CD Rates for April 2019

Monday, April 22, 2019

Our best CD Rates available for April 2019 (5-year term):

Updated April 22, 2019

Bankrate's guide to choosing the right CD rate

Best CD Rates Comparison

Bankrate regularly surveys approximately 4,800 banks and credit unions in all 50 states to provide you with one of the most comprehensive comparisons of interest rates. All of the CD accounts below are insured by the FDIC at banks or the NCUA at credit unions. When selecting the best CD account for you, look for the highest yield while also considering introductory rates, minimum balances and accessibility.

Capital One Bank: 1 year - 5 years, 2.70% APY - 3.10% APY; $0 Minimum Deposit

capital one 360

Overview: Capital One is often associated with credit cards, but it also provides a range of depository and lending products to consumers through Capital One, an online banking subsidiary. Capital One offers a wide range of CDs, a savings account, a savings IRA and a checking account. Yields from Capital One tend to be highly competitive. In fact, CD rates from the bank are consistently among the top nationally available options. Along with stellar rates, Capital One's banking products come with the security of being insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Perks: High yields and low fees make CDs from Capital One top contenders. And it offers a wide range of term options, from six months to 60 months. But Capital One also provides quality banking tools for money management and excellent customer service. In fact, it has a number of Capital One Cafes spread throughout the country, where you can go to bank, get answers to financial questions and connect with other people.

What to watch for: Capital One has limited branch access, other than Capital One Cafes, which are located in 10 states. Deposits and transfers are mainly done through the bank's mobile app. And while Capital One's CD rates are very competitive, it's often possible to find better yields from other banks.

Goldman Sachs Bank: 6 months - 6 years, 0.60% APY - 3.05% APY; $500 Minimum Deposit

marcus by goldman sachs

Overview: Marcus is the consumer banking arm of investment firm Goldman Sachs. It offers a range of savings products and personal loans. That includes a number of CD options and a high-yield savings account. And like other online banks, its rates are highly competitive. Marcus often is found within the group of banks offering the highest CD rates across all terms. In fact, Marcus guarantees that you'll receive the highest rate it offers on a CD within 10 days of opening an account, as long as you deposit $500 during that time. So, if you purchase a CD and the bank's rate goes up within 10 days after you purchase, you'll receive the higher rate.

Perks: In addition to high yields, Marcus offers a wide range of terms on its CDs — from six months to six years — providing plenty of flexibility. And its 10-day guaranteed rate on CDs means you won't miss out on a higher return.

What to watch for: Because it's an online bank, Marcus doesn't have any branches. It also doesn't have a mobile app. That means you'll need to call customer service on weekdays or look at the FAQ section to get answers about your account. Marcus also doesn't offer a checking account. If you're looking for a full-service bank, you may be better served elsewhere.

Synchrony Bank: 6 months - 5 years, 1.00% APY - 3.10% APY; $0 - $2,000 Minimum Deposit

synchrony bank

Overview: Synchrony Bank, formerly known as GE Capital Retail Bank, offers a number of depository products for consumers, including CDs, money market accounts and savings accounts. As an online bank, it has limited branches. It also doesn't offer a checking account. But it does consistently offer some of the best rates available on CDs, with terms ranging from three months up to 60 months. And Synchrony has a highly rated customer service department available by online chat or by phone seven days per week. Customers of Synchrony get access to loyalty perks, including complimentary identity theft resolution services and travel and leisure discounts. "Diamond customers" get a dedicated customer service number, access to webinars, three free wire transfers per statement cycle and unlimited ATM reimbursements.

Perks: High rates are undeniably one of the biggest perks of CDs at Synchrony. But Synchrony also frequently offers CD specials that come with specialty terms. Those specials often come with high rates and provide an alternative to the typical CD terms. In addition, you'll find 24/7 online account management access, no monthly service fees and perks for being a customer.

What to watch for: Synchrony Bank isn't a full-service bank. It doesn't offer a checking account. That means you won't have much liquidity. But sometimes that can be a good thing, if you're looking to keep your hands off your cash while it grows.

