Best CD Rates For December 2019

If you’re looking for a way to increase the amount of interest you earn on the money you have in savings, you may want to take a look at certificates of deposit, or CDs. CD rates are higher than the rates you’ll get with a savings account.In return for higher CD interest rates, the bank will expect you to deposit your money in an account for an extended period of time, which can span a few months to a few years. If you withdraw your funds before the time limit is up, you’ll probably end up paying a penalty for early withdrawal.

If you’re reasonably sure you won’t need to access that large sum of money sitting idle in your savings account, investing that money with a bank that offers the highest CD rates might make sense for you. If you’re interested in learning more about CDs, check out the guide below to find out how they compare to other investments and which banks offer the best current CD rates.

The Best Current CD Rates for December 2019

Bank1 year APY3 year APY5 year APYMinimum DepositBest For:
Ally2.00%2.10%2.25%No minimumInvestors looking for a wide range of CD options
Capital One2.10%1.65%1.60%No minimumCustomers who are comfortable with online banking
Discover2.20%2.05%2.10%$2,500Investors looking for higher APY rates
TIAA Bank2.10%2.15%2.20%$5,000Bigger investors interested in CDARS
Marcus2.00%2.05%2.15%$500Customers with long-term savings plans
Charles Schwab1.80%1.80%1.90%$1,000Investors putting money in multiple accounts
Synchrony2.00%2.10%2.25%$2,000Investors who can meet the $2,000 minimum deposit
Alliant Credit Union1.93%1.98%2.08%$1,000Members looking for great rates and customer service

What is a CD?

As we touched on above, a certificate of deposit, also known as a “share certificate” at credit unions, is a way to earn a high interest rate on your savings by leaving your money in the bank for a specific amount of time. In general, a CD is less liquid because you can’t access the money during the term you agreed to without penalty, so you earn a higher interest rate in return. CD terms can be as short as 3 months or as long as 5 years, or sometimes longer, and the general rule is that the longer the term you agree to, the better the interest rate.

CDs are a safer investment than other high yield investments, like money market accounts or the stock market, because the FDIC insures deposits at member banks and credit unions up to the maximum amount allowed by law. You won’t lose your money as the market fluctuates, nor will your interest rate decrease (unless you agreed to a variable interest rate), so you’ll have the peace of mind with a CD that your money is safely tucked away.

Because CD interest rates are higher than traditional savings accounts, they can be a great way to maximize the return on your money in more ways than one. As a rule, putting your money into a CD will boost both your interest rate and your annual percentage yield, which is the return that comes from compounding the interest over the course of the term.

For example, in December 2019, Marcus by Goldman Sachs is offering APYs ranging from 2.00% to 2.15% APY, and the yield on Alliant Credit Union’s CDs ranges from 1.93% APY to 2.08% APY. At the same time, the average interest rate for savings accounts across all financial institutions during that time was 1.65% APY, much lower than the rates offered on CDs.

Most banks and credit unions typically require you to hold a minimum balance in your savings account or face monthly charges, and these charges can offset any interest you may have earned. That’s quite different than the life of a CD. As long as you keep your money in your CD for the length of the term, you will likely not incur any monthly charges.

CDs vs Money Market Accounts

In general, CDs offer the highest interest rates. However, they also require you to set aside your money for a predetermined period of time. Make an early withdrawal, and you may get hit with a penalty. Money Market accounts offer you more flexibility to withdraw money on short notice, similar to the flexibility provided by a savings account.

With a money market account, you earn variable interest, but with a CD, you earn comparatively higher interest rates. Like savings accounts, money market accounts allow you to make up to six monthly withdrawals. Withdrawals during a CDs term will often result in a penalty.

CDs vs Savings Accounts

If your money is in a savings account, it’s available when you need it. Savings accounts are a useful way to stow money away for unexpected emergencies or large purchases. CDs, on the other hand, often charge a penalty if you want to withdraw your money before the agreed upon term is up. Your interest rate is most often higher and fixed for the length of the term, though, while interest rates on a savings account can, and do, fluctuate and are lower than CDs.

Traditional CDs vs IRA CDs

CDs and an IRA CDs look similar on the surface, but if you dig a little deeper you’ll find subtle differences. An IRA CD is a CD that you buy with the funds you have in your retirement account and there are tax breaks on this type of CD. If you were to invest all the retirement funds in your IRA in a CD, then the IRA would become an IRA CD.

You can deposit as much as you like into a regular CD, provided that you’re following the terms of the CD and the bank. With an IRA CD, you are restricted as to how much you can invest. Both types of CDs may have early withdrawal penalties, but with an IRA CD, an early withdrawal will trigger taxes and penalties related to your retirement account. You can earn higher interest rates with an IRA CD, but the terms are usually longer than with CDs.

