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Best of, College Students and Recent Grads, Credit Cards

Best Student Credit Cards May 2019

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Getting a credit card while you’re in college can set you up for financial success, provided you avoid racking up unnecessary charges. If you are over 18 and have a steady income, applying for a card now will kick start your credit history, and you can start building that all-important credit score.

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 and more up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
Regular APR
15.24% - 24.24% Variable
Credit required
fair-credit
Fair

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 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

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

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on Capital One’s website

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
26.96% (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 on all purchases; 0.25% Cash Back bonus on the cash back you earn each month you pay 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 APR: This card carries an APR of 26.96% (Variable). That’s almost twice as high as some other student credit cards, such as the Wells Fargo Cash Back CollegeSM Card with a rate as low as 13.40% - 23.40% 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

The information related to Wells Fargo Cash Back CollegeSM Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

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
13.40% - 23.40% Variable
Credit required
excellent-credit
Good/Excellent

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Interest rates as low as 13.40% - 23.40% Variable APR: Depending on your credit, your interest rate could be between 13.40% - 23.40% Variable APR, but there is no guarantee 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.
  • Intro Rewards Bonus: 3% cash rewards on gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases for the first 6 months, 1% cash rewards on virtually all other purchases
  • 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 CollegeSM Card is a relatively simple card with a great intro bonus of 3% cash rewards on gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases for the first 6 months, 1% cash rewards on virtually all other purchases 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 CollegeSM 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
Earn double Reward Points on every dollar of purchases in the first 60 days after opening your new account, then 1 point per dollar spent.
Regular Purchase APR
16.15% 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® Student Cash Back 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 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
25.24% Variable
Credit required
bad-credit
Poor/New

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™: Discover will match ALL the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There’s no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched (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
20.99% Variable
Credit required
bad-credit
Fair/Good Credit or 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% unlimited cash back on ALL purchases. 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 for Students 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. Anyone who lives or works in California is eligible for credit union membership.

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

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

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

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Best of

The Best 6-Year CD Rates

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

If you want to earn the highest CD rates, you generally need to invest in a longer-term CD. When the bank or credit union gets to keep your money for an extended period of time, it rewards you with higher interest rates.

Higher rates can make a 6-year term an appealing choice when considering CDs. However, there aren’t as many 6-year CDs available as with other CD terms. Most banks don’t offer this particular term, often maxing out at five years or skipping to 7-year CDs. In our analysis, we managed to find nine great choices when sorting through long-term CD data from DepositAccounts.com, a LendingTree-owned company.

To find the best 6-year CDs, we first looked at the highest 6-year CD rates available nationwide. Then we ranked each by APY, taking the accounts’ minimum deposit requirements into consideration for wider availability. We also made sure to include institutions with great health ratings so you know you’re working with a reputable bank with FDIC or NCUA insurance.

The Best 6-year CD rates

Institution

APY

Minimum deposit amount

INOVA FCU

3.25%

$200

Chartway FCU

3.10%

$500

Goldman Sachs Bank USA

3.05%

$500

Third Federal Savings and Loan

2.90%

$500

Evansville Teachers FCU

2.90%

$1,000

New Buffalo Savings Bank

1.76%

$1,000

MySavingsDirect

1.65%

$1,000

1st Source Bank

1.50%

$500

EmigrantDirect

1.50%

$1,000

INOVA FCU— 3.25% APY, $200 minimum deposit

Earn the best 6-year CD rate from Inova FCU. You need at least $200 to deposit and open up INOVA’s 6-year certificate. The penalty for an early withdrawal from this account is equal to 180 days’ of dividends.

Headquartered in Indiana, INOVA Federal was originally founded to serve the employees of Miles Laboratories in 1942. You can join INOVA through your employer or other organization, or through an immediate family member who is already an INOVA member.

Learn more Secured

on INOVA Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Chartway FCU— 3.10% APY, $500 minimum deposit

You can take advantage of Chartway FCU’s longest share certificate term of 71 months starting with $500. It earns at a competitive rate, which applies to certificates between 60 and 71 months. The penalty for making an early withdrawal from a 71-month certificate will equal 180 days’ worth of interest.

Chartway FCU started as NorVA N.A.S. Federal Credit Union by civilian workers at the Norfolk Naval Air Station in 1959. Today, you can join Chartway if you live, work, go to school or worship in select areas in Texas, Utah or Virgina, you work for a select partner employer or you have an immediate family member who is a member. You may also join by donating $10 to the We Promise Foundation, Chartway’s philanthropic arm.

Learn more Secured

on Chartway Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Goldman Sachs Bank USA— 3.05% APY, $500 minimum deposit

A big name in the online banking space, Goldman Sachs Bank USA, also known as Marcus by Goldman Sachs, offers consistently competitive rates. This includes its high-yield 6-year CD, the longest term among its offerings. It requires an initial deposit of at least $500 within 10 days after opening the account. Marcus by Goldman Sachs makes a 10-day CD rate guarantee, so if the rate increases during that period, you can snag that higher rate.

Just be careful of making an early withdrawal from the 6-year CD as it will trigger a penalty of 365 days’ worth of simple interest on the principal.

