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7 Best Options to Refinance Student Loans – Get Your Lowest Rate

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Updated: December 2, 2018

Are you tired of paying a high interest rate on your student loan debt? You may be looking for ways to refinance your student loans at a lower interest rate, but don’t know where to turn. We have created the most complete list of lenders currently willing to refinance student loan debt. We recommend you start here and check rates from the top 7 national lenders offering the best student loan refinance products. All of these lenders (except Discover) also allow you to check your rate without impacting your score (using a soft credit pull), and offer the best rates of 2018:

LenderTransparency ScoreMax TermFixed APRVariable APRMax Loan Amount 
SoFiA+

20


Years

3.89% - 8.07%


Fixed Rate*

2.54% - 7.12%


Variable Rate*

No Max


Undergrad/Grad
Max Loan
Learn more Secured

on SoFi’s secure website

EarnestA+

20


Years

3.89% - 7.89%


Fixed Rate

2.54% - 7.27%


Variable Rate

No Max


Undergrad/Grad
Max Loan
Learn more Secured

on Earnest’s secure website

CommonBondA+

20


Years

3.67% - 7.25%


Fixed Rate

2.69% - 7.43%


Variable Rate

No Max


Undergrad/Grad
Max Loan
Learn more Secured

on CommonBond’s secure website

LendKeyA+

20


Years

3.49% - 8.93%


Fixed Rate

2.67% - 8.96%


Variable Rate

$125k / $175k


Undergrad/Grad
Max Loan
Learn more Secured

on LendKey’s secure website

Laurel Road BankA+

20


Years

3.50% - 7.02%


Fixed Rate

3.23% - 6.65%


Variable Rate

No Max


Undergrad/Grad
Max Loan
Learn more Secured

on Laurel Road Bank’s secure website

Citizens BankA+

20


Years

3.89% - 9.99%


Fixed Rate

2.98% - 9.72%


Variable Rate

$90k / $350k


Undergraduate /
Graduate
Learn more Secured

on Citizens Bank (RI)’s secure website

Discover Student LoansA+

20


Years

5.74% - 8.49%


Fixed Rate

4.99% - 7.99%


Variable Rate

$150k


Undergraduate /
Graduate
Learn more Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

You should always shop around for the best rate. Don’t worry about the impact on your credit score of applying to multiple lenders: so long as you complete all of your applications within 14 days, it will only count as one inquiry on your credit score.

We have also created:

But before you refinance, read on to see if you are ready to refinance your student loans.

Can I get approved?

Loan approval rules vary by lender. However, all of the lenders will want:

  • Proof that you can afford your payments. That means you have a job with income that is sufficient to cover your student loans and all of your other expenses.
  • Proof that you are a responsible borrower, with a demonstrated record of on-time payments. For some lenders, that means that they use the traditional FICO, requiring a good score. For other lenders, they may just have some basic rules, like no missed payments, or a certain number of on-time payments required to prove that you are responsible.
LenderMinimum credit scoreEligible degreesEligible loansAnnual income
requirements
Employment
requirement
 
SoFi

Good or Excellent
score needed

Undergraduate
& Graduate

Private, Federal,
& Parent PLUS

None

Yes


(or signed job offer)
Learn more Secured

on SoFi’s secure website

Earnest

660

Undergraduate
& Graduate

Private, Federal,
& Parent PLUS

None

Yes


(or signed job offer)
Learn more Secured

on Earnest’s secure website

CommonBond

660

Undergraduate
& Graduate

Private, Federal,
& Parent PLUS

None

Yes


(or signed job offer)
Learn more Secured

on CommonBond’s secure website

LendKey

680

Undergraduate
& Graduate

Private & Federal

$24K

Yes

Learn more Secured

on LendKey’s secure website

Laurel Road Bank

Not published

Undergraduate
& Graduate

Private, Federal,
& Parent PLUS

None

Yes


(or signed job offer)
Learn more Secured

on Laurel Road Bank’s secure website

Citizens Bank

680

Undergraduate
& Graduate

Private, Federal,
& Parent PLUS

$24K

Yes

Learn more Secured

on Citizens Bank (RI)’s secure website

Discover Student Loans

Not published

Undergraduate
& Graduate

Private & Federal

None

Yes

Learn more Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Diving Deeper: The best places to consider a refinance

If you go to other sites they may claim to compare several student loan offers in one step. Just beware that they might only show you deals that pay them a referral fee, so you could miss out on lenders ready to give you better terms. Below is what we believe is the most comprehensive list of current student loan refinancing lenders.

You should take the time to shop around. FICO says there is little to no impact on your credit score for rate shopping as many providers as you’d like in a single shopping period (which can be between 14-30 days, depending upon the version of FICO). So set aside a day and apply to as many as you feel comfortable with to get a sense of who is ready to give you the best terms.

Here are more details on the 7 lenders offering the lowest interest rates:

1. SoFi

LEARN MORE Secured

on SoFi’s secure website

Read Full Review

SoFi : Variable rates from 2.54% and Fixed Rates from 3.89% (with AutoPay)*

SoFi was one of the first lenders to start offering student loan refinancing products. More MagnifyMoney readers have chosen SoFi than any other lender. The only requirement is that you graduated from a Title IV school. In order to qualify, you need to have a degree, a good job and good income.

Pros Pros

  • Borrowers can refinance private, federal and Parent PLUS loans together: Through SoFi, borrowers have the ability to combine all of their student loans (private, federal and Parent PLUS) when refinancing. Along with the ability to refinance Parent PLUS loans, parents can also transfer the PLUS loans into their child’s name.
  • Access to career coaches: SoFi offers their borrowers access to their Career Advisory Group who work one-on-one with borrowers to help plan their career paths and futures.
  • Unemployment protection: SoFi offers some help if you lose your job. During the period of unemployment they will pause your payments (for up to 12 months) and work with you to find a new job. However, just remember that any unemployment protection offered by SoFi would be weaker than the income-driven repayment options of federal loans.

Cons Cons

  • No cosigner release: While they offer you the opportunity to refinance with a cosigner, it is important to know that SoFi does not offer borrowers the opportunity to release a cosigner later on down the road.
  • You lose certain protections if you refinance a federal loan: This con is not unique to SoFi (and you will find it with all other private lenders). Federal loans come with certain protections, including robust income-driven payment protection options. You will forfeit those protections if you refinance a federal loan to a private loan.

Bottom line

Bottom line

SoFi is really the original student loan refinance company, and is now certainly the largest. SoFi has consistently offered low interest rates and has received good reviews for service. In addition, SoFi invests heavily in building a “community” – which means you can start to get other benefits once you are a SoFi member.

SoFi has taken a radical new approach when it comes to the online finance industry, not only with student loans but in the personal loan, wealth management and mortgage markets as well. With their career development programs and networking events, SoFi shows that they have a lot to offer, not only in the lending space but in other aspects of their customers lives as well.

