Savings accounts are, for many, one of the first steps on their journey into personal finance. Unlike checking accounts, they are typically designed for depositing money long-term, with interest payments as an incentive to keep it there. But, once there, can you take money out of a savings account?
The answer is, put simply, yes — you can take money out of a savings account. There are, however, certain restrictions on the number of withdrawals you can make within a time period with some banks. Let’s look at the dos and don’ts of taking money out of savings accounts.
Withdrawal limits on savings accounts
Yes, you can take money out of your savings account anytime; however, some financial institutions may only allow you to make up to six "convenient" transactions per month before they charge a fee. What’s considered “convenient” is defined by your specific bank. If there is a monthly limit, wire transfers, withdrawals made at an ATM, or in person at a branch, are just a few of the kinds of transactions that may fall under the convenient transactions banner, contributing to this monthly limit.
To avoid any confusion, it may be helpful to check with your financial institution about which transactions count as convenient. Banks may charge you fees, convert your savings account into a checking account or even close your account altogether if your bank has a withdrawal limit.
How to withdraw money from your savings account
Your checking account is designed for fast, flexible use. For many, it’s the refrigerator door of their personal finances, designed for quick access. Your savings account is more like the deep freezer in the basement; it’s much better for long-term storage than your refrigerator upstairs, but a little inconvenient if you want to eat something now.
Using your savings account for infrequent expenses, such as a medical emergency or that much-needed vacation, isn’t usually problematic. Let’s look at a few ways to access the funds in your savings account.
Note that some financial institutions may still count these toward a monthly limit if your bank has one. Double-checking with your bank first may help prevent accidentally exceeding your allotted transactions.
Using an ATM
Withdrawals and transfers made from an automatic teller machine (ATM) may contribute toward your monthly withdrawal limit.
Going to your bank in-person
Going to your bank and making transfers and withdrawals in-person may be classified as “convenient” and may contribute toward the withdrawal limit.
Calling your bank
If you’re reluctant to leave the house or find an ATM, you may be able to make a withdrawal or transfer by having your bank send you a check in the mail. This takes longer but may allow you to mobilize funds without contributing toward your monthly limit.
Why are there withdrawal limits on savings accounts?
The withdrawal limits on savings accounts aren’t there to give you a headache or restrict access to your funds. Traditionally, banks rely on a “fractional-reserve” system in which they don’t keep every single dollar for every person on hand. Instead, banks use a portion of the money deposited by customers to provide loans to people and businesses.
The withdrawal limits were first stipulated under a federal regulatory rule known as Regulation D, which required banks to maintain sufficient reserves for operation and make a clear distinction between savings accounts and checking accounts. Regulation D was relaxed by lawmakers in 2020 to make access to savings easier, though some financial institutions may maintain similar monthly limits.
Your savings account excels at storing money for the medium and long term. Can you take money out of a savings account anytime? Typically, yes — your money is yours. But a savings account is designed to discourage frequent transactional use and may carry monthly withdrawal limits. Exceeding these limits can incur fees, have your account re-classified or have it closed altogether. Check with your financial institution to verify which types of transactions may count toward your monthly transaction limit.