Barclays: 18 month - 5 years, 2.70% APY - 3.05% APY; No Minimum Deposit

barclays

Overview: Barclays is popular for its credit cards and personal loans, but it's also a strong contender in the category of deposit accounts. In fact, the bank offers a full suite of products, including a slew of online CDs and an online savings account. Its rates are competitive across the board. In the U.S., its banking operation is only online. That means Barclays can save on overhead costs and consistently pass that savings on to customers by offering some of the top available rates on CDs and savings accounts. The bank's CD terms range from three months to 60 months and require no minimum deposit, something that's hard to find out of a high-yield CD.

Perks: Very competitive interest rates, no minimum deposit requirement and daily compounding interest make CDs from Barclays hard to beat. You'll also get the benefit an online banking experience and no hidden monthly fees.

What to watch for: Barclays, like many other online-based banks, isn't a full-service banking institution. It doesn't have a checking account, ATM network, mobile app or branch locations. If you're comfortable banking online, and only want to use Barclays for its savings products, credit cards or personal loan features, it can be a good fit. Otherwise, you might want to look elsewhere. And though Barclays CD rates are very competitive, you may be able to lock in a higher rate from another online institutions.

Ally Bank: 1 year - 5 years, 2.75% APY - 3.00% APY; $25,000 Minimum Deposit

ally bank

Overview: Over the past several years, Ally Bank has become well-known for offering high-yield savings products to consumers. It not only offers a suite of high-yield CDs, including a raise-your-rate CD and no-penalty CD, it also provides an online savings account, money market account and a checking account. CDs terms from the bank range from three months to five years, offering some flexibility. In addition to its savings products, it also provides credit cards, auto financing, home loans and investment products. If you're searching for a full-service online banking experience, Ally is worth consideration.

Perks: Ally consistently offers some of the highest CD rates available. And it has tier levels for its CD terms according to your deposit. The more you deposit, the better your return. It also doesn't charge any maintenance fees and compounds interest daily.

What to watch for: Notably, Ally doesn't require a minimum deposit to open a CD. But you'll earn less. In order to earn the highest rate out of a CD at Ally, you'll need to put down a steep minimum deposit of $25,000. And while the top rates from Ally Bank are very competitive, you can often earn more with a smaller minimum deposit requirement from other online banks. That said, if you're looking for a full-service banking experience, you may be able to overlook the slightly lower rates and hefty minimum deposit requirement.

PurePoint Financial: 1 year - 3 years, 2.80% APY - 3.00% APY; $10,000 Minimum Deposit

purepoint financial

Overview: PurePoint Financial is a hybrid digital bank and a division of MUFG Union Bank, N.A. PurePoint Financial is a member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc, which according to PurePoint’s website is the fifth largest bank in the world, based on total assets. As PurePoint says on its website, "And while we’re a new brand, we’re not new to banking."

Perks: PurePoint Financial pledges "to help Americans save more and grow the personal savings rate in the U.S. over the next five years." PurePoint Financial also has more than 20 PurePoint Financial Centers in the New York, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Miami, and Tampa Bay areas.

What to watch for: PurePoint Financial has a 2.80 APY 12-month CD that is among the most competitive CDs out there. If you have the $10,000 to meet the minimum deposit requirement, this might be a good place for your savings that you don’t plan on using for the next year.

CIT Bank: 6 months - 5 years, 0.72% APY - 2.50% APY; $1,000 Minimum Deposit

cit bank logo

Overview: CIT Bank is a nationwide direct bank, and is a division of CIT Bank, N.A. CIT Bank was founded in 2009. CIT Bank, N.A. is a subsidiary of CIT Group, Inc., a financial holding company founded in 1908.

Perks: CIT Bank’s 1-year CD currently is earning 2.50%. It also has daily compounding on that CD, to maximize your earnings.

What to watch for: CIT’s CD APYs peak at the 18-month CD at 2.50 APY. This, and the one-year CD, are the top CD options at this bank.

Citizens Access: 6 months - 5 years, 2.35% APY - 3.00% APY; $5,000 Minimum Deposit

citizens access

Overview: Citizens Financial Group, which has roots dating back to 1828 via High Street Bank, launched Citizens Access – its direct bank – in July. Citizens Access debuted among some of the highest-yielding accounts and is still near the top of the leaderboard.

Perks: Citizens Access takes pride in its fee-free approach. Its CDs also give you the option of having your interest credited toward your principal or you can transfer it to another account.

