Best Bank CD Rates

Our guide to the best-paying bank CDs available to anyone in the U.S

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Certificates of deposit can be a smart way to maximize earnings on cash savings you want to sock away for a while, but not long enough that investing in the market makes sense. Or perhaps your priority is earning a safe return you can count on without market volatility keeping you awake at night. In both cases, bank CDs allow you to lock in earnings that are virtually risk-free, and that are greater than what you can earn with most savings accounts.

CD rates vary quite substantially across institutions, with the top certificates paying three to five times as much as the national average — or even much more. So shopping around is a critical first step to earning as much bang for your CD buck as possible.

To make your CD shopping easier, we regularly research and compile the best rates from about 200 financial institutions that offer their CDs to customers nationwide. Below is our resulting list of the top CDs from brick-and-mortar banks, internet divisions of traditional banks, and online-only banks.

But be aware that credit unions are also an excellent source of high-paying certificates of deposit. In fact, the top nationwide credit union CDs often outpay those from nationwide banks. The trade-off is that joining a credit union often involves paying a small membership fee or donating to a nonprofit affiliated with the credit union.

Bank CDs can be a little simpler to open since banks don't require membership. The following list highlights the best-paying bank CDs that anyone nationwide can easily open -- no extra hoops required. To be eligible for our rankings, the banks must be FDIC-insured and must offer CDs with a minimum initial deposit of $25,000 or less.

Ranked by highest APY, then shortest term, then lowest minimum      
Best 3-Month Bank CDs Rate Term Minimum
TotalDirectBank 0.50% APY 3 months $25,000
TIAA Bank 0.35% APY 3 months $5,000
NexBank 0.35% APY 3 months $10,000
Best 6-Month Bank CDs Rate Term Minimum
Quontic Bank 0.55% APY 6 months $500
BankDirect 0.50% APY 6 months $10,000
TotalDirectBank 0.50% APY 6 months $25,000
Best 1-Year Bank CDs Rate Term Minimum
Live Oak Bank 0.75% APY 12 months $2,500
CFG Bank 0.67% APY 12 months $500
First National Bank of America 0.65% APY 12 months $1,000
Best 18-Month Bank CDs Rate Term Minimum
Live Oak Bank 0.75% APY 18 months $2,500
NexBank 0.75% APY 18 months $10,000
CFG Bank 0.70% APY 18 months $500
Best 2-Year Bank CDs Rate Term Minimum
Merrick Bank 0.80% APY 24 months $25,000
Quontic Bank 0.75% APY 24 months $500
First National Bank of America 0.75% APY 24 months $1,000
Best 3-Year Bank CDs Rate Term Minimum
Quontic Bank 1.00% APY 36 months $500
First National Bank of America 0.90% APY 36 months $1,000
Bank5 Connect 0.85% APY 36 months $500
Best 4-Year Bank CDs Rate Term Minimum
First National Bank of America 0.95% APY 48 months $1,000
State Bank of India-New York 0.95% APY 48 months $5,000
First Internet Bank 0.85% APY 48 months $1,000
Best 5-Year Bank CDs Rate Term Minimum
First National Bank of America 1.20% APY 60 months $1,000
Quontic Bank 1.11% APY 60 months $500
State Bank of India-New York 1.10% APY 60 months $5,000

Detailed information on the top nationally available bank CD in each term is provided below, including specifics about minimum deposits and early withdrawal penalties. 

For those wanting to explore more options — including credit union CDs — we also publish a complete list of the best nationwide CD rates, as well as stand-alone pages for the best 6-month, 1-year, 2-year, 3-year, 5-year, and 10-year CD rates.

Best 3-month bank CD: TotalDirectBank - 0.50% APY

  • Early withdrawal penalty: One month of interest
  • About: TotalDirectBank is an online-only operation of City National Bank of Florida, established in Miami in 1970.

Best 6-month bank CD: Quontic Bank - 0.55% APY

  • Early withdrawal penalty: All interest in the term
  • About: Quontic is an online-only bank established in 2005 and based in New York.

