If you’re sick of low interest rates on savings accounts and you won’t need to access your money for a while, it might be time to branch out and explore 2-year CDs.

You can think of CDs as a higher-paying savings account that’s stashed in a safe with a time lock. While you may be able to withdraw the interest before the end of the term, you can’t touch the principal without incurring an early withdrawal penalty.

The higher interest rate comes because banks pay CD account holders a liquidity premium—the additional return an investor expects in exchange for giving up the ability to liquidate their investment quickly—in addition to their normal deposit rate.

Here are the top nationally available 2-year CD rates. Compare these offers, then calculate how much interest you could earn when your CD matures.

Top nationally available 24-month CD rates
Institution APY Minimum deposit
Banesco USA
2.50% $1,500
VirtualBank 2.36% $10,000
iGOBanking.com 2.35% $1,000
BankPurely 2.35% $1,000
Live Oak Bank
2.35% $2,500

The best 2-year CD rates pay more than three times the national average of 0.63 percent APY, according to Bankrate’s most recent national survey of banks and thrifts.

Today’s top nationally available 2-year CDs pay 2.5 percent APY. This may be a good place to invest for mid-term financial obligations, like paying off credit card debt.

Finding the best 2-year CD rates

When looking for a 2-year CD, it might be easier to just sign up with the bank that handles your checking account. But if you want to get the best rate, you’re more likely to do so if you cast a wide net than to just accept what your current bank offers.

“(Large banks have) this huge captive customer base and it becomes pretty easy for them to say, ‘You’re going to need that money in two years. We’ve got a 2-year CD that’s paying 0.4 percent,'” says Dylan Ross, CFP professional, director of communications and financial planning at the Garrett Planning Network in Burlington, New Jersey. “You can easily double that.”

And no matter the size of the bank that’s offering the best terms, as long as it’s a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., or FDIC, you can feel secure parking your money there. That’s because consumer deposits at all FDIC-insured banks are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government up to $250,000, so if the bank fails, you won’t be on the hook. The same goes for credit unions backed by the National Credit Union Administration.

Top account details

  • Banesco USA is a subsidiary of Banesco Banco Universal, the largest bank in Venezuela. In Bankrate’s latest review of its financial health, Banesco USA earned four out of five stars.
  • VirtualBank operates as an online division of IBERIABANK, an FDIC-insured institution based in Lafayette, Louisiana. IBERIABANK earned four out of five stars in Bankrate’s latest review of its financial health.
  • iGObanking is one of the online divisions of Flushing Bank, a New York-based financial institutions founded more than 80 years ago. In Bankrate’s latest review of its financial health, Flushing Bank earned four out of five stars.
  • BankPurely is an internet bank that operates as a division of Flushing Bank. It was established in 2017. In addition to CDs, it offers an online savings and checking account that can be opened through iGObanking’s platform.
  • Live Oak Bank is based in Wilmington, North Carolina. The bank has supported small business owners since it opened in 2008. In Bankrate’s latest review of its financial health, it earned five out of five stars.

A rung in the ladder

In addition to helping you meet your mid-term financial goals, two-year CDs can be used as a “rung” when you’re building a CD ladder.

Done correctly, laddering allows you to benefit from high rates on longer maturities while still getting regular infusions of cash to spend or reinvest.