Checking account interest rates

Marketplace Staff Sep 22, 2006

TEXT OF STORY

And this from the Marketplace desk of trend spotting: It’s not a stretch to say most of us have checking accounts, and those accounts don’t necessarily stretch our dollars.

We don’t usually get great interest rates that is to say, but some banks have decided to offer happier and higher returns, two or three percent more.

Which got us to wondering could this be just the beginning? Might other banks follow suit?

Greg McBride is a senior financial analyst at bankrate.com.

GREG MCBRIDE: The vast majority of interest-bearing checking accounts pay yields that are dreadfully low. On average about 0.3%. For most consumers they’re not seeing higher interest rates on their checking accounts in this environment.

OK, so no trend. Got it. But it gets worse. Banks that do offer higher yields might ask for more in return.

MCBRIDE: In some cases you might find that it requires maintaining a much larger balance. So many consumers may decide instead, put that money into a higher yielding bank money market or savings account rather than tying it up in a checking account where the yield is below what you could get in other investments.

Other investments like savings accounts and money markets can get you five percent or more. And the cash is liquid, so when you want it, you can get it.

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