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APY vs. Interest Rate on Savings and CD Accounts — Explained

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apr vs interest rate
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When you’re signing up for a checking or savings account, the first thing you are likely to review is the account’s APY and interest rate. They may seem similar but they are actually two very different terms.

An interest rate is the percentage of your deposit that banks pay you in order to hold your money with them. APY is an acronym that stands for for annual percentage yield. It refers to the total amount of interest you earn on your savings over a year, and it factors in compounding interest. APY gives a truer picture of how much money you will make from your certificate of deposit (CD), savings or money market account, than by looking at a simple interest rate alone.

The higher the APY, the more money you can expect to earn from your deposit in your CD, money market or savings accounts.

Understanding the various types of interest rates

For deposit accounts, there are two types of interest rates you need to know: simple interest and compounding interest.

Simple interest

Simple interest is easy to calculate — it’s calculated only on the principle you deposit in your bank account. It means if you invest $10,000 at an interest of 2%, for instance, you will earn $200 in interest at the end of the year.

Simple interest rates are typically used with brokered CD accounts purchased through brokerage firms like Fidelity, Vanguard or Charles Schwab, said Ken Tumin, founder and editor of DepositAccounts.com, a fellow LendingTree-owned site. Instead of receiving compounding interest, holders of brokered CDs normally get paid simple interest monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually.

Compounding interest

Compounding interest is more complicated, because it takes into account the interest you earn on both the interest and principle. When you leave the interest you earn in a bank account instead of taking it out, the overall interest paid is calculated based on the total balance, including the interest you’ve earned over time. So as each month passes, you are earning interest on an increasingly larger pool of money.

That’s why compounding interest can be such a powerful tool and why you’ll hear many experts encourage folks to save as early and often as they can so that they have more time to enjoy the power of compounding.

Here is how compounding interest works. Let’s say you put $10,000 in savings account that earns an interest rate of 2%. After one year, you will have earned $200. So you’ll start year two with a total balance of $10,200. Now, you’ll earn the same 2% but you’ll be earning it on a higher balance (your original deposit plus $200 in earned interest). At the end of year two, the total interest on your deposit will be $204 — ($10,000+$200) x 2% = $204 — and you’ll be left with a total of $10,404.

Annual Percentage Yield (APY) vs interest

Most deposit accounts where you earn the interest use APY.  It is a number that accurately represents how much you will make from a deposit in a given year, factoring in both the interest rate and compounding period.

If interest is paid on an investment once per year, which means it has an annual compounding period, as shown in the above-mentioned example, the APY and interest rate are the same.

But in reality, most banks offer more frequent compounding periods, which could be quarterly, monthly, weekly or even daily. In these situations, the compounding effect occurs on a much smaller scale but more frequently. As a result, the returns are higher.

Most banks offer an APY, so that account holders don’t have to calculate on their own. But if you are curious to know how an APY is calculated, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) provides the mathematical formula on its website.

Read more about the difference between APR and interest rate when it comes to mortgages here.

How to calculate APY

You can use DepositAccount.com’s compound interest calculator to calculate how much return you will eventually get on your investments over certain time periods. But if you’re someone who likes to see how the math works out, we’ll cover the formula as well.

APY = 100*[(1 + (interest rate/compounding cycles)^compounding cycles)) – 1]

Compounding cycles is the number of times a year your interest compounds.

Now if the 2% interest on that investment of $10,000 compounds daily (365 times of a year), at the end of the year, you will earn $202.01 in interest on that deposit. In this case, the APY is 2.0201%.

Here is how we arrived at the result:

APY = 100 * [(1 + (.02/365) ^ 365) – 1]

APY = 2.0201%

The deposit compounds monthly, meaning it has 12 compound cycles:

APY = 100 * [(1 + (.02/12) ^ 12) – 1] = 2.0184%

Blended APY

Blended APY comes into play when there are rate tiers in accounts. That means depending on how much you’ve invested, a portion of your balance earns one interest rate, while another portion earns a different interest rate. A blended APY averages the different interest rates and also factors in compounding.

Some financial institutions reward low balance savers by placing the highest rate with the lowest deposit, but if the balance grows they start using a reverse tier system where they blend the APY as the balance grows, Tumin explained.

