Look to high-yield checking accounts and five-year CDs for better returns from banks and credit unions. Thinkstock By Carolyn Bigda, Contributing Writer and Kathy Kristof, Contributing Editor From Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2015 Banks pay almost nothing today, but a few offer generous returns if you follow certain rules.See Also: Best Deals in Online Banking What could go wrong: Higher-yielding accounts require that you either leave your money alone for a set period or make specific transactions regularly, such as debit card purchases or direct deposits. Fail to meet those terms and the yield shrinks. How to play them: The highest-yielding CDs require that you commit your money for five years and typically charge a six- to 12-month interest penalty if you cash out early. But Allan Roth, a financial planner in Colorado Springs, Colo., says a five-year CD can make sense even if you stay put for just a year. Barclays, for example, recently offered a five-year CD that yielded 2.25%, with a six-month early-withdrawal penalty. If you cash out after one year, your effective annual yield is still 1.13%. After two years, the payout climbs to 1.69% and continues to rise each of the remaining three years. “Just think of it as a one-year CD that gives you a bonus if rates don’t rise,” Roth says. High-yield checking accounts are another option. These products, available at regional banks and credit unions, pay as much as 5%. One good deal relative to its requirements is Max Checking at Lake Michigan Credit Union. It yields 3% on balances of up to $15,000. To qualify, each month you must make at least one direct deposit and 10 debit-card purchases, and you must log in to online banking four times. Plus, you must receive statements electronically. To find local deals, go to DepositAccounts.com.