What to watch for: The Citizens Access 6-month CD has one of the top APY’s around.

American Express: 6 months – 5 years, 0.40% APY – 3.10% APY; $0 Minimum Deposit

american express bank

Overview: While American Express is perhaps most known for its credit cards, the company also provides savings accounts and CD options to consumers. The FDIC-insured national bank offers very attractive rates on all of its savings products. Its CD rates are often the top-paying in the country. As an extra bonus, it doesn't have any fees or minimum balance requirements.

Perks: Extremely competitive interest rates, no minimum balance requirements, no fees and an easy application process make CDs from American Express hard to beat. American Express also offers a wide range of terms to fit your needs, whether you're looking for a short 6-month deposit account or a longer 60-month option.

What to watch for: Like some other similar banks in the space, American Express doesn't have a checking account option or an ATM card. Checks need to be mailed in. And customer support is limited to the phone. If you're looking for a full banking experience, you might be better served at another bank.

Mercantil Bank: 1 year – 5 years, 2.75% APY – 3.20% APY; $10,000 Minimum Deposit

Mercantil Logo

Overview: Mercantil Bank has been around since 1979 and has its headquarters in Coral Gables, Florida. Mercantil Bank is among the top 2 percent of banks in the nation based on assets, according to its website. Mercantil Bank has more than 20 banking centers in Florida and Texas, but the CD APYs shown here aren’t valid in these states. However, the bank is known for its competitive APYs online, outside of those two states.

Perks: Mercantil Bank offers competitive APYs on its CDs. You don’t need to have a checking account at Mercantil Bank in order to take advantage of its high-APY CDs. Its five-year CD has one of the highest yields available, at 3.2 percent APY. Mercantil Bank’s two-year CD is also very competitive and nearly has the highest APY available.

What to watch for: Mercantil Bank is now Amerant Bank. Mercantil Bank, National Association, changed its legal name to Amerant Bank, National Association, on Oct. 23, 2018, and is currently doing business under that name. It is transitioning to the Amerant brand, which likely won’t be completed until April. At Mercantil Bank, you’re limited to $250,000 per account and you’re only allowed to have $500,000 per customer, according to Mercantil Bank’s website. The CD also has a $10,000 minimum deposit requirement.

What to know about CD Rates

Continue reading for more information on certificates of deposit. Bankrate regularly analyzes banks, gets insights from top financial experts, and compiles industry data to provide the information you need to make an informed financial decision.

Our team has also interviewed financial professionals to give you expert advice on choosing the best CD rates. Check out tips below from experts like Greg McBride, Stewart Welch, and Dana Twight.

What is a CD?

A CD is a Certificate of Deposit, which is a type of savings account, found at banks and credit unions, that pays a set interest rate on money deposited. In exchange, you agree to keep the full deposit in the account for a set term. Common terms include 6, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48 and 60 months.

Generally, the longer the term, the higher the interest rate. CDs with higher APY rates give you a better yield on your deposited money. Just be sure to consider factors like minimum deposit requirements and monthly fees when choosing the best CD rate for your financial goals.

The biggest risk associated with traditional CD accounts is the penalty institutions charge for withdrawing money before the CD's maturity date. Early withdrawal penalties can often eat up any interest earned and some of the principal investment.

But overall, certificates of deposit are a safe place to stash cash. They are insured up to $250,000 at banks by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and at credit unions by the National Credit Union Administration.

In addition to traditional CDs, some institutions offer specialty CD rate options. These can include jumbo CDs, bump-up CDs, liquid CDs, callable CDs and zero-coupon CDs.

How does a certificate of deposit work?

A certificate of deposit (CD) is a savings account found at banks and credit unions where you can deposit money for a predetermined amount of time and earn interest on those funds. The interest is usually compounded and added to the principal. One of the reasons you get a higher annual percentage yield (APY) is because the bank knows how long you’ll be keeping your money in its CD. And if you withdraw before that time, you may incur a penalty. CDs are popular accounts for longer-term money. Typical CD lengths are 6, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48 and 60 months.

Choose your CD length wisely. The duration of CD accounts typically determines the rate; the longer the term, the better your CD interest rate will be. Luckily, CD rates come in a wide variety of terms, from a 1-year CD that offers a 2.75% APY with a $500 minimum deposit to a 5-year CD rate that offers a 3.50% APY with a $1,000 minimum amount.