2. Earnest

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on Earnest’s secure website

Read Full Review

Earnest : Variable Rates from 2.54% and Fixed Rates from 3.89% (with AutoPay)

Earnest focuses on lending to borrowers who show promise of being financially responsible borrowers. Because of this, they offer merit-based loans versus credit-based ones. 

Pros Pros

  • Flexible repayment options: Earnest offers some of the most flexible options when it comes to repayment. They allow you to choose any term length between 5-20 years. You can choose your own monthly payment, based upon what you can afford (to the penny). Earnest also offers bi-weekly payments and “skip a payment” if you run into difficulty.
  • Ability to switch between variable and fixed rates: With Earnest, you can switch between fixed and variable rates throughout the life of your loan. You can do that one time every six months until the loan is paid off. That means you can take advantage of the low variable interest rates now, and then lock in a higher fixed rate later.
  • Loans serviced in-house: Earnest is one of just a few lenders that provides in-house loan servicing versus using a third-party servicer.

Cons Cons

  • Cannot apply with a cosigner: Unlike many of the other lenders, Earnest does not allow borrowers to apply for student loan refinancing with a cosigner.
  • No option to transfer Parent PLUS loans to Child: If you are a parent that is looking to refinance your Parent PLUS loan into your child’s name, it is important to note that this cannot be done through refinancing with Earnest.
  • You lose certain protections if you refinance a federal loan: When refinancing with any private lender, you will give up certain protections if you refinance a federal loan to a private loan.

Bottom line

Bottom line

Earnest, who was recently acquired by Navient, is making a name for themselves within the student refinancing space. With their flexible repayment options and low rates, they are definitely an option worth exploring.

3. CommonBond

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on CommonBond’s secure website

Read Full Review

CommonBond : Variable Rates from 2.69% and Fixed Rates from 3.67% (with AutoPay)

CommonBond started out lending exclusively to graduate students. They initially targeted doctors with more than $100,000 of debt. Over time, CommonBond has expanded and now offers student loan refinancing options to graduates of almost any university (graduate and undergraduate).

Pros Pros

  • Hybrid loan option: CommonBond offers a unique “Hybrid” rate option in which rates are fixed for five years and then become variable for five years. This option can be a good choice for borrowers who intend to make extra payments and plan on paying off their student loans within the first five years. If you can a better interest rate on the Hybrid loan than the Fixed-rate option, you may end up paying less over the life of the loan.
  • Social promise: CommonBond will fund the education of someone in need in an emerging market for every loan that closes. So not only will you save money, but someone in need will get access to an education.
  • “CommonBridge” unemployment protection program: CommonBond is here to help if you lose your job. Similar to SoFi, they will pause your payments and assist you in finding a new job.

Cons Cons

  • Does not offer refinancing in the following states: Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, South Dakota and Vermont.
  • You lose certain protections if you refinance a federal loan: When refinancing with any private lender, you will give up certain protections if you refinance a federal loan to a private loan.

Bottom line

Bottom line

CommonBond not only offers low rates but is also making a social impact along the way. Consider checking out everything that CommonBond has to offer in term of student loan refinancing.

4. LendKey

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on LendKey’s secure website

Read Full Review

LendKey : Variable Rates from 2.67% and Fixed Rates from 3.49% (with AutoPay)

LendKey works with community banks and credit unions across the country. Although you apply with LendKey, your loan will be with a community bank. Over the past year, LendKey has become increasingly competitive on pricing, and frequently has a better rate than some of the more famous marketplace lenders.

Pros Pros

  • Opportunity to work with local banks and credit unions: LendKey is a platform of community banks and credit unions, which are known for providing a more personalized customer experience and competitive interest rates.
  • Offers interest-only payment repayment: Many of the lenders on LendKey offer the option to make interest-only payments for the first four years of repayment.

Cons Cons

  • Rates can vary depending on where you live: The rate that is advertised on LendKey is the lowest possible rate among all of its lenders, and some of these lenders are only available to residents of specific areas. So even if you have an excellent credit report, there is still a possibility that you will not receive the lowest rate, depending on geographic location.
  • No Parent PLUS refinancing available: Unlike several of the other student loan refinancing companies, borrowers do not have the ability to refinance Parent PLUS loans with LendKey.
  • You lose certain protections if you refinance a federal loan: As when refinancing federal loans with any private lender, you will give up your federal protections if you refinance your federal loan to a private one.

Bottom line

Bottom line

LendKey is a good option to keep in mind if you are looking for an alternative to big bank lending. If you prefer working with a credit union or community bank, LendKey may be the route to uncovering your best offer.

5. Laurel Road Bank

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on Laurel Road Bank’s secure website

Read Full Review

Laurel Road Bank : Variable Rates from 3.23% and Fixed Rates from 3.50% (with AutoPay)

Laurel Road Bank offers a highly competitive product when it comes to student loan refinancing.

Pros Pros

  • Forgiveness in the case of death or disability: They may forgive the total student loan amount owed if the borrower dies before paying off their debt. In the case that the borrower suffers a permanent disability that results in a significant reduction to their income,Laurel Road Bank may forgive some, if not all of the amount owed.
  • Offers good perks for Residents and Fellows: Laurel Road Bank allows medical and dental students to pay only $100 per month throughout their residency or fellowship and up to six months after training. It is important for borrowers to keep in mind that the interest that accrues during this time will be added on to the total loan balance.

Cons Cons

  • Higher late fees: While many lenders charge late fees,Laurel Road Bank’s late fee can be slightly steeper than most at 5% or $28 (whichever is less) for a payment that is over 15 days late.
  • You lose certain protections if you refinance a federal loan: While not specific to Laurel Road Bank, it is important to keep in mind that you will give up certain protections when refinancing a federal loan with any private lender.

Bottom line

Bottom line

As a lender,Laurel Road Bank prides itself on offering personalized service while leveraging technology to make the student loan refinancing process a quick and simple one. Consider checking out their low-rate student loan refinancing product, which is offered in all 50 states.

6. Citizens Bank

LEARN MORE Secured

on Citizens Bank (RI)’s secure website

Read Full Review

Citizens Bank (RI) : Variable Rates from 2.98% and Fixed Rates from 3.89% (with AutoPay)

Citizens Bank offers student loan refinancing for both private and federal loans through its Education Refinance Loan.

Pros Pros

No degree is required to refinance: If you are a borrower who did not graduate, with Citizens Bank, you are still eligible to refinance the loans that you accumulated over the period you did attend. In order to do so, borrowers much no longer be enrolled in school.

Loyalty discount: Citizens Bank offers a 0.25% discount if you already have an account with Citizens.

Cons Cons

Cannot transfer Parent PLUS loans to Child: If you are looking to refinance your Parent PLUS loan into your child’s name, this cannot be done through Citizens Bank.

