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Fresh EBT App Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

The government distributes Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits — also known as food stamps — via Electronic Balance Transfer (EBT) cards. The Fresh EBT app allows recipients of SNAP benefits to use a smartphone to check the balance on their EBT card. The Fresh EBT app has more than 2 million users and works with food stamp programs in every state.

What is the Fresh EBT app?

Until recently, people who receive SNAP benefits could only check their monthly benefit balance by calling a hotline — or keep a running tally of their grocery store receipts. More than 42 million people receive SNAP benefits, and 26% of low-income Americans rely on cell phones as their main internet connection.

In 2015, software startup Propel launched the Fresh EBT app, providing a quick and easy way for people who receive SNAP benefits to check their EBT balance. Users can also check their benefits from other federal programs, like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The free app is available for both iOS and Android and can be downloaded from the iTunes app store and the Google Play site.

Fresh EBT lets people keep up with the benefits available to them and also lets them see what they’ve purchased and where they bought it. The app also shows nearby stores and farmer’s markets that accept food stamps — although it doesn’t indicate which items are eligible to be purchased with funds from federal assistance programs.

How Fresh EBT works

The Fresh EBT app is linked to a user’s card via their state of residence’s EBT portal. Every time someone uses the card at a grocery store or farmer’s market, the total adjusts and users can check their remaining balance on the app.

When you log in, you’ll see a “recommended weekly budget” right underneath your EBT balance. This can help you plan your monthly EBT balance ahead of time, so that you don’t run out of money before the month is over. If you stick to this number each week, you’ll have enough EBT money to buy food for the whole month.

Other Fresh EBT features include free affordable and nutritious recipes and digital coupons you can use to make your EBT dollars stretch even further. Plus, as the average monthly SNAP benefit for one person is $134, Propel has partnerships with local and national nonprofits like Feeding America and Double Up Food Bucks to help people who find their SNAP benefits aren’t enough to get them through the month.

The app also shows the locations of nearby food pantries, offers coupons for participating retailers — users have accessed close to $15 million in savings so far — and provides access to healthy and inexpensive recipes.

The Fresh EBT app even touts that it offers job postings. You can see a list of jobs available in your area, along with a link that’ll take you to that job posting’s webpage. From there, you can get more information about the job and even apply directly for it.

How to sign up for Fresh EBT app

To use the Fresh EBT app, you must provide sensitive personal information like your Social Security number, although Propel reports that the information is encrypted. You also will need to have your EBT card number and PIN handy when you sign up. However, Propel notes that it does not store EBT card numbers or PINs on their servers, for extra security.

Although the Fresh EBT app is available to all U.S. states and territories, there have been problems in the past for some users who live in one of the 25 states where the food stamp program is managed by the government contractor Conduent.

Some users in these states reported that their balance data was unavailable for large stretches. And while Conduent does offer its own balance checking app, ConnectEBT, it’s only available in seven states on the Google Play store — Arkansas, Maryland, Maine, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah. If you’re using an iPhone or iPad it’s even worse: the app is only available in three states: Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Utah. But while people can always check their balances through the hotline if they have any Fresh EBT app troubles, it’s also a good idea to hang on to grocery receipts as a backup.

Pros and cons of Fresh EBT

Among the common complaints about the Fresh EBT app are discussions about difficulties in connecting, or getting locked out of an account and having trouble signing back in. Positive reviews note the ease and speed of the app in comparison to calling the hotline to check a balance. Many users also like the coupons, the ability to see past purchases, and the recipes.

Pros of Fresh EBT

  • Provides a great way to check updated food stamp benefit balances: You can see your balance instantly, without having to call up the EBT hotline or finding your balance at the bottom of the receipt from your last food purchase.
  • Maps nearby food pantries and stores that accept food stamps: You can search on a map to see nearby stores and farmer’s markets where you can use your food stamp benefits. You can also find nearby food pantries, food stamp offices, and WIC clinics.
  • Offers digital coupons: You can download coupons for specific food items at specific stores right through the app. This can also help you make the most of your EBT benefits.
  • Special offers: In the “All Offers” section of the app, you can find other helpful money-saving resources for lower-income families. For example, you can get more information about discounted Amazon Prime membership, or access to lower-cost cell phone services.
  • Available in every state, with versions in English or Spanish: No matter which of these languages you speak — you can use Fresh EBT. And unlike some other EBT balance-checking apps, Fresh EBT is available no matter which state you live in.

