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Best of, College Students and Recent Grads, Credit Cards

Best Student Credit Cards August 2018

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Getting a credit card while you’re in college might seem dangerous or confusing. But if you are able to use a student credit card responsibly, you do not need to be afraid, and you can set yourself up for financial success after you leave school.

Fortunately, learning how to choose and use the right student credit card is relatively simple. Make sure you avoid annual fees and go with a bank or credit union you can trust. When you get the card, make sure you use it responsibly and pay the balance in full and on time every month. If you do these things consistently over time, you can leave school with an excellent credit score. And if you want to rent an apartment or buy a car, having a good credit score is very important.

Our Top Pick

Discover it® Student Cash Back

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on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

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Discover it® Student Cash Back

Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases.
Regular APR
14.74% - 23.74% Variable
Credit required
fair-credit
Fair Credit

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Good Grades Reward program: Did you study extra hard this year? If you’ve gotten a 3.0 GPA or higher for an entire school year, Discover will reward you with an extra $20 statement credit. You can get this reward for up to five years in a row as long as you’re still a current student when you apply.
  • Free FICO® score: Just like how you have grades for your classes, your FICO® score is your “grade” for your credit. Credit cards have a huge effect on your FICO® score. You can watch how your new credit card affects your score over time with a free FICO® score update on your monthly statement.
  • 5% cash back : You can earn up to 5% cash back at different places that change each quarter, on up to $1,500 in purchases every quarter that you activate. Past categories have included things like Amazon purchases, restaurants, and ground transportation. Even if you don’t buy something in the bonus category, you’ll still earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Cash back match at end of your first year: In addition to rotating 5% cash back categories, new cardmembers will also get an intro bonus. When your first card anniversary comes around, Discover will automatically match your cash back rewards you earned during your first year.

Cons Cons

  • Remember to sign up for bonus places: Even though this card comes with a great cash back rewards program, it comes with a catch: you’ll need to manually activate the bonus places each quarter. You can do this by calling Discover or logging in to your account online. If you forget, you’ll still earn 1% cash back if you make any purchases in the qualifying categories.
  • Gift certificates only available at certain levels: You can redeem your rewards for many things such as Amazon purchases, a statement credit, or a donation to a charity, to name a few. But, if you’d like to get a gift card instead, you’ll need a cash back balance of at least $20 saved up in your account.
Bottom line

Bottom line

The Discover it® Student Cash Back card offers great perks for college students, such as a rewards program for good grades and a free FICO® score so you can learn about your credit firsthand. Its cash back rewards program is our favorite. No other card for students (that we could find) offers the opportunity to earn up to 5% cash back. And with no annual fee, this is our top pick.

Read our full review of the Discover it® Student Cash Back

Best for Commuter Students

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students

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on Bank Of America’s secure website

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students

Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter.
Regular Purchase APR
14.99% - 24.99% Variable
Credit required
fair-credit

Average

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Cashback program: You’ll earn 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 3% on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter. All other purchases will earn you 1% cash back. The higher rate you get for gas purchases is great for students who commute to class.
  • Redemption bonus: If you’re a Bank of America customer, you’ll receive a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account. The bonus is even better if you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client — you could get a 25-75% bonus. Cardholders who redeem this way will maximize their cash back.
  • Free FICO® Score: A large part of getting a credit card in college is to build your credit score. The hope is that monitoring your FICO® Score on a monthly basis will let you see your score rise through proper credit behavior.

Cons Cons

  • Foreign transaction fee: This card has a 3% foreign transaction fee, not suitable for students who travel abroad. You will negate any cash back earned while using this card outside the U.S.
Bottom line

Bottom line

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card for Students is a great option for students who commute to class and spend on groceries. This card has an added redemption bonus for Bank of America® checking or savings accountholders that is a great way to increase your cash back.

Best Flat-Rate Card

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

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Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
1% Cash Back on all purchases; 0.25% Cash Back bonus on the cash back you earn each month you pay on time
Regular Purchase APR
24.99% (Variable)
Credit required
bad-credit
Average/Fair/Limited

Magnify Glass Pros

  • 1.25% cash back if you pay on time: Each purchase you make earns a flat-rate 1% cash back. There’s no bonuses or categories to track: a simple 1% on everything. And then you get 0.25% on top if you make the payment on time. This makes it handy for people who want as simple a card as possible. And it rewards great behavior.
  • Higher credit lines after on-time payments: If you’re approved for this card, you’ll receive a credit line of at least $300. If you make five on-time payments in a row, you can call Capital One and ask them to increase your credit line.
  • No foreign transaction fee: This is a great card to take overseas, because you won’t have to pay any foreign transaction fees. Most cards charge an average 3% foreign transaction fee, but Journey allows you to use your card abroad without being charged extra fees.

Cons Cons

  • High 24.99% variable APR: This card carries an interest rate that’s almost twice as high as some other student credit cards, such as the Wells Fargo Cash Back College® Card with a rate as low as 12.65% – 22.65% variable APR. It’s just one more incentive to pay off your bill in full each month.
Bottom line

Bottom line

We really like this card because it actively rewards you for developing good credit-management behavior by offering a small cash back bonus for on-time payments. In addition, the cash back program is straightforward with no confusing categories to remember or opt into, making this card a good option for students who want a simple, flat-rate card.

Read our full review of the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Best Intro Bonus

Wells Fargo Cash Back CollegeSM Card

Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
3% cash rewards on gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases for the first 6 months, 1% cash rewards on virtually all other purchases
Regular Purchase APR
12.65% - 22.65% Variable
Credit required
fair-credit
Fair Credit

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Interest rates as low as 12.65% variable APR: Depending on your credit, your interest rate could be between 12.65% and 22.65% variable APR, but their is no gurantee you’ll receive the lower rate. This is a lower variable APR range than most student cards, and can help if you aren’t able to pay your balance in full one month.
  • 3% cash back rewards for the first six months: Normally you’ll earn 1% cash back on all purchases. For the first six months, though, you’ll earn 3% cash back on any purchases you make for gas, groceries, or drugstores.
  • Access to credit education: Wells Fargo provides you with all sorts of tools and information to learn about things like credit, budgeting, and expense tracking. While this is a nice feature, it’s not exclusive to Wells Fargo. You can get this information from free tools such as Mint, or even reading books and blogs. But it is pretty handy having it right at your fingertips when logged in to your account.

Cons Cons

  • Need to be a Wells Fargo member to apply online: You can go into any one of the 6,000+ branches and apply for the card. You can also apply online, but you’ll need to be an existing Wells Fargo customer. However, anyone can open a checking account online with a minimum deposit of $25.
  • High bars for some cash back redemption options: There are a lot of redemption options available through Wells Fargo’s own online cash back rewards mall. However, if you’d just like straight cash, you have a few options. You can request a direct deposit into your Wells Fargo checking account, savings account, or Wells Fargo credit card (if applicable) in $25 increments, or request a paper check in $20 increments. That can take a long time to accumulate if you’re not spending much with your card.
Bottom line

Bottom line

The Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card is a relatively simple card with a great intro bonus of 3% cash back for the first six months. In addition, the low variable APR is handy for those who think they’ll be carrying a balance on their credit card from month to month at some point in the future. This is generally something we recommend against, but if you can’t avoid it, the Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card is your best bet.

Read our full review of the Wells Fargo Cash Back CollegeSM Card

Altra Federal Credit Union Student Visa® Credit Card

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on Altra’s secure website

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Altra Federal Credit Union Student Visa® Credit Card

Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
1 point per dollar spent
Regular Purchase APR
15.65% Fixed

Magnify Glass Pros

  • $20 reward for good credit card usage: If you can maintain your account in an “exceptional way” for your first year, you’ll get a bonus $20 reward on your card’s anniversary. All you have to do is not have any late payments, don’t charge over your card’s limit, and use your card for at least six out of twelve months.
  • Up to $500 random winner each quarter: It’s like playing the lottery, except you don’t have to buy a lottery ticket. Each quarter Altra will choose one student cardholder at random and pay back all of their purchases from the previous month, anywhere between $50 to $500.
  • Earn rewards: For the first 60 days after you open your account, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar spent. After that you’ll earn 1 point per dollar spent. You can redeem these points for cash back, merchandise through their online rewards mall, or travel.
  • Redeem points for a lower interest rate: If you’ll need a car in the future, this might be a good credit card to get. You can trade in 5,000 points for a 0.25% reduction, or 10,000 points for a 0.50% reduction on an auto loan through Altra Federal Credit Union. That could end up saving you a ton of cash in the long run.

Cons Cons

  • 1% foreign transaction fee: This is definitely one card to leave at home if you’ll be traveling or studying abroad. Most credit cards charge a 3% foreign transaction fee, so this is on the low side. Still, it’s not too hard to find a student credit card with no foreign transaction fee, such as the Discover it® for Students or the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® card.
  • Must join Altra Federal Credit Union: Luckily, anyone can join, but it might take a bit of legwork on your part compared to a bank. If you don’t meet certain membership eligibility criteria, you can join the Altra Foundation for $5. Then you’ll need to open a savings account with a minimum $5 deposit that must remain in the account while you have your card open.
Bottom line

Bottom line

If you’re a student who doesn’t mind working with a credit union, Altra provides a card that has several rewards benefits. This card is a good option if you may be taking out an auto loan in the next few years, since you’ll benefit from a reduced interest rate by trading in your rewards points. In addition to earning rewards, using this card responsibly can help you build credit.

