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
KS StateBank 3.10% $500
VirtualBank 3.06% $10,000
Popular Direct 3.05% $10,000
Georgia Banking Company 3.00% $500
Vio Bank 3.00% $500

The best 2-year CD rates pay more than 2.5 times the national average of 1.14 percent APY, according to Bankrate’s most recent national survey of banks and thrifts.

Today’s top nationally available 2-year CDs pay 3.1 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.

“Brick and mortar banks have a lot of overhead to cover, plus they have a lot of competition from online banks,” says Sheryl Garrett, CFP professional and founder of the Garrett Planning Network. “Don’t just settle for the first CD rate that’s offered by ‘your bank.’ Focus on the fact that it’s ‘your money!’

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

  • KS StateBank is headquartered in Manhattan, Kansas. The bank, which was founded in 1969, was known as the Kansas State Bank of Manhattan until 2015. In Bankrate’s latest review of its financial health, the bank earned five out of five stars.
  • VirtualBank is an online division of Iberiabank, founded in 1887 and based in Lafayette, Louisiana. Iberiabank earned four out of five stars in Bankrate’s latest review of its financial health.
  • Popular Direct is an online division of Popular Bank, which was formerly known as Banco Popular North America or Popular Community Bank, a subsidiary of Popular Inc.
  • Georgia Banking Company is based in Atlanta. In addition to banking products, it offers loans, wealth management services and insurance products and services. In Bankrate’s latest review of its financial health, it earned three out of five stars.
  • Vio Bank is a new online division of MidFirst Bank, a financial institution based in Oklahoma City. MidFirst earned four out of five stars in the latest review of its financial health.

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.