You have worked hard to save money for emergencies only to find your bank is paying less than one percent annual interest for the use of your money. While this might spark your inclination to stash money under a mattress, instead consider ways to increase interest earned for your online savings account. Utilize your options to earn the best rate possible in current low interest rate environment.
The first step for savers is the step you may have already taken, searching online for the best current rate. Banks realize customers are constantly shopping for the best deal and they respond by offering market leading rates. The best rate or best account for your circumstances just six months ago may not be the best today so it pays to regularly compare.
When comparing rates, do not overlook options you have with your account. Some banks will increase interest rates if you have multiple accounts or do additional business with them. They might also have tiers of savings rates and with additional funds in your account you might be able to earn a higher rate.
If the best rate is with another bank, you might ask your current bank if they can match the rate or offer some other incentives. Banks know how easy it is to switch online and may make it worthwhile to stay through a special offer or changing account rules to increase interest rates on your account, but you can only receive this if you ask.
If negotiation fails, you will probably choose to open another account. Account opening requires some paperwork and time hassle, but the extra interest earned is a nice bonus at the end of each month. You may want to keep multiple online savings account options open for when rates inevitably change. Since few accounts charge fees for low balances, it is perfectly reasonable to keep zero balances in accounts that are not competitive today, but may be your best option later.
Another option is to switch to a certificate of deposit or CD. With a CD, you can increase your rate by committing your money to the bank for a set period of time, especially when your time commitment is a year or longer. In current conditions with ultra-low rates paid for online savings accounts, you could double your rate with a CD.
While interest rates for online savings accounts are at historic lows, smart consumers are still finding ways to increase interest earned without sacrificing the safety of their hard-earned savings. Comparing rates and considering the option of a CD are simple ways to insure your money earns the best rate in a low rate environment.