Granted, if you don’t own a smart phone or a PC, online banking might be difficult.
But as long as you have some way to access the Internet, preferably using one of those devices, there’s no excuse not to be opening an online bank account and earning the highest annual percentage yield (APY) available.
There are plenty of ways to justify sticking to your old low-interest ways. Let’s go over the excuses Americans give for not earning the APY that they should be earning — one by one.
Reason 1: Comfortable with current financial institution
Why that’s not a good reason: Comfort and banking are a great combo, if you’re getting the APY that you deserve. If you’re not, it’s time to see the new alternatives because the landscape has substantially changed ever since online banks have started offering some of the most competitive APY savings accounts. For instance, the average U.S. adult has used the same checking account for 16 years. If people are holding onto their savings accounts for that long, better options now exist. Some of the banks with the highest APYs, such as Citizens Access (established in 2018), CIT Bank (2009) and Barclays Bank (2012), weren’t around 16 years ago.
Reason 2: Prefer having access to a local branch
Why that’s not a good reason: While local branches are convenient, nothing is easier than the smartphone in your hand or the computer in your residence. So unless you live in a building with a bank, there’s no way that your branch is more convenient. Besides being wherever you are, online banks generally help you earn the highest APY on your savings account. Compare online savings accounts with whatever your local branch is offering and see for yourself.
Reason 3: Don’t have enough savings to make it worthwhile
Why that’s not a good reason: You have to start somewhere. Money just sitting in a zero-point-nothing savings account or a non-interest bearing checking account is only enriching the bank where the money is being held. Help yourself by earning up to 25 times the national average of 0.09% APY. When you research your APY, you might be surprised to find you’re not even earning the dreadfully low average – 13 percent of short-term savings accounts aren’t earning any interest, according to a Bankrate survey from July.
You shouldn’t pick the perfect amount of money to start saving with. With many no or low-minimum balance savings accounts available, any amount is enough to make it worthwhile at least to start on your way to building wealth.
Reason 4: Worried about security of the money
Why that’s not a good reason: As long as the account is at a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) bank or a National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) credit union, your account is protected. At an FDIC bank, each depositor is insured to at least $250,000 per insured bank. At an NCUA credit union, the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) provides all members of federally insured credit unions with $250,000 in coverage for single ownership accounts.
Reason 5: Didn’t know such accounts existed
Why that’s not a good reason: If you’re read this far, now you know. You’re aware that there are competitive savings options for your short-term and long-term savings needs.
Reason 6: Uncertain about ease/speed of transfer of money
Why that’s not a good reason: Banks such as State Farm Bank and Synchrony offer the option of ATM cards to access your savings. Other banks may offer external transfers, internal transfers to a checking account, wire transfers or an official bank check.
Reason 7: Takes too much time/effort to open
Why that’s not a good reason: Many online banks claim that accounts can be opened in around five or 10 minutes. And the time of day doesn’t matter, since you can open up a savings account at a direct bank any time — day or night.
How to get started
Bankrate has done the homework for you. Simply navigate to our banking hub where you’ll find reviews and rankings of banks nationwide, plus tips and more including Best CD Rates, Savings Account Rates, Money Market Rates, Best Banks and Credit Unions, and Bank Ratings.