Desert Camping: Brave the Summer or Wait 'til Winter? - TravelNerd

Desert Camping: Brave the Summer or Wait ’til Winter?


With summer vacation at our doorstep, the time for booking travel is now. The American Southwest, as a treasure trove of natural wonders and awe-inspiring landscapes, is always a popular travel destination for adventurous spirits. Stumbling around the Mojave Desert may be a little more demanding than a trip to Disneyland (then again, maybe not), but participating in the breathtaking scenery and sublime isolation of the Southwest can be tremendously rewarding. If you’re worried about enduring the extreme heat of the summer months, congratulations, you’re thinking logically. Here we weigh the pros and cons of traversing the desert during the summer versus the winter.

Why suffer the summer heat?

The desert is hot. I mean, really hot. Visiting during the summer is a little masochistic. Most people, given the choice between spending July in Death Valley or the temperate hills of Big Sur, will choose the less painful option. Use that to your advantage! Desert destinations are far less popular during warmer weather, meaning parks and facilities will be less crowded. For many desert travelers, isolation is part of the allure. You’ll have the best odds of discovering profound quietude when the sun is at its hottest.

Less traffic also means lower rates. When demand is low, so are the prices at hotels, resorts and restaurants. By avoiding the crowds, you’ll avoid paying peak-season prices.

Remember, the heat won’t kill you. Well. It could. But if you’re smart, you’ll be a-okay. While not as developed as more populated parts of the country, the desert is equipped with enough modern conveniences to keep you reasonably comfortable. If you’re staying at a hotel, you can expect pools, air conditioning, ice machines and the like. Desert folk are well-practiced in the art of keeping cool.

The trick to surviving the heat is to avoid strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day. Schedule hikes and excursions for the mornings and evenings. Use the afternoon to lounge, sleep, swim and hydrate. Following this schedule will greatly reduce the effects of the excruciating heat.

The final reason to go ahead and book that summer trip is purely philosophical. When’s the last time you were humbled by nature? To experience the desert in all its terrifying beauty, you need to place yourself in its most extreme conditions. Hiking the canyons and dunes of Death Valley in mid-July will give you a taste of the desert’s true power. It’s a good way to suffer a heat stroke, sure, but it’s also a good way to respect and comprehend the land in all its raw majesty.

Why wait ’til winter?

Simple. Cool weather. Some parts of the desert get downright cold, but many areas become newly habitable. Travelers from the north come seeking warmer weather, crowding popular attractions and driving up prices. But hey, some people prefer being part of a community of travelers to the sometimes stifling pressure of deep isolation.

The winter weather naturally allows travelers to be more active. Without the summer sun beating down and sapping your energy, more recreational activities open up. Hiking, biking and ATV riding become much more feasible when you’re not battling 110° heat. You should still keep well-hydrated, but the threat of dehydration is significantly lower in cooler weather.

Some of the top desert locations to visit in the winter include Death Valley, Big Bend and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. If you’d like to see some snow, head to higher elevation. The Grand Canyon, for example, usually gets a good powdering.

The verdict

What time of year you visit the desert depends on your motivations for traveling. If you’re looking for a vacation characterized by comfort and relaxation, clearly the cooler months are for you. On the other hand, travelers seeking a more profound or even spiritual communion with nature may appreciate the extreme conditions that drive away the tourists. So in deciding when to explore the desert, simply ask yourself, “What kind of traveler am I?”

  • justpicky

    USAA Federal Saving Bank ……..good choice ……..
    Navy Federal Bank ……..
    Local Credit Union ……….
    Would never bank with Wells Fargo , Citibank , B of A , and there’s
    several others …Banks are the reason why credit cards went south .
    And why home mortgages fail . Banks felt they couldn’t fail , because
    they were to big ……The blame for this economy ….because of Greedy
    CEO’s , Mortgage Companies , realtors , and many others including polictians …
    What they didn’t tell the public …..we’re in a 13 year Recession …..2007 – 2020
    As far as credit cards they’re only good for Emergency , one card is enough
    not over $1,000 ….

  • Scott

    Dupont Community Credit Union ( offers Grow Green Checking at 2.75% APY

  • Matthew Felsted

    Hmm.. This seems to be an insanely bad idea as the national inflation rate is greater than the amount you can earn with the top rate listed on this page. You’d actually lose a ton of money at these rates.

    • Henry

      Yes, but unless your hiding money under your bed, you’re giving a brick and mortar bank your money while getting .001% or some pathetic return for it. To think you’ll get several times the rate of return w/ online banks, you don’t have to be Einstein to know its stupid to leave your $ with the traditional banks


    you can get 3,5% at MCI credit union free checking with 1 bill pay or direct deposit &10 debits also TEXAS FIRST BANK OFFERS 2% With same deal up to 10000$ at Texas First bank & 25000$ at MCI credit union

    • me

      there is no “mci credit union” according to google. did you mean mcu? if not, what is mci credit union website address?


    it is is MCT credit union for Port Neches,Nederland, Orange &Bridge city Texas Mid County Teacher;s credit union


    phone #800 846 1751 MCT credit union


    the checking account at MCT is called Kassasi It lowered its rate to 2.5%

    • me

      as of this month, they’ve lowered it to .75%. seems they did a bait and switch. get your money at the lure of a high rate, then steadily drop it off to match national averages.

