That’s because the rates offered on high-yield savings accounts follow the interest rates moves made by the central bank, which this week hiked its benchmark rate by three-quarters of a point — the fourth such move this year.
For savers, that means they’ll earn more interest on the money they have socked away, with the average yields on online savings accounts and on one- and five-year certificates of deposit (CDs) surpassing their 2019 peaks, according to DepositAccounts.com.
“Although deposit account rates have lagged the federal funds rate, deposit rates are reaching highs not seen in more than a decade,” said Ken Tumin, chief industry analyst at LendingTree and banking expert at DepositAccounts.com. “Further deposit rate increases are likely as the Fed continues to hike rates.”
When you put money in a typical savings account, you earn compound interest the longer you keep your account in a bank. The interest is the annual percentage yield (APY). To attract customers, online banks often offer a higher APY than traditional banks.
“Rising tides lift all boats. When the Fed raises interest rates, it costs banks more to loan more to consumers,” Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate, told Yahoo Money. “Banks charge higher rates to loan money and savings deposits pay higher rates to stay competitive.”
The average online savings account yield has risen 1.95 percentage points this year, while the online one-year CD yield is 3.10 percentage points higher and the online five-year CD yield is 2.77 percentage points higher, according to DepositAccounts.com.
Average yield at online banks: 2.41% (2019 peak was 2.23%)
Average yield at major banks and credit unions: 0.21%
You can also earn more from certificates of deposit, which offer higher yields. The drawback is that your money is locked up in the CD for a specific period of time.
Average yield at online banks: 3.61% (2019 peak was 2.76%)
Average yield at major banks and credit unions: 1.01%
Average yield at online banks: 3.63% (2019 was 3.19%)
Average yield at major banks and credit unions: 1.52%
Where to get the best rates?
Getting the best rate requires a little bit of shopping around.
For instance, Alliant Credit Union is offering 4% on two-year, four-year, and five-year CDs, and 4.25% on its three-year CD this month. SKYLA Credit Union is offering 4.5% APY on a 15-month CD on new deposits of $500 or more just for the month of November.
Some online banks are offering up to 3.50% APY on online savings accounts, a level not seen since 2009, according to Tumin, while “a couple of online banks have raised their online one-year CD yields to 4%, a yield that has not been this high since 2009.”
Ella Vincent is the personal finance reporter for Yahoo Money. Follow her on Twitter @bookgirlchicago.