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)
6 months – 5 years: Capital One – 0.60% APY – 3.00% APY; no minimum deposit to open
1 Year – 3 Years: Rising Bank – 2.80% APY – 2.90% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit to open
6 months – 6 years: Goldman Sachs Bank USA – 0.60% APY – 3.05% APY; $500 minimum deposit to open
3 months – 5 years: Synchrony Bank – 0.75% APY – 3.10% APY; $2,000 minimum deposit to open
1 year – 5 years: Barclays Bank – 2.65% – 3.00% APY, no minimum deposit to open
3 months – 10 years: Discover Bank – 0.35% APY – 3.10% APY, $2,500 minimum deposit to open
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 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.
|Term||APY||Minimum balance to earn the APY|
7 months – 13 months: Goldman Sachs Bank USA – 2.25% APY – 2.35% APY; $500 minimum deposit to open
|Term||APY||Minimum balance to earn the APY|
11 months: Ally Bank – 1.80% APY – 2.30% APY; $0 – $25,000 minimum deposit to earn APY
|Term||APY||Minimum balance to earn the APY|
|11 months||1.80%||Up to $5,000|
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
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.
Best 1-year CD rate from a Credit Union: State Department Federal Credit Union – 2.73% APY, $500 minimum deposit
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.
Best 2-year CD rates
Best 2-year CD rate from a National Bank: CD Bank – 3.20% APY, $10,000 minimum deposit
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.
Best 2-year CD rate from a Credit Union: State Department Federal Credit Union – 2.83% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit
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.
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
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. 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.
Best 3-year CD rate from a Credit Union: Sun East Federal Credit Union – 3.00% APY, $500 minimum deposit
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 3.00%. 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.
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
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.
Best 4-year CD rate from a Credit Union: Veridian Credit Union – 3.05% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit
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.
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
First 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.
Best 5-year CD rate from a Credit Union: Sun East Federal Credit Union – 3.25% APY, $500 minimum deposit
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 3.25% 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.
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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