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 a higher Annual Percentage Yield (APY) 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.
We review more than 150 banks and credit unions every weekday 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 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).
Here are the top 3-month CDs as of July 8, 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|
|BrioDirect||1.00%||$500||3 months of interest|
|Chevron Federal Credit Union||1.00%||$500||3 months of interest|
|Spectrum Federal Credit Union||1.00%||$500||3 months of interest|
|Virtual Bank (1-3 months)||0.60%||$10,000||All interest earned|
|Ally Bank||0.50%||$0||2 months of interest|
|Bellco Credit Union||0.50%||$500||1 month of interest|
|Lake Michigan Credit Union||0.50%||$500||3 months of interest|
|Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union||0.50%||$1,000||3 months of interest ($50 minimum)|
|Greenwood Credit Union||0.50%||$1,000||6 months of interest|
|Pen Air Federal Credit Union||0.50%||$1,500||3 months of interest|
Here are details about some of the institutions on our list.
BrioDirect is another digital subsidiary bank that’s an offshoot of a larger, more established institution. In this case, its parent is Sterling National Bank, which has been around since 1888 and has assets worth more than $30 billion. You can only get two types of online accounts here: a high-yield savings account or a high-rate CD. Aside from its high rates, BrioDirect differs from some of its competitors by offering a simplistic website design with an easy-to-navigate interface. Online savings accounts and CDs aren’t that difficult to manage compared to other financial products.
If the logo for Chevron Federal Credit Union looks a little familiar, there’s a good reason why. The credit union was founded in 1935 and has more than 100,000 members. It primarily serves members employed by the Chevron Corporation (i.e., the gas stations you’re probably familiar with). If that’s not you, and you don’t qualify through other means, a $15 donation to join the Contra Costa County Historical Society also makes you eligible for membership. Additionally, you’ll need to keep $25 in a savings account, which is a tad bit higher than most credit unions.
In addition to Chevron FCU branches in California, members have access to more than 5,000 CO-OP branches and 85,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide. Chevron FCU also offers checking and savings accounts, loans, and other services.
Spectrum Credit Union merged with Chevron Federal in 2012. Spectrum does, however, operate independently in areas not served by Chevron so is listed here separately.
Spectrum was originally founded as Bechtel Employees Federal Credit Union. 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. Additionally, you’ll have to maintain a savings account with a minimum deposit of $25.
Spectrum’s CDs range from 3-month to 5-year terms. Members also can get a full slate of bank accounts, as well as loans, credit cards, and insurance.
VirtualBank is a division of IBERIABANK, which is a commercial bank founded in New Iberia, Louisiana in 1887. It offers retail, commercial, private, and business banking along with home loans. The eCDs offered by Virtual Bank range from 1-month to 5-year terms. Customers can also open eMoney Market accounts.
Ally Bank is an online-only bank that dates back to 1919, when it began as GMAC in New York, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco, and Toronto. Its original purpose was to help car dealerships finance their inventories and to offer financing to customers. Over time, GMAC’s offerings expanded beyond auto financing, and in 2009, it changed its name to Ally.
If you live in Colorado you might be familiar with Bellco Credit Union because it’s one of the largest credit unions in the state. Anyone outside the state can join, however, by becoming a member of the Bellco Foundation (the credit union’s charitable division) for $10. In addition, all customers need to pay a $5 membership fee and keep a slightly larger-than-normal amount ($25) in a Bellco savings account.
Bellco Credit Union also offers traditional CDs in term lengths from three months to five years, IRA CDs, a 1-year Youth CD, and “Smart Move CDs” that come with flexible options such as the ability to add funds or bump up to the current interest rate if rates rise.
In operation for 85 years, Lake Michigan Credit Union claims to be one of the largest credit unions in the country and has over $8 billion in assets and 40 branches in Western Michigan to prove it. In addition to offering checking and savings accounts, credit cards, CDs, and business accounts, it’s a top mortgage provider. It even has a rewards program that lets you qualify for a higher “VIP” APY on CDs if you earn 400 or more points every month.
You can become a member of the credit union if you live in any county in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula or one of 14 counties in Florida, are a family member of a current member, or are willing to donate $5 to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Foundation. You’ll also need to open a member savings account and make a deposit of $5.
Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union launched in 1936 when a small group of teachers decided to pool their savings and offer loans. It began with a small field of membership including the Board of Education and Evansville College in Evansville before incorporating other organizations when it merged with Owensboro Public Schools Federal Credit Union in 1992. Today, its consumer offerings include checking, savings, and money market accounts, loans, and CDs with terms ranging from three months to six years.
To become a member, you’ll either need to be related to or live with a current member or work for or become a member of an organization within the credit union’s field of membership. For example, you can join the Mater Dei Friends and Alumni Association (MDFAA) with annual dues of just $5. You’ll also need to open a savings account and maintain a $5 deposit.
Founded in 1948, Greenwood Credit Union is a Rhode Island-based institution that brags over $450 million in assets. It offers business accounts alongside personal offerings such as checking, savings, and money market accounts, credit and gift cards, loans, and CDs with 3-month to 5-year terms. The credit union has over 50,000 members, and the open membership means you don’t have to be affiliated with any particular organization to become one of them. Just open a savings account with $5 to start using its products and services.
It may be easier to join Pen Air Federal than some of the other credit unions on this list, as all you need is to join the Friends of Navy Marine Corps Relief Society if you don’t have the other affiliations listed on the Pen Air website. There’s no fee to join because Pen Air will make a $1 donation to the organization for you. You’ll also need to make a $25 deposit in a savings account to join.
Founded in 1936, Pen Air Federal Credit Union is the largest and oldest local credit union in Pensacola, Florida. Though there are only 15 locations in Northwest Florida and Southeast Alabama, there are more than 111,000 members nationwide.
In addition to CDs ranging in terms from three months to five years, Pen Air also offers personal and business savings and checking accounts, along with various other types of accounts and lending products.
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:
CDs With Longer 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 prefer instant account access, we have partnered with the following banks to bring you the high-yield savings and money market account offers displayed in the table.