Budgeting & Saving

10 Places to Park Your Emergency Cash Right Now

One of life's necessities is an emergency fund: A stash of cash set aside for unexpected crises, like a sudden job loss or a major medical expense. Most experts suggest squirreling at least three to six months worth of expenses in a bank account that you can easily access if the going gets tough. (Read more here about why you need an emergency fund.)

The good news is that while interest rates hovered around next to nothing for years, a steady increase in the federal funds rate means that savers can make some money on their rainy-day funds. While the national average interest rate on a savings account is 0.09%, plenty of online banks are competing for your business—and offering annual percentage yields of 1.60% or more. Read on for the ten best online accounts to park your emergency cash right now.

Note: All accounts are FDIC-insured for up to $250,000.

1. Northpointe Bank

Annual Percentage Yield (APY): 2.05%
You can't beat Northpointe Bank's 2.05% APY offered on its Ultimate Savings Account. The catch? While you don't need to open the account with a minimum balance or pay monthly maintenance fees, you must maintain a minimum balance of $25,000 to earn the 2.05% rate. If your balance ever dips below $25,000, you'll still earn a respectable 1.12% on those funds. Balances above $1 million will also earn 1.12%. Northpointe also offers a mobile app to make transferring money hassle-free.

2. PurePoint Financial

Annual Percentage Yield (APY): 1.90%
You must have $10,000 to open an online savings account at PurePoint Financial, a division of Union Bank. And while there are no monthly maintenance fees, you must maintain that $10,000 balance to earn the 1.90% APY. If your balance falls below $10,000, the interest rate dips to a paltry 0.25%. One more fee users should be aware of: More than six transactions per month will result in a $10 excess activity fee.

3. Popular Direct

Annual Percentage Yield (APY): 1.85%
The Plus Savings Account at Popular Direct comes with a generous 1.85% APY, but you must open the account with a $5,000 minimum deposit. Customers must also maintain a daily balance of $500 or more in order to avoid the account's $4 monthly maintenance fee. You'll also be charged a $5 dormancy fee if there's no activity in the account over a 12-month period.

4. Synchrony Bank

Annual Percentage Yield (APY): 1.75%
Formerly a part of General Electric, Synchrony Bank is now its own business. It's unique in that it's almost completely online, with the exception of one branch in Bridgewater, New Jersey. The 1.75% APY is an excellent savings rate with no strings attached—no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balances required. What sets this savings account apart is access to an ATM card. The bank charges no fees for in-network ATMs and even reimbursed up to $5 each month for out-of-network ATM fees.

5. Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Annual Percentage Yield (APY): 1.70%
The consumer banking offshoot of the investment giant Goldman Sachs, Marcus offers FDIC-insured banking products including a high-yield savings account and several certificates of deposit. The 1.70% APY is one of the best around. There's no minimum amount required to open an account (well, technically you must have at least $1 in the account to earn interest). Marcus has consistently offered one of the best rates on savings accounts around, and you can expect it to stay near the top.

6. Barclays Bank

Annual Percentage Yield (APY): 1.65%
American customers can take advantage of the high-yield savings account offered by this London-based global company. The 1.65% APY is one of the best rates around without a monthly maintenance fee or minimum balance requirement. Unfortunately, Barclays does not offer a checking account, ATM network or mobile app. Customers must link their Barclays account to an outside bank account in order to transfer funds.

7. Ally Bank

Annual Percentage Yield (APY): 1.60%
Ally pays a solid 1.60% APY to savers—and there's no minimum balance required to open or maintain an account. The online-only bank also offers the option of opening a free checking account (again, no minimum balance required) and linking it to your savings. Ally is known for its sleek website, real-time chat support and online banking features, like the eCheck Deposit feature that makes it easy to fund your account.

8. American Express National Bank

Annual Percentage Yield (APY): 1.60%
The American Express® Personal Savings High Yield Savings Account is currently offering a 1.60% APY, one of the best rates around. There's no minimum balance requirement or a monthly maintenance fee. AmEx doesn't offer a checking option, but it's easy to link your savings account to up to three existing bank accounts at other institutions.

9. Discover Bank

Annual Percentage Yield (APY): 1.60%
The online savings account at Discover offers a solid 1.60% APY, no minimum balance and no monthly maintenance fees. The bank's online experience, including its easy-to-navigate iOS and Android apps, is one of the best around. Discover also offers an excellent online checking account: It comes with no fees and offers users 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases.

10. Alliant Credit Union

Annual Percentage Yield (APY): 1.60%
If you prefer banking at a credit union, Alliant is an excellent option for high-yield savings. There are several ways to qualify for a membership, including a one-time $10 donation to a charitable organization that partners with the credit union. In order to earn the 1.60% APY, you must maintain a $100 average daily balance. A $5 initial deposit is required to open the account, and there's no monthly fee as long as you choose to receive electronic statements.