You lose certain protections if you refinance a federal loan: Any time that you refinance a federal loan to a private loan, you will give up the protections, forgiveness programs and repayment plans that come with the federal loan.

Bottom line

Bottom line

The Education Refinance Loan offered by Citizens Bank is a good one to consider, especially if you are looking to stick with a traditional banking option. Consider looking into the competitive rates that Citizens Bank has to offer.

7. Discover

LEARN MORE Secured

on Discover Student Loans’s secure website

Discover Student Loans : Variable Rates from 4.99% and Fixed Rates from 5.74% (with AutoPay)

Discover, with an array of competitive financial products, offers student loan refinancing for both private and federal loans through their private consolidation loan product.

Pros Pros

  • In-house loan servicing: When refinancing with Discover, they service their loans in-house versus using a third-party servicer.
  • Offer a variety of deferment options: Discover offers four different deferment options for borrowers. If you decide to go back to school, you may be eligible for in-school deferment as long as you are enrolled for at least half-time. In addition to in-school deferment, Discover offers deferment to borrowers on active military duty (up to 3 years), in eligible public service careers (up to 3 years) and those in a health professions residency program (up to 5 years).

Cons Cons

  • Performs a hard credit pull: While most lenders do a soft credit check, Discover does perform a hard pull on your credit.
  • No Parent PLUS refinancing available: Discover does not offer borrowers the option of refinancing their Parent PLUS loans.
  • You lose certain protections if you refinance a federal loan: Be careful when deciding to refinance your federal student loans because when doing so, you will lose access federal protections, forgiveness programs and repayment plans.

Bottom line

Bottom line

If you’re looking for a well-established bank to refinance your student loans, Discover may be the way to go. Just keep in mind that if you apply for a student loan refinance with Discover, they will do a hard pull on your credit.

 

Additional Student Loan Refinance Companies

In addition to the Top 7, there are many more lenders offering to refinance student loans. Below is a listing of all providers we have found so far. This list includes credit unions that may have limited membership. We will continue to update this list as we find more lenders:

Traditional Banks

  • First Republic Eagle Gold. The interest rates are great, but this option is not for everyone. Fixed rates range from 1.95% – 4.45% APR. You need to visit a branch and open a checking account (which has a $3,500 minimum balance to avoid fees). Branches are located in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Newport Beach, San Diego, Portland (Oregon), Boston, Palm Beach (Florida), Greenwich or New York City. Loans must be $60,000 – $300,000. First Republic wants to recruit their future high net worth clients with this product.
  • Wells Fargo: As a traditional lender, Wells Fargo will look at credit score and debt burden. They offer both fixed and variable loans, with variable rates starting at 4.74% and fixed rates starting at 5.24%. You would likely get much lower interest rates from some of the new Silicon Valley lenders or the credit unions.

Credit Unions

  • Alliant Credit Union: Anyone can join this credit union. Interest rates start as low as 3.75% APR. You can borrow up to $100,000 for up to 25 years.
  • Eastman Credit Union: Credit union membership is restricted (see eligibility here). Fixed rates start at 6.50% and go up to 8% APR.
  • Navy Federal Credit Union: This credit union offers limited membership. For men and women who serve (or have served), the credit union can offer excellent rates and specialized underwriting. Variable interest rates start at 4.81% and fixed rates start at 4.29%.
  • Thrivent: Partnered with Thrivent Federal Credit Union, Thrivent Student Loan Resources offers variable rates starting at 4.13% APR and fixed rates starting at 3.99% APR. It is important to note that in order to qualify for refinancing through Thrivent, you must be a member of the Thrivent Federal Credit Union. If not already a member, borrowers can apply for membership during the student refinance application process.
  • UW Credit Union: This credit union has limited membership (you can find out who can join here, but you had better be in Wisconsin). You can borrow from $5,000 to $150,000 and rates start as low as 4.29% (variable) and 3.99% APR (fixed).

Online Lending Institutions

  • Education Loan Finance:This is a student loan refinancing option that is offered through SouthEast Bank. They have competitive rates with variable rates ranging from 2.80% – 6.01% APR and fixed rates ranging from 3.39% – 6.69% APR.
  • EdVest: This company is the non-profit student loan program of the state of New Hampshire which has become available more broadly. Rates are very competitive, ranging from 4.53% – 7.20% (fixed) and 4.57% – 7.24% APR (variable).
  • IHelp : This service will find a community bank. Unfortunately, these community banks don’t have the best interest rates. Fixed rates range from 4.00% to 8.00% APR (for loans up to 15 years). If you want to get a loan from a community bank or credit union, we recommend trying LendKey instead.
  • Purefy: Purefy lenders offer variable rates ranging from 2.82%-8.42% APR and fixed interest rates ranging from 3.75% – 9.66% APR. You can borrow up to $150,000 for up to 15 years. Just answer a few questions on their site, and you can get an indication of the rate.
  • RISLA: Just like New Hampshire, the state of Rhode Island wants to help you save. You can get fixed rates starting as low as 3.49%. And you do not need to have lived or studied in Rhode Island to benefit.

Is it worth it to refinance student loans?

If you are in financial difficulty and can’t afford your monthly payments, a refinance is not the solution. Instead, you should look at options to avoid a default on student loan debt.

This is particularly important if you have Federal loans.

Don’t refinance Federal loans unless you are very comfortable with your ability to repay. Think hard about the chances you won’t be able to make payments for a few months. Once you refinance student loans, you may lose flexible Federal payment options that can help you if you genuinely can’t afford the payments you have today. Check the Federal loan repayment estimator to make sure you see all the Federal options you have right now.

If you can afford your monthly payment, but you have been a sloppy payer, then you will likely need to demonstrate responsibility before applying for a refinance.

But, if you can afford your current monthly payment and have been responsible with those payments, then a refinance could be possible and help you pay the debt off sooner.

Like any form of debt, your goal with a student loan should be to pay as low an interest rate as possible. Other than a mortgage, you will likely never have a debt as large as your student loan.

If you are able to reduce the interest rate by refinancing, then you should consider the transaction. However, make sure you include the following in any decision:

Is there an origination fee?

Many lenders have no fee, which is great news. If there is an origination fee, you need to make sure that it is worth paying. If you plan on paying off your loan very quickly, then you may not want to pay a fee. But, if you are going to be paying your loan for a long time, a fee may be worth paying.

Is the interest rate fixed or variable?

Variable interest rates will almost always be lower than fixed interest rates. But there is a reason: you end up taking all of the interest rate risk. We are currently at all-time low interest rates. So, we know that interest rates will go up, we just don’t know when.

This is a judgment call. Just remember, when rates go up, so do your payments. And, in a higher rate environment, you will not be able to refinance your student loans to a better option (because all rates will be going up).

