What Is a Cash Management Account? (2023)

  • Banking
  • Savings Accounts

ByJustin Pritchard

Updated on June 17, 2022

Reviewed by

Michael J Boyle

What Is a Cash Management Account? (1)

Reviewed byMichael J Boyle

Michael Boyle is an experienced financial professional with more than 10 years working with financial planning, derivatives, equities, fixed income, project management, and analytics.

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In This Article

  • Definition and Example of a Cash Management Account
  • How Does It Work?
  • Do I Need a Cash Management Account?
  • CMA vs. Checking Account
  • Pros and Cons
(Video) What is a Cash Management Account?

What Is a Cash Management Account? (2)


A cash management account is a cash account offered by a financial institution other than a bank or credit union, usually a brokerage firm. It is designed for managing cash, making payments, and earning interest.

Key Takeaways

  • A cash management account is a cash account offered by a financial institution other than a bank or credit union, usually a brokerage firm.
  • You can use a CMA in place of, or in addition to, a regular checking account.
  • Cash management accounts allow you to access your money, pay bills, manage your savings, and earn interest.
  • A CMA may have monthly fees or minimum balances that you must meet.
  • A CMA keeps your cash accessible and flexible while using low-risk investing strategies to help it grow if you already work with a brokerage firm or if you don't have a bank.

Definition and Example of a Cash Management Account

A cash management account (CMA) is a cash account that combines features similar to checking, investment, and savings accounts. It's held through financial institutions other than banks and credit unions, such as brokerage firms. The institutions might use partnered banks to store the funds. You can use one or more cash management accounts in place of, or in addition to, a checking account.

CMAs combine both short-term investing and day-to-day banking. They allow you to access your money, pay bills, manage your savings, and earn interest. These accounts are typically separate from a brokerage firm's investment accounts, but the accounts can be linked together.

  • Acronym: CMA

How Does a Cash Management Account Work?

Your money earns money through automatic low-risk investing when you put it in a cash management account while allowing you to access it for your daily spending. Most cash management accounts come with a debit card, a book of checks, and online bill pay services, allowing them to function similarly to traditional checking accounts. They also pay more interest than most savings accounts.

Many cash management accounts offer features similar to those provided in checking accounts, such as:

  • ATM rebates
  • Mobile deposits
  • Banking alerts
  • Cashback on purchases

Do I Need a Cash Management Account?

A cash management account isn't a necessary part of managing your money, but it can help you grow your assets. It performs many of the same functions as other bank accounts. You can store and access money in a checking or money market account. You can earn interest in a high-yield savings or CD account.

(Video) Cash Management VS. Savings Accounts - What's The Difference?

Opening a cash management account may not be the best way to manage and grow your money if you don't already work with a brokerage firm. Still, it keeps your cash accessible and flexible while also taking advantage of low-risk growth.


Ask about monthly fees and minimum balance requirements before opening a cash management account. Some brokerage firms require tens of thousands of dollars as a minimum deposit to open a CMA, or they charge high monthly fees for anyone under that minimum. Others will have no monthly fees and no minimums.

If you decide to open a cash management account, look for one that offers:

  • Linked accounts: You'll probably need other accounts, such as an online bank account or a local bank for your CDs or safe deposit box, or to earn a higher annual percentage yield. Look for a CMA that allows you to link accounts to make them easy to access.
  • FDIC insurance: Cash management account providers automatically "sweep" your unused cash into investments that pay dividends or interest. That maximizes the account's profitability.


Make sure that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), a government-guaranteed program that protects your money, insures the sweep accounts.

Cash Management Account vs. Checking Account

Cash management accounts are valuable tools for money management, but they're not bank accounts per se. Knowing the differences between a CMA and a traditional checking account can help you understand which choice is better for you.

Cash Management AccountChecking Account
Run by a brokerage firm.Run by a bank or credit union.
Funds split between brokerage accounts and accounts at different banks.Funds all held by a single financial institution.
Funds in brokerage accounts may or may not be federally insured.All funds are required to be federally insured.
Offers debit card, checks, ATM use, mobile deposit.Offers debit card, checks, ATM use, mobile deposit.
May have large asset minimums and fees.Usually have low or no asset minimums and fees.
Connected to investment accounts.Separate from investment accounts.
No brick-and-mortar locations.May have brick-and-mortar locations.
Earns low to mid interest rates.Earns low interest rates (except for high-yield checking).
Usually refunds ATM fees.May charge ATM feesout of network(except for online banks).

Pros and Cons of Cash Management Accounts

Cash management accounts offer many benefits, but they also come with some disadvantages. Consider all the pros and cons when you're deciding what kind of accounts are best for your financial needs.


  • Simplifies banking

  • Automatically maximizes cash management

  • Easy to set up and protect

  • Offers many features associated with traditional banks


  • Monthly fees

  • Misses out on more profitable investments

  • Potential errors

  • Higher interest elsewhere

  • Uninsured investments

Pros Explained

  • Simplifies banking: A cash management account allows you to use one financial institution for both your saving and investing needs. That means only one login to keep track of, fewer statements and tax forms each year, and fast transfers to and from your investment accounts.
  • Automatically maximizes cash management: Your money is put to work automatically to maximize profitability.
  • Easy to set up and protect: Opening a cash management account is generally a straightforward process that can be done online, especially if you already have an account with that financial firm. The money that's in savings is FDIC-insured.
  • Many features associated with traditional banks: You can get ATM rebates, mobile deposits, a free debit card, checks, and many other features that you'd find at a regular bank.

Cons Explained

  • Monthly fees: Some CMAs have monthly fees or minimum balances that you must meet. There can also be fees for transferring money from your CMA to another bank account or closing your account.
  • Miss out on more profitable investments: Investments associated with cash management accounts are generally low risk, but that also means that they have lower yields. Keeping money in this type of account means not making higher-yielding investments.
  • Potential errors: Your money is moved around between financial institutions and accounts, so it's exposed to potential processing errors.
  • Higher interest elsewhere: A CMA generally earns more interest than a standard checking or savings account, but many high-yield checking accounts or those offered by online banks can earn more interest.
  • Uninsured investments: The investments that CMAs use are usually low risk, but that doesn't mean they're risk-free. Investments such as money market funds are not FDIC-insured, which means you can lose money and be unable to recover it.

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(Video) What is a Cash Management and How to Open one in Fidelity

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  1. Fidelity Investments. "Cash Management From Fidelity."

(Video) Cash Management in Retirement | Bank Account Setup for Retirees
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(Video) Fidelity Cash Management Account (Best Bank 2022) 1 year Review


Are cash management accounts worth it? ›

Cash management accounts are best for consumers with large cash balances that exceed FDIC insurance limits. If you keep large amounts of money in your checking and savings accounts, a cash management account might be a good choice.

Who uses a cash management account? ›

Definition and Example of a Cash Management Account

It's held through financial institutions other than banks and credit unions, such as brokerage firms. The institutions might use partnered banks to store the funds. You can use one or more cash management accounts in place of, or in addition to, a checking account.

Do you have to pay taxes on a cash management account? ›

Are cash management accounts taxable? In general, assets held in a Merrill Cash Management Account ® (CMA account) are taxable, meaning that any interest, dividends or capital gains and/or losses must be declared on the account holder's taxes each year.

What are the cons of a cash management account? ›

On the other hand, some cons of cash management accounts include that they might charge monthly maintenance fees or require that you maintain a minimum monthly balance. You also might have to pay fees if you want to transfer money out of your CMA to another account or even if you close your CMA.

What is an example of cash management? ›

Examples of Cash Management

Alpha & Co. has the policy of allowing credit of 30-days. Abc limited has $10 million in cash resources available and has to pay $2 million to Alpha & Co. after the 30-day period. However, after the 30-day period, it has an investment opportunity of $10 million.

Do I want a brokerage account or a cash management account? ›

While a brokerage account is for trading securities, and comes with the risks associated with investing in securities, a cash management account (CMA) is similar to a traditional checking or savings account. There's almost no risk of losing money, and your deposits can earn interest.

What are the Big Three of cash management? ›

The 'Big Three' of cash management are 'accounts receivable', 'accounts payable' and 'inventory'. These three things work hand in hand to deliver a cash flow that runs the business every day. Without effective cash management, a business risks failure in both the short and long term.

Why do I need a cash management account? ›

A cash management account can help you track the movement of your money and allows you to see your (cash) financial position at any moment. In other words, it enables you to monitor your cash flow. A benefit of a cash management account is having a consolidated view and visibility of all cash movements.

What is the purpose of cash management? ›

In a banking institution, the term Cash Management refers to the day-to-day administration of managing cash inflows and outflows. Because of the multitude of cash transactions on a daily basis, they must be managed. The ultimate goal of cash management is to maximize liquidity and minimize the cost of funds.

How can I avoid paying taxes on cash income? ›

Interest income from municipal bonds is generally not subject to federal tax.
  1. Invest in Municipal Bonds. ...
  2. Shoot for Long-Term Capital Gains. ...
  3. Start a Business. ...
  4. Max out Retirement Accounts and Employee Benefits. ...
  5. Use a Health Savings Account (HSA) ...
  6. Claim Tax Credits.

Does IRS keep track of cash? ›

Although many cash transactions are legitimate, the government can often trace illegal activities through payments reported on complete, accurate Forms 8300, Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 Received in a Trade or BusinessPDF.

How can I avoid paying taxes on cash? ›

How to Avoid Taxes on a Large Sum of Money
  1. Sources of Large Sums of Money. You can come into a single large sum of money in several ways. ...
  2. Tax-Advantaged Accounts. ...
  3. Tax-Loss Harvesting. ...
  4. Deductions and Credits. ...
  5. Donate To Charity. ...
  6. Open a Charitable Lead Annuity Trust. ...
  7. Use a Separately Managed Account. ...
  8. Bottom Line.
Aug 18, 2022

What is cash management also known as? ›

Within a business, cash management (also called treasury management) refers to the process of managing operations or business activities, financial investments, financing activities, and mitigating associated risks.

What are common mistakes made in managing cash? ›

Top Cash Management Mistakes
  • Not Knowing Your Cash Flow Situation. ...
  • Making Payment Errors. ...
  • Getting Behind on Your Collections. ...
  • Paying Bills Early. ...
  • Paying Bills Late. ...
  • Don't Take Clients on Credit Without Checking Their Backgrounds. ...
  • Poorly Managing Your Inventory. ...
  • Using Business Cash for Personal Expenses.

What is CMA interest rate? ›

2.00% p.a. Interest rates effective from 16 December 2022 and are subject to change.

What is the current interest rate on Fidelity cash management account? ›

Interest Rates for the Fidelity Cash Management Account
FDIC-Insured Deposit Sweep Balances2Interest Rate (as of 02/06/2023)APY3 (as of 02/06/2023)
$0.00 - $99,999.992.32%2.34%
$100,000.00 - AND ABOVE2.32%2.34%

What is the difference between Fidelity cash management account and brokerage account? ›

CMAs — which act in the same manner as bank accounts — allow consumers to park their money and receive a fixed interest rate, often with the option to make transactions with a debit card. Brokerage accounts help investors invest in investments such as stocks, shares, and mutual funds to gain investment profits.

How do you do cash management? ›

Four Keys to Cash Management
  1. Create an Efficient Accounts Receivable Collection Process. At any one time, a significant portion of any business's balance sheets will be tied up in receivables. ...
  2. Take Advantage of Payment Terms. ...
  3. Keep Operating Expenses Under Control. ...
  4. Have a Plan for Excess Cash.
Jun 5, 2020

What is cash management process in banking? ›

Cash management comprises the operational and banking processes associated with the collection, aggregation, holding and disbursement of cash. The Financial Management Act 1995 provides that Accountable Officers have specific accountabilities for the efficient, effective and ethical use of resources.

Can you invest with a cash management account? ›

Pros. Easier to invest: With many brokerage firms and robo-advisors offering cash management accounts, it's easy to start investing your savings. Interest boost: Many cash management accounts earn higher interest than is typically available through traditional bank savings accounts.

