What is a Deposit Interest Rate?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 December 2019
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Deposit interest rates are the rates of interest extended to account holders by the institutions where the accounts are established. There are a number of deposit accounts that earn a rate of interest, including various types of savings accounts, certificates of deposit, or retirement plans that are self-directed and require regular deposits by the account holders. The actual deposit interest rate will vary, based on the prime rate that applies in the nation where the account is established, as well as the type of deposit account involved.

With basic savings accounts, the deposit interest rate is often a modest rate that allows the account holder to earn a small but steady return on the funds deposited into the account. While the return is small, savings accounts are generally considered one of the safest forms of investment. Accounts of this type are also considered an ideal way to save money for emergencies, since many banks and similar institutions allow depositors to withdraw funds at least a few times each year without imposing any penalties.


For depositors who would like to earn a more robust deposit interest rate, but still want an investment with a low level of risk, the certificate of deposit is often an attractive option. With a higher interest rate than a savings account, this savings vehicle generally requires that the funds remain in the account for a specified period of time in order to earn the highest rate of interest. This option is ideal for anyone who can afford to make the deposit and allow the funds to remain in place until the certificate matures.

A deposit interest rate also applies to various types of self-directed retirement accounts. This includes the Individual Retirement Account or IRA in the United States, and the Individual Savings Account or ISA in the United Kingdom. Deposits in these types of accounts are generally not taxable, although there are exceptions. Account holders can deposit up to maximum amount each tax year, with that amount defined in governmental regulations that apply to these types of accounts. In some countries, depositors over the age of fifty are allowed to deposit greater amounts each tax year, a strategy that encourages saving before retirement age and allows people nearing retirement to enjoy greater tax benefits during their last years of active employment.

Since the deposit interest rate will vary even among similar accounts offered by different institutions, consumers should compare rates and other provisions among several providers before deciding where to deposit their funds. Often, competitive rates can be found in the local community. Today, there are a number of online banks that offer a variety of account types that come with excellent deposit interest rate options, based on the needs of the client. Both online and brick and mortar banks provide clients with access to their accounts via online interfaces as well as telephone banking during and after standard banking hours.


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