If you’re in the market for a traditional savings accounts – one with a variable interest rate and limited withdrawal allowances, don’t expect much in the way of great interest rates. The average yield for online savings accounts (money market accounts) are providing yeilds of less than 1.00% APY and the average yield for 12 month CDs (fixed interest rate for 1 year with penalties for early withdrawal) are garnering a rather pathetic 1.50% APY.
However, if you reside in the state of California and are willing to consider a couple of credit unions as potential options for your business, then you may be able to snag some higher rates. Below are summaries of two accounts that have better than average savings rates as well as a unique approach.
First is Alliant Credit Union, based out of San Francisco, California. Their savings accounts are currently yielding 2.0% APY (almost twice the national average for these particular accounts). The only problem with Alliant is that their doors are not open to everyone. If you do not fit within their membership eligibility guidelines then you’re most likely out of luck.
The second option, however, opens their doors to potential customers nationwide so long as you’re willing to open a membership savings account and maintain a balance of $5.00. Provident Credit Union, out of Redwood Shores has many locations throughout California. They have branch locations in Belmont, Dale City, Eureka, Folsom, Hayward, Los Gatos, Oakland, Millbrae, Palo Alto, Redwood City, Redwood Shores, San Francisco, San Jose, San Mateo, San Ramon, Sunnyvale, and Walnut Creek. Their savings account is called the “Accumulator Account” and promises a 1 year savings plan with a much higher rate than their 1 year CD (certificate of deposit). What’s unique about this account is that they guarantee the interest rate through 12 months (even if the market falls drastically). The “floor yield” is determined by the credit union and adjusted in January of each year. For 2008, the interest rate has been set at a now seemingly high 2.00% APY, however this rate will be readjusted next month.