We have released several new and exciting features to the rate tables. In the last couple of months my technical partner has been very busy designing and coding these features. I've also been busy reviewing and defining the new features. I'm very impressed with how things have turned out, and I think you'll find these new rate tables to be a big improvement and a pretty unique tool on the Web today. This is why I decided to move to DepositAccounts.com last year.
Below is a detailed description of the new rate tables and new features. While you read over these, you might want to follow along by viewing the reward checking rate table as a representative example. From here, you can give the new features a try as I describe them.
Better Display of Rate Tables
If you have the reward checking table in your browser window, you should immediately notice the first enhancement. The tables have been redesigned to be easier to read. The biggest improvement, however, isn't immediately visible. Account details are available if you click the plus sign on the left side. For reward checking accounts, the details include rate tiers, monthly requirements and the rate history in both table and graph format. Click the button again, and the details collapse so you can continue the review of the table.
Filtering Your Search
Another important rate table change is the addition of the filter option. To customize your filter options, click the "Filter Accounts" button on the top left of the table.
Filtering Based on Investment Amount
Whether you have $1,000 in savings or millions in savings, we want DepositAccounts.com to be useful for everyone. That's the purpose of the Investment filter option. Type in the dollar amount that you intend to deposit into the account, and the rate table will show the APYs based on that investment amount. This will allow you to filter out those savings accounts that offer high yield on only the first $500, for instance. It will also allow you to see the best rates for Jumbo investments. You’ll notice that the table also features a 1-year Estimated Earnings column, which automatically calculates the expected annual earnings based on the effective APY for your investment amount. Many accounts offer tiered interest rates based on how much you deposit. This estimated earnings column helps to identify which account will result in the greatest return in these cases, regardless of APY.
Filtering Based on the Type of Institution
Not only can you now search for the best APY at both banks and credit unions, you can now choose to search only banks or only credit unions. We also added two additional options for credit unions. Some credit unions offer accounts nationwide, but membership is limited to some very specific groups of qualifying individuals. Two examples include Navy FCU and Wings Financial CU. If you don't qualify for these credit unions and don't want to see them, select "easy restrictions only".
Filtering Based on Local Branches or Online Applications
If you prefer to open accounts at a branch rather than online or by mail, go to the “Institutions Must Have” filter section and select the ‘Physical Locations’ (leaving ’Online Applications’ deselected). Also, select your state under "Availability". Click "Find" and the table will only show accounts offered by institutions with physical branches in your state. Note, we don't yet filter by zip code or city, so the institutions listed may not have branches in your specific city.
If you don't want to visit a branch, just deselect ‘Physical Locations’ and select ‘Online Applications’ in that same section, and the table will show all accounts within your selection criteria that can be applied for online.
Filtering Based on Availability
The ‘Availability’ filter section allows you to select accounts by geographic availability. By selecting the ‘Nationally Available’ box, you will be including all accounts which are available on a nationwide basis (regardless of locale of applicant). By selecting ‘Local’ and your state from the dropdown box, you’ll also be able to include those locally-available deals that are applicable to residents of your state.
Remove the Filtering
If you're interested to see the best rates regardless of where the institution is located and regardless of the availability, select the ‘Nationally Available’ and ‘Local’ buttons and select "Any" for the Local option.
Bank Hub Pages
When you click in the institution's name in the rate table, you'll be taken to the hub page for that institution (see Danversbank and Ally Bank as representative examples). The intent of this page is to be the central source of information for the institution. Like the previous hub pages, the basic info is on top including the address and web address. Underneath this are tabs which allow you to select between "Overview", "Products and Rates", "Health", and "Reviews".
The Overview tab will provide a few high-level details about the institution. In addition, links are included to my previous blog posts. Note, we're in the process of entering overviews for all the institutions.
Products and Rates Tab
The Products and Rates tab lists all of the products offered by the institution. One big improvement is that the products are grouped into checking, savings, CDs, and IRAs. Like the rate tables, you can click on the plus sign to see more account details such as tiers and rate history. In addition, the account rate is compared to rates of a few other notable institutions offering similar products.
Report an Issue
If you find a mistake with a rate or if something is left out, select the "Report an Issue" link under this Products and Rates tab. This is the best way to report an issue for a specific institution.
The Reviews tab is where you can learn from others’ experiences with the institution and/or share your own to help others looking to make a decision about where to deposit their money.
This is a major improvement that we added. On the left side we list information from the FDIC or NCUA about the institution. This includes many of the financial details like assets and deposits. It also includes a link to the FDIC or NCUA page where you see the official data on the institution.
In addition to the FDIC/NCUA data, we also have a link to the Bankrate.com page that describes the safety and soundness of the institution. We don't include BauerFinancial ratings since it's not possible to link to pages for specific institutions.
Financial health ratings are based on public data released by the FDIC and NCUA. Bankrate.com often takes up to two months after the release of this data before it updates its ratings. Thus, we decided to derive our own estimate for the financial health of the institution. This is based on the latest FDIC or NCUA data. We take into account four measurements to derive a composite score. The most important measurement is the Texas ratio, which is a well known estimate of an institution's health.
Finally, this health tab will also include links to public enforcement actions from government regulators including Cease and Desist Orders and Prompt Corrective Actions. We are in the process of adding these.
It's important to note that our estimate of the financial health of an institution is only an estimate based on public information. A low score does not mean the institution is near failure, and a high score does not mean that the institution is not at risk of failure. It's best to stay under the FDIC/NCUA deposit insurance limits regardless of the financial ratings.
Summary and Future Plans
There will likely be many tweaks of these features as we receive feedback. Please leave a comment here if you have any general issues or suggestions. For specific bank or credit union issues, please use the "Report an Issue" link as described above.
This upgrade isn't the last one planned at DepositAccounts.com! We'll be working on more for later this year including a discussion forum to replace the Open Discussions Thread. Please leave a comment if you have any suggestions about new features you would like to see at DepositAccounts.com. We can't promise that we'll be able to implement any specific request, but the more readers who vote for the same features, the more we'll try to implement them. We are striving to be the best resource on the Web for all things deposits accounts, and we can’t be that without help from this great community!
Edit 4/06/10: Corrected Danverbank's spelling. Added Ally Bank as another example.