These tiered rates are typically applied in money markets, savings and reward checking accounts, Tumin said. There can be more than two rate tiers, which it can make it more complicated to determine the final amount of interest you’ll earn over time.

Banks and credit unions that offer products that apply blended APYs usually list the rate tiers for different ranges of deposits. In this example, the blended APY is neither 1% nor 2%. The exact blended APY is calculated based on how much you have invested.

The formula that you can use to calculate the blended APY is:

Blended APY = (Amount1 * Rate1 + Amount2 * Rate2) / Total Amount

For example, let’s say you open a savings account that gives you 2% APY on your investments below $10,000 and 1% APY on deposits above $10,000.

You have $20,000 to deposit.

So, what we get from the $20,000 is:

Blended APY = ($10,000 * 2% + $10,000 * 1%) / $20,000 = an effective APY of 1.5%

Blended APY vs fixed APY:

Would you be better off picking an account with the blended APY or another account with a fixed APY of 1.5% on your entire balance?

It depends on your total balance.

Let’s say you put $15,000 in that same two-tiered account (2% on your first $10,000; 1% on deposits above $10,000).

Using the same formula from above, your blended APY would be 1.67%, beating a 1.5% APY.

But if you dump $50,000 into this account, your blended APY then would be 1.2%.

In this case, a fixed 1.5% APY would be a better deal for you.

When looking for savings accounts, you should shop around and compare the expected returns based on your initial investment.

Understanding the difference between APY, interest rate and APR

In the family of interest rates, APY has a sister called APR, which stands for annual percentage rate.

APR is often used to describe the interest rate you pay on loans and credit card debt. However, once in a while, you’ll see APR mentioned for deposit accounts, which essentially means a simple interest rate in that context, Tumin said.

When you are shopping for a loan, instead of looking at the interest rate, you should focus on APR, which provides a clearer picture of how much the loan will cost you.

An interest rate is the percentage of a loan amount that it costs to borrow money.

Essentially, APR reflects the amount of interest you pay on the money you borrow from a lender every year, and it also factors in how the interest is applied to your balance and associated fees and other costs. But unlike APY, APR does not take compounding into account.

If a lender charges no additional fees, the loan’s APR and interest rate are identical. But if you have to pay an origination fee for a loan, for example, it will increase the APR on that loan, making it higher than a simple interest rate.

Although lenders often advertise the interest rates, the Federal Truth in Lending Act requires that every lender to disclose the APR, so you can use the APR as a good basis to compare the true costs of loans. However, your monthly payment is calculated based on the interest rate, not APR. Here’s an example that shows how monthly payments are calculated using a loan calculator from LendingTree, the parent company of MagnifyMoney. The fees and other costs, such as discount points and origination fees are often paid at the closing of a loan or will be calculated into your loan balance.

This article contains links to DepositAccounts.com. Like MagnifyMoney, DepositAccounts.com is a subsidiary of LendingTree.

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.

Shen Lu
Shen Lu |

Shen Lu is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Shen Lu at [email protected]

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The Best CD Rates – June 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.

The Best CD Rates
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Updated June 14, 2019

If you’re looking for a better yield on your savings and have time to burn, a high-rate CD at an online bank would be a great option. With a CD, you agree to lock up your funds in an account for a specific period of time, and in return the bank offers a higher yield than you’d find on a standard savings account. If you’re not keen on the idea of completely locking your money away for a set amount of time, you may want to consider a no-penalty CD. These accounts give you the benefit of locking down a rate for a set amount of time without requiring you to lock in your money for the length of the term.

CDs are often seen as the next level up after savings for that reason. If you’ve maxed out your savings account with enough funds to see you through the next year or so, it can be wise to start shoveling savings into a CD to maximize your returns.

For the best CD rates in the industry, check out online banks. They tend to offer much better interest rates than traditional banks, thanks to the lack of typical brick-and-mortar costs.

For example, let’s say you find a 12-month CD at a big brick-and-mortar bank that requires a $1,000 minimum deposit and pays 0.05% APY. If you were to open that account with just the minimum, you’d earn 50 cents after a year. Even a bigger deposit of $10,000 would only yield $5 at maturity.