We typically recommend fixing the rate as much as possible, unless you know that you can pay off your debt during a short time period. If you think it will take you 20 years to pay off your loan, you don’t want to bet on the next 20 years of interest rates. But, if you think you will pay it off in five years, you may want to take the bet. Some providers with variable rates will cap them, which can help temper some of the risk.

You can also compare all of these loan options in one chart with our comparison tool. It lists the rates, loan amounts, and kinds of loans each lender is willing to refinance. You can also email us with any questions at info@magnifymoney.com.

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.

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

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Earning Interest

Best Money Market Rates & Accounts – March 2019

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

If you’re looking to save more money beyond your regular savings account, consider adding a money market account to the mix. A money market account can earn at a higher rate than a savings account, especially if you have a larger balance to deposit. Many MMAs tier their rates as well, rewarding higher balances with higher rates.

Like most deposit accounts, the rate on money market accounts has grown over the past few years, up from 0.188% APY in 2016 to 0.391% APY in Mar. 2019. Savings account rates have also increased, but still averaged only 0.273% APY in Mar. 2019.

You can do much better than a 0.391% APY on a money market if you’re willing to break with traditional brick and mortar banks. Opening an MMA at the bank around the corner, for example, may not yield more than 1% APY, while an internet-only bank might offer a rate of 2% APY or higher. With a rate like that, you can boost your savings by a wide margin.

If you were to put $50,000 into an MMA earning 0.04%, you would earn only $20 in interest over a year. Put that same starting amount into an online bank account at 2%, and you’d earn $1,000 in interest over a year.

With so many options out there, it can seem daunting to search for a new bank account with a potentially new bank. We’ve made it it easier for you by rounding up the best money market accounts out there. We searched through over 12,000 banks and credit unions to find the money market accounts paying the highest interest rates. We also looked at an account’s minimum requirements and fund accessibility.

Overall, we found that internet banks consistently beat the competition. You might not recognize all their names — new online banks are continuing to crop up — but if it’s high interest rates you’re looking for, it might be good to branch out since online banks are the way to go. Here are the best rates for March 2019:

1. High Rate: UFB Direct – 2.45% APY, $5,000 minimum deposit and balance to avoid $10 monthly fee

UFB Premium Money Market - New Money from UFB DirectUFB Direct is a division of Axos Bank, a federally chartered, publicly traded and FDIC-insured bank based in San Diego. In recent months, UFB Direct has become increasingly aggressive with high rates targeting big balances. The APY of 2.45% is an outstanding rate, but you need to have a balance of at least $25,000. If your balance drops below that, you’ll earn an APY of 0.50%. You’ll also need to keep an average daily balance of at least $5,000 in the account in order to avoid a monthly maintenance fee of $10.00. You will get a Visa debit card and have access to limited check writing. We think this is the best option for people with big balances that they want to keep in a money market account.

LEARN MORE Secured

on UFB Direct’s secure website

Member FDIC

2. High Rate: earn.bank – 2.41% APY, $100 to open, $0 minimum balance, $10k to avoid $10 monthly fee

Money Market Account from earn.bankearn.bank is a division of Silvergate Bank, a state-chartered bank headquartered in San Diego, CA. The state-chartered bank has over $1 billion in assets, and your deposit would be FDIC insured up to the legal limit. Silvergate Bank created earn.bank to provide “a transparent, powerful savings vehicle that will help you meet your savings goals”. At 2.41% APY, the internet-only bank is certainly starting out strong. You only need $100 to open the account and there isn’t a minimum balance requirement to earn the high rate. A few downsides to this account include a $10 monthly maintenance fee that comes with a steep balance requirement if you want it waived. You would need to maintain an average daily balance of $10,000 to avoid the monthly fee. The account does not come with check-writing privileges and there is no ATM access. You’ll also want to make sure you’re enrolled in eStatements as you’ll be charged a $25 fee for each paper statement you receive. You can deposit your funds via ACH (electronic transfer), which can take a couple of days. Just remember: there is a limit of 6 withdrawals per calendar month.

LEARN MORE Secured

on earn.bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

3. Trusted Bank: Capital One – 2.00% APY, $10,000 minimum balance to earn APY

360 Money Market from Capital OneYou may think of credit cards when you think of Capital One, but don’t overlook their deposit accounts. The 360 Money Market account currently comes with a great 2.00% APY. While the bank doesn’t require you to have a minimum amount to open the account, you will have to maintain a balance of $10,000 or more to earn their high rate. If your balance falls below that amount, you’ll earn an APY of 0.85%. We really like that Capital One doesn’t impose any monthly fees, and while they don’t offer checks, they do provide you with an ATM card that you can use to withdraw up to $1,000 per day. While you’re able to make an unlimited amount of withdrawals from an ATM per month, remember that you’re limited to making six certain transfers and withdrawals per cycle due to Federal Law. To access this account, you may do so online, in person, or on-the-go through Capital One’s mobile app.

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on Capital One’s secure website

Member FDIC

4. Favorite Online Package: Ally – 0.90% APY, no minimum deposit and link to free checking

Online Savings Account from Ally BankAlly Bank is a very popular internet-only bank. If you keep a daily balance of $5,000 or less, you will earn the 0.90% APY. If you’re able to keep a minimum daily balance of $25,000 the APY increases to 1.00%. Although the interest rate on the money market account is not the highest, Ally does offer a very competitive overall package – particularly if you link the account to an Ally checking account. The checking account has no minimum balance and no monthly fee. You can link your money market account to your checking account to provide overdraft protection. Money would be transferred to your checking account with no transaction fee if you ever made a mistake. You would be able to access your money market account with your Ally ATM card, which has free AllPoint access and up to $10 of non-Ally ATM fees reimbursed every month. This money market account is a nice way to provide yourself with overdraft protection while earning interest. If you don’t need check-writing capabilities on your savings, you would still be better off with Ally’s savings account.

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on Ally Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

The rest of these accounts are listed by APY regardless of minimum balance.

5. Highest Overall Rate: Virtual Bank – 2.36% APY, no minimum balance to earn APY

eMoneyMarket from Virtual BankVirtual Bank, a division of IBERIABANK, is currently offering an introductory rate on their money market account that is the highest available. This rate is guaranteed for 12 months and will adjust to the standard rate that is in effect at the time. New customers can earn the 2.36% APY by depositing a minimum of $100. While there isn’t a minimum balance requirement to earn the APY, there is a balance requirement to avoid incurring the $5 monthly service fee. All you’ll have to do is maintain a daily minimum balance of $100 and they’ll waive the monthly fee. While this account doesn’t have any check writing capabilities, you can easily move money in and out of the account via ACH. Virtual Bank has a mobile app, that has the mobile check deposit feature, in addition to their online banking platform.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Virtual Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

6. High Rate: Bay State Savings Bank – 2.35% APY, $5,000 minimum to open and avoid $7 monthly fee

Smile Worcester County Consumer Money Market from Bay State Savings BankBay State Savings Bank opened its doors in 1895 with a commitment to “be the community bank of choice” for its community. As time has gone on, this community bank has evolved to include digital banking and welcomes all U.S. residents to apply for an account. The bank has also grown to acquire over $400 million in assets. Currently, it’s offering a high rate on a money market account that does more than just hold your money. The money that you deposit helps Bay State Savings Bank support the economic growth of areas in need within Worcester County. So, not only will you be earning an outstanding APY 2.35%, but you’ll also be helping to an area in need of support. There are a few items to be aware of prior to opening the account: there is a $7 monthly fee if you can’t maintain a $5,000 balance and outgoing ACH transfers are limited to $10,000 per transaction. This account does come with check-writing capabilities and online bill payment services. Bay State Savings Bank is not only insured by the FDIC, but they are also insured by the Depositors Insurance Fund (DIF).

