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The Best Credit Union CD Rates – November 2019

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

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

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

Using data from DepositAccounts.com, another LendingTree company, we identified the top one-year credit union CD rates, as of November 4, 2019. We then eliminated any credit union with a health rating lower than a B and identified the top offerings in three categories: restricted, no cost, and best banking app. If there was a tie by APY, we went with the product with the lower minimum deposit. Here are the best one-year credit union CD rates.

Best credit union CD rates with restricted memberships or membership fees

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

Wheelhouse Credit Union — 11-Month CD, 2.50% APY, min. deposit $1,000

11 Month Certificate Special - New Money from Wheelhouse Credit Union
For a limited time, Wheelhouse Credit Union is offering an outstanding yield on this 11-month certificate of deposit. At 2.50% APY, this among the best returns you can find on a credit union CD with a term under one year. In addition, Wheelhouse is offering a 22-month certificate yielding an impressive 2.75% APY, and a 33-month certificate earning 2.86% APY. The minimum deposit for all three certificates is $1,000.

Membership in Wheelhouse Credit Union is open to everyone who lives or works in California’s San Diego County, employees of Wheelhouse’s partner employers, or anyone who is a member of the Zoological Society of San Diego.

 

LEARN MORE Secured

on Wheelhouse Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Communitywide Federal Credit Union — 12-Month CD, 2.25% APY, min. deposit $1,000

12 Month Share Certificate from Communitywide Federal Credit Union For over 50 years, Communitywide Federal Credit Union has provided banking services to the citizens of northern Indiana, and now a completely revamped online and mobile portal brings its great rates to you, wherever you are. Membership in Communitywide FCU is open to members of the Michiana Goodwill Boosters or the Marine Corps League of St. Joseph Valley, as well as employees of over 40 companies in the central Midwest region.

In exchange for a $1,000 minimum deposit, Communitywide’s 12-month share certificate earns a 2.25% APY. One great feature is flexibility regarding your dividends, which may be compounded in the certificate, deposited to another share certificate, or transferred to another account. Another feature to understand is that there is no automatic renewal of Communitywide’s share certificates, which could be a good thing for savers who like to be reminded to survey the best rates available before rolling over their investments.

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on Communitywide Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Dow Chemical Employees’ Credit Union — 12-Month CD, 2.25% APY, min. deposit $1,000

12 Month Simple CD from Dow Chemical Employees' Credit UnionYou do not need to work for Dow Chemical to get this competitive rate on a share certificate — membership is open to anyone who joins the Midland Center for the Arts. In addition, current and retired employees of Dow Chemical, Dow Corning, and their affiliates are also eligible.

With a minimum deposit of $1,000, the 12-month CD offered by Dow Chemical Employees’ Credit Union earns a 2.25% APY. Note that this certificate is not eligible for DCECU’s annual payout of the credit union’s earnings to members. Certificates that are eligible for the member giveback yield a lower APY.

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on Dow Chemical Employees' Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

State Department Federal Credit Union– 12 Month Share Certificate, 2.22% APY, min. deposit $500

12 Month Certificate from State Department Federal Credit UnionDon’t worry, you don’t need a security clearance from the federal government to join this credit union—you simply need to sign up with the American Consumer Council and you can begin enjoying the benefits of your new membership.

One of those benefits, should you so choose, includes this 12-Month Share Certificate, which allows you to park your money in an account earning 2.22% APY with a minimum deposit of at least $500. You’ll have to pay 180 days worth of interest if you withdraw your money from the certificate before it matures, but it’s worth noting you can make a partial early withdrawal — and pay the penalty — without closing out the account completely.

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on State Department Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

USALLIANCE Financial — 12-Month certificate account, 2.20% APY, min. deposit $500

12 Month CD from USALLIANCE Financial
USALLIANCE Financial is offering a 12-month certificate account with a competitive APY of 2.20%.

