Popular Direct has the nation’s top 18-month CD rate


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When the Federal Reserve hikes interest rates, it can take months for savers to reap the benefits. But that’s not always true, especially for online banks hungry for new customers.

Popular Direct, for example, raised its 18-month CD rate before the central bank raised its benchmark interest rate for the third time this year. The short-term account now pays 2 percent APY, making it the best deal among CDs with the same term length. Its competitors — like Crestmark Bank and Live Oak Bank — pay around 1.87 percent APY.

Best 18-month CD rates
Institution APY Minimum deposit
Popular Direct 2.00% $10,000
Crestmark Bank 1.90% $25,000
Live Oak Bank 1.85% $2,500
USAlliance Financial 1.82% $500
Limelight Bank 1.81% $1,000

Unfortunately, not everyone can qualify for Popular Direct’s offer. You’ll need at least $10,000 to opt in. Compare other top CD rates if you want to invest but you don’t have that much cash to lock up.

Other perks

Popular Direct’s 18-month CD offers a high yield that’s compounded daily. For savers interested in earning the maximum amount of interest available, that’s a plus.

The 18-month CD could also be a great option for consumers building a CD ladder—a strategy that can boost your earnings. Before you know it, your account will mature and you’ll have cash to reinvest in another short-term CD. Calculate how much interest you could earn before your CD comes due.

An withdrawal penalty applies if you cash out before your 18-month term ends. For most CDs, that’s standard. At Popular Direct, an early exit from a CD maturing in a year and a half will cost you 270 days simple interest.

How to buy Popular Direct CDs

Popular Direct’s CDs are only available online. Filling out an application should take 5 to 10 minutes. Be prepared to share the following information:

  • Your Social Security number.
  • Your home address.
  • Your driver’s license.

To fund your account, you must transfer money from an external account via an ACH transfer. After you make your initial deposit, you won’t be able to add any additional funds during the course of your term.

About Popular Direct

Popular Direct is a subsidiary of Popular Inc., a financial services firm serving the United States, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Popular Direct accounts are opened through Banco Popular North America, a federally insured institution that earned four out of five stars in Bankrate’s latest review of its financial health.