LEARN MORE Secured

on Bay State Savings Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

7. Top Choice: Sallie Mae – 2.30% APY, no minimum balance and checks available

Money Market from Sallie Mae BankIf you have student loan debt, you probably are not very excited to see Sallie Mae at the top of this list. However, many people are unaware that Sallie Mae also operates an internet-only FDIC-insured bank with some of the best interest rates in the country. You can earn 2.30% APY, compounded daily and paid monthly. There is no minimum balance and no monthly maintenance fees. You will have check-writing capabilities (although the standard money market limit of six per month applies to this account). The easiest (and best) way to fund and access your funds is via electronic transfer from your existing checking account. If you want a simple account with no fees and check access – this is a good bet. Sallie Mae has just recently increased the APY, making this one the best rates in the country.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Sallie Mae Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

8. High Rate: Northpointe Bank – 2.30% APY, $25,000 minimum balance, checks and debit card available

Liquid Money Market from Northpointe BankNorthpointe Bank, is a fairly large bank located in Grand Rapids, MI. They have over $1 billion in assets and have only been around since 1999. Currently, they’re offering a 2.30% APY on their money market account. While you’ll only need $1,000 to open the account, you’ll have to have a minimum balance amount of $25,000 to earn the high APY. If you have a balance between $1,000 and $2,500, you’ll earn an APY of 0.20%. If your balance is between $2,500 and $25,000, you’ll earn 0.25% APY. Once your balance exceeds $1 million, the APY will drop to 0.50%. This account comes with a debit card and checks. Northpointe Bank does not charge a monthly maintenance fee, but will charge a $15 Excess Transaction Fee each time you exceed six certain transactions a month. The offer online banking and have a mobile banking app.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Northpointe Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

9. High Rate: Pacific National Bank – 2.25% APY, $5,000 minimum balance to earn APY

MMDA Online Special (New Money Only) from Pacific National BankPacific National Bank has quite an interesting history. In 1982, Banco Del Pacifico Ecuador (BPE) decided to establish Banco Del Pacifico International in Miami, FL as an Edge Act bank. The Edge Act allowed national banks to do international banking through divisions chartered by the Federal Reserve Bank. By 1985, Banco Del Pacifico International decided to become a national bank charter and changed its name to Pacific National Bank. Since this change, the bank has acquired over $454 million in assets. The bank initially offered its services to South Florida residents, but decided to expand to all U.S. residents with a valid Social Security Number in 2016.Today, Pacific National Bank is offering an online special on its money market account. With a minimum deposit of $5,000, you could earn an APY of 2.25%. You’ll need to maintain that amount in the account on a daily basis to waive the monthly maintenance fee of $25 and to continue earning the high rate. Check writing is available with this account, but keep in mind that you can only make six certain transaction within a month due to federal law. If you exceed six certain transactions within a month, Pacific National Bank will charge a fee of $20 per additional transaction. You may also make ACH transfers, free of charge, without any limits after the initial funding. In addition to banking online, the bank offers a mobile banking app for your convenience.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Pacific National Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

10. High Rate: BankPurely – 2.25% APY, $25,000 minimum balance, ATM access

BankPurely
BankPurely, a division of Flushing Bank, currently offers a 2.25% APY on their money market account. You’ll have to either deposit a minimum amount of $25,000 or grow your balance to that amount in order to earn interest. If you’re not able to deposit that amount, you may want to go with Sallie Mae since they have a great rate for a lower deposit amount. However, BankPurely does provide an ATM card, which gives you access to surcharge-free ATMs within the Allpoint Network. Just keep in mind that you’ll be limited to withdrawing $1,000 per business day. Per Federal law, you’ll also be restricted to making six transfers per month. You’ll have access to online banking as well as to their mobile banking app to manage your account. Plus, if you open an account with BankPurely, they’ll plant a tree.

LEARN MORE Secured

on BankPurely’s secure website

Member FDIC

11. High Rate: Self-Help Credit Union – up to 1.88% APY, $500 minimum deposit and minimum balance

Money Market from Self-Help Credit UnionSelf-Help is a credit union that anyone can join. If you don’t live, work or worship in one of their eligible counties, you can join by donating $5 to the Center for Community Self-Help. The contribution is tax deductible and will make you eligible for credit union membership. (You can learn more about how to join the credit union here.) At a credit union, your funds are insured up to $250,000 – but it is by the NCUA instead of the FDIC. The money market offers an APY of 1.88% on balances from that are at least $500. You also need to maintain the balance during the month – otherwise you will be charged a monthly maintenance fee. You are allowed 6 free withdrawals or transfers from the account each month (including checks).

LEARN MORE Secured

on Self-Help Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Special Mention: Great Rate for Small Deposits: Premier Members Credit Union – 4.00% APY up to $2k

Premier Members Credit Union

Premier Members Credit Union is open to anyone willing to make a $5 donation Impact on Education, a charity for the Boulder Valley School District. This credit union is currently offering an incredible rate of 4.00% with only $5 to open the account. You can earn this APY on balances up to $2,000. Amazingly, even if you grow the balance up to $5,000, you’ll earn 1.49% APY. As the balance increases, the APY decreases to the following:

  • $5,000.01-$10,000: 0.75%
  • $10,000.01-$50,000: 0.50%
  • $50,000.01-$100,000: 0.40%
  • $100,000.01-$250,000: 0.35%
  • $250,000.01+: 0.30%

Premier Members Credit Union rewards low balance savers by placing the highest rate with the lowest deposit, but if the balance grows they start using a reverse tier system where they blend the APY as the balance grows. Checks are available with this account, but you can only make six withdrawals per month. Each additional withdrawal will be assessed a $10 fee.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Premier Members Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

What to consider before opening a money market account

Before you get bogged down in the details, let’s take a look at some quick pros and cons of a money market account.

