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Updated on Thursday, April 1, 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 a bit under 1.00% APY, double the average 18-month CD rate of 0.43%. 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 April 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. American Heritage Credit Union — 0.50% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit
By bumping your term up by just two months, from 18 to 20 months, you’ll earn this high APY. If you want to stick to 18 months, the rate falls just short of our list. You can fund an American Heritage Credit Union CD with $500, but you’ll need to deposit at least $1,000 to earn this top rate. Dividends 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.
3. Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union — 0.75% 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.
4. 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.
5. Hiway Federal Credit Union — 0.65% 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.
6. Lafayette Federal Credit Union — 0.75% APY, $50 minimum deposit
The $50 minimum deposit on Lafayette Federal Credit Union’s 18-month certificate is tempting, but keep in mind that it’s a variable rate, which means the certificate rate is subject to change without notice. You can also make additional deposits into the certificate at any time. Dividends are compounded and paid quarterly, and the certificate automatically renews upon maturity.
Membership to Lafayette Federal Credit Union is open to people who live, work or attend school in the Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. area, but if you live elsewhere in the country, you’re also eligible for membership by joining the Home Ownership Financial Literacy Council, which will only set you back $10.
7. Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union — 0.65% 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.
8. Latino Credit Union — 0.40% APY, $500 minimum deposit
Latino Credit Union’s 18-month term certificate accrues interest daily, but that interest is not compounded. If you take your money out before the 18 months are up, you’ll lose out on 90 days’ interest or all interest you’ve earned, whichever amount is lower.
You don’t need to be a member of the Latino community to be a member of Latino Credit Union. You’ll just need to pay a $10 one-time membership fee — good for the whole family — to the Latino Community Development Center organization.
9. MutualOne Bank — 0.45% APY, $500 minimum deposit
You can open this 18-month CD online; you just need to send in your documents within 30 days of opening the account. You’ll start earning interest on the day of your deposit, as long as your documents are approved. Withdrawing any principal before the CD matures will cost you 180 days’ interest as a penalty.
MutualOne Bank started back in 1889 as Framingham Co-operative Bank, taking on its new name after a merger with Natick Federal Savings Bank in 2012. The bank is headquartered in Framingham, Mass.
10. Paramount Bank — 0.40% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit
Paramount Bank allows you to choose any term length you want between 12 and 18 months, and the rates and penalties will stay the same regardless of which term you choose. Each CD in this range earns an APY of 0.40% and has an early withdrawal fee of 6 months’ worth of interest.
Today, St. Louis, Mo.-based Paramount Bank offers a full range of banking products including checking accounts, savings accounts and CDs. However, this bank opened its doors as a mortgage bank in 1970, and has evolved over time to its present-day form.
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.