Knowledge Bank on garden background

Knowledge Bank: Banking Products and Services

When it comes to saving money, there are several types of accounts that will allow you to earn some extra cash over time. Depending on the amount of your savings and your financial needs, you might consider opening either a savings account, a money market account, a certificate of deposit, or a combination of these options. It is important to understand the different advantages and disadvantages of these accounts, so read on to learn more about your options and determine which account is best for you.

Savings Accounts
Savings accounts provide a simple, reliable way to save some extra cash over time. Opening a savings account allows you to earn interest on your money. Although basic savings accounts typically offer lower interest rates than a Certificate of Deposit (CD) or money market account, they also have the least restrictions and your money is easily accessible in a time of need. There are also options on the market for high-yield savings accounts which pay a higher interest rate of exchange for a high minimum balance requirement.

Money Market Accounts
Compared to savings accounts, money market accounts generally offer higher interest rates in exchange for some access restrictions to your funds. Money market accounts include some check writing and debit card privileges, but they tend to be less flexible than regular checking accounts.

Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
Certificates of deposit, also known as CDs, typically offer higher interest rates than Savings Accounts or Money Market Accounts. In exchange for this higher fixed interest rate, the funds that you place in a certificate of deposit cannot be accessed (without paying a significant penalty) for a set period of time, with terms generally ranging from three months to five years. There are some “no penalty’ options on the market today for those who might anticipate the need to access the funds before the term is up.

See the table below for a comparison of the pros and cons of each account type.
Account Type Pros Cons
Basic Savings
  • Fully insured by FDIC and DIF
  • Low minimum balance required to open
  • Little to no fees or additional requirements
  • Low interest rates compared
    to money market accounts
    and certificates of deposit
Money Market
  • Fully insured by FDIC and DIF
  • Higher interest rates compared to most basic savings accounts
  • Typically, a higher minimum balance requirement compared to most basic savings accounts
Certificate of Deposit
  • Full insured by FDIC and DIF
  • Higher interest rates compared to Savings Accounts and Money Market Accounts
  • Funds are inaccessible (without a penalty) until the maturity date
  • Withdrawal penalty if funds are accessed before the maturity date

As always, please contact us with any questions or concerns.
There are numerous personal finance websites and apps available on your computer and smartphone, all of which promise to help you save, spend, and invest. These websites and apps can be extremely beneficial but choosing the service that meets your specific needs is important. Read on to learn more about five of the best personal finance apps available now, including their individual costs and unique features (in no specific order).
What is it?
Mint brings together everything from your balances and bills to your credit score and more, gathering all elements of your financial life in one place that’s easy to understand.

What does it cost?
What does it offer?
  • Connects to almost every US financial institution connected to the internet
  • Automatically updates and categorizes your information and transactions
  • Analyzes thousands of offers and makes recommendations to help you save the most based on your lifestyle and goals
  • Provides you with a free credit score
What is it?
PocketGuard helps you spend more time living, while staying on top of your finances, by tracking your spending, making a budget, and lowering your bills.
What does it cost?
Free for the Basic subscription; monthly or annual paid subscription for PocketGuard Plus
What does it offer?
  • Link credit cards, checking and savings accounts, and investments and loans
  • Updates and categorizes your transactions in real time
  • “In My Pocket,” which calculates the money left over after you’ve paid all bills and set aside some money for savings, allows you to spend confidently
  • Automatically builds a personalized budget, based on your income, bills, and goals
  • Finds way to save you money, like negotiating lower bills, getting high interest savings accounts, and more
What is it?
You Need A Budget (YNAB) is a proactive system that teaches you how to manage your money and get ahead by requiring you to be forward-thinking and intentional about every dollar.

What does it cost?
$6.99/month or $83.99/year after free 34-day trial
12 months free for students with proof of enrollment
What does it offer?
  • Real time info from any device, anytime
  • Easily share finances with a partner
  • Graphs and charts to track progress
  • 100+ free, live, online workshops offered every week
  • Assign a job to every dollar of your income
  • Envelope-based system, which controls spending by allocating the exact amount of income available
What is it?
Acorns is a savings tool that helps you invest, save and spend responsibly by investing your spare change, helping you save for retirement and growing your financial knowledge.

