The top 4-year CDs have something in common. They offer savers a higher yield than savings accounts and money market accounts. Combine that with a guaranteed rate of return and safety (when you choose a federally-insured account) and these investments may be worth your consideration.
Finding the best 4-year CD rates will require some research. Comparing deals offered by online financial institutions is a good place to start. The best 4-year CDs pay more than 3 times the national average of 0.35 percent APY, according to Bankrate’s most recent national survey of banks and thrifts.
Today’s top widely available 4-year CD pays around 1.10 percent APY. This may be a good place to invest for long-term financial obligations, like starting a business.
As you compare rates, pay attention to details. An account that doesn’t require you to fork over too much money upfront is ideal. Consider finding offers that don’t force you to jump through extra hoops — such as opening a new checking account — before you can open a CD.
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 Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) banks or by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUA) at National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) credit unions.
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.
Best 4-year CD rates for December 2020
- Navy Federal Credit Union: 1.10% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit
- SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union: 1.01% APY; $20,000 minimum deposit for APY
- Suncoast Credit Union: 1.00% APY; $500 minimum deposit
- Golden 1 Credit Union: 0.95% APY; $500 minimum deposit
- Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union: 0.91% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit
- FNBO Direct: 0.90% APY; $500 minimum deposit for APY
- VyStar Credit Union: 0.90% APY; $500 minimum deposit
- First Internet Bank of Indiana: 0.86% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit
Note: The APYs (Annual Percentage Yield) shown are as of Nov. 30, 2020. The APYs for some products may vary by region.
These are the top widely available 4-year CD rates. Evaluate the offers, then calculate how much interest you would earn when your CD matures.
Best 4-year CD rates for December 2020
Navy Federal Credit Union – 1.10% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit
Navy Federal Credit Union has more than 8.8 million members and is the world’s largest credit union. It has a global network of 340 branches. Navy Federal Credit Union has its headquarters in Vienna, Virginia.
Membership at Navy Federal Credit Union is open to all Department of Defense and Coast Guard Active Duty, civilian, contract personnel, veterans and their families.
In addition to CDs, Navy Federal Credit Union also offers checking and savings accounts, loans and credit cards.
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union – 1.01% 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.
Suncoast Credit Union – 1.00% APY, $500 minimum deposit
Suncoast Credit Union was started in 1934 as Hillsborough County Teachers Credit Union. Suncoast Credit Union now has 69 branches and has more than 866,000 members.
Suncoast Credit Union is the eighth largest credit union in the U.S. based on membership. It is also the 10th largest based on assets.People who attend school, live, work or worship in a county in Florida that Suncoast Credit Union serves are welcome to join.
Golden 1 Credit Union – 0.95% APY; $500 minimum deposit
Golden 1 Credit Union has one million members with its main office being located in Sacramento, Calif. Golden 1 Credit Union has 72 branches in California, and has been around since 1933. Membership to Golden 1 Credit Union is open to all Californians.
Non-Californians can join Golden 1 Credit Union if they are a registered domestic partner or family member of a member. They can also join if they’re a member of one of the select employee groups.
In addition to CDs, Golden 1 Credit Union also offers a money market account, checking and savings accounts. The credit union also has credit cards and loans.
Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union – 0.91% 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 it doesn’t have a monthly fee.
FNBO Direct – 0.90% APY, $500 minimum deposit for APY
The FNBO Direct online savings account is offered through First National Bank of Omaha. You only need $1 to open this account. An ATM card is available for the online savings account and Popmoney is provided for person-to-person transfers.
FNBO Direct also offers eight terms of CDs — ranging from six months to five years.
VyStar Credit Union – 0.90% APY; $500 minimum deposit
VyStar Credit Union was founded in 1952. It was originally called Jax Navy Federal Credit Union and it 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 four 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 – 0.86% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit
First Internet Bank of Indiana was the first FDIC-insured financial institution to operate entirely online, according to the bank’s website. First Internet Bank of Indiana opened in 1999 and is available in all 50 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.
Coronavirus and Your Money
The COVID-19 pandemic is deepening financial hardships for millions of Americans.
While CD rates are not likely to rise in this environment, their stability can offer some comfort to those who still have extra cash on hand. The rate on a CD stays the same during the deposit term and the account holder knows exactly when that term will end. With their locked-in interest rates, CDs are also a great choice to avoid the stock market’s ups and downs.
Who is a 4-year CD good for?
