- The top savings account rate topped 2 percent
- The cost of inaction-roughly $167/year for every $10,000 in your savings account
- The average money market rate moved ahead of the average savings account rate
Savings and money market account rates rising faster at some banks
Big changes are happening with rates on savings and money market accounts. The latest America's Best Rates study of rate trends for savings and money market accounts found the largest increase in rates yet. However, the real action is among the highest-yielding accounts, where rates are rising much more quickly than for average savings and money market accounts.
The quarterly study conducted by MoneyRates.com since 2012 shows that it's a good time for consumers to take stock and re-assess how well their savings and money market accounts are performing. Given the rising rate environment, bank customers can profit from these changes, although the cost of settling for an average bank is still very high.
The top savings account rate is now 1.669 percent higher than the category average. That means it would cost a bank customer with a $10,000 account $166.90 a year in lost interest if they settled for an average account instead of actively looking for the best rate.
There are a couple other trends to watch if you want to catch the wave of rising rates. For both savings and money market accounts, online accounts continue to offer significantly higher rates in general than traditional, branch-based accounts. Also, in the third quarter of 2018, the average money market rate moved ahead of the average savings account rate for the first time since the end of 2015.
America's best savings account rates: 3rd quarter, 2018
Rising rates are good; but if you really want to benefit from them, you should look for one of the top-performing banks. All the banks on the top-ten list below, for example, exceed the average savings account rate by better than 1.3 percent.
Not only do these banks have a healthy lead, but they are pulling away from the pack. While the average savings account rate rose by 3.2 basis points during the most recent quarter, the top-ten banks generally upped their rates by around 20 basis points.
Based on average rates compiled throughout the recently completed calendar quarter, these ten banks had the best savings account rates:
2018 Q3 Avg. Savings Account Rate
Salem Five Direct (ABR platinum medal winner)
Goldman Sachs Bank (ABR gold medal winner)
SFGI Bank (ABR silver medal winner)
Synchrony Bank (ABR bronze medal winner)
American Express Bank
Sallie Mae Bank
Average savings account rate - 0.377 percent
The average savings account rate rose by 3.2 basis points during the third quarter to reach 0.377 percent. That marks a new high for the MoneyRates Index in more than six years of history, and the average rate increase of nearly 12 basis points over the past year marked the highest 12-month rate increase yet.
Average online savings account rate - 1.069 percent
Rates are flourishing among online savings accounts in particular, where the average rate crossed above the 1 percent mark for the first time. The average online savings account rate is now 1.069 percent, nearly a full percentage point higher than the average rate of 0.096 percent for traditional savings accounts.
The rate advantage offered by online savings accounts is evident in the top-ten list above, where all of the top-ten rates are offered by online accounts. Salem Five Direct's online savings account became the first in this survey's history to cross above the 2 percent barrier.
America's best money market rates: 3rd quarter, 2018
As is the case with savings accounts, while rates are gradually rising on average, a handful of banks have charged out ahead. These banks are not only offering rates much higher than the category average, but they are building on this advantage by increasing rates more quickly than most of their competitors.
The following were the highest money market rates over the latest calendar quarter:
2018 Q3 Avg. Money Market Account Rate
Sallie Mae Bank (ABR platinum medal winner)
CIT Bank (ABR gold medal winner)
Able Banking (ABR silver medal winner)
Capital One (ABR bronze medal winner)
First Internet Bank
Average money market account rate - 0.381 percent
On average, money market rates have risen even faster than savings account rates over the past year and have now moved slightly ahead, 0.381 percent compared with 0.377 percent. Both the level of money market rates and the pace of increase over the past year are the highest in the history of this survey.
Average online money market account rate - 1.029 percent
Here again, the advantage of online accounts is evident. Nine of the top ten money market rates are offered by online accounts. The average online money market rate topped 1 percent for the first time in the third quarter, at 1.029 percent. That puts it well ahead of the average rate of 0.166 percent offered by traditional money market accounts.
Our method -- identify consistently competitive banks
The America's Best Rates survey is based on a sample of 100 banks designed to represent all aspects of the retail deposit market, with 50 large banks, 25 medium-sized banks and 25 small banks. Rates listed are based on the average rate each institution offered during the quarter rather than on just one snapshot in time. This helps us identify banks that consistently compete for your business, giving an advantage to savers that are willing to move their deposits to stay ahead of inflation.
In addition to identifying the specific banks that keep pushing the trend toward higher rates, the third quarter America's Best Rates survey also punctuates how critical your choice of bank can be.
While rates are starting to change quickly, the names on these top-ten lists have been pretty consistent from year to year. That's good news for their customers -- they don't have to change banks constantly to catch the wave of rising rates. To do that, you simply have to be with one of these banks that is at the leading edge of the rising-rate trend.
Purpose Of Account:
Currently Banking With:
- Capital One
- Synchrony Bank
- Ally Bank
- CIT Bank
- Sallie Mae Bank
- American Express National Bank
- Discover Bank