How to Search Interest Rates – and Why You Should

Photo (cc) by judepics

Finding the lowest available interest rate on a mortgage or the highest current rates on savings accounts used to be a tedious process: calling around or checking the paper. These days, however, you can conduct a nationwide search in seconds for the best rates on virtually any loan or savings account. For example, check out our new rates page. You put in your zip code, it gives you the best rates nationwide on:

  • Mortgage loans (30-year, 15-year or adjustable rate)
  • Home equity loans
  • Home equity line of credit
  • Car loans
  • Certificates of deposit
  • Interest-bearing checking accounts
  • Money market accounts

Why you should search rates

Whether you’re borrowing or saving, a little bit of extra interest can make a huge difference over time. Best example? Mortgage rates. A single percentage point – say, getting 5 percent instead of 6 percent on a 30-year, $300,000 mortgage – can save you $67,000 over the life of the loan. That’s enough to fund a college education and still have enough money left over to start a business or retire earlier.

Same with savings rates. If you’re currently earning .5 percent on your money market account and can find one that’s paying 1.5 percent, you’ve tripled your earnings with little hassle and no extra risk.

Many people will drive out of their way to save a few cents a gallon on gas or visit multiple grocery stores to find bargains. The same logic applies here, but the potential money is way bigger and the hassle is way smaller – shopping rates is a no-brainer.

How does it work?

The rates you’ll see on our rates page come from Bankrate.com, a company that polls hundreds of banks and mortgage companies nationwide every week, then supplies those rates to major websites. The list is continually and automatically updated – when banks or mortgage companies want business, they offer attractive rates. When they have their fill, they make them less attractive. The marketplace is active and ever-changing.

Are the rates I’m seeing definitely the best there are?

Although Bankrate and other similar services cover hundreds of institutions, no service covers them all. For example, a small, local credit union may have a better deal on certain savings accounts or loans. So if you’re borrowing or saving big, start with the rates you’ll find on our tables, but check locally too.

We’re certainly not the only site where you’ll find the ability to search loan and savings rates. But we hope we’re the best because we also offer news and know-how. So read our news, watch our videos, subscribe to our newsletter, ask questions, make suggestions and come back often. And tell us how you’d rate our new rates page! We’re kinda proud of it.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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