Best 6-month CD rates — April 2020

Tuesday, April 07, 2020


Anytime you deposit into a CD, you promise to leave the money there for a set period of time. When you get a 6-month CD, the money remains in the deposit account for six months. Because you’re willing to lock the money away, a bank might be willing to pay you a higher yield on the money.

If you want to know how much interest you could earn on a 6-month CD, try Bankrate’s calculator, which is designed to help you estimate potential earnings. Six months may not be a long time, but it can be useful when it comes to staying on track with your savings goals or setting up an emergency savings ladder.

Summary of Best 6-Month CD Rates April 2020

Bank APY Minimum deposit for APY
Limelight Bank 1.45% $1,000
Live Oak Bank 1.40% $2,500
Navy Federal Credit Union 1.35% $1,000
Sallie Mae Bank 1.30% $2,500
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union 1.30% $20,000
First Internet Bank of Indiana 1.16% $1,000
Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union 1.16% $1,000

Note: The APYs (Annual Percentage Yield) shown are as of April 2, 2020. The rates for some products may vary by region.

Above are the top widely available 6-month CD rates. Compare these offers, then calculate how much interest you would earn when your CD matures.

Savers looking to get a little extra boost and lock in a yield for a set period of time often look into certificates of deposit (CDs). A CD can help you work toward your savings goals, whether they’re long-term or short-term.

In general, CD yields are based on the federal funds rate set by the Federal Reserve. However, once you lock in a yield, you can expect it to be consistent for the entire term of the CD — even if rates fall.

Here’s what you need to know about using a 6-month CD to your advantage.

Compare: Best 6-month CD rates for April 2020

Limelight Bank: 1.45% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit

Limelight Bank is a division of Capital Community Bank. It has its headquarters in Provo, Utah.

Limelight Bank only offers CDs on its website and requires a minimum deposit of $1,000 on all four of its CD terms. You’ll have to look elsewhere if you’re looking for a CD with a term of longer than three years.

Live Oak Bank: 1.40% APY, $2,500 minimum deposit

Live Oak Bank was established in 2008 and its headquarters is located in Wilmington, North Carolina. It offers seven terms of CDs.

In addition to CDs, the bank offers a high-yield savings account with no monthly maintenance fees and interest that compounds daily.

Navy Federal Credit Union: 1.35% 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.

Sallie Mae Bank: 1.30% 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 a competitive yield on all of these deposit products.

SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union: 1.30% APY, $20,000 minimum deposit for APY

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. CDs at this credit union have four balance tiers: $500, $20,000, $50,000 or $100,000.

First Internet Bank of Indiana: 1.16% APY, $2,500 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 first 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.

Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union: 1.16% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit for APY

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.

6-month CD rates offered by popular banks - April 2020

TIAA Bank: 1.10% APY; $5,000 deposit to open

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

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

BMO Harris Bank: 1.00% APY, $5,000 minimum deposit for APY

BMO Harris has both a regional presence and it also offers online accounts. The bank operates more than 500 branches in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin. Its headquarters is located in Chicago.

There is only a $1,000 minimum balance required to open a BMO Harris one-year CD. However, you’ll want to put at least $5,000 into the CD to get a much more competitive yield.

Ally Bank: 0.75% 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.

The bank offers several 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.

There are a few exceptions to the low minimum balance on Ally Bank CDs. If you want the top yield on a no-penalty CD, or regular 18-month CD or a three-year CD you’ll need a $25,000 minimum opening deposit.

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).

PurePoint Financial: 0.75% APY, $10,000 minimum deposit

PurePoint Financial is a division of MUFG Union Bank. It offers nine regular CD terms and three terms for its no-penalty CDs. It also offers an online savings account with a competitive yield.

All of PurePoint Financial’s products have one thing in common: they all require a $10,000 minimum deposit to open. So these accounts aren’t a good fit if you’re not ready to deposit that much.

CIT Bank: 0.72% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit

CIT Bank is CIT’s national direct bank. CIT Bank, N.A. is a subsidiary of CIT Group Inc.

