Beat soaring bank fees
You could save big bucks by moving your banking online. Here are some of Gerri's tips.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Bank fees are running at their highest levels on record. But you may be able to save money by going online.
1. Online banks: a better deal
By most measures, online banks are a better deal than their brick-and-mortar counterparts.
They have lower fees and smaller minimum balance requirements says Greg McBride of Bankrate.com. And interest rates can be a lot higher, especially on Internet-only banks.
An average savings account at a traditional bank is 0.3%. At an Internet bank, that rate can be as high as 2%.
And some brick-and-mortar banks offer online specials not found in their branches. HSBC is currently offering a 2% yield on a one-year CD online. Get that CD at the branch and you'd earn about 0.50%.
2. Keep your money safe
Keeping your money safe is key. Make sure the bank you're considering has FDIC insurance coverage.
You also want to make sure that the bank's Web site has a valid security certificate so you don't have to worry about cyber-thieves.
Be forewarned that ATM access and cashing checks with an Internet-only bank can be challenging. However more and Internet-only banks are joining ATM networks or reimbursing customers their fees when they use other banks' ATMs.
3. Get the ranking
Consumer Reports rated seven of the largest online banks. Here are their top four: ING Direct, HSBC Direct, Citibank and Capital One. You should also go to bankrate.com or banx.com to compare bank interest rates.
-- CNN's Jens Haley contributed to this article.
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