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Associated Bank Review: Checking, Savings, CD and Money Market Accounts

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Associated Bank’s checking account options

Associated Checking

The bank’s basic, non-interest bearing checking account.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $11; can be waived (see below)
  • ATM fee: None on Associated Bank and MoneyPass ATMs; various fees for withdrawals and balance inquiries on out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35

This account does not have the ability to earn interest. It is, however, fairly easy to avoid its monthly fee; you can do so by having direct deposits of at least $500 total per statement cycle, maintaining a $1,000 minimum daily balance, maintaining a combined balance of at least $2,500 in your deposit accounts within the same statement cycle (or have an HSA or investment account) or if you’re under the age of 24 and opt for eStatements instead of paper. This account also offers cash back rewards with certain purchases, mobile and online banking and bill pay services and a free debit Mastercard. Lastly, since the bank charges account holders various fees for using out-of-network ATMs, you may want to contact customer service to clarify what they are if this is a concern.

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Elite Checking

This account allows you to earn interest on high balances.
Minimum Balance to Earn APYAPY (Standard)APY (Preferred)
$0.01N/A0.01%
$25,000N/A0.06%
$250,000N/A0.10%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $25; can be waived if you maintain a combined balance of $10,000 in deposit accounts within the same statement cycle, or have either an HSA or investment account
  • ATM fee: None on Associated Bank and MoneyPass ATMs; various fees for withdrawals and balance inquiries on out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35

This account allows holders to earn interest on balances of at least $10,000 — however, you’ll have to contact the bank to find out what standard rates are available in your area. This account also comes with mobile and online banking and bill pay services, a free debit Mastercard, free personal and traveler’s checks and cash back rewards on certain purchases.

How to get Associated Bank’s checking accounts

Both of Associated Bank’s checking accounts can be opened online or in person. To do so, you’ll need to be prepared to provide your Social Security number and a government-issued I.D. (e.g. a driver’s license, state I.D. or passport). Account holders under age 18 must have a parent open the account with them as a joint owner.

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How Associated Bank’s checking accounts compare

At first glance, these two accounts don’t beat out those on our list of the best online checking accounts. For starters, one doesn’t earn interest, while the other doesn’t even have its rate readily available — and both have pretty high monthly fees. Neither of these accounts make it particularly easy to avoid the fees, as even $1,000 might be challenging for some people to maintain on the basic checking account. It’s difficult to compare the Elite Checking account to those on our list without knowing the rate you’ll be getting, but the high balance needed to earn it might be a drawback to some.

Associated Bank’s savings account options

Associated Savings

A basic savings account earning a small amount of interest.
Minimum Balance to Earn APYAPY (Standard)APY (Preferred)
$0.010.03%0.10%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5; can be waived (see below)
  • ATM fee: None on Associated Bank and MoneyPass ATMs; various fees for withdrawals and balance inquiries on out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35

The monthly fee on this account can be waived with a $300 minimum daily balance or at least $25 per month in recurring direct deposits or online banking transfers, or if you are under age 18. This account also comes with free online banking services. Additionally, since the bank charges various fees for using out-of-network ATMs, you may want to contact customer service to clarify what they are if this could be an issue. As a savings account, this one is subject to Federal Reserve Regulation D, which limits certain types of withdrawals and transfers to six per month.

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Zero Interest Savings

As the name suggests, this account earns absolutely no interest.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5; can be waived (see below)
  • ATM fee: None on Associated Bank and MoneyPass ATMs; various fees for withdrawals and balance inquiries on out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35

This account has a lot of the same requirements as the bank’s other savings account, though it earns absolutely no interest. Its monthly fee can be waived with a minimum daily balance of $300 or at least $25 per month in recurring direct deposits or online banking transfers, or if you are under age 18. As with the bank’s other accounts, Associated Bank charges various ATM fees when you use an out-of-network ATM, so you may want to contact the bank to clarify what they are before using one. As with all savings accounts, this one is subject to Federal Reserve Regulation D, which allows certain types of limits withdrawals and transfers to six per month.

How to get Associated Bank’s savings accounts

Both of the bank’s savings accounts can be opened online or in person. To do so, you’ll need to provide your government-issued ID and Social Security number. Account holders under age 18 must have a parent open the account with them as a joint owner.

