Like low prices, low bank rates are also a product of weak demand. In a lackluster lending environment, banks don't have a particularly great demand for capital. Meanwhile, they've had no trouble attracting deposits, even at minimal interest rates. So, awash in deposits they have little productive use for, banks don't have a strong incentive to raise their interest rates.

Thus, even low inflation is hard for savings accounts to beat. While you may not beat inflation, you can take a much bigger dent out of it if you shop around for the most competitive bank rates. Unless weak demand drives inflation even lower, or until stronger demand pushes bank rates higher, taking a bigger dent out of inflation may be the most you can ask for.