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America’s Best Rates

America’s Best Rates 2011 Q1: Where can you get consistently high deposit rates?

MoneyRates.com Senior Financial Analyst, CFA
May 02, 2011

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A competitive interest rate is good, but what customers should really look for are rates that are consistently competitive.

This type of consistency matters most for depositors with money in savings accounts and money market accounts. After all, these accounts do not guarantee a rate for any set period of time, so what matters to customers is not so much any one day's rates, but the level of rates over the long haul.

To inform customers about which banks offer consistently excellent rates, MoneyRates.com produces a quarterly list of America's best rates. These are determined by measuring the average rates offered by banks over each day during the prior quarter (in this case, the first quarter of 2011). Where a bank offers different rates for different account sizes, an average of the different tiers offered was calculated. Approximately 100 banks were included in the analysis, including many of the country's largest institutions.

Based on this analysis, MoneyRates.com presents America's Best Rates for the first quarter of 2011.

America's Best Rates: savings account rates

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), savings account interest rates average just 0.15 percent nationally. Despite this, MoneyRates.com was able to find seven banks which offered savings account rates above 1.00 percent on average throughout the first quarter of 2011. The list of top average savings account rates was headed up by American Express Bank, at 1.269 percent, demonstrating that shopping for savings rates can make a significant difference in how much interest you earn.

Here are the top ten average savings account rates for the first quarter:


Average Savings Account Rate

1. American Express Bank


2. Discover Bank


3. Capital One Bank


4. Zions Bank


5. Ally Bank


6. Cashmere Valley Bank


7. ING Direct


8. Mile High Banks


9. OneWest Bank


10. Acacia Federal Savings Bank


In keeping with the national trend, even the best rates slipped slightly during the quarter, with the top average savings account rate declining by just over 0.04 percentage points.

Despite some fluctuation in rates, there was a high degree of consistency between the banks that made the America's Best Rates Q4 2010 and this quarter's list. Eight of this quarter's top ten were in last quarter's top ten as well.

It is worth noting that most of America's best savings account rates are available to small and large depositors alike. Most of the top ten did not distinguish between rates for large accounts and those for smaller accounts, and six of the top ten rates - including the top two - were available in accounts with minimums between $0 and $100.

America's Best Rates: money market rates

In both this quarter and last quarter, one curiosity of this study is that the top money market rates trailed the top savings account rates. This is in contrast to the national averages monitored by the FDIC, in which the average money market rate leads the average savings account rate, 0.22 percent to 0.15 percent.

Still, even though the top money market rates were not as high as the top savings account rates, MoneyRates.com was able to find three money market rates that averaged over 1.00 percent during the quarter, led by OneWest Bank at 1.10 percent.

Here is list of America's best money market rates for the first quarter of 2011:


Average Money Market Rate

1. OneWest Bank


2. Discover Bank


3. Ally Bank


4. Mile High Banks


5. AIG Bank


6. Capital One Bank


7. Hudson City Bank


8. Zions Bank


9. State Farm Bank


10. First Savings Bank Northwest


As was the case with savings accounts, the top money market rate dropped in the first quarter of 2011, in this case by 0.06 percentage points. However, there was an extraordinary amount of consistency in the list otherwise, as all ten banks that made the list last quarter repeated this quarter, though the order was shuffled somewhat.

There are plenty of excellent money market options for investors with smaller accounts; four of the top ten money market accounts are available with minimum initial deposits in the $0 to $100 range.

Remember, when you are shopping for savings accounts or money market accounts, competitive rates matter, but what is really important is how consistently competitive a bank's rates are. The above lists should give you an indication of where to look for banks that have offered the best rates over time.

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