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How Associated Bank’s savings accounts compare

Based on interest rates alone, Associated Bank’s savings accounts lose hard to those on our list of the best online savings accounts. Not only that, but these two bare-bones accounts don’t offer anything in the way of perks and additional services. Plus, the only difference between the two accounts appears to be the fact that you can earn interest (albeit a very small amount) on the Associated Savings account, so we don’t know why anyone would opt for the Zero Interest Savings, given the choice. Do yourself a favor and shop around, or consider one of the accounts on our list instead.

Associated Bank’s CD rates

Regular Term CDs

The bank’s standard CDs, requiring a $1,000 opening deposit in exchange for pretty dismal rates.
TermAPY (Standard)APY (Preferred)
3 months0.10%0.10%
6 months0.10%0.10%
9 months0.10%0.10%
12 months0.10%0.10%
18 months0.10%0.21%
24 months0.10%0.23%
30 months0.10%0.25%
36 months0.10%0.30%
48 months0.10%0.35%
60 months0.25%0.50%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: For terms less than 12 months, it’s 90 days’ worth of interest; for terms greater than or equal to 12 months but less than 24 months, it’s 181 days’ worth of interest; for terms greater than or equal to 24 months but less than 36 months, it’s 270 days’ worth of interest; for terms 36 months and longer, it’s 365 days’ worth of interest
The bank’s regular CDs are available in a wide range of terms with a relatively low deposit requirement. Interest is compounded at maturity quarterly, and you can choose to have it transferred to another Associated Bank account or issued by check if your CD balance is $5,000 or more. CD holders have 10 calendar days after maturity to withdraw their funds without penalty; otherwise, the CD term will be automatically renewed.

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Fixed-Rate Add-On CDs

This CD is meant to give you a bit more flexibility.
TermAPY (Standard)APY (Preferred)
12 months0.10%0.15%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $100
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 181 days’ worth of interest
This fixed-rate CD requires a lower minimum deposit compared to the bank’s other offerings, and comes with the flexibility of making additional deposits throughout your term. Interest is compounded at maturity quarterly, and you can choose to have it transferred to another Associated Bank account or issued by check if your CD balance is $5,000 or more. CD holders have 10 calendar days after maturity to withdraw their funds without penalty. Otherwise, the CD term will be automatically renewed.

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Special Term CDs

Promotional CDs with a $5,000 minimum opening deposit.
TermAPY (Standard)APY (Preferred)
7 monthsN/A1.50%
13 monthsN/A1.60%
26 monthsN/A1.40%
42 monthsN/A1.40%
61 monthsN/A1.40%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $5,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: For terms less than 12 months, it’s 90 days’ worth of interest; for terms greater than or equal to 12 months but less than 24 months, it’s 181 days’ worth of interest; for terms greater than or equal to 24 months but less than 36 months, it’s 270 days’ worth of interest; for terms 36 months and longer, it’s 365 days’ worth of interest

These CDs are available in term lengths of 7, 13, 26, 42 or 61 months; however, you’ll need to contact the bank to find out the rates for these promotional CDs. Interest is compounded at maturity quarterly, and you can choose to have it transferred to another Associated Bank account or issued by check if your CD balance is $5,000 or more. CD holders have 10 calendar days after maturity to withdraw their funds without penalty; otherwise, the CD term will be renewed as follows:

  • the 7 month CD will renew to a 6 month CD
  • the 13 month CD will renew to a 12 month CD
  • the 26 month will renew to a 24 month CD
  • the 42 month will renew to a 36 month CD
  • the 61 month will renew to a 60 month CD

How to get Associated Bank’s CDs

All of Associated Bank’s available CD accounts can be opened in person or online. To do so, you’ll need to be ready to provide your Social Security number and a government-issued ID.

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How Associated Bank’s CD rates compare

Although Associated Bank’s CDs come with a good range of terms and deposit requirements, the rates just don’t stack up against those on our list of the best CD rates. Do your due diligence and shop around for the best product to get the biggest bang for your buck.

Associated Bank’s money market account option

Money Market account

The bank’s money market account offers a less-than-impressive rate.
Minimum Balance to Earn APYAPY (Preffered)APY (Standard)
$0.010.03%0.03%
$10,0000.05%0.05%
$25,0000.05%0.05%
$50,0000.05%0.05%
$150,0000.10%0.05%
$250,0000.30%0.05%
$1,000,0000.05%0.05%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: Varies; see table
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $16; can be waived if minimum balance of $1,000 is maintained
  • ATM fee: None on Associated Bank and MoneyPass ATMs; various fees for withdrawals and balance inquiries on out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35

This money market account has a pretty high monthly fee, but it can be avoided if you keep the balance at or above the minimum opening deposit. The account also comes with free online banking services, and interest is compounded monthly. Additionally, you may also have the chance to earn a higher rate if you combine this account with an Associated Bank checking account; you’ll have to talk to a bank representative to find out more information.

Since Associated Bank charges various fees for out-of-network ATM usage, you may want to contact customer service to find out what they are before using one. Plus, as a savings account, this one is subject to Federal Reserve Regulation D — allows certain types of withdrawals and transfers up to six per month.

How to get Associated Bank’s money market account

Customers can open Associated Bank’s money market account in person or online. You’ll need to have your Social Security number and government-issued ID on hand to do so.

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How Associated Bank’s money market account compares

There are many money market accounts that offer pretty mediocre rates when compared to the competition — and this one is no exception. Not only that, but it doesn’t really come with any perks or features. Consider one of the accounts on our list of the best money market rates instead.

Overall review of Associated Bank’s banking products

Not surprisingly, between sub-par rates and fees aplenty, we wouldn’t rate any of Associated Bank’s personal accounts as must-have products. Take the time to shop around for an account that will earn you a decent interest rate, will let you easily avoid fees, and possibly offer other perks.

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.

Emilia Benton
Emilia Benton |

Emilia Benton is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Emilia here

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Credit Cards, Reviews

American Express Gold Card: Good Travel Rewards for a Fee

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

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The American Express® Gold Card is an upgraded American Express charge card without a pre-set spending limit. It’s also a card that rewards cardholders with American Express Membership Rewards® Points for airfare, dining, gas, and grocery spending.

A charge card is one that you need to pay off completely each billing cycle, so there’s no interest. However, since there’s no pre-set spending limit either, you need to keep an eagle eye on spending activity to make sure you can pay off the statement in full at month’s end. Making a late payment can cause you to forfeit Membership Reward points earned during that billing cycle.

In this post, we’ll discuss the American Express® Gold Card terms and how to redeem points. Keep reading for an overview on:

  • American Express® Gold Card basics
  • How to redeem Membership Rewards points earned
  • The fine print details
  • The benefits and protections
  • The pros and cons

The basics of the American Express® Gold Card

3X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com and 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).

$100 airline fee credit.

You can get up to $100 airline fee credit on your statement each calendar year to cover incidentals charged by an airline of your choosing. Qualifying incidentals are charges separate from your airline ticket like baggage fees and not ticket upgrades.

American Express® Gold Card

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American Express® Gold Card

Annual fee
$250
Rewards Rate
3X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com and 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

How to redeem Membership Rewards® Points earned

Through Membership Rewards®, cardholders can transfer points to participating travel and lodging loyalty programs or redeem points for travel bookings, gift cards, statement credits, and other rewards. The value of your points varies depending on how you choose to use them.

Flights, hotels, and vacations

You can pay with points for flights, hotels, and vacations on the American Express Travel site. Using points for flights offers excellent value.

Here’s the point value breakdown on travel and accommodations:

  • Flights: $10 per 1,000 points
  • Hotels, cruises, and vacation packages: $7 per 1,000 points

Transferring your Membership Rewards® Points

If you choose to transfer your points to another program, generally, 1,000 Membership Rewards® Points will transfer as 1,000 miles, points, or credits.

However, transfers that have a different value include (as of the publication date of this article):

  • British Airways and Iberia: 250 Membership Rewards points = 200 Avios
  • El AL Israel Airlines: 1,000 Membership Rewards points = 20 Matmid points
  • Hilton: 1,000 Membership Rewards points = 1,500 HHonors points
  • JetBlue Airways: 250 Membership Rewards points = 200 JetBlue TrueBlue points
  • Starwood Preferred Guest: 1,000 Membership Rewards points = 333 Starpoints
  • Virgin America: 200 Membership Rewards points = 100 Elevate points

Occasionally, there are transfer specials for participating loyalty programs.

Statement credit and gift cards

Using points to put a dent in your credit card bill won’t be the best use of your points. 1,000 points equals just $6 in a statement credit.