At an online bank, on the other hand, you could earn 2.80% often with a minimum deposit of $1,000. Opening the account with $1,000 would yield $28, while a $10,000 deposit would earn $280 in a year, a much better return on your money no matter how you look at it. (If you would rather get a savings account or money market with no time restriction, look at the best savings accounts or best money market accounts).

The best CD rates from top banks

To find the best CD rates, we look for the banks and credit unions that consistently offer competitive CD rates month over month. This list is updated monthly, and competition continues to intensify. Here are the accounts from banks and credit unions with consistently competitive CD rates:

6 months – 6 years: Goldman Sachs Bank USA – 0.60% APY – 2.95% APY; $500 minimum deposit to open
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Our advertiser Marcus by Goldman Sachs is the online consumer bank of Goldman Sachs Bank USA (the large investment bank). Your funds are FDIC insured, and Goldman offers very competitive rates. Even better: there is only a $500 minimum deposit. So, if you don’t have enough money to meet the minimum deposit of the other banks on this list, or you are looking for another bank for your savings, GS is a good option. It also doesn’t hurt that they also offer some of the best CD rates in the market today. Here are their rates:

CD TermAPY
6-months0.60%
9-months0.70%
12-months2.60%
18-months2.60%
2-year2.65%
3-year2.70%
5-year2.90%
6-year2.95%
1 Year – 3 Years: Rising Bank – 2.80% APY – 2.90% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit to open
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Rising Bank launched in February 2019 as the online division of Midwest BankCentre. Midwest BankCentre has been around since 1906 in Missouri and has acquired over $1 billion in assets. This bank decided to assert itself as a top competitor in the online banking space by offering competitive rates. While most online banks have pulled back on rate offerings, Rising Bank continues to offer a top 2.80% APY on its 1-year CD. However, unlike some of the top online banks like Ally Bank and Goldman Sachs, Rising Bank requires a minimum deposit of $1,000 and caps balances at $500,000 on its CDs. If you have less than $1,000 to deposit into a CD, you’re better off choosing another online bank. If you have more than $500,000 to deposit into a CD, you may also want to consider another online bank. Aside from its rates, Rising Bank also distinguishes its CDs with the early withdrawal penalties. If you need to withdraw from the 1-year CD early, you’ll only incur a penalty that is 90 days’ worth of interest. If you need to withdraw early from the 18 to 36-month CDs, the penalty is 180 days’ worth of interest. One thing to be aware of is that Rising Bank compounds interest every three months. Other online banks compound interest monthly, so this is a bit of a downside. Once this CD matures, you can withdraw the full balance to close the account. If you don’t withdraw the full balance ten days after the maturity date, Rising Bank will automatically renew your CD. Rising Bank has a mobile app for your convenience.

CD TermAPY
1-year2.80%
2-year2.85%
3-year2.90%
3 months – 5 years: Synchrony Bank – 0.75% APY – 2.90% APY; $2,000 minimum deposit to open
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Synchrony used to be a part of GE, and now has an online bank that pays competitive rates. The online deposits are used to fund their store credit card portfolio – and the company is publicly traded. If you have $2,000 or more to deposit into a CD, Synchrony will offer you some of the best CD rates. However, if you have less than $2,000, you’re better off going with one of the other online banks or credit union above. Your deposit will be insured up to the FDIC limit. In a rising rate environment, this is a great way to get a high interest rate without locking yourself into a long term.

CD TermAPY
3-months0.75%
6-months1.00%
9-months1.25%
12-months2.60%
15-months2.85%
18-months2.60%
24-months2.65%
36-months2.70%
48-months2.80%
60-months2.90%
1 year – 5 years: Barclays Bank – 2.60% – 3.00% APY, no minimum deposit to open
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Barclays is one of the oldest banks in the world. Although they’re based in London, they do have a U.S. presence and offer competitive rates on their CDs and savings account. Currently, they’re offering some of the highest CD rates in the market, and they have an edge over the rest of the institutions on this list: they don’t require a minimum balance to earn the APY or open an account. Deposit as little or as much as you’d like into a term of your choice and you can start earning interest as long as the account is funded within 14 days of opening the CD. Additionally, your funds are insured through the FDIC.

