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Best Bank Account Interest Rates - Summary for Week Ending February 9, 2014


Best Bank Account Interest Rates - Summary for Week Ending February 9, 2014

This week we’ll get to hear from Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen as she delivers the semi-annual testimony on monetary policy before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday and the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday. I doubt we’ll see any significant differences from Bernanke’s past testimonies, but it may provide some insights into how much of an inflation dove she is. Also, it will be interesting to see if she has any appreciation of how the zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) is hurting savers and retirees.

If Chairwoman Yellen proves to be an inflation dove, she may push the Fed into maintaining ZIRP far into the future. Strong economic growth with significant improvements in the employment would allow the Fed to end ZIRP, but as we have seen in the last week, the economy never seems to be able to get into a long period of solid growth. Data just as last Friday’s disappointing jobs report still indicates sluggish economic growth and slow inflation. As long as this condition remains, Chairwoman Yellen and the rest of the Fed will be in no hurry to end ZIRP.

The change in Treasury yields and Fed funds futures in the last week are shown below. The following numbers are based on Daily Treasury Yield Curve Rates and the CME Group FedWatch.

Treasury Yields:

  • 1-month: 0.10% up from 0.03% last week
  • 6-month: 0.09% up from 0.06% last week
  • 2--year: 0.30% down from 0.34% last week
  • 5--year: 1.47% down from 1.49% last week
  • 10-year: 2.71% up from 2.67% last week
  • 30-year: 3.67% up from 3.61% last week

Fed funds futures' probability of rate hike by:

  • Jan 2015: 12% down from 15% last week
  • Apr 2015: 26% down from 35% last week
  • Jul 2015: 50% down from 59% last week
  • Oct 2015: 74% down from 83% last week

Savings & Checking Account Rates

Two internet banks increased their rates last week. Based on the recent economic news, I doubt this is a start of a trend.

Incredible Bank increased the rate of its money market account from 0.91% to 0.95% APY. Its last rate increase was in October when the rate increased from 0.86% to 0.91%. This money market account has remained competitive since Incredible Bank launched it back in 2011. One important note about this account is that the rate only applies to balances up to $250K.

The second bank that increased its rate was Salem Five Direct. Its eOneSavings account yield increased from 0.90% to 1.00%. This only applies to new customers. Salem Five Direct doesn’t publicly disclose the rates that apply to existing customers. If you’re a Salem Five Direct customer, you’ll have to check with the bank to find out the interest rate that you’re earning.

The number of institutions offering a non-promo 1% savings or money market account remains at six (I consider Salem’s rate a promo for new customers). SFGI Direct is the latest one in this club with its 1.01% APY savings account. Four of those six are First Trade Union Bank savings account, MySavingsDirect savings account, the new iGObanking.com money market account and the SmartyPig savings account. All of these are offering a 1.00% APY. The highest rate continues to be at Connexus Y.E.S. Money Market Account which has a top-tier APY of 1.15% for a $100K minimum balance. An important downside of this account is that it requires an active checking account and direct deposit.

Reward Checking Accounts

This was a quiet week for reward checking accounts with no rate changes in the table below.

I put INOVA Federal Credit Union back on the list. Two weeks ago I removed it from the list since a reader from Pennsylvania reported that the credit union would not allow him to join. It appeared that the credit union was limiting membership to its local areas. After I asked the credit union for more details, I learned it was just an issue with Pennsylvania. According to a credit union representative, they have suffered losses with fraud and collection of accounts due to state specific laws in Pennsylvania. Therefore, the credit union’s board of directors made the decision that they will no longer open up new membership to individuals residing in Pennsylvania. INOVA doesn’t appear to have this issue with any other state. So if you live in any state except Pennsylvania you should be able to join INOVA and open its Ovation reward checking account.

It’s nice to have INOVA back on the list since its Ovation checking account is the best reward checking account nationally available. It offers a 3.00% APY on balances up to $20K.

To find the highest reward checking rates and balance caps in your state or nationwide, please refer to our reward checking rate table. If you're new to these tables, my rate table guide should be useful. If you're new to reward checking, please refer to my blog post, 10 Common Traits of High-Yield Reward Checking.

Rate Hikes:

  • Salem Five Direct eOneSavings - 1.00% (new customers) [was 0.90%]
  • Incredible Bank money market account - 0.95% up to $250K [was 0.91%]

Rate/Balance Cap Cuts:

  • None this week

Certificate of Deposit Rates

My recap of CD rate changes and the list of CD deals will now be in my survey of the best CD rates. This recap will now focus on banking news of the week and liquid accounts.

