America’s Best Rates Study Reveals Diverging Interest Rate Trends for Online-Only vs. Traditional Banks

Share Article’s America’s Best Rates survey reveals that online banks continued to stretch their interest-rate advantage over brick-and-mortar banks during the first quarter of 2013, offering an average savings account rate six times that of the average rate at branch-based institutions.

Consumers need to question the benefit they get from a branch-based bank, and whether that benefit is worth earning less interest than they could at an online bank. today releases its first-quarter 2013 results of America’s Best Rates, revealing a significant trend savers should be tracking in online-only vs. bank interest rates.

Savings account and money market account interest rates at online-only banks rose for the second consecutive quarter in the beginning of 2013, countering an overall industry trend toward lower deposit rates. It was also the second consecutive quarter in which rates at traditional branch-based banks have fallen.

The average savings account rate at online banks climbed to 0.630 percent, six times the average rate at traditional banks (0.105 percent). The average money market account rate at online banks increased to 0.661 percent, more than four times the average rate at traditional banks (0.154 percent).

The top-placing banks in the survey offered a considerable interest rate advantage over the overall survey averages. The highest savings account interest rate, Ally Bank’s 0.903 percent, was more than five times the overall average rate (0.166 percent). Similarly, the top bank for money market accounts, Sallie Mae Bank, posted a rate of 0.993 percent, roughly five times the survey average for money market accounts (0.200 percent).

“The wide variations in today’s deposit rates suggest that savers who don’t examine different banking options may only earn a fraction of the interest income that they could,” says Richard Barrington, CFA, senior financial analyst for

“People are understandably upset that the continued decline in deposit rates is robbing them of income, and robbing their savings of purchasing power,” says Barrington. “For many people though, there is an opportunity to raise their savings and money market rates just by shopping around.”

Barrington says that customers of brick-and-mortar banks who don’t frequently visit a branch may be prime candidates to take advantage of the higher interest rates offered by online-only banks.

“Consumers need to question the benefit they get from a branch-based bank, and whether that benefit is worth earning less interest than they could accrue by keeping their money at an online bank,” says Barrington. “After all, people increasingly interact with their banks through ATMs and online – are they even visiting branches at all anymore? If not, why not boost your deposit income by switching to an online bank?”

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

1. Ally Bank – 0.903 percent
2. American Express Bank – 0.878 percent
3. Sallie Mae Bank – 0.871 percent
4. (tie) Discover Bank – 0.800 percent
4. (tie) GE Capital Bank – 0.800 percent
6. EverBank – 0.760 percent
7. Capital One 360 – 0.750 percent
8. Mile High Banks – 0.650 percent
9. (tie) Capital One Bank – 0.500 percent
9. (tie) Zions Bank – 0.500

Here are the top banks for money market account rates from the first-quarter America’s Best Rates survey. Because of a three-way tie for ninth place, 11 banks appear below:

1. Sallie Mae Bank – 0.993 percent
2. Ally Bank – 0.903 percent
3. GE Capital Bank – 0.800 percent
4. (tie) EverBank – 0.760 percent
4. (tie) Nationwide Bank – 0.760 percent
6. Discover Bank – 0.700 percent
7. Mile High Banks – 0.680 percent
8. AIG Bank - 0.635 percent
9. (tie) First Mariner Bank – 0.50 percent
9. (tie) OneWest Bank – 0.50 percent
9. (tie) Zions Bank – 0.50

For more details, please see the first-quarter 2013 America’s Best Rates survey.

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 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. 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

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