Emergency Savings

Key Takeaway

Setting aside funds for emergencies is an essential part of financial wellness. You should generally have three to six months of income set aside for unexpected events. Unfortunately, more than 50% of Americans say they couldn’t come up with $500 at a moment’s notice. With the importance of retirement savings and paying off debt, emergency savings can end up at the back of your financial priority list.

One of the easiest ways to get started saving for the unexpected is by making small, regular deposits to a separate account. Alerus provides you with the ability to open an emergency savings account online and fund it through direct deposit via your employer’s payroll.

Opening An Account

To get started, visit alerus.com and click on Savings under the Your Life tab, then click Open an Account. If you’ve already set up your My Alerus account, you can choose to sign in to My Alerus to apply faster, or you can open an account as a guest. Answer a few basic questions and then select Alerus Emergency Account as the account type.

Fill in your personal information, add beneficiaries if desired, and then open and review the disclosures and certifications before checking the boxes to confirm your consent. Elect whether you want to access your account with a debit card, and then proceed to account funding. Select Direct Deposit via Employer Payroll from the Payment Method dropdown. Enter the amount you want to contribute from each paycheck and click Submit.

You will then receive a message that your application has been successfully submitted. Click the link to download a pre-populated direct deposit request. Fill in your company name and sign the form before submitting it to your employer.

Changing Your Deposit Amount

To make changes to the amount you automatically deposit, see your employer if you fund the account through payroll deduction. If using a recurring transfer, make the change through online banking.


When setting up your account, you can elect to have a debit card sent to be used at ATMs or for direct purchases. You can also make transfers online through My Alerus.

Changing Employers

This account is only tied to your employer if you utilize payroll deduction. If you change jobs, any automatic deposits from your paycheck will stop, but your emergency fund will continue with Alerus. Payroll deduction can be set up with your new employer to continue funding the account.

It’s never a bad time to start building your emergency savings and over time those small deposits can grow into a source of financial security, allowing you to remain on the path to financial success.

Account Details

Minimum Balance: None

Minimum Opening Balance: $25

Deposits: Unlimited

Statements: Monthly

Interest: Compounded and credited on a monthly basis using the daily balance method. This applies a daily periodic rate to the principal in the account each For each month a deposit is made, an additional interest reward payment will be paid. The interest reward is calculated using the average daily balance method, applying a periodic rate to the average daily balance in the account for the period. The period we use is a calendar month. Interest begins to accrue no later than the business day we receive credit for the deposit of noncash items (e.g., checks).


  • Unlimited if in person, by mail, or by ATM
  • Up to eight per month by phone, internet, check, preauthorized debit, or automatic payment. A $5 fee will be assessed for each statement cycle (four weeks) where eight transactions are exceeded.