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Online Savings & Money Market Account Rates 2021

Online Savings & Money Market Account Rates

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Our Advice is to Move Money From Savings Accounts to No Penalty CDs Right Now

Rate information contained on this page may have changed. Please find latest savings rates.

The stock market is crashing.   Anyone in it is losing a fortune this week.   The temptation may be to try and follow Jon Najarian’s crazy option trades and be a hero, but as a veteran of 2000 and 2008, I can guarantee you that is going to lead to further heartache.  Market valuations remain elevated by any historical metric and with the possibility of a global recession caused by Coronavirus, they certainly could have further to fall.

I did not properly predict that bond yields could fall to their current levels.   I don’t think they could have possibly ever gotten to these levels without Coronavirus, but they are here.    And, while I have been wrong before, I remain certain that the risk of putting new money into bonds, even US Treasuries, with the 10-year at 1.20% is extraordinary should rates move the other way.

And, while cash feels awfully good right now, the reality is that bond yields and Coronavirus are going to force Fed Chair Jay Powell to cut savings rates.   Today’s surveys indicate a 100% probability of a 25 basis point cut in March, and at least a 50% probability of another 25 basis point cut in April.  If this happens, you will not be earning 1.70% on a savings account in 2 months.

No Penalty CDs are the best and easiest way to protect your savings from the possibility of falling interest rates.  We introduced our readers to them last year in this article and also highlighted their benefits here.  

No Penalty CD rates peaked in 2019 as high as 2.60% APY from Purepoint (Ally got as high as 2.30% and Marcus got as high as 2.35%).   Many locked in those rates and they are not regretting having locked into these yields now.

No Penalty CD rates are much lower now; they no longer offer any premium over savings rates.   But, if rates fall further as the market is predicting, locking into one of these products now will enable you to secure a penalty-free interest rate on your savings for the rest of 2020.

Multiple banks offer No Penalty CDs.    These include Marcus, Ally, Purepoint, CIT and now CitizensAccess.   We list all of the No Penalty CD products among our special CD rates here. At the very least, if you already have a savings account with one of these banks, you should log in now and convert it into a No Penalty CD.    If the Coronavirus scare should pass and rates should turn and rise, you can always get out without a penalty after seven business days.

Falling Savings Rates And Higher Taxes on Interest - Some Relief in An Alternative Currency?

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Savings rates are falling and so too are CD rates.   A lot of people are reaching out to BestCashCow to complain about falling interest rates, but unfortunately we just list these rates (some folks don’t understand that we don’t set them).   It is disappointing and frustrating for savers.

This is the time of year when many also find their taxes to be frustrating.   Unless you are a billionaire who lives in a state with no personal income tax (Florida, Texas, Washington, etc.), you are probably cutting checks for a whole lot of the interest that you earned last year as a result of Trump’s “tax cuts”.

These dual frustrations have contributed for more than a decade to asset price inflation and probably led many into the stock market who shouldn’t be there.   We like to stay away from stock market prognostications on BestCashCow, but suffice it to say that I do not see the entire market advancing much from here.   Under any circumstances, it seems like a bad time to allow yourself to be drawn so heavily into the market that your allocation to equities is well above your comfort level.    It also seems like a bad time to be rushing hastily into bonds.   Against the backdrop of tremendous uncertainties in 2020, holding cash in the form of savings accounts and CDs is critical.

I recently wrote about Bask Bank.    A Bask Bank savings account is now offering 1 American Airlines AAdvantage® mile per dollar on deposit per year and offers bonuses for those depositors maintaining $25,000, $50,000 or $100,000 over time.   It is unique in that it is the one savings offer in the market which can lessen the frustration caused by falling rates and higher taxes by enabling you to earn "interest" in an alternative currency in lieu of cash interest.   By redeeming miles for international and/or business class travel, I have found that American Airlines AAdvantage® miles can be redeemed for well over 4 cents each.   Hence, this is a currency that I will gladly take over cash interest when interest rates are low.

To boot, while these miles are going to be reported on a 1099 at the end of the year, they are going to be reported at only 42 basis points (or 42/100ths of a cent) per mile.   With all the bonuses currently being offered, $250,000 deposited at Bask Bank will earn 296,000 AAdvantage® miles over the next twelve months and generate a tax liability of only $1,239.  

$250,000 deposited in a savings account over the next year is going get you just over $4,250 in fully taxable interest over the next twelve months (assuming you are able to continue to get a 1.70% APY rate through the year).   The low return and the high tax rates on the full amount could be very frustrating to you this time next year.  

If you are at all inclined to travel, Bask Bank is definitely worth a look.

You will be less frustrated this time next year, and you could be planning a really neat spring or summer getaway.


