Financial Tools for Savers With Big Balances

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

(Image credit: Angel Herrero de Frutos)

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. (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab), which spreads your money in increments of less than $250,000 among CDs at various participating institutions, or ICS (opens in new tab), which distributes your cash among checking or money market deposit accounts.

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of Kiplinger’s expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of Kiplinger’s expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up
Lisa Gerstner
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Lisa has spent more than15 years with Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and heads up the magazine’s annual rankings of the best banks, best rewards credit cards, and financial-services firms with the best customer service. She reports on a variety of other topics, too, from retirement to health care to money concerns for millennials. She has shared her expertise as a guest on the Today Show, CNN, Fox, NPR, Cheddar and many other media outlets around the nation. Lisa graduated from Ball State University and received the school’s “Graduate of the Last Decade” award in 2014. A military spouse, she has moved around the U.S. and currently lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two sons.