Top-ranked savings account pays 1.41%

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Savings accounts won't make you rich, but if you want your money to earn a decent return without having to tie it up in a CD, they are a good option.

The top rates listed are reasonably close to what you can earn on the best 12-month CDs. And you have the flexibility of withdrawing your money without penalty, should the need arise.

As of Dec. 16, the best nationally available rates on savings accounts are:

1.41% APY with an initial deposit of $500 to $25,000 from SFGI Direct, the online division of Summit Community Bank in Moorefield, W.Va.

1.35% APY with a $1 minimum from Southern Community Bank and Trust.

You must open an account through the bank's Readysaver.com Web site.

(If you go to one of the bank's 20 North Carolina branches, or its own Web site, you'll find it's offering as little as 0.15% APY on savings accounts.)

1.35% APY with a minimum deposit of $2,500 from Hudson City Savings Bank, which has more than 130 branches in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The savings account may be opened online by residents of all 50 states. There is a $2 per month service fee any time the balance falls below $100.

1.30% APY with no minimum deposit requirement from Sallie Mae Bank, the online bank owned by the big student loan lender.

1.30% APY with no minimum deposit from American Express Bank.

1.25% APY with a $1,000 minimum from Capital One Direct Bank. This InterestPlus Online Savings account pays an additional 10% bonus on the interest that you earn.

1.25% APY with a $500 minimum deposit from Discover Bank.

1.25% APY with a Premier savings account and a $5,000 minimum deposit from Presidential Bank, which has two branches in Maryland, six in Virginia and one in Washington D.C.

Most money markets pay less than savings accounts, with one notable exception.

The Mega Money Market Account, which pays 1.75% APY, is available from AmericaNet Bank and Evantage Bank, two jointly owned Oklahoma banks.

This is the top nationally available money market rate in the country.

Compare these rates with the best savings rates from scores of other banks in our extensive database.

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