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 Sept. 18, 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||1.00%||$1,000||Complex formula; exercise caution|
|Chevron Federal Credit Union (6- and 9-month)||0.80%||$500||3 months of interest|
|Spectrum Federal Credit Union (6- and 9-month)||0.80%||$500||3 months of interest|
|USAlliance Federal Credit Union (9-month)||0.80%||$500||6 months of interest|
|MAC Federal Credit Union||0.75%||$1,000||1 month of interest|
|DollarSavingsDirect||0.75%||$1,000||3 months of interest|
|iGObanking||0.75%||$1,000||3 months of interest|
|TotalDirectBank||0.75%||$25,000||1 month of interest|
|Marcus by Goldman Sachs (7-month, No-Penalty CD)||0.75%||$500||No penalty|
|GreenState Credit Union (8-month)||0.75%||$1,000||All interest earned|
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.
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.
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 can also get a full slate of bank accounts, as well as loans, credit cards, and insurance.
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.
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 obtains membership to the Polar Bear chapter of the Association of the United States Army, which you can get for $40 for two years. You’ll also need to open a savings account and deposit $25.
DollarSavingsDirect is one of the multiple online subsidiaries of Emigrant Bank, founded in 1850. It offers competitive rates on 6-month to 5-year CDs and requires a low minimum deposit on all of them. As the only other account offered aside from CDs is a savings account, you’ll need to open one of those accounts first. Luckily, there’s no minimum deposit requirement and no fees, so you don’t have much to lose with that account either.
iGObanking is the online wing of Flushing Bank, an FDIC-insured commercial bank with branches throughout New York. It offers checking, savings, and money markets, as well as CDs. Though the traditional CDs come in terms of six months or one year, the bank also offers “GiftsforBanking” CDs that come with longer term lengths and require a higher minimum balance but reward customers with both interest and a free gift from a catalog.
TotalDirectBank is a division of City National Bank of Florida, which was founded more than 70 years ago. TotalDirectBank keeps the product lineup simple, with money market accounts and CDs with terms of up to five years. Anyone in the U.S. (except those in Florida, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and U.S. Virgin Islands) can open a money market or CD account.
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, CDs, 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.
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.
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.