Tag: CDs

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Citibank Review: Savings, Checking, CD, and IRA CD and Money Market Accounts

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Citibank Reviews
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You might think of credit cards when you hear the name “Citi,” and you wouldn’t be wrong. This bank — one of the largest banks in the entire world — is well-known for its line of credit cards. But Citibank offers a variety of financial products, including several deposit accounts where you can safely store your cash. But are they any good? And how do their rates and rules compare to other banks?

We’re going to dive into Citibank’s deposit accounts in this review so that you can decide whether it’s right for you or not.

One important note: The rates for each of these accounts vary depending on where you live. To compare consistent numbers, we decided to report rates from South Dakota, because Citibank is headquartered there, in Sioux Falls. Rates are accurate as of Dec. 08, 2017. To see rates for your area, go to Citibank’s website and enter your state.

How Citibank’s checking and savings accounts work

You can’t really get an individual checking or savings account at Citibank. Instead, you have to apply for one of five account packages. That means that when you open a checking account, you’ll also get a linked savings account, and vice versa.

Some account packages come with a monthly maintenance fee, which applies to the account package as a whole. For example, if there is a $30 monthly fee and you don’t meet the requirements to waive it using either your checking or savings account, the fee will be taken out once that month from your checking account.

To make things less confusing, we’ll go through all of the account packages first describing the checking accounts, because these accounts differ the most between account packages. Then, we’ll describe how the savings account works within each of these packages.

Citibank checking accounts

Checking account offer

Citibank is currently offering a great sign-up bonus when you open a new qualifying checking account before December 31, 2017.

To get a sign-up bonus of $300, you’ll have to do three things. First, open a new checking account within a Citibank® Account Package. Second, you’ll have to fund it with at least $15,000 within 30 days of opening the account and keep the money there for at least 60 days. Third, you’ll have to set up a direct deposit into your new account for at least two consecutive months.

If you have a bit more cash on hand, you can earn a larger sign up bonus of $500. Instead, you’ll have to open a premium checking account in a Citi Priority Account Package and deposit $50,000 within 30 days and leave it for at least 60 days. You’ll need to set up a direct deposit for two consecutive months into this account as well to be eligible for the cash bonus.

When applying for a Citibank deposit account, you’ll need to provide basic information about yourself (including your Social Security number) and a valid form of ID. Both offers require you to be a “New-to-Citibank” customer.

Citigold® Package

Myriad exclusive deals and perks for people with a lot of cash

Checking account details:

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Interest rate: 0.03% APY
  • Monthly maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM refunds: All ATM surcharges from non-Citibank ATMs are refunded for any statement period you are eligible for Citigold®.
  • Overdraft fees: None

The Citigold® account package is more than just a checking account. To qualify for this account package you’ll need to bring a lot of cash to the table: You’ll need at least $200,000 in all linked Citi accounts, whether they be in your deposit, retirement or investment accounts. If your balances dip below that amount, Citi will automatically convert your account to the Citi Priority account package.

But, if you can meet that high bar, you’ll be eligible for numerous perks, even if the interest rate on this savings account is admittedly quite low. You’ll get a personal team to help you navigate the intricacies of all this account package has to offer — and it offers a lot more than just free checks. You’ll get a personal financial adviser, a concierge service and numerous travel perks, as well as discounts and waived fees on various loans, lines of credit and investments. Plus, you can enroll your checking account in Citi’s ThankYou Rewards® program.

You can apply for a Citigold® account online, over the phone, or by visiting a local branch.

Citi Priority Account Package

Nice perks for people with less — but still a lot — of money

Checking account details:

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Interest rate: 0.03% APY
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $30
  • How to waive monthly maintenance fee: Keep at least $50,000 in linked Citibank accounts, including deposit accounts, retirement accounts and investment accounts.
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM refunds: Not available
  • Overdraft fees: None

Unlike the Citigold® account, which has no fees, you’ll pay a high monthly fee of $30 with this account unless you can keep at least $50,000 in other linked Citi accounts. If you’re able to do that, though, you can still take advantage of many of the same perks offered to the premium Citigold® members.

You’re eligible to link your checking account with the Citi ThankYou® Rewards program. This account still waives all banking fees, and offers you discounts and waived fees off of investment products, loans, and lines of credit. And while you may not have an entire team waiting at your fingertips, you still have exclusive access to financial advisors to help you make investment decisions.

You can apply for a Citi Priority account online, over the phone or by visiting a local branch.

The Citibank® Account Package

Average account with above-average requirements

Checking account details:

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Interest rate: 0.01% APY
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $25
  • How to waive monthly maintenance fee: Keep at least $10,000 in linked Citibank deposit, retirement or investment accounts.
  • ATM fees: $2.50 for each non-Citibank ATM use, unless you have at least $10,000 in linked Citibank accounts.
  • ATM refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $10 per day when funds are transferred to cover an overdraft.

