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Updated on Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Sometimes you need a shorter-term CD, but the rate of return on a 12-month CD just isn’t quite enough. Thankfully, many institutions offer 18-month CD or 19-month CD options. They typically have higher rates than a 12-month account, while remaining a viable choice for near-term savings goals when a 24-month CD would be too long a commitment.
The key is to find the right 18-month CD to maximize your savings. If you look around, you can find rates just at or under 1.00% APY, double the average 18-month CD rate of 0.46%. To make the search process easier for you, we’ve uncovered the best 18-month CDs using data from DepositAccounts.com to find the highest APY. We also took each account’s minimum deposit requirement into consideration.
The 10 best 18-month CD rates in January 2021
1. Western Vista Credit Union — 1.00% APY, $0.01 minimum deposit
For a minimum deposit of only $0.01, you can start earning at this competitive rate with Western Vista Credit Union’s 19-month special CD. By bumping up your term length by just one month, you earn a rate that is more than double their 18-month rate. Dividends are paid quarterly and at maturity.
Founded in 1940, Western Vista is a community credit union based in Wyoming, but it offers service nationwide through shared branches. Membership is open to those in its serviced areas and anyone who makes a charitable contribution to their foundation. If you live outside of the service area, you’ll need to sign up over the phone.
2. Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union — 0.80% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit
You’ll earn this rate on Evansville’s 18-month certificate until the certificate first matures. Like all of Evansville’s certificates, this 18-month account requires a modest minimum investment of $1,000.
Membership to ETFCU is open to employees of select employers and organizations and their family members. You can also join with a $5 donation to the Mater Dei High School Friends & Alumni Association.
3. CommunityWide Federal Credit Union — 0.85% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit
Open a CommunityWide Federal Credit Union term share certificate with at least $1,000 to start saving at its competitive rate. Note that CW does not automatically renew your certificate at maturity, leaving that choice up to you. CW calculates its early withdrawal penalty a little differently than other institutions. It will equal the amount of the withdrawal times the remaining term (in days) of the certificate at the rate of two times the certificate’s current APR (divided by 365). The penalty will be deducted from the amount withdrawn.
CommunityWide FCU was founded in 1967 as the West Washington Association Federal Credit Union, gaining its current name in 1985. You can join CW if you’re a member, employee or retiree of select organizations, a spouse of someone who died while a member or an immediate family member of qualified members. You can also join by becoming a member of one of three charitable organizations.
4. Greenwood Credit Union — 0.85% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit
Greenwood Credit Union’s CDs require a modest $1,000 to open, and compound interest daily and credit it monthly. The listed rate is for the credit union’s 15-month CD; you could opt for the 18-month option, but it will actually earn you less. The CD will automatically renew at maturity, but you’ll have seven days at the end of the CD’s term to take out your money or make additional deposits. Any money withdrawn before maturity will cost you six months’ interest on the amount withdrawn.
Greenwood Credit Union is located in Warwick, R.I., but anyone can join GCU by opening and maintaining a Share Account online with a minimum of $5. This will give you access to all of Greenwood Credit Union’s financial products, including this 3-month CD. You’ll also have access to 50,000+ CO-OP Shared Branches.
5. Superior Credit Union — 0.85% APY, $25,000 minimum deposit
You’ll need the fairly large sum of $25,000 to secure this rate, but if you have less cash available, you can still get a good rate for as little as $2,500. If you have more than $25,000 to invest, you’ll get even higher rates.
Superior Credit Union is rooted in Wisconsin and Minnesota communities. If you don’t live or work in those areas, you can also become a member by joining either the Douglas County Historical Society of Superior, Wis., or the American Consumer Council (ACC).
6. Hiway Federal Credit Union — 0.80% APY, $25,000 minimum deposit
This rate applies to Hiway Federal Credit Union certificate accounts from 12 to 23 months. Dividends are calculated using the daily balance method. Withdrawing funds from this Hiway Federal Credit Union certificate will cost you 90 days’ dividends, which is somewhat generous when compared to other banks and credit unions.