  • Heronva

    Hi NW,

    There’s a bank in my area not showing up for my zip code with great local rates. The bank is: Cardinal Bank, zip 22401, 1.01% for a First Choice Checking account. Website: How do I make it display. I found it several years ago. It has went from 2.01, 1.21, and now 1.01.

    • NWjohn

      Thanks for the tip! We’ve made sure to add the account.

  • topcommenter

    Bank X? What kind of people are opening accounts with these cartoon sounding places??

  • laviatrix

    Looks like the 1.25% APY 2Y CD offer from SalemFiveDirect is no longer valid. Their site is offering 1.15%.

    • NWjohn

      Thanks for the heads up. We’ve made the appropriate corrections!

  • chris1010

    Login troubles with Bank5Connect did not instill confidence.

  • Charles Gable

    Your missing Penfed I dont know how long it will last but as of today they are offering 3 year Rates at a whopping 2.00 apr 2.02 apy with only 1,000 minimum

    • Saida Shamim

      They are now paying 3.04 for 5-Years CDs

  • Drafter31

    The best Rewards Checking account without question is “Bank of Internet USA” …A Federal Bank out of San Diego, CA. FDIC Insured…
    You earn up to 1.25% APY* on all balances $150,000 or less and it only takes $100 to open…
    * You have to have $1,000 direct deposit once per month
    * You need to have a minimum of 2 On-line Bill Payments per month
    * You need to have a minimum of 6 debit card purchases per month
    This is easy, I just live my life and I naturally jump through the bank’s hoops to get the 1.25% interest rate on my money…

    • Bill Fold

      So you jump through hoops for twelve months to make $12 bucks. Even the banks pay poorly for labor.

    • Julia

      I’m getting 2.75% through University of Iowa Community Credit Union. No minimum balance (I think the max is $25,000), just have to have 1 direct deposit and make 12 credit card purchases with my debit card a month.

  • Jon Vawter

    WHY don’t you have Credit Unions on your list?? LMCU pays 3%, Fort Sill CU pays 2.5%, SW Air CU pays 4%, Consumers CU :3.01%; etc.
    With Credit Unions you own the institution that is holding your $$$! Not some billionaire!

    • NWjohn

      Hi Jon – We do have many credit unions listed in this comparison tool. Just enter your zip code and choose “Include credit unions” to see them.

      However, I believe the specific accounts you’re referencing are rewards checking accounts, which we don’t currently include here because they require meeting a few qualifications to earn the high rate, and then that rate is usually capped at a certain balance. They can be great accounts though. We feature many of them in our checking account comparison tool here:

      • Jon Vawter

        I clicked the link you gave and was still unable to find any of the credit unions that have more than 1% on their checking accounts. Also, I did choose “include credit unions” in my first search. Yes, they are generally called “rewards checking account” and yes, they typically require a direct deposit and or monthly payment to a creditor, and 10 to 12 credit transactions/month with a maximum balance of $10,000 to $15,000 which the 2.5%+ interest rate would apply. All checking accounts have some requirements and while this type of account is not for everyone, there is a percentage of consumers that would appreciate the information. At $10,000 balance w/ 3%,I receive approximately $300/year. CDs don’t pay that these days; also my $ is readily available in case of emergencies!

        • Kelly

          Thanks Jon, I appreciate the info! What institutions specifically offer the 3%/which ones are best? Thanks!

    • steve

      are credit unions fdic insured?

      • NWjohn

        Most credit unions are federally insured just like banks, but by the NCUA rather than the FDIC.

  • lighterthanyouthink

    Residents of Mass and Rhode Island are INELIGIBLE for accounts at Bank5 Connect. Which is really a shame since it has great rates for both savings and checking accounts. Hoping you can make it disappear from your chart when people enter a zip code from one of these states. Would have saved me a lot of wasted time, since their website doesn’t seem to indicate this until you begin the application process. :(

  • MichaelRC

    At least one of your rates for Lake Michigan Credit Union are incorrect. e.g. Money Market account with $50K deposit earns 0.4%, not 0.35% as listed.

  • MarkyD

    My bank in Denison, Texas, Independent bank, pays 2% if you meet the qualification of auto deposit a check and use debit card, not including ATM, 12 times and receive e-statements…

    • Heronva

      Your bank can afford to pay you 2%, if you are racing to make 12 debit charges per month and have a direct deposit with them too. They make money off your debit charges and your deposits. I prefer using an online money market account (e.g. Amex or Sallie Mae) were there are no such stipulations or min/max deposits required. This way I can then use my reward credit cards (Fidelity Amex or Cap One) to earn $400 or $500 per year in rewards, but this is the logic I use… I am others have better ones.

