In the last few months we have been seeing more internet banks offering savings and money market accounts with yields of around 1.00%. These rates are low compared to the good old days, but in today's awful interest rate environment with the big internet banks offering yields under 0.90%, these 1% yields are very competitive. The problem with most of these savings accounts is that there are no guarantees about how long the rates will last. They are subject to change at anytime. In the past we have seen many internet banks offer exceptional rates that became uncompetitive within 6 to 12 months.
If you want some rate certainty but you don't want CDs (such as long-term CDs with small early withdrawal penalties or CDs with liquid features), there is another option. Some internet banks are offering intro rates on savings or money market accounts that are guaranteed to last for a certain number of months from account opening. These savings account promotions can be much more appealing than short-term CDs. Not only are these intro rates higher than most short-term CD rates, but the money market and savings accounts have the liquidity that you can't get with CDs. However, these promotions have some downsides such as:
- Only new accounts qualify (and some don't apply to existing customers)
- There's a cap on the balance that qualifies for the intro rate
- Rates will fall to the standard rates after intro period
If you can tolerate these downsides, you might want to consider these promotions. Below is a list of 2 of these savings and money market promotions that are still available as of 6/7/2012:
- EverBank is guaranteeing a rate of 1.25% for the first 6 months on its checking and money market account. EverBank just recently bumped up the intro rate (it had been 1.05%). This intro rate applies to the first $100,000 for the checking account and the first $50,000 for the money market account. Only new customers can qualify. After the 6 months are over, the rate will fall to the ongoing standard rates (top standard rate is currently 0.76%). I have more details in my EverBank promotion review.
- Flagstar Bank is guaranteeing a 1.15% APY for the first 4 months on its Express Savings Account. It's still listing this promo on its home page. This intro rate applies to balances up to $250,000. Only new accounts qualify. After the intro rate, the rate falls to the standard rate (currently 0.60%). I have more details in my Flagstar Bank promotion review.
Please note these promotions often don't last long. The promotion will end or the rates will fall. This has recently happened to 2 of these savings account promotions:
Salem Five Direct Promo Is Over
There used to be another promotion, but we just lost that one this week. Salem Five Direct ended its promotion guaranteeing 1% APY through the August statement cycle. New customers who opened this account should continue to see 1% APY through August. However, customers who had opened the savings account before this promotion have seen their rate fall to 0.75%. As DA reader rav described in this forum thread, the rate dropped for existing customers last month without any indication on the website.
Amboy Direct Promo Is Now Only for NJ Residents
Amboy Direct has a new-customer special which guarantees a 1.00% APY for the first 12 months on its eSavings Account. This used to be available nationwide, but it's now only available to New Jersey residents. On the plus side, the 1.00% APY is now guaranteed for balances up to $50K (this used to be $25K). Amboy Direct lists this promo in the left sidebar of its eSavings page.
Take Your Chance Without Rate Guarantees
If you just want an internet savings account for the long run, you may prefer a bank with solid online banking features and with a savings account that has a history of competitive rates. I reviewed two internet banks with a history of top rates in this blog post. To search for the highest rates, please refer to our rate tables: