Best savings accounts for your emergency fund

A savings account with a high APY and no monthly fees can help your emergency fund go even further.

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Putting money aside for emergencies like car and home repairs or healthcare can help you stay out of debt and makes good financial sense. Finding the right savings account can help make the most of your contributions.

Editor's pick: Barclays Online Savings Account

  • Competitive interest rate
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balances to open

Editor's pick: Barclays Online Savings Account

Earn 20x the national savings account average with no fees or minimums.

  • Tools to help you save
  • Secure, 24/7 online access to your funds

How we picked the best savings accounts

With so many places available for you to stash money for an emergency, we narrowed down the options to a list of the top five by considering key factors like how easy it was to open, maintain and access your money, as well as how well it grew your emergency fund. That meant digging into account details like convenience of access, customer service, interest rates, deposit and withdrawal requirements, fees and balance requirements.

Best savings accounts for an emergency fund

Regardless of how much you plan to save, compare accounts that will help your money grow.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Backed by one of the largest investment banks in the country, this online savings account could be a good fit for your emergency fund. But it has no dedicated mobile app for easy account management.

  • High APY. Earn 1.7% APY on any balance above $1.
  • 24/7 access. Access your money any time with online banking and customer service agent.
  • No fees or minimum deposit. There’s no minimum balance requirement to start saving or to keep the account open.

American Express Personal Savings Account

This popular credit card provider offers a high yield savings account backed by FDIC designed to help you save.

  • Competitive APY. Your emergency fund will earn 1.75% APY as sits in the account.
  • No fees or balance requirements. You’ll pay zero monthly fees and there’s no requirement to maintain a minimum balance.
  • Linked accounts. Link your existing checking account from another institution without switching banks.

Synchrony High Yield Savings Account

The online bank cuts overhead costs by operating entirely online, passing the savings down to customers.

  • Solid APY. Earn 1.8% APY on your balance to help your emergency fund grow.
  • Quick withdrawals.Make withdrawals online, by phone or with an ATM card.
  • Easy deposits. Fund your account with an online transfer, mobile check deposit, direct deposit, wire transfer or check.

Barclays Online Savings

This free account earns 1.7% APY and has no minimum balance requirements

Bulk up your emergency fund with a free account that earns 1.7% APY.

  • High APY. Take advantage of an APY that’s 20x the national average.
  • No monthly fees. You’ll never pay monthly maintenance fees when you keep your emergency fund in this account.
  • No minimum balance. There’s no minimum balance requirement, so you can get started with as little or as much money as you’d like.

Ally Online Savings Account

This online savings account pays over 20x the national interest rate for savings accounts, which could make it a good option for your emergency fund.

  • High APY. Earn 1.7% on all balance tiers.
  • Transparency and low fees. Ally doesn’t charge a monthly service fee and clearly states all other fees on its website.
  • No minimum balance. Start saving with as little or as much as you’d like.

How much should I have in emergency savings?

A general rule of thumb is to save between three to six month’s worth of expenses, while some experts suggest saving for up to one year. However, how much you can contribute depends on your income, expenses and financial goals among other factors.

You can start a small emergency fund with as little a few hundred dollars, which may come in handy for things like unexpected car repairs, pet emergencies or other essentials.

How to compare savings accounts for my emergency fund

Consider these factors when you’re comparing savings accounts for your emergency fund:

Compare with other savings accounts

Name Product Interest rate (APY) Fee Minimum deposit to open
Barclays Online Savings
1.70%
$0
$0
Earn 20x the national savings account average with no fees or minimums.
BBVA Money Market
1.50%
$15 per month
(can be waived)
$25
Earn one of the highest annual percentage yields (APYs) if you live in one of 42 eligible states, and access your money by ATM, check or bill pay.
UFB Direct High Yield Savings
2.00%
$0
$100
Earn a competitive rate with a balance higher than $10,000.
CIT Bank Savings Builder High Yield Savings Account
1.85%
$0
$100
A super-high interest rate if you're in the habit of saving at least $100 per month or have $25K in the bank. Earn up to $300 Cash Bonus with a $50K deposit. Open to both current and new customers. Conditions apply
Chase Savings
0.01%
$5 per month
(can be waived)
$0
Get a $150 bonus when you open a new Chase Savings account, deposit a total of $10,000 or more in new money within 10 business days and maintain a $10,000 balance for 90 days. Or get $350 when you open both a Chase Savings and Chase Total Checking account.
UFB Direct Premium Money Market Account
2.00%
$10 per month
(can be waived)
$5,000
Enjoy the security and earning potential of a savings account while maintaining the flexibility to write checks.

Compare up to 4 providers

Alternatives for my emergency savings

Savings accounts are the most common place to park an emergency fund, but there are alternatives. If you’re looking for a nontraditional place to store your money or want to build an additional reserve beyond a standard emergency fund, consider these other options:

Couple checking their Roth IRA

Roth IRA

Roth IRAs are an effective way to save for retirement but they can also be used as an emergency fund or safety net. Unlike traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs are funded with money you’ve already paid tax on. This means that you can make penalty-free withdrawals on any amount except your investment earnings, which are subject to a 10% penalty if you withdraw before you’re 59-and-a-half years old.

man holding his daughter

Cash-value life insurance

Life insurance is a financial product that’s good to have, but never fun to think about. A cash value policy can protect your family if you die, but you can borrow from the policy if you need access to cash. You’re not required to pay back these loans, but they affect the balance your beneficiaries receive when you die.

a woman opening a money market account

Money market account

Money market accounts work just like savings accounts but with added flexibility and higher interest rates. They often have multiple balance tiers and higher minimum balance requirements, but you’ll get higher interest rates and easier access to your money.

Bottom line

Finding a savings account that offers a high APY and low fees can help you grow your emergency fund quicker. Consider any of these savings accounts or compare your options to find another account that suits your needs.

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