Tighten the belt in 2009

A weekly look at a problem that could affect your bottom line.

Problem: You're too nervous to invest in the stock market, but your bank is offering paltry yields on certificates of deposit.

Solution: Auction your cash to the highest bidder. At, more than 100 small and midsize banks compete for consumer deposits through live auctions. When a customer comes to the site and asks for the terms of a CD or high-yield savings account, the banks bid against one another — through automated auction software that runs on the Web site — to win the deposit. The service is free to consumers, and you don't have to commit to investing anything before you see the results of an auction. Participating banks, which are all insured by the federal government, are screened by an independent bank-rating agency to filter out the riskiest banks.

Wall Street Journal