Compare credit union CD rates. Each month, Bankrate surveys the top 50 largest credit unions in the country, plus approximately 4,800 banks. See all CD rates from banks and credit unions to find the best deal.

Today, there are about 5,700 credit unions in the U.S., so check out Bankrate’s picks for the best credit unions in the U.S.

What is a credit union CD?

A credit union is a not-for-profit organization controlled by its members. Credit unions return profits to its members in the form of more favorable interest rates and lower fees. A credit union CD is a certificate of deposit through a credit union.

“A lot of people are eligible for credit union membership and may not even realize it. Membership is no longer just a matter of whether your employer is affiliated with a credit union. There can be a lot of other touch points, such as alumni association and things like that.”

Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst.

The “field of membership” or the common thing that links members together can be based on employer, family, geographic location or belonging to a certain group.

Are credit union CDs insured?

Credit union CDs at a National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) credit union are insured up to at least $250,000 per individual depositor. The NCUA administers the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF), which is backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.

Credit union vs. bank CD rates

Credit unions are known to have some competitive deals for its members. But currently, direct banks – or virtual banks – are offering the highest annual percentage yield (APY) CDs. While they might not be the absolute top-yielding, some credit unions are offering very competitive APYs on CDs.

Why would you choose a credit union?

Members of a credit union may be able to get a better rate – whether that is a borrowing rate on a loan or an APY on a CD. If you’re eligible to join a credit union, it may have lower fees on its product than a for-profit bank might have.

Are credit unions safe?

Just like FDIC banks are covered by FDIC insurance, the NCUA operates the NCUSIF to protect accounts at federally insured credit unions. The standard share insurance amount is $250,000 per share owner, per insured credit union, for each account ownership category.

Best credit unions for CDs

Some credit unions, such as Connexus Credit Union (2.5 percent APY) and Pentagon Federal Credit Union (2.45 percent APY) both have competitive APYs on their 1-year CDs.

McBride says it’s smart to consider banking with credit unions. But while your credit union may have a great rate on one product, you can’t assume that another product has a great rate as well.

“It pays to cast a wide net when you’re shopping around, and part of casting that wide net is including credit unions in your search. But don’t put on the blinders and assume that everything that your credit union is offering is better than what’s out there in the marketplace. It does pay to shop around — even once you are realizing the benefits of credit union membership in one area, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they have the same competitive advantage in another.”

Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst.