The recent financial crises and grim economic outlook has made the average consumer complacent about best interest rates for online banking with most being grateful for any interest paid at all.  However, with competition for online banking business reaching new heights, a thorough and careful search for some of the best interest rates available can prove with the trouble.

Savings accounts are not just a convenient, secure place to “store” money; they can and should be a vital part of any overall financial plan.  Benefits of savings accounts include security of principle with a steady rate of interest income return, a simple and effective way to track and manage your savings goals as well as a tool to ease budget crises for unexpected expenses.

The easiest way to research the best interest rates for online banking are of course, online. There are a number of sites, tools and resources that allow you to input your projected deposit amount which brings up the best banks with the highest interest rates on offer.

Having generated a list of possibilities, it is not a simple matter, however of clicking on the top ranked option and start transferring funds.  Further due diligence must be undertaken regarding any online banking entity.  You must first be sure that the online bank is a reputable one that is governed by the same federal protections as the brick and mortar corner bank is. There are too many internet scams that prey on the unwary consumer—and sometimes a deal that seems too good to be true—it just that, too good to be true. 

Once you are satisfied that you are dealing with a legitimate online bank, it is vital that you also read the fine print involved in establishing any new account.  Most banks—online or not—have minimum deposit requirements, and also have restrictions on how long funds must be left at a certain level in the account.  This can be a term as short as 30 days (though 90 days is more common) to as much as 12 months—unless you can be confident of not needing to touch your savings principle for these terms, you will want to make sure that the minimums demanded are what you can comfortably live with. Be aware of the fee structure that the online bank has in place.  A bank offering a good interest rate but with an exorbitant fee structure and restrictive penalties may be the worst choice and not the best.

Interest rates themselves aside, it is also important to be sure that the online bank you deal with offers a pain free banking experience with good customer support.  Online banking websites should be securely encrypted, easy to navigate and have clear instructions and procedures for basic banking functions (i.e. deposits, transfers, withdrawals).  The best online banks will offer superior customer service with the option to speak to a “live body” representative either in chat or via telephone.

You shouldn’t have to sacrifice convenience or customer service for a high yield interest—with competition between online banking entities become more and more fierce, you should be able to find your ideal bank that offers both.