Pros:Cons:
  • Typically carry higher interest rates than savings accounts
  • Convenient access to your funds with check-writing abilities and a debit/ATM card (not offered on all accounts)

  • May carry monthly maintenance fees or a high balance to waive one
  • Still limited to six transfers and withdrawals per month like a savings account (or you’ll face a fee)
  • You’re better off using a higher yield product like CDs for money you won’t need in the immediate future

Who money market accounts are best for

Now that you know the basics of a money market account, should you get one? They’re a good choice if you have a big deposit you’d like to keep safe and growing at a high interest rate. Then when you need to access that money, perhaps for an upcoming purchase or in an emergency, you can often easily do so with an ATM/debit card or by writing a check.

Savings accounts vs. money market accounts

Money market accounts often earn a higher rate than standard savings accounts. The caveat is that MMAs often require higher opening deposits or higher balances than a standard savings account. Even so, you may also find that one bank’s top money market rate earns at the same rate (or lower) as a savings account at another bank.

For example, one of the best savings accounts, Ally’s Online Savings account, offers a 2.20% APY while its money market account earns at a mere 0.90% APY (on most balances). So if it’s high interest rates you’re after, be sure to compare accounts across the board rather than turning immediately to a money market account. Just be sure to keep your balance limits in mind when shopping around.

What often separates money market accounts from savings accounts is their check-writing abilities or issued ATM/debit cards. This provides easier access to your money especially if you have larger balances you’re saving for a bigger purchase. Not all money market accounts offer these features, though. Furthermore, money market accounts are still savings vehicles, so they’re also limited to six outgoing transactions per month, like transfers and withdrawals.

Read more about the differences between money market and savings accounts here.

CDs can offer higher rates than money market accounts

Savings accounts and money market accounts often pay much lower interest rates than CDs. Right now you can get a 1-year CD paying 2.75% APY (with only a $500 minimum). You can find the best CD rates here. If you build a CD ladder, you can take advantage of 5-year rates that are currently as high as 3.00%. Creating a CD ladder also allows you to protect your investments over the years by locking in today’s high rates in a long-term account while also staying flexible for any potential rate increases with your shorter-term accounts. The interest rate on a money market account can change right away, at the bank’s discretion.

If you need some savings more immediately, money market accounts are great places to keep that money— it’ll keep growing, while still remaining accessible. In contrast, should you need to access your CD funds before it matures, you’ll likely face a pretty heavy penalty, typically forfeiting three to six months of interest.

A money market account isn’t the same thing as a money market fund

Money market accounts, like deposit accounts, provide FDIC insurance on your deposits up to $250,000. Money market funds, on the other hand, are investment accounts, most likely sold by your broker, and are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission instead. Money market funds invest in highly liquid cash and cash equivalent securities that typically mature within 13 months.

As an example, Vanguard offers the Prime Money Market Fund. Like other money market funds, this one “invests in short-term, high-quality securities.” Its objective is to keep the fund trading at $1 and generate a decent return. Still, money market funds can end up with a lower return than those you see from the money market accounts listed in this article. Since money market fund returns are dependent on the market and the Federal Reserve Rate, it’s important to keep an eye on the current interest rate climate to see whether investing in these funds are worth your time and money.

Money market funds charge expense ratios, or management fees, that are charged as a percentage of your fund (Vanguard’s is currently 0.16% as of Dec. 2018). You can also end up paying some transaction fees. It’s important to watch out for an account’s fees which can often lessen your total investment in the end. Like money market accounts, money market funds can also require a high minimum balance to open an account.

Most people compare the return of a money market fund (sold by their broker) to the interest rate paid by a traditional bank (sold by their local bank teller). As a result, they are willing to take the risk of a money market fund. However, as you can see from the best money market accounts in this article, you can get FDIC insurance and beat the return of most funds without taking on the risk of market investments.

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.

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

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Earning Interest

The Best CD Rates – March 2019

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

The Best CD Rates
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Updated March 1, 2019

If you are looking for a better yield on your savings, a high rate CD (certificate of deposit) offered by an online bank could be a good option. Internet-only banks offer much better interest rates than traditional banks. For example, a 12-month CD at Bank of America would require a $10,000 minimum deposit and would pay only 0.07%. At an online bank, you could earn 2.75% with no minimum deposit. (If you would rather get a savings account or money market with no time restriction, look at the best savings accounts or best money market accounts).

The Best CD Rates in March 2019

This list is updated monthly, and competition continues to intensify. Here are the accounts with some of the best CD rates:

Term

Institution

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

 

1 year

Goldman Sachs Bank USA

2.75%

$500

LEARN MORE Secured

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

Member FDIC

2 years

Mountain America Credit Union

3.25%

$500

LEARN MORE Secured

on Mountain America Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

3 years

Mountain America Credit Union

3.35%

$500

LEARN MORE Secured

on Mountain America Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

5 years

Mountain America Credit Union

3.51%

$500

LEARN MORE Secured

on Mountain America Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

See a full list of the best CD rates below.

  • 6 months – 6 years: Goldman Sachs Bank USA – 0.60% APY – 3.15% APY; $500 minimum deposit

High-yield 12 Month CD from Goldman Sachs Bank USAOur advertiser Marcus by Goldman Sachs is the online consumer bank of Goldman Sachs Bank USA (the large investment bank). Your funds are FDIC insured, and Goldman offers very competitive rates. Even better: there is only a $500 minimum deposit. So, if you don’t have enough money to meet the minimum deposit of the other banks on this list, or you are looking for another bank for your savings, GS is a good option. It also doesn’t hurt that they also offer some of the best CD rates in the market today. Here are their rates:

  • 6-month: 0.60% APY
  • 9-month: 0.70% APY
  • 12-month: 2.75% APY
  • 18-month: 2.65% APY
  • 2-year: 2.70% APY
  • 3-year: 2.75% APY
  • 5-year: 3.10% APY
  • 6-year: 3.15% APY

LEARN MORE Secured

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • 3 months – 5 years: Ally Bank – 0.75% APY – 3.10% APY; $0 minimum deposit (higher APY with higher deposit)

High Yield 12-Month CD from Ally BankAlly is one of the largest internet-only banks in the country. Ally’s former advertising campaign made it very clear: no branches = higher rates. And Ally has consistently paid some of the highest rates in the country across savings accounts, money market accounts and CDs. For savers with fewer funds, Ally is unique. There is no minimum deposit to open a CD. However, if you have more money, you can earn a higher APY. If you have more than $25,000 to deposit, you can earn between 0.75% APY and 3.10% APY. And one of our favorite features of Ally: they often (although not always) offer preferential rates on renewal. Far too often banks give the biggest bonuses to new customers, but Ally has done a good job of rewarding its existing customers. A good example of this is a 1% cash back promotion Ally is currently offering to new and existing customers. All deposits at Ally are FDIC insured up to the legal limit.