What are the 3 types of brokerage accounts? ›

The basic types of brokerage accounts
  • A standard brokerage account is the most common. ...
  • A margin account is a special subset of a standard account. ...
  • A retirement account is a brokerage account that has special tax status, with money growing in the account tax-free.
Aug 26, 2022

Can I buy stocks with Fidelity cash management account? ›

The Fidelity® Cash Management Account is a brokerage account designed for spending and cash management. It is not intended to serve as your main account for securities trading. Customers interested in securities trading should consider a Fidelity Account®.

Which is the first step in cash management? ›

The first step in cash flow management is to define what contributes to cash flow in our industry. We are not the same as other industries; construction companies, for instance, use an advance on the percentage of completion to fund their business.

What is the most important tool in cash management? ›

Individuals can use options like banks and financial institutions for their cash management needs. For businesses, the cash flow statement is a central component of cash flow management. The cash flow statement is a central component of corporate cash flow management.

What are five example of cash management tools? ›

7 Cash-Flow Management Tools Worth Checking Out
  • PlanGuru. PlanGuru integrates with accounting platforms to provide users with both current cash-flow data and forecasting. ...
  • Float. ...
  • Scoro. ...
  • QuickBooks. ...
  • Pulse. ...
  • CashAnalytics. ...
  • Google Docs.
May 22, 2018

Is a CMA government guaranteed? ›

The Accelerator offers you the convenience of having your investment cash hub and your surplus investment cash account in one place. Covered by the Government Guarantee under the Financial Claims Scheme.

How much cash is allowed in home? ›

Keeping cash at home depends on two things, your financial capability and your transactional habit. With regards how much cash can people keep in their homes, then there are no such limits as to how much cash can be kept at homes. You can keep as much cash at home as people want.

How does the IRS know about cash income? ›

How the IRS collects information about income. In most cases, your information gets red-flagged by a system called the Information Returns Processing (IRP) System. This is a huge database that reviews the earnings you report (or don't report). It compares your stated income to the information third parties provide.

How do you tell if IRS is investigating you? ›

Signs that You May Be Subject to an IRS Investigation:
  1. (1) An IRS agent abruptly stops pursuing you after he has been requesting you to pay your IRS tax debt, and now does not return your calls. ...
  2. (2) An IRS agent has been auditing you and now disappears for days or even weeks at a time.

What is the $3000 rule? ›

For each payment order of $3,000 or more that a bank accepts as a beneficiary's bank, the bank must retain a record of the payment order.

How often can I deposit cash without being flagged? ›

As mentioned, the law defines “cash” as including several monetary instruments, such as money orders, cashier's checks, and bank drafts. Banks need to report your activity anytime you have one deposit exceeding $10,000, or two or more related deposits that cross that threshold.

How much cash can you deposit in the bank without being questioned? ›

We're here to help!

The IRS requires banks and businesses to file Form 8300, the Currency Transaction Report, if they receive cash payments over $10,000. Depositing more than $10,000 will not result in immediate questioning from authorities, however. The report is done simply to help prevent fraud and money laundering.

Can someone gift me a million dollars? ›

Most taxpayers won't ever pay gift tax because the IRS allows you to gift up to $12.06 million (as of 2022) over your lifetime without having to pay gift tax. This is the lifetime gift tax exemption, and it's up from $11.7 million in 2021.

How much cash can you receive without paying taxes? ›

Annual Gift Exclusion

Like we've mentioned before, the annual exclusion limit (the cap on tax-free gifts) is a whopping $16,000 per person per year for 2022 (it's $17,000 for gifts made in 2023). So, even if you do give outrageously, you wouldn't have to file a gift tax return unless you went over those limits.

How much cash is tax free? ›

You Don't Have to Report Cash Gifts of up to $16,000 a Year

Cash gifts can be subject to tax rates that range from 18% to 40% depending on the size of the gift. The person making the gift must pay the tax but thanks to annual and lifetime exclusions, most people will never have to pay a gift tax.

What are the reasons for failing at cash management? ›

Typically, a poor understanding of the cash flow cycle, profit versus cash, lack of cash management skills, and bad capital investments are the reasons for failing at cash management.

What is the process of cash management? ›

What is Cash Management? Cash management, also known as treasury management, is the process that involves collecting and managing cash flows from the operating, investing, and financing activities of a company. In business, it is a key aspect of an organization's financial stability.


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