Read our full review of the Altra Federal Credit Union Student Visa® Credit Card

Best for Studying Abroad

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students

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on Bank Of America’s secure website

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students

Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases everywhere, every time and no expiration on points.
Regular Purchase APR
16.74% - 24.74% Variable
Credit required
fair-credit
Fair Credit, Limited Credit history

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Chip + PIN technology: Most credit cards have chip + signature technology, and while this is good inside the U.S. you may face issue when traveling abroad. That’s where a card with chip + PIN functionality is the safest bet when traveling outside the U.S.
  • No foreign transaction fees: When you travel abroad you will not be charged additional fees like other cards.
  • Cashback rewards: You will earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases everywhere, every time and there is no expiration on points. This is a decent flat-rate that isn’t limited to bonus categories.
  • Redemption bonus: Bank of America customers will receive a 10% customer bonus every time cash back is redeemed into a Bank of America® checking or savings account. The bonus is even better if you’re a Bank of America® Preferred Rewards client — you could get a 25% – 75% bonus. Redeeming this way allows you to maximize your cash back rewards.
  • Free FICO® Score: The main reason to get a credit card as a student is to boost your credit score. So, actually being able to see your credit score is a huge help, especially as you can watch it climb over time with good credit management.

Cons Cons

  • Subpar cashback rate: The cash back rate for this card is lower than other cards. However, cards with higher cash back rates often charge foreign transactions fees, not making them ideal for students traveling abroad.
Bottom line

Bottom line

Students who are interested in studying abroad should consider the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card for Students. You’ll earn a good cash back rate on all purchases and will not be charge a foreign transaction fee on purchases made outside the U.S.

Best Secured Card

Discover it® Secured

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on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

Read Full Review

Discover it® Secured

Annual fee
$0
Minimum Deposit
$200
Regular APR
24.74% Variable
Credit required
bad-credit
Poor/New to Credit

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Cashback program: This card has a feature uncommon to other secure cards — a cashback program. You earn 2% cash back at restaurants or gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus 1% cash back on all other credit card purchases.
  • Cashback match: At the end of your first year as a cardholder, Discover will automatically match all of the cash back you’ve earned (new cardmembers only). This is a great added bonus that increases your cash back in Year 1.
  • Automatic monthly reviews after eight months: Discover makes it easy for you to transition to an unsecured card with monthly reviews of your account starting after eight months. Reviews are based on responsible credit management across all of your credit cards and loans.

Cons Cons

  • Security deposit: You need to deposit a minimum of $200 in order to open this card. This will become your credit line, so a $200 deposit gives you a $200 credit line. If you want a higher credit limit, you need to increase your deposit. The security deposit is refundable, meaning you will receive your deposit back if you close the card, as long as your account is in good standing.
Bottom line

Bottom line

The Discover it® Secured is great for students who want to build credit. This card easily transitions you to an unsecured card when the time is right, and you can earn cash back. With proper credit behavior, you’ll soon be on your way to an unsecured card.

Read our full review of the Discover it® Secured

Best for No Credit History

Deserve® EDU Mastercard

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on Deserve’s secure website

Deserve® EDU Mastercard

Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
1% unlimited cash back on ALL purchases
Regular Purchase APR
20.49% Variable
Credit required
bad-credit
Fair Credit/No Credit

Magnify Glass Pros

  • No credit history required: You can qualify for this card without any credit history, making this a great option for students new to credit. You don’t even need a Social Security number when applying.
  • Reimbursement for Amazon Prime Student*: This card will reimburse you for the cost of a year of Amazon Prime Student (valued at $49). You need to charge your membership to this card to qualify, and you will not be reimbursed for subsequent years’ membership fees.
  • No foreign transaction fee: Whether you travel abroad or study abroad, you can rest easy: There are no foreign transaction fees with this card.

Cons Cons

  • Low cash back rate: The rewards program has a subpar 1% cash back per dollar spent. You can do better with some of the other cards mentioned in this post. Though as a student, rewards shouldn’t be your primary focus — instead, build your credit so you can qualify for better non-student cards.
Bottom line

Bottom line

The Deserve Edu Mastercard is a great choice for students who are looking to build credit. Deserve markets their cards for those who may have trouble qualifying for credit, and students who fall into this category may more easily qualify for this card than for cards from traditional banks. You can earn cash back, and receive a great promotional offer of a year of Amazon Prime Student for free*.

Also ConsiderAlso Consider

Golden 1 Platinum Rewards for Students

Golden 1 Credit Union Platinum Rewards for Students:

This credit card offers a snazzy rewards program: rather than accumulate points, you’ll get a cash rebate instead. All you have to do is make a purchase. At the end of the month, you’ll get a rebate of 3% of gas, grocery, and restaurant purchases, and 1% of all other purchases deposited back into your Golden 1 savings account at the end of the month. You can join Golden 1 by joining the Financial Fitness Association for $8 per year and keeping at least $5 in a savings account.

What should I look for in a student credit card?

The most important thing to consider when looking for a student credit card is that it charges no annual fee. You should never have to pay to build your credit score. Fortunately, most student cards don’t charge you an annual fee, but it’s still something to watch out for.

The second most important thing you should keep an eye out for are tools that help you learn about credit or even promote good credit-building habits. For example, some student credit cards will give you a free monthly FICO® score update. You can use this freebie to see in real time how your credit score changes as you build credit history by keeping the card open, or paying down your credit card balance, for example.

The last thing you should be considering when picking out a student credit card is the rewards program. I know, I know, it seems counterintuitive. But stick with me — I’ll show you why in the next question.

Why shouldn’t I be concerned about maximizing my rewards while in college?

Rewards cards are nice to have. But if you’re a college student, here’s the truth: you probably won’t spend enough to earn meaningful rewards.

Why? With a good rewards program, you can earn points or cash back. A small percentage of your monthly spending can add up quickly. However, given the tight budget that most college students live on, it will probably take a while to earn meaningful rewards. For example, if you earn 1.25% cash back and spend $300 a month on your card, you would earn $45 of cash back during the year.

College students are very good at making good use of $45. And our favorite card offers a great cash back rewards program. Just don’t expect to earn a lot of cash back, given the tight budget of a college student.

Why should I get a credit card as a college student?

There are a lot of great reasons why you should get a credit card, as long as you can commit to using it responsibly.

The single biggest reason why you should get a credit card as a college student is because you can start establishing a credit history now. When you graduate from college, you will need a good credit score to get an apartment. And your future employer will likely check your credit report. Building a good credit history while still in college will help prepare you for life after graduation.

Getting a credit card while in college can also train you to develop good credit habits now. But you need to be honest with yourself. If you find that you can’t avoid the temptation of maxing out your credit card, you might want to switch to a debit card or cash.

Finally, getting a credit card now can be the motivation you need to start learning about credit. These skills aren’t hard to learn, and they could save you thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars later in life (when you want a mortgage, for example).

What is the CARD Act and why should I care about it?

Many years ago, credit card companies would market on college campuses. You could get a free beer mug or t-shirt in exchange for a credit card application. And you would be able to qualify for a credit card without having any income. The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act was signed into law in May 2009 to change a number of practices.

How did the CARD Act change student credit cards?

The CARD Act made a lot of changes in how credit card issuers do business with students. One of the biggest changes was requiring students to be able to demonstrate an ability to pay. If you are under 21 and do not have sufficient income (a campus job, for example), you would need to get a co-signer.

In addition, colleges must now limit the amount of credit card marketing on campus. The days of free t-shirts and pizzas in exchange for credit card applications are gone. But that doesn’t mean it is impossible for a college student to get a credit card. Some highly reputable banks and credit unions still offer student cards. And building a good credit score while still in college is still highly recommended.

How can I protect myself from racking up debt?

When used properly, credit cards are a very convenient method of repayment. However, when not used properly, you can end up deep in credit card debt. It is important to establish a healthy relationship to credit now, with your first credit card.

You should try to ensure that you pay off your credit card bill in full and on time every month. Ideally, you should set up an automatic monthly payment. And to keep yourself on track, take advantage of alerts offered by most credit card companies. You can even get daily text messages reminding you of your balance.

How can I automate my credit card usage?

If all of this sounds confusing, don’t worry. There’s actually a way you can automate your payments so you never even have to bother with the hassle of using a credit card. All it takes is a few minutes of upfront work.

First, you’ll need at least one recurring monthly bill of the same amount, such as Netflix or Spotify. Log in to your account and set up an automatic payment each month using your credit card. Make a note of how much your monthly bill costs.

Next, log in to your bank account. Set up a second automatic payment to go to your credit card each month for the same amount as the bill. If your bank doesn’t offer the option to set up automatic payments, you may also be able to set up your credit card to automatically withdraw the amount of the bill from your bank.

Because you know this bill will be for the same amount each month (barring any price increases), you can literally just leave this running in the background each month on autopilot. You don’t even have to carry your credit card in your wallet if you don’t want to. Then, when you graduate, you’ll automatically have an improved credit score!

What happens to my student credit card when I graduate?

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the finish line. But what about your student credit card? You will have a few options once you graduate and we detail them here.

Here is a summary of our favorite cards:

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are 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 card companies or all card offers 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 Interest

The Best Credit Union CD Rates – August 2018

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

The top credit union CD rates
Source: iStock

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 2018, the average one-year credit union CD had a 0.92% annual percentage yield (APY), compared to the 0.75% 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 August 10, 2018. We then eliminated any credit union with a health rating lower than a B and identified the top three 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 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%, compared to the national average of 0.92% in June. You would earn $17.50 on a $1,000 deposit. If you withdraw your money early, however, you’ll face a penalty of 90 days’ worth of interest.

LEARN MORE Secured

on UNIFY Financial Credit Union’s secure website

NASA Federal Credit Union – 1-Year Share Certificate, 1.00% 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

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 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.

USAlliance Financial – 12 Month CD, 2.50% APY, min. deposit $500

USALLIANCE Financial
Membership to USAlliance Financial is open to anyone who lives, works or worships in certain counties of Massachusetts, the city of West Haven, Conn., and a few districts in New York. However, if you don’t qualify by location, you can qualify by giving USAlliance authorization to make you a member of various organizations, including the American Consumer Council, if you aren’t already a member of these organizations. Keep in mind that these organizations may request fees.

Once you’re a member of USAlliance Financial, you can open a 12-month CD with a minimum of $500. Their early withdrawal penalty equals 180 days’ worth of interest earned on the amount you withdraw.

LEARN MORE Secured

on USALLIANCE Financial’s secure website

CommunityWide Federal Credit Union – 12 Month CD, 2.50% APY, min. deposit $2,000

Communitywide Federal Credit Union
Membership to CommunityWide Federal Credit Union is open to members of the Michiana Goodwill Boosters or Marine Corps. of St. Joseph Valley. However, if you’re not a member of either of those organizations, you can qualify by becoming a donor member of select organizations such as the Y.M.C.A.

Once you’re a member of CommunityWide Federal Credit Union, you can open a 12-month CD with a minimum of $2,000. Their early withdrawal penalty equals the withdrawn amount multiplied by the number of days that remain in the term.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Communitywide Federal Credit Union’s secure website

Connexus Credit Union – 12 Month Certificate, 2.50% APY, min. deposit $5,000

12 Month Certificate from Connexus Credit Union With a $5 donation to the Connexus Association, anyone can join Connexus Credit Union. The Connexus Association assists educational institutions by providing scholarships and financial information. Once you become a member of the credit union, you’ll be able to open their 12 month CD with a $5,000 deposit.

If you’re able to deposit $5,000 into Connexus’s 12 month CD, you’ll earn $125 by the end of the term. However, if you withdraw funds early, you’ll be penalized with 90 days’ worth of interest.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Connexus Credit Union’s secure website

PenFed Credit Union – 1-Year Money Market Certificate, 2.45% APY, min. deposit $1,000

PenFed Credit Union
PenFed has an outstanding APY of 2.45%. With a minimum deposit of $1,000, you could earn $24.50 in one year. Interest is compounded daily and posts to accounts monthly. However, be aware of the steep early withdrawal penalty. If you withdraw funds before the year is up, you may forfeit all interest accrued up to that point.

Eligibility for this credit union is mainly based on military status, governmental employment status, affiliation with certain associations and organizations or relation to eligible members. However, if you don’t qualify through those criteria, getting a membership to this credit union is not difficult if you’re willing to pay a one-time fee of $17 to either Voices for America’s Troops or the National Military Family Association.

LEARN MORE Secured

on PenFed Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Alliant Credit Union – 12-17 Month Share CD, 2.40% APY, min. deposit $25,000

Alliant Credit Union
 With a minimum deposit of $1,000, you could earn an APY of 2.35% on a 12-17 month CD. If you deposit $25,000 or more, you would be able to earn an APY of 2.40% with the same term. An early withdrawal penalty of 90 days’ worth of interest may be imposed if you withdraw funds prior to the CD’s maturity date.

With a $10 donation to Foster Care to Success, you can easily become a member of Alliant Credit Union. You can also become a member if you are an employee or retiree of certain organizations, related to existing Alliant members, or live or work in qualifying communities.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Alliant Credit Union’s secure website

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 2017 mobile banking app analysis.

Redstone Federal Credit Union – 12 Month MemberPlus Regular Share Certificate, 2.19% 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 2.19% 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

Eastman Credit Union – 1-Year Investment Certificate, 2.00% APY, min. deposit $1,000

Eastman Credit Union
Eastman Credit Union also 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.

Eastman CU is another one of the rare credit unions that allow you to withdraw your dividends penalty-free before the maturity date, although again, doing so will lower your total returns. Currently, you can earn an interest rate of 2.00% on a 12-month CD with a minimum deposit of $1,000. If you withdraw your money before the CD matures, you’ll owe a penalty fee of anywhere between seven days’ worth of dividend earnings or all of your dividend earnings.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Eastman Credit Union’s secure website

Wright-Patt Credit Union – 1-Year Certificate, 1.76% 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.

You can earn $8.80 on a 12-month CD with just a relatively small $500 deposit. However, if you’re able to deposit $100,000 or more, you’ll earn an APY of 1.87%, which will return $1,870 in interest. Early 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

Delta Community Credit Union – 1-Year Certificate, 1.25% 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 1.25%. 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

 

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), as of March 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 card offers that appear on this site are 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 card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

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

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The Best IRA CD Rates – August 2018

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Top IRA CD rates
Source: iStock

Perhaps you’ve decided to build a CD ladder within your IRA, or maybe you’re looking for a safe way to store your retirement cash for a specific period of time. Whatever the reason, you’re interested in getting an IRA CD and, understandably, want to know what products will give you the best rate of return.

You can get an IRA CD with terms ranging from three months to more than six years, with interest rates generally increasing with the term length. There are lots of options, so we’ve rounded up the top IRA CD rates that are available right now for a variety of terms. You’ll select your IRA CD terms based on your CD-ladder master plan or whenever you’ll need access to your money.

Every month, we choose the best IRA CD rates using data from another LendingTree company DepositAccounts.com, a database of offerings at more than 17,100 banks and credit unions. On August 10, 2018, we sorted the products by APY, then eliminated institutions with a health rating below a B. We then eliminated products that are not available nationwide. From there, we chose the IRA CD with the highest APY among products with a minimum deposit no greater than $5,000. Here are the best options. (Average CD rates referenced below are based on DepositAccounts.com data as of August 10, 2018.)

The best IRA rates in August 2018

Term

Institution

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

3 months

TIAA Bank

1.65%

$5,000

6 months

CommunityWide Federal Credit Union

2.15%

$2,000

12 months

Connexus Credit Union

2.50%

$5,000

18 months

Interior Credit Union

2.68%

$500

2 years

Justice Federal Credit Union

3.25%

$500

3 years

Salem Five

3.00%

$2,000

4 years

CommunityWide Federal Credit Union

3.20%

$2,000

5 years

Achieva Credit Union

4.00%

$500

Rates as of August 10, 2018

3 Month IRA CD – TIAA Bank, 3 Month Yield Pledge IRA (Traditional, Roth)

TIAA Bank
Three-month regular CDs are earning an average interest rate of 0.36% APY currently. EverBank is exceeding that, with an interest rate of 1.65% APY with their 3-Month Yield Pledge IRA CD. With that APY and a $5,000 minimum deposit, you would earn $19.88 when the certificate matures.

LEARN MORE Secured

on TIAA Bank’s secure website

6-Month IRA CD – CommunityWide Credit Union, 6 Month IRA (Traditional, Roth)

Communitywide Federal Credit Union

Six-month IRA CDs typically earn a little bit better, but they’re normally still not great. CommunityWide Federal Credit Union, however, is breaking that norm by offering the highest interest rate at 2.15% APY for deposits of $2,000 and over. That translates into earnings of $21.39 if you were only to deposit the minimum amount. Compare that to the average of all regular 6 month CDs, at 0.63%.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Communitywide Federal Credit Union’s secure website

1-Year IRA CD Rates – Connexus Credit Union, 1 Year IRA (Traditional, Roth, CESA)

Connexus Credit Union

Regular one-year CDs earn an average interest rate of 1.00% APY. Connexus Credit Union, however, is offering a one-year IRA CD at 2.50% APY. You’ll need a $5,000 minimum deposit to earn $125.00 in interest once the CD matures.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Connexus Credit Union’s secure website

18-Month IRA CD Rates – Interior Federal Credit Union, 18 Month IRA Certificate (Traditional, Roth, CESA)

Interior Federal Credit Union
18-month regular CDs earn an average interest rate of 1.23% APY. Interior Federal Credit Union on the other hand, is currently offering 2.68% APY on an 18-month IRA CD. This would translate into earnings of $20.23 with a minimum $500 deposit.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Interior Federal Credit Union’s secure website

2-Year IRA CD Rates – Justice Federal Credit Union, 24 Month IRA Certificate Special w/ Checking – New Money (Traditional, Roth)

Justice Federal Credit Union
Two-year regular CDs earn an average interest rate of 1.32% APY. Justice Federal Credit Union, on the other hand, is currently offering 3.25% APY on a 2-year IRA CD. This would translate into earnings of $33.03 with a minimum $500 deposit.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Justice Federal Credit Union’s secure website

3-Year IRA CD Rates – Salem Five, 36 Month IRA Special (Traditional, Roth, CESA, SEP)

Salem Five
Three-year regular CDs are earning an average interest rate of 1.52% APY currently. Salem Five is exceeding that, with an interest rate of 3.00% APY with their 36-month IRA CD. With those interest rates and a $2,000 minimum deposit, you would earn $185.45 when the certificate matures.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Salem Five’s secure website

4-Year IRA CD Rates – CommunityWide Federal Credit Union, 48 Month Personal IRA

Communitywide Federal Credit Union

Four-year regular CDs are currently earning an average interest rate of 1.67% APY. CommunityWide Federal Credit Union claims the top interest rate for these IRA CDs, with an interest rate of 3.20% APY. You would earn $268.55 on this CD with a $2,000 minimum deposit.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Communitywide Federal Credit Union’s secure website

5-Year IRA CD Rates – Achieva Credit Union – 60 Month IRA/457B (Traditional, Roth, CESA)

Achieva Credit Union
Five-year IRA CDs hold the top spot for interest rates out of any category on our list. National averages for a regular 5-year CD is 1.97% APY, however Achieva Credit Union outperforms the average with a 4.00% APY on its 5-year IRA CD for members. The minimum deposit is $500 to earn this APY. If you’re able to deposit more than $500, you may eligible for a higher APY. With a deposit of $25,000 you may be able to earn an APY of 4.10%. If you’re able to deposit $75,000, you may be able to earn 4.20% APY.

One item to note with this credit union: the rates may vary by region, so make sure you check to see if you’re eligible for the above rates in your location.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Achieva Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

6+ Year IRA CD Rates – Air Force Federal Credit Union, 7 Year IRA (Traditional, Roth, CESA)

AFFCU

We’re starting to see these very-long-term IRA CDs offer higher interest rates than the shorter-term five-year IRA CDs. Air Force Federal Credit Union offers the highest term for their seven-year IRA CD, at 3.20% APY. That’s less than Achieva Credit Union which offers a 4.00% APY for a five-year IRA CD. Still, with Air Force Federal Credit Union’s seven-year IRA CD, you would earn $616.72 on a minimum deposit of $2,500 when the IRA CD matures.

LEARN MORE Secured

on AFFCU’s secure website

3 questions to consider before opening an IRA CD

Opening an IRA CD generally requires filling out a form or talking to a banker. You’ll have to have a way to fund your IRA CD, whether that’s rolling over an existing retirement account into an IRA CD or depositing cash into the product. The same limits that apply to IRA contributions apply to IRA CDs: $5,500 per year ($6,500 if you’re over age 50) of your own money across all your IRA accounts each year, and you can do a rollover once per year.

Unless you’ve invested in a bump-up IRA CD, you won’t be able to take advantage of a higher rate until your CD matures. Withdrawing funds from an IRA CD before they mature will result in a stiff penalty. Bump-up IRA CDs give you a chance to increase your interest rate to a higher level if it’s available, but you’re generally only allowed to do this once or twice during the life of the CD.

You can either use the the direct-transfer method or the indirect-transfer method. The direct transfer method requires setting up your new IRA account filling out a form authorizing the bank or credit union to transfer money from the old account into the new account. The indirect transfer method involves you asking for a check from your old IRA account. You have up to 60 days to deposit that check into your IRA CD to avoid incurring a penalty.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are 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 card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

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

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The Top 6 Month CD Rates for August 2018

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

The top 6 month CD rates
Source: iStock

Short-term certificate of deposit (CD) accounts offer investors a safe opportunity to squirrel away money for a future expense. If you’re looking for a brief solution for storing your cash and want to earn more interest than a typical savings account will offer, a 6 month CD can make a lot of sense. (It’s also a good place to start if you’re building a CD ladder.)

Using information from DepositAccounts.com, another LendingTree company and a database of offerings at more than 17,100 banks and credit unions, we found the five banks and five credit unions with the top 6 month CD rates. If there was a tie, we chose the institution with the smaller minimum-deposit requirement. We pulled these rates on August 9, 2018, and we excluded promotional offerings. The national average APY on 6 month CDs (among banks and credit unions) is 0.61%, according to the DepositAccounts.com database. These options outperform that average by a long shot. (You may also want to view our picks for the overall best CD rates.)

Banks with the best 6 month CD rates

6 Month CD from DollarSavingsDirect

DollarSavingsDirect

6 month CD APY: 2.15%
Bank information: DollarSavingsDirect is an online division of Emigrant Bank. Founded by Irish emigrants in 1850, Emigrant Bank has created various online divisions throughout the years. DollarSavingsDirect seems to be the most active and competitive online division when it comes to its rates.
Where to open CD account: Online
Minimum balance to open: $1,000
Maintenance fees: $0
Early withdrawal penalties: 90 days’ interest

LEARN MORE Secured

on DollarSavingsDirect’s secure website

Member FDIC

United Texas Bank

United Texas Bank

6 month CD APY: 2.15%
Bank information: United Texas Bank is headquartered in Dallas, TX. While they’re physically located in Texas, they offer banking services nationwide through their online platform.
Where to open CD account: Online
Minimum balance to open: $1,000
Maintenance fees: $0
Early withdrawal penalties: Three months worth of interest

LEARN MORE Secured

on United Texas Bank’s secure website

NexBank

NexBank

6 month CD APY: 2.15%
Bank information: NexBank is also located in Dallas, TX. While it primarily focuses on commercial banking, mortgage banking, and institutional services, it does offer CDs and personal banking to customers nationwide.
Where to open CD account: Online
Minimum balance to open: $10,000
Maintenance fees: $0
Early withdrawal penalties: Determined by the bank

 

LEARN MORE Secured

on NexBank’s secure website

CD Bank

CD Bank

6 month CD APY: 2.10%
Bank information: A subsidiary of TBK Bank, SSB, this online bank has no branch locations, but offers service online in all 50 states.
Where to open CD account: Online
Minimum balance to open: $10,000
Maintenance fees: $0
Early withdrawal penalties: 90 days’ interest

LEARN MORE Secured

on CD Bank’s secure website

Live Oak Bank

Live Oak Bank

6 month CD APY: 2.10%
Bank information: Live Oak Bank is located in Wilmington, NC, but serves customers nationwide through online banking. While their initial focus was to help small businesses acquire funding, they now help all individuals through personal banking.
Where to open CD account: Online
Minimum balance to open: $2,500
Maintenance fees: $0
Early withdrawal penalties: 90 days’ interest

LEARN MORE Secured

on Live Oak Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Credit unions with the best 6 month CD rates

36 Month Share Certificate from Communitywide Federal Credit Union

CommunityWide Federal Credit Union

6 month CD APY: 2.15%
Credit union information: Founded as a credit union to provide quality financial services to individuals in South Bend, IN, CommunityWide Federal  Credit Union has grown to offer their services to various communities within Indiana as well as the digital world.
Membership details: Anyone can become a member by donating to a list of organizations including the Y.M.C.A. If you’re a member of the Michiana Goodwill Boosters or Marine Corps. League of St. Joseph Valley, you’re also eligible to become a member.
Where to open CD account: Online
Minimum balance to open: $2,000
Maintenance fees: $0
Early withdrawal penalties: Equal to the amount withdrawn multiplied by the remaining days left in the term.

 

LEARN MORE Secured

on Communitywide Federal Credit Union’s secure website

6 Month Share Certificate from Service Credit Union

Service Credit Union

6 month CD APY: 2.00%
Credit union information: Founded in Portsmouth, N.H., in 1957, Service Credit Union originally served employees of Pease Air Force Base. Today, it has grown to serve over 200,000 people throughout New Hampshire, North Dakota, Massachusetts, and even Germany.
Membership details: To become a member, you must live or work, or have family members that live or work in New Hampshire or Falmouth, Bourne, Mashpee, and Sandwich, Mass. Current members of the military, veterans, retirees, and reservists of the U.S. Armed Forces along with their families are also eligible for membership.
Where to open CD account: You can open an account online or at one of their many branches.
Minimum balance to open: $250
Maintenance fees: $0
Early withdrawal penalties: Determined by credit union.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Service Credit Union’s secure website

PenFed Credit Union

PenFed Credit Union

6 month CD APY: 2.00%
Credit union information: PenFed, established in 1935, today serves more than 1.6 million members at branch locations in all 50 states and select overseas facilities.
Membership details: Open to current or retired members of the U.S. military, federal employees, affinity partners, members of qualifying organizations, or by donating to Voices for America’s Troops or the National Military Family Association.
Where to open CD account: You can open an account online or at one of their branches.
Minimum balance to open: $1,000
Maintenance fees: $0
Early withdrawal penalties: 90 days’ interest

LEARN MORE Secured

on PenFed Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Spectrum Credit Union

Spectrum Credit Union

6 month CD APY: 1.65%
Credit union information: Spectrum Credit Union was founded in 1973. This credit union is a division of Chevron Federal Credit Union and serves members worldwide through their online banking platform.
Membership details: If you don’t qualify by one of their location or employment field of membership requirements, you may apply for membership by joining one of their non-profit partners: Contra Costa Country Historical Society or Navy League of the United States.
Where to open CD account: Online
Minimum balance to open: $500
Maintenance fees: $0
Early withdrawal penalties: Equal to three months of dividends.

 

LEARN MORE Secured

on Spectrum Credit Union’s secure website

Latino Credit Union

Latino Credit Union

6 month CD APY: 1.55%
Credit union information: Founded in Durham, N.C., in 2000, Latino Credit Union opened its doors as a solution to the Durham Latino community who were being robbed and mugged. While their original intent was to serve the Latino community, they have since expanded their membership to include anyone and everyone.
Membership details: Anyone who is willing to provide a one-time $10 donation to the Latino Community Development Center is welcome to become a member of the credit union.
Where to open CD account: Online
Minimum balance to open: $500
Maintenance fees: $0
Early withdrawal penalties: 90 days’ interest

LEARN MORE Secured

on Latino Credit Union’s secure website

Pros and cons of using 6 month CDs

Pros:

  • The CD rates offered by banks and credit unions are generally higher than those on savings accounts.
  • The rates are fixed and guaranteed for the length of their term.
  • The discipline of keeping the funds in the CD means the money will be available upon maturity. (Note: Most banks offer a seven-day grace period to reinvest or withdraw the investment, after which the funds will roll over into a new CD. However, you are not guaranteed the same rate.)

Cons:

  • Six-month CD rates are lower than those offered on longer CD investment terms.
  • To tap into the CD funds — even for emergencies — consumers must accept a loss through penalties, which can include a percentage of the funds, a percentage of the earned interest, or a combination of both. A typical penalty on a short-term CD is between 30 and 90 days’ worth of interest earnings.
  • If you’re not confident you can do without access to the funds for six months, you may be better off putting your money in a traditional savings account, which is likely to earn less interest than a CD.
  • Since CD rollovers may reset at a different percentage rate, consumers must speak with the bank before the grace period ends to ensure they are getting the best deal.

Using a 6 month CD for laddering

A CD ladder comprises small-amount CDs with varying terms and respective interest rates that contribute to a long-term investment strategy. After the 6 month CD matures, investors can withdraw the funds for a predetermined expense. Or, they can reinvest the money into a longer-term CD with a better rate. By staggering the maturity dates on short-term CDs, consumers have access to their cash on a regular, predictable basis.

Where can you open a CD account?

Consumers can open 6 month CD accounts (or longer) from banks and credit unions. Bank and credit union CD rates are based on Federal Reserve rates, and there may be strategic times to pursue these short-term instruments following a rate increase.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are 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 card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Gabby Hyman
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Gabby Hyman is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Gabby here

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Best of

The Best Business Savings Account Rates in 2018

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Are you looking to start or grow a business? Opening a business savings account can offer federal protection for the funds you deposit (up to $250,000) and provide a source of liquidity should inevitable expenses arise. You can earn interest while setting aside money for capital improvement or income taxes. A commercial savings account can add credibility to your business, arm you with a business debit card and help your cash flow.

The best way to choose an account that fits your needs is to start by comparing the annual percentage yield offered by banks and credit unions. Then look for benefits that might make the account attractive based on your needs. Is there a monthly maintenance fee or a minimum deposit to open? Does the bank provide ample access to ATM and online account services?

Deciding which business savings account is best for your needs can be a difficult process, but hopefully this roundup of our picks for best savings accounts will help give you a head-start.

The best business savings account rates — August 2018

Institution

APY

Minimum balance amount

Capital One

1.75%

None

BofI Federal Bank

1.06%

$25,000

Live Oak Bank

1.05%

None

Community Bank of Pleasant Hill

1.74%

None

Community Bank of Raymore

1.74%

None

Goldwater Bank

1.65%

$0.01

First Internet Bank of Indiana

1.41%

$250,000

Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU)

1.06%

$25,000

Presidential Bank (Maryland)

0.50%

$5,000

Northpointe Bank

0.40%

$25,000

Source: Deposit Accounts, August 8, 2018

1. Capital One, 1.75% APY, No minimum balance

Capital One is currently offering a business savings account with a 1.75% APY. This account doesn’t have a minimum balance requirement and doesn’t come with any monthly fees.

While this account doesn’t come with ATM access, Capital One makes it easy to transfer funds to either another one of their accounts or a linked account of your choosing. You can easily set this up through their online banking platform or mobile app. Their mobile app also allows you to deposit checks. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll be limited to depositing $5,000 per month into the business savings account. You’ll also be limited to making six withdrawals per month due to Federal regulations.

Fine Print: The APY on the Spark Business Savings account is a promotional rate and will drop to 0.40% APY 365 days after opening the account.

Restrictions on joining: none.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

Member FDIC

2. BofI Federal Bank: 1.06% APY, $25,000 minimum balance, ATM access

BoFI Federal Bank offers one of the top APY rates in the DepositAccounts nationwide survey of business savings accounts. The bank’s Business Premium Savings Account with a high-yield 1.06% APY can be opened with a $25,000 minimum deposit.

There is no monthly maintenance fee for the account and no average daily balance requirement.

BoFI also makes it easy to access your funds when you need it. Customers have ATM access to their accounts along with free online banking. However, ATM withdrawal limits are $1,010 per day and there’s a daily purchase limit of $5,000. BofI is an FDIC-insured bank based in San Diego and publicly traded online. Other products include Business Interest Checking and Business Money Market accounts.

LEARN MORE Secured

on BofI Federal Bank’s secure website

3. Live Oak Bank, 1.05% APY, No minimum balance

Live Oak Bank awards 1.05% APY on its business accounts are eight times the national average. There is no minimum opening balance or deposit required to open a business savings account.

The business savings account is open to deposits of up to $5 million and is free of monthly maintenance fees. You may make up to 6 withdrawals from your Live Oak Bank Savings account per statement cycle, including preauthorized, automatic and telephone transfers. After that there’s a $10 fee per withdrawal. Live Oak Bank, established in 2008, holds assets of $2.12 billion.

The bank is in Wilmington, N.C., and is a member of the FDIC. Learn more about business savings at Live Oak Bank.

Small Print: The bank may verify credit and employment history at its discretion, meaning you may receive a pull against your credit report.

Restrictions on joining: none.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Live Oak Bank’s secure website

4. Community Bank of Pleasant Hill, 1.74% APY, No minimum balance

With its 1.74% APY, the Business Premier Money Management Account at Community Bank of Pleasant Hill offers highly competitive rates to explore. You need only put down $25 to open the account and maintain a minimum balance of $10,000 to avoid a $10 monthly service charge and $4 paper statement fee.

ATM access is offered surcharge-free when using ATMs in the MoneyPass® network. Community Bank began operations on Dec. 6, 2006, and is a member of the FDIC. Members can search for partner ATMs online or through mobile access.

Fine print: Just watch out for hefty withdrawal fees. You can make free withdrawals on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month; on other days, there’s a $25 withdrawal fee. If you plan to make regular in-person withdrawals, this probably isn’t the best account for your needs.

Restrictions on joining: none.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Community Bank Of Pleasant Hill’s secure website

5. Community Bank of Raymore, 1.74% APY, $25 minimum deposit to open

The Community Bank of Raymore created its Premier Money Management Account specifically for business customers who carry high balances and are looking for security. It costs $25 to open your account but you’ll earn a solid 1.74% APY.

You must maintain a balance of at least $10,000 or you’ll be assessed a monthly $10 charge. You may only make free withdrawals on the second and fourth Wednesdays or face a $25 fee.

Electronic statements are free of charge. Nationwide ATM service without charge is available through the MoneyPass® network.

The Community Bank of Raymore was chartered in Missouri in May 15, 1979. According to the bank website, the idea of the bank originated at a community meeting at Raymore Elementary School in 1976.

Fine print: You’ll be restricted to two days a week for making free withdrawals in Raymar, too, on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month. Other days, you’ll have to cough up $25.

Restrictions on joining: none.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Community Bank Of Raymore’s secure website

6. Goldwater Bank, 1.65% APY, $5,000 minimum amount to open

Goldwater Bank is an online institution with a highly competitive rate on their business savings account. With a minimum deposit of $5,000, you can open their Savings Plus Business account and start earning an APY of 1.65%. Once you open the account you only need a balance of $0.01 to continue earning the APY.

Restrictions on joining: none.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Gold Water Bank’s secure website

7. First Internet Bank, 1.41% APY, $250,000+ minimum balance amount, ATM services

First Internet Bank offers an FDIC-insured savings option for businesses with a relatively good 1.16% APY if you have a balance amount that is less than $250,000. However, if you have more than $250,000 to put in their business savings account, they’ll award you with a 1.41% APY. Unfortunately, the FDIC only insures up to $250,000. So, if you deposit more than $250,000 into the savings account, the excess deposit amount will not be insured by the FDIC.

It costs $100 to open your business account and you must maintain an average daily balance of $1,000 to avoid a $2 monthly maintenance fee.

There is no minimum balance to open or maintain the account. Unlimited deposits can be made each month and six transfers or withdrawals are allowed without charge.

The First IB ATM cards are offered to sole proprietors only. There is no charge for ATM transactions or electronic statements. Founded in 1999 by the First Internet Bancorp, First IB offers remote banking in all 50 states.

Fine print: Only six preauthorized, automatic, PC, or telephonic transfers are allowed each month. This restriction is common among most of these institutions, however, First Internet Bank will charge you $5 per item if you go beyond the allotted six.

Restrictions on joining: none.

LEARN MORE Secured

on First Internet Bank’s secure website

8. Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU), 1.06% APY, $25,000 minimum balance

Digital Federal Credit Union offers a solid 1.06% APY rate through its Business DCU Ltd Savings Account with a minimum $25,000 balance.

Businesses participating in the DCU Ltd Savings Account receive 24/7 online banking, mobile banking through the DCU Mobile Banking App, access to DCU ATMs, deposits, transfers or balance verification. Watch out for their ATM fees, though. They charge $0.75 per withdrawal from a non-DCU ATM, which will surely add up if you make regular withdrawals. Created by the Digital Equipment Corporation in 1979, DCU is the largest credit union in Massachusetts by assets. Federally insured by NCUA, DCU is based in Marlborough, Mass.

Restrictions on joining: To join, you must meet eligibility requirements within the field of membership for employers, organizations, participating communities or condominium associations.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU)’s secure website

9. Presidential Bank (Maryland), up to 0.50% APY, $5,000 to open, ATM services

Presidential Bank’s Commercial Premier Savings account offers 0.50% APY for balances up to $35,000, making it a decent — if not extraordinary — bet for business owners.

Business customers are not required to maintain a minimum balance on the account in order to receive all ATM privileges. So long as you use one of their ATMs you won’t incur fees, but there is a $0.75 ATM fee for non-network ATMs. Free online banking, mobile banking and ATM card come with the account.

Established in 1985, Presidential Online Bank was one of the first lenders to offer online banking. Located in Bethesda, Md., it currently lists assets in excess of $550 million.

Restrictions on joining: none.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Presidential Bank’s secure website

10. Northpointe Bank, 0.40% APY, $25,000 minimum balance

The Business Savings account at Northpointe Bank currently pays out 0.40% APY if you deposit and maintain a balance of $25,000. However, you only need $1,000 to open the account and you can start earning 0.20% APY with that balance. If your balance increases anywhere between $2,500 and $24,999.99, the APY will increase to 0.25%. If your balance increases to $100,000, the APY will further increase to 0.50%. There are no monthly fees with this account.

Restrictions on joining: none.

on Northpointe Bank’s secure website
 

Member FDIC

Learn more about business savings accounts

How we ranked the best business savings accounts

To come up with this list, we first used data from DepositAccounts.com, which tracks rates on a range of deposit accounts across thousands of banks in the U.S. Note: DepositAccounts is also owned by MagnifyMoney’s parent company LendingTree.com.

We eliminated any institutions that were given a health rating below a B by DepositAccounts. We also weeded out any credit unions that have very restrictive membership requirements. From there, we chose the top 10 business savings accounts with the highest APY. And lastly, all the banks on our list offer FDIC or NCUA insurance.

Business savings accounts vs personal savings accounts

Business and regular savings accounts may offer many of the same features ,such as 24/7 online banking, free electronic reporting, debit cards, fund transfers and ATM machines.

The trade-off in choosing a business account is that you’ll get services focused on business planning and spending in exchange for a less-desirable APY.

When you compare the interest earned on a business savings account with the best APY rates offered on savings accounts, it may not look like opening a business account is a wise strategy. The top business savings account APY right now is 1.32%. The top APY among personal savings accounts is 1.60% with no minimum deposit and ATM access. You can weigh the services, charges and minimum account fees between the top business and top personal savings accounts to decide which is best for you.

