Highest Savings Account and Money Market Interest Rates Pay About Four Times the National Averages

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The fourth-quarter installment of America’s Best Rates by personal finance website MoneyRates.com shows that the highest interest rates in the U.S. for savings and money market accounts were about four times the national averages found in its survey. The highest rates offered by banks were in some cases 100 times the lowest interest rates surveyed, and online banks offered better returns than their brick-and-mortar counterparts.

Even in a low-rate environment there is room for interest rates to vary a great deal. Customers don't want to be constantly shifting bank accounts, but if they can find a bank that consistently offers better rates, it is worth their while to change banks.

MoneyRates.com today releases its fourth-quarter 2011 installment of America’s Best Rates, which reveals that the banks with the highest interest rates on savings and money market accounts paid roughly four times the national averages found in the survey.

The top banks in America's Best Rates survey for both the savings and money market account categories offered a 1 percent annual percentage yield (APY) in the fourth quarter. By comparison, the national average rate for savings accounts was 0.217 percent, and the average rate for money market accounts was 0.253 percent.

The results reaffirm that depositors who don’t comparison shop for the best interest rates are likely to be losing purchasing power every month. Depositors with savings and money market accounts offering the lowest rates found in the survey received as little as 1 percent of the yields offered by the top-performing banks.

"The results show that even in a low-rate environment, there is room for interest rates to vary a great deal,” said Richard Barrington, CFA, senior financial analyst for MoneyRates.com. “Customers who don't want to leave money on the table need to shop carefully."

The analysis also finds that the type of bank can significantly affect the interest rates offered. Online banks delivered an average savings account rate of 0.671 percent, more than four times the brick-and-mortar bank average of 0.158 percent. The results were similar for money market rates, as online banks offered an average rate of 0.663 percent, outpacing the traditional bank average of 0.213 percent.    

America’s Best Rates tracks bank rates throughout each quarter and quarter over quarter to determine rankings, rather than relying on a one-time snapshot of rates. This method ensures that the banks which top the list are those consistently offering the highest rates, filtering out the institutions that only offer high rates as limited-time specials.

"It's the consistency of the best rates that makes shopping around pay off," Barrington said. "Customers don't want to be constantly shifting bank accounts, but if they can find a bank that consistently offers better rates, then it is worth their while to make the change."

Here are the 10 highest-paying banks for savings accounts (by APY) in MoneyRates.com’s survey for the fourth quarter of 2011:

1. (tie) Discover Bank – 1.00 percent
1. (tie) Sallie Mae Bank – 1.00 percent
3. American Express – 0.956 percent
4. ING Direct – 0.899 percent
5. Ally Bank – 0.887 percent
6. Capital One Bank – 0.840 percent
7. Cashmere Valley Bank – 0.795 percent
8. Zions Bank – 0.763 percent
9. EverBank – 0.760 percent
10. Mile High Bank – 0.750 percent

Here are the top 10 banks in MoneyRates.com’s survey for money market account rates (by APY) in the fourth quarter of 2011:

1. Sallie Mae Bank – 1.00 percent
2. Discover Bank – 0.969 percent
3. Nationwide Bank – 0.963 percent
4. Hudson City Bank – 0.900 percent
5. Ally Bank – 0.887 percent
6. AIG Bank – 0.835 percent
7. Zions Bank – 0.763 percent
8. EverBank – 0.760 percent
9. MetLife Bank – 0.750 percent
10. One West Bank – 0.651 percent

For more analysis, please see America’s Best Rates: Getting more from your savings.


America’s Best Rates are calculated from savings account rates and money market account rates recorded in the MoneyRates Index throughout the previous quarter. The MoneyRates Index is a composite of 100 banks, including the 50 largest U.S. banks by deposit amount, plus another 50 mid-sized banks. This sampling was constructed to be broadly representative of the general banking environment.

About MoneyRates.com

MoneyRates.com has been a leading source of information on bank rates, personal finance, savings accounts and investing since 1999. The site provides the highest rates on CDs, money market accounts, high-yield savings accounts, low interest credit cards and mortgages. The Web Marketing Association awarded a Financial Services Standard of Excellence to MoneyRates.com in the 2011 WebAwards competition.

MoneyRates.com is owned and operated by QuinStreet, Inc. (NASDAQ: QNST), one of the largest Internet marketing and media companies in the world. QuinStreet is committed to providing consumers and businesses with the information they need to find, research and select the products, services and brands that best meet their needs. The company is a leader in visitor-friendly marketing practices. For more information, please visit QuinStreet.com.

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