Meeting savings goals can be challenging. And having easy access to funds in a money market or savings account probably doesn’t help.

If you struggle to keep your hands off your savings, a 9-month CD may offer the perfect solution.

As with other CDs, there’s an early withdrawal penalty. That may be enough to keep you from touching your deposits before your maturity date.

With a 9-month CD, you’ll avoid tying up your funds for an extended period of time. What’s more, you’ll earn a higher rate of return than you would through most savings accounts or a CD with a shorter term. Calculate how much interest you could potentially earn when your CD matures.

What is a 9-month CD?

When you put your money in a CD, you agree to keep it there until the end of the CD’s term. With a 9-month CD, you leave the money in the account for nine months.

In return for locking up your money with a bank or other financial institution, they may pay you a slightly higher interest rate than you’d earn with a traditional savings or money market account.

A 9-month CD offers a few key benefits. With your rate locked in, you don’t have to worry about the bank cutting your rate until after the CD matures. If you open an account with an insured bank or credit union, your deposits are insured typically up to $250,000. This can be one way to save for short-term goals without a lot of risk.

The best 9-month CD rates for January 2020

Today’s top nationally available 9-month CDs pay 2.35 percent APY. This may be a good place to invest for short-term financial obligations, like replacing a major home appliance.

The interest rates associated with short-term CDs on average aren’t as good as the ones for CDs that mature in a few years or more. To earn as much interest as possible, compare the best 9-month CD rates offered by institutions online.

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Best 9-month CD rates: bank details

NASA Federal Credit Union – 2.35% APY; $10,000 deposit to open

For a limited time, NASA Federal Credit Union is offering a 9-month CD special. A minimum of $10,000 in new funds must be deposited by Jan. 31. When the CD matures, it automatically renews as a 12-month CD.

NASA Federal Credit Union is based in Upper Marlboro, Maryland and currently has more than 165,000 members. Membership is open to anyone who joins the National Space Society.

BankUnitedDirect – 2.05% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit to open

BankUnitedDirect offers CDs ranging from six months to three years. Savers in search of long-term CDs will have to look elsewhere. Interest rates tied to the CDs across different terms are mostly the same, with the 9-month CD paying the highest yield.

The online-only bank is a division of BankUnited, an FDIC-insured institution based in Miami Lakes, Florida. A CD can be funded by transferring funds from another bank electronically.

USALLIANCE Financial – 2.00% APY; $500 minimum deposit

The credit union is based in Rye, New York. In addition to regular share certificates and specials there are money market and savings accounts and banking options for kids.

Membership is open to anyone who joins an organization or association like the American Consumer Council or the Rye Arts Center. Investment and insurance products are available in addition to loans and various deposit accounts.

BrioDirect – 2.00% APY; $500 deposit to open

BrioDirect is the online banking division of Sterling National Bank, an institution that has served business and personal banking customers for over a century. Accounts at BrioDirect, like its 9-month CD can be opened in minutes, giving customers quick access to attractive rates and products that can be opened with a low minimum deposit. The bank’s savings account requires a deposit of just $25.

The 9-month CD is one of 13 term deposit accounts offered by the bank. It’s one of the best options for savers looking to earn extra interest in a declining interest rate environment.

TAB Bank – 1.92% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit

TAB Bank offers CDs across most standard terms, ranging from six months to five years. Interest is compounded daily and once it’s credited, it can be withdrawn at any point during the term, without penalty.

Penalties for withdrawals of the principal balance depend on the term. For CDs maturing in one year or less, the penalty is equal to 90 days of interest on the amount withdrawn.

The bank offers financial services to businesses in the transportation industry and was founded in 1998. TAB Bank, also known as Transportation Alliance Bank, is based in Ogden, Utah.

9-month CD yields offered by popular banks – January 2020

Sallie Mae Bank – 1.80% APY, $2,500 minimum deposit

Sallie Mae is best known for the private loans it offers students across the country. It also provides consumer banking products and services, including CDs with standard terms ranging from six months to five years. Additionally, there are special CD terms not commonly found at most banks, like the 11-month, 13-month, 15-month and 30-month CDs being offered. There are no monthly fees, and only a possible returned deposit fee that applies in few circumstances.

Early withdrawal penalties at the bank are fairly standard. For CDs maturing in 12 months or less, the consequence for an early exit is 90 days worth of simple interest.

Ally Bank – 1.25% APY, no 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.

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).

Synchrony Bank – 1.25% 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. The bank also offers a savings account and a money market account. The savings account has a competitive APY and has no minimum balance requirement.

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.

Capital One Bank – 0.80% APY

Capital One has both a brick-and-mortar presence and is an online bank. It offers competitive yields across nine CD terms. 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.

The bank is best for consumers interested in opening an account with a full-service online bank, some physical branches and a wide network of fee-free ATMs. Capital One is based in McLean, Virginia. The bank earned 4.5 out of five stars in Bankrate’s full review of its products and offerings.

Barclays Bank – 0.70% APY

Barclays Bank doesn’t have minimum balance requirements to open its CDs and savings account. That means it’s an option for savers across all income levels. The bank offers nine CD terms. It has competitive yields, but it doesn’t tend to offer the highest available APY. Barclays also offers a savings account, which has a competitive APY.

The bank is headquartered in the U.K. and has a global presence. In the U.S., its products are limited, but the bank overall rates well for its lack of monthly fees and deposit products.

Is a 9-month CD rate worth it?

One thing to consider as you compare 9-month CDs is whether they are worth the yield. If you withdraw money early, you’ll pay a penalty that might, in some cases, equal the amount of interest you would have earned.

When used appropriately, though, a 9-month CD can be worth it, depending on your goals. If you want a safe place to store your money while enjoying a bump in yield, and you just need it kept out of your own hands for nine months, a 9-month CD can work well.

Additionally, a 9-month CD can be a useful rung in a short-term CD ladder for more immediate goals or for an emergency fund. Before getting a 9-month CD, carefully consider your goals and needs.

Other short-term investments

Don’t forget to compare 9-month CD rates to other short-term investments. Here are some things to keep in mind.

9-month CD rate vs. 6-month CD rate

In general, you’re likely to get a slightly higher rate with a 9-month CD than with a 6-month CD. When you get a 6-month CD, you’re agreeing to keep your money in the bank or credit union for a shorter amount of time, so you end up with a lower yield.

However, there are cases when you can find 6-month CDs with yields that are similar to 9-month CD yields. If you want to be able to access your money sooner without penalty, shopping around for a 6-month CD with a similar yield makes sense.

9-month CD rate vs. 1-year CD rate

Because a 9-month CD is a shorter-term investment, you’re likely to get a lower yield with it than you would see with a 1-year CD rate. However, in some cases, the yield isn’t that much different. You might be able to get a yield that is five or 10 basis points higher with a 1-year CD, but that might not make a huge difference in how much interest you earn.

Carefully consider your goals and whether it makes sense to lock up your money for a longer period of time for such a small difference. It might be a better choice to get the 9-month CD so you have earlier access to your money.

Protect your savings

Investing in CDs isn’t as risky as playing the stock market. As long as you choose a certificate of deposit that’s federally insured, you can be certain you’ll receive a specific amount of interest at the end of your term.

Look for accounts with savings protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. or the National Credit Union Association.

Best 9-month CD rates, January 2020

Institution APY Minimum deposit
NASA Federal Credit Union 2.35% $10,000
BankUnitedDirect 2.05% $1,000
USALLIANCE Financial 2.00% $500
BrioDirect 2.00% $500
TAB Bank 1.92% $1,000

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