Looking for a safe place to put your cash where you can still earn a decent return? With the Dow south of 7,000 (for the latest market numbers, go to cnnmoney.com's home page) and interest rates near zero, finding a good yield may feel like an impossible quest. But there are still places out there where you can put your money and safely earn more than you would leaving it under your mattress. It will take a bit of searching around because the best yields are found at smaller banks and credit unions.
There are many sites, such as Bankrate.com, that make it easy to shop around the U.S. for competitive rates on savings accounts and CDs. But keep in mind that many of those sites get paid a fee from banks for listing their products. For completely unbiased info, a good place to search is the Bank Deals blog, recommended by Money’s undercover financial planner columnist The Mole, back in December. Here, you will find a constantly updated list of the highest yielding CDs, checking and savings accounts, as well as banking industry news aimed at savers.
Some of the best deals today are in so-called reward checking accounts, which are offering annual percentage yields (APYs) of 4% to 6%. The highest yields are at small community banks and credit unions and not all accounts are available nationally. But they are covered by depositor insurance from the FDIC and the National Credit Union Association, up to $250,000 per account. Which means you don’t have to settle for earning a measly 2% on your cash stash, which is what most of the major national banks are offering these days. - Donna Rosato