Best 4-year CD rates — February 2020

Thursday, February 20, 2020

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 2.5 times the national average of 1.02 percent APY, according to Bankrate’s most recent national survey of banks and thrifts.

Today’s top widely available 4-year CDs pay around 2.30 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.

 

Best 4-year CD rates for February 2020

Note: The APYs (Annual Percentage Yield) shown are as of Feb. 1, 2020. The rates 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.

Compare: Best 4-year CD rates for February 2020

Amerant Bank - 2.30% APY; $10,000 minimum deposit

Amerant Bank has 26 banking centers -- 18 in South Florida and eight in Houston. Though this Amerant Bank CD yield here isn't available in Florida and Texas. This CD yield is available online.

Amerant Bank offers some of the highest CD APYs. But the high minimum amount to get that APY is $10,000, which may be a tough requirement for some savers to meet.

America First Credit Union - 2.25% APY; $500 minimum deposit

America First Credit Union was founded in 1939. It has 131 locations and is the ninth largest credit union, based on assets, in the U.S. It’s also the sixth largest based on membership. American First Credit Union has 1,071,000 members.

SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union - 2.25% APY; $500 minimum deposit

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

SchoolsFirst Federal 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.

Sallie Mae Bank - 2.20% APY; $2,500 minimum deposit

Sallie Mae Bank offers CDs, a savings account, money market account, credit cards and private student loans. Sallie Mae Bank offers competitive yields on both its CDs and its savings deposit accounts.

Sallie Mae Bank was established in 2005 and is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2014, Sallie Mae became a standalone consumer banking business.

Navy Federal Credit Union - 2.20% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit

Navy Federal Credit Union has a global network of 340 branches and was established in 1933. 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.

VyStar Credit Union - 2.15% 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.

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 – February 2020

American Express – 2.10% APY, no minimum deposit

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

American Express has seven terms of CDs. But the APYs get more competitive starting with the 18-month CD and the other longer-term CDs.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs – 2.10% 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 by Goldman Sachs now has an app available on iOS and one coming to Google Play this spring, according to Marcus’ website.

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.

Comenity Direct – 2.10% APY, $1,500 minimum deposit

Comenity Direct offers one of the most competitive yields. And savers don't have to pony up too much cash to qualify. The minimum deposit for its savings account is even lower ($100). CD terms range from one year to five years. As in most cases, at Comenity Direct, the longer-term CDs pay higher APYs.

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

Synchrony Bank - 2.10% APY, $2,000 minimum deposit

Synchrony Bank offers 12 CD terms with competitive yields. But there are higher APYs available at other banks. Synchrony Bank also offers a savings account and a money market account.

The bank is an online-only financial institution that’s part of a company that also issues credit cards. The bank’s relatively new mobile app makes it possible to transfer funds and check account balances at any time from anywhere.

Citizens Access – 2.10% 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.

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

The Federal Reserve lowered interest rates three times in 2019. The future is uncertain and CD rates are forecasted to stabilize and could soon rise slightly.

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.

To recap, see below for the best 4-year CD rates

Institution APY Minimum deposit
Amerant Bank 2.30% $10,000
America First Credit Union 2.25% $500
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union 2.25% $500
Sallie Mae Bank 2.20% $2,500
Navy Federal Credit Union 2.20% $1,000
VyStar Credit Union 2.15% $500

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