Best 3-year CD rates — April 2020

Friday, April 10, 2020


The longer the CD term, the higher the yield.

Generally, that’s how CDs work. But sometimes a five-year CD is too long of a term. In those cases, a three-year CD might be a happy medium between the two terms.

And these days, a three-year CD and a longer-term CD might have similar annual percentage yields (APYs).

Three-year CDs usually offer a higher yield than what savers can get from money market accounts, under the condition that you leave the funds in the CD for three years. Withdrawing the money before then will usually result in a penalty.

Summary of best 3-year CD rates for April 2020

Financial Institution APY Minimum Deposit
Delta Community Credit Union 1.90% $1,000
Barclays Bank 1.85% $0
Marcus by Goldman Sachs 1.85% $500
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union 1.85% $20,000 minimum for this APY
Discover Bank 1.80% $2,500
Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union 1.77% $1,000
Comenity Direct 1.75% $1,500
American Express National Bank 1.55% $0

Note: The APYs (Annual Percentage Yield) shown are as of March 31, 2020. Bankrate’s editorial team updates this information regularly, typically biweekly. APYs may have changed since they were last updated. The APYs for some products may vary by region.

Today’s top widely available 3-year CD pays 1.95 percent APY. That’s just as high as some of the best 4-year CD rates. A mid-term CD that matures in three years could be a great place to invest for mid-term financial obligations, like a down payment on a future auto loan.

Include online banks, credit unions and other banks in your search to find the best three-year CD APYs.

While many savers tend to stick with the same bank that provides their checking account, that can be a mistake, especially at a large national bank, where deposit rates tend to fall well short of what smaller institutions offer.

Compare: Best 3-year CD rates

High Rate: Delta Community Credit Union - 1.90% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit

Delta Community Credit Union began as the Delta Employees Credit Union in 1940. It was started by eight Delta Air Lines employees. Delta Community Credit Union has more than 400,000 members and has 26 branches in metro Atlanta and three branches outside of Georgia.

Anyone living or working in metro Atlanta and employees of more than 150 businesses are welcome at Delta Community Credit Union. Delta Air Lines, Chick-fil-A and UPS are some of the eligible businesses.

High Rate: Barclays Bank - 1.85% APY, $0 minimum deposit

Any saver can open a Barclays Bank CD or savings account since it doesn’t have minimum balance requirements to open these accounts. Barclays Bank offers a competitive APY on most of its savings options.

The bank offers nine CD terms, giving you many options to choose from. These terms range from three months to five years.

Banks tend to have a 10-day grace period when your CD matures. But at Barclays, you have a 14-day grace period to withdraw your money without being penalized.

High Rate: Marcus by Goldman Sachs - 1.85% APY, $500 minimum deposit

Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA. Marcus offers a variety of CDs, three no-penalty CD terms and a savings account. Marcus also offers lending options with its debt consolidation loans, home improvement loans and personal loans.

The bank recently launched the Marcus app for mobile banking. It’s available on the App Store for iPhones and is scheduled to be available on Google Play this spring.

High Rate: SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union – 1.85% APY, $20,000 minimum deposit for this APY

SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union was formed during the Great Depression in 1934. The credit union, created by school employees, has 50 branches.

SchoolsFirst serves the education community in California. Certain school employees, certain retired school employees and immediate family members of existing SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union are eligible to join.

The credit union has low minimum balances and CD terms from as short as 30 days to as long as five years. The more money you put in your CD, the higher the APY. CDs at SchoolsFirst have four balance tiers: $500, $20,000, $50,000 or $100,000. Each tier gives you an extra five basis points added to your APY.

High Rate: Discover Bank – 1.80% APY, $2,500 minimum deposit for this APY

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 as short as three months to 10 years. It also offers a checking account, money market account and a savings account.

High Rate: Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union – 1.77% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit

Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union has more than 55 branches. It has at least one location in Austin, Corpus Christi and San Antonio.

Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union was established in 1952 and has its headquarters in Live Oak, Texas.

Besides its CDs, it offers a Really Free Checking account that doesn’t require a minimum balance and comes with no monthly fees.

High Rate: Comenity Direct – 1.75% APY, $1,500 minimum deposit

Comenity Direct launched in April 2019. It's an online-only bank that offers high-yield savings products and CDs. Comenity Direct offers five terms of CDs. Comenity Direct is a brand of Comenity Capital Bank.

Best Rate: American Express National Bank - 1.55% APY, $0 minimum deposit

American Express Bank has been offering personal savings to the general public for more than 10 years. American Express features low minimum balance requirements and competitive APYs.

American Express is well-known for its credit cards and it’s also one of the leaders in the online banking space.

3-year CD yields offered by popular banks – April 2020

  • TIAA Bank - 1.60% APY, $5,000 minimum deposit
  • Ally Bank - 1.55% APY, $0 minimum deposit
  • Synchrony Bank - 1.55% APY, $2,000 minimum deposit
  • Citizens Access - 1.55% APY, $5,000 minimum deposit
  • Live Oak Bank - 1.50% APY, $2,500 minimum deposit

High Rate: TIAA Bank – 1.60% APY, $5,000 minimum deposit

TIAA Bank is a division of TIAA, FSB. TIAA Bank had 10 financial centers, all located in Florida.

