Washington Mutual Offers 4.25% APY on Online Savings Accounts

In my quest to find a place to park my cash and automate my financial life, I’ve been seeking out online savings accounts. You’ve all heard of ING and Emigrant Direct. But have you thought about your local Washington Mutual (WaMu) branch? Better yet, they’re offering online savings accounts that yield 4.25 percent!!!

There is a catch. You have to sign up for their free checking, which is a good deal in and of itself. It’s a free checking account with virtually no fees and the checks are free for life, too.

It takes literally less than 10 minutes to open the both accounts and you can do both online. If you’re an existing customer, you can open your online account in about 30 seconds. No kidding. I just did it.

In fact, I opened 2!

Like I said, I’m trying to automate my finances as much as possible, so I opened an Emergency Fund and a Non Emergency Fund, to which I will set up auto transfers from my free checking account on a bi-monthly basis, to coincide with my direct deposits to the free checking account.

This way, I can “set and forget” my auto transfers and build up 2 little accounts, one for emergencies and one for discretionary purposes (like vacations and car and home maintenance). In fact, I see no restrictions on the number of online savings accounts you can set up, so set up a 3 or 4 (one for emergencies, another for vacations, another for gifts, another for that cool flat screen HDTV).

This really is one of the best deals going. I have an ING account that is yielding 3.4 percent and an Emigrant Direct account that is yielding 3.6 percent. I’ll keep them open, giving me the ability to switch when rates cross (like when WaMu’s rates dip below one of the other’s rates), but for now, my money’s at WaMu.

Full disclosure: I work for WaMu. Except for their real estate businesses (home equity and home mortgage), I like the company and have worked for them for 4 years (i.e., in good times and bad). I’d be putting my money here regardless of whether I worked here or not.

WaMu is clearly attempting to grab deposits and acquire checking account customers. Retail is not only their cash cow, but the vast deposit base allows them to fund all of their other enterprises.

Open a free checking and high-yield savings account by filling out the WaMu Free Checking™ application. Learn more!

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