Hiway FCU was founded in 1931 for employees of Minnesota’s Department of Transportation. Individuals can also qualify by being a part of select Minnesota communities, working at partner companies or agencies or through family members. Everyone else can become a member of Hiway FCU by contributing to one of two organizations: the Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation or the Association of the United States Army.
7. NASA Federal Credit Union — 0.80% APY, $10,000 minimum deposit
NASA Federal Credit Union offers an in-between CD term with its 15-month share certificate. It earns a top rate and requires a minimum $10,000 deposit in new money to open. Dividends are compounded monthly. Withdrawal of your principal amount before maturity will result in the loss of 182 days of dividends on the amount withdrawn.
NASA Federal Credit Union was founded in 1949 and is headquartered in Upper Marlboro, Md. You’re eligible for membership if you are an employee or retiree of NASA Headquarters, any NASA Center or Facility, or National Academy of Sciences (NAS); an employee of a partner company or association; or a relative or household member of a current NASA FCU member. You can also join through a National Space Society (NSS) membership, which NASA FCU will provide, complimentary.
8. Pen Air Federal Credit Union — 0.75% APY, $500 minimum deposit
You’ll need at least $500 to open an 18-month Pen Air Certificate. Then you can start earning at its 0.75% APY. The early withdrawal penalty for this term will equal 180 days’ dividends.
Founded in 1936, Pen Air Federal Credit Union is based in Pensacola, Fla., and maintains locations in Northwest Florida and Southeast Alabama. Pen Air membership is open to you if you’re active duty or retired military, a civil service employee, an employee at a partnering Select Employer Group or an immediate family member of eligible members. You may also join by becoming a member of the Friends of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Inc., whose one-time $3 donation Pen Air will make for you.
9. Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union — 0.75% APY, $500 minimum deposit
Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union offers a variety of CD products, including its competitive 18-month Basic Certificate. You’ll need at least $500 to open one, and the early withdrawal penalty will equal 180 days’ interest.
Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union membership is open to employees, volunteers, students, alumni, members and volunteers of select organizations and groups as well as to individuals who live, work, worship or volunteer in select Minnesota communities. You may also join if you’re a relative or housemate of an eligible individual or if you make a one-time $25 dues payment to the Affinity Plus Foundation.
10. American Heritage Credit Union — 0.75% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit
You can fund an 18-month CD at American Heritage Credit Union with $500, but you’ll need to deposit at least $1,000 to earn this top rate. A $500 deposit will snag a lower APY of 0.10%. Certain individuals — including existing members of the credit union — may also be eligible for the 20-month CD special, which would nab an APR that beats the rest of the offers on this list. Dividends on both CDs are compounded and credited monthly. The early withdrawal penalty is 180 days’ dividends.
American Heritage, founded in 1948, has locations in and around Philadelphia, and offers access to more than 5,000 shared branch locations nationwide. In addition to the usual ways to become a member, based on where you work and/or live, you can join American Heritage Credit Union if you are a member of the credit union’s Kids-N-Hope Foundation. If you’re not currently a member, American Heritage will donate to the foundation for you, securing your membership.
Is it worth getting an 18-month CD over a 1-year CD?
When we discuss CD rates, we tend to center the conversation on 1-year CDs. They’re helpful to look at when assessing changes in rates over time, typically compared to long-term CDs. They also the general starting point when creating a CD ladder. So where do the slightly longer 18-month CDs fit in?
18-month CDs are only six months longer than 1-year CDs. It might seem like too little of a difference, especially when you’re squirreling away cash. However, because of this extra time a bank gets to hold your money, banks are willing to pay higher rates on your 18-month deposits, thus boosting your savings a little bit more.
Let’s say you deposit $1,000 into a bank’s 3% APY 18-month CD. At maturity, you’ll have earned around $46. Making that same deposit into the same bank’s 1-year CD at 2% APY, would earn just a little over $20. Of course, rates vary from bank to bank. That’s why it’s important to look for the best CD rates for each term to make locking your money away more worthwhile.