Deciding where to stick your savings is tricky. Savings accounts and money market accounts are highly liquid but usually offer a low rate of return.
Long-term CDs usually offer better rates. But unless you’re willing to pay a premium for withdrawing your funds early, they’ll be locked in for years. An 18-month CD offers the best of both worlds: a higher yield than a standard savings account and a low level of commitment.
Bankrate’s guide to choosing the right CD rate
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Methodology for Bankrate’s Best CD Rates
At Bankrate, we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. We follow strict guidelines to ensure that our editorial content is unbiased and not influenced by advertisers. Our editorial team receives no direct compensation from advertisers and our content is thoroughly fact-checked to ensure accuracy.
Bankrate regularly surveys around 70 widely available financial institutions, made up of the biggest banks and credit unions, as well as a number of popular online banks.
To find the best CDs, our editorial team analyzes various factors, such as: annual percentage yield (APY), the minimum needed to earn that APY (or to open the CD) and whether or not it is broadly available. All of the accounts on this page are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).
When selecting the best CD for you, consider the purpose of the money and when you’ll need access to these funds to help you avoid early withdrawal penalties.
How does an 18-month CD work?
With a CD, you agree to leave your money in the account for a set period of time — in this case, 18 months. In return for your commitment to leave the money alone, you receive a higher yield from your bank or financial institution than you would earn in a savings account.
With an 18-month CD, your interest rate is locked in, so you don’t have to worry about your bank potentially lowering the rate on your account.
An 18-month CD can be ideal for setting aside money for short-term goals, such as going on vacation or saving for a car down payment. You can also use an 18-month CD to build a CD ladder.
Don’t assume that the best 18-month CD rates are found at your current bank. Instead, compare CDs online.
The best 18-month CD rates for May 2022
- BMO Harris Bank: 2.00% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit
- Limelight Bank: 2.00% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit
- Live Oak Bank: 2.00% APY; $2,500 minimum deposit
- Marcus by Goldman Sachs: 1.85% APY; $500 minimum deposit
- First Internet Bank of Indiana: 1.81% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit
- Popular Direct: 1.80% APY; $10,000 minimum deposit
- Ally Bank: 1.75% APY; $0.01 minimum deposit
- Alliant Credit Union: 1.75% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit
- Pentagon Federal Credit Union: 1.75% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit
- Synchrony Bank: 1.70% APY; $0.01 minimum deposit
- Discover Bank: 1.65% APY; $2,500 minimum deposit
- Barclays: 1.60% APY; $0.01 minimum deposit
- TIAA Bank: 1.60% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit
- Sallie Mae Bank: 1.60% APY; $2,500 minimum deposit
- Amerant Bank: 1.60% APY; $10,000 minimum deposit
- CIBC Bank USA: 1.60% APY; $25,000 minimum to earn APY
- TAB Bank: 1.45% APY; $1,000 minimum to earn APY
- Capital One: 1.25% APY; $0.01 minimum deposit
- Bethpage Federal Credit Union: 1.25% APY; $50 minimum deposit
- EmigrantDirect: 1.25% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit
- Vio Bank: 1.10% APY; $500 minimum deposit
- American Express National Bank: 1.00% APY; $0.01 minimum deposit
Note: Annual percentage yields (APYs) shown are as of May 18, 2022, and may vary by region for some products.
Today’s top widely available 18-month CD pays 2 percent APY. An 18-month CD might be a suitable term for saving for a down payment on a house or a new car.
Finding the best 18-month CD rate
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. Also, find out whether you’ll be responsible for any fees.
Here are the top widely available 18-month CD rates. Compare these offers, then calculate how much interest you would earn when your CD matures.
BMO Harris Bank: 2.00% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit
BMO Harris is a regional bank that also offers online accounts in all 50 states. The bank operates more than 500 branches in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin. Its headquarters is located in Chicago.
There is a $1,000 minimum balance required to open an 18-month CD. BMO Harris also offers Add-On, Bump Rate and Step Rate CDs.
Limelight Bank: 2.00% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit
Limelight Bank is a division of Capital Community Bank and has its headquarters in Provo, Utah.
Limelight Bank offers CDs only on its website and requires a minimum deposit of $1,000 for each of its four CD terms. You’ll have to look elsewhere if you want a CD with a term longer than three years.
Live Oak Bank: 2.00% APY; $2,500 minimum deposit
Founded in 2007, Live Oak Bank is an online-only bank based in Wilmington, North Carolina. It offers a high-yield online savings account and CDs in seven terms.
Live Oak Bank has a mobile app that allows customers to manage their accounts from anywhere. It offers a limited number of products, but yields are competitive.
Marcus by Goldman Sachs: 1.85% APY; $500 minimum deposit
Marcus is the consumer banking unit of Goldman Sachs Bank USA. It offers competitive yields on nine terms of regular CDs and three no-penalty CD terms, as well as a savings account. Marcus also offers personal, debt consolidation and home improvement loans.
First Internet Bank of Indiana: 1.81% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit to open
First Internet Bank of Indiana is an FDIC-insured financial institution that operates online and has no branches. It opened in 1999 and offers products in all 50 states.
First Internet Bank offers eight terms of CDs, a money market savings account with a competitive yield, a savings account and two checking accounts.
Popular Direct: 1.80% APY; $10,000 minimum deposit
Popular Direct CDs are for established savers, since the CDs have a $10,000 minimum deposit requirement. The CDs have eight fixed terms, from three months to five years. Popular Direct’s High-Rise savings account offers a competitive yield and requires a $5,000 minimum deposit.
All Popular Direct deposit accounts are opened through Popular Bank.
Ally Bank: 1.75% APY; $0.01 minimum deposit
Ally Bank is an online bank that offers seven terms of fixed-rate CDs, a Raise Your Rate CD in two terms and a no-penalty CD.
Ally Bank’s early withdrawal penalties are less harsh than those at most other banks. The penalty on an 18-month CD is 60 days of interest, for example. Many banks charge at least 90 days of interest.
Alliant Credit Union: 1.75% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit
Alliant Credit Union was established in 1935 as United Airlines Employees Credit Union. It is the largest credit union in Illinois and one of the largest in the United States. Alliant has more than $14 billion in assets and 600,000 members nationwide.
Those eligible for membership include employees of certain companies, members of qualifying organizations, family members of an existing Alliant Credit Union member and anyone who lives in the Chicago area, where Alliant is headquartered.
Pentagon Federal Credit Union: 1.75% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit
Pentagon Federal Credit Union was established in 1935 and has its main office in McLean, Virginia. It has more than 2 million members.
PenFed has nine terms of CDs, ranging from six months to seven years.
Synchrony Bank: 1.70% APY; $0.01 minimum deposit
Synchrony Bank offers competitive yields across 14 terms, including 10 terms of less than two years. All standard CD terms typically offered by banks and credit unions are available. Synchrony also offers an 11-month no penalty CD and a 24-month bump up CD.
If you fund your Synchrony Bank CD within 15 days and the rate rises on the day it’s funded, you receive the higher rate.
The bank also offers a savings account and a money market account. The savings account has a competitive APY and has no minimum balance requirement.
Discover Bank: 1.65% APY; $2,500 minimum opening deposit
Discover Bank is well known for its credit cards, but it also offers a wide selection of banking products. Discover Bank offers CDs in terms ranging from three months to 10 years.
It also offers a checking account and a savings account.
Barclays: 1.60% APY; $0.01 minimum deposit
Barclays is a global bank that was founded in London more than 300 years ago. It introduced the world to the first ATM machine in 1967. Its online banking business is based in Wilmington, Delaware.
Barclays offers nine CD terms ranging from three months to five years, that have no minimum balance requirement when opened online.
TIAA Bank: 1.60% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit
TIAA Bank is a division of TIAA FSB and has 10 branches, all in Florida.
TIAA offers CD terms ranging from three months to five years. It also offers a bump rate CD, which allows a one-time rate bump if rates go higher. For customers with large deposits who need FDIC coverage that exceeds the $250,000 limit, TIAA Bank offers a service that spreads money around to a network of banks to expand insurance coverage.
Sallie Mae Bank: 1.60% APY; $2,500 minimum deposit
Sallie Mae Bank offers 11 terms of CDs, a savings account, money market account, credit cards and private student loans.
Sallie Mae Bank offers a competitive yield on all of its deposit products.
Sallie Mae Bank was established in 2005 and has its headquarters in Salt Lake City. In 2014, Sallie Mae became a standalone consumer banking business.
Amerant Bank: 1.60% APY; $10,000 minimum deposit
Amerant Bank has 17 branches in South Florida and seven in Houston.
It offers competitive APYs on its online CDs, with terms ranging from three months to five years, but the yield listed for the 18-month CD isn’t available in Florida and Texas. The $10,000 minimum to open a CD may be a tough requirement for some savers to meet.
CIBC Bank USA: 1.60% APY; $25,000 minimum deposit to earn the APY
CIBC Bank USA, formerly The PrivateBank and Trust Co., was founded in 1991 and is based in Chicago.
CIBC has 12 CD terms, ranging from 30 days to five years. The minimum deposit to open a CD is $1,000.
TAB Bank: 1.45% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit
TAB Bank was established in 1998 in Ogden, Utah, as a banking service inside truck stops. TAB serves both businesses and individual customers.
It offers several checking accounts, a couple of savings account options, a money market account and CDs with eight terms ranging from six months to five years.
Capital One Bank: 1.25% APY; $0.01 minimum deposit
Capital One is an online bank based in McLean, Virginia, that also operates 333 branches and about 50 Capital One Cafes. It offers nine competitive terms of regular CDs.
Capital One CDs and its 360 Performance Savings account have no minimum balance requirements.
Bethpage Federal Credit Union: 1.25% APY; $50 minimum deposit
Bethpage Federal Credit Union was founded in 1941 for employees of aircraft-maker Grumman.
Bethpage Federal Credit Union is headquartered in Bethpage, New York, and has more than 400,000 members. It offers nine terms of CDs ranging from three months to five years. Bethpage also offers a 39-month bump-up CD.
EmigrantDirect: 1.25% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit
EmigrantDirect is a division of Emigrant Bank. It offers CDs with terms ranging from six months to 10 years. All CDs require a $1,000 minimum deposit.
Emigrant Direct also offers the American Dream Savings Account.
Vio Bank: 1.10% APY; $500 minimum deposit
Vio Bank, established in 2018, is the national online division of MidFirst Bank. Vio Bank offers 10 terms of CDs, ranging from six months to 10 years, and a High Yield Online Savings account.
American Express National Bank: 1.00% APY; $0.01 minimum deposit
American Express is known for credit cards, but it also offers CDs in seven terms ranging from six months to five years with no minimum opening deposit requirement.
The bank also offers a savings account with a competitive yield and no minimum balance requirement.
Can you lose money in a CD?
For the most part, as long as your money is deposited at an insured institution, you won’t lose money. Double-check that your CD is in an FDIC-insured bank or in a National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) credit union. NCUA credit unions are insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF). These entities insure bank deposits against failure, protecting your money for typically up to $250,000.
Because CDs are cash deposit accounts, your principal, or initial deposit amount, is safe. You don’t have to worry about losing money to market crashes, either. However, your account could lose value due to inflation. Depending on the situation, the yield you earn in a CD might not keep up with inflation, resulting in a loss of spending power.
Also, if you withdraw money out of a CD before it matures, you will likely have to pay a fee, such as a few months’ worth of interest.
If you’re looking to protect your principal, though, your money is safe in a CD if you’re within FDIC insurance limits and guidelines.
18-month CD vs. other short-term investments
An 18-month CD is a relatively short-term investment. While your money is locked up for a year and a half, you’ll have access to it — plus interest — when the term expires. When comparing your savings options, it’s important to take into account liquidity as well as yield.
18-month CD vs. 12-month CD
When you get a 12-month CD, you’re likely to see a smaller yield than an 18-month CD. Because a 12-month CD doesn’t lock your money away as long, the yields are often a little lower.
However, with the shorter-term CD, you can access your money six months earlier. So, if you think you want penalty-free access to your money before an 18-month CD matures, it makes sense to take the lower yield in return for slightly better liquidity.
Consider savings accounts with higher yields
You can find high-yield savings accounts that pay rates similar to top-yielding shorter-term CDs, like those with terms of 12-18 months.
However, with a savings account, you have more immediate access to the money, and you typically won’t be penalized for making withdrawals. If you have short-term goals you’re saving for, or if you want a more accessible emergency fund, a savings account can be a smart choice.
Consider money market accounts with high yields
Another possibility, especially if you want check-writing privileges, is a money market account. There are money market accounts with much higher yields than traditional savings accounts, as well as quick, easy access to your money when you need it.
With a top-yielding money market account, you might find a similar yield compared with top-yielding 18-month CDs. However, if you’re looking for penalty-free liquidity and accessibility, a money market account can be a good choice.
When you choose money market or savings accounts, you have to be aware of the fact that your rate could drop at any time. With a CD, you lock in a rate, so you don’t have to worry about falling rates. The flip side, though, is that rates could go up, and if your money is in a CD, you can’t take advantage of the higher rate until after the term expires.
Short-term vs. long-term CDs
When considering an 18-month CD, compare it to longer-term accounts. There are CDs that will lock up your money for two years or more, but they also pay higher yields.
If you’re willing to avoid touching your money for a longer period of time, you could take advantage of yields that provide you with much better returns than an 18-month CD. In fact, a five-year CD often has better yields, and your money remains safe.
There are even 10-year CDs, sometimes designed to be held in an IRA, that can provide you with safe yields.
Before making a decision about what type of CD you want, consider your financial needs and situation. Think about when you might need to access the money and weigh it against the yield you receive.
Before taking the plunge
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 APY. 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.
Best 18-month CD rates for May 2022
|Bank||APY||Minimum Deposit for APY|
|BMO Harris Bank||2.00%||$1,000|
|Live Oak Bank||2.00%||$2,500|
|Marcus by Goldman Sachs||1.85%||$500|
|First Internet Bank of Indiana||1.81%||$1,000|
|Alliant Credit Union||1.75%||$1,000|
|Pentagon Federal Credit Union||1.75%||$1,000|
|Sallie Mae Bank||1.60%||$2,500|
|CIBC Bank USA||1.60%||$25,000|
|Capital One Bank||1.25%||$0.01|
|Bethpage Federal Credit Union||1.25%||$50|
|American Express National Bank||1.00%||$0.01|