We’ve evaluated more than a dozen traditional and online banks and more than 100 certificates of deposit. The best CD rates come from online banks. They beat their brick-and-mortar competitors by a country mile. Below you will find banks that offer terrific CD rates.
Our Top Picks
Ally Bank High Yield CD – terms of three months to five years; no minimum deposit
Ally Bank earns our top pick because it consistently pays top rates on CDs. It offers accounts with no fees and no minimum balance. Opening an account is quick and easy. There is no balance required to get the top rate.
Ally Bank is a FDIC-insured financial institution, so your money is safe up to the FDIC insurance limits.
CIT Bank No Penalty CD – 11-month no penalty CD term; $1,000 minimum deposit
CIT offers an 11-month no-penalty CD. This is a good rate for a short term, and the minimum deposit required is only $1,000.
We Know Certificates of Deposit
I’ve invested in certificates of deposit since 1979. I can recall earning more than 16% on a 6-month CD. Today I still use CDs to hold our emergency fund and track CD rates daily both here and for Forbes.
The Dough Roller editorial team represents more than 50 years’ worth of experience when it comes to certificates of deposit. We’ve used that experience and countless hours of research to help you find a great CD.
What is a CD?
A certificate of deposit, commonly known as a CD, is similar to a savings account, though it provides less financial flexibility.
CDs and savings accounts are insured by the FDIC, and both are investments that come with relatively little risk.
CDs typically have higher interest rates than a normal savings account, but the difference between the two is not as extreme as it once was. The interest rate on a CD is fixed. These accounts are offered at different minimum balances and varying fixed terms. With a higher minimum balance and longer-term, you will usually earn a higher interest rate.
With a CD, you commit to leaving the money untouched for a certain period, which can be a few months to as long as ten years.
Unlike a savings account, any withdrawal before a CD’s maturity date comes with a significant withdrawal penalty, which could exceed any interest and may tap into the principal.
Most CDs don’t have monthly fees attached, so they offer a nearly risk-free way to save money and earn some interest.
Best CD Rates Updated Daily
Here’s a list of current CD rates. These rates are updated throughout the day:
To calculate how much you’d earn from investing in a CD, use our simple calculator below.
Featured Certificates of Deposit by Term
Shopping for a CD takes more work than looking for a savings account. The reason is simple. Rates changed based on the term of the CD. One bank might have a great 1-year rate, while another bank may be the best at three or five-year CDs.
Given this, we’ve listed here some of the CD rates based on the term.
Synchrony Bank–Term: 3 months to 5 years; $2,000 minimum deposit to open
Synchrony is a fairly new name in the online banking world, but it has an old history. Formerly GE Capital, Synchrony is the world leader in private label credit cards (think Walmart, Amazon, Lowe’s etc.). Synchrony Bank offers CD term rates from three months to five years. They also offer IRA CD terms of the same length. Both IRA and standard high-yield CD rates are the same. And Synchrony bank also offers other deposit products. Included in their product line are Money Markets, High Yield Savings, and IRA Money Markets.
- Best Synchrony Bank CD–12-month high-yield CD that currently pays a competitive APY ($2,000 minimum opening deposit).
CIT Bank – Term: Up to 5 years; $1,000 minimum deposit to open
Founded in 1908, CIT Bank has more than $50 billion in assets. An FDIC-insured financial institution, it offers CD terms up to 5 years. It does require a minimum deposit, but at $1,000, it’s manageable for most savers.
Discover Bank–Term: 3 months to 10 years; $2,500 minimum deposit to open
Discover Bank first opened its doors in 1911 in Greenwood, DE. Originally known as the Greenwood Trust Company, the bank joined Discover Financial Services in 2000. Discover is best known for its credit card line of products. But they also offer a wide range of CDs.
I personally own a 10-year IRA CD, which I locked in many years ago at a rate of 2.70% APY. And now, the interest rate increased at 2.75%.
Ally Bank–Term: 3 months to 5 years; Rate: 0.20% to 1.00% APY; no minimum deposit to open Ally continues to win awards for outstanding customer service and is always at the top of the list for interest rates.
Ally continues to win awards for outstanding customer service and is always at the top of the list for interest rates. Personally, I have a few different Ally deposit accounts. Even though their rates change frequently, I appreciate the service and quality of its website. Formerly GMAC, Ally continues to re-brand itself in a positive direction.