Who is a CD a good investment for?

A fixed-rate CD is a good product for those who don’t like surprises – and want to know their rate of return beforehand. Because they’re low-risk investments, CDs tend to be associated with older, more risk-averse savers preparing for retirement. But people of different ages can benefit from sticking some of their savings into a CD.

A CD could be a good place to store money you’re setting aside for a specific goal, like saving for a down payment on a house or a new car. Tying up money in a CD for 12 months or two years could be one way to stop yourself from dipping into your savings prematurely. A CD could also be a good place for an emergency fund, says Stewart Welch, founder and senior member at the Welch Group, a fee-only investment management and financial planning firm. CDs are best for meeting short-term financial goals. Due to inflation, using a CD to build wealth over time won’t work in your favor.

“This is why I wouldn’t even recommend that a retiree puts all their money in CDs,” says Dana Twight, founder and principal of Twight Financial Education. “Some of your money has to be positioned so that you will beat inflation. And traditionally, the way to do that is a balanced approach to the stock market.”

A CD is a bad investment for a person who needs the money to be liquid or someone that needs the funds during the term of the CD. This may result in a penalty that will erase interest earnings and may even eat into principal.

Why are CDs good for small investors?

CDs are good for small investors because you don’t need a large minimum deposit to open one and they can offer competitive yields. Currently, there are CD options that have no minimum deposit requirement.

CDs are perfect for the investor who has a low-risk tolerance and wants a fixed rate of return. CDs usually have fixed rates for the term, but there are some exceptions. For instance, step-up CDs usually start with a lower APY and gradually increase on an annual basis. Some banks, meanwhile, offer variable-rate CDs.

"A certificate of deposit is a fine choice if you have a specific cash need at a future date. Invest your money with complete safety, a known return and a defined time frame for when you’ll get that money. Seek out the top yields on the maturity that suits your timetable."

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

Are CDs safe?

Fixed-rate CDs are safe because if you keep your money in them for the full term, you know your principal is never in jeopardy. They’re also safe if they’re at a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) bank or a National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) institution. FDIC deposit insurance covers accounts at FDIC banks up to at least $250,000. An account at an NCUA institution has a standard share insurance amount of $250,000 per share owner, per insured credit union, for each account ownership category.

What to consider when choosing a CD

Choosing the best CD rate can be tricky, but it is certainly not impossible. There are thousands of banks out there, each with multiple CD term options offering different APY rates with varying minimum deposits and fees. Bankrate is here to help you choose the best CD rate for your savings and spending needs.

If you’re looking for CDs with the highest yield, your best bet is to compare rates offered by online banks. Banks without hefty overhead costs can pass their savings on to customers in the form of higher yields. Many credit unions also offer competitive CD rates. Chances are the highest CD yields are several times higher than the ones your existing bank offers.

"Don’t trust your local bank to have the highest rates. You definitely need to do the research."

- Stewart Welch, Welch Group

In addition to the interest rate, consider other important factors before choosing a CD, such as whether you can deposit enough money to earn the top yield. You should also think about how soon you’ll need the money you want to leave inside of a CD. If you need the money in three or six months, for example, keeping it in a savings account is a better idea.

The best CDs don’t have a harsh early withdrawal penalty. (Typically, you stand to lose about six months’ interest.) They also allow interest to compound daily rather than monthly, allowing your savings to grow faster.

Compare CDs to get the highest APY and determine when you’ll realistically need to use the funds. An early withdrawal penalty can quickly wipe out any gains – and could potentially take a portion of your principal. For emergencies, keep an adequate amount of money in a liquid savings account and use this money first. This may protect you from incurring early withdrawal CD penalties. Choosing the shortest term that gives you the best rate is the recommended strategy.

"In a rising rate environment, favor shorter maturities that give you the ability to earn a competitive return now but to reinvest at even better yields later."

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

All of the CD accounts below are insured by the FDIC at banks or the NCUA at credit unions. Find the best CD rates for you by considering the annual percentage yield (APY), term, minimum deposit required and the penalty charged for early withdrawal. Our goal is to help you make the safest financial decision possible.

What you can and can't do with a CD

You can typically earn a higher APY with a CD than most savings accounts or money market accounts. That interest is usually compounded on a daily, monthly, quarterly or annual basis. It is usually credited to your account on a monthly, quarterly, semiannual or annual basis. You can re-evaluate the CD after the term expires. You usually have a grace period between the CD’s maturity date and renewal date. This allows you to renew it, change the terms or withdraw and close it. You usually can’t add money to CDs until they mature. In most cases, can withdraw from a CD at any time, but this may result in an early withdrawal penalty. So this is something to avoid, if possible.

Are you taxed on a CD?

Yes, you are taxed on the interest earned on a CD that contains non-qualified money – money that you already paid income tax on. However, if the money is in a traditional IRA CD, you will pay taxes when the money is withdrawn. This is because traditional IRAs are tax-deferred accounts. If the money is in a CD that is a Roth IRA, you’ll pay taxes upfront.

Overview of jumbo CDs

Jumbo CDs generally require balances of more than $100,000. The phrase “jumbo CDs” isn’t that common these days. But some banks still have them.

Generally, you can find the same or even higher APYs in CD products that aren’t considered jumbo CDs. But some jumbo CDs do reward customers for these large deposits with a high APY. For the most part, online banks offer the highest APYs on CDs. Many online banks simply have high APYs with minimum balances well below the $100,000 mark.

Will CD rates go up in 2019?

CD rates may rise because of competition among banks. But with the Federal Reserve pausing its federal funds rate increases, after four rate hikes in 2018 and nine since 2015, rates likely won’t rise too much this year.

But if a bank is looking to increase its deposits, a rate increase could be a way to attract customers. Bankrate has a full CD rate forecast, with long-term CDs and short-term rate predictions.

What is the average interest rate on a CD?

The average interest on a CD varies by term. Typically, shorter-term CDs have lower rates than longer-term CDs.

Here are the current average rates for the week of April 17, 2019, according to Bankrate's weekly survey of institutions:

CD Term CD Rate National Average
1-year 0.99%
2-year 1.15%
3-year 1.22%
4-year 1.33%
5-year 1.47%

Note that those are average rates. See the table at the top of the page for rate comparisons.

Research methodology

The "Bankrate.com National Average," or "national survey of large lenders," is conducted weekly. The results of this survey are quoted in our weekly articles and national media outlets. To conduct the National Average survey, Bankrate obtains rate information from the 10 largest banks and thrifts in 10 large U.S. markets. In the Bankrate.com national survey, our Market Analysis team gathers rates and/or yields on banking deposits, loans and mortgages. We've conducted this survey in the same manner for more than 30 years, and because it's consistently done the way it is, it gives an accurate national apples-to-apples comparison.

Are CD rates locked in?

Traditional CDs come with a fixed interest rate that's locked in for the entire term. While it's possible to withdraw money before the CD's maturity date, most institutions have stiff early withdrawal penalties for doing so. That makes it wise to keep the full deposit in the CD account until the term is completed.

However, some banks and credit unions offer specialty CDs that allow some flexibility. One such CD is a liquid CD account, which provides the option to withdraw money without incurring a penalty. The interest rate paid on liquid CDs, and similar types of CDs, is typically lower than that of a traditional CD.

What terms should I select?

CDs come in a range of terms. Typically, the longer the term, the higher the yield. But it's important to consider more than yield when choosing a CD term. Selecting a term comes down to a couple of main factors — your financial needs and the current rate environment.

Think about how soon you'll need the money back. If you know you'll need to use the money for a purchase within 12 months, for example, favor shorter terms, like a 3, 6 or 12 months. Keep in mind that traditional fixed-rate CDs often come with steep early withdrawal penalties.

Consider the rate environment as well when choosing a CD term. In a rising rate environment, investing in shorter terms can help you take advantage of current rates and reinvest in higher rates later on.

In an environment where rates are declining, consider longer terms in order to lock in a higher rate for a longer period of time.

What happens to a CD when it matures?

Banks reach out in advance of the maturity date and let customers know that their CD will soon come due. Once the CD matures, a grace period goes into effect. You’ll no longer earn any interest or benefit from the CD rate you signed up for. But during this grace period -- which may last for seven days or as many as 10 days -- account holders can decide whether they will withdraw the funds in their account or let the CD automatically renew for another term of the same length.