CIT Bank offers eight terms of CDs, four terms of Jumbo CDs and an 11-month no-penalty CD.

In addition to its CDs, CIT Bank offers two savings accounts and a money market account. CIT Bank also launched its eChecking account in November 2019.

Finding the best 6-month CD rates

To find the best 6-month CD rates, savers need to answer two questions:

  • How much yield can I reasonably expect to earn?
  • What direction are interest rates headed?

Rates are stabilizing. If you're looking for a short-term CD, it's best to shop around for the best CD rates.

The lower the CD term length, the less interest you can expect to earn. To find the best 6-month CD rates, evaluate offers from online banks and credit unions. Try to avoid accounts with high fees and minimum deposit requirements.

Who should open a 6-month CD?

Six months is one of the shortest terms available for savers interested in CDs. It's a product that's best for consumers with specific short-term goals who are looking for a temporary place to keep money that will be used soon for a specific purpose, like funds for an upcoming wedding, vacation or home down payment. A six-month CD could also be a place to keep cash that you're hoping to put into a riskier investment vehicle.

The longer the term of your CD, the higher the yield you'll likely have at your disposal. That means 6-month CD yields are typically relatively low. Consider whether it makes more sense to keep your money in a more liquid account, like a savings or money market account. That way, you won't run the risk of losing interest if you need the money you stashed away before the six month time clock runs out.

Comparing 6-month CDs vs. other savings vehicles

When considering a 6-month CD, it’s a good idea to compare it to other available accounts and understand when it might be the right choice for you — and when other options might turn out to be a better decision.

6-month CD vs. savings account

Because you’re willing to keep your money in a CD for a set period of time, you usually end up with a higher rate with a CD than a savings account. In fact, you might have a rate that is up to 10 basis points higher on a 6-month CD than on a savings account.

However, savings accounts are easier to access as needed. With a savings account, you won’t face the early withdrawal penalty that comes with tapping your 6-month CD before it matures.

6-month CD vs. money market account

There’s a good chance you’ll get a better yield on a 6-month CD than on a money market account. So, if you’re looking for a better yield in a safe account, it can make sense to use a CD instead of a money market account.

On the other hand, a money market account is much more accessible than a 6-month CD. You might even be able to use a debit card to access the funds in the money market account — something you can’t do with a CD.

6-month CD vs. 1-year CD vs. 5-year CD

Better yields are generally available on CDs with longer maturities. So, if you’re willing to lock up your money for a year — or even up to five years — you could receive a better rate.

However, the advantage of a 6-month CD is that you know you’ll be able to access the money in a shorter time frame. Because a CD typically comes with an early withdrawal penalty, you have to be willing to keep your money in the CD until the end of the term or lose out on some of the interest earnings.

How to make the most of a 6-month CD

A 6-month CD works well with short-term savings goals. If you want to set money aside for a specific purpose, but you’re worried that you’ll be tempted to tap into the funds, a 6-month CD can help make the money harder to get to. You can keep the money safe in an FDIC-insured (or NCUA-insured) account until it’s needed.

You can also make use of a 6-month CD in an emergency fund ladder. By setting up a CD ladder that includes shorter-term CDs, it’s possible to take advantage of slightly higher yields while knowing that a portion of your money will be available for unexpected expenses in the near future.

Maximize the power of compound interest

Anyone struggling to save money could benefit from having a 6-month CD. Because you could face an early withdrawal penalty, you may be less tempted to tap into your savings prematurely.

Annual percentage yield, or APY, includes the effect of compounding.  It’s the interest earned on your initial deposit in addition to the interest earned on top of other interest earnings.

Things to keep in mind with a 6-month CD

Before you get a 6-month CD, it’s important to understand the potential drawbacks. The early withdrawal penalty is probably the biggest issue. If you access your funds before the six months is up, you’ll pay a penalty.

Plus, the yield often isn’t much higher on a 6-month CD than you’d see with a traditional savings account. You can shop around for the highest rates, but you might need to meet deposit minimums in order to take advantage of the best yields.

Carefully consider your options before you move forward with a 6-month CD.

Bankrate's Best 6-month CD rates for April 2020:

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