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Three-year CDs are a great choice for your mid-term savings goals. They offer higher APYs than 1-year certificates, while avoiding the time commitment of a longer 5-year CD term. To make sure you give your account the best chance to grow your money, you’ll want to find the best CD rates available.
MagnifyMoney can help you find the right 3-year CD for your savings. Using data from DepositAccounts.com, similar to Magnify Money, a LendingTree-owned site, we’ve found the highest 3-year CD rates available nationwide. We also looked at each account minimum deposit and each bank’s relative health to ensure top picks.
The 10 best 3-year CD rates in September 2019
|Institution||APY||Minimum deposit amount|
|American 1 Credit Union||2.75%||$500|
|Wheelhouse Credit Union||2.60%||$500|
|Dow Chemical Employees’ Credit Union||2.90%||$1,000|
|Hughes Federal Credit Union||2.58%||$1,000|
|First National Bank of America||2.40%||$1,000|
|Home Loan Investment Bank, F.S.B.||2.55%||$1,000|
|Garden Savings Federal Credit Union||2.53%||$500|
|State Department Federal Credit Union||2.52%||$500|
|Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union||2.50%||$500|
American 1 Credit Union — 2.75% APY, $500 minimum deposit
American 1 Credit Union offers some solid rates on its certificates, including its 3 Year certificate. You’ll need at least $500 to open the account. Should you want to make an early withdrawal, you’ll have to give up 90 days’ dividends that you would have earned on the amount withdrawn and close your account.
American 1 was founded in 1950 and is based in Jackson, Mich.
USALLIANCE Financial — 2.60% APY, $500 minimum deposit
USALLIANCE Financial offers a high-yield, fixed-rate 36-month CD with a minimum deposit of only $500. USALLIANCE compounds interest daily and credits it monthly. Early withdrawals from the account may trigger a penalty equal to 360 days of interest.
USALLIANCE Financial was founded by IBM employees in 1966. Today, you can join USALLIANCE Financial through your place of residence, employer, place of worship, school or organization.
Wheelhouse Credit Union — 2.60% APY, $500 minimum deposit
Take advantage of Wheelhouse Credit Union’s slightly shorter 33-month certificate for its more competitive interest rate. You can get started with just $500. After the 33-month certificate matures, it will renew into a 36-month account. The early withdrawal penalty will depend on how far along in the term you are: the further away from maturity, the larger the penalty.
Wheelhouse Credit Union was founded in 1934 by a handful of City of San Diego employees. It is the second-oldest credit union in San Diego. You’re eligible for membership if you live and/or work in San Diego County, are a Zoological Society member or have a family member who is a current member.
Dow Chemical Employees’ Credit Union — 2.90% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit
Get started with a high-rate 36 Months Simple CD at Dow Chemical Employees’ Credit Union with a $1,000 minimum deposit. The penalty for an early withdrawal will equal 365 days’ worth of simple interest earned on the amount withdrawn.
As you might have guessed, the Dow Chemical Employees’ Credit Union was first opened to serve members of the The Dow Chemical Company in 1937. Today, membership is still open to The Dow Chemical Company and its affiliated companies as well as Dow Corning Corporation and its affiliated companies, other Select Employer Group companies, family members of eligible individuals and members of select other groups. The credit union also invites you to give them a call if you’re not eligible now so as to try and find a path of eligibility for you.
Hughes Federal Credit Union — 2.58% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit
Making a minimum deposit into a Hughes Federal Credit Union 36 Month Certificate can get you its competitive rate. Depositing even more money can make it a Mini-Jumbo or Jumbo CD, boosting the rate a bit higher. Partial withdrawals from a Certificate Account are not allowed, so if you make a withdrawal before maturity, you’ll have to withdraw all the funds, close the account and pay a penalty of $50.00 or 180 days dividend, whichever is greater.
Hughes Federal Credit Union was founded in 1952 in Tucson, Ariz. to serve Hughes Aircraft Company employees and their families. Today, the credit union serves select employee groups and anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Tucson.
