The Best Credit Union CD Rates in September 2021

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Updated on Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Credit unions are member-owned financial institutions that provide banking services — including certificates of deposit (CDs) — to their members. CDs are interest-bearing deposit accounts that have fixed durations and APYs. They typically offer better APYs than other types of deposit accounts, but they also have penalties for early withdrawals.

MagnifyMoney assessed which credit unions offer the best rates on 1-year CDs with information sourced from DepositAccounts.com. The top credit union is Signature Federal Credit Union, which offers a strong 1.00% APY on balances less than $10,000. The next-best credit union, CommunityWide Federal Credit Union, offers 0.85% APY on all balances.

Top credit union CD rates

Table of Contents

Signature Federal Credit Union — 1.00% APY

1 Year EZ Save Certificate from Signature Federal Credit Union

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on Signature Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

  • 1-year CD rate: 1.00% on balances under $10,000; 0.10% on balances above $10,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $50
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 180 days of dividends

Signature Federal Credit Union offers the EZ Save Certificate — it has the best APY rate of any credit union 1-year CD, but there are some conditions. Only balances under $10,000 earn the advertised rate of 1.00%, while any balance above that amount (including paid dividends) earns just 0.10% APY. limits Members are also limited to just one EZ Save Certificate per account.

Signature FCU also offers other kinds of CDs through its Share and IRA categories. The Share account is Signature FCU’s standard CD offering: For one year, the APY is 0.50%, and the minimum balance to open an account is $500. Signature FCU’s jumbo CD (minimum of $100,000 deposit) offers the same rate for a 1-year term.

Signature FCU was founded in 1970 and is based in the Washington, D.C. area.

CommunityWide Federal Credit Union — 0.75% APY

12 Month Share Certificate from Communitywide Federal Credit Union

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on Communitywide Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

  • 1-year CD rate: 0.75% on balances $1,000 and over
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Varies based on amount of withdrawal and remaining term on the CD

CommunityWide Federal Credit Union offers one certificate, called the Term Share certificate, with terms ranging from six months to five years. IRA certificates are also available. There’s no automatic renewal, and CW claims that they will “do their best” to match other CD rates.

CW was founded in 1967 and is based in Northern Indiana.

Lafayette Federal Credit Union — 0.80% APY

1 Year Fixed CD from Lafayette Federal Credit Union

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on Lafayette Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

  • 1-year CD rate: 0.80% on balances $500 and over
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 180 days of dividends

Lafayette FCU offers a few types of certificates: These include fixed rate and variable rate CDs, as well as IRA certificates. The fixed rate CDs have terms ranging from seven months to five years; the variable rate CDs only have three terms — 18 months, 3 years, and 5 years. Currently, the one-year fixed rate term has an APY of 0.80%.

Lafayette FCU was founded in 1935 and is based in the Washington, D.C. area.

State Department Federal Credit Union — 0.60% APY

12 Month Certificate from State Department Federal Credit Union

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on State Department Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

  • 1-year CD rate: 0.60% on balances of $500 and over
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Lesser of 180 days of dividends on the amount withdrawn or the amount of dividends earned since the date of issuance

State Department Federal Credit Union offers different kinds of CDs: Share Certificates, Bump-Up Certificates (which allow you to change the rate of the certificate once during the original term) and Jumbo Certificates. The Share Certificate has terms ranging from six months to five years, and the current APY on a 1-year term is 0.60% for balances of $500 and more. The Bump-Up Certificate has more limited term durations.

SDFCU was founded in 1935 and is based in the Washington, D.C. area.

Affinity Plus Credit Union — 0.55% APY

12 Month CD from Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union

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on Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

  • 1-year CD rate: 0.55% on balances $500 and over
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 180 days of dividends

Affinity Plus Credit Union offers a standard Basic Certificate, the more unconventional Certificate Builder (a 12-month CD that allows unlimited deposits) and the Wahoo Certificate (this account has no minimum balance and allows one no-penalty withdrawal, in addition to an unlimited number of deposits up to the maximum balance of $25,000). At 0.55% on balances $500 and over, the APY for the 1-year Basic Certificate is higher than the same term length for the Certificate Builder or the Wahoo Certificate.

Affinity was founded in 1930 and is based in Minnesota.

Chevron Federal Credit Union — 0.55% APY

12 Month CD from Chevron Federal Credit Union

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on Chevron Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

  • 1-year CD rate: 0.55% on balances between $500–$99,999.99
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Three months of dividends

Chevron Federal Credit Union offers Share Certificates with various term lengths and minimum deposit requirements. For 1-year terms, the certificates with a minimum deposit of $500 and $50,000 have the same APY: 0.55%; the CDs with minimum deposits of $100,000 and $250,000 have higher APY rates (0.60% and 0.65%, respectively). All of them have term durations ranging from a year to five years, but the $500 minimum deposit certificate also has term durations of three, six and nine months.

Chevron FCU was founded in 1935 and is based in Oakland, Calif.

US Alliance Financial — 0.55% APY

12 Month Certificate from USALLIANCE Financial

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on USALLIANCE Financial’s secure website

NCUA Insured

  • 1-year CD rate: 0.55% on balances $500 and over
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 180 days of dividends

US Alliance Financial offers various CDs to its members: They have Certificate Specials that include an 11-month CD with no early withdrawal penalty (and a 0.55% APY on balances over $500), fixed rated certificates ranging from three months to five years and Step-Up Certificates that allow members to request a one-time rate increase prior to maturity. The 1-year APY for the fixed rate CD is currently 0.55% for balances $500 and over.

US Alliance Financial was founded in 1966 and is located in the New York metro area.

PenFed Credit Union — 0.60% APY

12 Month Money Market Certificate from PenFed Credit Union

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on PenFed Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

  • 1-year CD rate: 0.60% on balances $1,000 and over
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: All dividends

PenFed Credit Union offers three types of CDs: Money Market Certificates are its most standard certificate, the IRA Certificates are for retirement savings and its Coverdell Education Savings Certificates are for educational expenses. The 1-year Money Market Certificate has a minimum opening deposit of $1,000 and an APY of 0.60% on balances at least that amount. If you’re willing to wait just a few months longer, you’re rewarded with a slightly better APY — PenFed’s 15-month Money Market Certificate offers an APY of 0.60% on balances of $1,000 and over.

PenFed Credit Union was founded in 1935 and is located in the Washington, D.C. area.

Credit union pros and cons

Pros

  • Credit unions are generally able to offer higher rates and better terms than banks on deposit accounts
  • Owned by the members and operated as a not-for-profit organization, credit unions can prioritize the service of their members first and foremost
  • Credit unions are often focused on the communities that they call home, especially with their support of affiliated charities and nonprofits

Cons

  • Banks can have a greater infrastructure dedicated to customer support
  • Some credit unions may not offer membership eligibility that’s universally available through a charitable donation or membership

Methodology

Using data from the DepositAccounts.com database, we examined dozens of National Credit Union Administration-insured credit unions and the APYs for their 1-year CDs. We then factored in other criteria that would impact customers such as minimum deposit, early withdrawal penalties, accessibility and user experience.

All of our picks are available nationwide. However, if APY is most important to you, consider regional- or state-specific credit unions, which sometimes offer more competitive APYs.

Average Percentage Yield: We prioritized this factor by highly ranking credit unions that offered the highest APYs for 1-year CDs.

Eligibility: We included only credit unions available to customers nationwide, excluding regional or local credit unions.

Minimum deposit: We excluded any credit unions that require $5,000 or more as minimum to open an account. If multiple credit unions offer the same APY, the institution with a lower minimum requirement is ranked higher.

Maximum to open: We disqualified credit unions with required opening deposits of $50,000 or higher.

Early withdrawal penalties: We didn’t exclude any credit unions that have early withdrawal penalties; however, if there were credit unions that had the same APY and same minimum to open, we ranked them by lowest early withdrawal penalty.

Customer experience: All of these credit unions offer online banking. A lot of factors remain similar across credit union CDs, so we found it important to note the qualitative experience when needing to differentiate similar CDs. Wire transfer fees are included.

Bottom line

Key takeaways

Credit unions offer a variety of CD types, but the most standard offerings typically have the best interest rates. Signature Federal Credit Union’s EZ Save Certificate is a strong option for lower balances, but those who want to deposit more than $10,000 should consider a different credit union.

Frequently asked questions

CDs are a very safe way to ensure that your deposit will be worth a predetermined return, especially if your credit union is NCUA-insured.

Credit unions are not-for-profit entities, which enable them to invest excess funds into higher interest rates for their customers than those of privately owned banks.

A CD ladder is a savings mechanism in which you stagger the start dates of separate CDs and invest the principal periodically. This allows you to withdraw a portion of your funds more frequently than you’d otherwise be able to if you had your funds in one CD.

Your ideal CD term depends on your financial goals. Longer terms provide better interest rates, but you’ll have to wait longer to be able to withdraw your money.

Interest rates are expressed as an annual percentage, while APY factors in the compounding schedule in providing the yearly return on a deposit.

Standard savings and money market accounts are common alternatives to CDs that provide lower interest rates but better liquidity.