Ally changes CD penalties

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Thinking about withdrawing funds from your certificate of deposit early? Soon enough, you’ll need to think more carefully about that if you have a CD at Ally Bank.

The Detroit-based online-only institution recently announced that it will be revising its penalty schedule for account holders who withdraw their funds early. Currently, all CD account holders are simply subject to a penalty of 60 days worth of interest. Beginning on Dec. 7, that fine will feel more severe for long-term CDs. Here’s a breakdown of the new penalty schedule:

  • Two years or less — 60 days of interest.
  • Three years — 90 days of interest.
  • Four years — 120 days of interest.
  • Five years — 150 days of interest.

While the adjustment for five-year CDs does represent a significant increase, Ally’s penalty is still less severe than that at some other banks.

“It’s important to note that even following this change, Ally Bank customers will still enjoy one of the most competitive early withdrawal penalty policies in the industry,” says Susan Fitzpatrick, spokeswoman for Ally.

At Wells Fargo, account holders are forced to fork over 12 months worth of interest for withdrawing funds from any CD with a term longer than 24 months. Some other banks charge a percentage penalty based on the amount withdrawn, which can easily add up to a fairly stiff penalty. For example, if you have an account at JPMorgan Chase & Co., and your CD term is longer than 24 months, the early withdrawal penalty is 2 percent of the total amount withdrawn.

Let’s do the math on a three-year certificate of deposit with the current three-year CD rate at Chase: 0.15 percent. After one year, the total interest earnings would be a whopping $23. Want to take that $5,000 out? It will cost $100.

Fitzpatrick adds that the changes will only impact a relatively small portion of the bank’s customers, and she stresses that Ally also offers a no-penalty CD for customers who might be concerned that they could need the funds early.

One important note: if you’re currently comparing CD rates, Ally’s earning potential easily trumps that of many other banks. Even the bank’s no-penalty CD currently comes with a 0.87 percent interest rate.

Has the potential for an early withdrawal penalty prevented you from opening a new CD?

Written by
David McMillin
Contributing writer
David McMillin writes about credit cards, mortgages, banking, taxes and travel. David's goal is to help readers figure out how to save more and stress less.