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3 Alternatives to Sweep Accounts

You can earn far higher interest rates with some savings and money market accounts.

Money funds, bank deposit accounts and even Internet checking accounts no longer yield the interest rates they used to. Fortunately, there are still some places where you can earn up to 4% on savings if you're willing to take a little risk -- such as WorldCurrency CDs, just one of the savings options that we explore in Where to Stash Your Cash.

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I've been saving for a new computer, so I know first-hand how little our money earns in traditional savings accounts. That's why I abandoned my brick-and-mortar bank for a higher-yield online account. We savers need to work hard to maximize our gains.

Here's an extra tip from Lisa Gerstner and Joan Goldwasser, authors of the Where to Stash Your Cash article: If you've already moved your savings to maximize your interest rates but still have cash tied up in a brokerage sweep account, you might also want to make some changes there. Most brokerages automatically sweep your cash into money market funds with abysmally low yields. Schwab and Fidelity are paying 0.01% on most of their money market accounts. E*Trade's Extended Insurance Sweep Deposit account is paying just 0.05%.

Sometimes you can choose an account with a higher yield. For example, at E*Trade you can transfer funds to its Complete Savings Account and earn 0.15%, and if you have $25,000 in cash, you can earn the same rate in the Sweep-Max money market account. But it might make more sense to move your cash to a higher-yielding account at a bank or credit union and transfer it to your brokerage account when you want to buy securities.

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