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What to look for when you consider an online bank

If you're looking for a better interest rate for your savings, an online bank could be the ticket. Many online banks offer higher rates than their brick-and-mortar ­counterparts.

From Consumer Reports Money Advisor, here are some tips on the best ways to evaluate an online bank:

Get the best interest rate. You can check the most recent rates at Bankrate.com. But don't stop there: Verify those rates with the banks themselves. Also, compare online rates with the rates of banks in your area.

Know the fees. Many online banks come with a host of restrictions that trigger fees. For example, many online ­accounts limit the number of transactions each month. They also charge extra for printed statements and in some cases for calling a customer representative instead of ­banking online.

Choose the right account. Besides savings accounts, many operations include checking and money market options. There might also be retirement, joint, trust, and payable-on-death accounts. You might even get attractive rates on mortgages or other loans.

Be aware of rate changes. Remember that rates on ­accounts change often — you might receive alerts from your bank, but you might not.

Marshall Loeb, MarketWatch

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