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Best CD Rates of March 2024

CD Rates for Both Short- and Long-Term Savings Goals

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We review more than 150 banks and credit unions each weekday to find the best certificates of deposit (CD) rates available nationwide. The top picks have the highest rates for a particular term based on annual percentage yield (APY) and are available to the public.

We also look at certificates of deposit with slightly shorter and longer terms than each category we’ve named to determine the overall best CD rate within a range. For example, for the best 3-month CDs we considered products with terms of two to four months.

When multiple banks or credit unions offer the same rate, we favor those with the lowest minimum deposit and friendly early-withdrawal policies. We track APYs daily but re-evaluate the list weekly, and all accounts that make our list are insured by either the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the National Credit Union Administration.

Scroll down for the top CD rates available as of Mar. 4, 2024.

Best CD Rates of March 2024

  • Best 3-Month and 1-Year CDs: TotalDirectBank
  • Best 6-Month CD: Andrews Federal Credit Union
  • Best 18-Month CD: Fortera Credit Union
  • Best 2-Year CD: Pelican State Credit Union
  • Best 3-Year CD: EFCU Financial
  • Best 4-Year CD: BMO Alto
  • Best 5-Year CD: First Internet Bank
  • Best 10-Year CD: Apple Federal Credit Union
Best 3-Month CDs (2–4 months included) APY Minimum Deposit Early Withdrawal Penalty
TotalDirectBank 5.51% $25,000 1 month of interest
Dow Credit Union 5.30% $500 3 months of interest
Banesco USA 5.25% $1,500 3 months of interest
Best 6-Month CDs(5–9 months included) APY Minimum Deposit Early Withdrawal Penalty
Andrews Federal Credit Union 5.75% $1,000 3 months of interest
Newtek Bank 5.55% $2,500 3 months of interest
One American Bank 5.51% $500 9 months of interest
Best 1-Year CDs(10–14 months included) APY Minimum Deposit Early Withdrawal Penalty
TotalDirectBank 5.50% $25,000 3 months of interest
Financial Resources Federal Credit Union (13 months) 5.43% $500 180 days of interest
ConnectOne Bank (13 months) 5.40% $500 6 months of interest
Best 18-Month CDs(15–20 months included) APY Minimum Deposit Early Withdrawal Penalty
Fortera Credit Union 5.35% $1,000 6 months of interest
MTC Federal Credit Union (15 months) 5.25% $5,000 $25 plus 2% of amount withdrawn
Technology Credit Union (17 months) 5.25% $1,000 6 months of interest
Best 2-Year CDs(21–29 months included) APY Minimum Deposit Early Withdrawal Penalty
Pelican State Credit Union 5.27% $500 9 months of interest
Credit Human 5.20% $500 Greater of $50 or 270 days of interest
Department of Commerce Federal Credit Union (21 months) 5.12% $25,000 180 days of interest
Best 3-Year CDs(30–41 months included) APY Minimum Deposit Early Withdrawal Penalty
EFCU (30 months) 5.00% $500 6 months of interest
DollarSavingsDirect 5.00% $1,000 6 months of interest
Transportation Federal Credit Union 5.00% $1,000 6 months of interest
Best 4-Year CDs(42–53 months included) APY Minimum Deposit Early Withdrawal Penalty
BMO Alto 4.60% $0 180 days of interest
Credit Human 4.60% $500 Greater of $50 or 365 days interest
Department of Commerce Federal Credit Union (42 months) 4.60% $25,000 180 days of interest
Best 5-Year CDs(54–66 months included) APY Minimum Deposit Early Withdrawal Penalty
First Internet Bank 4.61% $1,000 360 days of interest
Credit Human 4.60% $500 Greater of $50 or 365 days interest
BMO Alto 4.60% $0 180 days of interest
Best 10-Year CDs (114–120 months included) APY Minimum Deposit Early Withdrawal Penalty
Apple Federal Credit Union 4.00% $500 All dividends earned (1,095 days maximum)
Credit Human 4.00% $500 1,095 days of dividends ($50 minimum)
Discover® Bank 3.75% $2,500 24 months of interest

Best 3-Month and 1-Year CDs : TotalDirectBank

TotalDirectBank is a division of City National Bank of Florida, which originally was established as North Shore Bank in 1946. TotalDirectBank keeps the product lineup simple, with money market accounts and CDs with terms of up to five years. Anyone in the U.S. (except those in Florida, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and U.S. Virgin Islands) can open a money market or CD account.

