Best 1-year credit union CD rates — September 2021

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Yields generally aren’t as high as they were almost a year ago, but it’s still possible to find a competitive interest rate. So it pays to shop around and compare yields tied to share certificates offered by credit unions.

Credit union share certificates are similar to certificates of deposit (CDs) offered by banks. For that reason, “share certificate” and “credit union CD” are often used interchangeably. Also, whereas CDs earn interest, share certificates earn dividends, but the effect for the saver is the same. By looking at annual percentage yields (APYs), consumers can compare interest and dividends on an apples-to-apples basis.

The average 1-year CD yield was 0.17 percent APY, according to Bankrate’s weekly survey of institutions on Aug. 26, 2021.

Pros and cons of credit union CDs

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

Credit unions are member-owned institutions, which means they operate for the benefit of their customers. Finding a credit union offering competitive rates tied to CDs is fairly easy.

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

Like certificates of deposit at banks, credit union share certificates may also automatically renew after the term expires. For that reason, it’s important for consumers to keep track of their investments should the need arise to use the funds before the certificate has matured, which would likely result in an early withdrawal penalty.

Here are some credit unions offering today’s best widely available 1-year CD rates:

Best 1-year credit union CD rates — September 2021

Note: The APYs (Annual Percentage Yields) shown are as of Aug. 26, 2021. Bankrate’s editorial team updates this information regularly, typically monthly. APYs may have changed since they were last updated.

Delta Community Credit Union: 0.65% 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 about 439,000 members and has 29 branches in metro Atlanta and three branches outside of Georgia.

  • What a 1-year CD pays: 0.65 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 dividends.

Pentagon Federal Credit Union: 0.60% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit

Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) was established in 1935. It is based in McLean, Virginia, and has about 2.1 million members.

PenFed has nine terms of CDs, ranging from six months to seven years.

  • What a 1-year CD pays: 0.60 percent APY
  • Membership restrictions: Everyone is eligible to apply for PenFed membership. All that is needed is to open and maintain a savings account with at least $5 in it. Some products may require military affiliation to receive certain benefits of the product.
  • Minimum deposit: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: You’ll lose all dividends.

Alliant Credit Union: 0.55% 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 approximately 600,000 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.

  • What a 1-year CD pays: 0.55 percent APY
  • Membership restrictions: Current employees or those who are retired from a business that partners with Alliant Credit Union may be eligible to join the credit union. You may also be able to join 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: Dividends on the number of days the CD is open, up to 90 days. (So, if you withdraw after 180 days, you will pay a penalty of 90 days of dividends; if you withdraw after only 20 days, your penalty is all 20 days of dividends.)

Navy Federal Credit Union has around 10 million members and is the world’s largest credit union. It has a global network of 340 branches and is headquartered in Vienna, Virginia.

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

  • What a 1-year CD pays: 0.55 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.

SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union: 0.50% APY, $20,000 minimum deposit

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: 0.50 percent APY, $20,000 minimum deposit
  • 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.

Bethpage Federal Credit Union: 0.45% APY, $50 minimum deposit

Bethpage Federal Credit Union is one of the largest credit unions in the United States, with around 417,000 members. It opened in 1941 for Grumman employees. Anyone who opens a $5 savings account can become a member.

Bethpage offers nine terms of CDs, ranging from three months to five years, and one 39-month Bump-Up CD.

  • What a 1-year CD pays: 0.45 percent APY
  • Membership restrictions: Bethpage FCU membership is open to anyone who opens a savings account with $5.
  • Minimum deposit: $50
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 180 days of dividends.

Golden 1 Credit Union: 0.45% APY, $500 minimum deposit

Golden 1 Credit Union was established in 1933. It has 1 million members and more than 70 branches in California.

  • What a 1-year CD pays: 0.45 percent APY
  • Membership restrictions: You must live or work in California and open a savings account at Golden 1 Credit Union with at least $1.
  • Minimum deposit: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 180 days of dividends.

VyStar Credit Union: 0.45% APY, $500 minimum deposit

Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, VyStar Credit Union (formerly Jax Navy Federal CU) has around 764,000 members and is one of the largest financial institutions in northeast Florida.

VyStar offers share certificates ranging from three months to five years, with a $500 minimum deposit to open. It also offers an 18-month step-up certificate that lets you deposit more money and “step up” your rate.

  • What a 1-year CD pays: 0.45 percent APY
  • Membership restrictions: VyStar membership is people who live or work in 49 Florida counties and 10 Georgia counties.
  • Minimum deposit: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 180 days of dividends

Suncoast Credit Union: 0.40% APY, $500 minimum deposit

Suncoast Credit Union was started in 1934 as Hillsborough County Teachers Credit Union. Suncoast Credit Union now has 74 branches and has approximately 952,000 members.

Suncoast Credit Union is the 10th largest credit union in the U.S. based on membership. It is also the 10th largest based on assets.

  • What a 1-year CD pays: 0.40 percent APY
  • Membership restrictions: People who attend school, live, work or worship in a county in Florida that Suncoast Credit Union serves are welcome to join.
  • Minimum deposit: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 90 days of interest.

Security Service Federal Credit Union – 0.40% APY, $25,000 minimum deposit to earn the APY

Security Service Federal Credit Union was founded in 1956 to serve the needs of members and families of the U.S. Air Force Security Service Command.

Based in San Antonio, it offers a full slate of consumer banking products, such as checking and savings accounts, mortgages, auto loans and credit cards.

  • What a 1-year CD pays: 0.40 percent APY
  • Membership restrictions: People who live, work, worship, attend school, volunteer or have a business in Colorado, Texas or Utah are eligible to join, as are members of select military branches or units and Department of Defense employees at specific military bases within the credit union’s service area. Members’ families and household members also can join.
  • Minimum deposit for this APY: $25,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: forfeit all dividends earned, not to exceed 90 days of dividends, with minimum of 30 days of dividends

State Employees’ Credit Union: 0.35% APY, $250 minimum deposit

State Employees’ Credit Union serves approximately 2.5 million members and has 270 branch offices. It has been around since 1937 and has its main office in Raleigh, North Carolina.

  • What it pays: 0.35 percent APY
  • Membership restrictions: You’ll need to meet one of the State Employees’ Credit Union eligibility requirements to become a member. Some ways to become a member are by being an employee of the state of North Carolina, being a federal employee assigned to North Carolina state agencies, being an employee of public boards of education or by being a county employee of social services, health, mental health or civil defenses. Immediate family, which includes a spouse, children, parents or siblings, of a current member also may be eligible for membership.
  • Minimum deposit: $250
  • Early withdrawal penalty: You’ll lose at least 30 days of dividends, but no more than 90 days of dividends

America First Credit Union: 0.35% APY, $500 minimum deposit

America First Credit Union was founded in 1939. It has 128 full-service branches and is the ninth largest credit union, based on assets, in the U.S. Its main office is in Riverdale, Utah.

It also is the sixth largest based on membership. American First Credit Union has around 1,184,000 members.

  • What a 1-year CD pays: 0.35 percent APY
  • Membership restrictions: You can join America First Credit Union if you work, regularly conduct business in, live, volunteer, worship or go to school in certain areas of Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho or New Mexico. See the America First Credit Union website for full details on who can become a member.
  • Minimum deposit: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 60 days of dividends.

Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union: 0.35% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit

Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union has more than 60 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. Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union has around 959,000 members.

  • What it pays: 0.35 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

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. Also, you may be required to ask for an early withdrawal in writing. Check with your credit union for its policy.

As long as the credit union you’ve chosen is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration Share Insurance Fund, 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 — September 2021

Institution APY Minimum deposit for APY
Delta Community Credit Union 0.65% $1,000
Pentagon Federal Credit Union 0.60% $1,000
Alliant Credit Union 0.55% $1,000
Navy Federal Credit Union 0.55% $1,000
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union 0.50% $20,000
Bethpage Federal Credit Union 0.45% $50
Golden 1 Credit Union 0.45% $500
VyStar Credit Union 0.45% $500
Suncoast Credit Union 0.40% $500
Security Service Federal Credit Union 0.40% $25,000
State Employees’ Credit Union 0.35% $250
America First Credit Union 0.35% $500
Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union 0.35% $1,000

Learn more about other CD terms:

Written by
Matthew Goldberg
Consumer banking reporter
Matthew Goldberg is a consumer banking reporter at Bankrate. Matthew has been in financial services for more than a decade, in banking and insurance.
Edited by
Wealth editor
Reviewed by
Allyson Johnson
Head of investor relations, Gateway Partners