[Updated] With savings rates (APY) falling due to sharp cuts in the federal fund rates – nearing 0% – it is getting harder and harder for people to earn a decent risk-free return on cash sitting in savings accounts. According to Bankrate.com, the average savings account rate has fallen below 0.25%. What’s more, many of those once high flying internet only banks offering 8%+ APY’s have gone broke, leaving only handful of banks providing above average rates. When it comes to choosing a good high interest savings account, the first thing you must make sure is that it is FDIC insured ($250,000 limit for saving accounts), charges no account keeping fees and is well capitalized/established. If the savings account meet’s these mandatory criteria, the next key factors to look at are the savings rate (APY), user experience/interface and finally convenience (which includes good customer service). With all these criteria in mind, here are my top recommended high interest rate accounts:
ING Direct has a very simple and easy to use interface, which along with its strong brand makes it amongst the most popular accounts in the market place. The new electric orange account combines their competitive APY offering along with checking and ATM features that put in direct competition with the established banks, that offer little or no interest on their checking accounts. If you want a steady and simple high interest account, then ING Direct is the one for you.
Ally Bank (formerly GMAC Bank) is a relatively new player in the high interest savings account space, and is providing some strong competition to the market leaders like ING Direct and HSBC Direct. There offering is quite standard relative to the leading providers but the feature I liked best was that they calculate and compound interest daily, rather than monthly or quarterly like some other big banks. The more often interest is compounded, the faster it grows. They also have the leading Certificate of Deposit (CD) offering which is good for longer term savers that like to use laddering.
ETRADE, not only offers a very competitive brokerage service, but also a top notch savings account with a straight forward multi-function user interface. Having a combined savings, brokerage and IRA account also make things very easy to manage from an administrative standpoint. This savings account is great for those who want a one-stop shop for all their financial activities.
Conclusion: I currently have my cash and emergency savings across a number of accounts, with the above being the ones I like best. With saving interest rates falling rapidly, seeking out the best yield is something I am constantly doing to maximize my returns. As rates (APY’s) change and better offers come up, I will update this post and you can keep up by subscribing via Email or RSS to get the latest articles delivered direct.
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