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

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on USALLIANCE Financial’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Connexus Credit Union – 12 Month Share Certificate, 2.20% APY, min. $5,000

12 Month Certificate from Connexus Credit UnionThis Wisconsin-based credit union cracks our ranking of the best credit union CD rates for its 12 -month share chertificate’s 2.20% APY. It requires a bit of a hefty minimum deposit of $5,000 to open an account, but its APY is fairly generous compared to its competitors. Anyone can join Connexus by joining the Connexus Association and making a $5 donation.

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on Connexus Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Technology Credit Union – 12 – 17 Month Certificate, 2.15% APY, min. $1,000

12 - 17 Month Flextime CD from Technology Credit Union
The Technology Credit Union offers a slew of CDs with competitive rates, but its 12 to 17 month term CD stands out with a 2.15% APY and a low minimum deposit of just $1,000. It’s worth noting that if your certificate is not funded within 30 days of opening, it will be closed automatically. Technology Credit Union is open to anyone who joins the Financial Fitness Association, which has an $8 fee.

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on Technology Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Self-Help Credit Union – 12-Month Certificate, 2.12% APY, min. $500

12 Month CD from Self-Help Credit UnionThe Self-Help Credit Union’s 12-month certificate will certainly help out your finances, with a 2.12% APY and a minimum deposit of just $500. Membership to the Self-Help Credit Union is open to anyone who joins the Center of Community Self-Help, which has a membership fee of $5.

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on Self-Help Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Best CD rates for credit unions with no cost to join

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

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

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

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on UNIFY Financial Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

NASA Federal Credit Union – 1-Year Share Certificate, 1.50% APY, min. deposit $1,000

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

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

LEARN MORE Secured

on NASA Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Best CD rates for credit unions with the best mobile apps

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

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

Eastman Credit Union – 18-Month Investment Certificate, 2.40% APY, min. deposit $1,000

18 Month Investment Certificate Special from Eastman Credit Union Eastman Credit Union has pretty restrictive membership requirements. You’ll have to be an employee (or a family member of an employee) of one of their select employers, or live in certain parts of Tennessee, Texas, or Virginia.This special offer yields 2.40% APY for an 18-month investment certificate deposit, with a minimum deposit of $1,000. If you withdraw your money before the CD matures, you’ll owe a penalty fee of 90 days’ worth of dividend earnings.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Eastman Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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

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

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

LEARN MORE Secured

on Delta Community Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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

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

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on SECU’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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

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

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

LEARN MORE Secured

on Wright-Patt Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Redstone Federal Credit Union – 12 Month MemberPlus Share Certificate, 1.56% APY, min. deposit $1,000

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

However, if you do qualify for membership, you could earn an APY of 1.56% with a minimum deposit of $1,000. Redstone FCU has compounding and non-compounding certificates, which allow you to have the option to withdraw interest earned or not throughout the term of the certificate.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Redstone Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

3 questions to consider before opening a credit union CD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

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

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Best of, Earning Cashback

10 Best 5% Cash Back Credit Cards for November 2019

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

Cash Back Credit Cards for 2017
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Credit card rewards programs come in so many varieties that it can be difficult to find the best cards for your spending habits. A basic, flat-rate card that earns you a certain percentage of cash back on all purchases is probably the simplest bet out there. Typically, rates range from 1-2%. Not shabby, especially if you use that card exclusively. But it’s not exactly something to write home about either.

There are even better cash back rewards offerings out there, some as high as 5%. But with these high-rewards cards, there’s almost always a catch, since most don’t offer 5% cash back across the board.

Every few months, the cards offer a few select shopping categories that can earn 5% cash back. Once those few months are up, the categories change. For example, a card could offer 5% cash back on groceries, gas and airfare from January to March, then switch those categories to wholesale stores, restaurants and gyms from April to June.

Additionally, there are often caps on how much of your spending can qualify for the 5% rewards rate. So if the cap is $1,500, for example, everything past that amount won’t qualify for the higher reward.

The key to maximizing these great cashback card offers is to find ones that offer cash in the categories you use the most. We dug around and found 10 cards that offer at least 5% cash back in some of the most common spending categories including gas, groceries and entertainment.

Access to bonus 5% Categories: Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom®

The information related to Chase Freedom® has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms Apply.