Ally Bank offers CDs in a variety of terms, including two that are fairly unique to the space. They have a no-penalty CD that allows you to withdraw your funds at any time after 6 days from funding the account without paying an interest penalty. They also have a raise your rate CD that allows you to increase the interest rate twice on a four-year CD term (so you’re not locked into a lower rate).
Barclays –Term: 3 months to 5 years; No minimum balance to open
The oldest bank on our list, Barclays Bank was founded back in the 1700′s in England. It has come across the pond to offer extremely competitive credit card and deposit products. Barclays Bank has a fairly standard set of CD terms, ranging from three months to five years. Unlike others on this list, there is no minimum balance required to open a certificate of deposit with Barclays.
Marcus Bank–Term: 6 months to 6 years; $500 minimum deposit to open account
Marcus–Headquartered in New York, Marcus is named after its founder; Marcus Goldman (Goldman Sachs USA).
They offer a relatively slim product line compared to other banks on this list. Customers have a choice between an online savings account or certificates of deposit.
CD rates start at the six-month length and work all the way up to six years. The minimum deposit to open up a Marcus CD is $500. Also included on all CD accounts is a 10-day rate guarantee. This means that if you open an account and the rate goes up immediately, you get the new, higher rate.
3 Things to Consider When Comparing CD Rates
Penalties–You will lose interest if you don’t hold the CD for the whole term. Many of the above banks charge 60 days of interest as a penalty for requesting your money early and some can go as high as nine months! If you’re someone who needs liquidity, then creating a CD ladder is your best option.
For example, instead of investing $25,000 into a single 5-year CD, you can invest $5,000 into a five year CD every year. So after five years, you’ll have $5,000 of liquidity + interest to either take out or re-invest.
Of course, you can always choose a no-penalty CD, as we’ve covered above.
Check Local Banks and Credit Unions–Even though the banks you see above make up the majority of online deposits in the United States, a local bank or credit union can sometimes, do better.
Local banks and credit unions may not have the manpower or the marketing dollars to attract millions of clients. But that’s the very reason they might be able to attract you. Low overhead costs and local advertising budgets mean more value in the products they’re offering. This, of course, doesn’t mean they’re all winners (my parents refuse to listen to me about their 5-year 0.35% CD for example) but it does mean you should explore the banks in your community.
CD Alternatives – Investing your money into something with less than a 2% return takes some stomaching. The rates you see above are guaranteed for the length of the term and are FDIC insured up to $250,00 per depositor so there is no risk. That said there are a bevy of other places to park your money for a better return … if you’re willing to take on a little risk.
- Peer to Peer lending platforms like Prosper and Lending Club average annual returns of 5% – 7%. Greater than 95% of their notes return profits.
- Robo investing is a great way to park your money and let qualified investors do the heavy lifting. The fees are typically under 1% of your investment annually and the returns average greater than 5%. Two highly regarding companies are Betterment and M1Finance.
- Real Estate Crowdfunding is fairly new and allows you the chance to invest in real estate with a relatively small amount of money. Places like RealtyMogul, Fundrise and RealtyShares are free to sign-up and again charge a small percentage of investment fee for annual returns in the 8% – 10% range.
What Is Considered a Good Rate For a CD?
CD rates fell in March 2020 when the Federal Reserve put emergency rate cuts in place, but a CD still offers a safe, reliable way to save money and earn some interest in the process.
When you’re choosing a CD, you want to compare minimum deposit amounts and term length as well as the interest rate.
The current average rate nationwide for a one-year term CD is 0.19%, and for a five-year term CD is 0.39%. These are only examples. With a little research, you can certainly find higher returns to get the best CD rates.
Ally, an entirely online bank, may be a good choice if you don’t have much to invest right now. They don’t require a minimum deposit for their CD product and don’t charge monthly fees. Their high-yield option starts with an APY of 0.65% for a one-year CD, increasing to a 1.00% APY for a five-year CD. They also offer a CD that does not carry a penalty when you withdraw your money early.
Before putting any money in a CD, you should make sure you’re on relatively stable financial ground. If you may need to access the funds sooner than later, look at shorter-term products, like a three-month, six-month, or one-year CDs. You don’t want your attempt to save money to end up costing you more than your return.
Do your research to find an amount, term, and rate of return that works for you. If you’re uncertain, choose a shorter term to prevent locking up your funds. At the end of that term, you can always roll the amount over into another CD.
CDs are widely available at traditional brick-and-mortar banks, credit unions, and online banks. In general, online banks will offer higher rates as the business has lower overhead. Basically, any CD that has terms that work for you personally is the right CD for you.
