credit & debt

Financial Tools for Savers With Big Balances

Workarounds for when your bank isn't passing on higher yields to you.

Interest rates are ticking up, but your bank may not be passing on higher yields to you. If you’d like to prowl for a better deal without a lot of legwork, you can use a tool that ensures you’re getting strong rates on your savings—and divvies up your funds if they exceed Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. limits.

Maxmyinterest.com links your checking account from an eligible large bank or brokerage firm (among them Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, Fidelity and Wells Fargo) to savings accounts from Ally Bank, American Express, Barclays, GS Bank and UFB Direct. Recently, the savings accounts offered interest rates of 1.25% to 1.42%—just slightly lower than top rates on some other online accounts. Once a month, Max evaluates your accounts and, if they are no longer paying the best rates, shifts money so your savings earn the highest possible yields. If you have large sums to stash, the tool allots $249,500 to each savings account so that balances fall below the $250,000 FDIC insurance limit per account holder, per bank (and less than $500,000 for each joint account).

The catch: Max charges a quarterly fee of 0.02%. (On a $100,000 balance, that’s $80 a year.) Max requires no minimum balance, but if your total savings are below FDIC limits, plunking your cash in one no-fee, high-yield savings account (while keeping an eye out for better yields) may serve you better. Alternatively, savers with big balances can use free services from CDARS, which spreads your money in increments of less than $250,000 among CDs at various participating institutions, or ICS, which distributes your cash among checking or money market deposit accounts.

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