      • MarkyD

        Don’t care how they get paid, with the money I keep in a balance in my checking, it is free money to me every month. All I have to do is buy 3 bananas a week and charge them each separate and that is 12 debits, and most people with social security have to do auto deposit anyway, so I get a couple hundred interest off that too. I have the cards and get my money that way too. It is all free money to me. I pay off at end of month every month, no matter what the amount is and I get $400 to $500 on top of that.

    • Tee Tee

      What is your bank called? Is it open to people who don’t live there?

      • MarkyD

        It is Independent Bank. That is the name of the bank. There is one in Dallas Houston Plano, McKinney, Howe, Sherman and Denison Texas and more branches around the Texas area and I’m sure they don’t care where you live. Have a Great Day and God Bless… Mark Subject: Re: New comment posted on Find The Highest Interest Rates | CDs, Savings, Money Markets – NerdWalletFrom: notifications@disqus.netTo: markgrams@hotmail.comDate: Tue, 26 Aug 2014 06:22:40 +0000


        A new comment was posted on NerdWallet

        Tee Tee

        What is your bank? Is it open to people who don’t live there?
        2:22 a.m., Tuesday Aug. 26


        to Tee Tee

        Tee Tee’s comment is in reply to


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    • Me112233

      My local bank does that, too. But soooooo many hoops to jump through. And if I don’t meet one of the several requirements in any given month, they ding me for $12 (not to mention the loss of interest that month). And that 2% (at my bank) only applies to the first $15,000. That’s a lot of work on my part just for the potential to get $300 in interest. I just have my “immediate access” money sitting in a no-fee checking account, getting zero interest.

  • jalo12

    why would any body waste their dinero on these chump change rates its all abut mutual funds baby

    • MacingFacing

      Tell us more bro? I got between 5k and 10K to invest. Already set up a couple of CDs. Who is the best of the best to go through for mutual funds?

      • jalo12


      • jalo12

        nice comment do not respond to 20 something year old wanna be white trash but for the rest of the viewers all depends on your financial situation my mutual funds are spread over a variety of areas plus pension bonus cash from banks now if I could only get out of Virginia beach life would be perfect and to all you English majors keep your comment to your self and the smart phone where the sun don’t shine

      • jalo12

        tell us bro adonde did you get the 5 to 10 k selling drugs or robbing little ol ladies I know you did not earn it at that high paying job is it mcs or bk tell us mas

        • MacingFacing

          Awww a troll. You had to respond to yourself three times, because somebody got their feelings hurt because a black woman is making more money than you while filling burgers at Micky D’s the horror for your race.

        • MacingFacing

          LOL a fÛcking troll. I should have known. Really 20 something. You would
          think with the money you have you would be out doing what you love best
          which is sÛcking dÍck and taking it in the ašš, but boy oh boy jalo12
          With all your great financial knowledge is sitting here trolling a
          financial thread talking about what you wish you could have. Praise your
          white jesus that I am making money while sitting on the clock. While
          you have to play with penny stocks and Disqus upvotes to keep your one
          bedroom light turned on. Let us not even get into the simple fact that
          you were born from the bottom of a trolls retarded aššhole and that you
          will never mean anything to this world, but the shĩt and piss that comes
          out of your body for the clean up to work over, Let alone the 1065
          comments and 640 upvotes which in this reality 639 of those upvotes are
          done by you. Now go and run along you lil wanna be troll and when you
          have accomplished what I have accomplished by looking at my Disqus profile…we
          may be able to get you a certificate of completion.

          • jalo12

            how proud your parents must be that you have the intelligience to get your certificate of completion what ever that it is is that one step below a ged people use profanity for 3 reasons lack of respect lack of knowledge or out of habit if I was a gambler I would vote for 1 and 2 in your case

      • jalo12

        just picked up some wood for the fireplace didn’t I see you there not that you have a clue as to what that means how proud your parents must be

      • David Rosenberg

        Before you go investing I recommend first having an emergency fund in the bank that could last you at least 8 months for living.

      • Charlie Forzano

        Research…read Kiplinger’s or Money they often have issues just about Mutual Funds….I think T Rowe Price is good…and Vanguard…but there are SO many different types of mutual funds…and they are not insured…so you could lose your money.

      • jalo12

        how proud your parents must be kcid muchacho

    • Tee Tee

      What are good mutual funds to start out with? and who do I talk to to invest in one?

      • jalo12

        t t find a good broker if you have at least 5k to invest

        • Tee Tee

          Well I’m a college student, so I don’t have that much money right now lol But in the future I will do that. Thanks so much for your help!

          • jalo12

            Buena suerte tea tea

      • Guest

        Today the Federal Reserve will be meeting and Janet Yellen and the board will give us a hint about whether interest rates will go up. I would recommend holding onto your money in a savings account until the MM Money Market funds go up and put your money there.Then save up to the next amount say 1000 or whatever and then out in the MM again, they may be higher by then. You can put in a mutual fund, but there are so many kinds and they generally go down when rate rise. So, My money os now in mutual funds, but i will be taking it out soon as the interest rates rise. Keep saving and learning. Best of luck. Oh, yes, good mutual funds might be T Rowe Price. I don’t care for Fidelity. Some will take $500.