5 Reasons You Should Consider an American AAdvantage® Account with Bask Bank

Editor's Note: We have learned that the sign-on bonus, the feedback bonus and the balance bonus, all of which are described below, will continue to be extended to users who register for new accounts through June 30, 2020.  These bonuses will no longer be offered after that time.   If you have considered opening a Bask Bank account, we would recommend that you register and fund the account before that day.  The proposition will remain attractive, but will not include the bonuses after that date.

Ordinarily, it is BestCashCow’s view that consumers, young and old, should keep a certain part of their assets in the highest yielding online savings and online CD accounts that they can find.   We also encourage folks to have a look at local savings and local CD rates before they jump into online accounts and those rates can be competitive in certain markets.

It is almost unprecedented that we would provide advice that runs contrary to that recommendation, but this is one of those times.

The basics of a Bask Bank Account

Bask Bank, a new subsidiary of Texas Capital Bank, is offering depositors 1 American Airlines AAdvantage® mile for every dollar kept on deposit for one year.   If your account has an average balance of $100,000 in month 1, you will earn 8,300 AAdvantage® miles in that month.  If you maintain the same balance in month 2, you will earn 8,300 AAdvantage® miles in that month.   And, if you hold that average balance for a full year, you will get 100,000 AAdvantage® miles over the course of the year.   The account has no fees and no minimum balances.

The bonuses in a Bask Bank Account

Bask bank is currently giving a 5,000 AAdvantage® mile sign-up bonus for funding an account with $1,000 for 30 days.   They will also give you a 1,000 AAdvantage® miles “feedback bonus” for rating the account opening process on their website or mobile app.   While that is an easy 6,000 AAdvantage® miles on top of the base miles you earn, it the “Balance Bonuses” that make Bask Bank especially compelling.   They are as follows:

  • $25,000 held on deposit for one year earns a 10,000 mile bonus,
  • $50,000 held on deposit for one year earns a 20,000 mile bonus,
  • $100,000 held on deposit for one year earns a 40,000 mile bonus.

According to the terms and conditions, these Balance Bonus are paid semi-annually.

With all bonuses factored in, $50,000 held in Bask Bank for one-year will earn 76,000 AAdvantage® miles and $100,000 held in Bask Bank for one-year will earn 146,000 AAdvantage® miles.

5 Reasons Why this is Attractive

First, the savings rates among well-known online banks is currently between 1.70% and 1.85%.   In the best case, $50,000 deposited at 1.85% and held there for one-year (if the rate does not decline further) will generate $925 in fully taxable income.   But, we suspect that the Fed may lower rates again in 2020 and you may not even be able to generate the full $925.

Second, even if you get the $925, there is nothing too exciting about $925, especially when that money is fully taxable.   It is important not to lose principal, but the interest that you are going to make is $925.   $925 on $50,000 just isn’t sexy.   By contrast, the 76,000 AAdvantage® miles (or 146,000 AAdvantage® miles if you deposit $100,000) that you could be earning with a Bask Bank account can literally get you places.

Third, American Airlines AAdvantage® miles have real value.   In its credit card section, BestCashCow values AAdvantage® miles as easily being worth 1.80 cents each when redeemed for travel on American Airlines.   Applying that value, the 76,000 miles are worth $1,368.    (We should note here that the IRS too puts a value on these miles, but that value is lower than BestCashCow’s and Bask Bank is going to send you a 1099-INT each year that values the miles at 0.42 cents each).

Fourth, American Airlines AAdvantage® miles have aspirational value.   I personally have redeemed American Airlines miles at over a 5 or 6 cent per mile valuation on Business Class seats to Hawaii, London and Madrid.   Some friends and family members have found even more valuable redemptions when redeeming AAdvantage® miles on some of American Airlines’ OneWorld partners.  While I might not necessarily have taken these trips without the miles, there is real value in the fact that these miles have taken me to places that I might not have gone and in a class of service that I might not have flown.   

Fifth, airline miles and loyalty points from major airlines like American are the ultimate “alternative” currency.    It is worth noting that American AAdvantage® miles have largely held their value for decades.   Management at American (and United and Hyatt for that matter) have realized real value in their loyalty programs, and created an ecosystem in which credit card companies have flourished through offering their currencies.   Due to the dependence on these programs, devaluations are likely to be small and incremental.  Unlike bitcoin or gold or some other alternative currency, these reserves can make sense.   I’ve also redeemed American AAdvantage® miles to avoid the high cost of last minute tickets when personal or business travel has required me to travel immediately, and now that American has removed its $75 close-in ticket fee, this miles are even more valuable for this.   

For many years, BestCashCow has strongly encouraged folks who are at all inclined to travel to opt for credit cards with travel rewards programs over cash-back programs.   Rather than just be frustrated by falling savings rates, 2020 might be the year to also take airline miles over interest.