Best 1-year bank CD: Live Oak Bank - 0.75% APY

  • Early withdrawal penalty: Three months of interest
  • About: Live Oak Bank is an Internet-only bank established in Wilmington, N.C., in 2008.

Best 18-month bank CD: Live Oak Bank - 0.75% APY

  • Early withdrawal penalty: Three months of interest
  • About: Live Oak Bank is an Internet-only bank established in Wilmington, N.C., in 2008.

Best 2-year bank CD: Merrick Bank - 0.80% APY

  • Early withdrawal penalty: 3% of the account balance
  • About: Primarily a credit card issuer and consumer finance provider, Merrick Bank offers online-only certificates of deposit.

Best 3-year bank CD: Quontic Bank - 1.00% APY

  • Early withdrawal penalty: 24 months of interest
  • About: Quontic is an online-only bank established in 2005 and based in New York.

Best 4-year bank CD: First National Bank of America - 0.95% APY

  • Early withdrawal penalty: 18 months of interest
  • About: First National Bank of America is a Michigan-based community bank established in 1955. In addition to three branches in the state, FNBA offers online banking products to customers nationwide.

Best 5-year bank CD: First National Bank of America - 1.20% APY

  • Early withdrawal penalty: 18 months of interest
  • About: First National Bank of America is a Michigan-based community bank established in 1955. In addition to three branches in the state, FNBA offers online banking products to customers nationwide.

What Is a CD Bank Account?

A certificate of deposit account is simply another deposit product available at banks, alongside savings, money market, and checking accounts. But instead of depositing money that you can withdraw at will, or that you can add to overtime, CDs are generally a more fixed product that involves a one-time initial deposit and an agreement to keep those funds in the account without withdrawals for an established period of time, or maturity term.

The trade-off to locking in your funds is that you are in turn able to lock in the interest rate you’ll earn. Whereas a savings account rate can change at any time — or frequency — that the bank sees fit, opening a CD involves the bank making a written promise on the interest rate they’ll pay you for the duration of the term.


  • CDs represent an agreement between you and the bank that, in exchange for you depositing a certain amount of funds that you’ll leave on deposit for a set period of time, the bank will pay you a premium interest rate.
  • CDs are a good option for savings that are best not invested in the market due to an insufficient investment horizon or the need to have the funds earn a safe, reliable return that preserves capital.
  • The best-paying CDs in the country pay 3-5 times the national average, so shopping around is important for maximizing your return.
  • Your CD funds are equally safe in any bank that is FDIC-insured, whether the bank is physical, internet-only, or a hybrid of the two.
  • Although maximizing your CD earnings involves holding the certificate until maturity, all banks provide an option for early withdrawal, spelling out in advance what their penalty policy will be if you need to cash out prematurely. 

CDs are typically offered in standard maturity terms from 1 month to 10 years, with the most common terms ranging from 6 months to 5 years. But note that a bank can offer a CD in any term it wants. In fact, sometimes the top national rate is for an odd-term certificate — say, 5 months, or 19 months — which is being offered as a limited-time promotion.

How Much Do CDs Pay?

CDs generally offer a rate premium over more-liquid savings and money market accounts. That is, in exchange for your commitment to keep the funds in place, the bank will pay you more than it pays savings account holders.

Banks also typically pay a higher rate for longer commitments, as it means they can count on that money being in place for a longer period of time. So, on average, 5-year CDs pay a higher rate than 1-year CDs.

A higher initial deposit can also sometimes earn a more lucrative return, such as with jumbo CDs requiring $50,000, $100,000 or even $250,000. But many banks don’t offer jumbo tiers, and even when they do, the incremental rate improvement is often fairly small.

The FDIC calculates a weekly national average for various CD terms across all 4,000-plus FDIC banks. This average is extremely low, but fortunately it’s easy to earn many times more than that by simply doing your homework on the best current rates.

Why Do Shorter CDs Sometimes Pay More Than Longer Ones?

The longer you’ve agreed to hold your CD funds on account without touching them, the more cost-effective it is for the bank. That’s why, in theory, banks are willing to pay you more for longer commitments than short ones.