Think carefully about what you’ll do with the money you locked in a CD before it matures. If you have a short-term CD that you end up rolling over year after year, you’ll likely end up earning less interest than you would if you had invested in a long-term CD from the very beginning.

“This is the whole point about these short-term bond funds or CDs. They're really only appropriate for very short-term needs or short-term cash or whatever. If you start using them for longer maturity needs, you're really leaving money on the table.”

- Mari Adam, President of Adam Financial Associates Inc.

What to know about CD Ownership

CD Ownership

CDs can be owned or titled in different ways. They can be owned by an individual or held jointly. A joint account just means two or more people. It doesn’t necessarily mean just two people.

At some banks, you may be able to have your CD titled as payable on death (POD) to a specific beneficiary. This means that upon your death, the funds go to your beneficiary or beneficiaries. Some POD accounts may avoid probate. But even if the funds avoid probate, they could still be a part of your taxable estate.

A joint account or a POD account may help you get additional FDIC insurance. A joint account has a coverage limit of $250,000 per co-owner. Each co-owner’s shares of every joint account at the same insured bank are added up and insured up to $250,000, according to the FDIC. Always check with your bank to make sure your money is fully insured.

PODs fall under the Revocable Trust Account section at the FDIC. Generally, the owner of a revocable trust is insured up to $250,000 for each different beneficiary if the proper requirements are met.

Do CDs have beneficiaries?

Banks give account holders with CDs the opportunity to name a beneficiary, or a specific person who will inherit your savings in the event that you suddenly die. While naming a beneficiary for your CD may be the last thing on your mind, experts say it’s an important step to take.

If you don’t have a beneficiary designated to receive the funds in your CD, your savings will go through probate, the process for deciding what happens to the property of an individual after their death in court. If your loved ones have to go to court to determine what happens to your CD, they could wait a long time to claim your funds, depending on the state they live in.

“Even in Florida, which I think is a pretty fast state, it could easily take a year or more so your assets won't go to your beneficiary until they go through court. The judge decides it's OK. Then they look at your will and they give it to your heir, but that could take a while and a lot of people don't have wills,” Adam says.

Bottom line: It’s in your best interest to name a beneficiary to receive the money in your CD. Keep in mind that even if you name someone as your beneficiary, the funds in your CD will technically still belong to you while you’re still alive. And if you’re stuck trying to decide who to name as your beneficiary, avoid choosing a minor.

“Minors generally cannot accept property without a custodian. So if possible, try to name grownups if you like, you're a single mom of two kids,” Adam says. “You may not have a choice but just realize they'll probably get a custodian named or name someone to be the custodian.”

What to know about CD Compounding

The nature of CD compounding

CDs generally compound interest on either a daily, monthly, quarterly or annual basis. The more frequent the compounding, the better for you. An APY already includes the effect of compounding. That’s one of the reasons you should always compare APYs rather than comparing interest rates.

CD compounding versus other savings accounts products

Generally, CDs, savings accounts, money market accounts and interest-checking accounts all either compound interest on a daily, monthly, quarterly or annual basis. Daily is the most common – followed by monthly.

The more frequently your interest compounds, the faster your money will grow. But the APY already includes the effect of compounding in it. So, as long as you compare APYs – and not interest rates – you’ll be able to get an apples-to-apples comparison of which account will earn you the most interest over time.

Can you keep depositing into a CD

Traditional fixed-term CDs typically don't allow additional deposits, but certain non-traditional types may. It depends on the institution and the type of CD being offered. For example, some banks may offer a variable-rate CD with the ability to make ongoing deposits, but not all variable-rate CDs allow for that perk. And while it is possible to find CD accounts that allow for additional deposits, savers may have to sacrifice some yield in order to get that benefit. CD accounts with this feature also tend to come with restrictions, like minimum or maximum amounts for each additional deposit, minimum opening deposits and constraints on when you can deposit.

Pros and cons of a CD

Pros

  • Longer-term CDs typically have a higher APY than money market accounts or savings accounts.
  • CDs are a good place to keep money that you want to save and don’t want to easily touch and spend.
  • Deposit insurance covers accounts at FDIC banks up to at least $250,000. And at an NCUA bank, your money is federally insured to at least $250,000.
  • A CD can diversify your savings plan with a guaranteed rate.
  • If you keep your money in a CD for the full term, your principal is safe.

