Sometimes when you want to save money, it’s best to go shopping, at least when it comes making a CD comparison.

Because rates are so similar, it may seem like there’s not much difference when it comes to a CD comparison. But that isn’t necessarily so.

CD products are offered by different institutions — banks, credit unions and brokerage houses — and they are offered over different terms: short term, midterm and long term. The terms are usually divided into 12-month increments, but some banks offer specials like 11-month terms to first-time buyers. First find out what your local banks offers when you’re comparing CDs.

Online banks also offer competitive rates while allowing you to do your research from the privacy of your own home.

Planning ahead for better rates

Nobody knows when interest rates will go up again steadily, but one factor you can control is how long you hold your CD.

Most times, the longer the bank keeps your money, the higher your interest will be. You may get penalized for early withdrawals, so you will need to decide how much access to your cash you’ll want.

CD comparison and laddering

To get the most out of your money when doing a CD comparison, you should look into laddering, or buying CDs of different timespans.

With interest rates at levels far lower than they were 10 years ago, the task of comparing CDs may seem futile. But CDs are a safe place to park your cash, with a return you can count on.