CD rates overall are beginning to stall. Between late September and late November, the average 1-year CD rate increased by 23 basis points (a basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point). Within a similar time span between late March and late May, Bankrate’s weekly survey found that the same average CD yield only increased by three basis points.
While yields aren’t climbing like they were months ago, it’s still possible to end up with a competitive interest rate. One way to do that is to look at the yields tied to the share certificates offered by certain credit unions.
Why consider a credit union?
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, senior vice president and chief financial officer at USALLIANCE Financial.
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.
Here are five credit unions that offer the best nationally available 1-year CD rates today. They each pay more than 2.5 times the national average.
Best 1-year credit union CD rates
- Connexus Credit Union: 2.75% APY
- State Department Federal Credit Union: 2.73% APY
- Alliant Credit Union: 2.65% APY
- Mountain America Credit Union: 2.60% APY
- Advancial Federal Credit Union: 2.58% APY
Connexus Credit Union
Connexus Credit Union was founded in 1935 to serve current and former employees of a local insurance company and their family members. It’s based in Wausau, Wisconsin, with branch locations in Minnesota, Ohio and New Hampshire. The credit union serves 326,000 members nationwide, and earned five out of five stars in Bankrate’s latest review of its financial health.
- What it pays: 2.75 percent APY
- Membership restrictions: Membership is open to anyone who becomes a member of the Connexus Association with a $5 donation.
- Minimum deposit: $5,000
- Early withdrawal penalty: You could lose up to 90 days’ dividends.
State Department Federal Credit Union
Based in Alexandria, Virginia, State Department Federal Credit Union was founded in 1935 and was originally named U.S. Department of State Employees Federal Credit Union. Today it serves more than 84,000 members worldwide. The credit union earned four out of five stars in Bankrate’s latest review of its financial health.
- What it pays: 2.73 percent APY
- Membership restrictions: Membership is open to employees of the U.S. Department of State and their immediate family members, as well as employees for about 100 affiliated organizations. Membership is also open to anyone who joins the American Consumer Council at the time of application.
- Minimum deposit: $500
- Early withdrawal penalty: You could lose up to 180 days’ dividends.
Alliant Credit Union
Alliant Credit Union was originally founded in 1935 as the United Airlines Employees’ Credit Union. The credit union is headquartered in Chicago. Its Jumbo Share CD can be locked in for 12 or 17 months. Members have access to more than 80,000 surcharge-free ATMs. The credit union earned four out of five stars in the latest review of its financial health.
- What it pays: 2.65 percent APY
- Membership restrictions: Membership is open to anyone who supports Alliant Credit Union’s partner charity, Foster Care to Success. Employees or retirees of qualifying companies, members of select organizations, immediate relatives of existing members and those who live or work in certain local communities also can qualify for membership.
- Minimum deposit: $25,000
- Early withdrawal penalty: Dividends earned for the number of days the certificate is open, up to a maximum of 90 days.
Mountain America Credit Union
Mountain America Credit Union is based in West Jordan, Utah. It was founded in the 1930s as the Salt Lake Telephone Employees Credit Union. It earned five out of five stars in Bankrate’s latest review of its financial health.
- What it pays: 2.60 percent APY
- Membership restrictions: Membership in Mountain America Credit Union is open to anyone who joins an association such as the American Consumer Council.
- Minimum deposit: $500
- Early withdrawal penalty: Terms of 12 months and shorter are assessed a 90-day interest penalty. Terms of 12–48 months are assessed a 180-day interest penalty.
Advancial Federal Credit Union
Advancial Federal Credit Union is based in Dallas. It was founded in 1937. It offers different type of savings products, including regular and jumbo share certificates. In the latest review of its financial health, it earned four out of five stars.
- What it pays: 2.58 percent APY
- Membership restrictions: Membership is also open to individuals who join Connex, a professional, online interactive network. It’s also open to employees and members of other partner organizations, family or household members of existing credit union members and residents of certain areas in Louisiana.
- Minimum deposit: $25,000
- Early withdrawal penalty: 180 days’ dividends
Recap: Best 1-year credit union CD rates
|Connexus Credit Union||2.75%||$5,000|
|State Department Federal Credit Union||2.73%||$500|
|Alliant Credit Union||2.65%||$25,000|
|Mountain America Credit Union||2.60%||$500|
|Advancial Federal Credit Union||2.58%||$25,000|