Chase Freedom®

Regular Purchase APR
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

How it works: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. This translates to a maximum return of up to $75 per quarter on the 5% bonus category. You earn an unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases outside of the bonus categories. You can also Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Earn 5% back in these categories through the end of 2019:

  • January to March 2019: Gas stations, tolls and drugstores
  • April to June 2019: Grocery stores and home improvement stores
  • July to September 2019: Gas stations and select streaming services
  • October to December 2019: Department stores, Chase Pay, Apple Pay (Activate by Dec. 14, 2019)

Another area where the Chase Freedom® shines is in how it allows customers to redeem their rewards. The cash you’ve earned converts into Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. Every $1 equals 100 points. You can easily use the cash and apply it to your monthly statement. Or you can convert them into points and use them on travel, gift cards, merchandise, and other services through the Chase Freedom® rewards dashboard.

They make it super simple to redeem points on the go through the Chase Freedom® Mobile app. While you’re shopping, you can pick the merchant from the list on of eligible merchants on your app (popular ones include Nike, Regal Cinemas, Lowe’s, Starbucks and Best Buy). Then tell the app how much cash you want to use. You’ll get a custom e-gift card that you can present at checkout to pay for your purchases.

chasefreedommobileapp

Plus, you can stack the points earned on your Chase Freedom® card with your points on other Chase rewards cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. That just increases the spending power of your points.

The Fine Print: You can’t beat 5% cash back for your spending, especially with no annual fee. The downside is you have to remember to activate the category each quarter by subscribing to the program. But, if you set a reminder to do so, you can earn money without too much effort.

The original 5% cash back card: Discover it® Cash Back

Discover it® Cash Back

APPLY NOW Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

Discover it® Cash Back

Regular APR
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.

How it works: With the Discover it® Cash Back you earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like grocery stores, gas stations, Uber and Lyft, restaurants, or Amazon.com up to the quarterly maximum. The 5% is limited to $1500 spending per quarter, 1% after that. Activation is required.

Earn 5% cash back in these categories through the end of 2019:

  • January through March 2019: Grocery stores
  • April through June 2019: Gas stations, Uber and Lyft
  • July through September 2019: Restaurants and PayPal
  • October through December 2019: Amazon.com, Target, and Walmart.com (Activate now)

Discover also recently announced its 2020 cashback calendar:

  • January through March 2020: Grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS (Activate now)
  • April through June 2020: Gas stations, Uber, Lyft and wholesale clubs (Activate starting Feb. 1)
  • July through September 2020: Restaurants and PayPal (Activate starting May 1)
  • October through December 2020: Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Target.com (Activate starting Aug. 1)

Using your rewards: Cash back from the Discover it® Cash Back is tracked in dollars and cents. You can immediately apply your cash back earnings to your bank account or as a statement credit toward your bill (note: your minimum payment will still be due). There’s also no minimum rewards value if you want to redeem them for charitable donations.

The fine print: You can only earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 of spend each quarter you activate. Once you’ve hit that cap, you’ll earn 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases. This adds up to a $75 maximum return on your rotating bonus categories. There is no annual fee.

Extra perks: For new cardmembers, Discover will match ALL the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There’s no signing up and no limit to how much is matched.

Best for gas and restaurants in 2019: Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union

Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union

Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union

Regular Purchase APR
11.00% - 15.00% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 3 bonus points, or 5% cash back, respectively, for every dollar they spend on purchases for movies, restaurants, and home improvements (up to $1,500 per quarter).

How it works: The Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union lets you earn 3 bonus points, or 5% cash back, respectively, for every dollar they spend on purchases for movies, restaurants, and home improvements (up to $1,500 per quarter). Notably, it offers both gas and restaurants in two quarters. As a bonus New card holders earn 10,000 bonus points for $500 in purchases during first 90 days.

Earn 5% cash back in these categories through the end of 2019:

  • January to March: Groceries and gas expenses
  • April to June: Movies, restaurants and home improvement
  • July to September: Gas and education expenses
  • October to December: Restaurants, hotels and airfares

Using your rewards: This offer stands out as a decent companion card for maximizing cash back. When coupled with the Chase Freedom® or Discover it® Cash Back, you can maximize cash back in different areas during one quarter.

