, subscription fee applies
Join Robinhood here

Money market mutual funds (MMMF)

Studio Romantic/Adobe woman using laptop to check online banking portal

Money market mutual funds (MMMFs) are a popular choice for those seeking higher returns than traditional savings accounts. 

These funds invest in U.S. Treasuries and other high-quality fixed-income securities, aiming to offer better yields while maintaining liquidity.

Share prices are typically fixed at $1 and generate interest income. Interest earned from MMMFs that invest in municipal securities can be exempt from federal, state, and local taxes.

Want to learn how to build wealth like the 1%? Sign up for Worthy to get ideas and advice delivered to your inbox.

Money market accounts

Rix Pix/Adobe us treasury check

Money market accounts combine the benefits of savings accounts and checking accounts, offering higher interest rates with the convenience of check-writing and debit card access. 

These accounts are FDIC-insured up to $250,000 per depositor, providing a secure place for your cash while earning higher interest than a regular savings account.

Treasury notes

FATIR29/Adobe us currency fifty dollar bill adobe

Treasury notes, known as T-notes, are issued by the U.S. government and are a safe and reliable investment. They come with maturities ranging from 2 to 10 years and are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.

Treasury notes pay interest every six months and can be purchased in increments of $100, making them a stable choice for those seeking to preserve capital and earn steady income over time.

Get a personalized financial plan to reach your goals faster

73% of Americans rank finances as their chief stress in life, according to a recent study.2 If you’re part of that 73%, J.P. Morgan Personal Advisors could help ease that stress.

Schedule your free one-on-one financial planning session with J.P. Morgan Personal Advisors,3 and you’ll get access to a team of fiduciary advisors who will create a personalized financial plan catered to your lifestyle and financial goals.

Working with an advisor may sound scary, but J.P. Morgan’s advisors are fiduciaries, so you can be confident that any advisor you work with has your best interest at heart.

Book your free financial planning session here

Treasury bonds

larryhw/Adobe stack of bonds

Similar to Treasury notes, Treasury bonds (or T-bonds) are also backed by the U.S. government. The difference is that they have longer maturities, typically 20 to 30 years, and typically provide the highest interest rates of any government-issued security.

They provide a fixed interest payment every six months until maturity and can be purchased in increments of $100.

Treasury bills

momius/Adobe T-Bills treasury bills

Treasury bills, known as T-bills, are short-term government securities with maturities of one year or less. They are sold at a discount and mature at face value, providing a guaranteed return.

Treasury bills are highly liquid and virtually risk-free, making them an excellent cash option. They can be purchased in increments of $100 through an investment bank, a broker, or at auction on the TreasuryDirect.gov website.

FDIC-insured sweep accounts

Oleksii/Adobe typing on keyboard

FDIC-insured sweep accounts allow you to transfer funds that exceed or fall short of a certain threshold into a higher-interest-earning account or investment.

These accounts are often used by businesses to optimize cash flow management, but they can also be beneficial for individuals looking to maximize the interest earned on their idle cash. 

With sweep accounts, you might also be able to protect amounts beyond the $250,000 FDIC limit.

Corporate bonds

Thanthara/Adobe corporate bonds display on a monitor

Highly rated corporate bonds can offer a relatively safe and higher-yield alternative to government securities. These bonds are issued by companies with strong credit ratings, providing a steady income stream through fixed-interest payments. 

While corporate bonds carry more risk than Treasury securities, they typically yield higher interest.

Short-term bond funds

vetkit/Adobe businessman counts money

Short-term bond funds invest in bonds that mature relatively soon. These funds aim to provide higher returns than money market funds while maintaining a low level of risk. 

They are a good option for those who want to earn more interest than traditional savings accounts without taking on too much risk.

Certificates of deposit (CDs)

Andrii/Adobe certificate of deposit document on table

Certificates of deposit (CDs) are time deposits offered by banks that pay a fixed interest rate for a specified term, ranging from several months to several years. They're FDIC-insured up to $250,000 per depositor and offer higher interest rates than regular savings accounts.

CDs are an excellent option for those who can commit to leaving their money untouched for a set period in exchange for higher returns.

Earn up to a $300 bonus and grow your money with up to 4.60% APY

This powerful combination checking + savings account from SoFi® allows you to earn up to a $300 bonus with direct deposit and grow your money with up to 4.60% APY.4

This is one of the top accounts we’ve seen, and offers like this can be rare. You work hard, and now it’s time to make your money work for you — with SoFi, you can grow your money with hardly any effort!

SoFi has no account or overdraft fees5 and additional FDIC insurance up to $2 million on deposits is available through a seamless network of participating banks.67 Plus, you can receive your paycheck up to 2 days early.8

How to earn up to $300: Sign up and make a direct deposit within the first 25 calendar days of the promotional period, then collect a $300 cash bonus with a direct deposit of $5,000 or more.

Open your SoFi account and set up direct deposit

Stocks

Pravit/Adobe businessman investor working on laptop

While stocks are riskier than the other options listed, they can provide significant long-term growth potential. For example, a well-diversified portfolio defined by the S&P 500 has outperformed cash by 11% on an annualized basis since 1950.

Investing in a diversified portfolio of stocks, especially through index funds, can help spread risk and increase the chances of earning higher returns over many years.

Bottom line

SkyLine/Adobe dollar bills money

Exploring alternatives to traditional bank accounts can help you earn higher returns and achieve better financial outcomes. 

Numerous options exist to grow your savings while managing risk, from government-backed securities to corporate bonds and money market funds.

What alternative investment option will you explore next to optimize your cash and work toward a stress-free retirement? Checking your financial health regularly and considering a diversified approach can ensure you make the most of your hard-earned money.

Choice Home Warranty Benefits

  • First month free
  • Protection for unexpected expense
  • 24/7 claims hotline
  • Network of over 15,000 technicians

Author Details

Adam Palasciano

Adam Palasciano is a personal finance-obsessed and money-savvy individual who loves to hash out content on all things saving money. He specializes in writing millennial-friendly personal finance content, covering topics ranging from trending financial news, debt, credit cards, cryptocurrency, and more.