My very first investment was in a certificate of deposit when I was a teenager. CDs back then paid more than 10%. While we can’t get that kind of return today, a certificate of deposit is a safe place to hold cash. Here’s our list of the best CD rates.
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 brink and mortar competitors by a country mile. Based on this evaluation, we’ve found the Synchrony Bank consistently offers some of the highest interest rates on CDs.
Our Top Picks
Synchrony Bank CDs – terms of 3 months to 5 years; $2,000 minimum balance
Synchrony Bank earns our top pick because it consistently pays top rates on CDs. It offers accounts with no fees and a low minimum balance. Opening an account is quick and easy. A $2,000 minimum is required to get the top rate. Synchrony is a FDIC-insured financial institution, so your money is safe up to the FDIC insurance limits.
If you’ve been paying attention to CD rates lately, you know they’ve been going up. CIT has taken it one step further by increasing their one year CD to a whopping rate of 2.50% APY. This is a great 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.
Best CD Rates Updated Daily
Here’s a list of current CD rates. These rates are updated throughout the day:
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; Rates: 0.75% to 3.00% APY; $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–13-month high-yield CD that currently pays 2.65% APY ($2,000 minimum opening deposit).
CIT Bank–Term: Up to 5 years; Rates: Up to 2.50% APY; $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; Rate: 0.35% to 3.10% APY; $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. Now, the interest rate is much higher for a 10-year CD; 3.10% APY.
Ally Bank–Term: 3 months to 5 years; Rate: 0.75% to 2.40% 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).
- Best Ally Bank CD–12-month High Yield CD that currently pays a 2.40% APY (Minimum deposit $25,000)
Barclays –Term: 3 months to 5 years; Rates: 0.35% to 2.85% APY; 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.
- Best Barclays Bank CD–12-month high-yield CD that currently pays 2.25% APY
PenFed Credit Union–Term: 6 months to 7 years; Rate: Up to 2.27% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit to open account
Pentagon Federal Credit Union is a newcomer to our list but has been around serving the United States since 1935.
With more than 1.6 million customers and over $25B in assets, PenFed Credit Union offers credit cards, savings accounts, CDs, and money market accounts. The application can be a little tricky if you’re not associated with the military, but anyone can join following a few easy steps.
High-yield CD rates from Pentagon Federal Credit Union start at six months and extend all the way out to seven years. The minimum amount to open a CD is $1,000. All deposit products are FDIC & NCUA insured.
- Best Pentagon Federal Credit Union CD–3-year high-yield CD that currently pays 1.92% APY
Marcus Bank–Term: 6 months to 6 years; Rate: 0.60% to 3.00% APY; $500 minimum deposit to open account
Marcus Bank–Headquartered in New York, Marcus Bank USA recently started opening up its deposit offerings online.
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.
- Best Marcus Bank USA CD–12-month high-yield CD that currently pays 2.30% APY
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 to 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.