The Best Interest Rates for December 2018

Finding the best interest rates is a lot easier today than it was even a few years ago. Here at Dough Roller, we track rates on everything from checking and savings accounts to mortgages to CDs. It occurred to me, however, that there was no one single page on the site where you could find the top rate for each type of account. So we created this page, updated monthly, to track the highest (or lowest) rates available.

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Best Interest Rates for December 2018, bank rates

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.

Best Interest Rates

December 2018  Interest Rates Update: There were several important rate hikes over the past month:

  • CIT Bank raises the rate for their brand new Savings Builder Account to 2.25% APY.
  • Ally Bank increases the rate for its Online Savings Account to 2.00% APY and introduces a new 14-month Select CD (2.75% APY). Rates also increased for their No Penalty CD (2.20% APY, $25k+) and 1-year High Yield CD (2.65% APY).
  • Capital One 360 Money Market is now at 2.00% APY ($10k+). The 360 CD rate also increases for their 12-month CD (2.60% APY) and 60-month CD (3.10% APY).
  • Sallie Mae Bank Money Market Account rate is now 2.20% APY. 
  • Synchrony Bank brings back their 14-month CD Special with a 2.80% APY and increases the rate on the High Yield Savings Account to 2.05% APY. 
  • American Express Personal Savings account rate increases to 2.00% APY. CD rates increase for the following five CDs: 18-month (2.60% APY), 24-month (2.70% APY), 36-month (2.75% APY), 48-month (2.80% APY), 60-month (3.10% APY).

The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate comes in at 4.81%.

With that said, here are some of the best interest rates we’ve found for December 2018:

Best Bank Account Rates

Best Interest Rates Pin 2Savings Accounts: The top savings account rate goes to CIT Bank at 2.25% APY (see table below). Several banks come in a close second, including Citizens Access at 2.25% APY, TIAA Bank Money Market Account at 2.15% APY, State Farm Bank Money Market Account at 2.10% APY, Goldman Sachs Bank USA at 2.05% APY and Barclays at 2.05% APY. 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 5-year CD, the best rate we could find is from Citizens Access at 3.15% APY (minimum balance of $5,000) and Capital One 360 at 3.10% APY ($0 minimum balance). For a 1-year CD, Barclays offers a rate of 2.65% APY ($0 minimum balance).

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 0.65% APY. For those with at least $15,000 in checking, you can earn 0.60% 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.

Mortgage Rates

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 down this month to 4.81% according to Freddie Mac (from 4.86% last month). The average rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage is down to 4.25% (from 4.29% a month ago).

You can find competitive mortgage and refinance rates at LendingTree or on the table below:

Related: Compare mortgage rates online

Best Credit Card Interest Rates

Credit Cards: The longest 0% introductory period stands at 21 months 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 December 1, 2018. Rates are subject to change, so please confirm the rates directly with the financial institution.

Topics: Banking
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58 Responses to “The Best Interest Rates for December 2018”

  1. Bill Talmadge

    I am totally confused by what you describe as the best rate in each category, versus the table you display with that category. For example, you state The top savings account rate goes to CIT Bank at 2.25% then in the table you show VIO Bank at 2.35 % APY.

    • Christina Castle

      Hi there, the tables are updated daily. The CIT rate was the top at the time the article was published. We apologize for the confusion. There is a note included at the bottom of the article mentioning rates are subject to change.

  2. Hi Rob — Thanks for keeping this up. It will become even more valuable to separate the wheat from the chaff as rates rise. Lake Michigan Credit Union is still offering its 3% Max Checking account nationally with minimal requirements. Rate capped at $15,000 balance, but still decent. The old Kasasa Cash accounts still continue to pay fairly well too. 2.50% up to $10,000 balance at All America Bank and its affiliates, including the venerable Redneck Bank. Cheers!

  3. Dick Lanahan

    Notice not much is said about Marcus Bank by Goldman Sachs. Currently they pay 1.70% on Money Market Savings Accounts and just raised CD rate on 12 month CDs to 2.30%. Minimum to earn any interest is $100(some institutions require as much as $10,000. be deposited). NO FEES, FDIC Insured and 6 withdrawals allowed per statement period. Easy to set up and very “Friendly” to access/use. All being said and considered Marcus Bank by Goldman Sacks is our chosen and preferred source for High yielding Savings, flexibility. getting information daily and ease of use.

    • sharon williams

      Marcus Bank by Goldman Sachs is up to 2.05% on their savings account and now offer a no penalty 13 mo CD at 2.15%. I have had an account with GS for several years, and they are awesome to deal with. Great ACH practices, and they even wire funds for me with no charge. Ally Bank appears to have raised their 11 mo no penalty CD today to 2.20%. Charles Schwab has some of the best CD rates around (from 30 days on up) but currently they do not have a no penalty CD.

  4. Financial Success

    It’s kind of overwhelming when ideas such as this are shared online. It’s quite a big help for giving us update when it comes to banking interest rates. So valuable, my mind is now secured where to put my money best. Thanks

  5. Kathy R

    The best interest rates I’ve found for CDs is at Connect One Bank. You cannot beat this deal__A 10-month CD (open with $500) @ 2.17% APY/2.15% APR If you want to earn really good interest with only $100 to start, check out the 15 month CD rate (2.00% APY/1.98% APR) at HavenSavings Bank.

  6. Bill Talmadge

    I wish you would add the early withdrawal penalty to the 5 year CD.
    In the past, I have found holding a 5 year CD for at least 1 year was superior than a straight
    savings account, if the early withdrawal penalty was not too severe.

  7. Mihir

    Here are my favorites:

    Savings: Purepoint Financial at 1.25%
    CD: Ally 11-month NO PENALTY CD at 1.50% (No penalty to withdraw after first 6 days)
    Interest checking: Alliant Credit Union at 0.65%

  8. Christopher Allen Dowling

    Capital one is offering $200 to open a new money market account 1% interest, may be targeted, and purepoint.com offers 1.25% interest savings.

  9. Bill Talmadge

    Just out this last week, too late for your survey. A 11 month no-penalty CD from Ally for 1.25 percent. Since this is equivalent to a straight savings account, go for the no-penalty CD.

  10. Do you know the name of a lender that will give me a decent rate on a small investment property to refinance? The rates I have been getting are very high and closing costs range from $3800 to $5800!! Any information is greatly appreciated.!

  11. Rick Pekar

    Actually Lake Michigan credit union does not require you to be a MI resident. If you check around there are plenty of CU and Small banks that offer high interest rate checking accounts that often exceed the 1% savings rates you have quoted.

    • Rob Berger

      Rick, right you are. Just make sure you understand the limitations. They limit the amount you can save, require direct deposit, require a certain number of debit transactions each month. This doesn’t make them bad deals. It’s just important to know the requirements before opening an account.

  12. Bill Talmadge

    It would be extremely useful if you could provide banks that have minimum premature penalties on 5 year cd’s. Ally used to have a penalty of 2 months on a 5 year cd, before they raised it. I took advantage at that time. Consider that it paid 2.4 percent. If you kept it a year, the interest rate would be 10/12 of 2.4 percent. That is 2 percent. A very good deal for a one year cd..

  13. ComonSense

    Don’t fall for any of this. Many banks list a high APY (which is NOT the Annual Percentage Rate (APR)) at the beginning of each month to make it into article like this. Soon after they drop dramatically.

    Besides, APY does not do you any good, the APR is what counts. There are several banks out there who give you 1% true APR, and that for over 1 year, a professional would never mess around with what we call fake advertising APY’s.

    • Rob Berger

      Actually, I’ve been tracking rates for years now, and the banks listed don’t play games with their interest rates. The rates you see have been in place for some time. And the APY is what counts. It factors in compounding.

    • APY stands for annual percentage yield-it’s what banks pay you. APR is annual percentage rate, what you pay banks for credit. APY is what you want if you’re looking at earning interest on deposits.

  14. Quick question which may be a silly one: I recently opened a Capital One 360 savings account. Will the interest rate on that account or really any of the savings accounts listed about change as rates increase? Or do you have to open a new savings account to have the new rates?

    Thanks so much!!

  15. CommonSense

    This article, like many, is incomplete.

    The top savings account rate with no fees/minimums is MySavingsDirect (from Emigrant Direct Bank) with a whooping 1.04% APR (1.05% APY if you dare).

  16. After researching customer service reviews for the top online banks for savings accounts, I am hesitant about opening an account with an unfamiliar bank (to me).

    I am thinking about opening up an account with American Express even though their rates are a bit lower. I have been an AMEX credit card holder since 1989 and have always received great customer service.

    Do you think there is much difference among the online banks regarding customer service?

    • AMERICAN EXPRESS IS THE BEST!!!!! If you have ANY problem with anyone they will do the research and in the meantime remove the charge until it is straightened out! ALL other credit cards make you go thru a ringer when you have any problems with charges and getting a credit!
      AMEX is worth every penny!

  17. I am not a saver in this form anymore because of the scarily low interest rates, I like my money active for me.
    Great news on the mortgage rates for anyone wanting to make their money work for them in that manner. I’d rather over pay on my mortgage than place extra money in savings at the moment.

  18. Times have changed on the percentages earned in savings accounts. Its not the best choice these days to grow money. But, its better than checking accounts! You definitely need to know what’s happening in order to make the best choice for your goals.

  19. Hello everyone. I’m looking into transferring several credit card accounts into an overall better credit card and/or cards. 0% transfer rates and obviously low APR’s would be ideal. If anything comes to mind, please share. I’ll continue to research and Rob… I’m so happy that I stumbled on to Dough Roller!!!

  20. One thing I noticed when I (recently) took out a HELOC, was that a local credit union offered the lowest overall plan because there were no closing/origination fees. They even waived the appraisal fee. The rate was .25% higher than an online rate I found, but by doing the math (mine is a short term), using the local guys turned out to be the best deal.

  21. Hi Rob, For people in Michigan, Lake Michigan Credit Union pays 3% on a checking account up to $15,000 You must set up a direct deposit and due 10 transitions a month with your debit card. So for me it is worth using your debit card for 10 small transitions to get the 3% and I use it more for a savings account.

  22. Thanks for collecting all this information! Interest rates are one of the important things to factor in when determining where to keep your money. I would put it out there that interest rates are not the only factor to consider, but having as much information as possible about these rates is great!

  23. Brian Collins

    Good info. Thank you.

    One other thing that I would find very helpful, if it exists, would be a list of credit cards that offer 0% interest and 0% balance transfer fee for any period of time…even just 6 to 9 months would be helpful.

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