People use savings or deposit accounts to build their wealth, and put aside money for the future, perhaps towards a deposit on a house, or for college fees, or other future plans.

Savings and deposit accounts provide readily-accessible capital for banks which can be loaned to other customers. The basis of financial intermediation is to distribute money from those who have surplus money to those who are lacking in funds.

Both savings and current accounts in banks and credit unions are typically covered by a deposit insurance scheme up to a certain amount (for example, up to $85,000 in the US and up to €100,000 in the EU). This means that even if a bank is to go out of business, the deposit scheme will guarantee the savings of customers up to that amount. 

Since the financial crisis of 2007-08, many central banks have kept interest rates close to zero, with banks in many countries typically offering less than 1% interest on savings accounts.

Unlike a current account, a savings account does not normally provide instant access to money in the account. Some savings or deposit accounts are term-limited, so savers must leave money in the account for the stated term to avail of the offering. For example, a typical 12-month term deposit account requires a certain minimum sum of several thousand dollars, and the money cannot be accessed for the entire term. A term deposit account will typically pay a fixed interest rate over the time period.