  • 3-months: 0.75% APY (less than $5k); 0.75% APY ($5k minimum deposit) and 0.75% APY ($25k minimum deposit)
  • 6-months: 1.00% APY (less than $5k); 1.00% APY ($5k minimum deposit) and 1.00% APY ($25k minimum deposit)
  • 9-months: 1.25% APY (less than $5k); 1.25% APY ($5k minimum deposit) and 1.25% APY ($25k minimum deposit)
  • 12-months: 2.75% APY (less than $5k); 2.75% APY ($5k minimum deposit) and 2.75% APY ($25k minimum deposit)
  • 18-months: 2.50% APY (less than $5k); 2.65% APY ($5k minimum deposit) and 2.70% APY ($25k minimum deposit)
  • 3-year: 2.60% APY (less than $5k); 2.70% APY ($5k minimum deposit) and 2.75% APY ($25k minimum deposit)
  • 5-year: 3.10% APY (less than $5k); 3.10% APY ($5k minimum deposit) and 3.10% APY ($25k minimum deposit)

LEARN MORE Secured

on Ally Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • 1 year – 5 years: Barclays Bank – 2.75% – 3.10% APY, no minimum deposit

12 Month Online CD from Barclays Barclays is one of the oldest banks in the world. Although they’re based in London, they do have a U.S. presence and offer competitive rates on their CDs and savings account. Currently, they’re offering some of the highest CD rates in the market, and they have an edge over the rest of the institutions on this list: they don’t require a minimum balance to earn the APY or open an account. Deposit as little or as much as you’d like into a term of your choice and you can start earning interest as long as the account is funded within 14 days of opening the CD. Additionally, your funds are insured through the FDIC.

  • 1-year: 2.75% APY
  • 2-year: 2.80% APY
  • 3-year: 2.85% APY
  • 4-year: 2.90% APY
  • 5-year: 3.10% APY

LEARN MORE Secured

on Barclays’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • 3 months – 5 years: Synchrony Bank – 0.75% APY – 3.10% APY; $2,000 minimum deposit

12 Month CD from Synchrony BankSynchrony used to be a part of GE, and now has an online bank that pays competitive rates. The online deposits are used to fund their store credit card portfolio – and the company is publicly traded. If you have $2,000 or more to deposit into a CD, Synchrony will offer you the best CD rates. However, if you have less than $2,000, you’re better off going with Goldman Sachs, Ally Bank, or Barclays. Your deposit will be insured up to the FDIC limit. In a rising rate environment, this is a great way to get a high interest rate without locking yourself into a long term.

  • 3-months: 0.75% APY
  • 6-months: 1.00% APY
  • 9-months: 1.25% APY
  • 12-months: 2.80% APY
  • 18-months: 2.75% APY
  • 24-months: 2.90% APY
  • 36-months: 2.90% APY
  • 48-months: 3.00% APY
  • 60-months: 3.10% APY

LEARN MORE Secured

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • 6 months – 5 years: Capital One – 0.60% APY – 3.10% APY; no minimum deposit

12 Month 360 CD from Capital OneCapital One is famous for its credit card business. However, it has recently started getting aggressive with its CD rates. There is no minimum deposit for their 360 CDs, which make them comparable to Barclays’ CDs. Capital One CDs are FDIC insured, up to the federal maximum. And you get the comfort of depositing your money with a well-known bank.

  • 6-months: 0.60% APY
  • 9-months: 0.75% APY
  • 12-months: 2.70% APY
  • 18-months: 2.70% APY
  • 24-months: 2.80% APY
  • 30-months: 2.80% APY
  • 36-months: 2.85% APY
  • 48-months: 2.90% APY
  • 60-months: 3.10% APY

LEARN MORE Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • 6 months – 120 months: Vio Bank – 2.00% APY – 3.10% APY; $500 minimum deposit

12 Month High Yield Online CD from Vio BankVio Bank, a division of MidFirst Bank, is an online bank you don’t want to ignore. It launched in August 2018 with highly competitive offerings and it has continued to offer top rates on both its CDs and online savings account. While Vio Bank hasn’t been around very long, they are supported by a financial institution that is established with over $16 billion in assets. We’re extremely impressed with its early start. Here’s a full list its current CD rates:

  • 6-months: 2.00%
  • 9-months: 2.50%
  • 12-months: 2.55%
  • 15-months: 2.60%
  • 18-months: 2.55%
  • 24-months: 2.55%
  • 36-months: 2.70%
  • 48-months: 2.80%
  • 60-months: 2.90%
  • 84-months: 3.00%
  • 120-months: 3.10%

LEARN MORE Secured

on Vio Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • 6 months – 7 years: PenFed Credit Union – 2.40% APY – 3.05% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit

12 Month Money Market Certificate from PenFed Credit UnionPenFed is a credit union that offers very competitive interest rates. You need to join the credit union in order to benefit from their products. If you have a military or government affiliation, it is free to join. Otherwise, you would need to join an organization like Voices for America’s Troops, which costs $17.00. Once you are a member, you can open PenFed products (including this certificate) online. Your deposit would be insured by the NCUA, which is the National Credit Union Administration. There is a $1,000 minimum deposit for the one-year certificate.

  • 6-months: 2.40%
  • 12-months: 2.50%
  • 15-months: 2.55%
  • 18-months: 2.60%
  • 2-years: 2.70%
  • 3-years: 2.80%
  • 4-years: 2.85%
  • 5-years: 3.05%
  • 7-years: 3.05%

LEARN MORE Secured

on PenFed Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

  • 1-Year CD: Hyperion Bank – 3.20% APY, $500 minimum deposit

13 Month CD - New Money from Hyperion BankHyperion Bank was established in 2006 in effort to invest in neighborhoods in Philadelphia, PA. Since opening its doors, it has acquired over $96 million in assets. Currently, the bank is offering an amazing rate on a 13-month CD. With a minimum deposit of $500, you can open this CD and earn 3.20% APY. If you open this CD and decide to withdraw early, you may incur a penalty that is worth three months interest. One downside with Hyperion Bank is that it doesn’t offer a way to open the account via an online application. If you want to open this account remotely, you’ll have to call the bank or email customer service.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Hyperion Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • 1-Year CD: USALLIANCE Financial – 2.80% APY, $500 minimum deposit

12 Month CD from USALLIANCE FinancialUSALLIANCE Financial is a credit union that anyone can join. The credit union was created in 1966 for employees of IBM. You can check here to see if you are eligible to join the credit union. If you do not meet any of those eligibility requirements,f don’t worry. You can join (for $15) the American Consumer Council. This is a one-time fee (and you can join here). Once you are a member, you can then join the credit union. USALLIANCE is offering a nice 2.80% APY for a one year certificate (CDs are called “certificates” at credit unions). Just keep in mind that if you choose to withdraw money from your CD early, you may be hit with a penalty that is worth 180 days’ of interest. Your money is insured by the NCUA (it is like the FDIC, but for credit unions).

