Interest rates are on the rise from their rock-bottom lows following the last recession, but they’re still not great.

That makes figuring out where to park your cash a hard decision. One product that might be able to provide a higher rate than a savings account with the same kind of safety and guaranteed return is a 5-year CD.

Here are the top nationally available 5-year CD rates. Compare these offers, then calculate how much interest you would earn when your CD matures.

Top nationally available 5-year CD rates
Institution APY Minimum deposit
Mountain America Credit Union 3.51% $500
Georgia Banking Company 3.50% $500
Utah First Federal Credit Union 3.50% $500
Connexus Credit Union 3.50% $5,000
Popular Direct 3.50% $10,000

The best 5-year CD rates available from banks and credit unions pay nearly 2.5 times the national average of 1.49 percent APY, according to Bankrate’s most recent national survey of banks and thrifts.

Today’s top nationally available 5-year CDs pay 3.51 percent APY (for balances of $25,000 or less). This may be a good place to invest money for long-term financial obligations, like your child’s college tuition.

Finding the best 5-year CD rates

Savers looking for the best CD rates probably want to venture online. Even if a bank is relatively small or not well-known, as long as it’s a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., you can rest easy knowing your deposits will be returned. The same goes for credit unions backed by the National Credit Union Administration.

One thing to look for, though: ease of use. Banks that make it difficult or time-consuming to deposit and withdraw funds may waste so much of your time that it outweighs the benefit of a few extra basis points of interest on your savings.

Top account details

  • Mountain America Credit Union was founded in the mid-1930s and is based in Sandy, Utah. Membership is open to anyone who joins the American Consumer Council. The credit union earned five out of five stars in the latest review of its financial health.
  • Georgia Banking Company is based in Atlanta. In addition to banking products, it offers loans, wealth management services and insurance products and services. In Bankrate’s latest review of its financial health, it earned three out of five stars.
  • Utah First Federal Credit Union is based in Salt Lake City. It was founded in 1935 and now has more than 20,000 members nationwide. The credit union earned five out of five stars in the latest review of its financial health.
  • Connexus Credit Union was founded in 1935 to serve current and former employees of a local insurance company and their family members. Membership is open to anyone who joins the Connexus Association and makes a $5 donation. The credit union earned five out of five stars in the latest review of its financial health.
  • Popular Direct is an online division of Popular Bank, which was formerly known as Banco Popular North America or Popular Community Bank, a subsidiary of Popular Inc.

5-year CDs more versatile than you think

With a 5-year CD, savers earn a premium in addition to the normal risk-free rate they get on a conventional savings account. The catch, of course, is that you’ll pay a penalty if you try to withdraw your money.

But assuming you can find a CD with a low penalty of just a few months’ interest, higher interest rates offered on 5-year CDs may make them a good pick over shorter maturities, even if you think you might need to cash in the CD early.

Is a 5-year CD worth it?

There are two factors that determine whether a 5-year CD makes sense for you: your time horizon for this money and whether you’re getting a competitive annual percentage yield (APY).

The length of time is important because you want to make sure that you don’t incur an early withdrawal penalty. You also want to be aware of inflation and try to have a CD that is earning a yield that can keep up.

Why should I get a 5-year CD?

You should get a 5-year CD if you want some of the best CD yields available. Usually, the longer the time horizon, the higher the APY is on a CD. If you’re satisfied with the APY on the 5-year CD and like to know that you have a certain amount of money at a fixed rate for the next five years, a 5-year CD may be a good option for you.

A five-year CD could also be a part of a CD ladder, which contains shorter-term CDs. For instance, a 1-year, 2-year, 3-year, 4-year and a 5-year CD could be a part of a ladder that staggers maturities and APYs.

Can a 5-year CD lose value?

A 5-year CD could lose value if you incur an early-withdrawal penalty. That fee could eat into your principal amount. But if you keep the 5-year CD for the full term, you will earn the stated interest – assuming the product you’re in is a fixed-rate CD.

Each depositor is insured to at least $250,000 per FDIC-insured bank by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC). The standard share insurance amount is $250,000 per share owner, per insured credit union, for each ownership category at National Credit Union Association (NCUA) institutions.

5-year CD benefits

A 5-year CD has some of the top long-term savings rates available. But consider inflation when looking at longer-term CDs.

“I don’t see a whole lot of incentive in tying money up for five years at a fixed rate right now because interest rates are rising,” says Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst. “And the current yields are barely ahead of what inflation is likely to be over the next five years. So there’s no guarantee of preserving your buying power, much less growing it by tying your money up for that long a period of time at this point.”

As an alternative, McBride says to look at CDs with shorter maturities.

“If you get 12 or 18 months down the road and all of a sudden the five-year is looking more favorable on a relative basis, then maybe that’s the time to jump in,” McBride says. “But it’s not a real compelling offer right now.”