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Guide to Withdrawing Money From a Savings Account

Guide to Withdrawing Money From a Savings Account
Chris Alexis
Chris AlexisUpdated March 8, 2023
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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
The purpose of a savings account is to store money you don’t need right away. These accounts reward savers by paying interest on deposits. They also typically impose restrictions on how many withdrawals you can make per month. This is in contrast to a checking account, which is meant to be used for everyday transactions, like paying bills, getting cash, and making purchases with your debit card. Checking accounts pay little to no interest on your deposits, and don’t impose any transaction limits.Even though savings accounts aren’t set up for frequent spending, you can still easily access your money when you need it. Here’s a look at how you can withdraw money from your savings account, whether it's held at a traditional bank or an online-only institution.

How Easy Is It to Withdraw From a Savings Account?

Unlike other types of savings vehicles, the money held in a savings account is liquid, meaning you can access it when you need it. There are no holding or waiting periods, and you don’t have to sell investments in order to get your money out.When you want or need to access the funds in a saving account, you can do so by transferring the money into your checking account or by taking cash out at an automated teller machine (ATM) or teller window.

Reasons for Limits on Withdrawals From Your Savings

Because savings accounts aren’t designed for frequent transactions, they typically come with restrictions on the number of withdrawals or transfers you can make per month. If you exceed the account’s transaction limit, typically six, your bank may impose a fee —  often called an “excess transaction fee.” If you far exceed the limit, the bank might even close your account. Recommended: Checking vs Savings Account Differences 

Regulation D and How It Affects Savings

In the past, the Federal Reserve (aka “the Fed”) imposed a rule called Regulation D that capped withdrawals from savings accounts to no more than six per month. They did this to help ensure that banks had the proper amount of reserves on hand, and also to encourage people to use savings accounts as they were meant — for saving moneyAs a result of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, however, the Fed lifted Regulation D in 2020 to make it easier for people to access their funds. Some banks now allow customers to make more than six withdrawals or transfers out of savings accounts per month. However, the Fed gave banks the option to keep withdrawal limits in place, and many do.

Withdrawing Money From a Traditional Savings Account

A traditional savings account is a savings account held by a bank with brick-and-mortar locations. You can withdraw money from a traditional savings account by transferring funds into your checking account (and spending it from there) or by getting cash at an ATM. You can also get money from a traditional savings account by walking into a branch and making a withdrawal at a teller window.

Withdrawing Money From an Online Savings Account

An online savings account (also known as an internet savings account) is a savings account offered by an online-only bank. Though you can’t step into a local branch and withdraw money at a teller, you can still easily access your money. Typically, these accounts come with an ATM card you can use to get cash at a large network of (fee-free) ATMs. You can also access the money in an online savings account by transferring it into your checking account, even if the accounts are at two different banks.Recommended: Depositing More Than 10k: What to Know

Withdrawing Money From a Health Savings Account

A health savings account (HSA) is a type of tax-advantaged savings account available to those who have a qualifying high-deductible health plan. Unlike a regular savings account, you can only withdraw funds from an HSA to pay for an eligible medical expense. If you don’t use the funds to cover a qualified medical expense, then you’ll be stuck paying a penalty tax.One way to withdraw the money in an HSA is by using an HSA debit card. Your HSA may also provide you with checks that you can use to pay for eligible medical expenses. In addition, many HSAs also have online payment systems that let you pay bills directly from your account. You may also be able to withdraw cash from an HSA at an ATM (though there may be a transaction fee). Just keep in mind that any cash you withdraw from an HSA needs to be used to pay for eligible medical expenses or to reimburse yourself for paying out of pocket for qualified medical expenses. 

Withdrawing Money From a Money Market Account

A money market account is a savings account that offers some of the features of a checking account, such as check-writing privileges and debit cards. These accounts typically pay a higher annual percentage yield (APY) than regular savings accounts, but often require a high opening deposit as well as a high minimum balance to avoid fees. Like other savings accounts, you are typically limited to six withdrawals per month from a money market account.You can withdraw money from a money market account by transferring funds to a linked checking account. These accounts often also come with a debit card that you can use to make purchases or withdraw money at an ATM. You may also get checks you can use to make payments from the account.

Ways to Use Money in Your Savings Account 

While savings accounts aren’t designed for day-to-day money management, there are still a number of ways you can access and use the money in the account. Here are some to consider.

Transfer Money 

One of the easiest ways to use the money in a savings account is to transfer it into a checking account. You can typically do this by logging into your account online or using the bank’s mobile app. Once the money is in your checking account, you spend it by using your debit card or writing a check.

Withdraw Cash

If you have an ATM or debit card linked to your savings account, you can withdraw cash from the account by using the card at any ATM in the bank’s network. If your savings account is at a traditional bank, you can also get cash by filling out a withdrawal slip and going to a teller. You’ll likely need to supply your account number and a photo identification. You may also be asked to enter a password or PIN to ensure that you are the account owner.

Make a Wire Transfer 

A wire transfer is a fast method of transmitting money electronically between two banks. either within the U.S. or internationally. You can typically use your checking or savings account to fund a wire transfer. Banks typically charge a fee to make a wire transfer.

Make a Direct Payment

In some cases, you can set up a bill payment (or autopay) so the money comes from your savings account, rather than your checking account. To do this, you’ll need to supply the company you’re paying with the routing and account numbers for your savings account (you can find them by logging into your account). If you set up autopay, be careful that you don’t exceed any monthly withdrawal limits on your account.

Get a Cashier’s Check 

While savings accounts don’t typically come with checks, you can purchase a cashier’s check form a teller using the funds in your savings account. Banks and credit unions typically charge a fee for cashier’s checks.

Maximizing the Value of Your Savings

To get the best possible return on your savings, it can be smart to shop around and compare APYs offered by different savings accounts. The APY tells you how much you can expect to earn on your money in one year, and takes compounding interest (when the interest you earn also earns interest) into account. You can often find the highest APYs at online-only banks. 

The Takeaway

Savings accounts are ideal for storing money you have earmarked for short-term goals, such as building an emergency fund or paying for a large upcoming expense. While these accounts typically come with transaction limits, you can easily access your money when you want or need it, either by transferring the money to your checking account or withdrawing cash from the account at an ATM or teller.If you’re interested in finding the best rate for your savings, Lantern by SoFi can help.  With our online banking marketplace, it’s fast and easy to compare high-yield savings accounts based on APY, fees, and balance minimums. Lantern can help you compare online savings accounts and find today’s best rate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I withdraw from my savings account at my will?
Is there a limit on withdrawals from a savings account?
What happens if I exceed my withdrawal limits?
What are the disadvantages of withdrawing from a savings account?
Photo credit: iStock/ljubaphoto

About the Author

Chris Alexis

Chris Alexis

Chris Alexis has been putting pen to paper and fingertips to keyboard since his youth. He ultimately grew into an accomplished and award-winning writer who loves using the power of language to connect with audiences. He also strongly enjoys learning about who he is writing for so he can create something that will truly resonate with them. He has worked for a variety of companies, each of which have given him more experience and insight.
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