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America’s Best Rates 2011 Q3: How to buck the low-rate trend

MoneyRates.com Senior Financial Analyst, CFA
October 17, 2011

See the current America's Best Rates feature

If you're frustrated with lackluster interest rates on your bank accounts--and lately, who hasn't been?--you don't have to accept them. America's Best Rates highlights the banks that are still committed to providing savings account rates and money market account rates that are many times the national average.

Even as savings account interest rates and money market rates continue to fall toward zero across the country, some banks continue to offer 1 percent annual percentage yield (APY) or higher. In fact, despite the falling trend in national average bank rates, the average rate among the money market accounts identified as America's Best Rates actually rose in the third quarter of 2011. The average rate of the top 10 savings accounts held steady, but at least they didn't follow the decline of the national average.

Why finding the best rates matters now

Finding higher rates has never been more important. Bank rates are not only low but in many cases swamped by inflation. In this environment, the more willing you are to accept average rates, the further behind inflation you'll fall.

The tricky part is that some banks offer high rates simply as a temporary marketing gimmick, while others are committed to a strategy of keeping their rates among the most competitive in the country. If you look at a snapshot of savings account rates on any given day, it would be impossible to tell the difference. That's why MoneyRates.com created America's Best Rates, a feature that looks at banks' average rates over a full quarter. That way, the flash-in-the-pan rates fall by the wayside, while the consistently strong rates rise to the top.

The following are the savings accounts and money market accounts that offered America's Best Rates in the third quarter of 2011.

America's Best Rates: Savings account rates

These banks had the top 10 average savings account rates in the third quarter, by APY:

1.

Discover Bank

1.12%

2.

Sallie Mae Bank

1.08%

3.

Capital One Bank

1.05%

4.

Ally Bank

1.02%

5. (tie)

American Express

1.00%

5. (tie)

ING Direct

1.00%

7.

Cashmere Valley Bank

0.95%

8.

Zions Bank

0.93%

9.

EverBank

0.90%

10.

OneWest Bank

0.76%

This marked Discover Bank's second consecutive quarter at the top of the list of savings account rates. In all, seven of the banks in last quarter's top 10 made it again this quarter.

That consistency underscores the premise behind America's Best Rates. If you don't want to chase a moving target, choose a bank that offers consistently competitive rates. By focusing on averages over time rather than on a single snapshot of rates, the list of America's Best Rates can help you find that consistency.

America's Best Rates: Money market accounts

Here are the banks that had the top 10 average money market rates in the third quarter, by APY:

1.

Sallie Mae Bank

1.14%

2.

Nationwide Bank

1.03%

3.

Discover Bank

1.02%

4.

Ally Bank

1.02%

5.

Hudson City Bank

0.96%

6.

AIG Bank

0.93%

7.

Zions Bank

0.93%

8. (tie)

EverBank

0.90%

8. (tie)

Mile High Banks

0.90%

10.

OneWest Bank

0.87%

Note that even though Discover Bank and Ally Bank appear to be tied, their rates were actually separated by a few thousandths of one percent, placing Discover slightly ahead of Ally.

While the leading bank, Sallie Mae, was a newcomer to the list this quarter, overall seven banks repeated from the second quarter of 2011. As with the top savings accounts, that high degree of repetition demonstrates the consistency you should consider when choosing a bank.

Bucking the low-rate trend with America's Best Rates

If you need more motivation to move your money to accounts consistently offering higher rates, take a look at the national averages. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), national average bank rates continued to fall in the third quarter of 2011. The average savings account rate dropped by 2 basis points to an average of 0.14 percent. The average money market rate dropped by 3 basis points in the same quarter, to 0.17 percent.

Despite this, the average rate among the savings accounts making the list of America's Best Rates held steady at 0.98 percent. The average rate among the top money market accounts did even better, rising by 2 basis points to 0.97 percent.

These compilations of America's Best Rates are based on the MoneyRates Index, a composite of 100 banks which includes the 50 largest U.S. banks plus a sampling of mid-sized banks.

The banks that are bucking the trend towards lower interest rates may be in the minority, but there are enough of them to represent a viable choice for consumers. That's why the banks offering America's Best Rates should be on the top of your list when choosing your next bank.

MoneyRates Featured Savings Rates
 Account Type
 Amount

Type: Savings

Minimum to earn APY $0

0.95%APY

Rates as of 11/1/2014
FDIC Insured

Advertiser Comments

  • Member FDIC
  • ID Theft Resolution Services
  • Synchrony Bank was formerly GE Capital Retail Bank

Type: Savings

Minimum to earn APY $0

0.95%APY

Rates as of 11/1/2014
FDIC Insured

Advertiser Comments

  • Trusted Name and FDIC-Insured. No Transaction Fees. Open Now!

Type: Savings

Minimum to earn APY $0

0.80%APY

Rates as of 11/1/2014
FDIC Insured

Advertiser Comments

  • Member FDIC. No minimums and no fees.

Type: Savings

Minimum to earn APY $0

0.90%APY

Rates as of 11/1/2014
FDIC Insured

Advertiser Comments

  • No Minimum Balance
  • No Monthly Maintenance Fees
  • FDIC Insured

Type: Savings

Minimum to earn APY $0

0.90%APY

Rates as of 11/1/2014
FDIC Insured

Advertiser Comments

  • No minimum deposit to open.
  • No monthly maintenance fees.
  • Member FDIC.

Type: Savings

Minimum to earn APY $25000

1.00%APY

Rates as of 11/1/2014
FDIC Insured

Advertiser Comments

  • Built on the heritage of over 100 years.
  • Member FDIC.

Type: Savings

Minimum to earn APY $0

0.75%APY

Rates as of 11/1/2014
FDIC Insured

Advertiser Comments

  • Capital One 360: No fees. No minimums. No changing banks.

Rates / APY terms above are current as of the date indicated. These quotes are from banks, credit unions and thrifts, some of which have paid for a link to their website. Bank, thrift and credit union deposits are insured by the FDIC or NCUA. Contact the bank for the terms and conditions that may apply to you. Rates are subject to change without notice and may not be the same at all branches.

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