CD TermAPY
1-year2.60%
2-year2.65%
3-year2.70%
4-year2.75%
5-year3.00%
3 months – 5 years: Ally Bank – 0.75% APY – 2.85% APY; $0 minimum deposit to open (higher APY with higher deposit)
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Ally is one of the largest internet-only banks in the country. Ally’s former advertising campaign made it very clear: no branches = higher rates. And Ally has consistently paid some of the highest rates in the country across savings accounts, money market accounts and CDs. For savers with fewer funds, Ally is unique. There is no minimum deposit to open a CD. However, if you have more money, you can earn a higher APY. If you have more than $25,000 to deposit, you can earn between 0.75% APY and 2.85% APY. And one of our favorite features of Ally: they often (although not always) offer preferential rates on renewal. Far too often banks give the biggest bonuses to new customers, but Ally has done a good job of rewarding its existing customers. A good example of this is a 1% cash back promotion Ally is currently offering to new and existing customers. All deposits at Ally are FDIC insured up to the legal limit.

3-months:
  • 0.75% APY (less than $5k)
  • 0.75% APY ($5k minimum deposit)
  • 0.75% APY ($25k minimum deposit)
18-months:
  • 2.35% APY (less than $5k)
  • 2.50% APY ($5k minimum deposit)
  • 2.55% APY ($25k minimum deposit)
6-months:
  • 1.00% APY (less than $5k)
  • 1.00% APY ($5k minimum deposit)
  • 1.00% APY ($25k minimum deposit)
3-year:
  • 2.45% APY (less than $5k)
  • 2.55% APY ($5k minimum deposit)
  • 2.60% APY ($25k minimum deposit)
9-months:
  • 1.25% APY (less than $5k)
  • 1.25% APY ($5k minimum deposit)
  • 1.25% APY ($25k minimum deposit)
5-year:
  • 2.85% APY (less than $5k)
  • 2.85% APY ($5k minimum deposit)
  • 2.85% APY ($25k minimum deposit)
12-months:
  • 2.55% APY (less than $5k)
  • 2.55% APY ($5k minimum deposit)
  • 2.55% APY ($25k minimum deposit)
6 months – 5 years: Capital One – 0.60% APY – 2.90% APY; no minimum deposit to open
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Capital One is famous for its credit card business. However, it has recently started getting aggressive with its CD rates. There is no minimum deposit for their 360 CDs, which make them comparable to Barclays’ and Ally’s CDs. Capital One CDs are FDIC insured, up to the federal maximum. And you get the comfort of depositing your money with a well-known bank. In addition to this bank’s competitive CD rates, it also has interest-earning savings, checking, and money market accounts that offer top rates. We believe this makes Capital One a great option for those wanting to do all their banking in one place.

CD TermAPY
6-months0.60%
9-months0.80%
12-months2.50%
18-months2.50%
24-months2.60%
30-months2.60%
36-months2.70%
48-months2.80%
60-months2.90%
3 months – 10 years: Discover Bank – 0.35% APY – 3.05% APY, $2,500 minimum deposit to open
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Discover is best known for cash back credit cards. However, Discover has also quietly built a leading internet bank that offers checking accounts, savings accounts and CDs. Discover has invested in a mobile banking app and strong on-shore customer service. Although Discover does not always have the highest rate, it is very close (within basis points) across all durations. If customer service and digital tools (like apps) are important to you, Discover is an excellent consideration. Note: you can even get a CD rate with a duration as short as 3 months. However, you would be better off opening a high yield savings account if you plan on saving the money for less than a year. Keep in mind that all CD terms come with an early withdrawal penalty if you choose to withdraw money before your maturity date. If your Discover CD is less than one year, the penalty is worth three months of simple interest. If the term is between one to three years, the penalty is worth six months of simple interest. Four-year CDs have a penalty that is worth nine months of simple interest. Five year CDs have a penalty that is worth 18 months of simple interest and seven to 10-year CDs have a penalty that is worth 24 months of simple interest.

