The Federal Reserve has managed to gradually reduce inflation. This means that some things we buy are getting cheaper. It has also translated into higher APYs (annual percentage yields) on the funds in your high-yield savings accounts — but not if your money is parked in a big bank.
At those “giant monster mega-banks,” as money expert Clark Howard calls them, interest rates on savings accounts are still shockingly low for the most part.
The good news is that if you take your money elsewhere, you can capitalize on some high savings rates.
Savings Rates Are Rising: How High Will They Go?
With the Fed continuing to make adjustments, APYs are expected to possibly rise above 6% by year’s end.
Let’s take a look at the APYs for some of the most popular savings account products at the big banks. We’ll then look at savings rates at the best online banks.
Savings Rates at the Big Banks
|Financial Institution||Account Name||Monthly Service Fees||APY|
|Bank of America||Advantage Savings Account||$8 (Waived with $500 or more daily balance or if linked to specific BoA checking accounts)||0.01%|
|Citibank||Accelerate Savings Account||$4.50 (Waived with an average monthly balance of $500)||4.25%|
|JP Morgan Chase||Premier Savings Account||$25 (Waived with $15,000 or more daily balance or linked to Premier Plus Checking or Sapphire Checking)||0.01%|
|Wells Fargo||Platinum Savings Account||$12 (Waived with $3,500 minimum daily balance)||0.25%|
Interest rates as of August 11, 2023
Note: Rates may vary by location.
As you can see, despite a climate of rising interest rates, only one of the big banks has rates that are even remotely competitive when it comes to their standard savings accounts.
On the other hand, you can bet that you’ll get more bang for your buck with an online savings account — and avoid all the fees. Let’s look at the rates of some of the top high-yield savings accounts from online banks and other institutions:
Savings Rates for Top High-Yield Savings Accounts
|Financial Institution||Why It Makes Our List||APY|
|Western Alliance Bank||No-fee online banking with a daily balance of at least $250.||5.20%|
|CIT Bank||No maintenance fees. Earn 5.05% APY on balances of $5,000 and more.||5.05%|
|Webull||No minimum balance required. Interest is paid each month.||5.0%|
|Bask Bank||Zero monthly account fees.||5.0%|
Why You Should Shop Your Bank Today
Because savings rates can change quickly, Clark wants you to be nimble. He has been saying for years that you should think long and hard about moving your money if you keep it in one of the big banks. For him the question (and answer) is simple:
“Do you want to be ripped off by the bank?” he says on his podcast. “When I say bank, I’m talking about a bank where there’s a physical branch. And yes, some small local banks are actually offering better deals like credit unions do, but generally most banks are controlled by bigger players and they just squeeze you. They just take advantage of you. And it’s your choice if you want to be taken advantage of.”
How To Shop Your Bank Right Now
Before you begin comparison shopping banks, it’s a good idea to estimate how much money you can save within a given period. Use our Online High-Yield Savings Calculator to see a projected savings balance based on customized figures you enter.
Armed with that information, here are some other steps to follow:
1. Check Your APY
If you already have a high-yield savings account, confirm the APY with your financial institution. You should be able to log in to your online banking account to see it. It should also be on your bank’s website.
If your savings account’s APY is not competitive, it’s time to do some bank shopping!
2. Look for Low- or No-Fee Accounts
Many traditional banks offer accounts filled with “gotcha” fees, which Clark wants you to avoid. When researching financial institutions, look for their fee schedule or deposit account agreement, which is typically posted online.
A bank’s deposit agreement will generally show you what it charges for the following fees:
- Checking account
- Required minimum balance
- Annual fee
3. Research Online Banks
Aside from low fees, online banks offer unparalleled convenience when it comes to managing your money digitally. When choosing an online bank, one of the first things you should look at is whether the financial institution is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which federally protects deposits in the event of a bank failure or theft.
The FDIC says you can find out if a bank is insured by doing the following:
- Calling the FDIC toll-free: 1-877-275-3342
- Using FDIC.com’s Bank Find feature
- Looking for the FDIC sign where deposits are received
4. Consider a Credit Union
When you compare a bank vs. a credit union, you’ll find that not only does the latter typically have lower fees, but it also offers more personalized customer service, which can make your experience with them a lot easier.
Credit unions also typically beat the national average, when it comes to savings rates. Clark says to make sure the credit union you choose is insured by the National Credit Union Association (NCUA). That’s the credit union equivalent to the FDIC.
Influenced by the Fed, interest rates have been impacting the wallets of consumers for several months now and will continue. Clark wants you to be proactive when it comes to parking your money by shopping your bank to get the best savings rates and APYs.