If you’re looking for a place to grow your funds without assuming risk, you’re probably asking “Does my bank offer the best savings account?” If you bank with one of the nation’s biggest banks, such as Citibank, Bank of America, Chase, and Wells Fargo, your savings account is safe but probably isn’t the best savings rate in America in any interest rate environment.
According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), some of the nation’s largest banks offer the lowest rates on savings accounts. Sending extra money in your checking account to savings is better than nothing, but it’s probably not competitive with some of the better savings account rates online. If you’re want liquidity, flexibility, FDIC insurance, and many times the national average savings rate on your money, look for savings accounts that offer an easy user interface with your primary bank account. Let’s consider how to find the best savings account:
Does My Bank Offer the Best Savings Account? Find a Bank
According to Forrester Research, more banking business is conducted online these days. Most of the country’s biggest banks with brick and mortar branches offer clients mobile apps, so it’s no longer necessary to go to the bank to deposit checks with the teller or spend any time at the ATM drive-through.
If you’re looking for the best savings account, you’re likely to find it at an online bank. They pay higher rates that your physical bank, have low/nonexistent fees, and provide easy access to your money. Some of the largest financial institutions have low or no balance requirements, including Ally Bank, Capital One 360, American Express Personal Savings, and Barclays U.S.
Consider the features you need from a bank before deciding on the best savings account for you.
Does My bank Offer the Best Savings Account? Features
Choosing the best savings account may have more to do with extra features than pay you more interest. Your savings account should simplify your life, and offer features like:
Access to certificates of deposit to lock in higher rates on extra cash
Easy to use customer portal and free financial software, such as calculators, forms, and contacts.
Fast transfer of funds options between your savings account and other banks. For instance, there’s no need to wait weeks for a bank-to-bank deposit to settle.
Mobile deposit options are essential if you choose a virtual bank. However, if you need to draw a cashier’s check from an online bank, ask if your account can accommodate this requirement. Some virtual banks offer a physical location.
Credit unions may offer competitive savings account rates but you’ve got to do your homework. Look for NCUSIF (National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund) for your deposits. This is the equivalent of FDIC insurance offered by commercial banks.
Note that you shouldn’t deposit more than USD 250,000 into a savings account. This is the FDIC/NCUSIF maximum insurance limit. Before investing your hard-earned cash, take the time to read savings account reviews. Not all savings accounts deliver on their promises.
Does My Bank Offer the Best Savings Account? Hybrid Accounts
If you’re looking for more than a savings account, look for a combined payment account that includes debit card access, checks, and online bill pay. A hybrid account may offer interest rates that are competitive with the best savings account and allow you to make payments like a traditional bank checking account:
Virtual accounts, including Ally Bank’s Money Market Savings or Capital One’s 360 Checking / High Yield Money Market Account, may offer you desirable flexibility and access to your money.
If you have significant funds to deposit, consider the option of a reward checking account. You’ll earn higher interest rates on your cash, sometimes higher than long maturity certificates of deposit, on your cash. These accounts have restrictions, including: 1) direct deposit required; 2) online statements; 3) minimum debit card use may be required; 4) log-in at least once every month; and 5) open the reward checking account in person.
Does My Bank Offer the Best Savings Account? Consider the Costs
Online savings accounts are a great invention and make life easier for millions of Americans, but they’re not for everyone. Many people like to visit a brick and mortar bank. They like tendering checks in person or checking account balances at the ATM.
In a low interest rate environment, saving money by reducing costs is a smart way to increase your savings account return. For instance, if you bank with one of the nation’s brand name banks, such as Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, or Wells Fargo, review your statements to identify costs and fees associated with your account.
Customer loyalty and retention are big concerns for the nation’s big banks so it’s important to speak to the bank from time to time to get the most benefits from your relationship. Your bank may remove fees—or even refund past fees assessed to you—if you’re a student, unemployed, or retired. If you’ve been a client of the bank for many years and your checking and savings account are held there, speak with your banker about how to reduce or remove fees.