CD TermAPY
3-months0.35%
6-months0.65%
9-months0.70%
12-months2.50%
18-months2.55%
2-year2.60%
30-months2.60%
3-year2.65%
4-year2.75%
5-year2.85%
7-year3.00%
10-year3.05%

The best no-penalty CD rates

No-penalty CDs are unique because these accounts allow customers to withdraw from their CD without incurring an early withdrawal penalty. These CDs are an attractive offer to customers as it provides no risk if they choose to withdraw their money early. Here are some of the best no-penalty CD rates that are available nationwide:

11 months – 14 months: PurePoint Financial – 2.15% APY – 2.50% APY; $10,000 minimum deposit to open
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PurePoint Financial is the online division of Union Bank. Both the parent bank and this online division are backed by financial giant, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG). Under the MUFG Union Bank umbrella, this institution has acquired over $130 billion in assets. As its online division, PurePoint Financial has been able to offer its customers highly competitive rates not only in CDs, but in an online savings account.

Currently, PurePoint Financial is offering an extremely competitive rate of 2.50% on its 13-month no-penalty CD. It also offers an 11-month and a 14-month no-penalty CD, but those two accounts have lower rates than its 13-month no-penalty CD. Keep in mind that you’ll need at least $10,000 to deposit into any of these CDs. If you do choose to withdraw money from this CD before the term is up, you’ll need to withdraw the full amount. You’ll also have to wait seven days after you fund the account to withdraw any of the money. Here’s a full list of PurePoint Financial’s no-penalty CDs.

TermAPYMinimum balance to earn the APY
11-month2.15%$10,000
13-month2.50%$10,000
14-month2.25%$10,000
7 months – 13 months: Goldman Sachs Bank USA – 2.25% APY – 2.35% APY; $500 minimum deposit to open
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Similar to its regular CDs, you only need a minimum of $500 to deposit into Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s no-penalty CDs. This makes these CDs highly attractive to customers with smaller deposits. If you choose to open one of these CDs, you’ll only be locked in for seven days after you fund the account. After the seventh day, you’re free to withdraw your funds, but keep in mind that you’ll need to withdraw the full amount. These CDs are an excellent option if you want your money to remain liquid or if you want to invest your money into an interest-earning account for a short amount of time. One thing to note is that the 7-month no-penalty CD has a much higher rate than the regular 6-month CD (2.25% APY vs 0.60% APY). The high APY makes Goldman’s 7-month no-penalty CD a fantastic option if you want to earn interest in a short amount of time. Here is Goldman’s full list of no-penalty CD rates:

TermAPYMinimum balance to earn the APY
7-month2.25%
$500
11-month2.30%
$500
13-month2.35%
$500
11 months: Ally Bank – 1.80% APY – 2.30% APY; $0 – $25,000 minimum deposit to earn APY
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Unlike the other two banks that offer multiple terms, Ally Bank only offers one term on its no-penalty CD. While Ally doesn’t require a minimum deposit to open, it does reward higher balances with higher APYs. This no-penalty CD is great for low-balance individuals who want to keep their money liquid. However, if you’re okay with locking your money into a CD for 12 months, you’re better off going with Ally’s regular 12-month CD as it has a higher APY (2.55% APY vs 1.80% APY) and doesn’t have a certain balance requirement to earn that high rate. If you still choose to open Ally’s 11-month no-penalty CD and you need to withdraw money before the terms ends, you’ll need to withdraw your funds in full and won’t be able to do so until seven days after funding the account. Here are the tiered rates for Ally’s no-penalty CD:

TermAPYMinimum balance to earn the APY
11 months1.80%Up to $5,000
11 months2.15%$5,000
11 months2.30%$25,000

The highest CD rates from banks and credit unions by term

The following banks and credit unions are currently offering the highest CD rates for each term.

Best 1-year CD rates

Best 1-year CD rate from a National Bank: Comenity Direct – 2.86% APY, $1,500 minimum deposit
1-Year CD from Comenity Direct

Comenity Direct is the online division of Comenity Capital Bank. Both banks operate under Comenity Bank, which has been around since 1989 and has acquired over $14 billion dollars. Comenity Capital Bank, which powers Comenity Direct, has been around since 2003 and has acquired over $9 billion. Altogether, Comenity Direct is backed by an experienced family of banks. This has allowed the online bank to offer strong rates on its products. Currently, Comenity Direct is offering a 2.86% APY on its 1-year CD. You’ll need a minimum of $1,500 to open the account. If you happen to open the savings account in addition to one of the online bank’s CDs, keep in mind that your balance across both accounts cannot exceed $10 million dollars. If you need to close the account before the CD matures, the early withdrawal penalty will be 180 days simple interest for this term. If you allow the CD to mature fully, you’ll have a 10-day grace period to withdraw all of your funds before Comenity Bank automatically renews the CD. The online bank provides various options to withdraw your matured funds including check, ACH or wire transfer, or a direct transfer to Comenity Direct’s online savings account. If you choose to receive your funds via a paper check, you may incur a $15 fee per request. Outgoing wire transfers also incur a fee of $25. If you request paper statements, you will be charged $5 per request.


