The CD’s interest rate depends on the bank and the length of the term you sign up for, which can be a 6-month, 1-year, 3-year, 5-year term or longer. The longer the term, the higher the APY (annual percentage yield). If you’re looking for a financial vehicle that can earn more than a savings account, but is less risky than investing, opening a CD may be a good fit. Although every bank offers CDs, each one may offer different terms with their product offerings.
Variable-rate CDs and bump-up CDs typically have lower starting rates than traditional CDs, so you’ll need to weigh that when considering these products. The top-paying CDs in the country typically pay much more than the national average rate, so doing your homework on the best options is key to earning as much as you can. Order a copy of Investopedia’s “What To Do With $10,000” magazine. We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence.
Combining CDs with other accounts
Some savers like CDs because of the safety they provide, as well as the fact that they are perfectly predictable. On the other hand, CDs generally promise a very modest rate of return, compared to riskier investments like stocks and bonds. If the interest rate offered is below the current inflation rate, then investors in CDs will actually lose money on their investment when it’s measured on an inflation-adjusted basis. For this reason, yield-conscious investors might prefer investments that are riskier but offer higher potential returns.
Fixed rates are common, but some institutions offer CDs with various forms of variable rates. For example, in mid-2004, interest rates were expected to rise, and many banks and credit unions began to offer CDs with a “bump-up” feature. These allow for a single readjustment of the interest rate at a time of the consumer’s choosing during the term of the CD. Sometimes, financial institutions introduce CDs indexed to the stock market, bond market, or other indices. A certificate of deposit (CD) is a simple and popular savings vehicle offered by banks and credit unions. When a depositor purchases a CD, they agree to leave a certain amount of money on deposit at the bank for a certain period of time, such as one year.
In exchange, the bank agrees to pay them a predetermined interest rate and guarantees the repayment of their principal at the end of the term. For instance, investing $1,000 in a 1-year, 5% certificate would mean receiving $50 in interest over the course of one year, plus the $1,000 you initially invested. Certificates of deposit offer stability for people who want to earn more on their money without the risk inherent in stocks and bonds. Although interest rates may be higher than savings accounts and money markets, you’ll want to read the fine print carefully. Tying up your money for long set terms may be safe, but you may lose out on higher interest returns if the federal funds rate increases.
How do CDs work?
In addition, the deposit is guaranteed by the bank that issues it. Yes, CDs are federally insured by every bank and credit union that has deposit insurance. Up to $250,000 is guaranteed to be returned to you if a bank goes bankrupt. For more information, see this explainer on FDIC insurance for CDs. Savings accounts and money market accounts may also come with a debit card or ATM card. In the case of a money market account, you may also be able to write checks against your balance.
- Variable-rate CDs and bump-up CDs typically have lower starting rates than traditional CDs, so you’ll need to weigh that when considering these products.
- The bank expects the CDs to be held until maturity, at which time they can be withdrawn and interest paid.
- For instance, if a bank’s lending business is booming and an increasing amount in deposits is needed to fund those loans, then the bank may be more aggressive in trying to attract deposit customers.
- Certificate of deposit (CD), a receipt from a bank acknowledging the deposit of a sum of money.
- In some cases, it could even be all the interest earned, negating your efforts to use a CD for savings.
After two years of this cycle, the investor has all money deposited at a three-year rate, yet have one-third of the deposits mature every year (which the investor can then reinvest, augment, or withdraw). Like savings accounts, CDs earn compound interest—meaning that periodically, the interest you earn is added to your principal. Like savings accounts, CDs are considered low risk because they are FDIC-insured up to $250,000.
CDs vs. savings accounts
You invest $2,000 apiece in one-, two-, three-, four- and five-year CDs. When the one-year CD matures, you put that money into a new five-year CD. The next year, you reinvest funds from the matured two-year CD in another five-year CD.
How to Open a Certificate of Deposit
The difference is what you’re agreeing to when you sign on the dotted line (even if that signature is now digital). After you’ve shopped around and identified which CD(s) you’ll open, completing the process will lock you into four things. In the United States, bank-issued CDs are guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) up to $250,000 per depositor, per account (as of 2023). In the United Kingdom, deposits are insured up to £85,000 under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
What happens when a CD matures?
When you open a CD with an FDIC- or NCUA-insured institution, up to $250,000 of your funds on deposit with that institution are protected by the U.S. government if that institution were to fail. Bank failures are rare, but it’s good to know that a bank failure wouldn’t put your funds in jeopardy. To open a CD, either online or through a bank, you can create an account or log in to your account if you’re an existing customer.
If you want to know whether a savings account is better, skip ahead. Inflation means how prices for goods and services change over time. If inflation is rising, it could outpace the rate of return you’re earning on your CDs, especially in a low interest rate environment. For example, say you open a five-year CD with $5,000 and earn a 1.00% APY. If you’re saving for a long-term goal that has a specific end date, you can tailor your choice of CD terms and interest rates to help you meet your goal.