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High-yield savings account rates are dropping, but they can still earn you over 12X more money than the national average

CNBC Select takes a look at how much you could be missing out on by keeping your money in a traditional savings account versus a high-yield savings one.

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Select’s editorial team works independently to review financial products and write articles we think our readers will find useful. We earn a commission from affiliate partners on many offers, but not all offers on Select are from affiliate partners.

Editor's Note: APYs listed in this article are up-to-date as of the time of publication. They may fluctuate (up or down) as the Fed rate changes. CNBC will update as changes are made public.

At the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., the Federal Reserve decided to drop interest rates near 0% to help support the economy.

Banks, in accordance with the Fed, used this as a benchmark to lower interest rates on their various financial products — and that includes everything from checking accounts to mortgages.

But even though interest rates on high-yield savings accounts have since dropped to more than half of what they were last year, hovering around less than 1%, their yields still outpace the 0.04% return you would earn keeping your money in a traditional savings account. 

Below, CNBC Select takes a look at how much you could be missing out on — even if the interest rates on high-yield savings accounts continues to drop — if you leave your money in a normal savings account.

The difference between earning $.40 and $10 over a year

The economic fallout from the coronavirus has left many Americans feeling uncertain about their future, and as a result, many are prioritizing saving for an emergency fund. For those who are stashing their cash in a traditional savings account, you may want to consider switching to a high-yield savings.

Experts generally recommend a high-yield savings account as a great way to build an emergency fund, as you'll earn more interest while still having access to your cash whenever you need it.

To see just how much money you could be forfeiting by keeping your money in a normal savings account versus a high-yield savings, let's say you have an account with $1,000.

With a national average return of 0.04% in a normal savings account, your $1,000 deposit would earn you 40 cents over the course of a year.

If you deposit that same $1,000 in a high-yield savings account offering an annual percentage yield, or APY, of at least 1%, in a year you would yield $10 (or more, depending on if your APY is above 1%). And that is just with $1,000 in your account, but the larger your balance the more your savings will add up over time.

Given the Fed recently indicated keeping interest rates near zero through 2022, it could be a while before APYs on high-yield savings accounts shoot back up. But as the economy recovers, the Fed will raise is interest rates and your APY will likely increase as well.

Some of the highest-yield savings accounts right now

Even though APYs for even the best savings accounts have fallen over the weeks, some still outrank others.

CNBC Select has outlined the best high-yield savings accounts, and for those looking for somewhere to stash your cash, below are our top picks and the APY that they currently offer.

Bottom line

Even though the APY you earn on high-yield savings accounts can go up and down at any time, they are still worth considering if you're otherwise holding money in a savings account for a rainy day or a future big purchase. 

Information about Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield Online Savings, Ally Online Savings Account, Synchrony Bank High Yield Savings, Vio Bank High Yield Online Savings Account, and Varo Savings Account has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the bank prior to publication.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.