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Best 1-year CD rate from a Credit Union: Connexus Credit Union – 2.75% APY, $5,000 minimum deposit
12 Month Certificate from Connexus Credit Union

Connexus Credit Union has been around since 1935 and has acquired over $2 billion in assets. Anyone is able to join the credit union by making a donation of $5 to their organization called Connexus Association. This organization provides scholarships and assists educational institutions. Be sure to check their other fields of membership to see if you qualify through those. Once you’re a member, you’ll be able to open the credit union’s 12 Month Certificate with a minimum deposit of $5,000. This CD earns an APY of 2.75%. The early withdrawal penalty on this term is 90 days. If you allow the funds to fully mature, you’ll have a 10-day grace period to withdraw your matured funds before the credit union automatically renews the CD. The credit union can issue a check at no charge or you can transfer the funds directly to another Connexus account. You can choose to withdraw the money via an ACH transfer, but you’ll be charged a $10 fee if the amount is $25,000 or under. If the funds are over $25,000, they will need to be wired and you’ll be charged a $20 fee. Connexus Credit Union has a mobile banking app as well as an online banking platform.


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Best 2-year CD rates

Best 2-year CD rate from a National Bank: Comenity Direct – 2.95% APY, $1,500 minimum deposit
2-Year CD from Comenity Direct

Not only is Comenity Direct offering a high rate on its 1-year CD, its also offering a 2-year CD with a high rate. You will need to deposit a minimum of $1,500 in order to earn an APY of 2.95%. The early withdrawal penalty for this CD is equal to 180 days simple interest. Just like the 12-month CD, once this CD matures, you can do so by requesting a check, via ACH or wire transfer, or by directly transferring the funds to the online bank’s savings account. If you choose to use an outgoing wire transfer, the bank may charge you a $25 fee. If you request a paper check, the bank may charge you a $15 fee. You’ll have a 10-day grace period to withdraw the matured funds before the bank automatically renews your CD.


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Best 2-year CD rate from a Credit Union: State Department Federal Credit Union – 2.83% APY, $500 minimum deposit
24 Month Certificate from State Department Federal Credit Union

State Department Federal Credit Union was established in 1935 by a group of the United State Department of State employees. While it was originally intended to help those employees, membership has expanded to include a lot more people. You can become a member of this credit union if you’re a U.S. Department of State employee, are a part of one of the credit union’s organization affiliates, through group membership, or an immediate family member of an existing member of the credit union. If you don’t qualify through any of those ways, you can choose to become a member of the American Consumer Council (ACC) when you apply for membership to this credit union. State Department Federal Credit Union currently has a top rate on its 24-month CD. With a minimum deposit of $500, you can earn an APY of 2.83%. The early withdrawal penalty on this CD is also 180 days just like the 12-month CD. If you’re not already a member of this credit union, you’ll have to first join the credit union before you can open this account. If you don’t qualify through employment, organization affiliation, or family relations, you can select to join the ACC when you apply for membership.


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Best 3-year CD rates

Best 3-year CD rate from a Credit Union: Connexus Credit Union – 3.10% APY, $5,000 minimum deposit
36 Month Certificate from Connexus Credit Union

If you have a minimum of $5,000 to deposit into a 36-month certificate, you’ll start earning an outstanding APY of 3.10%. The early withdrawal penalty on this account is equal to 180 days dividends on the amount withdrawn. Remember that you’ll have a 10-day grace period to withdraw your matured funds before the credit union automatically renews the CD. You can choose to receive a check at no charge or transfer the funds directly to another Connexus account. If you choose to withdraw the funds via an ACH transfer, you’ll be charged a $10 fee if the amount is $25,000 or under. If the amount is over $25,000, it will need to be wired and you’ll be charged a $20 fee.