For an example, you can turn to the Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union for 5% at restaurants in Q4. Then pull out the Discover it® Cash Back to make purchases at Amazon.com for another 5% the same quarter.

The fine print: Once again, you’ll need to monitor your spending habits to get the most cash back from a revolving category card. If you choose to use this card along with another one, a good practice would be labeling the cards in your wallet to ensure you use the right one for the right purchases in a given quarter.

One final caveat: While there is no annual fee, Nusenda is a credit union, so you will have to go through the process of applying for membership.

Pick your own cash back categories: U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Regular Purchase APR
15.74% - 25.24%* (Variable)
Annual fee
$0*
Rewards Rate
5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases ($100 per quarter) on two categories you choose. That adds up to $400 cash back!

The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card has a revolving cash back program that’s unique in comparison to the others above because you get options.

Earning cash back: You can earn 5% cash back in two categories of your choosing each quarter limited to the first $2,000 of spend. Then you can choose another category with no cap to earn 2% cash back. On all other purchases, you earn 1% cash back.

The categories for an unlimited 2% cash back (choose one each quarter) are:

  • Gas stations
  • Restaurants
  • Grocery stores

The categories for 5% cash back up to $2,000 (choose two each quarter) are:

  • Home utilities
  • Ground transportation
  • Select clothing stores
  • Cell phone providers
  • Electronics stores
  • Car rentals
  • Gyms/fitness centers
  • Fast food
  • Sporting goods stores
  • Department stores
  • Furniture stores
  • Movie theaters

Using your rewards: You can redeem cash back for gift cards, statement credit or a deposit into a U.S. bank savings, checking or money market account. The first time you redeem $100 in cash back in a single transaction, you get a $25 Cash+ Bonus.

The Fine Print: The same opt-in revolving category applies here, except you must also remember to choose your categories. There is no annual fee. The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card is another good example of a card you may want to couple with another that gives you higher cash back for necessities, i.e., groceries. But, for diverse spenders who can benefit from the 5% category options, the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card is worth considering.

Ideal for typical business expenses: Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

How it works: Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year. Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year. Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn.

Earning cash back: Along with the rewards rate, cardholders earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Using your rewards: You can redeem your cash back as statement credits, which can be applied toward your card balance or directly deposited into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. You can also redeem cash back for travel, gift cards or Apple purchases through Ultimate Rewards.

The fine print: Although the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card offers a generous rewards rate on select business expenses, you can only earn the higher cash back rate on the first $25,000 in combined purchases in those categories each account anniversary year.

5% cash back for the Amazon Prime enthusiast: Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card

The information related to Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms Apply.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card

Regular Purchase APR
15.99% to 23.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases.

How it works: The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card is open to Amazon Prime Members, so it’s somewhat exclusive. Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases. Buying items on other merchant websites that have the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card payment option enabled will not earn you 5% cash back.

Using your rewards: The cash back you rack up will apply as a credit to your statement.

Do the math: If you’re not already an Amazon Prime Member, it’s probably not worth signing up to become one just for the card unless you intend to spend big bucks on the site or at Whole Foods Market. You need to spend $2,380 per year at Amazon.com for the 5% cash back to cover the $119 annual membership fee.

The fine print: The fine print of what you can and can’t buy to earn 5% is the only gotcha here. But, if you shop a lot at Whole Foods Market or on Amazon.com often and stick to the rules, you’ll see a nice return from this card. There’s no annual fee for the card, but you must be an Amazon Prime member, which costs $119 a year ($59 for students).

