The 8 Best 3-Month CD Rates of 2020

Image shows a woman looking at 5 brochures trying to pick one to get a new certificate of deposit.

Image by Colleen Tighe © The Balance 2020

Looking for something other than a savings account to help you tuck away funds for your next major financial goal? Whether it’s saving up for a down payment on a home, going on your dream vacation, or paying for summer camp for your kids, a 3-month Certificate of Deposit is a great, short-term savings vehicle.

CDs typically offer a higher Annual Percentage Yield (APY) than a savings account, though they are one of the least risky investments available at both banks and credit unions. A quick refresher: APY is how much you’ll earn in compound interest over the course of a year. But if you are set on a savings account, consider opening a savings account with a high interest rate.

Before you sign on the dotted line to open a CD, be sure to keep in mind one important fact about CDs: They have a fixed term length, which means that when you deposit the funds, you agree to keep it in the bank for a certain amount of time. You can withdraw the funds early, but you’ll pay a penalty. Here, we've done the legwork to get you started. Read on for the best 3-month CD rates available now. 

Best for Individuals with High Net Worth: Vanguard

At 2.00%, Vanguard’s 3-month CD is an exceptional choice for higher net worth individuals as the minimum deposit is $10,000. Founded in 1975, Vanguard is one of the world’s largest investment firms, with upwards of $5.2 trillion in assets and 17,600 employees, so you can feel good placing your assets in their hands. 

A few things to keep in mind: with this particular CD, the interest does not accumulate in the actual CD. Rather, it’s linked to a money market account. Also, Vanguard sells only brokered CDs, which means that you’re actually getting the CD through a brokerage firm, not through your bank. Brokered CDs have several ​differentiating factors from CDs obtained through your bank. Not all brokered firms at FDIC-insured, though Vanguard’s are, which is why they make our list. Remember, most CDs are FDIC insured for up to $250,000, which is why they’re one of the safest places to stash your cash.

Best Brokered CD: Fidelity

Fidelity also offers a competitive 1.95% APY on its 3-month CDs, along with other perks such as FDIC-insurance, no monthly fees, and the option for early withdrawal. You can also choose between a new-issue CD and a secondary market CD. Unlike Vanguard, you also only need a $1,000 minimum deposit to get the ball rolling. 

Worth noting: Fidelity only offers brokered CDs, which differ slightly from a bank CD – i.e., one that you’d get directly from your bank. But Fidelity’s minimum deposit is markedly less than others on our list, so it could be a good foothold for those looking to get started in the world of brokered CDs.

Fidelity has 30 million customers, $6.7 trillion assets globally, and 27.9 million brokerage accounts. The privately-held company also offers many other financial services and tools apart from CDs, like college savings vehicles, IRAs, and annuities. 

Best Safe Bet: Edward Jones

Another big name in the investment world, Edward Jones also offers competitive 3-month CD rates—1.70% to be exact—with just a $1,000 minimum deposit. Edward Jones’ CDs are FDIC-insured, and also offer a wide array of maturity dates and interest payments.

Perhaps what differs about getting a CD from a broker like Edward Jones is that you aren’t just getting it from your local bank. You’re able to confer with your financial advisor (if you have one), to ensure that a CD is the right choice for you and your financial future.

Edward Jones is a Fortune 500 company founded in 1922. It boasts more than 7 million clients, 17,500 financial advisors, and $1 trillion in assets. 

Best Perks Program: Synchrony Bank

While not quite as high as brokered CD rates, Synchrony Bank’s 0.75% APY on its 3-month CD is still pretty impressive. This FDIC-insured bank also offers 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, and 60-month CDs, making it easy for you to pick the CD term length that most closely matches your financial goals. If you do choose to start with a 3-month CD, Synchrony Bank requires a minimum $2,000 deposit. 

You can withdraw interest from your Synchrony Bank CD at any time without penalty. Other plusses include 24/7 online banking — just in case you’re one who likes to check your accounts every night before bed. 

The bank’s perks program is what sets it apart. It includes complimentary identity theft resolution services, travel discounts, added value content and, for diamond members, your own dedicated customer service line. Say goodbye to waiting on hold for hours.

Founded in 1932, Synchrony Bank has $64 billion in deposits and 80.3 million customers. It also has a great perks program. The online-only bank does not offer checking accounts but does offer a $5 per month ATM reimbursement. 

If you're interested in learning more, you can read through our full review of Synchrony Bank.

Best No Minimum: Barclays

The next 3-month CD on our list is Barclay’s 0.35% APY, with no minimum initial deposit. Yes, no minimum initial deposit. This CD offers daily compounding interest, no hidden monthly fees, and FDIC insurance. Easy fund transfers are another positive mark for this CD. Keep in mind that Barclays also offers a 2.20%, 60-month CD if you are looking for something a bit more long-term.

Founded in London more than 300 years ago, Barclays has assets of 1.13 euros (that’s about $1.3 trillion) and nearly 80,000 employees. The bank offers personal and corporate banking services, as well as wealth and investment management.

Want some more information? Check out our full review of Barclays.

Best Big Bank: Discover Bank

Discover Bank’s 3-month CD is a solid pick. Opening a CD with Discover is simple: You enter your information, fund your account, and — that’s it. You’re done. You’ll receive both a confirmation email and a welcome packet, confirming that you’re all set up.

While the minimum deposit is on the higher end at $2,500, the funds — which have a 0.35% APY — are FDIC-insured. You’ll also get the ease of a purely online bank, (except its sole branch in Greenwood, Delaware) from easy transfers to a seamless digital experience. Looking to save for a child or dependent? You can also open a custodial account with Discover. After all, college tuition costs are only going up.

Founded in 1985, Discover has more than $98 billion in assets and is one of the largest U.S. credit card issuers. You can also read through our full review of Discover Bank.

Best Hometown Option: North American Savings Bank

North American Savings Bank’s 3-month CD rates are fairly competitive, but there’s a catch: to get the 0.25% APY, you’ll need to have at least $10,000 in your checking account.

Does your checking account fall short? Not to worry. You can get a 0.20% APY on a 3-month CD with a checking account balance of $2,500 to $9,999, and a 0.15% APY with a $1,000 to $2,499 balance. Another thing to keep in mind: You’ll also have to visit a branch to open a 3-month CD with NASB.

There are no monthly fees or minimums associated with NASB’s CDs. The funds are also FDIC-insured. Founded in 1927, this locally owned bank now boasts more than $1 billion in assets.