Park your money where it earns the most

Many of us are on the journey to a debt-free and financially independent life.  It is important to make wise financial decisions in order to obtain that goal. Some of my past blog posts discussed the steps for getting out of debt and saving for the emergency fund. Today I would like to give you some information on how to make the money in the emergency fund grow by discussing banks and credit unions with the highest interest bearing checking and savings accounts.

The emergency fund should be set aside to use in case of emergencies and I suggest putting it in a separate account. It just makes sense to park the money in the highest yield that you can. There is really no need to let your money sit idly by without working for you. You will never get anywhere if you just sit still and it is the same with your money.

I suggest you research banks and credit unions in your area and I have found a few that you might want to research, as well. Some of the banks accounts are available for anyone while others are restricted to local residents. Most of them have restrictions and requirements so make sure to read all the fine print before making the final decision. The information I found is from the Bankrate website. The link is listed below. I will only review a few of the financial institutions listed for the sake of brevity, but feel free to take a look at the list in its entirety. Please note it is important that you check all requirements yourself before choosing to open an account with any bank as requirements may have changed.

Bank #1: Main Street Bank, Bingham Farms, Michigan – Main Street Bank offersthe Kasasa checking account. The annual yield (APY) is 2.25% with a default APY of .5%. The requirements include:

  • 12 monthly debit card transactions
  • 1 direct deposit or automatic withdrawal per month
  • E-statements

The maximum balance allowed for the 2.25% interest rate is $25,000.

Bank #2: Northpointe Bank, Grand Rapids, Michigan – Northpointe Bank offers the Ultimate Account with a current APY of 5% and a default APY of .05%. The requirements include:

  • 15 monthly debit card transactions
  • Direct deposit or automatic payment of $100 or more per month
  • E-statements

The maximum balance allowed for the 5% interest rate is $5,000.

Credit Union #1: Consumers Credit Union, Waukegan, Illinois – Consumers Credit Union offers the Free Rewards Checking with a current APY of 3.09% and a default APY of .01%. The requirements include:

  • 12 monthly debit card transactions (must be signature based, not PIN based)
  • One direct deposit, automatic debit or bill pay is required
  • Must access online banking once a month and enroll in e-statements

This account also offers other tier levels with additional requirements. The maximum balance allowed for the 3.09% interest rate is $10,000.

Credit Union #2: Lake Michigan Credit Union, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Lake Michigan CU offers a 3% APY on its Max Checking, but provides 0% if balance qualifications are not met. The requirements include:

  • 10 monthly debit transactions
  • 4 online banking logins per month
  • E-statements
  • $5 donation to charity required if out of credit union area

The maximum balance allowed is $14,999 and 0% above $15,000.

These are just a few of the options listed in the article. For the full article, go to http://www.bankrate.com/finance/checking/high-yield-checking-survey.aspx.

I would rather be earning something on my money than nothing at all. It might be advantageous for you to consider moving a portion of your savings over to one of these accounts. You can always deposit your actual emergency money and run a few of your other monthly expenses through the account to earn interest. I will caution you, though, to make sure you do not use your savings money for the purchases. You can easily deposit enough each month to cover the costs of the required monthly transactions. Be wise with your money today and you will reach your financial goals!

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