Several of the gift cards through Membership Rewards® will give you more in cash value. For example, 1,000 points can get you a $10 gift card at restaurants, retail stores, and hotels including:

  • Hyatt Hotels and Resorts
  • Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
  • Maggiano’s Little Italy
  • Seasons 52
  • Banana Republic
  • Crate and Barrel

There’s an entire list of the redemption values for gift cards on the Membership Rewards® site.

Other rewards

Using points for shopping, charitable donations, and entertainment are other redemption options. But, again, these options won’t give you as much value for your points as redeeming for flights and gift cards.

The value of 1,000 points ranges from $5 to $7 when shopping at retailers through Membership Rewards® or at Ticketmaster, Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, or Newegg.com.

The fine print

The American Express® Gold Card has an annual fee of $250. If you spend a lot of money on the card, the fee can be worthwhile. However, if you don’t spend a lot, you might want to consider a no fee option.

In addition – when you transfer points to a U.S. frequent flyer program, there’s a $0.0006 fee charged per point to compensate for the federal excise tax. Although this fee has a lot of zeros in it, the cost may still be impactful if you’re transferring a lot of points. For instance, 100,000 points transferred will cost you $60.

On the plus side, this card has no foreign transaction fee.

Benefits and protections

Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance

If you pay for a qualifying car rental with your American Express® Gold Card, the rental car is covered against damage and theft after declining the collision damage waiver. Rentals that won’t qualify for coverage are trucks, off-road vehicles, full-size sport vehicles, and exotic cars.

Purchase Protection

If an item you purchase is lost, stolen, or damaged within 90 days of purchase, you may be reimbursed for it.

Pros and cons

Pro: 3X points on travel. If you fly often for work or play, this card rewards you well each time you use it.

Con: The fee. The biggest con here is the annual fee. But, since there are several ways you can earn points in the 3X and 2X categories, you may be able to easily cover this fee throughout the year.

Pro: Membership Rewards. This card is enrolled in the Membership Rewards® Points program and gives you many options for point redemption. The Membership Rewards® site is also incredibly easy to navigate, and there’s no ambiguity in point value. The rewards portal shows examples of exactly what your points are worth for each redemption option.

Con: The fee to transfer points. The ability to transfer points to another program is a pro, but being charged for U.S. frequent flyer program transfers is a tiny gotcha in the fine print.

Pro: No foreign transaction fees. One area in the fees where you do catch a break is with foreign transaction fees. This aspect of the card is fitting since it’s one that rewards you for planning travel.

Who will benefit most from the American Express® Gold Card?

Your ability to earn enough points to surpass the fee will determine whether this is a good card for you.

And if you’re shopping around for a rewards program that will give you the most value for travel, Chase Ultimate Rewards® is an option you should compare to American Express Membership Rewards®.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card*, in particular, is part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program and allows you to transfer points to other travel partners as well. Plus, it has an offer that gives 1.25 cents per point for travel. This is slightly more value than what you get for flights with American Express Membership Rewards® since 1,000 points per $10 works out to 1 cent per point.

Before signing up for any rewards card, you should do this type of comparison shopping to figure out which offer will give you the most value for your spending habits.

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

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.

Taylor Gordon
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Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here

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Earning Interest, Reviews

Discover Bank CD Rates Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Discover Bank
Most people know Discover as a credit card company, but it also operates an online bank and offers some of the best rates and terms on checking and savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs).

Savings account bonus offer: Earn up to $200 on your first Discover savings account

As a bank, Discover offers some of the best products on the market. Currently, they’re offering a major deal on their online savings account, which currently earns 1.80% APY. If you apply for their savings account for the very first time by 12/02/19 and deposit a balance of at least $15,000 by 12/16/19, you can earn a $150 bonus. If you deposit a balance of at least $25,000 by the same date, you can earn a $200 bonus. Applying for the account is easy as you don’t need to go to a branch. Bonuses will be credited to your account by 12/30/19. You can apply online or over the phone. Just be sure to enter or mention the promo code MM1119 when you apply.

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If you’re looking for CDs in particular, Discover is currently considered to have some of the best CDs due to their customer service and digital tools.

Discover Bank CD rates

CD term

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

3 months

0.35%

6 months

0.65%

9 months

0.70%

12 months

2.10%

18 months

2.10%

24 months

2.15%

30 months

2.15%

3 years

2.15%

4 years

2.15%

5 years

2.20%

7 years

2.25%

10 years

2.30%

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How do Discover Bank CD rates compare?