There are other benefits to offset any differences in earnings, particularly if your business is incorporated. It’s considered sound business practice to separate your personal saving and checking accounts from your business saving and checking accounts. A business account can help you manage cash flow, accounting, recordkeeping and working capital. At income tax time, separate accounts can help you differentiate business from personal expenses.

Paired with a business checking account, your business savings account can add professional branding, since all payments and correspondence with clients will bear your business name.

Or you can create savings in your business account to pay quarterly income taxes or purchase equipment.

Finally, business savings accounts are secure when you open accounts with banks and credit unions that are insured up to $250,000 per account by the FDIC or the NCUA.

North Shore Bank of Brookfield, Wis., says that a business savings account can boost your credit ratings and make it easier to obtain a business loan, since the lender can see you have an account dedicated to your company.

Choosing the right business savings account

When evaluating a financial institution for your business, there’s more than just finding a good APY.

Many of the banks on our Top 10 list look great on the APY front but carry fees that can eat into any of the returns you might make. Particularly, watch out for fees for ATM or bank withdrawals, monthly service fees and ATM fees.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has identified the key factors to consider when searching for the right bank or credit union. These include:

  • Customer service reputation
  • Access to branches or no-surcharge ATMs
  • Benchmarks to have fees waived
  • Automatic FDIC insurance

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are 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 card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Gabby Hyman
Gabby Hyman |

Gabby Hyman is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Gabby here

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Best of

7 Low Interest Rate Credit Cards – August 2018

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Carrying a balance on your credit card is never ideal, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. And with credit card interest charges that can be upward of 25.00% APR, it can be hard to get out of debt because a large portion of your payment goes to interest.

Currently, you may find yourself struggling to pay off your balance, but worry not — there are low interest cards that have APRs starting at around 6%.

Low-interest cards are a great way to save money on interest when you find yourself carrying a balance. The APRs on these cards max out around 18% on average. Some low-interest cards mentioned here even have 0% APR intro periods that are helpful if you have an existing balance on a credit card and want to transfer it, or if you plan on making purchases that you need several months to pay off.

The seven main cards in this post are from credit unions, which often have lower rates than large banks. But they require memberships, which are sometimes restricted to certain states. In this post, we’ll explain the seven lowest interest-rate credit cards and what’s required to qualify. These cards are based on a usage period of around 24 months or more, which is typically not long enough for most intro 0% APR cards.

7 low interest rate credit cards

Visa® Titanium Signature Rewards Card from Andrews Federal Credit Union

Visa® Titanium Signature Rewards Card from Andrews Federal CU

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Regular Purchase APR

6.99%-18.00%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Andrews Federal Credit Union’s secure website

The Visa® Titanium Signature Rewards Card from Andrews Federal Credit Union has the lowest ongoing APR on our list. If you qualify for the lowest rate and end up carrying a balance, you may be charged little interest (compared with higher APR cards). This card is a good option if you have existing debt on a credit card, because you can transfer it during the balance transfer intro period.

Here are features to know about when using this card to pay off debt:

  • Intro purchase APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases
  • Intro balance transfer APR: 0% for 12 months on balance transfers processed within 90 days of account opening
  • Balance transfer fee: 1.5% of the transfer amount or $50; whichever is greater

How to qualify: Anyone can apply for this card, regardless of residence. If you don’t meet one of the several eligibility requirements, you can join the American Consumer Council for a one-time $5 donation if you have used a major consumer product or service in the past 12 months, such as a motor vehicle, insurance, or housing.

TruWest Visa Platinum Card

TruWest Visa Platinum Card

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Regular Purchase APR

7.70%-21.70%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on TruWest Credit Union’s secure website

The regular purchase APR on the TruWest Visa Platinum Card has a wider range than the other cards on this list. However, this card has the longest 0% intro APR period from a credit union at 0% for 18 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers. This is a large amount of time for you to carry a balance interest-free.

Here are features to know about when using this card to pay off debt:

  • Intro purchase APR: 0% for 18 billing cycles
  • Intro balance transfer APR: 0% for 18 billing cycles
  • Balance transfer fee: 3%

How to qualify: Unfortunately, not everyone can apply for this card. It is restricted to people who live, work, own a business, or go to school in select Arizona and Texas communities or who work for select employers. You can read more about membership eligibility on TruWest’s website.

Visa® Platinum Card from Trustmark Bank

Visa® Platinum Card from Trustmark Bank

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Regular Purchase APR

7.90%-12.90%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Trustmark Bank’s secure website

The Visa® Platinum Card from Trustmark bank has a great low APR range. This is the best range on the list when considering both the minimum and maximum APR, and it benefits people who may not have the best credit because the highest interest rate is still lower than most credit cards. So what’s the catch? Unfortunately, this card has restricted membership (see below for details) and the 0% APR intro periods are very low compared to other cards.

Here are features to know about when using this card to pay off debt:

  • Intro purchase APR: 0% for the first 6 billing cycles
  • Intro balance transfer APR: 0% for the first 6 billing cycles
  • Balance transfer fee: None

How to qualify: Anyone can apply, however you can’t apply online. You either have to go to one of their locations or call and have an application mailed to you.

BECU Visa® Card from Boeing Employees CU

BECU Visa® Credit Card from Boeing Employees CU

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Regular Purchase APR

8.65%-19.65%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on BECU (Boeing Employees Credit Union)’s secure website

The BECU Visa® Card from Boeing Employees CU is an overall standout card with a reasonable APR and great additional perks. For example, there is a Reprice Program where BECU will lower your rates as your credit score improves. This is a great feature, especially for people who don’t qualify for the lowest rate. Additionally, there are limited fees, such as no balance transfer fee — allowing you to maximize savings when you transfer debt from another card.

Here are features to know about when using this card to pay off debt:

  • Intro purchase APR: 0% for 12 months
  • Intro balance transfer APR: 0% for 12 months
  • Balance transfer fee: None

How to qualify: This card has restricted membership with several ways to qualify: you need to live in Washington State or select counties in Oregon, have a relationship with select employers or associations, or have a business or organization that meets certain requirements. Find out more about membership here.

Visa® Advantage Card from NEFCU

Visa® Advantage Card from NEFCU

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Regular Purchase APR

9.74%-17.99%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on NEFCU’s secure website

The Visa® Advantage Card from NEFCU can be a decent option for Long Islanders who may carry a balance at some point. Note that the APR range is higher than other cards on this list, but your best option depends on cards’ membership criteria. The intro period for this card is sub par compared to others because the APR is greater than 0%.

Here are features to know about when using this card to pay off debt:

  • Intro purchase APR: 1.99% for 12 months (as low as 9.74% thereafter)
  • Intro balance transfer APR: 1.99% for 12 months (as low as 9.74% thereafter)
  • Balance transfer fee: None

How to qualify: This card is open to all Long Islanders. That means if you live, work, or attend school in Nassau or Suffolk counties in New York, you may qualify. You can also gain membership through a family member. Click here for more info on eligibility.

TruWest Platinum Points Visa Rewards Card

TruWest Platinum Points Visa Rewards Card

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Regular Purchase APR

9.65%-16.65%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on TruWest Credit Union’s secure website

The starting APR for the TruWest Platinum Points Visa Rewards Card is a bit higher than other low interest cards, but the max APR is fairly low. Similar to the TruWest Visa Platinum Card, the TruWest Platinum Points Visa Rewards Card has a long 0% APR intro period of 18 months. This card also comes with a rewards program where you can automatically earn up to one point per dollar spent, though we recommend using this card to pay down debt and not earn rewards.

Here are features to know about when using this card to pay off debt:

  • Intro purchase APR: 0% for 18 months
  • Intro balance transfer APR: 0% for 18 months
  • Balance transfer fee: 3%

How to qualify: Like the other TruWest card, this card is restricted to people who live, work, own a business or go to school in select Arizona and Texas communities or who work for select employers. You can read more about membership eligibility on TruWest’s website.

Visa® Platimum Credit Card from NIHFCU

Visa® Platinum Card from nih FCU

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Regular Purchase APR

9.74%-18.00%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Nih FCU’s secure website

The Visa® Platinum Credit Card from NIHFCU has the highest starting APR of all the cards on this list. However, there is a decent 0% APR intro period of 12 months, and the balance transfer fee is lower than average.

Here are features to know about when using this card to pay off debt:

  • Intro purchase APR: 0% for 12 months
  • Intro balance transfer APR: 0% for 12 months
  • Balance transfer fee: $10 or 2% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater

How to qualify: This card restricts membership to people in the biomedical and healthcare industries in Md., N.C., Va., W.Va., or Washington D.C. You can also qualify if a family member is a current NIHFCU member. Visit NIHFCU’s site for more details.

Other options

Below, we’ve compiled a few options if you want a 0% APR intro card or if you want to consider a balance transfer card. All of these cards come from major banks, so anyone can apply.

Cards with a 0% APR intro period

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card– 21 Month Balance Transfer Offer

APPLY NOW Secured

on Citibank’s secure website

Read Full Review

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card– 21 Month Balance Transfer Offer

Regular Purchase APR
14.74% - 24.74%* (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR
0%* for 12 months on Purchases*
Intro BT APR
0%* for 21 months on Balance Transfers*
Annual fee
$0*
Balance Transfer Fee
5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card – 21 Month Balance Transfer Offer one of the longest intro 0% periods for balance transfers on the market, at intro 0%* for 21 months on Balance Transfers*. This is over a year and a half for you to rid yourself of debt. Note that there is a balance transfer fee of 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum. There is also an intro 0%* for 12 months on Purchases*. After the intro periods end, the APR is 14.74% - 24.74%* (Variable).