If you can’t meet the high minimum balance requirements of the Citigold® or Citi Priority account packages, you might consider the Citibank Account. You can enroll your account in Citi ThankYou® Rewards, and your first order of checks is free.

But, you’ll still need to keep a high account balance of $10,000 in linked Citibank accounts to avoid paying the high monthly fee. In return, you earn interest on this account, but it’s a miniscule 0.01% APY.

You can apply for a the Citibank Account in online, over the phone or at a local branch.

Basic Banking Package

A no-frills account—but watch out for high fees.

Checking account details:

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $12
  • How to waive monthly maintenance fee: You can get out of the maintenance fee if you
      1. 1. are 62 years or older
        2. make one bill payment from your account and one qualifying direct deposit into your account each month
        3. keep at least $1,500 in your checking and/or savings account
  • ATM fees: $2.50 for each withdrawal at a non-Citi ATM.
  • ATM refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $10 per day when funds are transferred to cover an overdraft.

This account is truly a no-frills version of Citi’s premium checking accounts. Not only does it not pay any interest or earn any Citi ThankYou® Rewards points, but you’ll have to watch out for high fees, as well. If you can’t meet the minimum deposit or age requirements, you’ll also be shelling out $12 per month for this austere account.

You can apply for the Basic Banking account online, over the phone or at a local branch.

Access Account Package

A high-fee checking account—that doesn’t let you write physical checks

Checking account details:

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $10
  • How to waive monthly maintenance fee: There are three options:
      1. 1. Keep at least $1,500 in your account
        2. Make a bill payment from your account
        3. Have at least one qualifying direct deposit into your account each month
  • ATM fees: $2.50 for each withdrawal at a non-Citi ATM.
  • ATM refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: None

This is a bit of a bizarre account. In exchange for a slightly lower fee ($2 less), you can get basically the same thing as the Basic Banking account but without the ability to write physical checks. If all you need to do is pay bills online, this account might work for you — but as soon as you need to write a physical check, you’re out of luck with this account.

Besides, the requirements to waive the monthly fee are almost the same, though the Access Account lets you slide by with one fewer bill payment/direct deposit per month. If you meet the requirements to have the Access Account maintenance fee waived, why not at least upgrade to the Basic Account and the ability to write physical checks?

If you do decide that this account is right for you, you for a Citi Access account online, over the phone or at a branch.

How Citibank’s checking accounts compare

Citibank’s premium account packages (Citigold® and Citi Priority) offer a lot of perks by way of waived fees and free services. However, unless you have deep pockets, you’ll likely be limited to considering The Citibank Account, Basic Banking or Access Account. These accounts come with high monthly account maintenance fees unless you can qualify for one of the ways to waive these pesky fees.

All of Citi’s checking accounts — even the ones with the nice premium perks — offer very low yields, especially compared to high-interest checking accounts available elsewhere.

Citi® Savings

Generally lackluster interest rates on savings account packages

  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly maintenance fee: For Basic and Access savings accounts, an additional $4.50 monthly maintenance fee applies if they are not linked to checking accounts. For account packages with linked checking and savings accounts, the fee may be charged to the checking account (see above account package descriptions for details).
  • How to waive monthly maintenance fee: For Basic and Access savings accounts, maintain a $500 minimum balance in your savings account or open the savings account with a linked checking account. Requirements for getting maintenance fees waived on other account packages are listed above.

Citi Savings Account (for Citigold®, Citi Priority and The Citibank Account)

 

Annual Percentage Yield (APY) by Account Balance

<$10,000

$10,000-
$24,999.99

$25,000-
$49,999.99

$50,000-
$99,999.99

$100,000-
$499,999.99

$500,000-
$999,999.99

$1,000,000+

Promotional Interest Rate

0.10%

0.10%

1.00%

1.00%

1.00%

1.00%

1.00%

Standard Interest Rate

0.04%

0.04%

0.08%

0.08%

0.10%

0.13%

0.13%

*As of Dec. 08, 2017

Basic Banking Package

APY by Account Balance

<$10,000

$10,000-
$24,999.99

$25,000-
$49,999.99

$50,000-
$99,999.99

$100,000-
$499,999.99

$500,000-
$999,999.99

$1,000,000+

Standard Interest Rate

0.04%

0.04%

0.06%

0.06%

0.06%

0.06%

0.06%

*As of Dec. 08, 2017

Access Account Package

APY by Account Balance

<$10,000

$10,000-
$24,999.99

$25,000-
$49,999.99

$50,000-
$99,999.99

$100,000-
$499,999.99

$500,000-
$999,999.99

$1,000,000+

Standard Interest Rate

0.04%

0.04%

0.06%

0.06%

0.06%

0.06%

0.06%

*As of Dec. 08, 2017

To qualify for the promotional interest rates offered with some of the packages, you’ll need to meet a few requirements. You’ll need to open a new savings account (within an account package) and fund it with at least $25,000. You’ll also need to be 18 years or older, and provide Citibank with a W-9 or W-8BEN. Unfortunately, these promotional interest rates only last for 90 days after you open your account, after which they revert to the much lower standard interest rates.