Cons

  • Your money is in an account for potentially a long period of time.
  • Many CDs have early withdrawal penalties.
  • If rates rise substantially or an emergency happens, you will likely have to pay a penalty to withdraw your money.
  • You could potentially earn greater rates of return in the stock market or by investing in other securities.

CDs vs. Other Savings Accounts

CDs vs. IRAs

The interest gained on a CD will be taxed for that tax year if it’s non-qualified money. A traditional IRA is taxed-deferred, and a Roth IRA is taxed upfront. Tax-deferred means the taxes will be paid upon withdrawal. A portion of your retirement money in CDs may help diversify your portfolio. This may be a good option for money that you don’t want in a fluctuating investment product. Not all CDs can be IRAs, so check with your financial institution.

CDs vs. Traditional Savings Accounts

Savings and money market accounts are more liquid than CDs. That means the funds you store in those types of accounts are easier to access. You could withdraw the savings you’ve stashed in a CD, but be prepared to pay a penalty (unless you’ve purchased a no-penalty CD).

The gap between rates tied to CDs and savings accounts has narrowed. But CDs are more likely to pay a higher yield. While the best nationally available savings account rate is 2.35 percent APY, the most you can earn on a 5-year CD offered in all 50 states is 3.60 percent APY.

When to stick with a savings account instead of a CD

A savings account is best for either an emergency savings account or for money that you know you’ll need in less than a year. This is because savings accounts are liquid – meaning you can generally access your money at any time. A savings account is best for money that you either expect to use, or for funds that you don’t expect to use but may need quick access to if an emergency or unplanned expense occurs.

A CD is a time deposit, meaning it has a fixed term and generally a fixed APY. You’ll also likely incur a penalty if you withdraw your principal before it matures. Even if your CD earns more than a savings account, a penalty could negate the higher APY.

Generally, CDs are better for funds that have a time horizon of a year or longer because they may help you earn more interest than a liquid savings account. But if liquidity and access is more important for these funds, stick with a savings account to avoid incurring early withdrawal penalties in a CD.

CDs vs. bonds

Investors have a lot to consider when deciding between a CD and a bond. Traditional CDs from banks are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., or the National Credit Union Administration if you’re getting a certificate from a credit union. CDs are safe investments that typically have a fixed interest rate. In other words, you know how much you’re earning each year upfront. And you’re guaranteed to receive that amount of interest, as long as you don’t make any premature withdrawals. If you do have to pull any money out of the account before it matures, you’ll likely have to pay a penalty. A few banks offer no-penalty CDs, which allow customers to withdraw funds before the CD matures without facing any consequences or losing any interest. While there’s a guaranteed rate of return, the downside to having a traditional CD is that there’s less flexibility. Your money is locked up for a particular term and the amount of money you’re earning is low because you have to account for inflation and the amount of interest you’ll lose paying taxes. “They're really only appropriate for short-term needs simply because they are too low. The rates of return are too low,” says Mari Adam, president of Adam Financial Associates Inc. Other than no-penalty and traditional bank CDs, savers also have the option of putting their money into:

  • Step-up CDs: Accounts that allow the annual percentage yield to increase automatically at set intervals.
  • Bump-up CDs: Fixed-deposit accounts that permit an interest rate increase during the term, upon request.
  • Brokered CDs: Investment accounts that are opened with the help of a broker rather than coming directly from a bank.
  • Add-on CDs: Certificates of deposit that allow account holders to make multiple deposits before the maturity date.
  • Callable CDs: Fixed-rate investment vehicles that can be “called” or redeemed by the bank after a certain period of time, limiting the amount of interest you can potentially earn.

Getting a CD generally only makes sense if you’re looking to store money for the short term and it’s being used for a particular goal, like a mortgage down payment or a kid’s college fund.

“When it's probably not good is when you don't know the timing. Like if you want to buy a house but you don't know when you're going to find one and you might see one in four weeks, then it's probably not good to go buy a one-year CD,” Adam says.

If you’re interested in having more flexibility and you want the chance to earn a higher yield, you may be more interested in investing in a bond. By buying bonds, you can also potentially avoid paying taxes on the interest you earn.

