Finding the highest rates of interest for your money is easier than you think. There are lots of ways that you can get superior rates from many different types of investments. Don't just look at banks, but consider other investment sources as well.
If you are willing to transfer your money to another bank, you can often find a much better rate. Websites such as Bankrate.com provide lists and comparisons of CD interest rates paid by banks around the country. There are also online banks, such as EverBank.com, to include in your research.
Ask your broker about brokered CDs. These CDs are also FDIC insured and often come with call or put features, which allow either the issuer or the investor to redeem the CD at a preset price after a set period of time, such as five years. These CDs usually have long maturities, such as 20 or 30 years, and stiff withdrawal penalties, but can also pay interest that's a percent or two higher than the CDs offered in your local bank.
Look to money market or interest-bearing checking accounts if you need immediate liquidity. These accounts will pay lower rates of interest in return for their safety and liquidity, but your funds are always accessible this way.
Consider treasury securities and savings bonds for the greatest level of safety. U.S. Bills, Notes and Bonds have maturities ranging from 3 months to 30 years. The longer the maturity, the higher the rate of interest. Savings bonds pay relatively low rates of interest, but if you use these to pay for higher education expenses, then the interest is tax-free.
Explore non-guaranteed investments, such as preferred stocks, corporate and junk bonds, bond mutual funds and REITs as alternatives that may pay higher rate of return than interest-bearing accounts, although keep in mind the chance for higher return comes with an increased risk.