However, many other factors come into play regarding a particular bank’s deposit strategy. They must take into account what they expect will happen to national rates in the coming months and years, as well as how much in deposit assets they need to fund the lending side of their business, and how much in certificate balances they already have on hand for different maturity timeframes.

As a result, it’s not uncommon for a bank to offer a higher rate on one or more shorter terms in its menu. All this means is that it is using the more competitive rates to attract consumers to certain terms it believes are most beneficial to its current deposits portfolio.

Are Online Bank CDs Safe?

Traditional banks have been offering CDs for decades. But the banking environment has changed with the advent of the internet. Online banks now pepper the banking landscape, as do internet-only divisions of brick-and-mortar institutions.

The good news for CD shoppers is that the type of bank offering the CD is of little importance, so long as you verify that it’s FDIC-insured. That’s because internet banks are approved, regulated, and insured in just the same way that physical banks are. So whether you deposit $25,000 in a CD at a local branch of a bank in your community, or in a bank that operates only online with no branches at all, your money is equally protected.

This is especially fortunate when you learn that online banks are often among the top-paying CD banks. Given their lack of physical branches to operate, staff, and maintain, internet banks operate with lower overhead and are therefore generally able to pay higher rates to their customers.

What If I Need My Money Early?

While it’s true that locking your funds into a CD is the reason you can earn a higher return than with other savings accounts, it’s not impossible to withdraw your money early should you need to. Of course, doing so carries financial consequences, but the option is available if the need arises.

Every bank is required to have an established early withdrawal penalty policy, and as a potential CD depositor, you are entitled to be told what the policy is before you commit to a CD. It will also be spelled out in the official disclosures you're provided when opening a CD account.

The most common calculation method banks use to determine how much penalty you’ll incur is the deduction of a certain number of months’ interest from your balance at the time of early withdrawal, with the number of months of penalty interest often increasing for longer CDs.

For example, Bank XYZ might deduct 3 months of interest if you cash out a 1-year CD early. But if your certificate has a 5-year term, the early withdrawal penalty may be 12 or more months of interest.

Each bank can set their own policy, and the penalties vary widely. Though some are mild, others are quite onerous, with some policies even potentially reducing your principal. For this reason, it’s critically important to investigate the early withdrawal penalty policy for any bank CD you’re considering. Even if you don’t anticipate needing to cash out early, any policy that can eat into principal is best avoided, and when comparing two otherwise similar certificates, choose the one with the milder penalty -- just in case.

How To Open a Bank CD

Opening a certificate of deposit generally follows the same steps as opening any new bank account, and will involve more or less steps if you are a new customer of the bank or an established one.

You’ll first need to fill out an application. This is usually accomplished online, but can be done in-branch if you’re opening the certificate at a bank that operates in your community. Some banks also allow paper applications to be sent via U.S. mail.

If you’re not already a customer of the bank, you’ll need to prove your identity with photo identification. And you’ll be presented with various written account terms and disclosures that you’ll need to sign off on.

Just like with a savings or checking account, you’ll be presented with various options for making your initial deposit, whether that’s at the time of account opening or slightly later. Most banks offer transfers from another account at that bank, an external transfer from another bank, or a check that’s mailed in or submitted via mobile deposit.

Just remember that, unlike a savings or checking account, your initial CD deposit is a one-time deal. You cannot make a small deposit to open the account and then a large deposit to complete the certificate balance later. Every dollar you want committed to the CD must typically be deposited in a singular initial deposit.

As soon as you’ve completed the account opening process, it’s smart to put a reminder on your calendar a month or two before the CD will mature, so that you can think ahead about what you want to do with the money when it becomes available, and can watch your mail for a notice from your bank about how to convey your CD maturity instructions.

If you aren't looking to lock your money up for a period of time and want easier access to it, you could look at opening a high-yield savings account as an alternative. Below are some savings account options from our partners which can be competitive with the rates you can earn on CDs. It should be noted that unlike a CD, where your rate is locked in, with a savings account the bank or credit union can change your rate at any time.