An entirely online bank, Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA, the banking branch of investment giant Goldman Sachs, which traces its history back to 1869.

Learn more Secured

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

Member FDIC

Third Federal Savings and Loan— 2.90% APY, $500 minimum deposit

The 72-month standard CD is the longest term offered by Third Federal Savings and Loan. It earns at a competitive rate and requires only $500 to open and start saving. The penalty for an early withdrawal from a 72-month CD equals 18 months’ interest.

Third Federal is based in Cleveland, where it was founded back in 1938.

Learn more Secured

on Third Federal Savings And Loan (OH)’s secure website

Member FDIC

Evansville Teachers FCU— 2.90% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit

The 6-year certificate is Evansville Teachers FCU’s longest term and earns at a competitive interest rate alongside the credit union’s other certificates. You’ll need at least $1,000 to open an account. The penalty for an early withdrawal will equal either $100 or 180 days’ worth of interest, whichever is greater.

ETFCU was founded in 1936 by several teachers in Evansville, Ind. who needed better financial services. Today, you can be eligible for Evansville Teachers FCU membership not just as a teacher, but also through select employers or organizations, or a family or household member. You may also join by donating $5 to the Mater Dei Friends & Alumni Association.

Learn more Secured

on Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

New Buffalo Savings Bank— 1.76% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit

With at least $1,000, you can start saving your money in a 6-year CD from New Buffalo Savings Bank at a pretty solid rate. Interestingly, no matter which term you have, the early withdrawal penalty will equal six months’ of interest.

New Buffalo Savings Bank was founded in 1921, and maintains its headquarters and a few branches in the New Buffalo, Mich. area.

Learn more Secured

on New Buffalo Savings Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

MySavingsDirect— 1.65% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit

MySavingsDirect offers a wide range of MyTerm Certificates of Deposit. Its 6-year term falls in between its range of 60 to 120 month terms available at the given APY. Plus, interest is compounded daily for faster savings growth. You’ll need at least $1,000 to open an account. Making an early withdrawal from this account will trigger a penalty of 180 days’ worth of interest.

MySavingsDirect is a digital-only division of Emigrant Bank which dates back to 1850.

Learn more Secured

on MySavingsDirect’s secure website

Member FDIC

EmigrantDirect—1.50% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit

EmigrantDirect offers a lower but still decent rate on its 60- to 120-month certificates of deposit, including its 6-year term. You need $1,000 to open an account here. The penalty for early withdrawals will be an amount equal to 180 days’ interest.

Like MySavingsDirect, EmigrantDirect is another digital-only division of Emigrant Bank.

Learn more Secured

on EmigrantDirect.com’s secure website

Member FDIC

1st Source Bank— 1.50% APY, $500 minimum deposit

You can get started with 1st Source Bank’s 6-year CD with just $500. The penalty for an early withdrawal is 12 months’ interest earned on the amount withdrawn.

1st Source Bank was established back in 1863 in South Bend, Ind. It has branches in Florida, Indiana and Michigan.

Learn more Secured

on 1st Source Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Is it worth getting a 6-year CD?

It can be worth getting a 6-year CD if you’re signing up for the highest rates on our list. Perhaps it would make a solid addition to a CD ladder you’re building. Let’s say you have $1,000 to deposit into a CD. Depositing that into the highest-earning 6-year CD above, at 3.25% APY, will result in $215 total interest earned. Making that same deposit into the best 5-year CD at 3.35% APY yields about $182.

But this is just looking at the top rates for both terms. In truth, 6-year CD rates aren’t always competitive enough to make them a reliable investment. In fact, 5- and 7-year CD terms consistently have much better rates, despite the small one-year difference.

When we compare 6-year CD rates with 5-year CD rates, the 6-year yields struggle to keep up. You can see above that the best 6-year CD rates jump from 3.25% APY at the top all the way to just above 1%. Meanwhile, all the best 5-year CD rates offer a much better savings opportunity ranging between 3.35% and 3.20% APY. No matter which 5-year CD you pick from the list, you’re bound to yield some solid earnings.

We tend to expect that the longer the CD term, the higher the rate will be, but we just don’t see that when comparing 6-year CDs with other long-term CDs. On the whole, 6-year CD terms are bookended by better-earning products. Opening 5- and 7-year CDs will give you a wider product selection to choose from and a better chance at growing your savings.

Alternative long-term investments

Other than 5- and 7-year CDs, Ken Tumin, founder of DepositAccounts.com (which similar to MagnifyMoney, is owned by LendingTree) suggests turning to individual bonds to beef up your savings. “Much like a CD ladder, the same technique can be used with individual bonds (Treasury, municipal, corporate, etc.) to build steady savings over time,” he offered. Note that non-Treasury bonds do have some default risk that CDs don’t carry when they have FDIC/NCUA insurance.

Another alternative to a bond ladder is a mutual fund or an ETF of bonds. Unlike a ladder, the value of a bond mutual fund or ETF fluctuates with interest rates. This can give you the chance to boost your savings when interest rates go down. However, the opposite is also true, where the value of your bonds decrease when interest rates rise.

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

Lauren Perez
Lauren Perez |

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

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