NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Pity the poor bank savers. They are saddled with a seven-year-old Federal Reserve policy that keeps interest rates at rock-bottom levels.
But there are better deals out there if you don't mind doing some digging. According to the most recent GoBankingRates survey of top U.S. bank savings rates, going smaller and going digital is the fastest path to higher rates of return.
"According to our data, the average savings account rate is only 0.18% APY nationwide," says Casey Bond, GoBankingRates' editor-in-chief. "However, online banks and local financial institutions stand out as consistently offering the best returns."
"Credit unions and online-only banks also tend to charge fewer fees, making these great options for depositors looking to keep pace with inflation and boost savings," Bond says.
According to the company's survey, MySavingsDirect offers the best savings rate in the nation, returning 1.25% APY on its MySavingsAccount. A bonus: The deal comes with few strings attached, with no fees and no minimum deposits. They survey is also bullish on credit unions, with Seattle-based School Employees Credit Union of Washington offering a whopping 6% APY on all of its savings accounts.
Industry experts say there are additional options than the standard, big-bank, low-rate savings accounts. Douglas Sheahan, president of ICCF Wealth Management in Winter Park, Fla., says banking consumers should shop around and, to get higher rates, be prepared to open new accounts and wait for a substantial amount of time – nine months to a year – while their money sits in the account per the stipulations of the new account.