CDs vs. Other Savings Accounts
If you feel like you’re in good financial shape and want to start putting your money to work (i.e., make interest), but you aren’t quite ready to jump head-first into investing in the stock market, there are many low-risk ways to put some cash away.
In this case, which account should you choose to help you save?
CDs typically have a higher rate of return, though your money is locked in for the length of the CD term. If you need to access the money in the event of a financial emergency, you’ll be subjected to an early withdrawal penalty.
A CD is not the only option for savings, however. You can always choose a traditional savings account. Though you may earn less interest, it’s another good low-risk option. You can withdraw your investment without penalty, but you’re limited to no more than six transfers per month.
High-interest savings accounts offer a higher rate of interest, but these function just like a regular savings account. It can pay to shop around, and with a larger deposit, you may earn a higher interest rate.
An IRA, whether traditional or Roth, can help you save in the long run. With a traditional IRA, your deposit of up to $6,000 is tax-deductible. If you withdraw your cash before you reach 59 ½, you’ll pay both income tax and a withdrawal penalty. What you contribute to your Roth IRA is tax-deductible, but you won’t pay taxes when you withdraw your money after you hit retirement age.
Money market accounts offer another savings option. They operate like savings accounts and typically have comparable interest rates. The difference is the way they’re funded by the bank or financial institution. This difference impacts the interest rate, and it can be higher or lower than traditional savings accounts.
Depending on the amount you have available to put into savings, your financial goals, and your savings timeline, you have many investment options available from a variety of financial institutions. With a little research and effort, you can find the product or combination of products to best meet your needs.
CD Laddering Strategy
If you like the thought of a CD’s low-risk, moderate return potential but are unsure about locking your money up for a set term, CD laddering may be a good savings strategy for you.
With CD laddering, instead of putting all your money in one CD, you split it up into several smaller CDs with different maturity dates.
Here’s how it works:
Say you have $10,000 to invest in CDs. You could put the entire amount into a single five-year CD. If you choose CD laddering, you split up the $10,000 over multiple CDs with staggered terms. You put $1,000 into a one-year CD, $2,000 in a two-year CD, $2,000 in a three-year CD, and $5,000 in a five-year CD.
After one year, when your first CD reaches its maturity date, you may decide to cash out the principal and interest, or you can roll it over into another CD. In the meantime, your other CDs are also a year closer to maturing.
There’s no ideal length for a CD ladder. It’s completely up to you. If you plan to reinvest in another CD, you should reach for the highest rung on your ladder. If you’re going to roll over your first one-year CD, you should search for another five-year CD to replace your highest rung.
CD laddering gives you some options and offers you more liquidity than putting all your money into one large CD. You can vary the amount, term, and even location for your CDs. After doing some research, decide on the CD amount and term that will give you the best return. Maybe one CD is at your local bank, one’s at a credit union, and the other two are at an online bank.
CD laddering can help you save more, while also providing a safety harness. It’s a smart tactic to take advantage of the low-risk, solid return of CDs.
Impact of COVID-19 on CDs
COVID-19 is affecting all aspects of modern life, and CDs are no exception.
The Federal Reserve cut rates to almost nothing earlier in 2020 to help the economy. Rates are likely to stay close to zero for the near future. The cut impacts the rate of return on CDs as well. The money you invest in CDs may not be working as hard for you as it once did. In fact, rates have dropped and are comparable to the low rates in place after the financial crisis of 2008.
The good news is your CDs lock in a fixed rate. You may not earn a significant amount of interest, but this low-risk product also protects you from any loss of principal. You can play it safe during tumultuous times and not be subjected to the volatility of the stock market.
If you’re concerned about the stock market’s stability, a diversified portfolio with low-risk CD options may help put your mind at ease. As always, you should choose your investments to suit not only your goals but your risk tolerance.
Many people are monitoring the news and are worried about the state of the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re concerned about your job security as a result of the pandemic, a five-year CD may not be an effective choice at the moment.
You can still examine shorter-term CDs to save and earn some interest without tying up your funds for too long. Also, some institutions are not enforcing penalties due to the pandemic. Check to see if your bank is one of them.
If you still think a CD is the best choice for you during the pandemic, you can find strong one-year rates with some research. The national average is 0.19%, but one-year rates of 0.80% or 0.85% are out there.
If the COVID-19 economy has you on edge and you’re not sure about locking into even a one-year term, you can search for a no-penalty CD. No-penalty CDs give you the ability to save while still providing flexible access to your money.
Pros and Cons of CDs
With so many saving and investing methods available, you may want to look at the advantages and downsides associated with CDs.
