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Need Multiple Savings Accounts? Here’s Where to Bank

Banking, Savings Accounts
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People typically don’t set aside money for just one big savings goal, and that’s what makes multiple savings accounts so practical. You can use multiple accounts to save for a variety of short-term wants and needs, from going on a tropical vacation to replacing that wonky dishwasher.

Separating your savings into different accounts provides a better overview of your goals, which should make them easier to manage — and reach. But not every bank is customer-friendly when it comes to setting up multiple accounts.

Go here for multiple savings accounts

If you need more than one account for your savings needs, these six financial institutions should be at the top of your list. All are ranked on NerdWallet’s list of the best savings accounts. They offer some of the highest annual percentage yields (APYs) on the market, spare people from monthly maintenance fees, and let customers personalize accounts by giving them nicknames. And even if you open accounts with the reckless abandon of a child tearing through gifts on Christmas morning, you probably won’t run up against the account limit at these banks.

 APYMax. accounts per person
Alliant High-Rate Savings (see full review)1.05%20
Ally Online Savings Account (see full review)1.05%No limit
Barclays Online Savings Account (see full review)1%25
Capital One 360 Savings (see full review)0.75%25
Discover Online Savings (see full review)1.01%No limit
Synchrony High Yield Savings Account (see full review)1.05%No limit

If you’re serious about making the most of multiple savings accounts, we’d recommend going with one of these options. Looking elsewhere can’t hurt, as long as you keep these four tips in mind:

1. Avoid monthly maintenance fees

Using multiple savings accounts can be more of a burden than a bonus if you’re hit with monthly maintenance fees. If you belong to a bank that charges these fees and would rather stay put, there are ways to avoid getting dinged. Options include keeping balances above a certain dollar amount or scheduling automatic transfers between checking and savings accounts.

2. Lock in strong rates

Although avoiding monthly fees should be a priority, securing a high rate is right up there. Online banks and credit unions tend to offer higher APYs than traditional brick-and-mortar banks, which makes them ideal for multiple savings accounts.

Look at it this way: Keeping $5,000 at a bank that offers a 0.01% APY would earn an annual yield of just 50 cents. An APY of 1.05%, on the other hand, would earn about $50 — not enough to quit your job, but a welcomed addition to that emergency fund.

3. Use nicknames to personalize accounts

The banks and credit unions listed above let people nickname their accounts based on what their savings goals are. (You can name these accounts whatever you’d like, but we would recommend keeping it simple — try “vacation fund,” “emergency fund” or “new dishwasher fund.”)

These nicknames are typically private, so you will be able to see them when banking online but they won’t show up on external transfers. It wouldn’t hurt to check with your bank just to be sure.

4. Be aware of limits

Some banks and credit unions limit the number of savings accounts people can open. What’s more, some put limits on the number of accounts folks can open during the initial application process. However, customers might be able to call the bank or credit union later and open additional accounts. Policies vary from bank to bank, so be sure to check in to get a better idea of their rules.

No matter how many accounts you have at a bank, make sure you won’t get hit with surprise fees for excessive withdrawals — federal banking regulations generally limit holders of savings accounts to six such transactions a month per account, not including ATM or in-person withdrawals. Each account should be treated separately, but confirming that with your bank is a good idea.

As with any financial decision, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to where you should open multiple savings accounts. But by exploring your options and keeping the above tips in mind, you should be able to set yourself up for success.

Tony Armstrong is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: tony@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @tonystrongarm.