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Jade Schulz for Money

Last year Cass Waddell opened a savings account at online bank Marcus. With the interest rate hovering around 2%, he hoped to earn what would amount to hundreds of dollars a year in essentially free money.

Now a year later the account’s interest rate has dropped by half. Much of those hoped-for gains seem unlikely to materialize. He’s disappointed and not shy about letting the bank know it: “Sad to see that @marcus dropped their APY,” he recently tweeted at the bank run by Goldman Sachs. “I hate the hassle of switching banks but it might be worth it.”

Marcus didn't respond to a request for comment.

Over the past several years online banks, including Marcus, Ally, Axos and others gained a cult following among young savers. With easy-to-use apps and no minimum balance, maintenance or ATM fees, online-only banks quickly grew popular with twenty- and thirty-somethings looking for high-yields when parking their cash. Well aware today’s savers relentlessly optimize in order wring every penny from their investments, the banks spent much of 2018 and 2019 competing to offer top rates — frequently 10 or 20 times what traditional banks paid — highlighting the latest offers with splashy posts on social media.

(Spokespeople for both Axos and Ally said in email statements that their rates remain "competitive.")