Most investors consider a CD to be a safe, conservative place to hold assets. The assets don't just sit there, though. They earn interest in return. Traditional CDs typically yield returns greater than the rates offered by other insured investments, such as checking and savings accounts. Rates vary from CD to CD, but they are near the current rate of inflation, in general.

When comparing the interest rates of various CDs, it is important to understand the difference between annual percentage yield (APY) and annual percentage rate (APR). APY is the total amount of interest the CD will earn in one year, taking compound interest into account. APR is the stated interest earned in one year, without taking compounding into account. (To learn more, read APR Vs. APY: How The Distinction Affects You.)

Compounding involves the timing of interest calculation (or payment). A CD that pays interest only once a year will yield (in a year) only the exact amount of interest paid. When interest is paid several times a year, the yield total is the sum of the interest from each payment. Because the interest paid during the year earns interest in the account just as the original deposit does, compounded yield is greater than the yield for a once-a-year calculation.

For example, if Yuko purchases a one-year, \$1,000 CD that pays 5% semiannually, she will receive an interest payment of \$25 after the first six months (\$1,000 x 5% x .5 year). The \$25 payment begins earning interest of its own, which over the next six months amounts to \$0.625 (\$25 x 5% x .5 year). As a result, the yield is actually 5.06%, instead of 5% ,for a CD that pays 5% only once a year. The .06 may not seem like much at first, but compounding adds up as both the principal and interest continue to earn interest over time.

While traditional CDs are popular with investors, CDs are also available in a variety of configurations, offering a range of features and investment strategies. Read on to learn about the various models of this conservative place to stash your cash.

Certificates Of Deposit: The Basic Model
Related Articles
1. Investing

### Are CDs Good Protection For The Bear Market?

Certificates of deposit promise stable income in any market, but do they deliver?
2. Investing

### How To Earn The Most From CDs When Interest Rates Are Low

Certificates of deposit might not seem like a good place to keep your money when interest rates are low, but they do offer security and stability. And with laddering and studying promotional ...
3. Investing

### Certificate of Deposit (CD)

A certificate of deposit, or CD, is a common financial product sold by banks, thrift organizations and credit unions. This type of product is often called a time deposit. CDs are insured up to ...
4. Managing Wealth

### Save Smart With A CD Ladder

5. Managing Wealth

### How To Create A Laddered CD Portfolio

Laddered certificates of deposit offer safe capital and predictable cash flow, while bringing simplicity to your portfolio.
6. Investing

### Callable CDs: Check The Fine Print

These offer higher returns than regular certificates of deposit, but there's a catch.
7. Investing

### Money Market vs. CDs: Which Is the Better Investment?

Find out which short-term savings vehicle, a money market account or a certificate of deposit, is a better investment for your needs.
8. Investing

### Long-Term Investing With Equity Index CDs

Equity Index CDs are perfect for investors who don't mind hanging in for the long term.