Friday, June 22, 2007

Find the Best Savings Rates

There are several online tools available that you can use to find the best checking and savings interest rates online or in your area. Tools like BankRate.com, MSN Money, and Interest.com all offer up essentially the same information, so it shouldn't matter which one you use, right? Wrong. Today I'm going to outline the key features of each of these tools to help you decide which one is right for you.

BankRate.com has a nice and simple user interface. Pick the type of account you're looking for (checking or savings) and answer three simple questions (state, city, initial deposit) and you're taken directly to the results sorted by annual percentage rate (APY).

The results listing offers plenty of useful information including introductory rates, compounding methods, minimum balances, and fees. The results also include how high a balance you need to keep to avoid fees altogether.

The flashy advertising and "Web 2.0" features make some of the pages load a little slow.

MSN Money is the easiest to use of the three options, but unfortunately it is also the least useful. Once you select the type of account from checking, savings, CDs, and money market you're taken directly to the results page.

The results appear to be a selection of banks that advertise with MSN. You don't have the option of choosing your state, city, or zip code, so you can't narrow the search to banks in your area. The only information given is the APY, minimum balance, and contact information (in case you're somehow moved to immediate action).

I'm not sure why, but I expected a lot better from MSN. Maybe because some of the other tools and articles on MSN Money are really excellent. It just makes me wonder who put this mess together.

Interest.com gives you essentially the same tools as BankRate.com. There are options to select state, city, and the type of account you're shopping for. The information summary gives you most of the same key pieces of data as well. The thing I like most about the site is their lack of flashy advertising. It makes the pages load faster, and only shows me information I need, making the page seem less cluttered.

I'm going to declare Interest.com the winner for their superior range of selection and information summary. BankRate.com comes in a close second, but MSN Money isn't even worth bothering with for tools in this category (I won't even waste another link on them).

Do you have any online financial tools that you couldn't live without? Leave a comment for me and my readers.

9 comments:

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