Good fit for the regular Target shopper: Target REDcard™ Credit Card

Target REDcard™ Credit Card

Target REDcard™ Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
25.15% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% at Target & Target.com

How it works: For Target shoppers, there’s the Target REDcard™ Credit Card. It gives you a discount of 5% at Target & Target.com (minus any other discounts or promotions). Purchases that won’t earn 5% cash back include:

  • Prescriptions, over-the-counter items located behind the pharmacy counter and clinic services
  • Target Optical™ eye exams
  • Target gift cards and prepaid cards, Stockpile, Gift of College and lottery gift cards
  • Previous purchases
  • Certain restaurant merchants in Target stores, such as D’Amico & Sons Italian Kitchen and Pret A Manger
  • Target credit account payments, Target Debit Card cash back and cash advances on the Target Mastercard
  • Shipt membership fees
  • Gift wrap and shipping and handling charges on Target.com purchases
  • Wireless protection program purchases and deposits required by mobile carriers

Earning and using rewards: The program is pretty simple as far as how Target gives you money back. Your 5% will apply to eligible purchases in your shopping cart at checkout. In addition to 5% cash back, this program includes free shipping from Target.com and 30 extra days for returns.

The fine print: No red flags with the REDcard other than watching out for the purchases excluded from cash back listed above. For faithful Target shoppers, this no annual fee card with the 5% discount may be a no brainer.

Most straightforward 5% rewards card just for gas: Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card

Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card

Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card

Regular Purchase APR
11.50% - 18.00% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Unlimited 5% cash back on gas and 1% cash back on all retail purchases.

How it works: The Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card makes our list with the most straightforward, no cap rewards program. You can Unlimited 5% cash back on gas and 1% cash back on all retail purchases.

Using your rewards: Cash back will appear on your statement as a credit.

The fine print: This rewards program is offered by a credit union in Kentucky. You’ll have to take a few extra steps to qualify for membership. If you don’t live in Kentucky or have family in Kentucky, membership is open to anyone that joins the American Consumer Council. There is no annual fee for the card, but you will need to become a member of the credit union.

Only advantageous for military service members living on base: USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card

USAA®Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card

USAA®Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card

Regular Purchase APR
13.65% - 27.65% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in gas and military base purchases annually on these categories combined. Earn 2% on your first $3,000 on supermarket purchases per year. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

How it works:USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card lets you earn 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in gas and military base purchases annually on these categories combined. earn 2% on your first $3,000 on supermarket purchases per year. unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. USAA membership is available to active and former military and their eligible family members.

Earning cash back: You Earn 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in gas and military base purchases annually on these categories combined. Earn 2% on your first $3,000 on supermarket purchases per year. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. You can redeem cash back in increments of $1 through the USAA Rewards Service Center online or over the phone.

The fine print: The USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card is light on the fine print. Just remember, the 5% category yearly maximum is $3,000 for combined gas and military base purchases per year and not per quarter. There is no annual fee.

The key to earning from any cash back card

In closing, regardless of which cash back card you choose, be sure to pay off your bill in full each month. That’s one underlying trap of any card rewards program. If you carry a balance over time, adding interest into the equation means you may end up paying the credit card company more than what you’re making in cash back.

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.

Benét J. Wilson
Benét J. Wilson |

Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at [email protected]

Tracy Brackman
Tracy Brackman |

Tracy Brackman is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Tracy here

Advertiser Disclosure

Best of

The Best 18-Month CD Rates in 2019

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

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 around 2.50% APY, compared to the average 18-month CD rate of 1.384%. 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 2019

InstitutionAPYMinimum deposit amount to earn APY
Sallie Mae Bank2.30%$2,500
Alabama Credit Union2.27%$500
Wings Financial Credit Union2.27%$5,000
USALLIANCE Financial2.25%$500
TAB Bank2.25%$1,000
Communitywide Federal Credit Union2.25%$1,000
M.Y. Safra Bank2.15%$500
Live Oak Bank2.15%$2,500
Merrick Bank2.15%$25,000
Pen Air Federal Credit Union 1.95%$500

Sallie Mae Bank — 2.30% APY, $2,500 minimum deposit

Sallie Mae isn’t just for student loan management. You can also build your savings there, too, including its several certificates of deposit. Plus, its 18-month CD earns at the highest rate there. You just need $2,500 to open. Making an early withdrawal will trigger a penalty equal to 180 days’ simple interest on the amount withdrawn.

Sallie Mae was founded in 1972 and offers savings accounts, loans, credit cards and more financial services and aid.