You can apply for a Citi Savings account online, over the phone or at al branch.

How Citibank’s savings accounts compare

Although Citibank offers good rates as high as 1.00% APY, it’s for a very short period of time and only if you bring a large amount of cash to the table and still meet other requirements.

Once the promotional period has passed, you’ll be left with piddly interest rates in account packages that may not meet your needs and potentially carry high fees to boot. If you’re looking for a low-fee and high-interest-rate savings account, you can do much better with other banks and credit unions like those in the roundup of the best online savings accounts.

Citibank CD Rates

Small earnings, but small early withdrawal penalties as well.

  • Minimum deposit amount: $1,000
  • How interest is calculated: Interest is calculated and paid monthly for CDs with terms longer than one year. For CDs with terms of one year or less, interest may be calculated and paid at maturity.
  • Early withdrawal penalties: For CDs with terms of one year or less, you’ll pay 90 days’ worth of interest. For CDs with terms of over one year, you’ll pay 180 days’ worth of interest. However, you can withdraw the interest at any time without paying a penalty.
  • When the CD matures: It’ll automatically renew for another CD of the same term length but with the current interest rate.
  • Grace period: After your CD matures and renews to another of the same term, you have seven calendar days to add or withdraw the funds penalty-free or change the CD to a different term length.

Citibank says that it offers different rates depending on which account package you open up a CD with. (That’s right — you can’t just go to the bank and open a CD. You need to have an existing account with them first.) But, as you’ll see below, the rates actually are the same for each type of account package.

CD Rates for Citigold® account holders

CD Term

APY by Deposit Amount

Below $10,000

$10,000-
$24,999.99

$25,000-
$49,999.99

$50,000-
$99,999.99

$100,000+

3 month

0.05%

0.05%

0.05%

0.05%

0.05%

4 month

0.05%

0.05%

0.05%

0.05%

0.05%

5 month

0.05%

0.75%

0.75%

0.75%

0.75%

6 month

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

7 month

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

8 month

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

9 month

0.10%

0.10%

0.10%

0.10%

0.10%

10 month

0.10%

0.10%

0.10%

0.10%

0.10%

12 month

0.15%

0.15%

0.15%

0.15%

0.15%

13 month

0.20%

0.20%

0.20%

0.20%

0.20%

18 month

0.25%

1.01%

1.01%

1.01%

1.01%

2 year

0.25%

0.25%

0.25%

0.25%

0.25%

30 month

0.25%

0.25%

0.25%

0.25%

0.25%

3 year

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

4 year

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

5 year

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

*As of Dec. 08, 2017

CD Rates for Citi Priority account holders

CD Term

APY by Deposit Amount

Below $10,000

$10,000-
$24,999.99

$25,000-
$49,999.99

$50,000-
$99,999.99

$100,000+

3 month

0.05%

0.05%

0.05%

0.05%

0.05%

4 month

0.05%

0.05%

0.05%

0.05%

0.05%

5 month

0.05%

0.75%

0.75%

0.75%

0.75%

6 month

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

7 month

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

8 month

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

9 month

0.10%

0.10%

0.10%

0.10%

0.10%

10 month

0.10%

0.10%

0.10%

0.10%

0.10%

12 month

0.15%

0.15%

0.15%

0.15%

0.15%

13 month

0.20%

0.20%

0.20%

0.20%

0.20%

18 month

0.25%

1.01%

1.01%

1.01%

1.01%

2 year

0.25%

0.25%

0.25%

0.25%

0.25%

30 month

0.25%

0.25%

0.25%

0.25%

0.25%

3 year

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

4 year

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

5 year

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

*As of Dec. 08, 2017

CD Rates for The Citibank Account, Basic Banking, and Access Account packages

CD Term

APY by Deposit Amount

Below $10,000

$10,000-
$24,999.99

$25,000-
$49,999.99

$50,000-
$99,999.99

$100,000+

3 month

0.05%

0.05%

0.05%

0.05%

0.05%

4 month

0.05%

0.05%

0.05%

0.05%

0.05%

5 month

0.05%

0.75%

0.75%

0.75%

0.75%

6 month

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

7 month

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

8 month

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

0.07%

9 month

0.10%

0.10%

0.10%

0.10%

0.10%

10 month

0.10%

0.10%

0.10%

0.10%

0.10%

12 month

0.15%

0.15%

0.15%

0.15%

0.15%

13 month

0.20%

0.20%

0.20%

0.20%

0.20%

18 month

0.25%

1.01%

1.01%

1.01%

1.01%

2 year

0.25%

0.25%

0.25%

0.25%

0.25%

30 month

0.25%

0.25%

0.25%

0.25%

0.25%

3 year

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

4 year

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

5 year

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

*As of Dec. 08, 2017

If you already have an account package with Citi and you’d like to apply for a CD, you can do so online, over the phone or at a branch. All you’ll need to provide is basic information about yourself (including your Social Security number), have a physical address in the United States, and have a valid form of ID.