    • Me112233

      The market has had a fantastic run up. It’s about time to jump in? Perhaps. The last time we saw a run up like this, it took a nasty dive. Just saying. [I neither promote nor discourage mutual fund investing, just noting that it is not without risk.]

      • jalo12

        my wifes b day only born in 49 thanks for the timely? reply. Cheers

        • Me112233

          What does your wife’s birthday have to do with this thread?

          • jalo12

            She likes playing the numbers always plays 11 22 33 44 etc have a good one cheers ever get to virginia beach can down a couple of cold ones and some shoots solomente patron anejo.

  • NJacobs61

    For 2-year CDs, Lake Michigan Credit Union currently has a base APY of 0.9% (or 1.15% for the VIP rate), not 0.5% as listed in your table.

    • Me112233

      Ouch. Wouldn’t you rather have 3%?

  • FraserSt

    I’m wondering if there’s a way to figure out the likelihood of a rate being sort of a “teaser” rate that is likely to be reduced? Like is there a way to see the history of a rate at a bank to see if it moves around a lot?

    • Kalvin

      No. The rate is fixed thru the lenght of the term. Once you purchase, they can’t change it.

      • Me112233

        That’s not entirely true. Some annuity contracts do lock the rate for a period of time (similar to buying a CD for X years), which is what you described. However, other companies float their rates on an annual basis or even quarterly. Still others have a convoluted method of crediting that is tied to the S&P 500 (those rarely turn out well in the long run).

  • Rich

    What about these Annuities? My accountant is trying to talk me into one. Are they safe?

    • Charlie Forzano

      I almost bought an annuity, the person selling it gets a hefty commission right off the top….so you are starting out from a negative position….Get a basic investing book and learn the basics….YOU will always have your own best interests at heart:)

      • mke0427

        Then you are buying an annuity from the wrong type of professional. Get a basic understanding that many annuities do NOT use clients money towards the commission….that’s actually not allowed in many annuities.

        • Charlie Forzano

          Yes – clearly – was not trashing all annuities – was just stating that it is important to learn before you invest.. I clearly did not know enough about annuities to protect myself from someone who was trying to take advantage of me during a difficult period – no need to get testy

      • Me112233

        Just curious, do you know the exact amount of the “hefty”? Or, were you just assuming that to be the case? I suppose each person has their own concept of what hefty means . . . . just would like to know what is being labeled as hefty.

        • Charlie Forzano

          17% – and my husband had just died – thank goodness I was clear headed enough not to listen about this particular product – was not discrediting ALL annuities….although I realize now that’s how it might have sounded…my point was to educate oneself so that you know exactly what you are putting your money into.

          • Me112233

            Wow. 17% is huge. The salesman would get a better return on your “investment” that you would.

    • Rubén Rivera de Mrt

      an annuity that pays 3% compound interest is the way that go,no fees,no penalties
      ..this is what we offer our clients.

      • Me112233

        Yep, that’s pretty much what I offer, too. Oddly, it doesn’t come with that hefty commission I keep seeing on this page. Oh well, so much for selling “honest” deals.

  • Charles Nichols

    TO everyone looking for a real answer ((PRIMERICA)) is the answer..they offer a minimum of 4%.
    for more info just e_mail me at (

  • Joe Tee

    I’ll pay you 3 times more than what they pay for those who loan me money for my fix and flip real estate projects. To learn how you can make higher returns contact me at (Example: Lend $100,000.00 and Get Paid $106,000.00)

  • l8rgtr

    We put our ira’s in to annuities. Our financial advisor got a hefty commission but it didn’t come out of our money. We actually got a bonus too, so started out ahead.

    • Me112233

      Seriously? Better get a grip.

      There are some “good” annuities; the commission rate for the agent is around 2%, maybe 3%. The agent gets paid that ONCE. Let’s say it was 3%. That comes out of the earnings. But since most insurance company only has one brick & mortar building in the entire nation (and banks have lots of them spread out all over the place, plus lots of employees just to say “hello, how are you today), so the commission is the essential equivalent of not having to pay for buildings in every town and salaries/hourly wage employees to staff those buildings. (The agent only gets paid if he actually produces, there is no base salary.)

      Now, three things. (1) If the insurance company pays the agent 8, 12, or even 15% to sell you an annuity, that’s way over the trade-off for not having to have brick and mortar buildings in every town, so that additional commission comes out of your long-term return. It has to.

      (2) Because the agent got a humongous commission, the company must hit you with a HUGE early withdrawal penalty,vs the much smaller penalty of the “good” annuity. A rule of thumb is that first-year early surrender penalties = agent commission + 4% Yes, it varies somewhat, but that’s the basic for the surrender penalty for the first year of the contract, with some measure of reduced penalty after that. Would you rather have a 6% early withdrawal penalty that disappears in about five years, or a 16% penalty that lingers for 12 years? Even if you don’t think you will need the money earlier than planned, “life happens.” You might also decide that you would rather invest your money elsewhere; yes, people do change their minds over a period of 5 or 6 years.

