Short-term certificate of deposit (CD) accounts offer investors a safe opportunity to squirrel away money for a future expense. If you’re looking for a brief solution for storing your cash and want to earn more interest than a typical savings account will offer, a 6 month CD can make a lot of sense. (It’s also a good place to start if you’re building a CD ladder.)
Using information from DepositAccounts.com, another LendingTree company and a database of offerings at more than 17,100 banks and credit unions, we found the five banks and five credit unions with the top 6 month CD rates. If there was a tie, we chose the institution with the smaller minimum deposit requirement. We excluded promotional offerings. The national average APY on 6 month CDs (among banks and credit unions) is 0.89%, according to the DepositAccounts.com database. These options outperform that average by a long shot. (You may also want to view our picks for the overall best CD rates.)
Banks with the best 6-month CD rates
|Bank||APY||Minimum deposit amount|
BrioDirect — 2.00% APY, $500 minimum deposit
If you’re willing to wait a little longer for your CD to mature, you can open BrioDirect’s High-Rate 9-Month CD with at least $500. You’ll still snag one of the best short-term CD rates out there. BrioDirect will assess a penalty of 90 days interest whether earned or not on any early withdrawals.
BrioDirect is the online brand of Sterling National Bank, which was founded in 1888.
CIBC USA — 1.85% APY, $25,000 minimum deposit
CIBC USA’s online-only Agility CDs offer more competitive rates than the bank’s typical accounts. For a slightly longer CD term, consider the 9 Month CD, where accounts with $25,000 or more earn the 1.85% APY, but balances under that (starting at $1,000) still earn 1.80% APY. For early withdrawals, CIBC USA may charge a 30 day penalty.
Based in Chicago, CIBC Bank USA is a division of CIBC, a Toronto-based financial institution founded in 1867.
My eBanc — 2.00% APY, $5,000 minimum deposit
A high-yield 6-month Online Time Deposit at My eBanc requires an opening deposit of at least $5,000. You can easily open the account online. The account doesn’t charge any maintenance fees. However, making an early withdrawal from the 6-month CD will trigger a penalty equal to 90 days’ worth of interest.
My eBanc is a division of BAC Florida Bank of Coral Gables, Fla., which is part of The Pellas Group. The CD program, open to all foreign and domestic customers, is designated as a “BAC Internet Time Deposit.” Overseas CDs based on the euro are not insured by the FDIC.
ConnectOne Bank — 2.05% APY, $500 minimum deposit
Open a ConnectOne Bank 5 Month Time Deposit with at least $500 to start earning interest at its APY. interest compounds daily and posts to the account monthly. The early withdrawal penalty imposed will equal 90 days of interest on your account, deducted from the interest earned.
Founded in 2005, ConnectOne Bank is based in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. and serves the New Jersey and New York community with its physical branches
MutualOne Bank — 1.92% APY, $500 minimum deposit
With an extra waiting period of just one month, the 7-Month MutualOne Bank CD provides a much better return than its 6-month account. You’ll need just $500 to open an account. Making an early withdrawal from this account will incur a penalty of 90 days interest.
Originally known as Framingham Co-operative Bank, MutualOne Bank was formed in 1889 and is a Massachusetts state-chartered mutual bank.
Credit unions with the best 6-month CD rates
|Credit Union||APY||Minimum deposit amount|
|NASA Federal Credit Union||2.35%||$10,000|
|Communitywide Federal Credit Union||2.20%||$2,000|
|Consumers Credit Union||2.05%||$250|
|Andrews Federal Credit Union||2.05%||$1,000|
NASA Federal Credit Union — 2.35% APY, $10,000 minimum deposit
If you have $10,000 in new money to deposit and are willing to wait a bit longer for your CD to mature, open a 9 Month Share Certificate Special from NASA Federal Credit Union. Withdrawal of funds before maturity will result in the loss of 182 days of dividends on the amount withdrawn. When this Special matures, it will renew into a 6 Month Share Certificate.