If you have “issues with your credit history” or are depositing more than $100,000 into your CD, you cannot do so online or over the phone — you’ll have to go and visit a Citibank branch in person.

How Citibank’s CDs compare

Citibank offers very low rates on its CDs, especially compared to high yield CDs you can get elsewhere without having to mess around with account packages.

One clear advantage of Citibank CDs is that the early withdrawal penalties are relatively low. For example, the early withdrawal penalty on a five-year Citibank CD is 180 days’ worth of interest. Discover Bank — which offers much better CD rates — charges a whopping 18 months’ worth of interest if you withdraw the cash early from Discover’s five-year CD. However, Citi’s CD rates are so low, you’d be better off putting money in a high-yield savings account — the best ones offer rates higher than Citi’s CDs — and not worrying about early withdrawal fees. That wouldn’t necessarily be a good strategy in a falling-rates market, but since rates hit a historic low after the financial crisis, we’ve been in a rising-rates market.

Unless you a) already have an existing account with Citibank, b) don’t want to go through the hassle of opening a CD at another institution (it’s not hard, we promise), and c) think that there’s a high likelihood that you’ll withdraw the money early and don’t want to open accounts elsewhere, we wouldn’t recommend a Citibank CD.

Citibank banking IRA

Guaranteed low returns, especially when compared to equity investments

Citibank offers banking IRAs in two flavors: as CDs (with the rates listed in the section above), or as a money market account at an interest rate of 0.20% APY*. These rates are extremely low, especially when compared to higher-yielding IRA CDs.

In general, the returns on IRA CDs and money market accounts don’t even come close to the kind of gains you need to be making while growing your retirement accounts, and Citibank’s banking IRAs are no exception. For example, equities (i.e., stocks and bonds) earn average returns of around 7% per year — far higher than the piddly 0.50% APY that you can get in a best-case scenario with a Citibank CD.

In fact, the rates that Citi offers for banking IRAs are far lower than typical inflation levels (around 3% per year). This means that even if you opt for the highest rates that Citi offers, your money won’t even keep pace with inflation over time and you’ll be left with less and less each year (albeit at a guaranteed rate).

Overall review of Citibank

Although Citibank offers some great credit cards (such as the Citi® Double Cash Card and Citi® Simplicity Card), they fall short in the deposits department.

Citibank does offer some nice perks, such as some accounts being eligible for Citi’s ThankYou® Rewards program. The Citigold® and Citi Priority account packages come with features that can save you money and make your life easier, if you have the deep pockets required for these account packages.

All-in-all, while there are some bright spots to Citibank’s accounts, you can earn higher rates and pay lower fees at other banks and credit unions.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

Lindsay VanSomeren is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lindsay here

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Reviews

Review of Wells Fargo CD Rates

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Review of Wells Fargo CD Rates
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Wells Fargo offers numerous products and services, including savings and checking accounts, insurance and investment products. They also offer certificates of deposit (CDs), though their rates are significantly lower compared to other big name competitors. Keep in mind that their rates will differ depending on where you live. The rates you’ll see in this article are based on their headquarters in San Francisco. If you want an accurate list of Wells Fargo CD rates based on your location, head over to their rates page and type in your ZIP code.

Wells Fargo’s fixed-rate CDs

Wells Fargo’s Standard CD Rates

CD Term

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

Minimum Deposit Amount

3 months

0.01%

$2,500

6 months

0.01%

$2,500

1 year

0.05%

$2,500

As of Dec. 6, 2017

The Wells Fargo Standard CD ensures that you get a guaranteed return for the entire CD term. Your rate is locked in once you make an opening deposit into your account. Anyone can open an account online or in person as long as they have a minimum of $2,500 to deposit into an account.

Wells Fargo’s Standard CD Bonus Rates

CD Term

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

3 months

0.06%

$2,500

6 months

0.06%

$2,500

1 year

0.10%

$2,500

As of Dec. 6, 2017

You can get the Wells Fargo Standard CD bonus rates if you link your CD to a Portfolio by Wells Fargo® account and make a $2,500 minimum deposit. This product is their upgraded checking account which offers better interest rates across many Wells Fargo products. You also get certain fees waived from your account, discounts on loans, as well as additional credit card benefits. This includes avoiding the $30 maintenance fees if you have $25,000 in qualifying linked bank deposits or more than $50,000 in qualifying linked bank, brokerage and credit accounts. All you need to open this checking account is a minimum opening deposit of $25.

