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 Feb. 26, 2021.
Best 6-Month CD Rates
|Bank or Credit Union||APY||Minimum Deposit||Early Withdrawal Penalty|
|GreenState Credit Union (8-month)||0.80%||$1,000||All interest earned|
|NASA Federal Credit Union (9-month)||0.75%||$10,000||All interest earned up to 182 days|
|CommunityWide Federal Credit Union||0.70%||$1,000||Complex formula; exercise caution|
|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|
|Quontic Bank||0.60%||$500||All interest earned|
|Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union||0.60%||$1,000||3 months of interest w/ $50 minimum|
|Service Credit Union||0.55%||$500||Up to 90 days of interest|
|iGObanking||0.55%||$1,000||3 months of interest|
|Service Credit Union (9-month)||0.55%||$500||Up to 90 days of interest|
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
Service Credit Union was first established at the former Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1957 to serve military personnel and their families. It has since expanded to serve active military members, veterans, and their family members all over the world.
Brick-and-mortar locations are available in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Germany, but services through online banking are available to anyone who meets membership requirements. Active or veteran service members and their families can join, as can active or former employees of the U.S. Department of Defense and their families. Those who do not meet these requirements still can open an account if they are members of the American Consumer Council or one of the credit union’s select employer groups.
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.
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 Feb. 26, 2021.