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on Sallie Mae Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Alabama Credit Union — 2.27% APY, $500 minimum deposit

You can get started with an 18 month CD from Alabama Credit Union with just $500 in new money not currently held at Alabama Credit Union. Interest is compounded quarterly. The early withdrawal penalty equals 180 days’ interest.

Based in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Alabama Credit Union was established in 1956 to serve The University Of Alabama community. Today, in addition to select schools, membership is open to employees of at Value Partner organizations and businesses and residents in select communities. Alabama Credit Union is NCUA-insured.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Alabama Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Wings Financial Credit Union — 2.27% APY, $5,000 minimum deposit

Among Wings Financial Credit Union’s handful of CDs is its 17-Month Certificate Special. This account requires at least $5,000 in new deposits to open. Balances between $5,000 and $49,999 earn 2.27% APY when interest is paid quarterly. You can increase your rate by depositing $50,000 or more into the account. An early withdrawal will result in a heavy loss equivalent to 2 years’ dividends (730 days).

Wings Financial Credit Union was founded in 1938 by a few Northwest Airlines employees. Today, membership is open to employees in U.S. aviation, immediate family members of a current member, residents and workers in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area or the Seattle-Tacoma area and members of the Wings Financial Foundation. Wings Financial is based in Apple Valley, Minn. and is insured by the NCUA.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Wings Financial Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

USALLIANCE Financial — 2.25% APY, $500 minimum deposit

USALLIANCE Financial offers the chance to earn at a competitive Special Rate on its 18 Month Certificate when you open the account with money not currently held in a USALLIANCE deposit account. Plus, interest is compounded daily, which grows your money even faster. You need just $500 to open the account. Early withdrawal penalties will equal 360 days of dividends on the amount withdrawn.

USALLIANCE Financial was started in 1966 by a handful of IBM employees. Today, its membership has expanded; you can join USALLIANCE Financial through your place of residence, employer, place of worship, school or organization.

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NCUA Insured

TAB Bank — 2.25% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit

Open a new TAB Bank CD with at least $1,000 and start growing your money according to its 2.25% APY. The penalty for an early withdrawal will equal 180 days interest on the amount withdrawn.

TAB Bank, or Transportation Alliance Bank, was founded in 1998 and is based in Ogden, Utah.

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on TAB Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

CommunityWide Federal Credit Union — 2.25% 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.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Communitywide Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

M.Y. Safra Bank — 2.15% APY, $500 minimum deposit

Turn to M.Y. Safra’s online-only bank, MYSB Direct for better rates, including on its 18 Month Online CD. With a minimum deposit of $750, you can start growing your money at 2.15% APY. The early withdrawal penalty will depend on how close you are to your account’s maturity date, how much you have in the account and the amount you want to withdraw.

MYSB Direct is the online-only arm of New York City-based bank M.Y. Safra Bank, founded in 2000.

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on M.Y. Safra Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Live Oak Bank — 2.15% APY, $2,500 minimum deposit

With CD rates well above 2%, it’s no wonder Live Oak Bank’s 18-month CD makes it on this list. You’ll need at least $2,500 to open an account. Interest earned can be paid out monthly. An early withdrawal will cost you a penalty equal to 90 days of interest on the amount withdrawn.

Largely focused on loans and business banking, Live Oak Bank doesn’t have any consumer bank branches other than its headquarters in Wilmington, N.C. It was founded in 2008.

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on Live Oak Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Merrick Bank — 2.15% APY, $25,000 minimum deposit

Merrick Bank may offer only a few CDs, but they all earn at excellent rates, including its 18 Month CD. Just note that you’ll need at least $25,000 to open one of these accounts. The early withdrawal penalty is equal to 2% of the account balance or seven days’ interest, whichever is greater.

Merrick Bank was founded in 1997 and also provides loans and financing products along with its CDs.

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on Merrick Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Pen Air Federal Credit Union — 1.95% 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 1.95% 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.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Pen Air Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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.

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.

Lauren Perez
Lauren Perez |

Lauren Perez is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lauren here