If you have been considering making the jump to an online bank, here's a reason to do it now: A recent Federal Reserve rate increase may prod banks to give their customers higher interest rates on their savings in 2019. Here, one man walks us through why he and his wife decided to take the plunge.
Paul, 33, writes tax regulations for a California government agency. After selling a rental property in November, he and his wife, Jocelyn, 32, decided to search for a good place to park the proceeds. They decided on a high-yield savings account at an online bank.
Their goals: a college fund and diversification
The family's savings goals are a bit nebulous, Paul says, but with a 2-year-old on the scene and the possibility of other children in the future, he and Jocelyn want to have savings socked away for college and diversify where they keep their money. As state employees, Paul and Jocelyn use a local credit union for their day-to-day checking accounts.
"Besides our checking and savings, we have a mutual fund, a retirement account and stocks we own ourselves," Paul said.
Online banks are typically able to offer higher interest rates than brick-and-mortar banks because they don't have to pay to maintain branches. Over the years, the difference can mean thousands of dollars as your money collects compound interest. But first, a few considerations
Paul and Jocelyn did have some initial concerns about online banking.
"I'm generally more distrustful of apps, and hacks make me nervous," Paul said.
When researching online banks, he not only considered a bank's website but also looked it up on the Better Business Bureau website and verified it was insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
After doing online research, Paul chose CIT Bank, an online-only financial institution that currently offers a higher-than-average 2.45% interest rate for customers who either have a $25,000 balance or who deposit $100 or more into their account monthly.
Paul said he's not necessarily a brand loyalist, however; like many interest rate optimizers, he says he plans to go where any given bank will give him the best return on his money.
Chanelle Bessette is a writer at NerdWallet. E-mail: email@example.com.