TIAA Bank offers a Yield Pledge Checking account, a Yield Pledge Money Market, Yield Pledge CDs and other products. TIAA Bank’s CDs require a $5,000 minimum to open one. TIAA Bank does offer IRA-eligible CDs.

High Rate: Ally Bank - 1.55% APY, $0 minimum deposit

Ally Bank is an online-only bank that has been around for a little more than 10 years. Its CDs have competitive APYs and few require a minimum deposit to get the highest APY.

The bank offers a variety of different types of CDs. In addition to its standard CDs, it has a Raise Your Rate CD and a no-penalty CD. The Raise Your Rate CD allows the interest rate to increase once with the two-year CD or twice with the four-year CD if the balance tier increases on your CD.

Ally Bank's early withdrawal penalties are less harsh than those that apply at most other banks. For example, the penalty applying to CDs maturing in five years is 150 days of interest (usually it's equal to at least 180 days of interest).

High Rate: Synchrony Bank – 1.55% APY, $2,000 minimum deposit

Synchrony Bank has many CD terms to choose from. It offers 12 CD terms with competitive yields.

In addition to CDs, Synchrony Bank also offers a savings account and a money market account.

High Rate: Citizens Access – 1.55% APY, $5,000 minimum deposit

Citizens Access launched in July 2018. It made its debut with a savings account and CDs. And then in November 2019 it added an 11-month liquid CD and stopped offering the six and 18-month CDs.

The bank offers a competitive yield on its CDs and savings account. All of its products require a $5,000 minimum deposit.

High Rate: Live Oak Bank – 1.50% APY, $2,500 minimum deposit

Live Oak Bank is an online bank that offers competitive yields. Though the minimum deposit may be slightly steep for new savers without much money to lock up, it’s still accessible to others looking for a safe place to park their short-term funds.

In addition to CDs, the bank offers a high-yield savings account with no monthly maintenance fees. Established in 2008, Live Oak Bank is a federally-insured financial institution. Supporting small business owners is part of its mission statement.

What is a 3-year CD?

A 3-year CD is a deposit account in which you agree to keep the money in the account for three years. Yields can be higher than the national average earned from money market accounts and savings accounts.

Bankrate’s calculator can help you determine how much interest you could earn when your CD matures. Your principal is protected, so you don’t have to worry about stock market ups and downs. Plus, with a CD, your interest rate is locked in, so you also don’t have to worry about your yield decreasing.

Who should open a 3-year CD?

Opening a 3-year CD might make sense for people who don’t need access to their money for at least three years. As a result, these accounts are ideal for mid-term goals, like setting aside money for a car down payment. Getting a 3-year CD could also be a good idea if you’re planning to build a CD ladder.

Search for the best 3-year CD rates online and compare your options. Don’t just stick with your current bank or credit union. If you’re looking for a higher yield, consider some of the lesser-known institutions willing to offer good interest rates to attract depositors.

Can you withdraw cash early?

When putting money into CDs, it’s important to read the fine print. After all, CDs come with restrictions dictating when you can withdraw your money.

In most cases, you’re not allowed to get your cash before the CD matures. With a 3-year CD, that means keeping your money in the account for three years. If you do withdraw the money, there’s a good chance you’ll have to pay a penalty.

The penalty depends on the financial institution, and can vary widely. A penalty might be expressed as a certain number of months’ worth of interest or as a percentage of the principal. In some cases, that percentage of principal might be based on the entire amount in the CD, or it might only apply to the amount you withdraw early.

If you’re unsure that you can keep your money in the account for three years, consider other options. There are no-penalty CDs that won’t charge you for taking the money out early. However, no-penalty CDs often come with lower interest rates than those on conventional CDs.

Additionally, you can choose a 6-month or 1-year CD, instead of getting a 3-year CD. You’ll be able to access your money earlier, but you’ll earn a lower yield.

3-year CD rate vs. other CD terms

When choosing a CD term, it’s important to understand the implications of your decision. In general, the longer you’re willing to tie up your money, the higher your yield. So, a 3-year CD rate often comes with a higher interest rate than CDs with shorter terms.

Also, because there are liquidity restrictions on a CD, you’ll often see a higher yield on a CD than what you’d get with a traditional savings account or money market account. Both of these accounts allow you easier access to your money than a CD — and might not have the same yield.

On the other hand, while a 3-year CD can feature a higher interest rate than shorter-term CDs and liquid savings accounts, it often has a lower yield than what you’d see if you were willing to tie your money up for a longer term.

For example, you might get a higher yield on a 5-year CD than what’s available for a 3-year CD. The same is true of a 6-year, 7-year or 10-year CD.

Carefully consider your needs before putting your money in a CD. Be realistic about when you might need the money, based on your short- and medium-term financial goals. When you have an idea of your true needs, you’re more likely to make a better decision about the type of account that’s best for your money.

Recap: Best 3-year CD rates — April 2020

Institution APY Minimum deposit for APY
Delta Community Credit Union 1.90% $1,000
Barclays Bank 1.85% $0
Marcus by Goldman Sachs 1.85% $500
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union 1.85% $20,000 minimum for this APY
Discover Bank 1.80% $2,500
Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union 1.77% $1,000
Comenity Direct 1.75% $1,500
American Express National Bank 1.55% $0

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