Top savings account has new competition

Coins falling into outstretched hand

TIAA Direct still owns the top nationally available savings account rate by a big margin.

But it has some competition from a global banking force that's just introduced new online deposit accounts.

TIAA Direct, an FDIC-insured online bank owed by the financial services firm TIAA-CREF, pays 1.25% APY on its high-yield savings account. TIAA-CREF is primarily known as a leading retirement provider for people who work in the academic, medical, cultural, government and research fields.

That yield is the best you'll find on an account that's available to savers in all 50 states.

Looking to compete is Barclays Bank, the online American operation of the big British bank, which just began offering online CDs and savings accounts.

It pays 1.00% APY on its online savings account with no minimum deposit requirement and no cap on how much you can save.

At TIAA Direct, you'll need to make an initial deposit of at least $25. Here, too, there is no minimum balance requirement, no monthly fee and no maximum balance on which you'll earn the 1.25% APY.

TIAA Direct also offers a money market account that pays 1.25% APY.

Unlike the savings account, you can write up to six checks per month from the MMA account.

You'll find just four other banks that offer money market or savings accounts nationwide that pay at least 1% as of May 9, 2012:

My Banking Direct pays 1.15% APY on its money market accounts.

The online division of New York Community Bank requires a minimum deposit of $5,000 to open an account. If your balance falls below $5,000, you'll earn 0.25% APY.

Incrediblebank, the online division of River Valley Bank of Rothschild, Wis., pays 1.00% APY on balances between $2,500 and $249,999 on its money market account. Any portion of balances above that amount earn 0.50% APY. A $2,500 minimum deposit is required to open an account.

Amboy Direct, the online division of Amboy Bank, which has 24 offices in central New Jersey, offers a guaranteed 1.00% APY for the next 12 months on balances up to $25,000 in its eSavings account. You must be a new customer to receive this rate.

Similarly, Salem Five Direct, the online division of Salem Five Bank in Salem, Mass., offers a guaranteed 1.00% APY on its savings account with a $100 minimum deposit. The rate is good on deposits up to $500,000.

The Salem Five savings rate is guaranteed through August on new accounts.

None of the other top accounts feature rate guarantees, which means they can cut interest rates at any time.

To qualify for our list of top savings accounts, a bank must allow savers from all 50 states to open a savings account or money market account online or through the mail.

See how these deals compare to the best money market and savings rates from scores of other banks in our database.