bank rates

A Cut-Free Month For Top Savings Rates

basket full of moneyThe best thing we can say about nationally available savings accounts is that the top rates haven’t changed in a month.

While a number of banks that once were among the top payers have slashed rates, the best deals still pay 1.00% APY.

Yes, that’s not much to cheer.

Three banks offer the top yield: CSBDirect (www.csbdirect.com), Barclays (www.banking.barclaysus.com) and CIT Bank (www.bankoncit.com).

It could be worse.

These banks could have followed the lead of other banks that once led our rankings.

Take UFB Direct, which began 2012 as our savings rate leader at 1.30% APY. It now pays a paltry 0.20% APY.

Or airbanking, which paid a respectable 0.95% APY in early 2012 and now offers a measly 0.25% APY.

The typical savings account pays about 0.10% APY, a byproduct of the Federal Reserve’s pledge to keep interest rates low until the unemployment rate falls to at least 6.5% — something not expected until 2015.

Compared to the rest, the 1.00% APY offered by the leaders doesn’t look quite so bad.

Of the three leaders, Barclays is the easiest to navigate, with no minimum deposit requirement to open an account or earn interest. You also pay no fees with its Online Savings account. Barclays is part of Barclays Bank PLC of London, with U.S. headquarters in Wilmington, Del.

CSBDirect requires a $100 minimum deposit to open an account. But you need to have at least $1,000 in your account to earn 1.00% APY. Lower balances earn 0.55% APY, and you’ll pay a $2 monthly fee with the bank, which is the online division of Citizens State Bank in Perry, Fla.

CIT Bank has much stiffer requirements. You’ll earn 1.00% APY only if you keep at least $25,000 in your CIT Savings account. Lower amounts earn 0.90% APY. You need to make a $100 minimum deposit to open an account. The account carries no fees. CIT Bank is a division of New York-based CIT Group, which offers lending, leasing and advisory services to small- and medium-size businesses.

You can compare these rates to the best savings and money market account rates in our extensive database of banks.

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