Cons of Fresh EBT

  • Can have some bugs and loading issues: Since each state manages its own EBT program, there are a lot of different technologies that the Fresh EBT app has to navigate. Sometimes that can cause some difficulties with the app. For example, Conduent is a company that manages EBT benefit information in many states and it’s had some troubles in keeping up with Fresh EBT, causing some users to not see their current balance in the app for a period of time.
  • Does not provide a list of items that can be purchased with food stamps: The app can tell you which stores allow you to use your EBT benefits, but it isn’t able to tell you how much items cost there. Some stores can charge a higher price than others.

Who should use Fresh EBT?

Anyone who regularly uses SNAP food stamp benefits through an EBT card, owns a smartphone and wants an easy way to keep track of their benefits will likely find the Fresh EBT app useful.

The app saves you money by offering coupons and directing users to stores offering specials. The app is also a one-stop shop for other information about early childhood education programs, local doctors, mental/health substance abuse programs, heating assistance and more.

All told, the Fresh EBT app is an efficient and data-driven way for people to get the most out of their SNAP benefits.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

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

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Best of, Earning Interest

The Best IRA CD Rates – January 2020

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Perhaps you’ve decided to build a CD ladder within your IRA, or maybe you’re looking for a safe way to store your retirement cash for a specific period of time. Whatever the reason, you’re interested in getting an IRA CD and, understandably, want to know what products will give you the best rate of return.

You can get an IRA CD with terms ranging from three months to more than six years, with interest rates generally increasing with the term length. There are lots of options, so we’ve rounded up the top IRA CD rates that are available right now for a variety of terms. You’ll select your IRA CD terms based on your CD-ladder master plan or whenever you’ll need access to your money.

Every month, we choose the best IRA CD rates using data from another LendingTree company DepositAccounts.com, a database of offerings at more than 17,100 banks and credit unions. We sorted the products by APY, then eliminated institutions with a health rating below a B. We then eliminated products that are not available nationwide. From there, we chose the IRA CD with the highest APY among products with a minimum deposit no greater than $5,000. Here are the best options.

The best IRA rates in January 2020

Term

Institution

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

3 months

BethPage FCU

1.60%

$50

6 months

Bellco Credit Union

2.10%

$500

12 months

State Department Federal Credit Union

2.22%

$500

18 months

Service Credit Union

2.25%

$1,000

2 years

MAC Federal Credit Union

2.80%

$1,000

3 years

America’s Credit Union

2.53%

$1,000

4 years

Credit Union of the Rockies

2.60%

$1,000

5 years

State Department Federal Credit Union

2.88%

$500

6+ years

Evansville Teachers FCU

2.40%

$1,000

 

Best 3-month IRA CD – BethPage Federal Credit Union (Traditional, Roth)

3 Month IRA from Bethpage Federal Credit Union
The BethPage Federal Credit Union features the most competitive 3-month IRA CD that’s currently available, with an APY of 1.60% and a minimum deposit of just $50.

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NCUA Insured

Best 6-month IRA CD – Bellco Credit Union (Traditional, Roth)

 6-month IRA CD from Bellco Credit Union
Bellco Credit Union is currently featuring a 6-month IRA CD that garners an impressive APY of 2.10%. This product requires a minimum deposit of $500. Additionally, Bellco is also offering a Coverdell Education Savings account, formerly known as an Education IRA, with a 2.10% APY.

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on Bellco Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Best 1-year IRA CD — State Department Federal Credit Union (Traditional, Roth)

12 Month IRA Certificate from State Department Federal Credit UnionThis one-year term share certificate earns an APY of 2.22% and only requires a minimum deposit of $500. This is a significantly higher rate than the credit union’s traditional one-year share certificate, which earns an APY of 2.02%.

