It’s a reasonable assumption, for now, that deposit account yields have hit their peak, so now could be a good time to open a certificate of deposit (CD) with a guaranteed annual percentage yield (APY). If we enter a falling rate environment, you’ll benefit from such a high rate that remains the same throughout the CD’s term. In fact, the Federal Reserve has noted possible rate cuts in 2024, and such cuts could have the effect of nudging CD rates back down.

For now, CD rates remain high, with the top yield at 5.75 percent APY on a nine-month term, followed by 5.67 percent APY on a one-year term. Shorter-terms CDs are currently earning higher APYs than their longer-term counterparts.

CD rates often vary widely from bank to bank, so it’s important to shop around for a CD that earns a high APY. The guide below lists average rates and competitive ones for various terms, as well as how to find a CD with the best rate. A CD calculator also comes in handy in determining how much interest the account will earn by the time its term ends.

Key takeaways

  • Today's highest yielding CD earns a 5.75 percent APY and has a nine-month term.
  • APYs remain high after the Fed's Dec. 13 announcement to keep rates steady.
  • National average yields are three times lower than top rates, so it pays to shop around.

Today’s CD rates by term

CD term Institution offering top APY Highest APY National average APY Estimated earnings on $5,000 with top APY
* Note: Annual percentage yields (APYs) shown are as of Dec. 18, 2023. APYs for some products may vary by region.

N/A: Not available; Bankrate doesn’t track national averages for the 6-month and 9-month CD terms due to limited available data. Estimated earnings are based on the highest APYs and assume interest is compounded annually.
6-month Bank5 Connect 5.50% N/A $136
9-month Forbright Bank 5.75% N/A $214
1-year Popular Direct 5.67% 1.73% $284
18-month Popular Direct 5.35% 1.76% $407
2-year Sallie Mae Bank 5.25% 1.52% $544
3-year Popular Direct 5.00% 1.42% $788
4-year Popular Direct 4.60% 1.45% $985
5-year Popular Direct 4.65% 1.44% $1,276

Featured CDs of the day

Pentagon Federal Credit Union (also known as PenFed) offers money market certificates, which range in terms from six months to seven years. Each requires a minimum deposit of $1,000. Of these, the highest-earning options are 15- and 18-month CDs, of which each earns an APY of 5.35 percent. Current and retired armed forces members and federal employees are eligible to join, although membership is open to just about anyone.

What’s happened with average CD rates in 2023?

National average CD yields have risen steadily in 2023, as the Federal Reserve has hiked interest rates four times this year. (In all, national averages began increasing after the Fed started hiking rates in March 2022. It raised rates seven times last year.)

How to find the best CD rates

You’ll often find the best CD rates from online-only banks, such as Synchrony Bank, which don’t have the overhead costs of running branches — and which also may offer competitive rates to draw customers away from traditional brick-and-mortar banks. Credit unions, such as Alliant Credit Union, also commonly offer high rates because their profits go back to members. Yields can vary significantly among banks, so it pays to shop around for the best CD rates.

CD FAQs

  • A CD is a deposit account that earns a fixed rate of return in exchange for locking in your funds for the entire term. CD terms often range from three months to five years, although it’s possible to find ones with terms shorter or longer than that. A CD can be a good place to stash money for savings goals, such as a down payment on a house or a new car. When choosing the best CD term, consider when you’ll need access to the money.
  • Because a CD typically comes with an early withdrawal penalty, it’s best to only put money into a CD that you won’t need in the meantime for living expenses or emergencies. Money you may need sooner is best kept in a liquid account, such as a high-yield savings account, which provides access to your funds anytime.
  • Both CDs and share certificates are deposit accounts where your money typically grows at a fixed rate for a set amount of time. The main difference between the two is in the name: CDs are offered from banks, whereas share certificates are offered from credit unions. What’s more, CD earnings are referred to as interest, while share certificate earnings are called dividends. And because credit unions are not-for-profit, their profits are distributed among members (essentially shareholders in the credit union) in the form of dividends. Dividends act the same as yields on CDs, however some credit unions may offer higher rates or lower fees as a result of sharing profits.

    CDs and share certificates are insured through banks and credit unions, respectively, that are federally insured. For example, banks are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), whereas credit unions are insured through the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Under such federally insured banks and credit unions, CDs and share certificates are each insured for up to $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, for each account ownership category.

Methodology

Bankrate calculates and reports the national average APYs for various CD terms. Factored into national average rates are the competitive APYs commonly offered by online banks, along with the very low rates often found at large brick-and-mortar banks.

In June 2023, Bankrate updated its methodology that determines the national average CD rates. For the process, more than 500 banks and credit unions are now surveyed each week to generate the national averages. Among these institutions are those that are broadly available and offer high yields, as well as some of the nation’s largest banks.