malerapaso/iStock(NEW YORK) — We are well into 2019 and if your New Year's resolution was to save more of your hard-earned money, there's one really easy way to do just that.
With the stock market always getting all the attention, online savings accounts are often overlooked as an easy and safe way to increase your net worth.
Now, you're not going to become a millionaire overnight, but some online banks are offering upwards of 2.5 percent interest or more, and these accounts are usually federally insured for up to $250,000.
And while the market promises 6, 7 percent or more (when things are good), nothing is guaranteed when it comes to stocks.
Some of these online banks are smaller organizations trying to gain market share and get your money invested with them, but some are also well-known institutions like Barclays, HSBC and Goldman Sachs.
So, if you are looking for something solid and secure that will make you a little bit of money, this may be the best option.
Here are some top options:
Marcus by Goldman Sachs – 2.25 percent CIT Bank – 2.45 percent Barclays – 2.20 percent American Express – 2.10 percent Synchrony Bank – 2.25 percent
As you can see, some of the top rates are 2, 2.25 and 2.45 percent, as opposed to traditional brick and mortar banks that give you interest rates as low as .03 percent or less.
Things to consider
Now, to get you these great rates with very little risk, you don't get a ton of perks.
For example, don't expect ATM availability, minus a few like Synchrony. So your best bet getting money into and out of these online banks is online transfer or direct deposit from your pay check.
That said, it's really easy to link your checking account, and then you can transfer funds back and forth all you like.
For online banks with higher interest rates, like CIT, there is sometimes a minimum balance requirement, or you have to deposit $100 each month.
All in all, take a look at the stipulations of each bank and choose the one that works best for you.
It's not set in stone
Around the end of 2018, the rates for these online savings really began to rise.
Barclays went from 1.8 to 2 to 2.2 percent in just a few months. But these aren't like CDs, where they are locked in for a certain amount of time. As easy as these banks give you great funds, they can reduce the rate and take them away as well.
That doesn't mean you can't take your money elsewhere and get a better rate.
Also there's that annoying thing called inflation. The rate of inflation is roughly around 1.6 right now. What this means is that over time, the value of a dollar falls.
If your money is currently in one of these savings accounts, it's outpacing inflation.
But more importantly, these accounts should be for someone just starting to invest who isn't quite sold on stocks and definitely not ready for something more tangible like real estate or investing in a business.
The point is that it's always better to have the bulk of your money in something like an online savings account as opposed to a checking account, not earning anything at all.
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