It’s usually best to keep emergency savings in a bank or credit union savings account. These types of accounts offer easier access to your money than certificates of deposit, U.S. Savings Bonds, or mutual funds. Though these are useful tools for long-term saving, they are not ideal for an emergency fund that you may need access to more quickly.
But not too quickly. Keeping your money in a savings account makes it much less likely that you will use these savings to pay for everyday, non-emergency expenses. That’s why it is usually a mistake to keep your emergency fund in a checking account.
You may well need at least $100 to open the savings account and a $200 minimum balance to avoid monthly fees. In most areas, however, there are several financial institutions with lower minimums. Also, banks and credit unions may waive the minimums if you have other accounts at that institution or if you agree to regular, automatic transfers from checking to saving. Your local America Saves campaign can help you find a participating financial institution that offers low- or no-minimum balance savings accounts.
The Best Way to Save for Emergencies
The easiest and most effective way to save is automatically. This is how millions of Americans save at their bank or credit union. Your bank or credit union can help you set up automatic savings by transferring a fixed amount from your checking account to a savings account. Learn more about saving automatically.