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How do I Choose the Best Personal Savings Account?

Article Details
  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 January 2020
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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With so many different institutions offering various types of savings plans, the process of deciding which plan is the best for you may be somewhat difficult. The task often calls for evaluating different account offerings based on a few essential factors, then identifying any other benefits or advantages that may be increase the attractiveness of each personal savings account plan. Typically, you should look closely at factors such as the rate of interest earned on the balance, any minimum balance requirements that may affect that interest rate, withdrawal terms and conditions, and the ability to access the account when and as you like.

The whole ideal behind having a personal savings account is to allow the funds placed in the account to earn a return. For this reason, it’s a good idea to compare many different savings plans, paying close attention to the interest rate and what conditions you must meet in order to consistently earn that rate. Beware of plans that offer an exciting rate of interest with no minimum deposit for six months, then revert to a less attractive rate if your balance is below a certain level. In addition, look closely at how the interest rate is applied to the balance. You may find that there is a significant difference if the interest is calculated using a 365 day count versus a day count of 360 to determine your annual accrued interest.

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As part of your search for the best personal savings account, don’t feel confined to considering accounts with domestic banks only. A high-yield savings account is often available if you are willing to open an offshore personal savings account. Keep in mind that even if the account is with an institution outside the country, you will still be responsible for reporting any interest income earned when you prepare your tax returns. In addition, make sure you understand the terms and conditions that come with the offshore account, as well as the financial regulations that prevail in the nation where the offshore account is located. This will make it easier to compare terms and determine if you can truly earn a higher return without assuming an uncomfortable amount of risk.

Looking closely at withdrawal terms is also key to identifying the best personal savings account plan. Ideally, you want a plan that offers an equitable interest rate and does not charge penalties for withdrawing funds from your balance. Some institutions do allow a limited number of withdrawals throughout the calendar year that do not incur a fee, while others assess some type of fee or penalty each time a withdrawal is made. For people who rely on their savings accounts as a way to deal with financial emergencies, securing the most liberal withdrawal terms possible simply makes sense.

Don’t forget to determine what types of access are included with each personal savings account plan. Today, many institutions offer online access around the clock. This allows the depositor to move funds from a checking account into the savings account, or vice versa. Along with online access, make sure you have access to the account via a phone connection. These two forms of access are especially important if you find an offshore account is your best option.

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