Even the best returns on 6-month CDs won't do much to boost your net worth, but they're a safe place to stash any cash you expect to need next winter.
There are currently 10 banks paying 0.61% APY or better on 6-month CDs, according to our May survey of the top nationally available deals.
You'll get the best deal from Doral Bank Direct, which is offering 0.88% APY with a very affordable $500 minimum deposit.
Doral seems to be determined to stay at the top. It's been leading the pack on 6-month CD rates since mid-August, which is as long as any bank has led any term in our survey.
Though Doral is paying almost three-quarters of a percentage point higher than the current national average of 6-month CDs, rates on this term are still incredibly low, and they probably won't be moving up anytime soon.
The Federal Reserve has driven savings rates to record lows and plans to keep them there until the unemployment rate falls to 6.5%. .
Unemployment is moving in the right direction, falling to 7.5% in the April jobs report, but there's still a long way to go before the Fed says it will allow interest rates to move upward.
It's unlikely that interest rates will be any higher when a 6-month CD purchased now matures next winter.
Here are the best nationally available 6-month certificates of deposit, as of today:
|Doral Bank Direct||0.88%||$500|
|Colorado Federal Bank||0.70%||$5,000|
|State Bank of India-Chi||0.70%||$2,500|
|Ally Bank||0.61%||No minimum|
To qualify for this list, a bank must allow savers from all 50 states to buy its certificates of deposit online or through the mail.
Click here to compare these returns with the top CD rates from dozens of banks in your area.
Our CD calculator will help you figure out the interest you'll earn, for any term, amount and interest rate.
|Doral Bank Direct||The online bank of Doral Bank, the leading community bank in Puerto Rico, which also has five branches in northwest Florida and two in New York City.||www.doralbankdirect.com|
|Eh National||Which has a single branch in Beverly Hills, Calif.||www.ehnbank.com|
|Colorado Federal Savings Bank||An online bank based in Greenwood Village, Colo.||www.coloradofederalbank.com|
|Discover Bank||An online bank owned by the credit card company.||www.discover.com|
|Atlantic Coast Bank||Which has 11 branches in northeast Florida and southeast Georgia.||www.atlanticcoastbank.net|
|State Bank of India-Chicago||The FDIC-insured Chicago branch of India's largest bank, which operates independently of other U.S. branches.||www.sbichicago.com|
|Ascencia||The online division of PBI Bank, which has 18 branches in Kentucky.||www.ascenciabank.com|
|Virtual Bank||The online division of Sabadell United Bank, based in Miami.||www.virtualbank.com|
|GE Capital Retail Bank||An online bank that is a subsidiary of GE Capital Corp., the financial services unit of the manufacturing giant.||banking.gecrb.com|
|Ally Bank||An online bank based in Charlotte, N.C.||www.ally.com|
Nervous savers have also pulled billions of dollars out of the stock market and flooded banks with cash.
Consumer savings in bank accounts, excluding business and institutional accounts, had grown to $8.2 trillion by the end of last year, up from $3.8 trillion in December 2001, according to Market Rates Insight Inc. in San Anselmo, Calif.
That's much more money than they have been willing to lend out.
Data compiled by SNL Financial of Charlottesville, Va., show that deposits continued to grow more quickly than loans during the third quarter of 2012.
Banks were able to loan out only 72.4% of their deposits, down from more than 93.0% in early 2008, when the financial crisis was just beginning.
As a result, savers have seen the returns on their CDs, savings and money market accounts drop to nearly nothing. The banks don't need, or even want, any more of our money.
Dismayed investors could only watch as the average return on 6-month CDs fell from 1.86% APY on Dec. 16, 2008, when the federal funds rate was cut to zero, to 0.15% APY, today.
Contributing editor Darci Swisher contributed to this report.
Follow Mitch Strohm on Google Plus.