Deciding where to stick your savings can be tricky. Savings accounts and money market accounts are highly liquid but don’t usually offer the best rate of return.

Long-term CDs offer better rates, but your funds are locked in for years unless you’re willing to pay a big penalty to withdraw your money early.

An 18-month CD offers the best of both worlds: a higher yield than a standard savings account and a relatively brief term.

What is an 18-month CD?

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 than you would earn in a savings account.

With an 18-month CD, your annual percentage yield (APY) 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.

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.

Bankrate’s picks for the top 18-month CD rates

Note: Annual percentage yields (APYs) shown are as of Jan. 31, 2023, and may vary by region for some products.

*Rate is not available in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin.

Today’s top, widely available 18-month CD pays 4.75 percent APY. An 18-month CD might be a suitable term for saving for a down payment on a house or a new car.

A closer look at the top 18-month CD rates

Marcus by Goldman Sachs: 4.75% APY; $500 minimum deposit

Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA. The online bank has a variety of CDs. This includes nine standard CDs in terms ranging from six months to six years, three no-penalty CDs and a Rate Bump CD.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs offers competitive yields on its CDs and high-yield savings account.

Pentagon Federal Credit Union: 4.70% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit

Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) was established in 1935. It has more than 2 million members and has its main office in McLean, Virginia.

PenFed has nine terms of CDs. They range from a six-month CD to a seven-year CD.

First Internet Bank of Indiana: 4.65% 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.

Limelight Bank: 4.65% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit

Limelight Bank is an online-only bank that’s a division of Capital Community Bank. It’s known for supporting eco-friendly causes such as solar initiatives.

The bank offers four CD terms ranging from six months to three years. A minimum deposit of $1,000 is required. Limelight doesn’t offer any types of bank accounts other than CDs.

Popular Direct CDs are for established savers, since the CDs have a $10,000 minimum deposit requirement. The CDs come in eight fixed terms, ranging 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.

CIT Bank: 4.60% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit

CIT Bank, an online bank, became a subsidiary of First Citizens Bank following the completion of a merger in January 2022. CIT Bank offers eight terms of regular CDs and four terms of jumbo CDs, as well as an 11-month no-penalty CD.

CIT Bank also offers savings and money market accounts.

Synchrony Bank: 4.50% APY; $0 minimum deposit

Synchrony Bank is an online-only bank that’s a division of Synchrony Financial, a publicly traded provider of consumer financial services, including credit cards.

Synchrony Bank offers competitive yields on CDs across 14 terms. It also has a bump-up CD and a no-penalty CD. The bank also offers a savings account and a money market account.

America First Federal Credit Union: 4.50% APY; $500 minimum deposit

America First Credit Union was founded in 1939 in Salt Lake City. It has CDs with terms ranging from three months to five years. The minimum opening deposit for CDs is $500.

It also offers a variety of checking and savings accounts.

BMO Harris: 4.50% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit

BMO Harris offers online accounts and operates more than 500 branches in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin.

BMO Harris offers 10 CD terms ranging from three months to five years, each requiring a minimum $1,000 deposit to open. It also offers several online CDs with competitive yields, although these rates are unavailable to residents of states where it maintains branches.

Sallie Mae Bank: 4.40% 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 its deposit products.

Sallie Mae Bank was established in 2005 and has its headquarters in Salt Lake City. In 2014, Sallie Mae became a stand-alone consumer banking business.

How to find the best 18-month CD rates

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.

Don’t assume that the best 18-month CD rates are found at your current bank. Instead, compare CDs online.

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.

18-month CD FAQs

  • 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.
  • 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 vs. shorter term CDs

    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 for 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.

    18-month vs. longer 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.

  • 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.

    Consider a high yield savings account

    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.

Bankrate’s methodology for choosing the 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. or the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.

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.

Banks we monitor

These financial institutions are featured in our CD rate research: Alliant Credit Union, Ally Bank, Amerant Bank, America First Credit Union, American Express National Bank, Axos Bank, Bank 5 Connect, Bank of America, Bank of the West, Barclays, Bask Bank, BB&T, BECU (Boeing Employees Credit Union), Bethpage Federal Credit Union, BMO Harris Bank, Bread Financial (formerly Comenity Direct), BrioDirect, Capital One Bank, Chase Bank, CIBC USA, CIT Bank, Citibank, Citizens Access, Citizens Bank (Rhode Island), Comerica Bank, Customers Bank, Delta Community Credit Union, Discover Bank, E-Trade Bank, Emigrant Direct, Fifth Third Bank, First Citizens Bank, First Internet Bank, First Technology Federal Credit Union, FNBO Direct, Golden 1 Credit Union, Marcus by Goldman Sachs, Huntington National Bank, Investors Bank, Investors eAccess, KeyBank, LegacyTexas Bank, Limelight Bank, Live Oak Bank, M&T Bank, MySavingsDirect, Navy Federal Credit Union, NBKC Bank, PenFed Credit Union, PNC Bank, Popular Direct, Purepoint Financial, Quontic Bank, Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union, Regions Bank, Salem Five Direct, Sallie Mae Bank, Santander Bank, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, Security Service Federal Credit Union, State Employees’ Credit Union, Suncoast Credit Union, Suntrust Bank, Synchrony Bank, TD Bank, TIAA Bank, UFB Direct, Union Bank (California), U.S. Bank, USAA Bank, Vio Bank, VyStar Credit Union, Wells Fargo and Zions Bank.