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on State Department Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Best 18-month IRA CD — Service Credit Union

18 Month IRA Certificate from Service Credit UnionService Credit Union is currently offering the most attractive option for an 18-month IRA CD, with its 18-month share certificate IRA boasting an APY of 2.25%. This product requires a minimum average daily balance of $1,000 in order to earn the APY. Dividends are compounded and credited monthly.

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NCUA Insured

Best 2-year IRA CD – MAC Federal Credit Union (Traditional, Roth, CESA)

24 Month IRA from MAC Federal Credit UnionAlthough it’s headquartered in Alaska, MAC Federal Credit Union is open to anyone who joins the Polar Bear Chapter of the Association of the United States Army, which costs $40 for a two-year membership. MAC Federal Credit Union’s 24-month IRA / Roth IRA Share Certificate currently offers the best APY for a 2-year CD – 2.80%.

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on MAC Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Best 3-year IRA CD – America’s Credit Union (Traditional, Roth, Educational)

33 Month IRA from America's Credit UnionAmerica’s Credit Union steals the show for the best 3-year IRA CD. Its 33-month IRA Share Certificate doles out a generous APY of 2.53%, with a minimum opening deposit of $1,000. If you’ve got more cash than that to stash away, America’s Credit Union also offers a 33-month IRA Share Certificate with an APY of 2.78% for deposits of at least $100,000.

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on America's Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Best 4-year IRA CD – Credit Union of the Rockies(Traditional, Roth)

48 Month Promotional IRA from Credit Union Of The RockiesThe Credit Union of the Rockies is currently offering an attractive promotion on its 4-year CD. Its  48-month promo CD features an APY of 2.60% with a minimum opening deposit of $1,000. Its non-promotional 4-year CD pales in comparison, with a minimum deposit of $500 but an APY of just 0.90%

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on Credit Union Of The Rockies’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Best 5-year IRA CD – State Department Federal Credit Union (Traditional, Roth)

60 Month IRA Certificate from State Department Federal Credit UnionThe State Department Federal Credit Union scores the top spot for the best 5-year IRA CD. Currently, its 60-month IRA Certificate boasts an APY of 2.88% and a low minimum balance of $500. Dividends are calculated daily and credited monthly.

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on State Department Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Best 6-year IRA CD — Evansville Teachers FCU (Traditional, Roth, CESSA)

6 Year IRA from Evansville Teachers Federal Credit UnionTo join this credit union, you may make a $5 donation to the Mater Dei Friends & Alumni Association. You may want to strongly consider doing so, as the 6-year IRA CD rate offered by Evansville FCU is the best on the market in terms of APY. Plus, it only requires a minimum balance of $1,000.

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on Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

3 questions to consider before opening an IRA CD

Opening an IRA CD generally requires filling out a form or talking to a banker. You’ll have to have a way to fund your IRA CD, whether that’s rolling over an existing retirement account into an IRA CD or depositing cash into the product. The same limits that apply to IRA contributions apply to IRA CDs: $5,500 per year ($6,500 if you’re over age 50) of your own money across all your IRA accounts each year, and you can do a rollover once per year.

Unless you’ve invested in a bump-up IRA CD, you won’t be able to take advantage of a higher rate until your CD matures. Withdrawing funds from an IRA CD before they mature will result in a stiff penalty. Bump-up IRA CDs give you a chance to increase your interest rate to a higher level if it’s available, but you’re generally only allowed to do this once or twice during the life of the CD.

You can either use the direct-transfer method or the indirect-transfer method. The direct transfer method requires setting up your new IRA account filling out a form authorizing the bank or credit union to transfer money from the old account into the new account. The indirect transfer method involves you asking for a check from your old IRA account. You have up to 60 days to deposit that check into your IRA CD to avoid incurring a penalty.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

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

Advertiser Disclosure

Best of, Earning Interest

The Best Credit Union CD Rates – January 2020

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Certificates of deposit (CDs) are a great way to safely store your savings at a financial institution, as they offer a guaranteed rate of return, and CD rates tend to be higher than those on traditional savings accounts. Maybe you’ve even heard that credit union CD rates offer higher returns—but is that really the case?