Top CD Providers

Ally

Current Rate on a 1-year CD: 2.00% APY

Ally is one of the best online banks in the industry. In fact, Ally guarantees you’ll get the best rate on your CD with the Ally ten-day best rate guarantee. If Ally’s CD rate goes up within 10 days of closing on your CD, they will raise your rate to the higher one. Ally also offers a 0.05% loyalty reward if you renew your current CD. You can renew and choose any CD they offer. Ally also has no minimum balance requirements and it’s convenient to manage your account online.

Capital One

Current Rate on a 1-year CD: 2.10% APY

It’s a common belief that Capital One only offers credit cards, but they have become a top contender in the CD market thanks to their awesome CD rates. With Capital One, there is no minimum deposit for 360 CDs and they are FDIC insured.

Discover

Current Rate on a 1-year CD: 2.00% APY

Discover may be known for cash-back credit cards, but they recently entered the CD market with competitive rates and top notch customer service. There’s an app to monitor and access your account, and Discover is one of the only banks that offer CDs with a duration as short as 3 months. They do have an early withdrawal penalty, though, so if your CD term is less than 1 year, the penalty is worth 3 months of simple interest.

TIAA Bank

Current Rate on a 1-year CD: 2.10% APY

TIAA Bank offers a wide range of CDs, including their Yield Pledge CDs, which come with higher rates than the bank’s regular CDs. Yield Pledge CD rates are also often higher rates than the competitors, plus you can choose from terms that range from 3 months to 5 years with a $5,000 minimum deposit. TIAA also offers a Bump Rate CD that starts at an incredibly high rate for a CD and gives you a one-time option to bump your rate during the term of your CD, so if the interest rate increases, you can take advantage of it. On the downside, TIAA locations are limited. This bank only has brick-and-mortar locations in Florida.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Current Rate on a 1-year CD: 2.00% APY

Marcus offers three no-penalty CD options and high yield CDs with nine different terms to choose from. Like TIAA, they offer a 10-day CD rate guarantee and no transaction fees. Marcus doesn’t have a mobile app or physical locations, though, so you’ll have to rely on either the Marcus website, the Goldman Sachs website or customer service for access to your accounts. They do offer CDs with a $500 minimum deposit and very competitive interest rates, though.

Charles Schwab

Current Rate on a 1-year CD: 1.80% APY

Charles Schwab offers brokered CDs, which are sold by a broker rather than a bank. Different banks issue them, so you can choose a competitive rate and term length that’s best for you. They also allow you the opportunity to choose from variable or fixed rate CDs. Some CDs require high minimum deposits, though, and instead of compounding interest, the interest is paid into your brokerage account at different intervals.

Synchrony

Current Rate on a 1-year CD: 2.00% APY

Synchrony is an online bank that offers great savings opportunities on some of the highest-rate CDs available, and they offer a wide range of term options, too. They don’t charge a monthly service fee, but they do require a rather high $2,000 minimum deposit, even on basic CDs. The minimum deposit may pose a hardship for some, but with that higher deposit comes the opportunity to earn more interest.

Alliant Credit Union

Current Rate on a 1-year CD: 1.93% APY

Alliant Credit Union serves people who work for, or previously worked for, certain employers, including United Airlines. They also serve family members of existing Alliant members, along wtih people who live or work in certain communities in Illinois, members of select organizations, or anyone who makes a $5 donation to the nonprofit group Foster Care to Success. Alliant currently has more than 390,000 members across the U.S., as well as competitive CD rates. There’s a minimum deposit of $1,000, though, and an early withdrawal penalties. The best way to apply is online.

The Impact of 0.10% on $1,000

Depending on what you’re looking for, you may end up considering several types of CDs, including IRA CDs held in a tax-advantaged account, jumbo CDs, which have a high minimum-balance requirement,or a liquid CD that allows you to take funds out without incurring a penalty. No matter which you choose, though, it’s important to understand the importance of APY on your CD. Let’s look at how a 0.1% change in the rate on your CD would impact the outcome over the term of the product. Assume your bank calculates and pays interest only once at the end of the year.

Calculating a 0.1% change on a $1,000 CD

TermDepositEarned APY 2.40%Add 0.1% ChangeE
6 months$1,000$11.93$12.42
12 months$1,000$24.00$25.00
18 months$1,000$36.22$37.73
60 months$1,000$125.90$131.41

As you can see, the 0.1% adds up, especially over time. A 6-month CD with a $1,000 deposit can increase from $11.93 in interest to $12.42 in interest by the end of the term, and interest on a 60-month CD would increase from $125.90 to $131.41. Adding a 0.1% change may not seem like much, but with higher amounts and longer periods of time, it can really add up. Use this information to help you to decide if you want to lock your money away in a CD, which bank is right for you, how much you want to invest.