Best 6-Month CD : Andrews Federal Credit Union

Andrews Federal Credit Union started in 1948 with just eight members, and now you can join with a complimentary membership to the American Consumer Council (just use promo code “Andrews”) and $5 in a credit union savings account. Members have access to a wide variety of accounts, credit cards, and loans, and Andrews FCU also provides free FICO credit scores to customers.

Best 18-Month CD : Fortera Credit Union

Chartered in 1954, Fortera Credit Union is headquartered in Clarksville, Tennessee, with numerous branches between Nashville, Tennessee, and Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Membership is available to anyone nationwide. Accounts can be opened and managed online or through an app for Android and Apple devices. Fortera also is part of the CO-OP network of shared branches and ATMs.

Best 2-Year CD : Pelican State Credit Union

Pelican State Credit Union was first chartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1956 as the Department of Hospitals Credit Union. It took its current name in 1988. Membership is available to anyone nationwide who joins ARC Baton Rouge by paying its $5 membership fee. The organization dates back to 1954 and serves children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

In addition to CDs, the credit union offers a full slate of banking options for individuals and businesses, including checking and savings accounts and several types of loans. Pelican has numerous branches throughout Louisiana and is a member of the Dolphin ATM network and the CO-OP shared branch network. Members also can manage their accounts online and through an app for Android and Apple devices.

Best 3-Year CD : EFCU Financial

EFCU Financial was established in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in the 1930s as the 13th federal credit union in the U.S. It began with 178 members and $941.70. After several name and affiliation changes since its beginnings, it took its current name in 2015.

The credit union has eight branches in the Baton Rouge area, but membership is available nationwide with online and mobile banking and access to shared branches through the CO-OP Shared Branch Network and ATMs through the Allpoint network.

Best 4-Year CD : BMO Alto

BMO Alto is an online-only division of BMO Harris, which is a U.S. subsidiary of Bank of Montreal, the eighth-largest bank in North America. BMO has been around for over 200 years. It offers a full line of personal and business banking products and services, including checking, savings, retirement accounts, mortgages, credit cards, lines of credit, and more. 

Best 5-Year CD : First Internet Bank

As its name implies, First Internet Bank was the first FDIC-insured institution to operate entirely online, beginning in 1999. Its corporate headquarters are in Indiana.

First Internet Bank offers CDs in a variety of terms up to five years. In addition to CDs, there is a full suite of banking products and services including checking, savings, money markets, HSAs, and child accounts, as well as loans, credit cards, and business banking services.

Best 10-Year CD : Apple Federal Credit Union

Apple Federal Credit Union was founded in 1956 and has branches in northern Virginia. But customers nationwide can access accounts and use shared locations (including over 53,000 ATMs) through shared branching. If you’re not already eligible to join the credit union, you can qualify by joining the nonprofit Northern Virginia Athletic Directors, Administrators, and Coaches. Known as the NVADACA, this organization supports student athletes, offers membership at $20 per year. To get started with Apple Federal Credit Union, you’ll need to open a savings account with at least $5.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a CD?

A CD is a “time deposit” that pays a fixed interest rate for a specific length of time. For most people, a CD is an account that you use at a bank or credit union, but you can also purchase CDs through brokerage accounts. Either way, you select a length of time to invest in the CD, and you earn interest during that time.

How Do CDs Work?