      (3) If you get a “bonus” up front, it is taken away in other places. One trick is to require that you actually annuitize your funds, or lose the bonus. Of course, when you annuitize the account, your investment is FOREVER locked up, and the payout is at the rate the company decides. Guess what? That bonus is recovered via a lower payout rate. Instead of a $1000/month payout, you now get $950 . . . whoops, there goes that bonus. In a more straight-forward bonus situation, the company simply reduces the crediting rate over a period that is typically calculated as bonus divided by years that the surrender charge applies. So a 5% bonus on a contract with a 10-year surrender period would net a reduction in crediting of 0.5% over 10 years. Bonuses are nothing short of a sales gimmick. Sort of like Jackson Hewitt “giving” $50 Walmart shopping cards to everyone who gets their taxes prepared (the $50 is built into the fee they charge you, duh).

      Annuities simply don’t pay “too good to be true” returns. A good quality annuity will offer you better terms than a bank CD, say maybe a percent or two, but that’s about it. The more complex the annuity is, the more likely it is to be a long-term dud. A good “clean” annuity will pay about 3% in today’s market, and will have a surrender charge that starts around 6% and reduces each year til it disappears after year five or six. (clean = no bonuses, and no requirements to annuitize or lose part of your return). A “good” annuity will allow you to withdraw 10% of the account WITHOUT a penalty in those early years. Given the current state of affairs, an annuity that does NOT lock in your rate is best, because short term interest rates really can’t go down any further, and they are likely to go up over the next five years; it would be nice to have your return be able to float up with the market.

      Annuities are not intended to be sexy. They can’t be. The regulators simply don’t allow insurance carriers to play the market in such a way as to put the actual company at risk of bankruptcy. Annuities are exceptionally safe places to put your money; and the trade-off is that you can’t get a humongous return. They are basically savings accounts with an insurance company. Insurance companies get between 4% and 6% on their portfolio of investments; they simply can’t pay you more than that and stay in business; they must pay you less, to cover overhead, commissions, guarantee fund fees, the occasional bad investment (can you say General Motors bonds?), etc. All those bells and whistles you mentioned are accompanied by gotchas and what-ifs. It might say it tracks the S&P 500, but in there somewhere it also says that you only get a portion of the S&P return, and there’s an overall cap of X%. So, if S&P goes up 15%, you might only see 6%. In years that things are bad in the market, you get 0%. Be logical. If the insurance company is getting 5% on its investment portfolio, how on earth can they pay the agent a “hefty” commission, pay you a 10% “bonus” on day one, plus give you stock-market returns on top of that? The answer is “they can’t and they don’t.” The agent does get paid the heft commission, from there, you are seriously delusional. It is smoke and mirrors.

      Now, to reiterate, the commission ALWAYS comes out of your account. it’s just that it is in the form of reduced payout over a period of years, rather than being directly charged to your account on day one. When those commissions are in the 2-3% range, you are paying the rough equivalent of the overhead that you would pay with most any other option out there (banks have an early withdrawal charge for a reason). If the commission is “hefty” as you put it, rest assured that you ARE paying for it, one way or another.

      You will hear some people say they once got paid 6% on their annuity (but not any more). Ten to fifteen years ago, insurance companies were offering that sort of straight-up return on annuities with “long” surrender periods. Many contracts had a 4% minimum guarantee as long as you left your money on deposit, too. Those days are long gone.

      Finally, don’t be suckered by the “guaranteed lifetime rate” often quoted in the 5% to 8% range. Notice they don’t call it an actual interest rate, but rather a “crediting rate” or a “payout rate” or some other creative term. In order to get that supposed return on your money, you have to give up your rights to the accumulated principal. Here’s an example: You are age 58 and give me $100,000; I’ll “credit” your account 6% each year, guaranteed. When you turn 70, 12 years from now, I’ll begin paying pay you $1,000 a month ($12,000 a year, 6% of the $200,000 theoretical account value based on the 6% crediting rate) for the rest of your life. When you die at age 80, I quit paying. Do the math. Your real rate of return was less than 1%. Sure, if you live to be 100, your real rate of return will be closer to 6% (it will never actually reach 6%, even if you live to be a million years old). But the insurance company knows that half the people who sign up at age 58 will be dead by age 80, and less than 2% will reach age 100. . . trust me, they have it all figured out. If you decide at age 70 to take a lump sum (cash out) instead of the monthly payments, they will conveniently re-calculate your account at a much much lower rate before mailing out that check. You will be lucky if you get a 2% return in that instance (they have to extract that hefty agent commission from your account before mailing you the check).

      • wootenbri

        Thanks for this. I know these products as scams, but I’ve never seen such a details and technical rebuttal!

      • George

        Best post! realistic info!

  • phil

    Annuities are for suckers. Avoid at all costs. Great for the salesperson who gets his commission off the top.

    • mke0427

      You clearly don’t know anything about annuities. You are the sucker.

