Online Bank Rates Stretch Their Advantage Over Traditional Bank Rates in Q1 2014

New research from MoneyRates.com shows that the savings account and money market account rates at online banks are still extending their lead over the rates at traditional, branch-based banks.

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In a tough environment for consumers, the only way to get a better deal is to make it happen yourself. If rates in general are not going up, the way to raise your rate is to shop around for a better one.

Foster City, Calif. (PRWEB) April 28, 2014

Despite falling average interest rates in the overall saving account and money market account categories, there were a few bright spots for consumers in the first-quarter 2014 America’s Best Rates survey by MoneyRates.com, including higher average savings account rates at online banks and a tightening competition for the survey’s highest savings account rates.

Though it amounted to less than a basis point, the rise in the average savings account rate among online-based banks over the first quarter was notable because it came as the average rate at traditional, branch-based banks fell by more than 3 basis points, and because it meant the average rate at online banks was more than five times the average rate at traditional banks (0.541 percent versus 0.102 percent).

The rise in average online saving account rates was due in part to tighter competition among some of the top banks in the survey. The spread between the No. 1 savings account rate surveyed (0.940 percent at Doral Bank) and the No. 10 rate (0.832 percent at American Express Bank) was nearly 3 basis points smaller than last quarter’s spread between the top 10, even though the top rate remained the same for both quarters.

Richard Barrington, CFA, senior financial analyst for MoneyRates.com, says that this increase in competition may offer consumers more options for taking some of the sting out of today’s low deposit rates.

“In a tough environment for consumers, the only way to get a better deal is to make it happen yourself,” says Barrington. “If rates in general are not going up, the way to raise your rate is to shop around for a better one.”

The survey also revealed a striking consistency among the top banks from quarter to quarter. The top 10 banks for savings account rates and the top 10 banks for money market rates were all in the previous quarter’s top 10 for each category, though the order of the banks did shift somewhat.

Barrington says that this consistency shows that seeking a higher-paying bank could pay off for years to come for consumers – something that’s especially important in light of today’s record-low average rates.

“A low-rate environment is probably the worst time to settle for average,” says Barrington. “Today, settling for average means settling for next to nothing. Settling for average means leaving money on the table.”

Here are the top 10 banks for saving account rates from the first-quarter America’s Best Rates survey:

1. Doral Bank – 0.940 percent
2. GE Capital Retail Bank – 0.911 percent
3. (tie) Barclays Bank – 0.900 percent
3. (tie) GE Capital Bank – 0.900 percent
5. CIT Bank - 0.873 percent
6. Capital One Bank – 0.870 percent
7. Ally Bank – 0.868 percent
8. (tie) Discover Bank – 0.850 percent
8. (tie) FNBO Direct – 0.850 percent
10. American Express Bank – 0.832 percent

Here are the top 10 banks for money market account rates from the first-quarter America’s Best Rates survey:

1. Doral Bank – 0.940 percent
2. Sallie Mae Bank – 0.900 percent
3. (tie) Ally Bank – 0.850 percent
3. (tie) GE Capital Retail Bank – 0.850 percent
3. (tie) Mutual of Omaha Bank – 0.850 percent
6. Discover Bank – 0.700 percent
7. Nationwide Bank – 0.695 percent
8. EverBank – 0.610 percent
9. OneWest Bank – 0.500 percent
10. Zions Bank – 0.450 percent

For the full analysis, please see the MoneyRates.com America’s Best Rates Q1 2014 report.

Methodology

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 50 smaller 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 seeks to provide the highest rates on CDs, money market accounts and high-yield savings accounts. 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.