How to Find the Best Savings Rate
The recession has reminded us of an important lesson: You need to be prepared for a financial emergency. The best way is with a stash of cash that will tide you over if you lose your job or are hit with unexpected bills. That money needs to be accessible, but that doesn't mean you should shove it under your mattress.
Your best bet is an interest-bearing savings or money-market account. But how do you find the one with the highest rate without wasting an entire day scouring the Web? BillShrink, the site that helps you compare credit cards, cell-phone plans and gas stations, launched a new savings account comparison tool September 29 -- and it provides more detail and personalized analysis than other sites.
The goal of the new free service is to "help consumers find the right place to put their money," says Schwark Satyavolu, president and co-founder of BillShrink. You start by answering a few questions, such as how much you have saved already and how much you plan to add to an account each month. Then BillShrink searches about 300 CDs, savings and money-market accounts for the best rates.
You then can narrow your search by selecting criteria such as ATM access, 24/7 customer service, bank size and more. For each account shown, you can see a map of nearby ATMs you can use to access money in that account.
BillShrink even provides package recommendations, such as a CD at one bank and savings account at another, that will provide you with the highest return if you have some money to which you don't need immediate access.
The best part, though, are the e-mail notifications you'll get if the rate changes on the account you selected or another bank offers a better rate -- and how much money you'll be leaving on the table if you don't switch accounts.