Putting money away used to involve decisions about which bank offered higher interest rates and better perks. With average interest rates reaching their lowest levels in a decade, some consumers are considering whether it’s wise to even bother opening a bank account. Low interest rates can be frustrating: When rates dip to a certain level, you could actually end up paying the bank to hold your money through fees and account charges, in which case you might as well keep the money stored at home. But not every savings account is returning mere pennies each month.
Here are a few savings accounts that could actually help you earn money:
Sallie Mae savings accounts are offering an industry-leading 1.40% interest rate. On top of the relatively high rate, Sallie Mae allows you to open an account with a minimum balance of $0. American Express savings accounts (1.30%) and Ally savings accounts (1.29%) provide solid returns without a minimum opening balance requirement.
If you are looking for a savings account that caters to those who want to put away a more substantial sum, consider one of the following online banks. NewDominion Direct savings comes with a 1.40% interest rate and a $3,000 minimum opening balance. Presidential Online Bank savings offers 1.25% interest and a $5,000 opening minimum.
The most convenient place to open a savings account is at a bank with nearby branches. Oftentimes that means opening an account at a major, national bank. Unfortunately, some of the biggest banks offer the smallest interest rates. Chase savings accounts currently pay between 0.01% and 0.75% interest, depending on how much money you deposit. A Bank of America Regular Savings account returns 0.25%, but at least you’ll always have a branch nearby.
Low Rates, Low Incentive to Deposit
The current U.S. average savings rate in July dipped below 1%, the first sub-1% month in ten years, according to Market Rates Insight. The market isn’t getting any friendlier for consumers, either. New federal regulations on the financial industry have encouraged banks to hike fees and cut rates.
The idea behind stashing money in a bank isn’t just to give your funds some security. Usually, you’re looking for some financial gain from your bank account. After all, your money needs to appreciate a bit for it to avoid being overtaken by inflation. If your savings account is paying 0.01% interest, chances are it’s only generating a few dollars each year.
Compare those few dollars to the costs you pay to maintain the account: potential minimum balance fees, the occasional ATM convenience charge along with other standard fees. In some cases, you might end up losing money by putting money into an extremely low-yield account. That’s not to say opening an account is the wrong move. Maintaining a bank account is a very important part of keeping your financial health — you just need to explore your options before settling on an account.