If your CD is no longer linked to your Portfolio by Wells Fargo® account, the bonus CD rate will revert back to the standard rate.

Wells Fargo’s Special CD Rates

CD Term

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

9 months

0.25%

$5,000

19 months

0.45%

$5,000

39 months

0.50%

$5,000

58 months

1.01%

$5,000

As of Dec. 6, 2017

To open a Wells Fargo’s Special CD, you’ll need a minimum opening deposit of $5,000. Additionally, these rates only apply to the initial agreed term. Once your CD matures, it’ll automatically renew to the standard rates.

Wells Fargo’s Special CD Bonus Rates

CD Term

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

9 months

0.30%

$5,000

19 months

0.50%

$5,000

39 months

0.55%

$5,000

58 months

1.06%

$5,000

As of Dec. 6, 2017

To be eligible for the special bonus CD rates, you’ll need to meet the same requirements as the regular Special CD, plus link your account to a Portfolio by Wells Fargo® and make a $5,000 minimum deposit. This will revert back to standard rates once it matures and you decide to renew your CD. You may be eligible for the bonus Standard CD rate upon renewal.

How to get one of Wells Fargo’s fixed-rate CDs

To open a fixed rate CD, you can apply online using their secure online application form. During the application process, you’ll be asked to choose the term you want and submit details such as your Social Security number, funding account information and a valid ID. You can fund your CD using any bank account, credit card or by mailing a check or money order after you submit your application. (Note: Using a credit card to fund a CD only makes sense if you’re paying off the credit card balance in full. Otherwise, credit card finance charges could significantly outweigh CD interest earnings.) Once you complete the application, you’ll get instant notification of your application status and possible next steps.

Wells Fargo Step Rate CDs

CD Term

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

24 months

0.16%

$2,500

As of Dec. 6, 2017

The Step Rate CD offers multiple rate increases and a penalty-free withdrawal every six months as long as you are able to maintain the minimum opening balance. You’re guaranteed automatic rate increases at seven, 13 and 19 months into your CD term. At these times, the interest rate (not APY) goes up in increments of 0.10%:

  • 1 to 6 months: 0.01%
  • 7 to 12 months: 0.11%
  • 13 to 18 months: 0.21%
  • 19 to 24 months: 0.31%

To make your penalty-free withdrawals, you’ll need to do it within five business days at the start of the days when your interest rate goes up. If the rate increase happens to fall on a weekend or on a holiday, the withdrawal period will begin on the next business day. Once your account matures, the CD will be automatically renewed and reverted to a standard 24-month fixed rate CD.

Wells Fargo Step Rate Bonus CD

CD Term

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

24 months

0.21%

$2,500

As of Dec. 6, 2017

To be eligible for the bonus rate, you’ll need to link your Step Rate CD to a Portfolio by Wells Fargo® account. Keep in mind that there is a monthly maintenance fee of $30 for the checking account unless you have at least $25,000 in qualifying bank deposits or $50,000 in qualifying brokerage, bank and credit balances.

You’ll also get rate increases and penalty-free withdrawals every six months as long as you keep the minimum opening balance. You are subjected to the same interest rate increases and requirements as the regular Step Rate CD.

Upon account maturity, your CD will automatically renew into a standard fixed rate bonus CD. If you don’t have a Portfolio by Wells Fargo® account, your rate will revert back to the standard rate.

How to Get a Wells Fargo Step Rate CD

You can only open a Step Rate CD in person at any Wells Fargo branch. You can show up at any one of their physical locations. You can also make an appointment online or by calling 1-800-869-3557.

Here’s how Wells Fargo CD rates compare to other banks

Wells Fargo rates don’t even come close to the top competitors’ offers, even with the bonus rates. Those better CD rates often also come with a lower minimum deposit than what Wells Fargo requires. However, competitors with the highest rates tend to be online-only banks, which is only a disadvantage if you prefer to bank in person. If it’s important to you to keep all your banking products in one place, then Wells Fargo may be worth considering, though that strategy isn’t a financial advantage, as far as CDs go.

Additional information about Wells Fargo CDs

Founded in 1852, Wells Fargo is considered the third largest bank in the U.S. This FDIC insured bank provides retail, commercial and corporate banking services through its branches and online in the U.S. and internationally. Wells Fargo has over 13,000 ATMs and 6,000 branch locations across the country.

All rates earned are compounded daily and interest starts to accrue as soon as you make your deposit, as long as it’s on a business day. Otherwise it’ll begin on the next available business day. Any interest earned is paid out monthly and deposited into a checking account, savings account or via check. You could also opt to leave it your CD until maturity. You can also choose to have your interest payments paid out annually, semi-annually or when your CD matures. The only exception is for CD terms 12 months or more, where you can’t choose to have your interest paid out at maturity.