Cards with a 0% APR balance transfer intro period

Sphere® Credit Card from Santander

APPLY NOW Secured

on Santander Bank, N.A’s secure website

Read Full Review

Sphere® Credit Card from Santander

Regular Purchase APR
14.24% to 24.24% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% intro APR on purchases for the first 18 billing cycles
Intro BT APR
0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 billing cycles if taken within the first 90 days of account opening
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
1 reward point for every dollar spent, with no limits
Balance Transfer Fee
$10 or 4% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater
The Sphere® Credit Card from Santander has one of the longest balance transfer intro periods in our database at 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 billing cycles if taken within the first 90 days of account opening (after, 14.24% to 24.24% Variable APR). Although this is a great amount of time for you to pay off transferred debt, it comes with a hefty balance transfer fee at $10 or 4% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater. This is something to consider before choosing a card, but the balance transfer fee may be worth it if you’re saving money from high-interest payments with your current card. Purchases can also benefit from a 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 18 billing cycles (after, 14.24% to 24.24% Variable APR). There is also a rewards program: earn 1 reward point for every dollar spent, with no limits. However, we recommend using this card to pay off debt and not just to earn rewards.How to qualify: This card is only available to people who live in: Conn., Washington D.C., Del., Maine, Md., Mass., N.H., N.J., N.Y., Pa., R.I., or Vt.

Chase Slate®

The Chase Slate® is one of our favorite balance transfer cards. It offers 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months and 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months (after 16.74% - 25.49% Variable APR). This isn’t the longest intro period, but this card comes with a standout feature of an intro Intro $0 on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that: Either $5 or 5%, whichever is greater. This can save you on the typical 2-5% balance transfer fee many other cards charge.

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

The bottom line

If your goal is to reduce the amount of interest you pay on your credit card debt, look at cards with low APRs and membership requirements you can meet. Remember that your credit score will be a significant factor in the APR you receive, so be sure to look at both ends of the APR ranges when comparing cards since you may not receive the lowest rate.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are 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 card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Alexandria White
Alexandria White |

Alexandria White is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Alexandria at alexandria@magnifymoney.com

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Advertiser Disclosure

Best of, Credit Cards

Longest 0% Purchase Credit Card Offers From Banks & Credit Unions – August 2018

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

0% purchase credit card
iStock

If you’re about to make a big purchase that you need time to pay off, using a 0% introductory purchase offer on a credit card could be the cheapest way to spread the payment out over time.

  • You can currently find 0% deals for as long as 21 months with no fees, but since rates after the intro period are high, only use these deals if you’re sure you can handle paying off the debt before the period is up.
  • When searching for 0% purchase cards, make sure you select a card that waives interest. Far too many cards, especially those offered by retailers only defer the interest which means you can get get a nasty surprise when the intro period is up.

Below we list the longest 0% purchase credit cards broken up by length of 0% intro period from our database of over 3,000 credit card products from banks and credit unions:

20 Months 0% Intro APR

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on US Bank’s secure website


The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers a long 0% introductory APR for the first 20 billing cycles for purchases and an 0% introductory APR for the first 20 billing cycles for balances transferred within 60 days from account opening (after, 11.74% to 23.74% Variable APR). However, this card offers few other benefits. There is no rewards program, but there is cellphone protection that can reimburse you for damage or theft up to $600 (with a $25 deductible), for up to two claims ($1,200) per 12-month period when you pay your cellphone bill with your card.

18 Months 0% Intro APR

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

APPLY NOW Secured

on Citibank’s secure website


Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever offers a long intro of 0%* for 18 months on Purchases*. This provides you well over a year to pay off any purchases without accruing interest, and you receive great perks such as no late fees, no penalty rate and no annual fee. After the intro period ends, the standard APR applies, currently 15.74% - 25.74%* (Variable) APR, depending on your creditworthiness.

TruWest Visa® Signature Card

TruWest Visa® Signature Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on TruWest Credit Union’s secure website


At 18 months, the 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the TruWest Visa® Signature Card is one of the highest for a credit union. It also has a very low ongoing variable APR of 9.65%-10.65% after the intro period ends. This card is restricted to people who live, work, own a business or go to school in select Arizona and Texas communities or who work for select employers. You can read more about membership eligibility on TruWest’s website. You can earn 1 point per dollar spent, and up to 10 extra points per dollar spent by taking advantage of bonus point offers with the Get Extra Points Rewards Program. You can also earn up to 1.5% cash back by redeeming rewards through the TruRewards program.

TruWest Visa® Platinum Card

TruWest Visa Platinum Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on TruWest Credit Union’s secure website


Another card from TruWest that offers a long intro period is the TruWest Visa® Platinum Card, with 0% intro APR for 18 months on purchases. Again, this card is only available to TruWest Credit Union members. This card has one of the lowest starting variable APR ranges at 7.70%-21.70% variable, which is beneficial for anyone who qualifies for the low rate and may carry a balance after the intro period ends (though we recommend paying off debt beforehand).

TruWest Platinum Points Visa Rewards Credit Card

TruWest Platinum Points Visa Rewards Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on TruWest Credit Union’s secure website


The TruWest Platinum Points Visa Rewards Credit Card has a competitive 0% intro period at 18 months on all purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, the purchase APR is 9.65%-16.65% variable. As with the other TruWest cards, this one is only available to members. You can benefit from a rewards program where you automatically earn up to 1 point for every $1 you spend, and earn up to 10 extra points per dollar spent. However, this is a low rewards rate compared to other 0% intro purchase cards on this list.

15 Months 0% Intro APR

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

APPLY NOW Secured

on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees


The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express offers an intro 0% for 15 Months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, your APR will be 14.74%-25.74% Variable. This card is a great choice for people who want to take advantage of the 0% intro periods and earn rewards. With the cash back program, you can earn 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x), 1x points on other purchases.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® provides a 0% Intro APR for 15 months
on purchases and a 0% Intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers — that is shorter than other flat-rate cash back cards. After those 15 months, purchases are subject to a standard APR of 16.74% - 25.49% Variable. With the cash back program, you can earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase – it’s automatic.
The information related to the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom®

APPLY NOW Secured

on Chase Bank’s secure website


The 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months on purchases and 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months means that the Chase Freedom® offers is complemented with a cash back program that is great for those looking to maximize cash back in bonus categories. You can Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. After the promotional period, the purchase APR is 16.74% - 25.49% Variable.

BankAmericard® credit card

BankAmericard® Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Bank Of America’s secure website


The BankAmericard® credit card has a 0% Introductory APR on purchases for 15 billing cycles
(after that, a 14.74% - 24.74% Variable APR applies). There are no rewards; however, this card may be a good option if you plan on making large purchases.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

APPLY NOW Secured

on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees


The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers an introductory 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, your APR will be 14.74%-25.74% Variable. There is also a cash back program — earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card

Citi® ThankYou® Preferred Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Citibank’s secure website


The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card offers a competitive intro 0% for 15 Months on purchases* on purchases when compared to other dining rewards cards. (After the intro period, the APR will be 15.24% - 25.24%* (Variable), based on your creditworthiness.) The rewards program benefits frequent diners and those who enjoy entertainment — earn two points per dollar spent on dining out and entertainment, and one point per dollar on all other purchases.

Wells Fargo Platinum Card

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Wells Fargo Bank’s secure website


The Wells Fargo Platinum Card has a long period for you to pay off debt with a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. Following the intro period, the variable APR on purchases will be 16.65%-26.49%. Besides the promotional APR, this card is fairly basic. It does have one other notable perk: You can receive up to $600 of cellphone protection (subject to $25 deductible) against eligible reasons when you pay your monthly cellphone bill with your card.*

PNC Core® Visa® Credit Card

PNC Core® Visa® Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on PNC Bank’s secure website


The PNC Core® Visa® Credit Card is a basic card that offers Introductory 0% APR on purchases for the first 15 billing cycles following account opening, then 11.74%-21.74% Variable APR, based on your credit. There is no rewards program or noteable perks. However, there is U.S.-based customer service available 7 days a week.

Truly Simple® Credit Card from Fifth Third Bank

Truly Simple® Card from Fifth Third Bank

APPLY NOW Secured

on Fifth Third Bank (OH)’s secure website


This card offers a decent intro period at 0% APR for 15 billing cycles, however this card is restricted to residents of Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. There is also no penalty APR if you miss a payment. The standard APR of 13.74%-24.74% variable applies after the intro period ends.

BB&T Bright Card

BB&T Bright Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on BB&T’s secure website


The BB&T Bright Card offers a good intro period from a community bank at 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (variable 12.99%-21.99% variable APR after). Note that this card is restricted to residents of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia.

APGFCU Visa® Platinum Preferred Rewards Credit Card

Visa® Platinum Preferred Rewards from APG FCU

APPLY NOW Secured

on Aberdeen Proving Ground FCU’s secure website


This card offers a competitive 0% intro APR on purchases and qualified balance transfers compared to other credit unions at 0% intro for 15 months (12.24%-17.99% variable after). To qualify for this card you need to live, work, worship, attend school, or volunteer in Harford or Cecil County or certain areas in Middle River, Maryland. There is a subpar rewards program where you can earn one point for every dollar spent on purchases.

KeyBank Latitude® Credit Card

KeyBank Latitude® Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on KeyBank’s secure website


The KeyBank Latitude® Credit Card has a decent intro period for purchases at 0.00% Introductory APR for the first 15 monthly billing cycles. It also has a decent intro period for balance transfers at 0.00% Introductory APR for the first 15 monthly billing cycles. After the intro period ends, 11.74% - 21.74% Variable APR applies based on creditworthiness. This card is restricted to people who live in Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont and Washington. There is no rewards program.

Chase Slate®

The Chase Slate® has a decent 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months, then 16.74% - 25.49% Variable APR, but you can find other cards with longer periods, and/or rewards. This card is predominantly known for its balance transfer offer where you get 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months and an intro Intro $0 on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that: Either $5 or 5%, whichever is greater.
The information related to the Chase Slate® has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Deferred versus Waived Interest

Not all 0% offers are created equally. Some credit card companies offer “deferred” interest, whereas others off “waived” interest.

Let’s take a simple example. You spend $1,000 on a credit card with an APR of 18%. You will make payments of $75 every month. There is a special offer that gives you 0% interest for 12 months. On “Credit Card A” interest is deferred. On “Credit Card B” it is waived. After making 12 payments of $75, the remaining balance in month 13 would be $100.

