Retire Well

Getting the most interest on your savings

Searching for yield
Searching for yield

Bank savings account rates have hit rock bottom and are poised to move higher when the Federal Reserve raises interest rates. Yet even now, there are ways to get better-than-average deals—if you don't mind doing some digging.

For example, the national average percentage yield for bank savings and money market accounts is about 0.1 percent, according to But there are some online banks that pay yields of as much as 1.25 percent or more.

The difference may not sound like anything to get excited about. Still, it could have a sizable impact depending on the amount of your savings. For a savings of $10,000, for example, moving your money to an account with a 1.25 percent annual percentage yield (APY) would garner you an extra $125 in interest, compared to only $10 in interest from an account with a 0.1 percent APY.

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"If you want an improvement in your rate, it's not going to just land in your lap. You have to search for it," said Greg McBride, senior vice president and chief analyst at Search engines at, and can help you choose the institution offering the highest rate for your savings, but that's not the only criteria to consider.

"Generally, you should pick the product you need first based on your liquidity needs," McBride said.

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Rates may be slightly higher on a certificate of deposit (CD) than a savings account, for example. But can you afford to have your principal tied up until the CD reaches its maturity date?

The national average percentage yield for a one-year CD is 0.27 percent and it's 0.87 percent for a 5-year CD. However, some online banks offer rates on a 5-year jumbo CDwhich requires a minimum deposit of $100,000of more than 2.25 percent.

The good news is rates will improve as the Fed raises interest rates. The bad news is that it could be a very long climb.