There are penalties if you make early withdrawals on fixed-rate CDs. You either have to pay the early withdrawal fee or be subjected to the Regulation D penalty.

Those who may need to pay the Regulation D penalty include those who make withdrawals within seven days of account opening. This penalty also applies if you make withdrawals during the grace period and the withdrawal is more than any additional deposits during that time. Regulation D penalty means you’ll need to pay seven days’ simple interest.

Any withdrawals after the first seven days are subjected to the following early withdrawal fee:

  • 90 days or less: one month’s interest
  • 90 days to a year: three months’ interest
  • 12 to 24 months: six months’ interest
  • 24 months and over: 12 months’ interest.

If you make a withdrawal on a Step Rate CD or the Step Rate Bonus CD, the early withdrawal fee will apply if the money you take out will cause the balance to be under the minimum opening deposit. The penalty will be based on the whole amount taken out. You’ll also be subject to early withdrawal penalties if you make a withdrawal on days other than the five day withdrawal period when interest rates increase.

There are some exceptions where you may be able to get early withdrawal penalties waived. Common ones include death of the account owner, but you’ll need to contact Wells Fargo customer service to chat about your exact situation and circumstances. (This exception isn’t unique to Wells Fargo.)

Wells Fargo will send you a notice to remind you of the CD maturity date about a month before it happens. When your CD actually matures, you have a seven day grace period. You can either renew the CD or choose to change the terms (such as linking your Portfolio by Wells Fargo® account). Other options include closing the CD, making another deposit or withdrawing money as long as the remaining balance can meet minimum balance requirements.

If you choose not to do anything, the CDs renew automatically. However, no interest will be paid during the seven day grace period if you don’t choose to reinvest your CD or you take money out of the account.

Overall review on Wells Fargo CD rates

Although Wells Fargo offers a myriad of services, including the ability to link your checking account to your CD, their rates fall short compared to other financial institutions as well as national averages. There are online banks that offer much better rates and with lower minimum deposits.

Sarah Li Cain
Sarah Li Cain |

Sarah Li Cain is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Sarah Li here

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News, Strategies to Save

Why Banks Are Still Being Stingy With Savings and CD Rates

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Mike Stuckey is a classic “rate chaser,” moving money around every few months to earn better interest on his savings. Lately, that has meant parking cash in three-month CDs at a rather meager of 1% or so, then rolling them over, hoping rates sneak up a little more each time.

“It’s at least something on large balances and keeps you poised to catch the rising tide,” says the 60-year-old Seattle-area resident.

Rate chasers like Stuckey still don’t have much to chase, however. The Federal Reserve has raised its benchmark interest rates four times since December 2015, and banks have correspondingly increased the rates they charge some customers to borrow, but many still aren’t passing along the increases to savers.

Why? There’s an unlikely answer: Banking consumers are simply saving too much money. Banks are “flush” in cash, hidden away in savings accounts by risk-averse consumers, says Ken Tumin, co-founder of DepositAccounts.com. Bank of America announced in its latest quarterly earnings report its average deposits are up 9% in the past year, for example – despite the bank’s dismal rates.

“In that situation, there’s less of a need to raise deposit rates,” Tumin says. “In the last couple of years, we are seeing deposits grow faster than loans.”

Banks don’t give away something for nothing, of course. They only raise rates when they need to attract more cash so they can lend more cash.

As a result, savings rates remain stubbornly slow to rise. How slow? Average rates “jumped” from 0.184% in June to 0.185% in July, according to DepositAccounts.com. (Disclosure: DepositAccounts.com is a subsidiary of LendingTree Inc., which is also the parent company of MagnifyMoney.com.)

And while the average yield on CD rates is the highest it’s been in five years, no one is getting rich off of them. Average one-year CD rates have “soared” from 0.482% in April 2016 to 0.567% in July. Locking up money long term doesn’t help much either – five-year CD rates are up from 1.392% to 1.504%.

There’s another reason savings and CD rates remain low, something economists call asynchronous price adjustment. That’s a fancy way of saying that companies are more price-sensitive than consumers.

It’s why gas stations are quicker to raise prices than lower prices as the price of oil goes up or down. Same for airline tickets. Consumers eventually catch on, but it takes them longer. So for now, banks are enjoying a little extra profit as they raise the cost of lending but keep their cost of cash relatively flat.

Time to Ditch Your Savings Account? Not Quite.

For that kind of change, is rate chasing worth it?

For perspective, a 0.1% interest rate increase (10 basis points) on $10,000 is worth only about $10 annually.

It’s, of course, up to consumers whether or not the promise of a little more cash in their savings accounts is worth the effort of closing one account and opening another.

