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Are Bank Branches the Next Blockbuster?

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First, I must confess that I love bank branches and always have.  As a child, I used to enjoy going with my mom to the bank.  The people were friendly, the lollipops were tasty and I had a real sense of accomplishment when I could deposit a roll of coins.  My affinity for bank branches makes this article particularly difficult for me to write, but it contains good news for all of you out there who would rather do anything else other than go to a bank branch.

You can finally switch to internet-only banks and put hundreds of dollars back into your pocket.  Real choices finally exist.  In fact, after doing the research on the best bank accounts for MagnifyMoney, I switched to Ally (both checking and savings account).  And I doubt I will ever go back to branches.  (Note: I have not been paid by Ally, and they are not a sponsor or investor in this site).

How do traditional banks make money?

I used to work for large banks (like Citibank and Barclays).  Retail banks branches are expensive to run, but banks banks make a lot of money with their brick-and-mortar locations.  So, how do banks make money?

1. You give them interest-free loans.  If you keep a lot of money in your checking and/or savings account (usually $2,000 is enough), the bank makes money by paying you virtually nothing, and then lending that money in the form of loans that make a lot more money.  When I worked at a bank, I loved “sticky, low-cost deposits” to fund our business. Every $1,000 you keep at the bank is about $20 of profit to a retail bank.  $20,000 savings accounts were the best.  We would make at least $400 a year.

2. You pay them lots of fees. If you don’t have a lot of money, then banks will make their money on fees.  Banks make the most money on overdraft fees.  Almost 70% of their revenue comes from overdrafts – which is the most expensive way to borrow money short-term that I have ever seen.  In addition, banks make a good chunk of money with monthly maintenance fees (those pesky charges if your balance falls below a minimum) or ATM fees (you use someone else’s ATMs).

And, although fees vary by bank – the differences are not dramatic.  The monthly fee at Citibank is $10 per month.  At Bank of America it is $12 per month.  You can save a little money at Citi, but the difference is marginal.  That is why building branches made sense for banks.  The product offering did not differ much – so people would choose banks based upon the proximity of the branch.

Credit unions are usually a little bit better than banks at both fees and interest rates.  Why? Because they don’t have shareholders.  Their customers also own the credit union, so the goal is to pay higher deposit interest rates and charge lower fees.  They do a decent job of lowering fees — credit unions have many more free accounts and much lower monthly and overdraft fees.  But while they can be dramatically better on some fees, they still tend to have hefty overdraft fees ($25 average instead of $35) and low interest rates on savings account (PenFed pays 0.05% compared to 0.01% at Bank of America).

Enter internet-only banks….

How do internet banks create a revolution in banking?

Amazon is able to charge less than Barnes and Noble.  Why?  Because they don’t have to pay for all of those bookstores and people.  Internet banking is no different.  By removing branches, you are removing the single biggest cost of banking.

So what can internet banks do with all the money they save?  They can slash the cost of routine, everyday banking for you and save you the cost of gas.

How does that add up for you?

  • Dramatically higher interest rates on your savings

The Bank of America Savings Account pays only 0.01% interest rate. Compare that to the best online savings accounts.  Right now Ally is paying 0.87% on savings, with no minimum.  So, you could earn $50 at Bank of America, or $435 at Ally on that $50,000 deposit!

  • Dramatically lower fees on your checking account

Ally, Charles Schwab and Bank of the Internet Rewards Checking (just to name a few) have no monthly fee, no minimum deposit and no requirement to keep the account free.  A real free account.

  • Actual overdraft protection

Online banks are revolutionizing overdraft charges.  Ally, Schwab and Bank of the Internet let you link your savings/money market account to your checking account.  If you make a mistake, they will transfer funds from your savings to your checking account – FOR NO CHARGE!

If you actually need to borrow money, Capital One 360 has created a line of credit that is linked to your internet checking account.  There is no overdraft fee, and interest is charged only for the days that you use the line of credit.  This is an incredible deal.

  • Reimburse you for ATM fees

Not only do internet banks not charge you for using other bank ATMs, but they also reimburse you for any charge that you may receive from the other bank.  Ally and Schwab have no limit on the reimbursement.  You can use any bank’s ATM for free!  With my Ally checking account, I happily go to the closest ATM when I need cash – and I don’t worry about fees.

  • Deposit checks with your mobile phone

MagnifyMoney did a survey of Americans, and the #1 reason people go to a bank branch is to deposit a check.  Now you can deposit a check by taking a picture with your mobile phone.  Ally Bank allows you to deposit checks with a value up to $10,000.  Thanks to the power of your mobile phone camera, you really don’t need a bank branch.