A 4-year CD is good for someone who wants to earn a certain amount of money. This is a product to consider if this is long-term money that you don’t want exposed to volatility. Money invested in the stock market would be an example of funds that are subject to volatility and uncertainty – and a possible risk of principal.
So, a 4-year CD can be a good option if you value safety and don’t want surprises – since you’ll earn a fixed APY. Your CD is protected if it’s in a 4-year CD at an FDIC-insured bank or in a 4-year CD at a National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) credit union. FDIC banks and NCUA credit unions are both backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. But there are limits to the insurance. Each depositor at an FDIC bank is insured to at least $250,000 per insured bank, according to the FDIC. The standard share insurance amount at an NCUA credit union is $250,000 per share owner, per insured credit union, for each ownership category at an NCUA credit union, according to the NCUA.
Why get a 4-year CD?
Get a 4-year CD if you have money that you’re looking to grow for more than four years. Generally, if you withdraw your money from the CD before the CD matures in four years, you’ll incur an early withdrawal penalty. If applicable, this will take away from your interest earnings.
You should get a 4-year CD if you want an APY that’s potentially higher than savings accounts and money market accounts. If you feel as if APYs will be stagnant or decreasing in the near future, then a 4-year CD is a way to earn an APY that is currently beating the inflation rate.
4-year CD yields offered by popular banks –December 2020
- Synchrony Bank: 0.70% APY; $2,000 minimum deposit
- Marcus by Goldman Sachs: 0.65% APY; $500 minimum deposit
- Discover Bank: 0.55% APY; $2,500 minimum deposit
- Capital One Bank: 0.35% APY; $0 minimum deposit
Synchrony Bank – 0.70% APY; $2,000 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 increased, you’ll receive this higher rate.
The bank also offers a savings account and a money market account. The savings account has a competitive APY and has no minimum balance.
Marcus by Goldman Sachs – 0.65% 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.
The online bank has a wide variety of CDs. This includes nine regular term CDs and three no-penalty CDs. Marcus added a no-penalty CD to its lineup in November 2018.
Discover Bank – 0.55% APY; $2,500 minimum deposit
Discover Bank offers a wide selection of banking products. It has been offering deposit products online since 2007.
This includes 12 CD terms, a money market account, a savings account and a checking account. It also features an 11-month no-penalty CD.
Its products tend to offer competitive APYs. But there are higher yields available. So this account offers both a competitive yield and encourages you to keep adding to your savings account.
Capital One Bank – 0.35% APY; no minimum deposit
Capital One has both a brick-and-mortar presence and is an online bank. It offers competitive nine terms of regular CDs.
Capital One CDs and its 360 Performance Savings account don’t have minimum balance requirements. Its savings account earns the competitive APY on all balances.
Capital One’s 360 Checking account also doesn’t have a minimum balance requirement to open that account. Capital One is based in McLean, Virginia.
Pros and cons of a 4-year CD
Pros of a 4-year CD
- Earn a fixed APY.
- If your account is insured by the FDIC or the NCUA – and you’re within the previously mentioned insurance guidelines – your money will be backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.
- You’d lock in an APY that’s ahead of the current inflation rate.
- If APYs end up decreasing, you’d be locked in for the next few years.
- A 4-year CD could help you diversify some of your savings/investments.
Cons of a 4-year CD
- A 4-year CD may be long-term for a CD at this point – especially if APYs start increasing dramatically.
- If you need to make a withdrawal, generally, you’ll incur a penalty for that early withdrawal.
- A 4-year CD might not keep up with inflation over time, causing your money to lose purchasing power.
Factor in flexibility
A typical CD has an early withdrawal penalty. If your investment strategy calls for putting your money into a 4-year CD, consider looking for a deal that isn’t too expensive to exit, especially if you may ditch your account before it matures. Another option is to look for institutions giving savers a one-time rate increase over the course of their terms.
The best 4-year CD rates for December 2020
|Institution||APY||Minimum deposit for APY|
|Navy Federal Credit Union||1.10%||$1,000|
|SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union||1.01%||$20,000|
|Suncoast Credit Union||1.00%||$500|
|Golden 1 Credit Union||0.95%||$500|
|Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union||0.91%||$1,000|
|VyStar Credit Union||0.90%||$500|
|First Internet Bank of Indiana||0.86%||$1,000|
Learn more about other CD terms:
Learn more about CDs:
- What is a certificate of deposit?
- Which CD account is best for you?
- See how CD safety can boost your portfolio returns
Featured photo by Ruben Earth of Getty Images.