Recap for the Week - Links to Last Week's Posts

Banking News/Resources Savings/MMA - National
  • Nothing new this week
CD Deals/Resources - National Checking/Savings/CC Bonuses Reward Checking Accounts
  • Nothing new this week
CD and Money Market Deals - Local Posts from Previous Weeks

The rates listed below are based on Annual Percentage Yield (APY). No minimum balances are required unless noted. MMA next to the rates indicate a money market account. Most MMAs have check writing and ATM cards. Online savings accounts usually lack both of these. Previous weekly summaries are available at this page.

Rates as of February 9, 2014

Checking/Savings/Money Market Accounts:

  • Noteworthy Accounts Available Nationwide:
Connexus Credit Union1.15% ($100K) 1.00% ($50K) 0.75% ($20K)MMA - active chk required
EverBank1.10% (6mo intro rate) 0.61% ongoing rateMMA/Checking - account review
SFGI Direct1.01%savings account, account review
First Trade Union Bank1.00% ($2.5K)FT High-Yield Savings, account review
MySavingsDirect1.00%savings account - account review
iGObanking.com1.00% ($100K) 0.75% ($75K) 0.50% ($25K)savings account (no check writing) account review
SmartyPig1.00%savings account - account review
Salem Five Direct1.00%savings, for new customers only
Incredible Bank0.95% ($2.5K min)MMA account review
Bank5 Connect0.90% (min $100)online savings account (not available for MA and RI residents)
GE Capital Bank0.90%online savings account
Sallie Mae Bank0.90%MMA account review
Union Federal Savings Bank0.90% (min $2.5K)MMA account review
Barclays0.90%Savings account review
Redneck Bank0.90% (up to $35K) 0.50% (over $35K)MMA
AmericaNet Bank0.90% (up to $35K) 0.50% (over $35K)MMA
Evantage Bank0.90% (up to $35K) 0.50% (over $35K)MMA
CIT Bank0.90% ($25K) 0.85% ($100)savings account, account review
GE Capital Retail Bank (formerly MetLife)0.90%Savings
Palladian Private Bank0.90% (min $10K)savings account
Ally Bank0.87%savings
Ally Bank0.85%MMA
Discover Bank0.85% (min $500)savings account, account review
American Express Bank0.85%savings account, account review
Colorado Federal Savings Bank0.85% ($2.5K min)savings account, account review
Capital One 3600.85% ($100K) 0.80% ($50K)360 Checking
FNBO Direct0.85%savings account
GE Capital Retail Bank (formerly MetLife)0.85% ($10K)MMA
Mutual of Omaha Bank0.85% (min $25)MMA, account review
Sallie Mae Bank0.80%savings account, account review
MyBankingDirect0.80% (min $5K)MMA
ableBanking0.80% (min $1K)MMA
Bank5 Connect0.76% (min $100)checking account (not available for MA and RI residents)
Bank of Internet USA0.75%MMA
Capital One 3600.75%360 savings account
Nationwide Bank0.71% (min $1K)MMA
Clear Sky Accounts0.70% (max $250K)savings account, account review
Alliant Credit Union0.70% (min $100)savings account, account review
Incredible Bank0.66% ($1K min)checking, account review
Alliant Credit Union0.65%Checking (req's elec. dep & e-stmts) account review

Reward Checking Accounts:

  • Noteworthy Accounts Available Nationwide:
Consumers Credit Union3.09% (up to $5K) 0.20% ($5K-$25K) 0.10% ($25K+)Rewards Checking
INOVA Federal Credit Union3.00% (up to $20K) 0.15% ($20K+)Ovation Checking (not available to PA residents)
Lake Michigan Credit Union3.00% (up to $15K) 0.00% ($15K+)Max Checking
Great Lakes Credit Union3.00% (up to $10K) 0.05% ($10K+)Ultimate Checking
Belvoir FCU2.53% (up to $15K) 0.05% ($15K+)CUXcel Checking
Lee Bank2.50% (up to $15K) 0.50% ($15K+)CACHEChecking
Capital Educators Federal Credit Union2.50% (up to $10K) 0.20% ($10K+)High Yield Checking
Security Bank2.05% (up to $25K) 0.30% ($25K+)Security Bonus Checking
XCEL Federal Credit Union2.01% (up to $15K) 0.30% ($15K+)Redneck Rewards Checking
Redneck Bank2.00% (up to $10K) 0.50% (over $10K)Redneck Rewards Checking
AmericaNet Bank2.00% (up to $10K) 0.50% ($10K+)AmericaNet Rewards Checking
Evantage Bank2.00% (up to $10K) 0.50% ($10K+)Evantage Rewards Checking
ABCO Federal Credit Union1.76% (up to $25K) 0.20% ($25K+)Premiere Checking
Provident Credit Union1.76% (up to $25K) 0.11% ($25K+)Super Reward Checking
Connexus Credit Union1.75% (up to $25K) 0.31% ($25K+)Xtraordinary Checking
First Tech Federal Credit Union1.58% (up to $10K) 0.16% ($10K+)Dividend Rewards Checking
Aspire Federal Credit Union1.51% (up to $10K) 0.25% ($10K+)Kasasa Cash
Community Bank of Raymore1.50% (up to $10K) 0.10% ($10K+)Rewards Checking
Community Bank of Pleasant Hill1.50% (up to $10K) 0.10% ($10K+)Rewards Checking
West Texas National Bank1.26% (up to $25K) 0.25% ($25K+)Ultimate Checking
Heritage Bank1.26% (up to $25K) 0.10% ($25K+)eCentive Account
First New England Federal Credit Union1.25% (up to $15K) 0.10% ($15K+)extra 1% w/relationship
Bank of Blue Valley1.25% (up to $15K) 0.10% ($15K+)$1K/month debit card req (account review)
Bank of Internet USA1.25% (up to $150K) 0.00% ($150K+)Rewards Checking
BankFirst Financial Services1.25% (up to $25K) 0.15% ($25K+)Kasasa Cash
Avidia Bank1.06% (up to $25K) 0.05% ($25K+)eChecking
Legence Bank1.05% (up to $25K) 0.25% ($25K+)Kasasa Cash
North Country Savings Bank1.05% (up to $25K) 0.75% ($25K+)Advantage Checking
State Bank of Toledo1.00% (up to $25K) 0.15% ($25K+)Hometown Rewards Checking

