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Opening a high-yield savings account? Make sure you've done this first.

Some of today's top savings account rates earn between 4% and 4.5% or even more. Getty Images

After consecutive hikes over more than a year, interest rates are higher today than they have been in years. You've probably experienced the jump for yourself in some part of your finances — whether you've taken on a higher mortgage rate or accrued more high interest credit card debt.

However, anyone not also benefiting from current interest rates with a high-yield savings account could be missing out on the big returns these accounts can offer on your savings balance.

If you're considering high-yield savings as a replacement for your regular savings account, you may not know exactly what to look for. After all, many brick-and-mortar banks still offer near-zero interest — the national average today is just 0.40% APY. But there's one thing you can do to ensure you're getting a great interest rate today.

Check today's top savings account rates to see how much more you could be earning.

Do this before opening a high-yield savings account today

The target interest rate range set by the Federal Reserve can tell you a lot about what makes a competitive savings account yield. 

"The key word here is 'high-yield,'" says AJ Ayers, CFP, co-founder of Brooklyn FI financial advisors. "So make sure you're choosing a savings account that pays an interest that's close to the federal funds rate." Specifically, Ayers recommends making sure the annual interest rate your bank is paying is within one percentage point of the federal funds rate.

For example, today's federal funds rate range is 5.00%-5.25%. Taking the high end of that range, that means you should look for a savings account offering at least 4.25% APY today. Even as the Fed increases and lowers rates, this can help you make sure the rate you earn is competitive over time.  

That's because savings account rates are variable, so you're not locked into a single rate when you open your account. "As the Fed changes the federal funds rate, banks will react and change their interest rates to savers," Ayers says. 

4 high-yield accounts to consider now

To give you an idea of the great savings account options available today, we've rounded up a few high-yield savings accounts with at least a 4.25% APY — within 1% of the fed funds rate range.

These accounts not only offer competitive rates, but they also have no monthly maintenance fees and are FDIC-insured up to the $250,000 limit (per depositor and per institution).

CIT Bank: 4.85% APY

With the Platinum Savings account from CIT Bank, you can earn 4.85% APY with no fees, as long as you have at least a $5,000 balance (otherwise the yield drops to 0.25% APY). You'll also need at least a $100 minimum deposit to open. With the minimum $5,000 balance in this account earning 4.85%, you could earn $242.50 in a year for a total balance of $5,242.50.

Bask Bank: 4.75% APY

The Interest Savings account from Bask earns 4.75% APY, but this account has no minimum balance requirement. You'll just need to fund your account within 15 days of opening. If you deposit the same $5,000 balance and earn 4.75% over a year's time, you would have a total $5,237.50 balance at the end of that year.

Bread Savings: 4.65% APY

Bread Savings offers another competitive savings account option today, with 4.65% APY. All you'll need to open and maintain the account is a $100 minimum deposit. Using the $5,000 balance example, the 4.65% interest rate would boost your savings to $5,232.50 in a year's time.

Citizens Bank: 4.50% APY

The high-yield savings account options from Citizens Bank earn 4.50% APY and only require a $0.01 minimum deposit — effectively meaning you can open your account and start earning with any balance amount, as long as you deposit something.

Over the course of one year earning 4.50%, a $5,000 deposit could result in a balance of $5,225.

Compare more of today's top savings rates to find the right account for you now.

The bottom line

There are plenty of great high-yield savings options on the market today, but it's always a good idea to do your research before opening, so you can ensure you're getting the best deal you can. No matter where the rates are, it can help to have a barometer to help you narrow down your search to find the most competitive accounts for you. 

Looking for high-yield savings accounts within 1% of the federal funds rate range — which today is between 5.00% and 5.25% — can be a good place to start. With some of today's top rates earning 4.00% to 4.50% and above, you can benefit from starting your search with accounts earning 4.25% APY, and narrowing them down based on other factors that will best help you reach your savings goals.

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