Investing Basics: The Savings Account

Bankrate has some info about savings accounts, the sad forgotten account. When are they useful? What’s the point? What kinds are there?

Savings accounts are liquid, meaning you can get your money at any time. There are two kinds, passbook and statement. “Federal regulations limit you to six electronic, telephone or preauthorized transfers per month and no more than three of them can be by check, draft or debit card. But, generally, you can make unlimited withdrawals by teller or ATM. ” Watch out for banks that charge maintenance fees if your balance is too low. Interest is generally pretty crappy, “Most traditional banks pay very little interest on savings accounts, a quarter of a percent is common. You can do much better by using one of the high-yield savings or money market accounts that, typically, are found online. High-yield money market accounts allow you to write checks, while high-yield savings accounts don’t have that feature. However, some high-yield savings accounts let you link to your checking account to make deposits and withdrawals easier.” Bankrate suggests that a savings account is a good place to keep an emergency fund, and points out that while having to fix your car is an emergency, fixing your TV isn’t.—MEGHANN MARCO

Investing Basics: The Savings Account [Bankrate]