A CD holds your money for a specified length of time (such as six months or two years), and your bank or credit union pays you interest based on the amount of your deposit and the length of the term. 

When you use a CD, you typically commit to leaving your money in the account. In return for that commitment, banks usually pay higher interest rates than they do in more liquid savings accounts. But if you need your money before the term ends, you may have to pay an early withdrawal penalty.

How Do Early Withdrawal Penalties Work?

Banks and credit unions often penalize you for withdrawing funds from a CD before the term is up. In many cases, they calculate the penalty as a certain number of months’ worth of interest. For example, Discover Bank charges six months’ worth of interest if you pull out of a 1-year CD early. That penalty increases to 18 months’ worth of interest on 5-year CDs.

Paying a penalty is never fun, and it can be particularly problematic when you cash out early in the term. Depending on how long your money stays in a CD, you might even receive less back than you originally deposited.

What Are the Pros and Cons of CDs?

CDs often pay higher interest rates than you can earn in a savings account. Banks and credit unions tend to pay more when you agree to lock up your money for a specific length of time. Plus, if interest rates fall and the bank pays new customers lower rates, you keep earning the same higher APY throughout the term of your CD.

To earn a higher rate, however, you need to commit to leaving your money with the bank. Pulling out early may result in early-withdrawal penalties, which can wipe out your earnings. Also, if interest rates rise, you may be stuck with a comparatively low rate until your CD matures.

  • Higher interest rates than savings accounts

  • Earnings won’t change if interest rates drop

  • Must lock up your money

  • Potential early withdrawal penalties

  • Might get stuck with a low rate while other interest rates rise

How Can You Manage Risks?

To help reduce your risk, some banks offer liquid CDs that allow you to withdraw funds early or request a rate increase. But there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Those products might start with lower rates than standard CDs, which is only fair, considering you can get out easily. More on that in the No-Penalty CD section below. You can also use a laddering strategy to manage some of the challenges that come with investing in CDs.

What Is a CD Ladder?

A CD ladder is a set of multiple CDs you purchase with different maturity dates, which helps you avoid locking up all of your money at once. With that approach, you might purchase a series of CDs with maturities in six-month increments. As a result, you periodically have cash available for planned (and unplanned) needs, or you can buy a new CD at the going rate. For example, if you have $10,000 to put into CDs, you might invest the following:

  • 6-month CD: $2,500 
  • 12-month CD $2,500 
  • 18-month CD $2,500 
  • 24-month CD: $2,500 

Ideally, every time one of these CDs matures, you would buy a new 24-month CD with the proceeds to begin the cycle again.

Rates might be higher or lower when you reinvest into a new CD, but constantly cycling your money could still have benefits. You maintain flexibility and avoid putting all of your money into long-term CDs at a bad time.

Is Money Safe in a CD?

When your funds are federally insured, they’re safe from bank and credit union failures. There may be a brief delay in receiving your money (or no delay at all) immediately following a bank failure, but when you’re using CDs, you’re probably weren’t planning to use the funds immediately anyway. To verify that your cash is protected, look for the following types of coverage:

  • FDIC insurance at banks
  • NCUA coverage at federally-insured credit unions

Both of these programs insure your money up to $250,000 per depositor, per institution, so it’s critical to keep your balances below the insured limits. You might be able to have more than $250,000 insured at one place, depending on how your accounts are titled.

What Influences CD Rates?

Several factors affect how much you earn from a CD. For starters, banks decide how competitive they want to be. If they have an appetite for new customers, they may nudge rates higher. Economic factors also influence CD rates. As rates rise or fall in financial markets, savings and CD rates tend to move in synchrony, although they might not react immediately (especially when it’s time to pay you more).

The length of your CD is critical. In general, you might expect longer-term CDs to pay more because you’re taking more risk—you’re committing to more months or years of unknowns. But the relationship is not always as direct as you might think. For example, if banks think rates might fall in the next several years, long-term CDs might pay rates that are similar to (or lower than) 1-year and 2-year CDs.

