If you’ve got some money saved up, it’s usually not that hard to part with it for three months, especially if you’ll get a better return than you would with a savings account. Three-month CDs often have higher APYs than traditional savings products, and the rates don’t change like they can with savings accounts. Sure, you’ll find better rates on CDs with longer terms, but if you don’t want to lock up your money for too long, a 3-month CD is a relatively stress-free option.
Every week we survey more than 150 banks and credit unions to find the best rates on 3-month CDs. (We also consider 2- and 4-month CDs.) Our rankings are based on the highest annual percentage yields (APY), but in the case of a tie, we favor the CD with the shortest term, then with the lowest minimum deposit required to earn the APY, and then with the smallest penalties for early withdrawal. All accounts are available nationwide and are insured by either the FDIC or NCUA.
We re-evaluate and re-order the products on this list every week, but update CD rates daily if they change. Here are the top 3-month CDs as of April 3, 2020.
APYs are changing rapidly amid widespread uncertainty about the economy and financial markets. The Balance is monitoring rates and updating them accordingly.
Best 3-Month CD Rates
|Bank or Credit Union||APY||Minimum Deposit||Early Withdrawal Penalty|
|Chevron Federal Credit Union||1.55%||$500||3 months of interest|
|Spectrum Federal Credit Union||1.55%||$500||3 months of interest|
|TotalDirectBank||1.20%||$25,000||1 month of interest|
|BrioDirect||1.00%||$500||3 months of interest|
|Premier America Credit Union||0.85%||$25,000||3 months of interest|
|Ideal Credit Union (91 days)||0.90%||$25,000||The lesser of 90 days interest or interest earned|
|Premier America Credit Union||0.85%||$25,000||3 months of interest|
|First Internet Bank||0.85%||$1,000||3 months of interest|
|Northpointe Bank (92-182 days)||0.80%||1000||1 month of interest|
Here are details about some of the institutions on our list.
Chevron Federal opened its doors in 1935 and has over 100,000 members worldwide today. It has branch locations in five states, but anyone can become a member by joining an affiliated organization with membership fees as low as $15. You’ll also have to get a savings account with Chevron Federal, keeping at least $25 in it.
In addition to CDs with terms as long as five years, Chevron Federal offers many financial products, including savings and checking accounts, IRAs, loans, and credit cards.
As it happens, Spectrum Federal Credit Union merged with Chevron Federal in 2012. The banks operate as separate entities, however, which is why we included both on our list. Terms are identical.
Spectrum was originally founded as Bechtel Employees Federal Credit Union. Just like Chevron Federal, if you do not qualify for membership through your employer or other means, you can join one of the nonprofit associations linked to the credit union for as little as $15. And you’ll have to maintain a savings account with a minimum deposit of $25.
Spectrum’s CDs range from this 3-month term to 5-year terms. Members can also get a full slate of bank accounts, as well as loans, credit cards, and insurance.
TotalDirectBank is the fully online banking arm of City National Bank of Florida, which was founded over 70 years ago. Anyone in the U.S. (except those in Florida, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and U.S. Virgin Islands) can open a money market or CD account. CD terms range from three months to five years.
NexBank is a regional bank that was first established in 1922. Today, it’s the fourth largest bank in Dallas, Texas, and provides commercial, mortgage, and institutional banking services. In addition, it offers competitive certificates from 1-month to 5-year terms.
BrioDirect is powered by Sterling National Bank, which has been in existence since 1888. Other CD terms range from 30 days to five years. It also has a competitive high-yield savings option. But it’s important to note that these are the only products and accounts offered by Brio.
Ideal Credit Union is a Minnesota-based credit union that was established for postal workers in St. Paul in 1926. Today, anyone can join by making a one-time $5 donation to the John D. Miller Foundation. Ideal offers CDs, as well as checking and savings accounts, loans and credit cards, business banking, and more.
Premier America Credit Union, based in Chatsworth, California, boasts over 100,000 members and $2.5 billion in assets. Meeting the membership requirements is relatively easy. If you don’t live, work, or study in the qualifying areas of California, you can open an account by joining the Thousand Oaks Alliance for the Arts, which offers free membership. You must also keep at least $5 in a savings account.
As its name implies, First Internet Bank was the first FDIC-insured institution to operate entirely online, beginning in 1999. Its corporate headquarters are in Indiana.
First Internet Bank offers CDs in a variety of terms up to five years. In addition to CDs, there is a full suite of banking products and services including checking, savings, money markets, HSAs, and child accounts, as well as loans, credit cards, and business banking services.
What Is a 3-Month CD?
A certificate of deposit is a type of savings product with a fixed rate of return and a fixed maturity date. In exchange for leaving your money with a bank or credit union for a set period of time, you’ll lock in a fixed APY for that entire period. So in the case of a 3-month CD, the APY is fixed for three months. At the end of the term, you’ll get the interest that’s accrued plus your original deposit. Then you can either take your money, renew, or switch to a new CD. If you withdraw early, there’s often a penalty.
Who Is a 3-Month CD Best For?
If you’re looking for a fixed interest rate product to help grow your savings in the short term, a 3-month certificate of deposit (CD) account can provide more favorable and predictable earnings than you’d get in a regular savings account. Since the APY is almost always higher than what you’d get from a traditional savings account, and it’s fixed, you’ll know exactly how much the CD will earn.
The real benefit might be that it ties up the money for a few months so that you’re not tempted to spend it. You may want a 3-month CD if you have a big expense coming up in a few months. (Because the term is so short, 3-month CDs typically have lower APYs than longer term CDs, so consider how long you can part with your money before choosing a term.)
A 3-month CD can also be used as part of a CD ladder strategy, in which you divide up your money to purchase CDs of varying lengths so you’re not losing access to all of it for a long time. When the 3-month CD matures, you will be able to withdraw your money and can then decide if and how to reinvest it.
What Are the Alternatives to a 3-Month CD?
For a very short-term savings strategy, a 3-month CD can be a good product. It really depends on your personal financial goals and how willing and able you are to lock down some of your savings. Some other alternatives you can consider include:
Different Term Lengths
If you’re leaning toward a CD, consider the pros and cons of a longer term. Going with a CD that matures in one year or even five years will provide a higher APY, but you won’t be able to access the money for a longer time frame.
High-Yield Savings Account
Opting for an online savings account is another safe option if you aren’t comfortable with parting ways with your money for a set time. Some APYs are in line or even higher than what you’ll find among current 3-month CDs. On the downside, savings account rates move with benchmark interest rates. Plus, if you don’t have self-discipline, you might spend any money that’s not locked down.
If you are interested in one of these accounts, we partnered with QuinStreet to bring you the following savings and money market account offers.