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Best 3-year CD rate from a National Bank: WebBank – 3.00% APY, $2,500 minimum deposit
3 Year CD from WebBank

WebBank is a fairly new name. While this bank was chartered in 1997, it didn’t start offering online banking products until late last year. It mainly served its brand partners by offering financial solutions to these companies. Through their financial solutions, the bank has been able to acquire over $871 million in assets. Currently, this online bank is offering 3.00% APY on a 3-year CD. You’ll need to deposit a minimum of $2,500. If you need to withdraw from this CD before the term is up, you’ll be subject to an early withdrawal penalty that is equivalent to 270 days’ worth of interest.


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Best 4-year CD rates

Best 4-year CD rate from a National Bank: First National Bank of America – 3.05% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit
48-59 Month CD from First National Bank of America

First National Bank of America was established in 1955. Originally, its goal was to focus on the local Michigan community’s financial needs. However, they decided to expand in 2011 in an effort to help even more people. Today, this bank services customers nationwide. This bank is currently offering the best CD rate on a 4-year CD. With a minimum deposit of $1,000, you can earn 3.05% APY. This is definitely worth it if you’re okay with locking your money away for four years. Make sure to ask the bank what the early withdrawal penalty is on this CD just in case you need to withdraw before the term ends.


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Best 4-year CD rate from a Credit Union: Hanscom Credit Union – 3.10% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit
48 Month CD from Hanscom Federal Credit Union

Hanscom Federal Credit Union was established in 1953 and has acquired over $1 billion. To become a member of this credit union, you can qualify through employment, military status, family relations, or by being a member or becoming a member of one of the credit union’s sponsoring member organizations. Once you become a member of Hanscom Federal Credit Union, you’ll be able to open its 48-month CD. You’ll need to deposit a minimum of $1,000 to earn the 3.10% APY. The early withdrawal penalty for this term is equal to 180 days dividends on the withdrawn amount.


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on Hanscom Federal Credit Union’s secure website

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Best 5-year CD rates

Best 5-year CD rate from a Credit Union: Connexus Credit Union – 3.35% APY, $5,000 minimum deposit
60 Month Certificate from Connexus Credit Union

Connexus Credit Union makes it on our list for a second time. Its 60-month CD is currently earning a top rate of 3.35% APY. This is currently the best rate you’ll find for a 5-year CD. You’ll need a minimum of $5,000 to open the account. The early withdrawal penalty for this term is 365 days of dividends on the withdrawn amount.


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on Connexus Credit Union’s secure website

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Best 5-year CD rate from a National Bank: The Federal Savings Bank – 3.30% APY, $10,000 minimum deposit
5 Year Promotional CD from The Federal Savings Bank

The Federal Savings Bank is a private, federally chartered bank that is veteran-owned. This bank mainly focuses on home ownership, but offers deposit products, as well. It has acquired over $395 million in assets since it opened its doors in 2000. Currently, the bank is offering promotional CDs with fairly high rates. Its 5-year CD is currently offering the highest rate for a national bank, but you will need a minimum of $10,000 to open the account. All deposits made to this bank are FDIC-insured.


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on The Federal Savings Bank’s secure website

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Questions to ask before you open a CD

1. How are CDs different from savings accounts?

With a CD, the saver and the bank make stronger commitments. The saver promises to keep the funds in the account for a specified period of time. In exchange, the bank guarantees the interest rate during the term of the CD. The longer the term, the higher the rate – and the higher the penalty for closing the CD early. With a savings account, you’re limited to six withdrawals or transfers per month. Otherwise, you can empty the account at any time without paying a penalty. You can’t lock in the interest rate on a savings account, though, since the bank can change the interest rate at any time.

2. Am I better off keeping my cash in savings?

CDs work best if you’re confident you won’t need to access a certain amount of money for a specified period of time. Let’s say you have $10,000 laying around that you can safely say you won’t need to use for two years. In a high-yield savings account earning 2.45%, you would earn $496.00 over two years with annual interest compounding — and potentially even more, if your bank compounds interest more frequently. If you put that money into a 2.90% 2-year CD, you would earn $588.41 (compounding yearly) once the account matures. The extra interest income is easy money, considering the ease of opening an account online. However, if you think you might need to use the money in the next couple of months, especially if your finances are already a little rocky, a savings account is a much better idea for its better flexibility.

