Banks are pretty stingy these days, with yields on interest-bearing checking accounts averaging an infinitesimal 0.105%, according to the BankingMyWay survey. So maybe it’s time to find a bank that’s more generous.
Or maybe not. Even the most “generous” checking accounts pay so little that interest earnings probably shouldn’t be a major factor when you're shopping around. That’s among the tips recently offered to consumers by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the agency that insures bank savings and takes over failing institutions.
Because new federal rules limit certain bank fees, many banks are raising other fees that aren’t covered, the FDIC says.
If your bank cuts back or eliminates interest on your checking account, or scraps it’s free-checking accounts, it makes sense to shop for a better deal. Use the search tool. But don’t focus exclusively on interest earnings or “free” checking, because other requirements may be more important.
Those may not be a burden. You might get interest or free checking by agreeing to have your paycheck automatically deposited in your account, for instance, or by agreeing to receive your monthly statement by email instead of snail mail, or by agreeing to limit the number of transactions you can do in a month, the FDIC says.
Also, to get the best deal you may have to maintain a minimum balance of hundreds of dollars, or perhaps more. That can be annoying if there will be little or no interest earnings. But the fact is that minimum-balance money might not earn much elsewhere, either, especially if you want it to be accessible on short notice. The average savings account yields just 0.181% and the average money market only 0.257%.