If you’re looking for a safe place to stash your cash and earn interest, a certificate of deposit is worth considering. CDs are a low-risk way to grow your savings faster while avoiding the temptation to dip into your funds before you need them.
When you open a CD, you agree to keep your money in the account for a set period, or term. In exchange, you lock in a fixed interest rate for the duration of that term. And with today’s top CDs offering annual percentage yields, or APYs, up to 5.5%, that can really boost your earnings -- especially since high rates won’t stick around forever.
Experts recommend comparing rates before opening a CD account to get the best APY possible. Enter your information below to get CNET’s partners’ best rate for your area.
Today’s best CD rates
Here are some of the top CD rates currently available and how much you could earn by depositing $5,000 right now:
|BMO Alto; CommunityWide Federal Credit Union
|Bread Savings; CommunityWide Federal Credit Union; Limelight Bank
|First Internet Bank of Indiana
Short-term CDs currently outperform long-term CDs
CD rates are affected by the federal funds rate, which determines how much it costs banks to borrow and lend money to each other. When the Federal Reserve raises this rate, banks tend to do the same, raising interest rates on consumer products like credit cards, savings accounts and CDs to attract new customers and boost their cash flow.
Starting in March 2022, the Fed regularly increased the federal funds rate to combat rampant inflation, and CD rates skyrocketed in response. The inflation rate has a way to go before reaching the Fed’s 2% target, but inflation has begun cooling. As a result, the Fed chose to pause rate hikes at its last three meetings -- and CD rates leveled off. The last months of 2023 saw many banks begin lowering rates across CD terms.
Here’s where APYs are compared to last week:
|CNET average APY
|Average FDIC rate
*Percentage increase/decrease from Jan. 16, 2024, to Jan. 22, 2024.
The Fed’s next meeting is Jan. 30-31, and experts expect it will opt for another rate hike pause before it starts lowering rates in mid to late 2024. This may be why short-term CDs currently pay more, on average, than long-term ones -- banks may be hesitant to lock customers into a higher rate for a longer period, knowing rates are likely to drop in the coming months.
“Based on today’s rates, the sweet spot for CDs is on the shorter-term CDs that are offering higher rates than their longer-term companions,” said Dana Menard, founder and lead financial planner at Twin Cities Wealth Strategies. “Also, the short-term lock can make sense if you don’t need the liquidity over the short term you’d be locking in rates for.”
Why you should open a CD today
A fixed rate of return (especially if rates are falling) isn’t the only perk of opening a CD now. CDs held at banks covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. or credit unions insured by the National Credit Union Administration are protected by federal deposit insurance up to $250,000 per person, per institution if the bank fails. This makes them a low-risk way to grow your savings.
Plus, most banks charge a fee if you withdraw money before the CD matures. This can eat away at your earnings and give you pause if you’re thinking of tapping your funds before you need them.
What to look for when comparing CD accounts
In addition to a competitive APY, here’s what you should look for when comparing CD accounts:
- How soon you’ll need the funds: Early withdrawal penalties can chip away at your interest earnings. So be sure to choose a term that fits your savings timeline.
- Minimum deposit requirement: Some CDs require a certain amount to open an account -- typically, $500 to $1,000. Others have no minimum deposit requirement. How much money you have to put away can help you narrow down your account options.
- Fees: Fees can erode your balance. Many online banks don’t charge maintenance fees. They have lower overhead costs than banks with physical branches, and they pass these savings down to consumers through higher rates and fewer fees. Still, be sure to read the fine print for any account you’re considering.
- Federal deposit insurance: Confirm that any institution you’re considering is an FDIC or NCUA member to ensure your money is protected in the event of a bank failure.
- Customer ratings and reviews: Read what customers say about the bank you’re considering on sites like Trustpilot to make sure the bank is responsive, professional and easy to work with.
CNET reviews CD rates based on the latest APY information from issuer websites. We evaluated CD rates from more than 50 banks, credit unions and financial companies. We evaluate CDs based on APYs, product offerings, accessibility and customer service.
The current banks included in CNET’s weekly CD averages are: Alliant Credit Union, Ally Bank, American Express National Bank, Barclays, Bask Bank, Bread Savings, Capital One, CFG Bank, CIT, Fulbright, Marcus by Goldman Sachs, MYSB Direct, Quontic, Rising Bank, Synchrony, EverBank, Popular Bank, First Internet Bank of Indiana, America First Federal Credit Union, CommunityWide Federal Credit Union, Discover, Bethpage, BMO Alto, Limelight Bank, First National Bank of America, Connexus Credit Union.