CD rates are beginning to stabilize after declining throughout much of 2019. In early November, the average 1-year CD rate was 0.75 percent APY. According to Bankrate’s weekly survey, today, the average yield is 0.76 percent APY.

While yields aren’t nearly as high as they were a year ago, 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.

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.

[READ: 6 misconceptions about credit unions]

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 five credit unions offering today’s best nationally available 1-year CD rates. They each pay nearly three times the national average.

Best 1-year credit union CD rates — January 2020


USALLIANCE Financial

USALLIANCE Financial is a credit union based in Rye, New York. Originally, it was established for employees of IBM. Total membership is over 100,000, worldwide.

  • What it pays: 2.15 percent APY
  • Membership restrictions: Membership is open to anyone who joins an organization or association like the American Consumer Council or the Rye Arts Center.
  • Minimum deposit: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 180 days’ dividends on the amount withdrawn.

MAC Federal Credit Union

The credit union was originally founded as Tanana Valley Federal Credit Union and chartered in 1952. MAC Federal Credit Union is based in Fairbanks, Alaska.

  • What it pays: 2.10 percent APY
  • Membership restrictions: Membership is open to local students and residents and those who join the AUSA Polar Bear Chapter.
  • Minimum deposit: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: For share accounts maturing in one year or less, the penalty will equal 30 days’ dividends on the amount withdrawn.

CommunityWide Federal Credit Union

CommunityWide Federal Credit Union is based in South Bend, Indiana. With 11 office locations in Northern Indiana, the credit union serves thousands of members nationwide.

  • What it pays: 2.10 percent APY
  • Membership restrictions: Membership is open to anyone who makes a $5 donation to Michiana Goodwill Boosters or the Marine Corps League of St. Joseph Valley. You can also join if you’re an immediate relative in the same household as a qualified member or you’re an employee, retiree or donor member of any of the organizations associated with the credit union.
  • Minimum deposit: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Equal to the amount of the withdrawal times the remaining days in the term of the certificate at the rate of two times the current APR (divided by 365) paid on the certificate.

Veridian Credit Union

The credit union is headquartered in Waterloo, Iowa and was established in 1934. Originally called the John Deere Employees Credit Union, it changed its name to Veridian Credit Union in 2006.

  • What it pays: 2.10 percent APY
  • Membership restrictions: Membership is open to family or household members of current members and residents and employees within the credit union’s field of membership (all Iowa counties and certain counties in Nebraska). Otherwise, the easiest way to join is by registering for a personal account with Dwolla, which connects businesses to the U.S. banking system.
  • Minimum deposit: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: The amount of withdrawal times the rate divided by 365 x 90 days (three months).

Interior Federal Credit Union

The credit union is based in Washington D.C. It offers members access to 5,600 shared branches and service centers across the country and more than 55,000 surcharge-free ATMs.

  • What it pays: 2.07 percent APY
  • Membership restrictions: Membership is open to family and household members of current members and contractors and employees of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Joining the credit union is also possible by being a volunteer or a member of a select employee group. Another opportunity for membership comes through joining the New Mexico Wildlife Federation.
  • Minimum deposit: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 90 days of dividends.

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

Institution APY Minimum deposit
USALLIANCE Financial 2.15% $500
MAC Federal Credit Union 2.10% $1,000
CommunityWide Federal Credit Union 2.10% $1,000
Veridian Credit Union 2.10% $1,000
Interior Federal Credit Union 2.07% $500

Learn more about other CD terms: