CLOSE
iStock
iStock

Looking for a New Bank? Start With These Top-Rated Accounts

iStock
iStock

Score a sweet tax return? Resist the impulse to splurge on new stuff, and instead, shop around for a new bank account to stash your money in. That said, evaluating which checking or savings accounts have the highest interest rates, the lowest fees and charges, and the best perks can be a laborious process.

Luckily for us, WalletHub did the hard work for us: In search of the best offers, the personal finance website perused 50 popular online-only checking accounts, along with 480 savings and money market accounts from 233 online and branch-based banks and credit unions. According to them, the ones listed below can help penny-pinchers make the most of their savings.

One note: WalletHub limited their choices for best checking accounts to online-only ones, and many of their best savings account selections were also digital. If visiting a physical bank branch is still at the top of your priority list, those suggestions may not be the best options for you. However, keep in mind that by eliminating the cost of maintaining physical locations, online banks are able to provide customers with higher interest rates and lower or fewer fees—meaning they’re a good choice for those looking to avoid extra costs and grow their savings.

Best Savings Account: Salem Five's eOne Savings

Regional banks tend to have lower or fewer fees across the board, and online savings accounts tend to yield higher interest rates—which may be why WalletHub’s choice for best overall savings accounts is eOne Savings, an online savings account offered by Salem Five, a regional New England bank. It's reportedly one of the highest-yielding ones on the market, as it offers a 1.1 percent APY, or annual percentage yield. (The average APY for savings accounts is often lower than 1 percent.) Plus, there aren’t any monthly fees or withdrawal fees.

Best Checking Account for Rewards: Bank5 Connect's High-Interest Checking Account

If you’re a fan of perks, go with the High-Interest Checking Account offered by online bank Bank5 Connect. Its APY is only 0.76 percent, but for every $2 customers make in debit card purchases, customers receive one point. These points can be redeemed for gift cards, travel, or merchandise—which, at the end of the day, equates to about 0.5 percent cash back. As for fees, there’s no monthly fee or ATM withdrawal fees.

Best Online Checking Account: Consumers Credit Union's Free Rewards Checking Account

WalletHub’s choice for best online checking account is offered by a credit union instead of a bank, which may be appealing for those looking to divest from big banks for personal or political reasons. Consumers Credit Union’s Free Rewards Checking has an APY of up to 4.59 percent, plus it doesn’t charge monthly fees, nor does it require customers to maintain a minimum balance. You will, however, have to make at least 12 debit card purchases per month to score the best return. To join Consumers Credit Union, simply make a $5 one-time donation.

Best No-Fee Online Checking Account: Bank of Internet's USA X Checking Account

Fees are the bane of every account holder’s existence, but customers who sign up for the Bank of Internet’s USA X Checking don’t need to deal with monthly maintenance fees, ATM withdrawal fees, or overdraft fees. The Bank of Internet also reimburses customers for domestic ATM-owner surcharges, making it convenient (and free) to grab cash on the go.

WalletHub’s full rankings for best online checking accounts and best savings accounts are available online.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Live Smarter
These Are the Top 25 U.S. Cities With the Lowest Cost of Living
iStock
iStock

Coastal cities like New York and San Francisco bustle with excitement, but residents pay plenty of hard-earned cash to enjoy perks like Central Park and world-class museums—and to pay their sky-high rents. If you’d rather have a full bank account than a hipster ZIP code, consider setting down roots in America’s most affordable region: the Midwest.

Niche, a data analysis company, has ranked the 25 cities with the lowest cost of living across the United States—and the top 10 are all located in America’s heartland. Their selections were based on factors including access to affordable housing, food and fuel costs, and median tax rates, all of which were gleaned from U.S. Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Indiana was the most-represented state in the list’s top 10 section, with Fort Wayne, Evansville, and South Bend nabbing the first three spots. The remaining cities were mid-sized metropolitan areas in Kansas, Ohio, Iowa, and Illinois, all of which offer urban conveniences at a fraction of the cost of their coastal counterparts. After that, other cities in the mix included municipalities in Texas, Michigan, Alabama, South Dakota, and Minnesota.

Check out Niche's top 25 list below, and visit their website to view their methodology.

1. Fort Wayne, Indiana
2. Evansville, Indiana
3. South Bend, Indiana
4. Topeka, Kansas
5. Toledo, Ohio
6. Wichita, Kansas
7. Akron, Ohio
8. Cedar Rapids, Iowa
9. Davenport, Iowa
10. Springfield, Illinois
11. Rochester, Minnesota
12. Dayton, Ohio
13. Springfield, Missouri
14. Wichita Falls, Texas
15. Kansas City, Kansas
16. Odessa, Texas
17. Cleveland, Ohio
18. Indianapolis, Indiana
19. Abilene, Texas
20. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
21. Montgomery, Alabama
22. Lansing, Michigan
23. Des Moines, Iowa
24. Brownsville, Texas
25. Warren, Michigan

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Weird
Switzerland Flushes $1.8 Million in Gold Down the Sewer Every Year
iStock
iStock

Switzerland has some pretty valuable sewer systems. As Bloomberg reports, scientists have discovered around $1.8 million worth of gold in the country's wastewater, along with $1.7 million worth of silver.

Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology examined sewage sludge and effluents, or discharged liquid waste, from 64 water treatment plants and major Swiss rivers. They did this to assess the concentrations of various trace elements, which are "increasingly widely used in the high-tech and medical sectors," the scientists explained in a press statement. "While the ultimate fate of the various elements has been little studied to date, a large proportion is known to enter wastewater."

The study, which was recently published online in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, revealed that around 94 pounds of gold makes its way through Switzerland's sewage system each year, along with 6600 pounds of silver and high concentrations of rare metals like gadolinium and niobium. For the most part, these metals don't harm the environment, researchers say.

With gold and silver quite literally flowing through their sewers, is there any way that Switzerland could turn their wastewater into wealth? Scientists are skeptical: "The recovery of metals from wastewater or sludge is scarcely worthwhile at present, either financially or in terms of the amounts which could be extracted," the release explains.

However, in the southern canton of Ticino, which is home to several gold refineries, the "concentrations of gold in sewage sludge are sufficiently high for recovery to be potentially worthwhile," they conclude.

Switzerland is famous for its chocolate, watches, and mountains, but it's also home to major gold refineries. On average, around 70 percent of the world's gold passes through Switzerland every year—and judging from the looks of it, much of it goes down the drain. As for the sewer silver, it's a byproduct of the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, which is a cornerstone of Switzerland's economy.

[h/t Bloomberg]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios