The 8 Best Credit Union CDs of 2020

Thinking about investing in a CD? It's a choice many individuals make, and it could be a good financial decision for your future. Like any other investment, when you are looking for a CD to purchase, it pays to shop around before you decide where to put your money.

A CD, or a certificate of deposit, is a deal you make with a bank: you give them some of your money for a certain amount of time, and they pay you a premium for the privilege of using it without you trying to make withdrawals. CDs usually have rates that are nearly double that of high-interest savings accounts, but much lower than riskier types of investments, such as bonds and stocks. Below, we explore the best credit union CDs out there now. 

Best Overall: USALLIANCE Financial

Courtesy of USALLIANCE Financial

USALLIANCE delivers great CD rates to their 110,000+ members, which include the employees of American Express, PepsiCo, and IBM. They are based in Rye, New York and have been around since 1966. While they don’t have the most significant amount of capital, the credit union generally invests in only the highest quality assets, meaning that amount of capital they do have—and your investments—are relatively safe. You do not need a ton of money to get a CD from USALLIANCE, and at the rates they offer, it just might be worth your investment. The FDIC insures CDs for up to $250,000, so there is virtually no risk of you losing your money, unlike other types of investments.

Minimum deposit: $500

1-year CD rate: 0.75%

Best When the Sky's the Limit: Alliant Credit Union

Alliant Credit Union
Courtesy of Alliant Credit Union

When it comes to CDs, the more you invest and the longer your term, the higher your eventual returns will be. Enter Alliant, where you can invest as much in a CD as you would like. While you can invest as little as $1,000, you will get a “jumbo rate” if you are willing to lay down $25,000+. You also have the option of adding joint beneficiaries, if you would like to save for a goal along with someone else (say, a trip or a home with a spouse or a partner). Technically, a CD is something you can’t get at a credit union. Credit unions issue share certificates instead, which are insured by the National Credit Union Administration instead of the FDIC.

Minimum deposit: $1,000

1-year CD rate: 1.20%

5-year CD rate: 1.25%

Want more information? Check out our full review of Alliant Credit Union.

Best 5-Year Rate: CommunityWide Federal Credit Union

CommunityWide Federal Credit Union
Courtesy of CommunityWide Federal Credit Union

Have more than $500 to invest but are not up for putting down $25,000+, either? Thankfully, CommunityWide offers a middle ground. For just $1,000, its members have access to CDs with terms as short as six months. Of course, such a short period will net you significantly less money than if you take the time to stick around, but it’s a good option if you have a savings goal coming up on the horizon. The credit union has a small number of members, but a tremendous amount of capital, making it a safe and generous bet. You should invest in a CD if you are saving towards a goal in the short to medium time horizon, such as 1 to 7 years. If you are saving for a shorter-term goal, it probably makes the most sense to keep your money in a savings account, where you will be able to access it easily. On the other hand, if you are saving for the long-term, you should be looking toward “riskier” assets that have a higher interest rate over the long-term.

Minimum deposit: $1,000

1-year CD rate: 1.25%

5-year CD rate: 1.25%

Best with Multiple Locations: First Tech Credit Union

First Tech Credit Union
Courtesy of First Tech Credit Union

You do not need a lot of money to open a CD here, just $500. The starting rates are not excellent, but you also have the option of one “bump up” per year of your CD, either to increase your deposit amount or the rate of return on your investment. There are 40 locations nationwide, so you will easily be able to speak face to face with a representative should you desire to do so. There are many advantages to credit unions, chief among them being that they are owned by the members rather than shareholder-owned—which usually means better terms and better customer service.

Minimum deposit: $500

1-year CD rate: 0.75%

5-year CD rate: 0.90%

Best Safe Bet: Pentagon Federal Credit Union

Pentagon Federal Credit Union
Courtesy of Pentagon Federal Credit Union

Don't let the name scare you away: while this credit union is geared towards military and state department types, you can become a member by merely making a small donation to one of their partner charities. It’s a huge credit union, with over 1.6 million members and more than $17 billion in assets to date. You will get the best rate if you choose the longest investment horizon, but you can open a CD for as little as six months. You should not invest in a CD if you aren’t exactly sure when you are going to need the money. If you withdraw from your CD early, you risk steep penalties that will remove any financial benefit to investing in a CD in the first place.

Minimum deposit: $1,000

1-year CD rate: 1.10%

5-year CD rate: 1.25%

Best for Veterans and Active Duty Military Personnel: Navy Federal

Navy Federal
Courtesy of Navy Federal

This credit union has been serving military members and their families (be they natural born, step kids, or adopted kids) for generations, and their customer service is hard to beat. One account may have up to 3 joint owners. One great feature of the CDs at Navy Federal is that interest is compounded daily and credited to you monthly — meaning you don't have to wait until the end of the CD term to touch your dividends. You can also open CDs for micro-terms as short as three months, though you might be better off just sticking with a traditional savings account.

Minimum deposit: $1,000

1-year CD rate: 1.50%

5-year CD rate: 1.45%

Best for the Civically-Minded: Wings Financial Credit Union

Wings Financial Credit Union
Courtesy of Wings Financial Credit Union

This credit union is open to anyone who donates to Wings' foundation; their charity is specifically designed to help increase financial literacy in areas that might not otherwise have access to financial education. It is also open to employees and retirees within the aviation industry within the United States. You can also join if you have an immediate family member who currently is a member. There is an incentive to invest for more extended periods of time in their CDs, as the 1-year rate is nothing to write home about. If you live in Minnesota, Michigan, Florida, Georgia, or Washington, then you will have access to brick and mortar locations. 

Minimum deposit: $500

1-year CD rate: 1.00%

5-year CD rate: 1.76%

Best For Culture Lovers: Langley Federal

Langley Federal
Courtesy of Langley Federal

If you want to become a member of the Virginia Association of Museums or the Friends of the Carrollton Library in Virginia, you will become eligible for membership in this great credit union. Membership is also open to employees, members, and students of Cox Communications, County of Gloucester, Food Lion, and select area companies, organizations, or schools. Their foundation also supports several local institutions that provide services to needy locals, including The Boys & Girls Clubs, Hospice House and Support Care of Williamsburg and the March of Dimes. Their rates for CDs aren’t the best, but perhaps their institutional altruism makes up for it?

Minimum deposit: $1,000

1-year CD rate: 1.05%

5-year CD rate: 1.25%