Best 3-month CD rates — October 2021

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Today’s top widely available three-month CDs pay 0.4 percent APY. A three-month CD could be a great place to invest for short-term financial obligations, like establishing a rainy day fund.

Savers have many places to park their cash, but choosing between a savings account and a certificate of deposit can be difficult. A CD allows you to tuck away your money at a bank and earn fixed interest on that money until the CD matures. But because three-month CDs are short-term investments, banks tend to offer lower interest rates compared with a high-yield savings account.

The top savings accounts pay close to 0.6 percent annual percentage yield, but the average yield is much lower  — 0.06 percent APY. If you’re hoping to earn a higher rate of return and don’t want to tie up your money for more than a few months, a three-month CD could be a good option.

The best three-month CD rates available from banks and credit unions pay five times the national average, according to Bankrate’s most recent national survey of banks and thrifts.

The best 3-month CD rates for October 2021

Note: The annual percentage yields (APYs) shown are as of Sept. 28, 2021. Bankrate’s editorial team updates this information regularly, typically biweekly. APYs may have changed since they were last updated. The rates for some products may vary by region.

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. 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.

Finding the best 3-month CD rates

Comparison shopping is key when you’re looking for the best three-month CD rates. There are multiple types of CDs, including bump-up CDs and liquid CDs. But the top three-month CD rates are usually found with traditional CDs.

Check out the best three-month CDs offered by banks and credit unions and weigh the pros and cons of going with a short-term certificate of deposit over an account that’s more liquid. Don’t forget to crunch the numbers and calculate how much interest you could earn by the end of your term.

Best 3-month CD details

Bethpage Federal Credit Union: 0.40% APY; $50 minimum deposit to open

Bethpage Federal Credit Union was founded in 1941 for people working at Grumman. It is located in Bethpage, New York.

Bethpage FCU has more than 400,000 members and offers nine terms of CDs. The three-month CD is the shortest term and the five-year CD is the longest term. Bethpage also offers a 39-month bump-up CD.

Besides CDs, Bethpage offers checking accounts, savings accounts, loans and other financial products.

Navy Federal Credit Union: 0.40% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit

Navy Federal Credit Union has more than 10 million members and is the world’s largest credit union. It has a global network of more than 300 branches. Navy Federal Credit Union has its headquarters in Vienna, Virginia.

Membership at Navy Federal Credit Union is open to all Department of Defense employees, all branches of the military, veterans and their families.

In addition to CDs, Navy Federal Credit Union offers checking and savings accounts, loans and credit cards.

TIAA Bank: 0.35% 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 should rates go higher. TIAA Bank offers Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service (CDARS) for customers with large deposits who need expanded FDIC insurance coverage beyond the $250,000 limit.

BrioDirect: 0.25% APY; $500 minimum deposit

BrioDirect is Sterling National Bank’s online brand. All BrioDirect savings deposit products are provided by Sterling National Bank, which was founded in 1888.

BrioDirect offers only CDs and a high-yield savings account. Both of these savings products offer a competitive yield.

BrioDirect offers 11 terms of CDs, ranging from 30 days to five years. Even with this range of terms, the one-year CD is the best deal and has the highest APY for a CD at BrioDirect.

VyStar Credit Union: 0.25% APY; $500 minimum deposit

VyStar Credit Union was founded in 1952. It was originally called Jax Navy Federal Credit Union and was chartered at Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida.

Membership at VyStar Credit Union is open to anyone who works or lives in the 49 Florida counties or the 10 Georgia counties listed on its website.

VyStar Credit Union offers 10 CDs terms ranging from three months to five years. It also offers a one-year CD for Kid’s, VyTeen, Bravo and Achieve members only.

First Internet Bank of Indiana: 0.25% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit to earn APY

First Internet Bank of Indiana was the first FDIC-insured financial institution to operate entirely online, according to the bank’s website. It opened in February 1999 and serves all 50 U.S. 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.

SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union: 0.25% APY; $20,000 minimum deposit to earn APY

SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union was formed by school employees in 1934, during the Great Depression in 1934, and today has 50 branches.

SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union has low minimum balances and CD terms ranging from 30 days to five years. CDs at this credit union have four balance tiers: $500, $20,000, $50,000 and $100,000.

Note: The annual percentage yields (APYs) shown are as of Sept.28, 2021. Bankrate’s editorial team updates this information regularly, typically biweekly. APYs may have changed since they were last updated. The rates for some products may vary by region.

3-month CD rates offered by popular banks

Check out the three-month CD rates offered by some of the country’s most popular banks:

Discover Bank: 0.20% APY; $2,500 minimum deposit

Discover Bank may be known for its credit cards, but it also offers a wide selection of banking products. It has been offering deposit products online since 2007.

Discover Bank offers CDs ranging in terms from three months to 10 years. It also offers checking, money market and savings accounts.

Ally Bank: 0.15% APY; $0 minimum deposit to open

Ally Bank started in 2004 and is headquartered in Sandy, Utah. In 2009, GMAC Bank was transformed into Ally Bank. Ally Bank currently has 9 million customers and counting.

Ally Bank also offers a checking account, a money market account, term CDs, a no-penalty CD and two terms of a Raise Your Rate CD.

Synchrony Bank: 0.15% APY; $0 minimum deposit

Synchrony Bank offers competitive yields across 12 terms. All standard CD terms typically offered by banks and credit unions are available.

If Synchrony Bank receives your CD deposit within the 15-day period and the CD rate increases, you’ll receive the higher rate.

The bank also offers savings and money market accounts. The savings account features a competitive APY and has no minimum balance requirement.

Barclays Bank: 1.00% APY, $0 minimum opening deposit

Barclays Bank doesn’t have minimum balance requirements to open its CDs or savings account. That makes it a good option for savers just starting out.

The bank offers nine CD terms. It has competitive yields and also offers a savings account with a competitive APY. Banks tend to have a 10-day grace period after a CD matures to withdraw the money without a penalty. Barclays has a 14-day grace period.

How to use a 3-month CD in a CD ladder

With a CD ladder, you’ll open several short- and long-term CDs with staggered maturity dates. The long-term CDs should allow you to take advantage of higher CD interest rates, while the shorter-term CDs let you either access the money sooner or reinvest into a new CD if you can find higher interest rates.

A three-month CD may fit into your ladder as the shortest rung. Once it matures, you can either use the funds or reinvest into a longer-term CD with a higher interest rate.

Alternatives to 3-month CDs

A three-month CD isn’t right for everyone. Check out these alternatives:

Savings account or money market account

You may be able to score a higher interest rate with a money market account or a high-yield online savings account, while still maintaining access to your money.

Money market and high-yield savings accounts typically offer higher interest rates than standard savings accounts, but they normally require higher balances and may have restrictions on accessing the money.

Consider a CD with a longer term

CDs give savers a bit of a yield boost over savings accounts in exchange for a longer-term deposit. The longer savers agree to leave their money in the bank, the higher the yield.

Investing in a one-year CD, for example, would require you to tie up your funds for 12 months.

To recap, here are the best three-month CD rates:

Institution APY Minimum deposit for APY
Bethpage Federal Credit Union 0.40% $50
Navy Federal Credit Union 0.40% $1,000
TIAA Bank 0.35% $1,000
BrioDirect 0.25% $500
VyStar Credit Union 0.25% $500
First Internet Bank of Indiana 0.25% $1,000
Schools First Federal Credit Union 0.25% $20,000

Learn more about other CD terms:

Written by
Libby Wells
Contributing writer
Libby Wells is a contributor covering banking and deposit products. She has more than 30 years’ experience as a writer and editor for newspapers, magazines and online publications.
Edited by
Wealth editor
Reviewed by
Professor of finance, Creighton University