Interest is excellent for your savings or checking accounts, but really bad on any loans you take out. It’s a fact that the only 8% interest rate you will ever see is when money is leaving your account.
So, savings accounts. These are great when you are looking to save for a large expense like an upcoming surgery, vacation, educational fund for your children, or an emergency fund. Savings accounts are both simple and safe. You can remove your money from an ATM and up to $250,000 is covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). In addition, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) will cover the same amount should you place your money in a credit union. So a money-back guarantee is available when you choose these accounts.
Ensuring your potential savings account has these features before opening is important.
COMPETITIVE INTEREST RATE
When you get a loan for a car, the interest rate is an astounding 4 – 19%. That means every year, your loan will accrue 4 – 19% of its original amount that you will need to pay to the company. Savings accounts and most other investments have rates nowhere near 4 – 19%. The national average, as of 2018, is just 0.09%. That means if you invest $1,000 of your glamorous green bills, by the end of the year, you will have a whopping $1,009 in your account if you do not deposit any more money. This number is so low that it does not keep up with inflation.
If you were to put your money in a savings account without researching the interest rate, more than likely, by the end of the year, your money will be worth less than when you first invested it.
What is the remedy to this issue of staggeringly low interest rates? For many people, online banks are a great solution. While there are some physical banks that offer higher rates, many online options have lower overhead costs, and so can offer larger interest rates. Some may offer 1.90% or more if you look widely. Often, when you make a larger deposit you may receive a higher interest rate.
Credit unions, which are insured by the NCUA, may offer higher interest rates than banks, but the number is not so much higher that it would be the preferred option. Research heavily before opening an account with any company.
DEPOSIT AND ACCOUNT BALANCE
There are a variety of amounts needed to open a savings account. Some require no money. Others have minimums which can reach 5,000 or more. Those that need a higher deposit often offer higher interest rates which can grow your money faster than low-interest accounts. If you are looking for an account that has a reasonable interest rate, then finding one with a minimum balance may be beneficial. Often, those that do not require a deposit to open may stipulate that you keep a certain amount in the account in order to avoid fees.
If you look widely, there are companies that offer savings account with little to no deposit, no monthly fees, and a reasonable interest rate. In addition, there are many reviews online for each of these companies. The reviews have information about the customer service received, fluctuating interest rates, and other positive or negative attributes of using this company for your needs. Continuously adding money to your savings account is an excellent way to build on your interest so you can see the benefits you would like.
DEBIT OR CREDIT CARD USAGE
Savings accounts are liquid investments, meaning you can withdraw money easily. Using your card you can take out money from an ATM or bank and use it as needed. Restrictions with a savings account often include the inability to write checks from them and use your debit card to make a payment. A savings account is a safe investment, which is excellent if you are just joining the world of investing.
NUMBER OF TRANSACTIONS EACH MONTH
While savings accounts operate under Federal Regulation D law and allow six withdrawals or transfers each month, this number only includes transactions that involve a check, debit card, the internet, phone, or automatic transfer. If you withdraw or deposit money from a bank or ATM, your number of transfer or deposits is unlimited.
So, do not let that “restriction” inhibit you from beginning to save your money. It can easily be worked around.
Overall, there is a lot to learn about savings accounts, but the basics are that they are a safe and easy way to begin investing your money. They can be accessed for emergencies or other expenses. You can open multiple savings accounts to categorize them even further.
The interest rate for many savings accounts is low and does not offer enough benefit to compete with growing inflation so shopping around is highly recommended.
Opening a savings account is a great first step to preparing for your future. You have worked hard for your money and making it work for you is an excellent decision. Remember to read the reviews before opening an account because these can provide many insights into how the company works and whether or not their interest rates stay stable. Having said that, interest rates can change without notice. The fine print notes that, but these should not change all of the time.