Certificates of Deposit:

Various Deposit Account Deals

Bank Account Alternatives - NOT FDIC Insured

Ally Financial Demand Notes1.35%Ally Demand Notes review
Duke Energy PremierNotes1.25% rate for $50K+Duke Energy PremierNotes review
Ford Interest Advantage1.10% rate for $50k+Ford Interest Advantage review
GE Interest Plus1.10% rate for $50k+
Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund0.01% 7-day yield
Vanguard Tax-Exempt Money Market Fund0.01% 7-day yield
Fidelity Money Market Fund0.01% 7-day yieldreviews on Fatwallet
Fidelity Municipal Money Market Fund0.01% 7-day yield
TIAA-CREF Money Market Fund0.00% 7-day yield

Historical Rates from the Federal Reserve (Federal funds, Treasury bills, CD's)

Shorebreak   |     |   Comment #1
"...If Chairwoman Yellen proves to be an inflation dove, she may push the Fed into maintaining ZIRP far into the future."

That's music to the ears of Wall Street.
zirp   |     |   Comment #2
Not only Wall Street.  Also businesses, banks, and any entity that carries debt.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
RE:  "it will be interesting to see if she has any appreciation of how the zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) is hurting savers and retirees"

I really don't think the current administration cares about savers and retirees at all.
gli   |     |   Comment #6
Why would the current administration care? Savers and Retirees are percentage wise not in their voting demographic...
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #7
gli,  Back up your statement with some actual numbers.
BigAl   |     |   Comment #9
"I really don't think the current administration cares about savers and retirees at all."

And neither did the previous administration.
paoli2   |     |   Comment #15
I have been researching for some 2% 5 year CD rates and they are few and inbetween in my area.  This is a bad sign of what is to come for savers, imo. 
Sarah   |     |   Comment #4
Has anyone had any positive experiences with INOVA?  All the reviews which have been left so far are quite negative.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #5
There is inflation but it's not honestly reflected in the calculations. Health care costs are rising. Food prices have remained stable BUT portions have diminished (net effect is higher priced food). And, with the relentless assault on fossil fuels, we can expect "Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket."

Perhaps people should sharpen their pencils, do the math and learn to vote wisely. Then, again, who doesnt' support higher electricity rates!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #10
With all due respect, evidence doesn't support these arguments about fossil fuels.  Cap and trade was once proposed but never became law, so it can't have anything to do with prices.  On the other hand, gas prices at the pump more than doubled beginning with the latest Iraq war and have more or less remained elevated for the following decade.  It seems real wars in the Middle East, not imagined wars on fossil fuels, have lead to higher prices and record profits for oil companies.
gregk   |     |   Comment #8
#4 Sarah - Yes, my wife and I have Ovation Checking accounts with Inova and been very pleased with them, - never a problem.  The 3% rate on a $20,000 deposit amounts to $50 a month, - as has been noted here the best yielding RCA out there.  Disgruntled reviewers are almost always members with outstanding loans who balk at the terms of their contracts being enforced, and vent their emotions by leaving bad feedback. 
gli   |     |   Comment #11
DD req. for interest satisfied by a ACH push or not?
Sarah   |     |   Comment #17
Thanks gregk, very helpful to hear another side (also the comment re: $200 min for ACH push to count as DD).
gregk   |     |   Comment #14
#11 Yes, - the DD requirement is satisfied by an "ACH push" - but must be at least $200.