When you’re trying to scrape out an extra percentage point of yield here and there, a savings account may not be enough. Thankfully, there are options.

Take 3-year CDs, for instance. They offer substantially higher risk-free yield than what savers can get from money market accounts, under the condition the depositor leaves the funds with the bank for three years.

The best 3-year CD rates available from banks and credit unions pay more than three times the national average of 0.79 percent APY, according to Bankrate’s most recent national survey of banks and thrifts.

Top nationally available 3-year CD rates
Institution APY Minimum deposit
Live Oak Bank 2.60% $2,500
Colorado Federal Savings Bank 2.56% $5,500
Northern Bank Direct 2.55% $500
M.Y. Safra Bank 2.51% $5,000
My eBanc 2.50% $5,000

Today’s top nationally available 3-year CDs pay 2.6 percent APY. They could be a great place to invest for midterm financial obligations, like a down payment on a future auto loan.

Finding the best 3-year CD rates comes down to considering a wide range of options, including online banks and credit unions. 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.

Here are the top nationally available 3-year CD rates. Compare these offers, then calculate how much interest you would earn when your CD matures.

Top account details

  • Established in 2008, Live Oak Bank is a federally-insured financial institution. Supporting small business owners is part of its mission statement. It earned five out of five stars in Bankrate’s latest review of its financial health.
  • Colorado Federal Savings Bank is based in Greenwood Village, Colorado. It provides banking and mortgage lending products. In Bankrate’s latest review of its financial health, it earned four out of five stars.
  • Northern Bank Direct is an online division of Northern Bank, which has supported business owners since 1960. The bank is based in Woburn, Massachusetts and earned four out of five stars in Bankrate’s review of its financial health.
  • M.Y. Safra Bank is based in New York City. Initially established as T. Rowe Price Savings Bank, it changed its name and moved from Baltimore, Maryland in 2013.
  • My eBanc is an online division of BAC Florida Bank, an institution based Coral Gables. BAC Florida Bank and its subsidiaries serve more than 13,000 customers in the United States and abroad in places like Latin America. In Bankrate’s latest review of its financial health, BAC Florida Bank earned four out of five stars.

Fine print is key

Of course, there’s more to a good CD than the rate. You’ll also want to make sure you can live with the early withdrawal penalty the bank will charge in the event you need to crack open the CD prior to maturity.

Withdrawal penalties vary widely — they may be expressed as a certain number of months’ worth of interest or as a percentage of the principal, and may be assessed on the entire principal or just the amount you’re cashing out.

Make sure to read the terms of your contract. Banks may try to slip adverse terms into the CD’s fine print that allows them to, among other things, change fees and penalties after the fact.