It’s important to note that deposit rates are a bit in flux right now, due to the uncertainty surrounding the federal funds rate (more on that below). But we’re currently seeing some high, favorable interest rates on 1-year CDs, rates that outstrip savings account rates.

If you can afford to part with the funds, “choosing a 1-year CD now does make sense rather than keeping the money in a savings account,” says Ken Tumin, founder of LendingTree-owned DepositAccounts.com. “However, it is possible that 1-year rates could go below some savings account rates.”

That’s why it’s important to compare rates before you sign up for a certain account.

Tumin also notes that there is an added tax benefit to opening a 1-year CD now over a savings account. With a 1-year CD, you can choose to have interest paid at maturity, or in 2020 on accounts opened now. Taxes would be owed on that interest for 2020, but not paid until 2021. Savings accounts, on the other hand, pay out interest each month. So a savings account opened today will generate interest income for the 2019 tax year.

3. What CD term length should I select?

The early withdrawal penalties on CDs can be significant. On a 1-year CD, 90 days’ worth of interest is a typical penalty, although it can reach as high as 180 days. On 2- and 3-year CDs, a 6-month penalty is about average. The impact of the penalty on your return can be significant: if you opened a one-year CD with a 2.65% APY and closed it after six months, you would forfeit half of the interest and earn only 1.32%. You would have been better off with a savings account paying 2.25%.

The worst case scenario is with the longest CDs. 5-year CDs usually have a one-year penalty for taking out funds early. If you open a 5-year CD and close it quickly, you could actually end up losing money.

Given the risk of early withdrawal penalties, it’s important that you’re completely confident that you will not need to withdraw the money early. Check that you already have enough savings in a flexible emergency fund to cover you for the next few years in the event of an accident or surprise trip to urgent care. Ask yourself whether your deposit would be put to better use paying off any debts. If you’re not completely convinced you can sock away that much money for such a commitment, go for a shorter CD term or a savings account.

As of right now, if you’re trying to jump on the best rates and have cash to stash away for years, your best bet is to lock in a 5-year CD to get the best rates possible.

“It doesn’t look like we’ll see another Fed rate hike in the first half of the year,” says Ken Tumin. “In the last month or two, we’re seeing some drops in CD rates.”

However, this downward movement looks like more of a correction being made by banks who may have boosted their CD rates too far too fast, instead of signaling the start of an industry-wide drop in rates.

“We won’t see a big drop until we see signs that the Fed will start cutting rates,” Tumin notes.

Tumin suggests finding long-term CDs with small or mild withdrawal penalties, like Ally. That way, in the event you do need to break into your funds (whether for an emergency or to move to a new, higher rate), you won’t lose the majority of your savings. So while there are still 5-year CDs out there with 3% APY and higher, you’re going to want to lock those in for the long term.

4. Should I consider my local bank or credit union?

The interest rates shown in this article are all from credit unions and online banks that offer products nationally. However, our product database includes traditional banks, community banks and credit unions.

If traditional banks offered better rates, they would have been featured in this article. Internet-only banks have dramatically better interest rates. That should not be surprising — because internet-only banks do not have branches, they are able to pass along their cost savings to you in the form of higher interest rates and lower fees.

If you’re worried about early withdrawal penalties, credit union CDs might be your best bet; on average, they tend to have lower penalties than banks. Pair that with high credit union CD rates, and you’ve got a winning savings combo. (Interestingly, while internet banks tend to offer the best CD rates, they also tend to assess bigger early withdrawal penalties than brick-and-mortar banks.)

How to find the best CD for you

If you don’t find an account that meets your needs in this article, you can use the MagnifyMoney CD tool to find the best rate for your individual needs. Input your zip code, deposit amount and term. The tool will then provide you with CD options, from the highest APY to the lowest.

Even though CDs are traditionally pretty structured, you still have hundreds of options available to you. If your savings goal is years in the future, look closer at longer terms like 5- and even 10-year accounts. If you don’t quite have thousands of dollars to stash away, you can find a bank that requires a lower minimum deposit, if at all. You can also find select no-penalty CDs, which tend to be around one year long or less.

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Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at [email protected]

Lauren Perez
Lauren Perez |

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

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