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Everyday Cheapskate: ‘High-yield’ means slightly better than nothing

There was a time when it was routine for banks and credit unions to pay 6 percent on savings accounts. Remember that? And if you were willing to commit to an extended period of time in a Certificate of Deposit (CD), you could get 10 percent, maybe more. Those good old days are gone, at least for now. Still, the term “high-yield” remains and refers to the handful of FDIC-insured online banks that continue to pay three to four times the amount of interest you’ll earn in a traditional bank or credit union.

Capital One 360 (formerly INGDirect) continues to hold the lead in popularity because of its great website, excellent customer service and multitude of other financial products, including a great savings account that has no minimum amount required to open an account. And did I say no fees? It’s true. This online savings account links to your checking account no matter where that is, which allows for seamless transfer of money between the two. Currently, is paying .75 percent interest on savings accounts, which these days does qualify as high-yield.

Ally Bank (formerly GMAC) is making a big splash in the sea of online banking. Currently paying .84 percent on savings accounts, Ally has no minimum requirements or ridiculous fees on savings accounts. You can open an account with a buck if you want, which is excellent because that nukes all your excuses. Ally also offers some of the best CDs available these days — not just because of rates, but because of the bank’s flexibility. Ally has a no-penalty CD and also a one-time rate adjustment CD. You can learn more about all of these features at

FNBO Direct is an offshoot of the venerable First National Bank of Omaha, offering a slightly higher savings rate of .85 percent. With no minimum requirement to open or maintain a savings account, all accounts are fully FDIC-Insured and fee free. FNBO’s website might not be quite as friendly as others, but hey, you’ll get the higher rate of interest, so that should make up for it, right? Check it out at

EverBank is the only online bank offering the check deposit by scanner feature. If this and mobile banking are important to you, this is your bank. Savings accounts currently earn .76 percent at EverBank, but beware: There is a $1,500 minimum deposit required to get that rate, and withdrawals are limited to six per month. Learn more at

American Express’ High-Yield Savings account comes with convenient features like 24/7 account access by phone or web, making it easy to check your balance or transfer money in or out when you want. Currently paying .85 percent interest, Amex’s savings accounts have no minimum requirements or fees. Learn more at personalsavings.american

Do you have a question for Mary? Email her at, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630.

Mary Hunt is founder of

To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at


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