On average, yes. As of June 2019, the average one-year credit union CD had a 1.42% annual percentage yield (APY), compared to the 1.11% APY average among one-year bank CDs.

Using data from DepositAccounts.com, another LendingTree company, we identified the top one-year credit union CD rates, as of January 2, 2020. We then eliminated any credit union with a health rating lower than a B and a minimum deposit no larger than $5,000 identified the top offerings in three categories: restricted, no cost, and best banking app. If there was a tie by APY, we went with the product with the lower minimum deposit. Here are the best one-year credit union CD rates.

Best credit union CD rates with restricted memberships or membership fees

Each of these credit unions have restricted membership criteria, but don’t let that scare you away. If you don’t meet their membership criteria, it’s often possible to make a small donation to their charity of choice in order to become eligible for membership. Furthermore, these credit union CD rates offer some of the highest-returning share certificates out of any category.

Andrews Federal Credit Union – Special 13-Month Share Certificate, 2.15% APY, min. deposit of $1,000

13 Month Certificate Special from Andrews Federal Credit Union

Established in 1948, Andrews Federal Credit Union boasts locations in Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey, as well as internationally in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Membership to Andrews FCU is open to anyone through the American Consumer Council.

Andrews’ Federal Credit Union has a slew of share certificates, ranging from a 3-month with an APY of 3.01% to an 84-month with a 3.05% APY. The credit union is currently offering a special, 13-month share certificate with a minimum deposit of $1,000 and an APY of 2.15%. This product has a maximum balance of $250,000, and members are allowed only one 13-month certificate per person.

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on Andrews Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

USALLIANCE Financial — 12-Month certificate account, 2.15% APY, min. deposit $500

12 Month CD from USALLIANCE Financial
USALLIANCE Financial is offering a 12-month certificate account with a competitive APY of 2.15%.

Membership in USALLIANCE Financial is open to residents of certain localities in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York, as well as members of the American Consumer Council and a raft of other professional associations.

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on USALLIANCE Financial’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Fort Knox Credit Union – 14-Month Share Certificate, 2.10% APY, min. deposit $500

14 Month CD Special from Fort Knox Federal Credit Union
The Fort Knox Credit Union is currently featuring an attractive, 14-month share certificate product with a 2.10% APY. That’s leaps and bounds better than the credit union’s regular, 12-month certificate rate of 0.85% APY and its regular 18-month certificate rate of 1.30% APY. The 14-month share certificate requires a minimum deposit of $500. Dividends are paid and compounded quarterly.

Eligibility to the Fort Knox Credit Union is restricted to the following people: Those who are employed by select employer groups, those who work, worship, go to school or do business in certain designated areas of Kentucky, those who are active duty military, Reserve Guard, or civil service employees, those who are retired military or civil service employees and contractors attached to the post.

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on Fort Knox Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

MAC Federal Credit Union – 12-Month Share Certificate, 2.10% APY, min. deposit of $1,000

12 Month CD from MAC Federal Credit UnionThe MAC Federal Credit Union offers a slew of share certificates with varying term lengths, and its 12-month share certificate rate of 2.10% APY is certainly worth highlighting. This account requires a minimum deposit of $1,000.

The MAC Federal Credit Union is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, attends school or uses services in certain areas of Alaska. However, membership is also open to anyone who also becomes a member of the AUSA Polar Bear Chapter.

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on MAC Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Veridian Credit Union – 12-Month CD, 2.10% APY, min. deposit $1,000

12 Month CD Special from Veridian Credit Union
The Veridian Credit Union is currently offering a special, 12-month CD with an attractive APY of 2.10% and a minimum balance of $1,000. If you have more cash you’re looking to stash, Veridian is also offering a special 12-month jumbo CD with a minimum balance of $100,000 and an APY of 2.20%.

The Veridian Credit Union is open to anyone who lives or works within its field of membership, which consists of all 99 Iowa counties and a select number of counties in Nebraska. Additionally, membership is open to registered users of the business payment app Dwolla.