  • jocy

    thanks 4 the tip

  • NW_Banking

    Thanks for the feedback. We’ve actually written about Kasasa on many occasions (one example here: and list many of their accounts in our checking account comparison tool:

    We agree that these accounts are great options with limited fees and great interest rates. The reason we don’t yet have all of their rates listed here is that there are restrictions to earning those rates. Usually, you must use online bill pay, use your debit card 10-15 times/month, and meet other requirements before the higher rate applies. We want to make sure we can accurately represent those details here before we list them, so that we aren’t frustrating consumers who may not qualify. Coming soon!

    • JB

      Hi NW! Curious as to why State Farm Bank is not listed on this site. Any particular reason?

      • bb

        High expense ratios and big front end loads save your money go to vanguard

        • JB

          Am I understanding you correctly, you are referring to fees right? The only fee you could get, outside of regulatory fees every savings account is subjected to in regards to withdrawals and transfers, no monthly fee so long as the balance is above $100. $100 opening deposit. I am interested in getting one of these accounts because I can link it to my existing checking account with them.

          Did I miss something? Are you referring to current data?

      • Daris Hopkins

        There are thousands of financial institutions. Did you expect them to list them all?

        • JB

          No smarty pants. It’s a genuine question. I wonder why I would suggest that?

          It probably has to do with the fact that I, like most Americans, insure my car with State Farm. I also refinanced that truck with State Farm. It’s not like we are talking some fly by night company here. They are they are the #1 insurer in the nation and are still almost twice as large as #2 and #3 insurance companies combined. Geico is #3… They are also a top rated bank and larger than some of the banks listed here yielding less interest.

          I ended up opening the savings account because I, like the majority of Gen X, Y, and Millenials, like to have everything in one convienant place. I just wanted an honest opion before I moved some of my money into this institution. I trust the opinion of NW and wanted to make sure I hadn’t missed something.

          Thanks for adding absolutely nothing to the conversation.

        • Jim Treasum

          There are plenty of sites that do list all the rates. These guys just list their advertisers. If you want to see a complete list of all the rates, you should go to depositaccounts, mybanktracker, bankrate or bestcashcow. Those are the ones that are comprehensive. Bankrate is pretty selective about what they show (also favor advertisers) but still much better than this turd site.

  • Alex Cherry

    CDs are not savings accounts. If you want to compare CDs, look here:

    • Saida Shamim

      But Synchrony is paying on savings 1.00% APY with no fee on any balance amount of $30.00 or more. It is the best rate available for online savings accounts but it is not listed.

  • Ronald Perry

    If you put 100k in a annuity that matures in 20 years; it will pay between $3,500 to $4000 per month for the rest of your life.

    • Gary Pahl


      • guest

        BS, I second that Bernie Madoff. I would recheck those calculations and perhaps add whole bunch more zeros to that annuity.

    • Mich Dra

      No, it would pay 3500-4000 a YEAR for the rest of your life…

  • Saida Shamim

    Synchrony’Bank pays 1.00% as long as you keep balance of $30.00 in your savings account. This is the best of any other bank right now.

  • KLeC

    As a former banker, I wouldn’t touch the offers of today’s banks or credit unions. Personally, I like the growth of select health care mutual funds, even REITS.

  • KLeC

    Annuities fit a very specific buyer. If you think you may have to tap into the funds early, you will will pay dearly. Indexed annuities are pitched a lot these days. They seem sexy, but, again, very restrictive and you must understand the cap involved if the market does well. They also produce very high commissions for the brokers. I don’t mind that, in itself. But it may incent a broker to pitch something that does not fit the buyer.

  • Newbyonthesavingsblock

    This might sound corny but I really wanted to thank you all for your comments and quesitons on here. It has helped me figure out which savings tool I want to use and which company to go with. And NerdWallet – you guys are awesome! The information here is very helpful and informative. It definitely helped a newby like me out.
    So thanks again everybody.

  • Me112233

    I don’t think they offer those sort of deal anymore. That was back in year 2000 when you set that up? And what happens to the “hypothetical balance” if you fall over dead tomorrow? Does your family get it? Or is that what the life insurance is for?

  • Denise

    I just became conservator over some money that that was left to my granddaughter from her uncle. The money is suppose to go into a restricted account. It seems that money can be invested but it cant be put at risk. I have nothing more then a online savings account for myself. I just dont get all this stuff. I dont want to pay out money to a adviser since I am capable of keeping track of her funds. She is very young so she wont need anything really for maybe 8-9 years for a car. My son wanted her to be able to go to collage but I have to turn this all over to her when she is 18.
    I just dont know what to do. Setting in a banks savings account isn’t going to make her a good return.
    Suggestions would really help.

    • werecat

      Paying an adviser would help in putting the money in a profitable and yet low risk fund. In 8 or 9 years the money will devalue if it’s not earning enough interest. If the money is not to be touched for the next 8-9 years then a mutual fund is a good option. Some risk is inherent in investing but it’s better than letting the money sit.

    • wootenbri

      Don’t give your money to an advisor! The fees they charge and the commissions they make off selling you subpar products amount to highway robbery. If you do hire someone, at least make sure they have a fiduciary duty to you, meaning they must act in your best interests. (Most “financial advisors” are not held to or bound by this legal standard, so beware!)