Stuckey says rate chasing doesn’t have to be hard.

“I don’t really find it anything to manage at all,” he says. “(My CDs) are in a Schwab IRA, so I have access to hundreds of choices. They mature at various times, and Schwab always sends a notice, so I just buy another one.”

The low-rate environment has impacted Stuckey’s retirement planning, but he’s philosophical about it.

“I have mixed feelings. In 2008, as I planned to retire, I was getting 5.5% and more in money market accounts. High-quality bonds paid 6 and 7%. So lower rates have had an effect on my finances,” Stuckey says. “But … it has been nice to see young people able to afford nice homes because of the low rates. My first mortgage started at 10.5%.”

When will more consumers sit up and notice higher savings rates – and perhaps start pulling cash out of big banks, putting pressure on them to join the party?

“I think 2% will be a big milestone,” Tumin says. “That will be a big change we haven’t seen in five years.”

If you’re really frustrated by low rates from traditional savings accounts and CDs, Tumin recommends considering high-yield checking accounts, a relatively new creation. These accounts can earn consumers up to 4%-5% on a limited balance – perhaps on the first $25,000 deposited. The accounts come with strings attached, however, such as a minimum number of debit card transactions each month.

“If you don’t mind a little extra work … you are rewarded nicely,” Tumin says.

Bob Sullivan
Bob Sullivan |

Bob Sullivan is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Bob here

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Strategies to Save

The Ultimate Guide to CD Ladders

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

The Ultimate Guide to CD Ladders

CDs are a very safe investment because they come with built-in insurance. Up to $250,000 of your money at each bank is covered under the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Deposits at credit unions are also covered for the same amount by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

However, CDs do have some major downsides. They’re basically just reverse loans you make to a bank, and therefore you can’t withdraw your money before the term of your loan ends without paying stiff fees.

To get around this, some people buy short-term CDs so they can have more frequent access to their money in case they need it, but these short-term CDs offer far lower returns than longer-term CDs.

It’s a big quandary: The best CD rates are for longer-term CDs, but it’s a tough commitment to lock your money up for that long.

That’s where a little-known tool called a CD ladder comes in: It provides a neat solution that allows you to invest in long-term CDs while having frequent access to your money at the same time.

What is a CD ladder?

A CD ladder is basically a series of staggered investments. Rather than putting all your money in one CD and never seeing it again for five years or longer, you split your total investment among several smaller CDs. Each one of these smaller CDs has a different term so they mature (are paid back to you with interest) at different times.

The goal with CD laddering is to plan your smaller CDs out ahead of time so you’ll have one new CD maturing at regular intervals. When this happens, you have the option to take the money out, or you can reinvest it in the coveted long-term CD.

By the end of the cycle, all of your smaller CDs will be invested in long-term CDs. One new CD will mature after each time interval. Thus, your goal is achieved: All of your money is invested in the highest-earning CDs, yet you still have frequent access to a portion of your cash.

Are CD ladders right for you?

CD ladders are a great tool for people who have a hard time saving money because they’re always pulling cash out of their savings for unplanned expenses like a spur-of-the-moment vacation or a last-minute holiday gift. CDs are essentially forced savings accounts – you can get the money out if you need it, but not without paying a price.

Each financial institution charges fees for early withdrawal. Fees can be a set dollar amount, a set number of months’ worth of interest, a set percentage of the principal (the amount you invested), a set percentage of interest (the amount you’ve earned), or a set percentage of both principal and interest.

You could still come out ahead if you’re just charged a percentage of interest, or you could end up actually owing the financial institution money if they have steeper fines. Needless to say, it’s something you should avoid at all costs – even if there’s a tempting last-minute deal on a cruise vacation.

CD ladders are also great savings tools for when you need a specific amount of money in the short term – for example, if you’re looking to save a down payment for a house five years from now, or a car in three years.

Finally, CD ladders are also great tools for people who meet two conditions: They already have money saved in an emergency fund, and they’re also saving in high-yielding investments like stocks or index funds, if they’re working on saving up for retirement.

You don’t want to keep your emergency savings in a CD ladder because if an emergency does happen, you won’t be able to pull out your money without incurring the fees described above. CD ladders are also great investment vehicles, but they don’t earn enough to allow you to really ramp up your long-term savings for things like retirement (more on that further down, though).

What are some examples of CD ladders?

The really cool thing about CD ladders is that you can customize them to fit your needs. The only two things you need to pay attention to are how frequently you want access to your money and how much you have to invest to create your own CD ladder.

All CD ladders follow the same basic principles of splitting up your total investment among multiple staggered investments. Here are two examples of CD ladders that offer you access to your money at different intervals and require different initial investments:

CD Ladder One: Short-term, smaller investment

Let’s say you only have $1,000 to invest. You could split it up into some short-term investments like this:

Start: Buy four CDs. Put $250 each into a three-month, six-month, nine-month, and one-year CD.

