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Ask the expert: How can I compare constantly changing savings and money market rates?

| MoneyRates.com Senior Financial Analyst, CFA
min read

Q: I'm as interested as the next guy in getting a good rate on my savings account, but what's the point in shopping for savings and money market rates when the bank has the option of changing them at any time? I can see the value of shopping for a long-term CD rate, but I'm not sure it's worth the time when it comes to savings accounts or money market accounts.

A: Traditionally, bank customers have tended to maintain long-term relationships with their banks, typically switching only when relocation or some other event forces them to. However, with the availability of comprehensive rate information plus an increase in banks with a national online presence, it is easy to envision how rate shopping may become more of a factor. The question is: How do you shop for rates on savings accounts or money market accounts, which can change their rates at any time?

While nothing will lock in a rate on short-term deposit accounts, there are two things you can do to find a rate that may have some staying power:

  1. Make sure the rate that attracts you isn't just a "teaser" rate. This is a short-term rate designed to expire after a few months. Given that your relationship with the bank is likely to last well beyond the term of the teaser rate, you should not let it distort your comparison of normal account rates.
  2. Look for banks which consistently offer high rates. While savings and money market rates are subject to change at any time, the fact is that there are some banks which consistently offer the highest rates. These banks have made it a business strategy to use rates to attract customers, and you should use this strategy to your advantage. MoneyRates.com America's Best Rates feature showcases banks that provide these consistently high rates.

Savings and money market rates may be changeable, but if you follow the above tips, you'll at least start out ahead of the game.

Got a financial question about saving, investing, or banking? MoneyRates.com invites you to submit your questions to the "Ask the Expert" feature. Just go to the MoneyRates.com homepage and look for the "Ask the Expert" box on the lower left.

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Richard Barrington:
Richard Barrington is the primary spokesperson and personal finance expert for MoneyRates.com… (more)
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Jan 9 May 2011 at 7:15 pm

I don't understand the value of the list. Only 100 banks were included to find which ones offered the best rates. Isn't that a really low number, hardly American's best rates??? That should be made clearer.

Hoody 7 May 2011 at 2:46 pm

YOU CAN'T!!!As long as "The Bernak" keeps rates at these idiot levels, and the BLS keeps miss calculating inflation. you can forget getting an adequate rate on savings, or a COLA for the higher costs.

Hoody 6 May 2011 at 9:17 pm

"How can I compare constantly changing savings and money market rates?"Until THE Bernak gets off the pot and raises rates , or the BLS admitts to inflation"F4GETABOUTIT"