Average yields on interest-bearing accounts fall
When Bankrate's checking study started in 1998, interest checking accounts boasted an average yield of 1.35 percent. Even better, you only had to have a balance on average of $1,561 to avoid costly monthly service fees that could quickly wipe out any interest earnings. Those characteristics made interest checking accounts an attractive option for those who typically carried high checking account balances to get a few extra bucks of yield each month.
Fast forward to 2010. With the yield dropping to 0.1 percent, down 2 basis points from last year's average interest rate of 0.12 percent, and an average minimum balance that's more than double the 1998 figure, interest checking doesn't seem like such a great deal.
Tip: If you're determined to earn interest on the cash in your checking account, there are some online banks and credit unions offering much higher interest rates, especially if you're willing to carry a high balance or make a certain number of "swipe and sign" debit card transactions per month.