What does it cost?
$1, $2, or $3 per month, depending on the level chosen; Acorns Core ($1/month level) is free for college students

What does it offer?
  • Automatically rounds up purchases (on linked credit or debit cards) and invests the change
  • Change goes to an investment portfolio diversified with exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which was developed with help from a Nobel Prize-winning economist
  • Automatic daily, weekly, and monthly investments
  • No minimums and no trade fees
  • 200+ Found Money partners will automatically invest in your Acorns Core account ($1/month level) when you shop with them
What is it?
Albert is a new type of financial service that uses technology to automate your finances, with a team of human experts to guide you.
What does it cost?
Free for the basic plan
Small monthly fee (amount of your choice) provides access to the Albert Genius Feature
What does it offer?
  • Analyzes all your financial accounts and builds a unique budget plan based on your income, spending habits, and goals
  • Overpayment protection: notifies you when you’re overpaying and helps you cut costs
  • Analyzes your income and spending every day and sets aside small amounts of money you can safely save
  • Albert Genius Feature allows you to text human experts and get personalized advice on topics like investing, paying down debt, or saving for a goal
As always, please contact us with any questions or concerns.
How do you choose a credit card that is right for you? It can be difficult to make sense of the various rates, dollar amounts, and terms and conditions that each card advertises. Often, you have to carefully read the fine print to truly understand what you’re signing up for. Whether you’ve had a credit card before or are looking to start building your credit for the first time, you should take the time to evaluate your options and make a well-informed decision on which card is best for you. Read on to learn about six of the factors that you should consider when choosing a credit card.
  • Annual Fee
    The first factor to consider when choosing a credit card is whether a given card requires an annual fee. Even if you plan to pay off your balance in full each month, having a credit card can still cost you – some cards cost several hundred dollars a year in exchange for a higher cash back percentage or travel perks. However, there are many credit cards that charge no annual fees. Depending on your financial situation, spending habits, and interest in rewards, decide whether paying an annual credit card fee makes sense for you. 
  • APR
    The annual percentage rate (APR) is the rate charged for borrowing money on credit. When looking for a credit card, you’ll find that most cards have variable APRs, meaning that the interest rate fluctuates over time. In this case, credit card companies will likely advertise a range within which the APR on a card will fall. You might also find that some cards offer a 0% introductory APR for a given time period, after which the variable APR kicks in. This is usually done to entice you to sign up for their card. If you plan to make a big purchase soon after getting your credit card, consider choosing a card with a 0% introductory APR so that you have time to pay off the purchase without interest. Credit cards with higher APRs are often available for people with lower credit scores or offer higher rewards, so consider your individual situation when evaluating the interest rates on different cards. 
  • Rewards
    Many credit cards offer rewards in exchange for frequent use. These rewards include airline miles, hotel points, discounts at specific stores, cash back, and more. If you want to earn something in return for your credit card use, choose a card that rewards your spending habits and provides you with relevant incentives for your lifestyle. Keep in mind that credit cards with the best rewards usually require good credit and may charge higher interest rates on your balance. Try and pay your balance on time and in full to maximize the benefits of your card. 
  • Late Payment Fee
    If you don’t pay the minimum amount due on your credit card each month, you’ll likely face a late payment fee. This fee can quickly add up and greatly diminish the benefits of using a credit card. When choosing a credit card, pay attention to the late payment fee, the minimum monthly payment amount, and other terms regarding when and how your monthly bill must be paid. 
  • Balance Transfer Fee
    If you plan to transfer credit card debt from one card to another to get a better interest rate, you’ll want to take note of the balance transfer fee. On average, balance transfer credit cards charge between 3% and 5% of the amount of debt that you’re transferring. However, you might choose a card that charges no balance transfer fee within a certain introductory period. This fee should also be on your radar when choosing a card if you have outstanding credit card debt. 
  • Foreign Transaction Fee
    If you anticipate traveling internationally in the future, consider choosing a credit card that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. This way, you can use your credit card overseas to get the best possible exchange rate without sacrificing 3% or so of your purchases.
As always, please contact us with any questions or concerns.