LEARN MORE Secured

on USALLIANCE Financial’s secure website

NCUA Insured

  • 2-Year CD from a Credit Union: Mountain America Credit Union – 3.25% APY, $500 minimum deposit

24 Month Term Deposit from Mountain America Credit UnionMountain America Credit Union was established in the 1930s to help its members achieve their financial goals. Today, they have grown to serve hundreds of thousands of members and have acquired over $7 billion in assets. This credit union is open to Utah residents in certain areas, family members of existing members of the credit union, and employees and volunteers of a Select Employer Group. If you are a member or become a member of the American Consumer Council, you’ll qualify for membership at Mountain America Credit Union. Once you become a member, you’ll be able to open this 2-year CD with an outstanding APY of 3.25%. All you need is a minimum of $500. Mountain America Credit Union’s 24 Month Term Deposit has an early withdrawal penalty that is worth 180 days’ worth of interest.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Mountain America Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

  • 2-Year CD: CD Bank – 3.07% APY, $10,000 minimum deposit

24 Month CD from CD BankCD Bank is the online division of TBK Bank, which was established in 1981 and has acquired over $4 billion in assets. This online division has only been around since 2017, but it launched with competitive rates at the time and has continued to offer competitive rates on its shorter-term CDs as the CD market has risen. At this moment, CD Bank is offering a 2-year CD with an APY of 3.07%. You will need to deposit a minimum of $10,000 in order to earn this APY. The early withdrawal penalty for this CD is equal to 18 months interest on the withdrawn amount. Be aware that once this CD matures, the only two ways you can receive the fully matured funds is via a cashier’s check or outgoing wire transfer. If you choose to use an outgoing wire transfer, the bank may charge you a $15 fee.

LEARN MORE Secured

on CD Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • 3-Year CD from a Credit Union: Mountain America Credit Union, 3.35% APY, $500 minimum deposit

3 Year Term Deposit from Mountain America Credit UnionIf you’d like to open Mountain America Credit Union’s 3-year CD, you’ll need to deposit a minimum of $500 in order to earn their outstanding 3.35% APY. Accounts can be managed online or through their mobile app. Deposits made to Mountain America Credit Union are insured by the NCUA.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Mountain America Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

  • 3-Year CD: M.Y. Safra Bank – 3.06% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit

36 Month Classic CD from M.Y. Safra BankM.Y. Safra Bank, located in New York, NY, was established in 2000. They currently have over $363 million in assets. Their 36 Month Online Promo CD has an APY of 3.06%, which is one of the highest currently available from a bank. You’ll need $1,000 to deposit to open the account and a little patience navigating their website. The early withdrawal penalty for this CD will depend on whether the credited amount of interest or 90 days’ worth of interest is higher. The bank will take whichever amount is higher at the time of your early withdrawal. While they do have a mobile app, you’ll have to first apply for an account online.

LEARN MORE Secured

on M.Y. Safra Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

  • 5-Year CD from a Credit Union: Mountain America Credit Union – 3.51% APY, $500 minimum deposit

60 Month Youth Term Deposit from Mountain America Credit UnionMountain America Credit Union also makes the list for the best 5-year CD rate from a credit union. It actually beats out Georgia Banking Company by 0.01% (or 1 bps). With a minimum deposit of $500, you can earn an APY of 3.51%. Keep in mind, however, that if you withdraw money from this CD prior to its maturity date, you’ll face a penalty of 365 days worth of interest.

While they do have membership requirements based on where you live and work, they also open membership to anyone who’s a member of numerous organizations including the American Consumer Council. To become a member of the American Consumer Council, you can either pay their yearly fee of $8 or $15 for their lifetime membership. Mountain America Credit Union has a mobile banking app as well as an online banking platform. You may also want to consider their Term Deposit Plus products as you’ll be able to add money to the CD at any time throughout the term. These CDs have the same rate as their regular CDs, but only require $5 to open and an automated monthly deposit amount of at least $10.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Mountain America Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

  • 5-Year CD: The Federal Savings Bank – 3.30% APY, $10,000 minimum deposit

5 Year Promotional CD from The Federal Savings BankThe Federal Savings Bank is a private, federally chartered bank that is veteran-owned. This bank mainly focuses on home ownership, but offers deposit products, as well. It has acquired over $387 million in assets since it opened its doors in 2000. Currently, the bank is offering promotional CDs with fairly high rates. Its 5-year CD is currently offering the highest rate for a national bank, but you will need a minimum of $10,000 to open the account.  All deposits made to this bank are FDIC-insured.

LEARN MORE Secured

on The Federal Savings Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

3 Questions To Ask Before You Open A CD

1. Should I just open an online savings account instead?

With a CD, the saver and the bank make stronger commitments. The saver promises to keep the funds in the account for a specified period of time. In exchange, the bank guarantees the interest rate during the term of the CD. The longer the term, the higher the interest rate – and the higher the penalty for closing the CD early. With a savings account, there are few promises. You can empty the account without paying a penalty and the bank can change the interest rate at any time.

If you have a high level of confidence that you do not need to touch the money for a specified period of time, a CD is a much better deal. However, if you think you might need to use the money in the next couple of months, a savings account is a much better idea.

You can earn a lot more interest with a CD. Imagine you have $10,000 and know that you do not need to touch the money for two years. In a high-yield savings account earning 2.35%, you would earn $475.52 over two years. If you put that money into a 2.65% CD, you would earn $537.02. Given the ease of switching to an online CD, the extra interest income is easy money.

2. What term should I select?

The early withdrawal penalties on CDs can be significant. On a 1-year CD, 90 days is a typical penalty. And on 2 and 3 year CDs, a 6-month penalty is common. The impact of the penalty on your return can be significant. If you opened a one-year CD with a 2.65% APY and closed it after six months, you would forfeit half of the interest and earned only 1.32%. You would have been better off with a savings account paying 2.25%.

The worst case scenario is with the longest CDs. 5-year CDs usually have a one-year penalty for taking out funds early. If you open a 5-year CD and close it quickly, you could actually end up losing money.

Given the early penalties, you need complete confidence that you will not need to withdrawal the money early. Ask yourself this question: “do I have 90% confidence that I will not need access to the cash during the CD term?” If you don’t have confidence, go for a shorter term or a savings account.

3. Should I consider my local bank or credit union?

The interest rates shown in this article are all from online banks that offer products nationally. Our product database includes traditional banks, community banks and credit unions. If traditional banks offered better rates, they would have been featured in this article. The internet-only banks have dramatically better interest rates. That should not be surprising. Because internet-only banks do not have branches, they are able to pass along their cost savings to you in the form of higher interest rates.

However, you can always visit your local bank or credit union and ask them to beat the rates listed in this article. The chance of getting a better deal is extremely low (remember that Bank of America is only paying 0.07%), but you can try.

How To Find The Best Account

If you don’t find an account that meets your needs in this article, you can use the MagnifyMoney CD tool to find the best rate for your individual needs. Input your zip code, deposit amount and term. The tool will then provide you with CD options, from the highest APY to the lowest.

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Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

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