We focus on those financial institutions that have low fees, great rates, and are typically available anywhere in the U.S. You can find local banks and credit unions that offer comparable rates, but their availability is limited geographically.
Table of Contents:
Best Interest Rates for October 2021
October 2021 Interest Rates Update: There were a few rate changes over the past month:
- Chime‘s High Yield Savings Account is at 0.50% APY (No minimum and no fees.)
- Betterment Cash Reserve account is at 0.10% APY. Visit Betterment
- LendingClub Bank High Yield Savings Account is at 0.60% APY ($2,500 minimum balance)
- CFG Bank’s High Yield Money Market Account is at 0.59% APY ($1k minimum deposit and $25k minimum daily balance) or 0.49% APY with $1k minimum deposit, both with new money.
- Fitness Bank is offering a 0.55% APY savings account rate for balances over $100 when step requirements are met.
- CIT is offering an 11-month No-Penalty CD at 0.30% APY with a $1k minimum deposit.
- Marcus by Goldman Sachs is offering CD terms from 12 months to 2 years at 0.55% APY, 3 and 4 years at 0.65% APY, and CD terms for 5 and 6 years at 0.80% APY, all with a $500 minimum balance.
The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate comes in at 3.01%.
With that said, here are some of the best interest rates we’ve found for October 2021:
Best Bank Account Rates
Savings Accounts: The top savings account rate goes to LendingClub Savings Account at 0.60% APY ($2,500 minimum balance) followed by CFG Bank’s Money Market Account at 0.59% APY ($1k minimum deposit and $25k minimum daily balance), Vio Bank Money Market Account at 0.55% APY ($100 minimum), and Chime‘s High Yield Savings Account at 0.50% APY (see table below). These represent some of the highest rates on a nationally available savings account.
Here’s a comparison table we update daily with current competitive rates:
Best CD Rates: The rates on certificates of deposit vary based on the term. The longer the term, the higher the rate. Keep in mind that penalties may apply if you close the CD before the end of the term. For a 1-year CD, the best rate we could find is from CFG Bank at 0.67% APY ($500 minimum deposit).
Checking Accounts: Most checking accounts do not pay interest. For online banks, however, you’ll find plenty of options where you can earn some interest on your funds. There are two things to keep in mind. First, many banks offer higher interest rates only if you keep a lot of money in your checking account. Second, the rates are lower than a savings account or CD.
Some top-paying checking accounts that we like include FNBO Direct, which currently pays 0.15% APY. For those with at least $15,000 in checking, you can earn 0.25% APY from Ally Bank. I list Ally second because most people don’t keep that much cash in checking, but it’s an option for those who do. These rates are unchanged from previous months.
Bonus: I also keep a running list of popular checking account promotions you can check out.
Mortgages: Listing the “best” mortgage rate is really impossible. Rates change throughout the day, vary by state, and are highly dependent on a number of factors including your credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and down payment. That being said, the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is up to 3.01% according to Freddie Mac (from 2.87% last month). The average rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage is 2.28% (from 2.17% a month ago).
You can find competitive mortgage and refinance rates at LendingTree or on the table below:
Related: Compare mortgage rates online
Best Interest Rate for Loans
It’s hard to state what the best available interest rate for a loan is because there are so many types of loans and so many factors that influence the interest rate you’ll ultimately pay.
Interest rates can change daily based on economic factors and market interest rates. Things like your credit score and where you live also play a role. In general, loans secured by something, like a mortgage or a car loan, will be cheaper than those with no collateral like credit cards or personal loans.
When comparing loan rates, always look for the lowest APR. APR is a calculation that takes into account both the interest rate and compounding schedule to give you a true look at the rate you’ll pay. Also consider fees that the lender may charge, such as origination fees or early repayment fees.
According to the National Credit Union Administration, the average interest rate for a three-year personal loan in June 2021 was 10.09%, so rates below that amount are better than average.
Best Credit Card Interest Rates
Credit Cards: The longest 0% introductory period stands at 20 billing cycles on both purchases and balance transfers. You can find a current list of the best 0% credit card offers here.
If you find better rates on any of the above financial products, please let us know in the comments below.
Note that the above rates were as of October 1, 2021. Rates are subject to change, so please confirm the rates directly with the financial institution.
How to Get the Best Interest Rates
Usually, the easiest way to get the best interest rates is to have good or great credit. If you’re getting a credit card, for example, it’s one of the primary determining factors in your interest rate. If your credit is less than great, click here for some tips to help you improve.
Another factor is your current debt level. If you have a lot of debt, you may not be given preferred interest rates on things like mortgages or credit cards, since you’re considered a higher risk. Higher debt levels also negatively impact your credit, so it’s best to try and pay your debt off as quickly as possible to get the best rates.
Finally, how much money you have to “put down” can make a difference. In the case of a mortgage, having a sizable down payment (of at least 20%) can help to ensure you get the best rates possible. And with some CDs or high-yield savings accounts, having more money to put into those can typically get you a better interest rate.
How Do Interest Rates Work?
Interest rates are determined, at least in part, by the federal funds rate as set by the Federal Reserve. The federal funds rate is the rate banks charge each other for lending money overnight. Most recently, the Fed maintained its target at a range between 0% and 0.25%.
As this rate goes up or down, so do the rates you’re charged for borrowing money and the rates you get for loaning or depositing money. So, in times where the economy is strong, the Fed will tend to raise the federal funds rate. Because of that, banks can usually offer a higher interest rate on things like CDs and savings accounts. But you may also pay a higher interest rate for loans.
Things to Consider When Choosing an Interest-Bearing Account
The main thing you have to consider when choosing an interest-bearing account is that, depending on the product, your rate may fluctuate. When you choose a CD, for example, your rate is locked for that period of time.
That’s why it makes a lot of sense to lock in a good CD rate when you can find one. Alternatively, it might make sense to find somewhere else to put your money when CD rates are low since your money will be locked into that rate.
With things like a high-yield savings account, it’s good to be mindful of rates fluctuating. For instance, prior to COVID-19, rates were generally pretty high. Then suddenly they started dropping like flies and what was once a good APY on a savings account suddenly become almost nothing.
That’s to be expected. Rates will fluctuate with savings accounts so be prepared for that if and when it happens.
Finally, on things like a mortgage, it pays to watch the market rates. When savings accounts and CDs may not be offering the best rates, mortgage rates will tend to come down as well. In this case, it might make financial sense to do a refinance and save some money in the long term.
Are There Any Risks?
There aren’t many “risks” to interest rates, except that you might miss out on better ones. For example, if you lock in a new rate on a mortgage, you might miss out if rates drop even further. Or if you lock in your money with a CD, you might miss out on rates going upward.
I think the risks are minimal unless, of course, there were a major upward swing in interest rates on something like a mortgage. If you have an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), you’d be subject to whatever the new rates were, which will impact your payment.
Overall, the best thing to do is keep a pulse on the economy and how the federal funds rate is trending. I also find it useful to listen to the meeting minutes and any significant quotes that come out of the Fed meetings. This way, you can get a sense of how they’re feeling about the economy.
Finding the best interest rates is a combination between timing, good credit, and having money available. You can’t control the first one, but the latter two you can. Regardless of where you stand today, it’s always smart to work on improving your credit and paying down your debt so when the time is right, you’ll be in the best position possible to get the top interest rates available.