      Just put it all in a total market bond index, which holds a diversified high-grade set of bonds across a wide range of markets. You’ll make an average of 2-4% returns over the long run and the money will be as stable and safe as it can be. After all, even the safest financial products carry risk. I recommend Vanguard funds, because they have some of the lowest fees in the industry and they are investor owned, not shareholder owned, so they work FOR you. The Vanguard Total Market Bond Index is VBMFX. If you want more risk, just add in a percentage (say 10-20%) of the Vanguard Total Market Stock Index (VTSMX). (These are both “investor” share funds, meaning they require a minimum investment of $3,000. If you have at least $10,000 to invest, they convert over to “admiral” shares with even LOWER fees. Woohoo!)

      You can invest the money yourself with little fuss and fanfare. The financial industry just wants to make everything confusing and convoluted, so you throw your hands up in frustration and give the money to THEM to manage. And then they bleed you dry through fees and commissions. You can do it! Good luck!

      • guest

        Your money will not be stable in the Vanguard Total Bond Index. It’s average maturity is 7.8 years and average duration 5.6 years. When the Fed will raise the interest rates, for each % raised, VBTIX will drop by about 5.6%. If you don’t sell the fund, it’s not a problem as the yield will be greater, but if you would want to sell the fund you will loose money.

      • Barbara Borges

        YES! Exactly what I am doing !!!! doing my own investing in Vanguard funds..
        just got out of Merrill and into Vanguard you are 100 % right
        now just looking for a place to park some cash at, at least 1% rate !

      • Kelly Murphy

        I’m so grateful to read your comments. Much of our savings (retirement) is in VBMFX and VTSMX, with admiral shares. It’s nice to hear that someone you’ve never met shares your same recommendations! Thanks for posting. You made my day!

    • Really? You believe that?

      Municipal bonds are a good option. My grandmother invested her savings and funds from a house sale. She receives a return that helps supplement her retirement.

    • Daris Hopkins

      College 529 savings plan?

  • wootenbri

    I use Everbank. They have an introductory 1.4%, but it does drop to 1% then to abount .65% eventually. Still, better than my bank’s saving rate!

  • Diane

    Does anyone know anything about Live Oak Bank? They are offering 1.50% interest rate on 2 year CD’s.

    • tanitani

      This page is about SAVINGS accounts. Not CDs.

  • Daris Hopkins

    Most people have never heard of kasasa. There are thousands of financial institutions out there. Did you expect them to list them all?

  • fried

    ya fried

  • Nikki

    The initial deposit for Discover is not $500 for a CD it is $2500.

    • NW_Banking

      Thanks for the heads up Nikki! We’ve made the correction.

  • Jim

    First Arkansas Bank & Trust offers 1.5%


  • Jim

    ….for checking.

  • Niche

    Salem Five is offering 1.10% until 1.1.2016 on their EOne Savings

  • angel

    Does anyone know of a CD that lets you add money during your term?

    • Patrick

      There is an account at DeMotte State Bank in DeMotte, Indiana called a savings growth account. It isn’t paying a great rate of return right now (0.99) but you can add funds and it’s set up on a 5 year term just like a CD. You have to visit a branch to open an account though and they are only in northern Indiana.

    • James

      Try inland bank in Chicago are

  • celsma

    probably smart because their process is maddening, especially if you need multiple accounts. They have 4 different security layers in their rat maze site and if you attempt to add new accounts the crazy site doesn’t even tell you that it didn’t work. Just says: “wait for 48 hours” and then you get nothing. If that’s not bad enough you cannot have a joint account holder without creating a whole other online account… anyway, it’s not worth the hassle for another .25% interest. You’ll suffer PTSD worrying which link is going to log you out, or cause a certificate error… I strongly suggest you avoid GE. Their propeller head site programmers must suffer sadistic dreams of how to torture customers.

  • Jim Treasum

    Or bankrate or bestcashcow

  • Jim Treasum

    Nothing wrong with them. They just stopped advertising and this site only shows advertisers.

  • Bobby Gould

    I have some savings not earning enough in a high yield savings Account . I’m going to invest it in a 2 to 5 year jumbo cd . I feel if I invest in a two or three-year lower rate cd when it matures I wish I went with the higher five-year term . Synchrony seems to have one of the highest five-year jumbo cd rate along withd CitBank.I’m not worried about any early withdrawal penalties,but the higher rates from these two banks are just giving me a bad feeling ! I would like to earn the extra interest but I also like to listen to my gut feeling. I could use some good advice,Pros and Cons!

  • Andrea B

    Are short term CD’s even worth getting?

    • Camden lowrance

      No, get a high yield savings account instead. Interest rates are so low right now, wait until they rise if you want a CD.

