Six-month certificates of deposit (CDs) are a good option if you don’t want to set your money aside for a year or more, but you’d like to earn a bit more than you would from a savings account. Because 6-month CDs often don’t come with the higher rates that longer term-length CDs offer, it’s especially important to shop around for the best rates.
We review more than 150 banks and credit unions every weekday to find the best 6-month CD rates. For this list, we also include CDs ranging from 5-months to 9-months (noted in the insights below, where applicable). 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 best rates as of July 10, 2020.
Annual Percentage Yields (APYs) are changing rapidly amid widespread uncertainty about the economy and financial markets. The Balance is monitoring rates and updating them accordingly.
Best 6-Month CD Rates
|Bank or Credit Union||APY||Minimum Deposit||Early Withdrawal Penalty|
|BrioDirect (5-month)||1.15%||$500||3 months of interest|
|CommunityWide Federal Credit Union||1.10%||$1,000||Complex formula; exercise caution|
|Chevron Federal Credit Union (6- and 9-month)||1.00%||$500||3 months of interest|
|Mills42 Federal Credit Union||1.00%||$500||3 months of interest|
|Spectrum Federal Credit Union (6- and 9-month)||1.00%||$500||3 months of interest|
|BankDirect||1.00%||$10,000||3 months of interest|
|Marcus by Goldman Sachs (7-month, No-Penalty CD)||1.00%||$500||No penalty|
|Pen Air Federal Credit Union||0.90%||$500||3 months of interest|
|EBSBdirect||0.90%||$2,500||3 months of interest|
|Luther Burbank Savings (7-month)||0.90%||$1,000||3 months of interest|
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.
CommunityWide Federal Credit Union was founded in 1967 and is based in northern Indiana. If you don’t live in the area or meet its employment-based membership criteria or have a family member who’s already a member, you easily can join by becoming a donor member of a partner organization such as the Marine Corps League of St. Joseph Valley, which starts at $15 per year. You must deposit $5 in savings. It’s also part of the CO-OP shared branching network.
If the logo for Chevron Federal Credit Union looks a little familiar, there’s a good reason why. This credit union was founded in 1935 and has over 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, you can also join by making a $15 donation to join the Contra Costa County Historical Society, which makes you eligible for membership. You’ll also 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 over 5,000 CO-OP shared branches and 85,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide. Chevron FCU also offers checking and savings accounts, loans, and other services.
Mills42 FCU takes its name from the 42nd latitude line running through Lowell, Massachusetts, the credit union’s headquarters. Founded in 1958 to serve a local manufacturing company, Mills42 membership is now available to anybody who makes a $5 donation to either Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) or Tewksbury Historical Society. You’ll also need to put $25 into a savings account to be eligible.
Mills42 FCU offers a wide range of financial services and products, including CDs, checking accounts, savings accounts, loans, and credit cards. Members can bank at the credit union’s one branch, online, or at thousands of CO-OP shared branches.
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 non-profit 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 3-month to 5-year terms. Members can also get a full slate of bank accounts, as well as loans, credit cards, and insurance.
BankDirect is an online-only division of Texas Capital Bank focused on digital banking products. It launched in 1999, and offers checking, savings, and money market accounts. CDs are available in terms ranging from three months to five years. While its CD rate is high enough to land it on this list, its savings rate leaves a lot to be desired.
Yep, you read that right—this bank is a direct subsidiary of the famed investment bank, Goldman Sachs, itself a massive institution. Marcus launched in 2016, offering digital savings accounts and loans to the average Joe. Surprisingly, for a bank with such a hoity-toity reputation, Marcus does offer very good rates on its financial products, which is why it lands on our top CDs list.
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.
EBSBdirect is the online wing of East Boston Savings Bank (EBSB), a chartered stock bank that has been operating for over 168 years and boasts 41 full-service locations and one loan center in the greater Boston area. Products offered through EBSBdirect include checking, savings, and money market accounts, as well as CDs, all of which are offered exclusively online. However, you can contact their customer support department Mondays through Saturdays for live assistance.
Founded in 1983 in Santa Rosa, California, Luther Burbank Savings is named after a local botanist, horticulturist, and pioneer in agricultural science. The bank has 10 branches and eight loan offices.
In addition to its CDs, Luther Burbank Savings also offers checking, money market, and IRA accounts, as well as business banking and lending.
What Is a 6-Month CD?
A 6-month CD is a special type of term savings account where you make an agreement with the bank or credit union not to deposit or withdraw any money during the 6-month period. You can usually still withdraw the money if you absolutely need it, but you’ll pay a stiff penalty—known as an early withdrawal penalty—for doing so.
After the six months is over, your CD will generally renew, or the funds will roll over, into a new 6-month CD. However, you’ll get a short window—known as a grace period—during which you can withdraw the money in the CD if you wish. , The grace period usually spans several days, and at the end, the CD will be locked in again for another six months.
Who Is a 6-Month CD Best For?
In general, CDs are good for people who are sure that they won’t need the money while it’s locked away.
But a 6-month CD is a relatively short term length, so it’s best for people who can’t lock away money for a long time. You may want to use it to save up for a goal that is coming up soon. For example, you could use a 6-month CD to save for a summer vacation. On the other hand, if you’re saving for a down payment on a house five years from now, look for a longer-term CD that provides a higher rate.
CDs can also be a good way to save money if you’ve had past problems with tapping into your savings account too early while you’re saving up for other things. A 6-month CD is a good choice for this because you’ll still get access to your money once every six months, but the early withdrawal penalties might be just the buffer you need to let your money sit without being tempted to tap into the CD too early.
What Are the Alternatives to a 6-Month CD?
Six-month CDs are only one of several options for term length. If you’d feel more comfortable with more frequent access to your money, choose a shorter-term CD. Three-month CDs are also available at many banks, and some offer CDs in even shorter term lengths.
Keep in mind, though, that typically the shorter the term length, the lower the interest rate on the CD. That’s why many people choose longer-term CDs. But do your research. Once you get into CDs with terms of three years and longer, a longer term doesn’t always get you a higher rate.
If you’re not sure about this whole locking-your-money-away thing, you can also always choose a high-yield savings account. Many banks and credit unions offer high-yield savings accounts with higher rates than short-term CD lengths.
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.
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 July 8, 2020.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "The Interest Rate Offered for CDs (Certificates of Deposit) is Low. Is There Anything I Can Do About That?" Accessed July 8, 2020.