“Historical” Online Savings Interest Rate Comparison

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Want to see an interesting comparison of the interest rates of HSBC, ING Direct, Virtual Bank, Emigrant Direct and the Federal Funds rate in a table and easy to understand chart? Me too. That’s why I stumbled onto a thread at Fatwallet Finance documenting the interest rates of all those savings accounts (there are a couple more that I omitted) I thought a graphical representation would be an interesting thing to see. Historical is in quotes because this only goes back to January ’05 so it’s not exactly History Channel type depth but I think it’ll suffice.

Some thoughts…

  • Big dog ING Direct hasn’t led the pack in interest rates, with the exception of briefly before HSBC introduced their 4.80% rate, in over 16 months, as far as the history has recorded. ING Direct has always been second to Emigrant Direct. However, ING Direct has always offered a $25 bonus if you signup with an existing customer referral (visit this self-serve $25 ING Direct promotion page if you’d like one).
  • HSBC has the best rate, hands down. If you were going to open an account anywhere (and couldn’t get ING’s referral bonus), open one at HSBC because of the interest rate. There’s no reason to pick anyone else over them.
  • Whereas all the other banks seem to increase or decrease rates relatively haphazardly, Emigrant seems to try to walk in lock-step with the FOMC’s recommendations for the federal funds rate… I wouldn’t be surprised if they made a move to 4.75% in the near future.

Actual history and a line chart after the jump.

Date HSBC ING Direct Virtual Bank Emigrant Fed. Funds
1/05 2.35% 2.60% 3.00% 2.25%
2/05 2.35% 2.60% 3.00% 2.50%
3/05 2.75% 2.53% 2.80% 3.25% 2.75%
4/05 2.88% 2.98% 3.05% 3.25% 2.75%
5/05 2.88% 3.00% 3.05% 3.25% 3.00%
6/05 2.88% 3.00% 3.25% 3.25% 3.25%
7/05 3.25% 3.05% 3.40% 3.50% 3.25%
8/05 3.50% 3.27% 3.40% 3.50% 3.50%
9/05 3.75% 3.40% 3.55% 4.00% 3.75%
10/05 3.75% 3.48% 3.55% 4.00% 3.75%
11/05 4.00% 3.71% 3.55% 4.00% 4.00%
12/05 4.25% 3.80% 3.55% 4.00% 4.25%
1/06 4.25% 4.75% 3.55% 4.25% 4.50%
2/06 4.80% 4.75% 4.60% 4.25% 4.50%
3/06 4.80% 4.75% 4.60% 4.50% 4.75%
4/06 4.80% 4.75% 4.60% 4.50% 4.75%
5/06 4.80% 4.00% 4.60% 4.50% 4.75%

Rates Comparison Chart

Based on records from Fatwallet’s user-supplied interest rate history records.

{ 14 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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14 Responses to ““Historical” Online Savings Interest Rate Comparison”

  1. Miller says:

    Not that it is terribly significant (

  2. Anon E. Mouse says:

    Here’s my interpretation of the chart; all the rates are virtually identical. If you had a hypothetical $10,000 saved at any of these online banks, once you got done paying taxes the actual different in interest per year might be $15 – $20.

    So, rather than pick the bank based on the interest rate, one would be well-served to pick the bank with the best customer service, software compatibility, or some such.

    One would be somewhat ill-advised to jump around from bank to bank; the potential returns from this strategy are minimal and the potential risks (money being out of play, having to track transferred money, etc..) far outweight the returns.

  3. Chris says:

    Isn’t HSBC’s promotional 4.8% APY supposed to end 31 April?

  4. jim says:

    Shoot you’re right Chris… I put in one month too many on that chart. Nice catch…

  5. Chris says:

    No problem — Thanks Jim for presenting these data.

  6. CK says:

    I just like to think what my reaction would have been 5yrs ago if someone had said “online bank” to me back then.

  7. jim says:

    CK – I was thinking the same thing… put your funds in a bank with no branches and little in the way of customer service, all for an interest rate of 3-4% If it wasn’t for the FDIC, I’d think it was a scam.

  8. Herb says:

    I’d still pick HSBC; they’re the only one I’ve been able to find that Quicken can connect to and they give you a acct# and routing# so you can do ACH transfers… There also sup-secure. So secure in fact that I was pissed off I elected not to get an ATM card with my acct because if you don’t get the card, you have to call in to do pretty uch anything when you’re setting up transfers and what not.

  9. Matt says:

    The only reason my money wasn’t in an online bank 5 years ago is because 5 years ago was 2001, and the online bank my money had been in was bought by PayPal (and then shut down) in 2000.

  10. John Koontz says:

    Just got an email that HSBC is going to be at 4.5 when the promotional rate ends (May 1).

  11. Jim says:

    Wish there were a place to see historical rates as they change. Since 2007 the interest rate on my hsbc and ing accounts have dropped by a huge factor.

  12. Bob Mulroy says:

    I am trying to find a table of Savings account Interest Rates from 1976 to the present. Any ideas?


  13. Chris says:

    I, myself am looking for this data. I have tried the BEA, The Treasury, FDIC, Federal Reserve, and the statistical abstract websites. If anyone knows where to look email me at

  14. Armando says:

    Looking at those rates…DAAAAAAAAMN! You can’t even find bond funds that give those kinds of rates these days!

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