bank rates

New Leader Shakes Up Savings Accounts

Just when it seemed things would never improve, CSB Direct has swooped in and reclaimed the top spot in our rankings of the best nationally available savings accounts.

After raising rates this week, CSB Direct is paying 1.06% APY on Internet Savings accounts with balances between $10,000 and $249,999.

Accounts with $2,500 to $9,999 in them will earn 0.75% APY, and deposits of $100 to $2,499 are paid 0.50% APY.

Savers who open an account online by Aug. 31 – and all of these accounts must be opened through the bank’s website – will have their rate guaranteed for the next six months.

You’ll only pay a monthly fee of $2 if your balance falls below $100, and CSB Direct does not charge you for using ATMs outside its network.

CSBdirect (csbdirect.com) is the online division of Citizens State Bank, which is based in Perry, Fla., and has four branches in the northern part of the state.

It had been our savings leader from February to May 2013, paying 1.01% APY, until it slashed its return and disappeared completely from our rankings.

If you plan to open an account with the bank, be prepared for the possibility that rates may be cut dramatically after the guaranteed period expires.

But let’s be clear, this is the best deal on a savings account we’ve seen since February 2013, when Salem Five Direct was paying 1.25% APY.

Over the past 19 months the best nationally available rate had never topped 1.01% APY, and even dipped as low as 0.90% APY last summer.

That’s why it’s encouraging to see CSBdirect competing for deposits again, and to find three other banks paying at least 1.00% this summer:

SFGI Direct (www.sfgidirect.com), which had led our rankings since the start of the year, continues to pay 1.01% APY on your entire balance. It takes a minimum deposit of $500 to open an account, but you don’t need to maintain a certain amount in your account to earn interest. There are no monthly service fees. SFGI Direct is the online division of Summit Community Bank of Moorefield, W.Va.

MySavingsDirect (www.mysavingsdirect.com), which is paying 1.00% APY on your entire balance. You don’t need to deposit a certain amount to open an account and there are no monthly fees. MySavingsDirect is the online division of Emigrant Bank in New York City.

Salem Five Direct (www.salemfivedirect.com) also is paying 1.00% APY. That rate for the eOne Savings account is paid on balances up to $500,000. The account requires a $100 minimum deposit to open, but you don’t need to keep a set amount in your account to earn interest. You pay no monthly fees.

You can apply for the account if don’t already have a savings account with Salem Five Direct or a checking or savings account with its parent company, Salem Five Cent Saving Bank, which has 29 locations around the Boston area.

To qualify for our rankings, banks must be willing to open accounts online or through the mail for any customer, regardless of where they live.

Check our extensive database to compare these returns with the best savings and money market account rates in your area.

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