You don’t need to be a NASA employee to join the credit union. You can also join if you’re an employee or member of partner companies or associations or relative or household member of a current member. Even if these don’t apply to you, NASA Federal will provide a complimentary one-year affiliated membership to the National Space Society (NSS), which gains you credit union membership as well.
Communitywide Federal Credit Union — 2.20% APY, $2,000 minimum deposit
With at least $2,000, you can open a high-yield 6-month CW Certificate Account online. The early withdrawal penalty from this account is equal to the amount withdrawn multiplied by the remaining days left in the term.
Founded as a credit union to provide quality financial services to individuals in South Bend, Ind., Communitywide Federal Credit Union has grown to offer their services to various communities within Indiana as well as the digital world.
Anyone can become a member by donating to a list of organizations including the Y.M.C.A. If you’re a member of the Michiana Goodwill Boosters or Marine Corps. League of St. Joseph Valley, you’re also eligible to become a member.
Elements Financial — 2.10% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit
Elements Financial offers this more competitive rate on its 8 Month Term Certificate Special. Like its regular certificates, it requires $1,000 to open. Upon maturity, this certificate will renew as a 6 Month Term Certificate. Careful to not make an early withdrawal from this account as you’ll lose 60 days’ dividends.
Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., Elements Financial was established in 1930 by the management of Eli Lilly and Company. Today, membership is open to employees of over 135 partner organizations in the country.
Consumers Credit Union — 2.05% APY, $250 minimum deposit
To get a little extra boost on a short-term CD, consider the 8 Months CD from Consumers Credit Union instead of its 6 Months account. You’ll earn more interest, still with the low starting amount of $250. Just don’t make an early withdrawal from the account, as it will result in a loss of 60 days of dividends.
Andrews Federal Credit Union — 2.05% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit
To earn the top credit union rate, head to Andrews Federal Credit Union for its slightly longer 8-Month Share Certificate. It earns at a rate comparable to longer-term CDs and higher than the top 6-month CD rate from a bank/ You’ll need at least $1,000 to open the account either online or at an Andrews FCU branch. The early withdrawal penalty equals 90 days of dividends.
Andrews Federal Credit Union was founded in 1948 and is headquartered in Suitland, Md. It currently serves over 120,000 members worldwide. Andrews FCU membership includes residents of Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey, including Joint Base Andrews and Joint Base McGuire/Dix/Lakehurst. It serves military installations abroad in central Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands. Andrews FCU also extends membership to Select Employee Groups throughout Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey.
Pros and cons of using 6 month CDs
- The CD rates offered by banks and credit unions are generally higher than those on savings accounts.
- The rates are fixed and guaranteed for the length of their term.
- The discipline of keeping the funds in the CD means the money will be available upon maturity. (Note: Most banks offer a seven-day grace period to reinvest or withdraw the investment, after which the funds will roll over into a new CD. However, you are not guaranteed the same rate.)
- Six-month CD rates are lower than those offered on longer CD investment terms.
- To tap into the CD funds — even for emergencies — consumers must accept a loss through penalties, which can include a percentage of the funds, a percentage of the earned interest, or a combination of both. A typical penalty on a short-term CD is between 30 and 90 days’ worth of interest earnings.
- If you’re not confident you can do without access to the funds for six months, you may be better off putting your money in a traditional savings account, which is likely to earn less interest than a CD.
- Since CD rollovers may reset at a different percentage rate, consumers must speak with the bank before the grace period ends to ensure they are getting the best deal.
Using a 6 month CD for laddering
A CD ladder comprises small-amount CDs with varying terms and respective interest rates that contribute to a long-term investment strategy. After the 6 month CD matures, investors can withdraw the funds for a predetermined expense. Or, they can reinvest the money into a longer-term CD with a better rate. By staggering the maturity dates on short-term CDs, consumers have access to their cash on a regular, predictable basis.
Where can you open a CD account?
Consumers can open 6 month CD accounts (or longer) from banks and credit unions. Bank and credit union CD rates are based on Federal Reserve rates, and there may be strategic times to pursue these short-term instruments following a rate increase.