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on Veridian Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Interior Federal Credit Union – 12-Month CD, 2.07% APY, min. deposit $500

12 Month Share Certificate from Interior Federal Credit Union
The Interior Federal Credit Union offers a plethora of certificates of deposit, with its 12-month CD offering a decent APY of 2.07% and a minimum deposit of just $500. For those looking to make a larger deposit, Interior Federal Credit Union also offers a 12-month CD with a minimum deposit of $100,000 and a slightly higher APY of 2.12%.

Membership to the Interior Federal Credit Union is open to those who are employees, contractors and volunteers of the Department of Interior, those who have volunteered at a National Park, members of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation and employees and volunteers of select employer groups.

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on Interior Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Bellco Credit Union — 12-Month CD, 2.05% APY, min. deposit $500

12 Month CD from Bellco Credit UnionAnyone in the country can join this Colorado-based credit union by making a minimum $10 donation to the Bellco Foundation. The 12-month CD offered by Bellco earns a 2.05% APY and only requires a minimum deposit of $500, making it a winner for savers.

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on Bellco Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Pen Air Federal Credit Union – 12-Month CD, 1.80% APY, min. deposit $500

12 Month CD from Pen Air Federal Credit Union

Pen Air Federal Credit Union offers an array of certificates of deposit, with term lengths ranging from 3-months to 60-months. Its 12-month CD offering is particularly noteworthy, with a minimum required deposit of $500 and an APY of 1.80%.

Pen Air Federal Credit Union is open to active duty or retired military, civil service employees, employees at select employer groups, as well as anyone who simply joins the Friends of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.

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on Pen Air Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Best CD rates for credit unions with no cost to join

The thing about credit unions is that they’re not usually just open to anyone. You usually need to meet some membership criteria in order to get in and get access to all of their really nice products. These credit unions, however, will let you in for free regardless of your personal details. (Note: Only two credit unions met our criteria for this list.)

NASA Federal Credit Union – 1-Year Share Certificate, 2.00% APY, min. deposit $1,000

NASA Federal Credit Union
If the rigid inflexibility of CDs makes you leery, NASA FCU might be your best bet. They have a lot of flexible certificates, such as add-on certificates that let you start with as little as $250, and bump-rate certificates that let you opt for a one-time interest rate increase if rates go up. You can even take out a loan from your certificate should you need the cash before it’s matured. You can join NASA FCU with a complimentary membership to the National Space Society.

If you do need to make an early withdrawal, you will face a penalty of 180 days’ worth of interest.

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on NASA Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Unify Financial Credit Union – 1-Year Share Certificate, 1.75% APY, min. deposit $1,000

UNIFY Financial Credit Union
Unify FCU offers the highest interest rates on CDs (which it calls share certificates) of any credit union with no cost to join. The interest rate on their 12-month CD, for example, is 1.75%. You’ll need to deposit a minimum of $1,000 to open this CD. If you withdraw your money early, however, you’ll face a substantial penalty.

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on UNIFY Financial Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

 

Best CD rates for credit unions with the best mobile apps

By their very nature, CDs aren’t something that require constant attention, poking, and prodding. It’s a set-it-and-forget-it kind of a deal, so you won’t need any spiffy banking apps to use CDs.

But, if you’d like to switch all of your banking to the same institution that holds your CDs, it might be a wise idea to consider one of these credit unions if you’re a digital junkie. Most credit unions lag behind their bank compatriots in terms of mobile banking apps, but these credit unions offer top-notch mobile apps, according to MagnifyMoney’s 2018 mobile banking app analysis.

