The best savings accounts offer generous sign-up bonuses, top rates on deposits, few or no monthly fees and solid customer service.
While a savings account can be a great place to build up an emergency fund to cover a layoff or unexpected expense, it also offers a perfect way to save up for a big purchase – like a new vehicle.
The savings account that’s best for your financial situation depends on what you’re looking to get out of it.
To help you sort through all of your options, we’ve rounded up some of the best savings accounts for various situations.
All of the accounts we’ve included come from financial institutions that have accounts available nationwide or have a major brick-and-mortar presence.
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Here some of the best savings accounts: our top picks for 2016:
|Bank/Credit Union||Rate||Best Feature|
|Popular Direct||1.26%||Best savings rate|
|The Pallaidian Private Bank||1.30% for 6 months||Best guarantee|
|Barclays||1.05%||Best way to save for a goal|
|Amboy Direct||0.80%||Best opening bonus|
|Alliant Credit Union||1.00%||Best credit union|
|Capital One||Varies by location||Best full-service bank|
Best savings rate
- Popular Direct
- Rate: 1.26% APY
If you’re looking for a way to earn a healthy rate of return on your savings, check out Popular Direct.
The online bank, which just launched this summer, will pay 1.26% APY on your entire balance.
You’ll have to pony up a hefty initial deposit of $5,000 to open the account, but you don’t need to maintain a certain balance to earn interest. But if your balance drops below $500, you’ll pay a $4 monthly service fee.
The bank is the online division of Banco Popular North America, which is based in New York.
- The Palladian PrivateBank
- Rate: 1.30% APY for 6 months
The Palladian PrivateBank is one of the few banks that guarantees the rate it will pay on your savings account. Without a guarantee, a bank can change its rate at any time.
Palladian PrivateBank will pay you a guaranteed 1.30% APY for the first 6 months. After that, you earn a variable rate, currently 0.90% APY. That makes for an annual return for the first year of 1.10% APY.
You’ll have to deposit at least $1,000 to open an account.
The Palladian PrivateBank is the online division of PrivateBank and Trust Co., based in Chicago.
Best way to save for a goal
- Barclays Dream Account
- Rate: 1.05% APY
Barclays not only pays you a strong 1.05% APY if you open a Dream Account, the bank also throws in cash to help you reach your goal faster.
There is no minimum deposit to open an account, and you don’t need to maintain a certain balance to earn interest.
When you make deposits every month for 6 months, the bank will kick in a 2.5% bonus on the interest you’ve earned during that period. And if you don’t make any withdrawals for 6 straight months, the bank will throw in another 2.5% bonus on your interest.
Barclays is a British banking giant headquartered in London.
Best account opening bonus
- Amboy Direct
- Rate: 0.80% APY
Amboy Direct will pay you a respectable 0.80% APY if you open an eSavings account and keep a balance of at least $3,000. Plus, the bank kicks in a $50 account opening bonus.
You only need to deposit $100 to open an account Balances between $300 and $2,999 earn 0.30% APY.
When you’re ready to open your account, email the bank and they’ll send you a code that will score you the bonus.
Amboy Direct is the online division of Amboy Bank in Old Bridge, New Jersey.
Best credit union
- Alliant Credit Union
- Rate: 1.00% APY
Alliant’s High-Yield Savings Account is available to everyone, no matter where you live. It pays 1.00% APY on average balances of at least $100.
Anyone can join the Des Plaines, Illinois-based credit union by making a donation of at least $10 to Foster Care to Success, which assists teens in foster care. Then, it takes just a $5 deposit to open an account. The minimum deposit to keep the account open also is $5.
There are no monthly fees if you opt to receive account statements electronically. The credit union also offers an ATM card with access to 80,000 surcharge-free ATMs across the country.
Best full-service bank
- Capital One
- Rate: Varies by location
Capital One’s brick-and mortar banks (it also has an online bank) are now paying a bonus rate on its Essential Savings Accounts for the first 6 months.
The rate varies from place to place. In the Washington, D.C., area, for example, you’ll earn up to 0.80% APY, while in Austin, Texas, you’ll earn up to 1.10% APY. The standard, non-promotional rate on the same accounts is up to 0.50% APY.
Note that you’ll need a large amount of savings to earn the biggest bonuses. Capital One’s Essential Savings Account pays its best rates on balances from of between $10,000 and $1 million.
The bank has locations in 9 states, so check to see how much you can earn.
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This editorial content is not provided or commissioned by any of the referenced financial institutions or companies. Opinions, analysis, reviews or recommendations expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any financial institutions or companies, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such entity. All products or services are presented without warranty.