When you’re trying to scrape out an extra percentage point of yield here and there, a savings account may not be enough. Thankfully, there are options.

Take 3-year CDs, for instance. They offer substantially higher risk-free yield than what savers can get from money market accounts, under the condition the depositor leaves the funds with the bank for three years.

The best 3-year CD rates available from banks and credit unions pay more than three times the national average of 0.64 percent APY, according to Bankrate’s most recent national survey of banks and thrifts.

Today’s top nationally available 3-year CDs pay 2 percent APY. This may be a good place to invest for mid-term financial obligations, like a down payment on a future auto loan.

Finding the best 3-year CD rates comes down to considering a wide range of options, including online banks and credit unions. While many savers tend to stick with the same bank that provides their checking account, that can be a mistake, especially at a large national bank, where deposit rates tend to fall well short of what smaller institutions offer.

Here are the top nationally available 3-year CD rates. Compare these offers, then calculate how much interest you would earn when your CD matures.

Best 3-year CD rates
Institution APY Minimum deposit
Connexus Credit Union 2.00% $5,000
Salem Five 2.00% $10,000
EverBank 1.99% $5,000
M.Y. Safra Bank 1.96% $5,000
Barclays 1.95% $0

Top account details

  • Connexus Credit Union, based in Wisconsin, was founded in 1935 to serve retirees and families of Employer’s Mutual (an insurance company). This credit union is open to any U.S. depositor. If you don’t live near one of the branches, you can join by first joining the credit union’s charitable arm, the Connexus Association. Connexus earned four out of five stars on Bankrate’s latest Safe & Sound Ratings, which measures the financial health of banks and credit unions throughout the United States.
  • Salem Five Cents Savings Bank was founded in 1855. The financial services company is headquartered in Salem, Massachusetts and has several subsidiaries, including a brokerage company. The bank earned four out of five stars from Safe & Sound.
  • Everbank, based in Jacksonville, Florida, operates 10 branches, but it’s primarily known as an online bank. It was established in 1961. EverBank earned three out of five stars from Safe & Sound.
  • M.Y. Safra Bank is headquartered in New York City. Initially established as T. Rowe Price Savings Bank, it changed its name in 2013 and moved from Baltimore, Maryland. The bank earned four out of five stars from Safe & Sound.
  • Barclays’ online banking division operates out of Wilmington, Delaware. Its parent company — which is based in London, England — was established in 1690 and offers various financial services to millions of customers around the world. The bank earned four out of five stars from Safe & Sound.

Fine print is key

Of course, there’s more to a good CD than the rate. You’ll also want to make sure you can live with the early withdrawal penalty the bank will charge in the event you need to crack open the CD prior to maturity.

Withdrawal penalties vary widely — they may be expressed as a certain number of months’ worth of interest or as a percentage of the principal, and may be assessed on the entire principal or just the amount you’re cashing out.

Make sure to read the terms of your contract. Banks may try to slip adverse terms into the CD’s fine print that allows them to, among other things, change fees and penalties after the fact.

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