Five-year certificates of deposit (CDs) are among the most popular CDs because they’re often a bank or credit union’s highest-yielding deposit account. In a falling interest-rate environment, locking in a decent return for five years can be very appealing. Then again, five years is a long time to stash your money away, so you should consider your options carefully.
Every week we comb through the 5-year CD rates from over 150 banks and credit unions nationwide to find the highest ones. We track APYs daily but re-evaluate and re-order our list weekly. All accounts that make our cut are insured by either the FDIC or the NCUA and are available to customers nationwide, even if there are a few hoops to jump through to get them.
We also include a few 4-year CDs because if you’re building a CD ladder, you’ll need these building blocks as well. (For both lists, we consider CDs with terms close to four and five years, if not exact: 42-53 months for 4-year CDs and 54-69 months for 5-year CDs.) In the case of a tie on the APY, we look at the CD with the shortest term and then with the lowest minimum deposit required to earn the APY.
Here are the top 4-year and 5-year CD rates as of September 18, 2020.
APYs are changing rapidly amid widespread uncertainty about the economy and financial markets. The Balance is monitoring rates and will update them accordingly.
Best 5-Year CD Rates
|Bank or Credit Union||APY||Minimum Deposit||Early Withdrawal Penalty|
|Wings Financial Credit Union||1.41%||$10,000||Loss of amount equivalent to 2 years’ dividends (730 days)|
|Georgia's Own Credit Union||1.40%||$500||6 months of interest|
|Alabama Credit Union||1.36%||$500||12 months of interest|
|Wings Financial Credit Union||1.36%||$500||Loss of amount equivalent to 2 years' dividends (730 days)|
|Pen Air Federal Credit Union||1.35%||$500||6 months of interest|
|TruStone Financial Credit Union||1.35%||$500||12 months of interest|
|The Federal Savings Bank||1.35%||$500||12 months of interest|
Best 4-Year CD Rates
|Bank or Credit Union||APY||Minimum Deposit||Early Withdrawal Penalty|
|MAC Federal Credit Union||1.50%||$1,000||3 months of interest|
|Georgia's Own Credit Union
|1.40%||$500||12 months of interest|
|Pen Air Federal Credit Union||1.30%||$500||6 months of interest|
Wings Financial Credit Union, based in Apple Valley, Minnesota, was started in 1938 by a handful of Northwest Airlines employees. Since then, it’s grown to have more than $5.3 billion in assets and 280,000 members, and anyone in the aviation industry or from Atlanta, Detroit, Orlando, Seattle-Tacoma, or parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota is eligible to join. If you don’t meet the eligibility requirements any other way, don’t worry. You can join by becoming a member of the Wings Financial Foundation, which carries a $5 membership fee. You’ll also need to keep $5 in a savings account.
As you might have guessed, Georgia’s Own Credit Union is indeed based out of Georgia—Atlanta, to be specific. It’s been around since 1934 and has over 210,000 members and $2 billion in assets. While living in certain parts of Georgia is one way to qualify for membership, you can also join by first becoming a member of the GettingAhead Association for $5 or Georgia’s Own Foundation for $10. As with most other credit unions, you’ll also need to keep at least $5 in a savings account in order to keep your membership active.
Alabama Credit Union was founded in 1956 to serve the University of Alabama. Anyone nationwide can join after becoming a member of several organizations. For example, you can join the Secret Meals Association, which helps to feed hungry children, with at least $10. You must also keep $5 in savings.
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.
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.
With 14 locations across Minnesota and Wisconsin, TruStone Financial Credit Union has come a long way since it was founded by eight Minneapolis teachers in 1939. Today, the credit union offers a full suite of personal and business banking services including checking, savings, loans, and credit cards. CD terms range from three months to five years.
Anyone who doesn’t meet eligibility based on employer or location can become a member by making a $10 donation to the TruStone Financial Foundation. You’ll also need to open a savings account with a $5 deposit.
The Federal Savings Bank may have a grand-sounding name, but this Chicago-based bank has only about $600 million in assets. The privately held bank, owned by veterans, is focused mainly on mortgage lending (all but two of its 35 offices around the country are exclusively for making loans) but not to worry. CDs are just about the easiest deposit account to manage online, and you can open one from anywhere.
MAC Federal Credit Union offers members financial products like checking, savings, and money market accounts, credit cards, insurance, and more. Originally founded in 1952 to serve the active duty and civil service personnel in Fort Wainwright, Alaska, the credit union is now open to anyone who purchases a two-year membership for $40 to the Association of the United States Army. When applying for the membership, just change the chapter to the Polar Bear Chapter in Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
What Is a 5-year CD?
A certificate of deposit is a special type of savings account that locks in your money and your interest rate. Also known as a time deposit, a CD requires you to leave your money alone for a specified length of time without adding to or withdrawing from the account.
With a 5-year CD, you agree to keep your money with the bank or credit union for a length of five years and in turn, the financial institution will pay you the same APY for that entire five years. Each month or quarter, you’ll earn interest payments that are deposited into the CD and earn even more interest. That continues until the CD matures (reaches the end of its term), or until you withdraw early, which comes with a penalty.
Most 5-year CDs automatically renew for another term length when they mature. If they do, you can still withdraw or add money to the account during a short grace period at the start of the term. Most grace periods are around seven to 10 days in length. After that, the account is locked down again for another five years, and you would have to pay an early withdrawal fee to access your funds any sooner.
Who Is a 5-year CD Best For?
If you have extra money that you won’t need on short notice (i.e., not the money you keep in your emergency fund), a 5-year CD can definitely earn more interest for you than a typical savings account.
Five-year CDs are often the highest-earning and longest-term accounts offered by a bank and credit union. As long as the institution is insured by the FDIC (for banks) or the NCUA (for credit unions), you’re guaranteed not to lose your money (up to $250,000) even if the bank goes under.
Five-year CDs are also a popular choice for CD ladder strategies. A common CD ladder is to divide your money among five separate CDs with staggered terms (1-year, 2-year, 3-year, 4-year, and 5-year) so that one CD matures every year.
Once the 1-year CD matures, you reinvest that money into a 5-year CD, and you do that every year. That way, all of your money will be stored in high-yield CDs, but you’ll still get access to part of your money once a year if you should need it. You can also include CDs with terms shorter than a year if you want to access your money sooner.
What Are the Alternatives to a 5-year CD?
Some banks offer CDs with even longer terms, all the way up to 10 years. That’s a big commitment, but you may be able to earn an even higher rate yet with these CDs.
Alternatively, if you won’t need the money you’ve set aside for a really long time (such as before you retire), many people advise investing in the stock market instead. Over the long term, the stock market has vastly outperformed CDs. There are no guarantees though, and unlike with a CD, you could lose money in the stock market.
Many banks offer 5-year IRA CDs for you to earn a guaranteed rate on your retirement savings. They have a hidden opportunity cost, though: Your money might not grow as fast as if you’d placed it in a higher-earning (but more volatile) investment like stocks or bonds.
One other option is a high-interest savings account. You’ll have easier access to your money than you would with a CD, and many savings accounts these days pay rates that are competitive with CDs. The downside? The APYs are variable, so you won’t be guaranteed a rate of return.
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.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "What Is a Certificate of Deposit (CD)?" Accessed Sept. 18, 2020.
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. "My Time Certificate of Deposit (CD) Matured, But I Didn't Redeem It. What Happened to My Funds?" Accessed Sept. 18, 2020.
CreditUnion.gov. "Is My Credit Union Federally Insured and How Do I Know?" Accessed Sept. 18, 2020.
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. "Risk and Return." Accessed Sept. 18, 2020.