By Sabrina Karl
If you have money to put away in savings or a CD, it’s tempting to default to the bank where you hold your primary checking account, as it’s hard to beat that convenience. But you can generally earn significantly more by branching out to different banks for different accounts.
Decades ago, Americans banked at one of the financial institutions in their local community. But the internet has brought hundreds of new options to consumers. Some of these are online-only banks. But there are also myriad traditional banks that have simply used the internet to expand their market to larger geographical boundaries.
Add to this all the credit unions in the country that have similarly broadened their reach. Not only are there credit unions that serve residents of your community, your county and your state — there are now over a hundred that are open to Americans living anywhere in the nation.
While it may feel easiest and safest to stick with the institution you know, its rates on savings accounts and CDs may only match the national average, or quite possibly fall below it. Meanwhile, other institutions pay 3, 4, or even 5 times the national average on savings accounts and CDs. It can’t be overstated that it literally pays to shop around.
Fortunately, you don’t have to check all the institutions yourself. In addition to the great rates you find on these pages, multiple websites filter the top rates currently available. Simply look for FDIC insurance on any bank (or NCUA insurance on any credit union) that you’re considering.
As with many things in life, you can trade small conveniences for monetary gain. Opening your savings account or CD at a new bank will involve some paperwork and electronic transfers. But the boost to your savings can be substantial.