As a rule of thumb, long-term CDs have higher rates than short-term CDs. Still, it’s worth comparing rates from several banks for any terms you’re interested in.

What Should You Look for in a CD?

As you shop among banks, find a CD that’s the best fit for your finances. Pay careful attention to the features below.

  • Interest rate: The higher the rate, the faster your money grows. The easiest way to compare rates is to use the annual percentage yield (APY), which banks typically provide for you. That quote takes compounding frequency into account and helps you make an apples-to-apples comparison.
  • Minimum deposit: How much do you need to invest to use a CD? Some banks do not set any minimum, while others might require more than $1,000 to get started.
  • Fees: Monthly fees in CD accounts are rare, but it's smart to verify that you won't pay additional charges to use a CD. Anything you pay will reduce your earnings.
  • Joining fees: All of the credit unions we include on our best CD lists are available nationwide, but sometimes you’re required to make a donation to an organization in order to join the credit union. This fee is usually small, but it’s one more hoop you have to jump through to get the CD.
  • Penalties: Examine the early-withdrawal penalties, and evaluate how likely it is that you’ll need to cash out early. Weigh the pros and cons of liquid CDs.

Calculate how much extra you can earn by getting the highest rate available, and decide if that’s what you really need. If you have a relatively small account balance, a difference of a few tenths of a percent may not make much difference and there may be other factors that are more important to you.

As you compare banks, you may notice language about compounding frequency (daily or monthly compounding, for example). All other things being equal, more frequent compounding is best. But you can ignore those details by simply comparing each bank’s APY, which includes compounding.

What Is a No-Penalty CD?

Some CDs allow you to withdraw money before maturity. These “no-penalty” or “liquid” CDs can provide flexibility for unexpected expenses and other situations. For example, you might be allowed to withdraw 100% of the money you deposit after six days, but the account pays a guaranteed rate of interest for 11 months. 

What’s the catch? In many cases, no-penalty CDs start at a lower rate than standard, inflexible CDs. You enjoy the benefit of flexibility, and the bank has less certainty about how long it can use your money. As a result, you earn slightly less.

Do You Have to Pay Taxes on Interest From CDs?

You typically have to pay tax on the interest you earn from CDs in taxable accounts, including joint accounts, individual accounts, and other types of accounts. If you use CDs in a retirement account, such as an IRA, you generally would not pay taxes on the earnings each year—but you might owe taxes when you take distributions from that account.

What Are Some Alternatives to CDs?

CDs are excellent tools for growing your money, but other products from banks and credit unions might also do the job.

Savings accounts provide more flexibility when you need money, but they don’t have fixed rates. That can work in your favor when rates rise. But if rates fall or remain stagnant, you might be better off in a CD.

Money market accounts are similar to savings accounts, but they may make it easier to spend money from your account. Some money market accounts provide a debit card or checkbook for spending, while others may require you to move your savings to a checking account before you spend.

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Article Sources
  1. City National Bank. "History."

  2. TotalDirectBank. "Leverage Our Financial Strength and Stability."

  3. TotalDirectBank. "FAQs."

  4. Pelican State Credit Union. "Who We Are."

  5. Pelican State Credit Union. "Associations."

  6. Pelican State Credit Union. "Sulphur Branch."

  7. Apple Federal Credit Union. "Join Apple."

  8. Apple Federal Credit Union. "About Us."

  9. NVADACA. "NVADACA Membership."

  10. Apple Federal Credit Union. "Become a Member."

  11. Discover Bank. "Certificate of Deposit."

  12. NCUA. "How Your Accounts Are Federally Insured."

  13. FDIC. "Are My Deposit Accounts Insured by the FDIC?"

  14. Internal Revenue Service. "Topic No. 403, Interest Received."

  15. Internal Revenue Service. "Topic No. 451, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs)."

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