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NerdWallet’s Best Savings Accounts

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A savings account provides a buffer against catastrophes and helps you prepare for big planned expenses. For such an account, you’re probably looking for the best yield and features, along with the highest interest rate.

Rates above 1% are possible, even in an environment of low national savings account rates. Our savings account search tool can help you find an account with the highest rates, but we’ve dug deeper to assemble our favorite accounts for your consideration.

Best account for tech-savvy savers: Ally Bank

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Ally Bank is among the best for overall digital experience. Its online interface is easy to use, and the company has invested heavily in mobile platforms, including for the Kindle Fire. It also differentiates itself by offering real-time chat support, unlike most of its competitors. The interest rate is a not-too-shabby 0.99%, and the account can be used for overdraft protection on your checking account.

Ally is a good choice for people who want a top-tier online experience while still earning respectable interest.

Best savings rates: Barclays Dream Account and Synchrony High Yield Savings Account

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Barclays Dream Account: This account’s 1.05% APY* is high compared with most competitors, and the bank offers opportunities for account holders to boost their earnings even more. If you make regular deposits and no withdrawals for six months, you get a small bonus on the interest you’ve earned over that period.

Barclays charges overdraft fees of only $5 per item, but there is no limit on how many fees it’ll charge you on a given day. Customer service is also fairly limited; your best bet is to pick up the phone.

This account is best for people who are rarely overdrawn but want to maximize interest.

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Synchrony High Yield Savings Account: Synchrony offers a good all-around savings account, with an interest rate of 1.05%*. The monthly fee is waived if you maintain a manageable $30 minimum balance, and the Optimizer+plus Perks rewards program gives you incentives for saving more money. The bank maintains one branch in Bridgewater, New Jersey, but otherwise expect to conduct your business online.

If you want an above-average interest rate, low fees and a rewards program, Synchrony is a good choice.

Best savings account bonuses: Chase Savings and Capital One 360

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Chase Savings: Most savings accounts that offer bonuses require a hefty initial deposit, and Chase is no exception. If you open your account with $10,000 and maintain that balance for 90 days, Chase will give you $100 as a welcome gift.

Chase customers benefit from widely available branches and ATMs, and the customer service and mobile banking platform have a lot of fans. To avoid a $5 monthly fee, you need to keep a minimum balance of $300 or set up a recurring transfer of at least $25 a month from a Chase checking account.

Consider Chase if you like in-person banking coupled with a well-designed mobile app.

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Capital One 360: If a high minimum balance doesn’t scare you off, you can make even more money by signing up for a Capital One 360 savings account. Capital One’s bonuses operate on a sliding scale, but if you have $50,000 worth of savings, the bank is prepared to offer you $500 to bank with it.

Add in a popular referral program, which gives you $20 for each friend whom you refer, and you’re looking at some nice padding for your savings account. Capital One 360 also allows up to 25 sub-accounts per customer, and you can change the names of each account to reflect what you’re saving for.

If you like to keep track of separate savings goals and want a great tech experience, Capital One 360 is worth a look.

Best credit union or community bank savings account: Kasasa Saver

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There are many reasons to go with a local bank or credit union, especially if you want a personal relationship with your financial institution or want your money to stay in your community. And many community banks can go head to head with bigger ones when it comes to account features.

Some banks do that by partnering with Kasasa, a third-party company that designs and manages rewards-based checking and savings accounts with low fees. The Kasasa Saver account helps you build your savings automatically by sending all rewards and ATM refunds there.

If a community bank or a credit union is your jam, consider looking for one that offers Kasasa accounts.

Making banking easier

It might be more convenient to have your checking and savings accounts at the same bank for ease of transferring money and for overdraft protection. Take a look at NerdWallet’s roundup of best checking accounts in order to make a good choice on an all-around bank that offers the products you want.

Have a favorite savings account we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments.

*Interest rates updated weekly.

Virginia C. McGuire is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: Twitter: @vcmcguire. Devan Goldstein of NerdWallet contributed to this report.

Updated June 15, 2015.

Image via iStock.

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  • Dana

    As Mallika pointed out, they’re taken over by Capital One now and it is just as well. I experienced them closing my account because they pulled my credit report and didn’t like my rating. I have had savings accounts since I was a teenager and I have never been treated like that before or since.

  • Jacquie A. McMahon

    Charles Schwab has a high-yield investor savings account with no fees that currently has a 1% interest rate. Thinking about opening one myself and though I’d share!

    • PG

      That’s actually 0.1%

      • Jacquie A. McMahon

        I called the customer service line, and I was indeed told incorrect information on the phone the first time. Thank you for clarifying.

        • PG

          You’re welcome :-)
          I’m a big fan of their checking account, so jumped online trying to find the 1% rate…

          • Jacquie A. McMahon

            It seemed too good to be true! Guess it was…

          • BP

            Ha, I did the same thing and then couldn’t find it and then came back to read the comments!

  • Jimmy

    Synchrony has a High Yield Savings Rates of 1%

  • Jeremy Szczepanski

    Ally Bank savings account is currently 0.99%, with no fees or minimum balances. It’s online only but I love it because its less tempting to withdraw my savings!

  • Cory

    Nationwide Bank pays a bonus of $200 for their checking and pay .63% on money market accounts under 1000 deposit…. no minimum. This above and beyond what i have found out there

  • Brian MacLaine

    Barclays has a savings account called a Dream Account that I just signed up for. If you don’t mind being limited to $1000 per month savings deposited, they are paying 1.05%, plus if you set up consecutive deposits they will pay an additional 2.5% on interest earned over six-months. They will pay another 2.5% on interested earned if you don’t make any withdrawals in a six month period. Probably one of the better deals I found for savings, despite the $1000/mo limit.