In an ironic twist: banks have made this revolution themselves. They have gone out of their way to push us into digital channels.  They want us to give up paper statements, deposit checks with our mobile and use the ATM.  Why?  Because they want marginal cost improvements.  Fewer people in the branches.  More part-time employees in the branch. But banks keep the savings of our digital banking.  They want us to make the digital switch so that they can make more money.  But  now we can make more money by switching to internet banks.

But are they safe?

Yes, they are safe.  All of these banks are FDIC Insured.  That means you have the same protections and rights as any other bank (up to $250,000).

In addition, a lot of these banks are actually being created by well-known financial organizations.  Ally has been created out of the shell of the old GMAC.  Charles Schwab is already well-known brand in its own right.  And some of the new entrants have been rapidly acquired by banks that know the world is changing.  Simple, an internet-only bank, was just acquired by BBVA – one of the largest banks in the world targeting Latin America.

Is the future finally here?

People are remarkably loyal to their bricks and mortar bank branches and banks know that. So, they pay 0.01% on deposits, charge $12 per month and $35 if you go overdraft.

But, for the first time, real competition is coming.  At MagnifyMoney we are thrilled to see the competition, and the money that it could save you. You can just see that these businesses have been designed to delight and satisfy customers. When my Ally Bank CD expired, they sent me a letter and gave me a loyalty bonus.  My rate would be 0.15% higher than the highest advertised rate – to thank me for being a customer!  Most traditional banks do it the other way.  They give big teaser introductory offers to get you to switch, and then it only gets worse over time.

But now with Ally, Schwab, Bank of the Internet, Simple and others – we will have a big incentive to switch – because the savings will go into our pocket and not the banks’.

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.

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

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

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The Best CD Rates – 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.

The Best CD Rates
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Updated May 17, 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 no minimum deposit. 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 and credit unions

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:

3 months – 5 years: Ally Bank – 0.75% APY – 3.00% APY; $0 minimum deposit to open (higher APY with higher deposit)
Ally Bank

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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 3.00% 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:
  • 2.40% APY (less than $5k)
  • 2.55% APY ($5k minimum deposit)
  • 2.60% 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:
  • 2.50% APY (less than $5k)
  • 2.60% APY ($5k minimum deposit)
  • 2.65% 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:
  • 3.00% APY (less than $5k)
  • 3.00% APY ($5k minimum deposit)
  • 3.00% APY ($25k minimum deposit)
12-months:
  • 2.70% APY (less than $5k)
  • 2.70% APY ($5k minimum deposit)
  • 2.70% APY ($25k minimum deposit)
6 months – 5 years: Capital One – 0.60% APY – 3.00% APY; no minimum deposit to open
Capital One

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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-months2.70%
18-months2.70%
24-months2.75%
30-months2.75%
36-months2.80%
48-months2.85%
60-months3.00%
1 Year – 3 Years: Rising Bank – 2.80% APY – 2.90% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit to open
Rising Bank

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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 and Capital One, 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-year2.87%
3-year2.90%
6 months – 6 years: Goldman Sachs Bank USA – 0.60% APY – 3.05% APY; $500 minimum deposit to open
Goldman Sachs Bank USA

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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-months2.70%
18-months2.60%
2-year2.65%
3-year2.70%
5-year3.00%
6-year3.05%
3 months – 5 years: Synchrony Bank – 0.75% APY – 3.10% APY; $2,000 minimum deposit to open
Synchrony Bank

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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-months2.70%
15-months2.85%
18-months2.70%
24-months2.80%
36-months2.85%
48-months2.90%
60-months3.10%
1 year – 5 years: Barclays Bank – 2.65% – 3.00% APY, no minimum deposit to open
Barclays

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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-year2.65%
2-year2.70%
3-year2.75%
4-year2.80%
5-year3.00%
3 months – 10 years: Discover Bank – 0.35% APY – 3.10% APY, $2,500 minimum deposit to open
Discover Bank

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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-months2.65%
18-months2.65%
2-year2.70%
30-months2.70%
3-year2.75%
4-year2.80%
5-year3.00%
7-year3.05%
10-year3.10%

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
PurePoint Financial

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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
Goldman Sachs Bank USA

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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
Ally Bank

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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 (2.70% 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: CD Bank – 3.00% APY, $10,000 minimum deposit
12 Month CD from CD Bank

CD Bank is the online division of TBK Bank, which was established in 1981 and has acquired over $4 billion in assets. This online division has only been around since 2017, but it launched with competitive rates at the time and has continued to offer competitive rates on its shorter-term CDs as the CD market has risen. At this moment, CD Bank is offering a 1-year CD with an APY of 3.00%. You will need to deposit a minimum of $10,000 in order to earn this APY. The early withdrawal penalty for this CD is equal to 365 days of interest on the withdrawn amount. Be aware that once this CD matures, the only two ways you can receive the fully matured funds is via a cashier’s check or outgoing wire transfer. If you choose to use an outgoing wire transfer, the bank may charge you a $15 fee.


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Member FDIC

Best 1-year CD rate from a Credit Union: State Department Federal Credit Union – 2.73% APY, $500 minimum deposit
12 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. Once you become a member of this credit union, you can open its 12-month CD, which is currently earning a 2.73% APY. You’ll need a minimum of $500 to open the account. This CD has an early withdrawal penalty that is worth 180 days of interest.


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Best 2-year CD rates

Best 2-year CD rate from a National Bank: CD Bank – 3.20% APY, $10,000 minimum deposit
24 Month CD from CD Bank

Not only is CD Bank 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 $10,000 in order to earn an APY of 3.20%. The early withdrawal penalty for this CD is equal to 18 months interest on the withdrawn amount. Just like the 12-month CD, once this CD matures, the only two ways you can receive the fully matured funds is via a cashier’s check or outgoing wire transfer. If you choose to use an outgoing wire transfer, the bank may charge you a $15 fee.


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Best 2-year CD rate from a Credit Union: State Department Federal Credit Union – 2.83% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit
24 Month Certificate from State Department Federal Credit Union

State Department Federal Credit Union also 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 National Bank: First National Bank of America – 3.00% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit

36-47 Month CD from First National Bank of AmericaFirst 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. First National Bank of America is currently a top APY of 3.00% on its 36-month CD. You’ll need a minimum of $1,000 to open the account. You’ll have to call the bank to learn what the early withdrawal penalty is for this term as the bank doesn’t disclosure this information online.While this bank offers a top rate for a 3-year CD, other national banks offer higher rates on shorter terms. If you’re willing to keep your money in a CD for one more year, you might want to consider this bank’s 4-year CD.


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Member FDIC

Best 3-year CD rate from a Credit Union: Sun East Federal Credit Union – 2.75% APY, $500 minimum deposit
36 Month CD from Sun East Federal Credit Union

Sun East Federal Credit Union was founded in 1949 by employees of the Sun Oil Company. Since its establishment, it’s grown to acquire over $594 million in assets and has opened its membership to include more individuals. You can join this credit union by making a $10 donation to the Sun East Charitable Foundation if you don’t qualify with its other fields of membership. Once you become a member, you can open the credit union’s 3-year CD. With a minimum deposit of $500, you can earn an APY of 2.75%. This CD has an early withdrawal penalty that is worth 180 days of interest. If you’re wanting to get your foot in the door with a credit union, this is a great account to start off with, but if you’re looking for the account with the best CD rate, you should consider one of the national banks on this list with a shorter term.


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Best 4-year CD rates

Best 4-year CD rate from a National Bank: First National Bank of America – 3.10% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit

48-59 Month CD from First National Bank of America
First National Bank of America is offering the best CD rate on a 4-year CD. With a minimum deposit of $1,000, you can earn 3.10% 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: Veridian Credit Union – 3.05% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit
41 Month Bump Up CD Special from Veridian Credit Union

Veridian Credit Union was established in 1934 by employees of John Deere. According to Veridian Credit Union’s history, the employees wanted to provide alternatives to for-profit institutions for their coworkers. Today, Veridian operates similarly even though they’ve expanded their field of membership to include almost anyone by allowing applicants to register as a user of Dwolla if they’re not eligible any other way. Once you become a member, you can open this 41-month CD with a minimum of $1,000. This account earns an APY of 3.05%. The early withdrawal penalty on this CD is equal to 180 days’ interest. Veridian Credit Union allows you to manage your account online as well as through their mobile app.


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Best 5-year CD rates

Best 5-year CD rate from a National Bank: First National Bank of America – 3.20% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit

60 Month CD from First National Bank of AmericaFirst National Bank of America makes it on our list of the best CD rates a third time. Its 60-month CD is currently earning an APY of 3.20%. You’ll need a minimum of $1,000 to open the account. This bank also offers Flex CDs, which will allow for a one-time increase on the rate during the term of the account. The APY on the 60-month Flex CD is currently lower than the rate on the regular 60-month CD, but may be worth looking into.


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Best 5-year CD rate from a Credit Union: Sun East Federal Credit Union – 3.00% APY, $500 minimum deposit
60 Month CD from Sun East Federal Credit Union

Sun East Federal Credit Union makes it on our list for a second time. Its 60-month CD is currently earning a top rate amongst credit unions with a 3.00% APY. You’ll need a minimum of $500 to open the account. The early withdrawal penalty for this term is only 180 days, which is pretty low for long-term CDs.


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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 2.35%, you would earn $475.52 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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