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 Nov. 30, 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|
|CommunityWide Federal Credit Union||0.90%||$1,000||Complex formula; exercise caution|
|Parke Bank||0.75%||$500||6 months of interest|
|La Capitol Federal Credit Union||0.70%||$2,500||3 months of interest|
|Lafayette Credit Union (7-month)||0.70%||$500||3 months of interest|
|Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union||0.65%||$1,000||3 months of interest w/ $50 minimum|
|GreenState Credit Union (8-month)||0.65%||$1,000||All interest earned|
|USAlliance Federal Credit Union (9-month)||0.65%||$500||6 months of interest|
|NASA Federal Credit Union (9-month)||0.65%||$10,000||182 days of interest|
|Chevron Federal Credit Union||0.60%||$500||3 months of interest|
|Latino Community Credit Union||0.60%||$500||3 months of interest|
|Spectrum Federal Credit Union||0.60%||$500||3 months of interest|
CommunityWide Federal Credit Union was founded in 1967 and is based in northern Indiana. If you don’t meet its employment-based membership criteria or have a family member who’s already a member, you easily can join by becoming a 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.
Parke Bank was founded in 1999 and is headquartered in Washington Township, New Jersey, south of Philadelphia. It has five branches in southern New Jersey and two in Philadelphia, and primarily serves individuals and businesses in those areas. However, anyone with digital access can open an account through Parke24 Online Banking.
In addition to CDs, Parke offers checking, savings, money market, and IRA accounts. Mortgages, auto loans, and other lending products also are available.
La Capitol Federal Credit Union got its start in 1961 in Louisiana’s state capitol building. Today, it boasts branches across the state, from Ouachita to Tangipahoa. It offers a wide range of products, including checking and savings accounts, loans, CDs with terms ranging from 91 days to five years, and business accounts.
If you don’t qualify for membership based on your location, school, employer, or affiliation with a current member, join the credit union by becoming a member of the Louisiana Association for Personal Financial Achievement, which will cost you $20 for the first year and $5 per year afterward. You’ll also need to open a savings account and deposit $5.
Lafayette Federal Credit Union is based out of Rockville, Maryland, and it operates just eight branches scattered around the Washington D.C. area. It’s a full-service credit union, and you can choose from variable-rate and fixed-rate certificates depending on what tickles your fancy.
If you don’t qualify for membership through other means (such as living in the area or working for certain employers), you also can become a member by first joining the Homeownership Financial Literacy Council for $10. You also must keep a $50 balance in a savings account.
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. 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.
GreenState Credit Union is based out of North Liberty, Iowa, and claims to be the largest credit union in the state given its over 225,000 members. It’s understandably focused on Iowans in particular, but if you’re a member of the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children (membership is open to anyone and costs $30), you may be eligible to join if you live elsewhere and don’t meet any of the other membership criteria. You’ll also need to open a savings account and make a $5 deposit.
USAlliance Federal Credit Union began in 1966 by serving employees of IBM, but it has since expanded eligibility to employees of American Express and PepsiCo as well as to members of many organizations such as the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the New York Historical Society, and Tread Lightly. Additionally, the credit union serves multiple neighborhoods and communities throughout New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey, along with members and employees of many houses of worship, colleges, and universities.
Join the American Consumer Council at no cost to gain membership to the credit union. You’ll also need to open either a checking or savings account and deposit at least $1.
Started in 1949 by members of the scientific community, NASA Federal Credit Union serves over 177,000 members nationwide. Anyone can join the credit union by becoming a member of the National Space Society. You can join via the NASA Federal Credit Union application page, and your first year of membership is complimentary. Members are also required to sign up for a primary savings account with a minimum deposit of $5.
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.
Founded in 2000, Latino Community Credit Union, Latino Community Credit Union is a Durham, North Carolina-based institution that seeks to serve unbanked individuals and immigrant communities. However, individuals outside of North Carolina can also become a member of the credit union by joining the Latino Community Development Center for a one-time fee of $10. You’ll also have to open a savings account and deposit at least $10. Once you join, you can obtain personal or business checking and savings accounts, 6-month to 5-year CDs, or 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 the Contra Costa County Historical Society (or another nonprofit 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.
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, that is, 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 is established by the bank, 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. The national average APY for 6-mo CDs is typically higher than that for savings accounts.
But six months is a relatively short term length, so this type of CD is 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, which typically 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.
FDIC. "Weekly National Rates and Rate Caps - Weekly Update." Accessed Nov. 30, 2020.