Eastman Credit Union – 1-2 Years Certificate , 2.05% APY, min. deposit $1,000

1 to 2 Year Investment Certificate from Eastman Credit UnionEastman Credit Union has pretty restrictive membership requirements. You’ll have to be an employee (or a family member of an employee) of one of their select employers, or live in certain parts of Tennessee, Texas, or Virginia. This product yields 2.05% APY for a 1-2 Years Certificate deposit, with a minimum deposit of $1,000. If you withdraw your money before the CD matures, you’ll owe a penalty fee of 90 days’ worth of dividend earnings.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Eastman Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Delta Community Credit Union – 1-Year Certificate, 1.99% APY, min. deposit $1,000

Delta Community Credit Union
There are many ways to join Delta Community CU, such as living in certain parts of Georgia, being a member of one of their select employers, or being a member of one of their partner organizations. Interestingly, citizens of many countries like Argentina, France, and Peru are also eligible to join.

Delta Community CU used to be the lowest-earning credit union on our list, but recently increased the APY on this product from 1.10% to 1.99%. The early withdrawal penalty is 90 days’ worth of interest on a 12-month CD.

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on Delta Community Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

SECU – 1-Year CD, 1.85% APY, min. deposit $500

SECU
The State Employees Credit Union of Maryland (SECU) is the largest credit union in the state of Maryland and is among the largest credit unions in the United States. Membership is open to employees, retirees and contractors of the state of Maryland, employees of Anne Arundel County, alumni, students, faculty and staff of University System of Maryland Schools, employees of organizations located in Maryland that receive federal, state or local funding, and over 500 local Select Employer Groups. SECU offers a decent rate of 1.85% on its 1-year CD.

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on SECU’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Wright-Patt Credit Union – 12 to 17-Month Certificate, 1.71% APY, min. deposit $500

Wright-Patt Credit Union
Unlike many credit unions, you can’t just make a simple donation to join Wright-Patt CU if you fail to meet their membership criteria. You need to live in certain areas of Ohio, be associated with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, or be an employee of their select employer group, among other options.

Wright-Patt offers an 12 to 17-month certificate yielding a decent return of 1.71% APY. withdrawal penalties vary depending on the original term of your CD, however they’ll be anywhere between 5-12 months’ worth of dividends.

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on Wright-Patt Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Redstone Federal Credit Union – 12 Month Share Certificate, 1.51% APY, min. deposit $1,000

Redstone Federal Credit Union
You can’t just make a simple donation to join to Redstone Federal Credit Union if you fail to meet their membership criteria. You need to be a government employee or contractor, a member of the military, reserve, or National Guard, or affiliated with a number of organizations listed on their website among other options.

However, if you do qualify for membership, you could earn an APY of 1.51% with a minimum deposit of $1,000. Redstone FCU has compounding and non-compounding certificates, which allow you to have the option to withdraw interest earned or not throughout the term of the certificate.

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on Redstone Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

3 questions to consider before opening a credit union CD

Banks are more likely to call their products certificates of deposit, while credit unions often refer to them as share certificates. Aside from the name, the biggest difference between the two is that credit unions have higher average annual percentage yields (APYs) than traditional banks, as of September 2018. That’s good news: It means more money back in your pocket when the CD matures (i.e., reaches the end of its term and is available for withdrawal).

There really is no difference in safety between depositing money in a CD with a credit union versus a bank, as long as they participate in either the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) for credit unions, or the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for banks.

According to Neal Frankle, a Los Angeles-based Certified Financial Planner with Wealth Pilgrim, deposits of up to $250,000 per financial institution are “backed by the full faith and credit of United States Government, so it’s pretty solid.”

For the most part, choosing a CD at a bank or a credit union boils down to your preference as a consumer: Do you want to be a bank customer or a member of a credit union? Here’s a primer on the differences.

The biggest advantage of credit union CDs over bank CDs is that you can likely earn more interest. But with both products, the longer the CD term, the more interest you will earn. And with a CD laddering strategy, you can have the best of both worlds: frequent access to your money, yet you can still keep it locked away in high-interest, long-term CDs.

Beyond that, the disadvantages of opening a credit union CD are the same as if you’re opening a CD with a bank. You can’t access that money without paying an early withdrawal penalty until the CD matures. While CDs do offer some of the highest rates for any financial product you’re likely to come across at a bank or credit union, they still don’t really earn great interest. If you’re investing for the long-term (like retirement savings), your money is better invested in the riskier (but higher-earning) stock or bond market.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

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