There are many different types of bonds and some are riskier than others. But bonds across the board aren’t protected by FDIC or NCUA insurance like CDs are. You can sell them before they mature. And the value of your bonds will vary depending on what’s happening with interest rates. If interest rates are rising, the price of your bonds will fall and vice versa.

“It's driven by market conditions and market prices. So you could buy a bond or a bond fund and a year from now it may be worth more than you paid. It could also be worth less than you paid,” Adam says. “So you don't have that certainty.”

Some examples of bonds you could invest in include:

  • Bond funds: Pooled investments made up of different types of bonds and other debt instruments.
  • Municipal bonds: Issued by governmental entities like states and counties to pay for different projects and infrastructure.
  • Corporate bonds: Bonds issues by companies and corporations that typically pay higher yields.
  • Junk bonds: Riskier bonds with a greater likelihood of default that pay higher yields.
  • Treasury bonds: Securities issued and backed by the federal government.
  • Zero-coupon bonds: Securities that don’t pay interest and are normally issued at a discounted rate.
  • Foreign bonds: Purchased from foreign entities.
  • Mortgage-backed securities: Bonds backed by real estate loans that are typically pooled.

Before you choose a bond or bond fund, it’s best to do your research and consider the risk, maturity and quality of the bond.

How to build a CD ladder

Laddering is a method to space out maturity dates on your CDs. It’s a way to both spread out when the money is available and protect yourself from being stuck in a long-term product if rates skyrocket. For instance, a CD laddering plan of three CDs might have a 1-year CD, a 2-year CD and a 3-year CD.

"Looking for a regular stream of interest income? Consider a CD ladder where your money is diversified over a range of maturity dates, structured so you get to reinvest at consistent intervals."

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

Generally, the longer your CD term, the higher your rate of return. One way to grow your savings and earn as much interest as possible is to build a CD ladder. You could buy several CDs with different term lengths at one time, giving you the chance to invest in a long-term CD with a higher yield and short-term CDs that will mature within a short period of time.

CD laddering can also shield you from interest rate changes. If rates are rising, you’ll be able to take advantage of higher yields when your short-term CDs mature. And if interest rates are falling, you’ll be happy that you locked up your savings when your bank was paying a higher rate. Consider keeping your CD ladder short during a rising interest rate environment and long when rates are moving in the opposite direction.

"When rates are declining, you want to go long on your ladder because then you want to tie up that high rate for the longest period of time."

- Dana Twight, Twight Financial Education

Bankrate's Best CD Rates in April 2019

The experts at Bankrate have compiled our best available CD rates into an easy-to-read table so you can compare rates and minimum deposits across banks.

Term Bank CD Rate (APY) Minimum Deposit
6 months Citizens Access 2.35% $5,000
1 year Ally Bank 2.75% $0
18 months Capital One 2.70% $0
2 years Citizens Access 2.80% $5,000
3 years Capital One 2.85% $0
4 years Citizens Access 2.95% $5,000
5 years Goldman Sachs Bank 3.00% $500

Popular Banks Breakdown

Bankrate has provided a quick-hit comparison of some top banks that offer competitive CD rate options so that you can see rates side-by-side before choosing the best CD for your financial goals.

The Institutions:

Check out the tables below for a breakdown of Bankrate's available CD rates for these financial institutions. Be sure to factor in minimum deposit amounts and other fees when applying for a certificate of deposit.

Capital One CD rates

Term APY Minimum Deposit
12 months 2.70% $0
18 months 2.70% $0
24 months 2.80% $0
3 years 2.85% $0
4 years 2.90% $0
5 years 3.10% $0

Marcus by Goldman Sachs CD rates

Term APY Minimum Deposit
6 months 0.60% $500
9 months 0.70% $500
12 months 2.70% $500
18 months 2.60% $500
24 months 2.65% $500
3 years 2.70% $500
4 years 2.75% $500
5 years 3.00% $500

Live Oak Bank CD rates

Term APY Minimum Deposit
6 months 2.45% $2,500
12 months 2.80% $2,500
18 months 2.80% $2,500
24 months 2.85% $2,500
3 years 2.90% $2,500
4 years 2.95% $2,500
5 years 3.00% $2,500

CD Tools

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Best rates available