Money market accounts and certificates of deposit are back in vogue and paying rates not seen in years.
In some cases, money market accounts are better investments than bonds because the funds are immediately accessible and don’t have transaction fees, plus the account is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) up to $250,000. Interest rates are variable and adjusted up or down, depending on where rates are headed. Withdrawals are limited to no more than six per month without penalty, and most come with limited check writing and balance-transfer privileges.
Certificates of deposit (CDs) offer a fixed rate of interest tied to a maturity date. The interest rate increases with the length of the maturity, and a penalty may be assessed for early withdrawal. The FDIC insures bank-issued CDs up to $250,000 per customer.
But buyers need to beware. Read the fine print—all of it. With the rise of the fintech and unregulated internet banking, some of these instruments might be riskier than others.