Every three months: One CD matures, and you can either cash it out or roll it over into a new one-year CD.

After one year: Each CD is invested in a one-year CD. Because they have staggered start times, one new CD will mature every three months.

CD Ladder Two: Long-term, larger investment

If you have $5,000 to invest, you could split it up and form a CD ladder this way:

Start: Buy five CDs. Put $1,000 each into a one-year, two-year, three-year, four-year, and five-year CD.

Every year: One CD matures and you roll it over into a new five-year CD, or you can cash it out without facing penalties.

After five years: Each CD is invested in a five-year CD. Because they have staggered start times, one new CD will mature every year.

How do CD ladders hold up compared to other investments?

It’s important to know how CD ladders stack up against other potential investments if you’re using them to save money. So we decided to compare an initial $5,000 investment over 10 years to see how CD ladders compare to other options.

It’s also important to take inflation into account when looking at your returns over several years, because this has a real impact on how much your money will be worth. If you started out with $5,000 in 2006, you’d need exactly $6,071.02 today to have equal buying power today, thanks to inflation.

Let’s see how our investments pan out:

CD Ladder

Let’s consider the long-term, larger investment CD ladder structure from above and use the highest rates from MagnifyMoney’s CD comparison tool.

To start out, you’d put $1,000 each into a one-year, two-year, three-year, four-year, and five-year CD. For the next five years, one of these CDs will mature annually, and you will roll it over into a new five-year CD. By the time five years is up, all of your CDs will be in high-interest-earning CDs, with one maturing annually. Then we’ll continue rolling them over into five-year CDs for five more years, for a total of 10 years’ worth of rollovers.

Risk: Very safe because it’s backed by the FDIC or NCUA. You can also take advantage of higher interest rates if they go up.

Reward: $1,019.61. You’d need to make more than $1,071.02 to counter the effect of inflation, though, so your inflation-adjusted returns would be worth –$51.41 ($1,019.61 – $1,071.02).

Two Five-Year CDs

Let’s find out what happens if you take the initial $5,000 investment but put it into two back-to-back five-year CDs instead of laddering it.

Risk: Again, very safe because it’s backed by the FDIC or NCUA. However, you can’t take the money out as frequently if you need it, and you’ll only be eligible to take advantage of rising interest rates once when you roll it over into another CD.

Reward: $1,026. You’ll come out –$45.02 after taking inflation into account ($1,026 – $1,071.02).

Stock Market

The stock market is traditionally the best way to go for long-term gains. We wanted to know how much extra money you would have in 2016 if you invested $5,000 in the stock market way back in 2006. We looked at the average annual inflation-adjusted stock market return (7.92%), compounded annually over 10 years.

Risk: High; you could lose a significant portion of your money in the short term, and it can take a while to build it up again.

Reward: $10,715. This has already been adjusted for inflation, and so represents the real value of your money in 2016.

Savings Account

Most people like to save up money in a plain old savings account. We looked at what would happen to your money if you kept $5,000 in a savings account for 10 years. We used the rates from MagnifyMoney’s savings account comparison tool to find the highest-yielding A-rated bank (Ridgewood Savings Bank, 1.05% APY) and calculated returns using daily compounding.

Risk: Very safe because it’s backed by the FDIC or NCUA.

Reward: $554. You’ll come out –$517.02 after taking inflation into account ($554 – $1,071.02).

Under Your Mattress

Our grandparents might have squirreled away money under their mattress, but now that might not be the greatest idea. Here’s what would happen if you just kept $5,000 completely in cash for 10 years.

Risk: Very unsafe. It can easily be stolen or lost in a house fire.

Reward: $0. You’ll come out –$1,071.02 after taking inflation into account ($0 – $1,071.02).

CD ladder FAQs

  1. How can I find the best rates on CDs?
    You can use MagnifyMoney’s CD comparison tool to find the best rates across the country for CDs of various term lengths.
  2. What are the shortest and longest possible CD terms?
    Generally, three months is the shortest term offered while five or even 10-year CDs are the maximum terms.
  3. Will I owe taxes on my money?
    Yes. You are taxed on your interest earning just like a regular savings account. Your bank will issue you a 1099-INT form at the end of the year.
  4. What if interest rates change?
    You won’t be affected unless you possess either a callback or a bump-up CD. Callback CDs allow the bank to cancel your CD and return your principal and any yields to you if interest rates fall. Bump-up CDs give you the option to boost your interest rate once per term if interest rates rise.

Certificates of deposit (CDs) are a great way to diversify your portfolio. They’re easily available because just about every bank and credit union offers them, there are no tacked-on fees to buy them, and they’ll often earn much more interest than a regular savings account.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

Lindsay VanSomeren is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lindsay here

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