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 Oct. 15, 2021.
Best 6-Month CD Rates
|Bank or Credit Union||APY||Minimum Deposit||Early Withdrawal Penalty|
|CommunityWide Federal Credit Union||0.70%||$1,000||Complex formula; exercise caution|
|Lafayette Credit Union (7-month)||0.70%||$500||3 months of interest|
|NASA Federal Credit Union (9-month)||0.60%||$10,000||All interest earned up to 182 days|
|Interior Federal Credit Union||0.56%||$500||1 month of interest|
|Quontic Bank||0.55%||$1,000||All interest earned|
|Abound Credit Union||0.50%||$500||3 months of interest|
|Chevron Federal Credit Union||0.50%||$500||3 months of interest|
|Spectrum Federal Credit Union||0.50%||$500||3 months of interest|
|Freedom Northwest Credit Union||0.50%||$1,000||3 months of interest|
|Hughes Federal Credit Union||0.50%||$1,000||3 months of interest with a $35 minimum|
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 can easily 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.
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.
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.
Based out of the U.S. Department of the Interior Building in Washington, D.C., Interior Federal Credit Union was established in 1935. Members can do their banking online, at over 5,500 shared branches nationwide, or more than 55,000 shared ATM locations nationwide.
Membership is available to individuals or the family of individuals employed by the DOI, one of its bureaus, or one of its contractors. Bureaus of the DOI include the National Park Service, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Geological Survey, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), Bureau of Land Management, Office of Surface Mining, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Employees, volunteers, or partners of numerous other groups also are eligible for membership. A full list is available on Interior FCU’s website.
Quontic is a primarily online bank headquartered in New York. It has three branches, including its headquarters, in the New York area, but its main focus is online banking. Established in 2005, it has more than $1.3 billion in assets as of December 2020.
In addition to CDs, customers can find standard options such as checking, savings, and money market accounts, and an online banking app. The bank also handles mortgages.
Formerly known as Fort Knox Federal Credit Union, Abound Credit Union is a Kentucky-based institution with ties to the Fort Knox Army base. Started by 10 people in 1950, Abound claims it is the largest credit union in the state, with 18 locations and more than 100,000 members. While it caters to military and civil service employees and their families, anyone can join, as long as they pay the $10 one-time membership fee and keep at least $5 in a savings account.
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.
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.
Founded in 1963, Freedom Northwest Credit Union serves 10,000 members and holds total assets of $290 million. Their capital position has increased seven-fold in the past 15 years.
Freedom Northwest Credit Union is based in Kamiah, Idaho, with three other offices across the state, but has members nationwide. The membership fee to join is $5.
Hughes Federal Credit Union was founded in 1952 to serve employees of the Hughes Aircraft Company (yes, the very same company started by Howard Hughes of aviation legend). It is based in Tucson, Arizona, and has more 136,000 members as of June 2020.
Although it operates branches only in Arizona, you can open an account from anywhere online, provided you meet the membership criteria. These include living, working, or attending school in Tucson, being employed by a certain partner company, or being related to an existing member of the credit union. If you don’t qualify in one of those ways, you also can join by donating at least $10 to one of four organizations, such as the Friends of the Oro Valley Library. You’ll also need to keep a relatively high amount—at least $50—in a savings account.
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 Oct. 15, 2021.