Returns for savers, unlike those for stock market investors, have never recovered from the financial crisis of 2008 and the recession, when overall interest rates plunged. Short-term rates have crept higher since the Federal Reserve embarked on its path to normalize monetary policy in December 2015, but savers wouldn't know that: The typical savings account currently pays 0.1 percent per year.
''If it goes from 0.1 percent to 0.2 percent, who cares?'' Mr. McBride said. ''If you're waiting at your existing bank for better yields to land in your lap, you're going to be disappointed.''
But that doesn't mean yield-starved savers have to settle for next to nothing. Mr. McBride notes that a handful of banks pay more -- much more -- on savings and money-market accounts. For example, PurePoint Financial offers a 1.25 percent yield on savings accounts with a minimum of $10,000 in assets, while Popular Direct pays 1.15 percent on savings accounts with at least $5,000.
PurePoint is a unit of MUFG Union Bank, whose Japanese parent is among the largest financial institutions in the world, and Popular Direct is an affiliate of the Puerto Rico-based Banco Popular. Both institutions get high ratings for safety and soundness from Bankrate.com.
In addition to earning more now, savers at these institutions will also see yields rise more quickly if the Fed continues to nudge rates higher in the months ahead.
''To see an improvement, you have to have your money at one of the banks that's paying the best yields,'' Mr. McBride said. ''You've got to play in the right sandbox.''