      • Bloemberg

        The problem with high-yield savings accounts is that the issuer usually reserves the right to change the rate at any time (or, occasionally, after a specified term like 6 months). Also, waiting for CD rates to rise may mean a longer wait than you think. Consider how long the Fed has already continued to stretch out the existing ultra-low rates. And notice how it keeps moving the goal-posts. First, it was going to start increasing rates once the unemployment rate was low enough. Now, despite the much lower unemployment rates, it doesn’t believe inflation rates have risen enough…. and so on.

  • DW

    Mutual funds are the way to go. Of course with this option you are taking a risk. Average is 8 to 10% a year from all the information I gathered. I remember reading a post about mutual funds 10 months ago and decided to give it a shot. Now I’m up 21 % from 10 months. I definitely can not guarantee these results cause I’ve been constantly studying and changing mine ( i.e. silver, oil, etc….). It all depends on the market. I’ve been recommending it to all my friends. We may be headed for a bear market since prices have went up for so long. I am an amatuer investor and I’m not sure if this particular time is the best to invest. Make sure you do your homework and good luck. Understand you are taking a risk if you choose to invest. I hope this will help other people out.

  • Jim Biasotti

    wow made $35 on $500.00 but nothing on the other $10,000.

  • Darryl

    Anybody have any problems with the online application for a CD with E-loan? Wasted a lot of time trying to open account with them, set up ACH that they never initiated small deposits, when I called they said account was deleted because of a credit report? My credit is perfect and besides I wasn’t borrowing money I was giving money? Bank staffed by imcompetent operators.

    • mariamink

      Yes! I tried opening a CD and I ciykdnt get passed the routing number entry…it kept saying it didn’t recognize the nymber. I called my Barclays bank and they said it was correct. Called Eloan and waited on hold for 20 minutes! They it disconnected! Did it again…waited on hold, somene finally got on and they were hard to understand and incompetent! They still cant resolve the issue. I’m not so comfortable giving them my money now. It’s a bummer they have the highest rate. Maria

      • Arleigh

        I love technology these days, but sometimes, the imperfection of robots and computers make me soooo angry. At the same time, we are blessed! Anyways, it seems you guys are trying to open a CD. Seems the rates are below 3%. If i could show you a way to make a 5% contractual return, outside the stock market, and money tied up for only 12-18 months, would you be interested? If so email me your contact info at

  • Sarah Wolf

    STCU credit union has a savings account called first 5. It pays 5% on the first $500 in the account. No fees. Maybe small potatoes for some but I think it’s great. Quarterly interest.

    • Arleigh

      That sounds pretty good. But I think what we have is better. 5% contractual return, outside the market, money tied up for 12 – 18 months, AND (the best part) either a 245.00 one time fee or no fee based on how much is invested.

  • tbarney

    Time to update the chart. As of 9/11/15, you’re showing MySavingsDirect at 1.25% APY, but they recently dropped to 1.10%. Still right up there near the top, though.

    • NerdWallet

      Thanks for your comment! We have updated our rates, and they should all be accurate now. Thanks again!

    • prodikl

      Good eye. I got MySavingsDirect at 1.25 then it immediately dropped to 1.10 :/
      Like you said, though, still the best savings account.

  • Luxferro

    Does anyone know why Emigrant has so many online savings sites?

    They have: emigrantdirect, dollarsavingsdirect, and mysavingsdirect… those are at least the ones I’m aware of. I have the first 2 from many years ago, and was just considering mysavingsdirect (since it’s 0.2% better then american express online savings)… but I’m kind weary of them having so many different online savings.

    Seems their MO is to make a new site w/ a good rate, then slowly lower the rate until it’s subpar… rinse and repeat.

  • Theo W

    Why no GE Capital Bank anymore? Still at 1.05% but is getting bought out be Goldman Sachs.

  • Barbara Kavanagh Crowley

    Why don’t you put dates on these comments. Comments are meaningless without dates.

    • Travis

      It doesn’t have dates, but it does have how many days ago the comment was made. I guess they leave it up to you to do the math. (Though I’ll admit that it could potentially be useful to provide the exact dates for comments made more than a few weeks ago, since it just says ” ‘x’ months ago” on older comments.)

  • Arleigh

    Wow.. these rates are horrible. I can’t believe people are even looking into using these horrible CD’s to grow they’re money. If anyone is looking to make a 4 – 6% contractual return, outside the stock market, with your money tied up for only 12 – 18 month please message me or reply to this post.

    • Kyle Coleman-Hunt

      Yes, these rates are miserly. Would do you suggest?

  • RGF42

    Where can one find the penalties for early withdrawal of a 5 year CD?

  • Speedyclose28

    If you have $10,000 to $20,000, how about lending your money to a Real Estate Investor that pays 5% in 12 months?

    • Ivan Franceschi

      The problem with your assessment is that 5% is not guaranteed.

      • Speedyclose28

        Really depends on the Investor and the deal he gets. If the 1st mtg is less than half of the value and the $20,000 is recorded as a 2nd mtg then it would look pretty safe I would think. It’s the higher reward with higher risk I guess….

  • jl

    How would a person setup an online CD account to protect a balance greater than FDIC insurance amount with a trust, two trustees and three children? To protect balance when interest added exceeds FDIC insurance. Also what would be the total balance protected?