When I saw the ad in my local newspaper, I had to look twice. NorthStar Bank (www.northstar-bank.com) in Tampa, Fla., has a money market special that pays 1.75% APY for 90 days.
That’s a rate I saw only briefly when I first started tracking national MMAs in early 2011. Since that time, 1.25% APY has been a far more typical rate.
But to celebrate the holiday season and the opening of its second location, NorthStar is putting the jingle in customers’ accounts with its Shine Bright Money Market Account.
The 1.75% APY is good on balances higher than $2,500 for 90 days, and then the rate drops to 0.50% APY through Dec. 31, 2014.
NorthStar doesn’t require you to keep the MMA open past the 90-day mark, but you’ll pay a $20 penalty if you close your account in less than six months.
Instead, the bank suggests you can put a hefty amount in your account for 90 days, then if you want to move your money elsewhere you can withdraw the bulk but leave $2,500 in your account so you won’t be hit with the penalty.
Once the 90 days is up, one option is to move most of your money to EverBank (www.everbank.com), which has the best rate on nationally available MMAs.
The Jacksonville, Fla.-based bank, which has branches in the Tampa Bay area, pays a guaranteed 1.10% APY on its Yield Pledge Money Market account for six months. The rate applies to balances up to $50,000.
After the six months is up, EverBank will pay its stated MMA rate, which currently stands at 0.61% APY.
EverBank requires a deposit of at least $1,500 to open an account, but you don’t need to keep that much in your account to earn interest.
NorthStar doesn’t have a mechanism to open an account online, so you’ll need to stop by either its Tampa or Belleair Bluffs locations.