Bankrate.com just released the annual look at high-yield checking accounts. Savers starved for every bit of interest income they can find will be comforted to know that as far as liquid, federally insured cash investments are concerned, these high-yield checking accounts are still the best thing going. The average yield among the 56 accounts surveyed is 1.57 percent, and nearly one-third of accounts surveyed pay 2 percent or more. Done correctly, savers can put a few hundred extra dollars per year in their pockets just by redeploying their emergency savings.
But to do this, savers need to look at more than just the yield. Of the 15 highest-paying accounts, none offers the payout nationwide on balances above $15,000, so be sure to consider the yield in conjunction with the balance cap.
The balance cap is the maximum balance on which the high-yield is paid. The most common balance cap remains $25,000.
The accounts have certain requirements accountholders are to meet each month in order to earn the higher yield, such as electronic statements, a certain number of debit card transactions, and something such as direct deposit, online bill payment, or an automated withdrawal.
These requirements have shown little or no change compared to previous years.
What happens if you don't meet the requirements? Then the high-yield becomes a very ordinary yield as far as checking accounts are concerned, at 0.06 percent. So the key to making these accounts work for you is to meet the requirements on a monthly basis in order to consistently earn the higher yield.
Thirty-eight percent of the accounts surveyed are available nationwide with no restriction, while an additional 12 percent are also available nationwide but require a charity contribution, credit union membership of a family member, or an in-branch signature.
For more information on high-yield checking accounts, and to compare offers, visit the high-yield checking account survey at Bankrate.com.