Credit Card A: Deferred Interest

With a “deferred” interest offer, the bank does not forgive the monthly interest accrual. Instead, the bank just keeps track of the interest that would have accrued. If you do not pay the balance in full during the promotional period, you will get retroactively charged the interest at a high interest rate. In the example above, you would be charged approximately $117 in month 13. (I use “approximately” because credit card companies have slightly different ways of calculating and charging interest. But it is safe to assume that you would be charged more than $100 of interest on your remaining $100 balance.)

Credit Card B: Waived Interest

Waived interest is very different. For every month of the promotional period, the credit card company actually forgives the interest. There will never be a retroactive catch up after the promotional period ends. In our example, you would only be charged $3.26 of interest in month 13, compared to more than $100 in the deferred example.

Deferred interest products are surprisingly common. If you are being offered 0% financing by a retailer, you are probably being offered a deferred interest product.

How To Qualify For A 0% Purchase Credit Card

In order to qualify for a 0% intro purchase credit card, you will need to have good credit. If your credit score is above 700, you are highly likely to be approved by one of the issuers. If your score is between 650 and 700, you still have a good chance.

With a credit score below 650, it is highly unlikely that you would be approved, though you may want to check to see if you are pre-qualified for a card before applying. Many of the banks let you check to see what deals they are specifically targeting to you, and you can see a list of them here. Checking what you’re pre-qualified for won’t show up on your credit report or score.

In addition to your credit score, the credit card company will want to ensure that you are employed. And most credit card companies will look at your debt burden.

If your debt burden is more than 50%, it is unlikely that you will be approved.

The lower your debt burden, the better your chances. You calculate your debt burden by dividing the monthly payments on your credit report (which would include your mortgage, auto loans, student loans, personal loans and credit cards) by your monthly paycheck before taxes are taken out.

When Is A Personal Loan Better?

There is no lower interest rate than 0%. So, if you are able to use a 0% credit card to make a purchase, that is your best bet. However, there are a few circumstances where a personal loan might be a better option:

  • Your credit score is too low for a 0% offer. Personal loan companies are offering increasingly competitive interest rates, especially for people with lower credit scores.
  • You need to borrow money for a big cash expense. For example, you might need to pay a contractor who does not accept credit cards. If you need cash, a personal loan is always a better deal than a credit card.
  • You don’t trust yourself with credit cards. Some people feel nervous with credit cards. You might be tempted to spend more than you want. Or, you might be tempted to only pay the minimum due, extending the repayment term. A personal loan can be an easy way to borrow a set amount of money for a set period of time.

If you want to consider a personal loan, you can compare and apply using our personal loan comparison tool. You can check your interest rate and see if you are approved without hurting your credit score at most lenders.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are 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 card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

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Best of

Best Secured Credit Cards with Low Deposit Requirements – August 2018

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

secured credit cards
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Secured credit cards are used as a tool to build credit history from scratch or put positive information on a credit report after negative incidents such as bankruptcy, missed debt payments or accounts in collections. By feeding positive information into a credit report, you can improve a credit score, which is essential for getting the best financial products on the market.

In order to be eligible for a secured credit card, you must provide a minimum deposit. This deposit typically serves as your line of available credit, but in some cases your line of credit may be higher. Plenty of secured cards require rather hefty minimum deposits of $300 or more, which may be prohibitive for many Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Fortunately, alternatives to the high deposits exist. We’ve pulled together a list of the best secured cards that require a deposit and/or credit union membership fee of $200 or less.

$200 minimum deposit: Discover it® Secured

Discover it® Secured The Discover it® Secured has a minimum deposit of $200. This is our favorite secured credit card for a number of reasons including: no annual fee, the ability to earn cash back, and our favorite feature — automatic monthly reviews of your account that start at month eight. However, the one downfall of this card is the high ongoing APR, but you should always pay your bill on time and in full so you avoid interest charges.

Here are the benefits of the Discover it® Secured in more detail:

Automatic monthly reviews starting at month 8: Discover will start automatic monthly reviews of your account at month 8. If you qualify, you could be transitioned to an account with no security deposit. Even better, you could potentially be eligible for a bigger credit limit. This feature really sets Discover apart from the competition – and your goal should be to get back your deposit as quickly as possible through responsible credit behavior.

No annual fee: There is a $0 annual fee for this card.

Bankruptcy? No problem: If you have filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the past, you can still qualify for this card. It is a great way for people to rehabilitate their credit.

Earn cash back: Most secured credit cards do not offer any rewards. With the Discover it® Secured, you have the opportunity to earn cash back while earning rewards. You can earn 2% at restaurants and gas stations (on up to $1,000 of spend each quarter). Plus, get 1% cash back on all your other purchases. Earning cash back is not the primary reason to select a secured credit card, but it is a nice option to have available.

Free FICO® Credit Score: Discover will provide you with a copy of your official FICO® credit score. A good step in proper credit behavior is to monitor your score each month.

Read our review for more information on the Discover it® Secured.

How to go from a secured card to unsecured card: Discover will automatically review your account starting at month eight to see if you can be transitioned to a card without a security deposit. If you qualify, you can receive an unsecured card and your security deposit will be refunded. Note that the reviews are based on various factors, including responsible credit management across all of your credit cards and loans.

APPLY NOW Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

$49, $99, or $200 minimum deposit: Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Annual fee

$0

Minimum Deposit

$49

Regular Purchase APR

24.99% (Variable)

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® offers a minimum deposit as low as $49, depending on credit worthiness. If you don’t receive the $49 minimum deposit, you may receive a deposit of $99 or $200. This may be a good option if you don’t have $200 to deposit, just remember that the $49 deposit is not guaranteed. If approved for the card, once you make your minimum required security deposit, you will receive a credit line of $200.

How to go from a secured card to unsecured card: Capital One has a new feature where they will automatically review your account for on time payments and will inform you if you’re eligible for an upgrade. If eligible, you will be refunded your security deposit and will receive an unsecured card. The catch is that there is no time frame for when your account will be reviewed. Capital One said that it depends on various credit activities.

$200 minimum deposit: Citi® Secured Mastercard®

Citi® Secured MasterCard®

Annual fee

$0

Minimum Deposit

$200

Regular Purchase APR

24.24%* (Variable)

APPLY NOW Secured

on Citibank’s secure website

The Citi® Secured Mastercard® is a no frills secured credit card. There is a $0 annual fee and a $200 minimum deposit requirement, like most cards on this list. Unfortunately, there are no rewards associated with this card — however that’s typical for a secured card. When coupled with responsible credit behavior, this card can help you build credit and work your way to an unsecured card.

How to go from a secured card to unsecured card: Citi will hold your security deposit in a Collateral Holding Account for 18 months. Prior to the 18-month term ending, Citi will send you a notification in the mail informing you if you will be transitioned to an unsecured card. If transitioned, you will receive an unsecured card and your deposit back. If not, you will still have your secured card. The status of your account at the end of the 18-month term and whether you get back your deposit depends on your account history and other credit factors.

$100 minimum deposit: Visa Classic Secured by Justice FCU

Visa Classic Secured Card from Justice FCU

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Minimum Deposit

$100

Regular Purchase APR

16.90%

Fixed

APPLY NOW Secured

on Justice Federal Credit Union’s secure website

You can join Justice FCU if you are an employee, retiree, or family member of the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, United States Courts or another qualifying group. If that doesn’t apply, don’t fret. Anyone can join JFCU by first becoming a member of an eligible JFCU association like the National Sheriff’s Association, charges a $41 membership fee for auxiliary or student members. It only costs $5 for eligible individuals to join JFCU, so that would raise the total cost of membership to $46. Credit limits range from $100 to 110% of pledged shares.

Note: Justice FCU makes it hard to find the Visa Classic Secured card on their site. When you’re on their credit cards webpage, scroll to the bottom then click on the ‘Apply Now’ directly below the VISA Classic card. That will take you to a new page where you need to click ‘Apply Online’ to land on a general application page. From there select ‘Credit Card’ and the ‘VISA Classic Secured’ will be displayed. You can call customer service to obtain more information on the card.

How to go from a secured card to unsecured card: Justice FCU doesn’t provide automatic reviews of your account or a simple way to transition to an unsecured card — you need to initiate the upgrade to an unsecured card. To do this, apply for one of their unsecured credit cards. Then, upon approval, your secured card will automatically be cancelled and you will receive your security deposit back. Note that your approval for an unsecured card depends on your creditworthiness.

Best Strategy for Rebuilding Credit

The strategy for building a strong credit score with a secured card is simple. Make one small purchase each month ($10 or less), wait for your statement to come in, pay your bill on time and in full and then repeat the next month. By making just small purchases, you’ll be using a very low amount of your overall credit limit (also called utilization), which helps drive your credit score up faster because it shows you’re responsible.

Keep an Eye on Your Credit Score and Credit Report

Once you’re in the process of building or rebuilding your credit, it helps to have a benchmark. The easiest way will be to establish a profile with one of the free credit score websites: Credit Sesame, Quizzle, Credit Karma. Do a monthly check in with your credit score to see how it’s improving.

In addition, you should also keep tabs on your credit report by downloading the report from each of the three bureaus. By law, you’re entitled to one free report from each bureau per year. You can download them all at once or space them out throughout the year. Go to annualcreditreport.com to download your free reports. Monitoring your reports will ensure all the information there is accurate and alert you about anything that may be damaging to your score, like an item in collections or reported missed payments.

A Word to the Wise

Never carry a balance on your secured card. The point of a secured card is to be building (or rebuilding) your credit history. Make one small purchase a month and pay it off on time and in full. Follow those two steps and you’ll see your credit score start to raise quickly.

Find other secured card options on our secured card comparison table.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are 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 card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

MagnifyMoney
MagnifyMoney |

Have a question to ask or a story to share? Contact the MagnifyMoney team at info@magnifymoney.com

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