First National Bank of America — 2.40% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit
First National Bank of America offers a great spread of Time Certificate of Deposits starting at one month long and reaching to 84 months long. Its 36 Months CD falls nicely in between, especially with its competitive interest rate. You’ll need at least $1,000 to open a Time Certificate of Deposit with the bank.
Established in 1955, First National Bank of America maintains its headquarters and three branches in Michigan. Still, you can easily access your accounts online, as well.
Home Loan Investment Bank, F.S.B — 2.55% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit
In addition to its standard Certificates of Deposit, Home Loan Investment Bank also offers a handful of e-CDs. These eBanking accounts earn at much more competitive rates, including the 3 Year e-CD. You need at least $2,500 to open a Home Loan e-CD.
Home Loan was established in 1959 as a home loan lender. It expanded into banking in 1995 and is now headquartered in Warwick, R.I. and has branches and ATMs in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Garden Savings Federal Credit Union — 2.53% APY, $500 minimum deposit
With a $500 minimum opening deposit, start saving with a Garden Savings Federal Credit Union 3 Years Share Certificate. Compounded interest is paid monthly. The early withdrawal penalty is 180 days of dividends earned. Garden Savings FCU provides NCUA insurance and ESI (Excess Savings Insurance)
Garden Savings Federal Credit Union was founded in 1968 to serve employees of AT&T Bell Laboratories, now known as Alcatel-Lucent. Today, the credit union still serves Alcatel-Lucent employees, as well as employees and retirees of other Select Employer Groups and their relatives. Membership is also open to those who live, work, worship and attend school in select New Jersey areas and members of the American Consumer Council.
State Department Federal Credit Union — 2.52% APY, $500 minimum deposit
With just $500, you can open a high-yield 36 months Share Certificate with State Department Federal Credit Union. There are no service charges and dividends are compounded daily for further savings. If you make an early withdrawal from the 36-month Share Certificate, you’ll pay a penalty that’s either 180 days of dividends on the amount withdrawn or the amount of dividends earned since the date of issuance, whichever is smaller.
You can join State Department FCU if, of course, you are an employee of The U.S. Department of State. Member eligibility may also apply through select organization membership, an immediate family member or the American Consumer Council. You can also apply as a group with your employer/employees.
SDFCU was founded in 1935. Headquartered in Alexandria, Va., offers its customers branch access through the CO-OP Shared Branch network.
Affinity Plus Credit Union — 2.50% APY, $500 minimum deposit
You need only $500 to get started with a 36-month Basic Certificate from Affinity Plus Credit Union. The early withdrawal penalty equals 180 days’ dividends.
Founded in 1930, Affinity is based in Minnesota. You can join Affinity Plus Credit Union depending on where you work or volunteer, your school, where you live/work/worship or through relatives and roommates. You may also become eligible by joining the Affinity Plus Foundation with a one-time $25 membership fee.
Inflation impact on 3-year CD rates
Inflation reduces the value of any savings or investment balance, including CDs. Your earnings have to exceed the inflation rate for there to be a real return on your money. While mid- and long-term CDs can lock in a high rate today, there’s still potential for inflation to lower your earnings.
For a more inflation-proof savings strategy, consider stock- and bond-based investment products. They can come in handy for long-term savings since their earnings have a better chance of exceeding the inflation rate.
Should I pay early withdrawal penalties if 3-year CD rates rise?
In today’s current rate climate, the zero odds of a Fed rate hike in 2019 don’t point to an increase in 3-year CD rates any time soon. That said, an early withdrawal can sometimes be worth paying the penalties, although you’ll want to do the math and check whether the gains are greater than the costs. Calculate the penalty you would end up paying and ensure it’s lower than the returns on the new CD. This early withdrawal penalty calculator from DepositAccounts.com can run the numbers for you and tell you outright whether breaking your CD is worth it or not.