Want Your Savings to Earn a Higher Rate of Return? Try Internet Banking

Doesn't it seem like the only impressive numbers we've seen this summer are the digits on the thermostat and the unaffordable prices of homes? Real estate has been excruciatingly hot for the past few years, but getting in the market now puts you in the high-risk category for a heat stroke if the market decides to cool off this year.

So if a real estate induced stroke doesn't appeal to you and the stock market's roller coaster ride gives you motion sickness, it's very likely that you as a health-conscious investor are sitting on a stash of cash collecting an anemic rate of interest.

Don't worry, you are in good company. Even investment legend Warren Buffet is having problems finding fruitful investments. Buffet admitted in Berkshire Hathaway's annual letter to shareholders to having ended 2004 with $43 billion in cash equivalents and couldn't promise much success in utilizing the money in 2005.

If Buffet doesn't know what to do with his billions, you are probably thinking that you have no chance of finding a great place to put your billions either. Ok, your trillions. I didn't mean to belittle your nest egg.

Where can you stick your cash while you wait for better investment times?

How about online? Yes, I know Internet stocks stole your money in 2000, but Internet banks are giving it back in 2005.

Unlike the Internet gold rush of the 1990's where web businesses were run by high school students, many of today's Internet banks are simply online divisions of safe and time tested brick-and-mortar banking institutions.

Take ING Direct for example. ING Direct is the online division of ING Group, a Dutch based financial institution which is among the top 15 largest in the world. ING Direct opened its Internet doors five years ago and currently has approximately $29 billion in deposits. That would make it the "YAHOO!" of online banks.

But another online bank may actually make you yodel, "yahooo" after you glance at their annual percentage yield. Internet bank Emigrant Direct offers 3.50% APY on its savings accounts. What does your big commercial bank give you? 0.50%? At that rate, you're not earning enough to beat inflation. Maybe it's time you joined the Internet age?

Emigrant Direct is the online division for New York's Emigrant Savings Bank. Although a relative newcomer to the online banking scene, when it seems like interest rates are leaden with lead, Emigrant Direct is usually the first to raise them. At this point, brick-and-mortar banks would need to raise their rates quite a bit just to catch up with Emigrant.

So if you find yourself not enjoying the lazy interest rates of summer, you may want to log on to the net and see how an Internet bank account may boost your return this year. The interest rate you get may just burn as hot as the heat wave hitting most of America.

Jon Galanty is a financial writer for eMoneyCentral.com. Visit http://www.emoneycentral.com to find out more about online banking and to get other great money tips.

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