Last week as I was driving around the city where I live, I stopped and talked to people at 7 different banks about their savings programs. I already knew what the rates being offered were at Ally and Synchrony (two of the largest online banks), but I wanted to see if any local banks offered anything better. What I found is that the front desk people will only quote very low rates on everything, but some of the bank officers will quote much higher rates. The best short-term rate I found was 1%, and slightly more on 12 month CD’s. It never hurts to check around. With the Fed raising borrowing rates, savings rates will sooner or later rise accordingly.
As everyone on this forum probably knows, many banks will offer bonuses for new savings accounts, and some banks have special programs for checking accounts that use debit cards if the saver meets certain criteria. A few years ago a friend told me about a bank that was offering 5% for savers with $50,000 on deposit who did 10 debit transactions per month, checked their account balance online, and had one automatic payment per month. We rushed over and opened an account, and, sure enough, for several months they paid 5%. Then, as more and more people learned about the deal, the rate they were willing to pay began to drop–4.5%, 4%, 3.5%, etc. Today, the rate is down to .088, but even that’s not bad considering that it’s an ordinary checking/savings account. At the beginning of the month I go to a nearby store and buy 10 tiny cartons of a yogurt that I like ($.40 each) with 10 separate transactions. For $4.00 and a few minutes of time each month I meet the criteria, and the bank now puts about $35.00 in our account as a result. I’ve been told that some credit unions have deals that are offering up to 2% for large savings accounts, but so far I’ve never checked that out.