Deciding where to stick your savings is tricky.

Savings and money market accounts are highly liquid but usually offer a low rate of return.

Long-term CDs offer better rates. But unless you’re willing to pay a premium for withdrawing your funds early, they’ll be locked in for years. During a period when rates are rising, that could put you at a disadvantage.

An 18-month CD offers the best of both worlds: a higher yield than a standard savings account and a low level of commitment. Here are Bankrate’s picks for the top nationally available 18-month CD rates:

Top nationally available 18-month CD rates
Institution APY Minimum deposit
Colorado Federal Savings Bank 2.36% $5,000
My eBanc 2.36% $5,000
Live Oak Bank 2.35% $2,500
USAlliance Financial 2.32% $500
First Internet Bank of Indiana 2.32% $1,000

The best 18-month CD rates pay about 85 basis points more than the national average of 1.51 percent APY, according to Bankrate’s most recent national survey of banks and thrifts. A basis point is equal to one one-hundredth of one percentage point.

Today’s top nationally available 18-month CDs pay 2.36 percent APY. This may be a good place to invest money for short-term financial obligations, like saving up for a down payment on a house.

Finding the best 18-month CD rates

Finding the best 18-month CD may take some time. Besides the interest rate, you’ll need to compare early withdrawal penalties and minimum deposit requirements. Find out whether you’ll be responsible for any fees.

Here are the top nationally available 18-month CD rates. Compare these offers, then calculate how much interest you would earn when your CD matures.

Top account details

  • Colorado Federal Savings Bank is an online bank headquartered in Greenwood Village, Colorado. Besides CDs, it offers savings accounts, home mortgages, commercial loans and construction loans. In Bankrate’s review of its financial well-being, the bank earned four out of five stars.
  • My eBanc is an online division of BAC Florida Bank, an institution based Coral Gables. BAC Florida Bank and its subsidiaries serve customers in the United States and abroad in places like Latin America. In Bankrate’s latest review of its financial health, BAC Florida Bank earned four out of five stars.
  • Live Oak Bank was established in 2008. Supporting small business owners is part of its mission statement. The bank, which is based in Wilmington, North Carolina, earned five out of five stars in Bankrate’s latest review of its financial health.
  • USALLIANCE Financial is a credit union based in Rye, New York. It has branches in several states and more than 90,000 members around the world. It earned four out of five stars in Bankrate’s latest review of its financial health.
  • First Internet Bank of Indiana, based in Fishers, Indiana, was founded in 1999 and serves customers across the country. It earned four out of five stars in the latest review of its financial health.

Understand the account terms

An 18-month CD is a low-risk investment. But before you purchase one, it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into.

Ask if you’ll have to maintain a certain balance to earn the annual percentage yield. While you’re at it, find out how often you’ll receive the interest you’re earning from your bank or credit union. That way, it’ll be easier to hit your savings target or another financial goal.