While Discover Bank CD rates aren’t always the highest available, they are consistently among the top offers across all terms. However, you may be able to find a similar or even better rate with a CD that has a lower minimum deposit than Discover’s $2,500 requirement. Currently, several nationwide banks offered a 12-month CD at a rate higher than Discover’s 12-month CD APY, while requiring a lower minimum deposit. For example, at the same time the above rates were available at Discover, there were 12-month CDs with rates as high as 2.10% APY with a lower minimum balance amount to earn the APY.

It’s always great to go for the highest interest rates possible, but keep your CD investing strategy in mind. If you’re investing in CDs using the ladder strategy, it might be easier to keep everything in one bank since you’ll be switching in and out of CDs frequently.

Discover also stands out from its competition in the CD space with its mobile app and 24/7 U.S.-based customer service. If you value such features, keep those particulars in mind when weighing Discover CD rates against others’.

What you need to know about Discover Bank’s CDs

Discover Bank is very transparent in terms of fine print. It’s not difficult to understand what’ll happen with your money after you invest it. We’ll cover the basics here about what you need to know to invest in Discover Bank’s CDs.

How to open a CD

It’s very simple to open up a CD with Discover Bank. Go to their CD webpage and click on the orange “Open an Account” button near the top right of the page. You can then choose which accounts you’d like to open. Select “CD,” choose a CD term and enter how much you’d like to deposit.

You’ll then need to complete the application by providing your name, address, date of birth, phone number, Social Security number, employment status and possibly even your driver’s license. Once your application is complete and accepted, you’ll need to fund the account.

How to fund the CD

You’ll need to fund it within 45 days of submitting your application, which you can do in one of three ways:

  • Transfer funds from another bank account over the phone. (You can only do this when you first fund your account.)
  • Transfer funds from another bank via online transfer.
  • Write a check to yourself and send it to the following address:Discover Bank
    P.O. Box 30417
    Salt Lake City, UT 84130

The minimum deposit amount for each of Discover Bank’s CDs is $2,500. Once you open a CD, you can’t deposit more money later, so it’s a good idea to make sure you have all the cash you want to invest before you open the account.

Withdrawing funds from the CD

When you want to withdraw money from your CD, the biggest thing to consider is whether that CD has matured yet, or finished its term.

If your CD has not matured, you’ve got options: You can take the interest out penalty-free at any time, or you can withdraw the principal (or the money you deposited) at any time as long as you pay an early-withdrawal penalty. This penalty varies depending on the original term of your CD:

  • less than one year: three months’ worth of simple interest
  • one year to less than four years: six months’ worth of simple interest
  • four years: nine months’ worth of simple interest
  • five years to less than seven years: 18 months’ worth of simple interest
  • seven years or longer: 24 months’ worth of simple interest

If your CD has finished its term, you can withdraw your money penalty-free, allow the CD to renew or roll it into a CD of a different term length. (More on that in a bit).

Earning interest on a Discover CD

Your CD will start earning interest on the same business day that you fund the account. The interest will be added to your account once each month, however.

When it comes to what to do with your interest, you have two options: The default option is to allow it to compound within the CD (meaning you’ll earn interest on that interest), or you can have it automatically deposited each month into another Discover bank account.

What happens once the CD matures?

You’ll get a heads-up notice about a month before your CD matures so you can decide what to do with the money. You have two main options: Either reinvest it into another CD (of the same term length or a different term length), or withdraw the money from the CD and put it into another account (such as a checking or savings account, or perhaps a CD at a different institution).

If you don’t let Discover know what you want to do with the maturing CD, the CD will automatically renew into another one of the same term length. You have a nine-day grace period after your CD automatically rolls over to make any changes or withdrawals penalty-free.

The bottom line

As far as big-name banks go, Discover offers great CD products. Wells Fargo, for example, only offers interest rates as high as 1.55% APY on a $5,000 deposit for a 58-month CD. Chase Bank offers even lower maximum rates — an abysmal 1.05% APY, and only if you can commit a minimum of $100,000 for 10 years.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to keep your finances in one place, Discover also has great credit cards, as well as competitive online savings and checking accounts. No matter how long you’re considering putting money in a CD, Discover is worth a look. Even if it doesn’t have the best available rate, it’s usually within several basis points of the top offerings and well above the average APY.

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

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

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