America’s Best Rates Q3 2014 – The BenefIt’s of Banking Online

Interest on bank accounts remains hard to come by, but exceptions do exist. Learn which savings and money market accounts paid more in a new study.
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Which would you prefer to receive: $50 or $10? If that seems like an obvious choice, you might want to ask whether your banking habits reflect your preference.

The latest America’s Best Rates survey by MoneyRates indicates that online-based savings and money market accounts — those that exist without a branch system for service — typically offered about five times the interest of traditional, branch-based accounts in the third quarter. It also shows that customers who shop for best-in-class bank accounts can do especially well relative to the average account, as several of the surveyed accounts paid an annual percentage yield (APY) in the neighborhood of 0.90 percent.

America’s Best Rates: savings accounts

Here are the 10 savings accounts that paid the highest average interest rate in the survey:

  Bank Savings account rate (APY)
1st place Synchrony Bank (ABR platinum medal winner) 0.950 percent
2nd place Doral Bank (ABR gold medal winner) 0.935 percent
3rd place GE Capital Bank (ABR silver medal winner) 0.930 percent
4th place (tie) Barclays Bank (ABR bronze medal winner) 0.900 percent
4th place (tie) CIT Bank (ABR bronze medal winner) 0.900 percent
6th place Ally Bank 0.878 percent
7th place (tie) Capital One 0.850 percent
7th place (tie) Discover Bank 0.850 percent
9th place (tie) American Express National Bank 0.800 percent
9th place (tie) Sallie Mae Bank 0.800 percent

All of the above interest rates represented a substantial improvement over the category average for savings accounts, which was just 0.180 percent. That overall average was unchanged from the previous quarter’s survey.

Online accounts continued to offer significantly higher interest rates on average than traditional accounts. The average online savings account offered 0.533 percent during the third quarter, compared to just 0.096 percent for traditional savings accounts. On a $10,000 account, that would represent the difference between earning $53.30 in annual interest — or $9.60.

To a lesser extent, there is also an advantage to be found in choosing by bank size. Banks in the medium-sized category — those with between $5 billion and $10 billion in deposits — paid an average of 0.277 percent, compared to 0.170 for large banks and 0.109 percent for small banks.

America’s Best Rates: money market accounts

Here are the banks that paid the 10 highest money market account rates in the survey:

  Bank Money market account rate (APY)
1st place Doral Bank (ABR platinum medal winner) 0.945 percent
2nd place (tie) Sallie Mae Bank (ABR gold medal winner) 0.900 percent
2nd place (tie) Santander Bank (ABR gold medal winner) 0.900 percent
4th place (tie) Ally Bank (ABR silver medal winner) 0.850 percent
4th place (tie) Mutual of Omaha Bank (ABR silver medal winner) 0.850 percent
4th place (tie) Synchrony Bank (ABR silver medal winner) 0.850 percent
7th place Discover Bank (ABR bronze medal winner) 0.700 percent
8th place Nationwide Bank 0.670 percent
9th place EverBank 0.610 percent
10th place OneWest Bank 0.500 percent

As with savings accounts, there was a considerable difference between these best-in-class money market accounts and the overall category average. As a group, money market accounts offered an average interest rate of just 0.169 percent. While still very low, that represents an improvement over the previous quarter’s average of 0.162 percent. As a group, money market rates have now improved for three straight quarters.

Here again, there was a significant advantage for online-based accounts. These averaged 0.552 percent, compared with 0.117 for traditional money market accounts. Unlike with savings accounts, though, there was no significant difference in rates depending on the size of the bank.

Average rates for both savings and money market accounts have improved since the end of last year, but only slightly. Looking forward, there is a great deal of uncertainty swirling around interest rates. While Federal Reserve policy is considered to be in a transition away from its low-interest-rate stance of recent years, new concerns about the global economy might slow that transition in the future. In other words, it may yet be many months before bank rates begin to rise significantly.

Therefore, consumers who want higher rates cannot afford to wait around for the trend to change. They need to make it happen themselves by switching to one of the banks that are giving customers more for their money today.


The America’s Best Rates survey is based on the MoneyRates Index of 100 banks, which includes the 50 largest retail deposit institutions in the U.S., as well as a sampling of medium-sized and smaller banks. Rates in the survey are based on averages offered throughout the quarter rather than any single snapshot of rates.

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Richard Barrington, a Senior Financial Analyst at MoneyRates, brings over three decades of financial services expertise to the table. His insightful analyses and commentary have made him a sought-after voice in media, with appearances on Fox Business News, NPR, and quotes in major publications like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. His proficiency is further solidified by the prestigious Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, highlighting Richard’s depth of knowledge and commitment to financial excellence.
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