Newly created savings accounts are offering higher yields. Several online banks have created the accounts to attract new customers, while existing customers continue to get lower yields unless they ask to have their accounts upgraded. Examples: UFBDirect.com, an offshoot of BofI Federal Bank of San Diego, pays 1.3% on its new Premium Savings account for balances of $50,000 or more, compared with 1% on its old accounts. CITBank.com pays 1.15% on its new Spring Savings account, compared with 1.05% on its older accounts.
Some of the banks have gone beyond just creating new higher-yielding accounts. They have created new Internet banks with different names.
BankPurely.com, a new Internet bank from Flushing Bank of Uniondale, New York, pays 1.3% APY on all balances, but savings-account customers at Flushing Bank’s original Internet bank, iGObanking.com, get only a 1% APY on all balances.
What to do: Regularly compare the yields of your existing account with other accounts at your same bank…other online banks that your bank has created (ask the bank what online offshoots it has created) …and other banks not affiliated with your bank. If you see a significantly better rate, ask whether your bank can match the better rate…and decide whether it is worth upgrading or transferring your account to get a superior rate.
If you are switching to a new account at your current bank or an online bank created by your current bank, some banks will do the upgrade with no paperwork. Others require that you fill out an application for a new savings account, then electronically transfer the money from the old account to the new one. Make sure you understand the account requirements before applying. Existing customers may not be eligible, or you may be required to deposit additional money.