CDs are a safe bet: CDs may not be exciting, but that’s part of the draw. They’re a safe investment. They’re protected by the FDIC for up to $250,000. Even if the bank shuts down, the money in your CD is safe. According to the FDIC, not a single person has lost money on a CD they insure.
CDs offer a good return: With the Fed’s lowering of interest rates, CD returns are not as far ahead of savings accounts as they used to be. The good news is, CDs offer fixed rates. So while savings account interest may drop again, your best CD rate will be locked in.
CDs provide a variety of options: Choose your yield. Choose your maturity term. Choose your financial institution. Even in an uncertain economy with a lower rate of return, they can be an attractive choice because you can move your short-term CD into a longer-term one when rates improve.
Your money is on lockdown: After you put money in a CD, you can’t access those funds without a penalty. Short-term CDs, no-penalty CDs, and CD laddering can provide you with some added flexibility.
Low returns come from low risk: Your money is safe in CDs, but that safety doesn’t provide a high rate of return.
Don’t forget taxes: The interest you earn on your CDs is subject to taxes. Depending on the rate of return, you may be looking at zero gains after taxes.
Whether the pros of CDs outweigh the cons is a personal decision, depending on your individual financial circumstances and goals. If you approach CDs as an informed investor, you can determine whether they’re the right savings option for you.
Are CDs safe?
Life comes with few guarantees, but CDs are very safe. Unlike stocks, you will not lose money in a CD due to the FDIC insurance. The FDIC doesn’t just cover brick-and-mortar banks, but online banks as well. If you use a credit union for your CDs, these institutions are insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Both the FDIC and NCUA cover up to $250,000 at an institution, and that amount includes interest. If you’re investing more than that in CDs, you should choose multiple financial institutions for the utmost protection. Another thing to remember is that in the digital age, institutions may not provide paper records. Make sure you keep your records, whether hard copy or electronic, so you don’t lose track of your CDs. While you may not earn much by investing in CDs, with this super-safe option, you won’t lose money either.
What happens if I withdraw from a CD early?
One of the disadvantages of putting your money in a CD is the early withdrawal penalty. If you have a CD with a five-year term and want to access funds after two years, you’re going to pay for the privilege. The amount varies from institution to institution, but an early withdrawal will cost you interest and perhaps even some principal. When you’re shopping around for CDs, you may want to look into no-penalty CDs. Though the rate of return will likely be lower, if you need to access the money rapidly, you won’t pay a fee. Also, with the economic impact of COVID-19, some financial institutions are setting aside early withdrawal penalties for CDs. Regulations vary, so you need to check with your bank or credit union to be sure.
What CD term length should I choose?
When you’re doing your CD research, you should weigh the term length against the rate of return. A CD with a three-month, six-month, or one-year term will give you relatively quick access to your funds but the rate of return will be lower. If you want to protect some money and save for a short-term goal, this may be a good way to go, and you’ll earn a little interest in the process. If you’re looking for a slightly higher rate of return without a long-term investment, consider a two- or three-year term CD. Remember, you cannot access the funds without paying a penalty, so you should have an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses. When you want to play the CD game for the long-term, you can choose a four- or five-year CDs. You’ll get the best rate of return and earn the most interest. If you find an institution with no minimum balance requirement, you won’t be tempted to tie up more cash than you can comfortably afford.
Should I put my emergency fund in a CD?
Putting your emergency fund in a CD may seem like a smart choice. It will keep you from chipping away at the account by spending on an unexpected night out or a spur-of-the-moment trip. The problem is, emergencies don’t happen with advance notice. If you need to access your funds for a legitimate unexpected cost and they are locked up in a CD, you are going to pay an early withdrawal fee. Now you’re facing an emergency, and it’s costing you more money. Most experts say your emergency fund should be able to cover your living expenses for three to six months. Evaluate your own needs – can you keep your emergency savings in a high-interest savings account and not touch it? Or do you need a short-term CD to make sure you won’t spend it?
What causes CD rates to rise?
When you put money in a CD, you lock in a fixed interest rate. That rate varies depending on the financial institution, the amount you deposit in the CD, and the length of the CD term. In general, the higher the deposit amount and longer the term, the higher the rate you can cement. CD rates fluctuate over time due to different factors. As the rate of inflation rises, the best CD rates go up as well. When the economy struggles and the Federal Reserve lowers interest rates, the rate of return for CDs drops. No one can say whether CD rates will rise or fall in the coming months.