Best 1-year credit union CD rates — April 2020

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Yields generally aren't as high as they were almost a year ago, but it's still possible to end up with a competitive interest rate. One way to do that is to shop around and look at the yields tied to the share certificates offered by credit unions.

As of March 25, the average 1-year CD yield was 0.47 percent APY according to Bankrate's weekly survey.

Pros and cons of credit union CDs

Brick-and-mortar banks can be pretty stingy when it comes to paying out interest to their customers with savings accounts. In many cases, their CD rates aren’t impressive either.

Credit unions are member-owned institutions. That means they’re always looking out for their customers. It’s not hard to find a credit union offering competitive rates tied to CDs (or as credit unions often call them, share certificates).

“The great thing about credit unions is that we’re not-for-profit, meaning we have the ability to return the money we bring in back to our members in the form of higher rates on our products,” says Brett Wheeler, chief financial officer at USALLIANCE Financial.

The drawback? You may not have access to a credit union share certificate if you cannot qualify for membership. While there are many credit unions that are easy to join, there are still institutions that have restrictions based on where you live or work, or the group you're affiliated with.

Even if you can become a credit union member and apply for a share certificate, you may forget about this account if you have multiple accounts at different banks or you have no other ties to the credit union. If you're not careful, your CD could automatically renew, forcing you to keep money locked up for a longer period of time than anticipated. That could cause problems if you need money you've saved to cover an emergency or make an important purchase.

Here are some credit unions that are offering today's best widely available 1-year CD rates.

Best 1-year credit union CD rates — April 2020

Note: The APYs (Annual Percentage Yield) shown are as of March 31, 2020. Bankrate’s editorial team updates this information regularly, typically biweekly. APYs may have changed since they were last updated.

Delta Community Credit Union: 1.99% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit

Delta Community Credit Union began as the Delta Employees Credit Union in 1940. It was started by eight Delta Air Lines employees. Delta Community Credit Union has more than 400,000 members and has 26 branches in metro Atlanta and three branches outside of Georgia.

  • What it pays: 1.99 percent APY
  • Membership restrictions: Anyone living or working in metro Atlanta and employees of more than 150 businesses are welcome at Delta Community Credit Union. Delta Air Lines, Chick-fil-A and UPS are some of the eligible businesses.
  • Minimum deposit: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 90 days of interest

SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union: 1.70% APY, $20,000 minimum deposit for this APY

SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union was formed during the Great Depression in 1934. The credit union, created by school employees, has 50 branches.

SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union (SchoolsFirst FCU) has low minimum balances and CD terms from as short as 30 days to as long as five years. The more money you put in your CD, the higher the APY. CDs at this credit union have four balance tiers: $500, $20,000, $50,000 or $100,000.

  • What it pays: 1.70 percent APY
  • Membership restrictions: SchoolsFirst FCU serves the California educational community. Certain school employees, certain retired school employees and immediate family members of existing SchoolsFirst FCU members may be able to join.
  • Minimum deposit: $20,000 for this APY
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 90 days of dividends.

Navy Federal Credit Union has more than 8.8 million members and is the world’s largest credit union. It has a global network of 340 branches. Navy Federal Credit Union has its headquarters in Vienna, Virginia.

In addition to CDs, Navy Federal Credit Union also offers checking and savings accounts, loans and credit cards.

  • What it pays: 1.60 percent APY
  • Membership restrictions: Membership at Navy Federal Credit Union is open to all Department of Defense and Coast Guard Active Duty, civilian, contract personnel, veterans and their families.
  • Minimum deposit: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: The lesser of all dividends for 90 days on the amount that you withdraw or all of the dividends withdrawn since the certificate was issued or renewed.

Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union: 1.57% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit

Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union has more than 55 branches. It has at least one location in Austin, Corpus Christi and San Antonio.

Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union was established in 1952 and has its headquarters in Live Oak, Texas.

Besides its CDs, it offers a Really Free Checking account that doesn’t require a minimum balance and it doesn’t have a monthly fee.

  • What it pays: 1.57 percent APY
  • Membership restrictions: Where you live, attend school, work or worship are some of the more than 3,000 ways to become a member at Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union.
  • Minimum deposit: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 60 days

Alliant Credit Union: 1.40% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit

In 1935, what’s now Alliant Credit Union was founded as the United Airlines Employees’ Credit Union. Alliant currently has 450,000 members nationwide.

Alliant offers competitive APYs with low minimum balance requirements for CDs. Alliant also has traditional individual retirement account (IRA) CDs, Roth IRA CDs and SEP IRA CDs, if this is an appropriate option for your retirement savings.

  • What it pays: 1.40 percent APY
  • Membership restrictions: Current employees or retired employees from a business that partners with Alliant Credit Union may be eligible to join the credit union. You may also be able to become a member by belonging to an organization that Alliant Credit Union partners with. You can also qualify to join Alliant Credit Union if you live or are employed in a community near its Chicago headquarters.If those circumstances don’t apply to you, you can make a one-time $5 payment and Alliant Credit Union will donate that money to Foster Care to Success so you can become an Alliant Credit Union member.
  • Minimum deposit: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: The number of days the CD is open -- up to 90 days.

Read the fine print

Before signing up for any bank account, it’s important to understand the terms and conditions. With share certificates — and CDs across the board — there’s typically a penalty for early withdrawal. By pulling money out of your share certificate (or CD) before it matures, you’ll likely forfeit some of the interest you’ve earned. Consequences for early withdrawals vary from one credit union to the next and sometimes vary within a single credit union for share certificates with different term lengths.

As long as the credit union you’ve chosen is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration, the money you’ve deposited in your share certificate will be safe. In the event that the credit union shuts down, you’ll still walk away with your savings. Just keep in mind that there’s a $250,000 threshold for single ownership accounts. Larger amounts won’t be automatically insured.

Recap: Best 1-year credit union CD rates — April 2020

Institution APY Minimum deposit for APY
Delta Community Credit Union 1.99% $1,000
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union 1.70% $20,000
Navy Federal Credit Union 1.60% $1,000
Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union 1.57% $1,000
Alliant Credit Union 1.40% $1,000

Learn more about other CD terms:

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