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Three-year CDs are an easy way to earn some serious interest on a lump sum of cash that you won’t need to touch for a while. They’re in the middle of the range of CD terms (most banks offer terms from about three months to five years) and as such, they can be an important component of a CD ladder.
We review more than 150 banks and credit unions to find the best rates available nationwide for 3-year CDs. We track annual percentage yields and re-evaluate the list every weekday. All accounts are available to the public and are insured by either the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. or the National Credit Union Administration.
For this list, we considered products that lock in deposits for 30 to 41 months. Our rankings are based primarily on the best APY. In the case of a tie, we then look at the CD with the shortest term, then with the lowest minimum deposit required to earn the APY. From there, we compare the penalties for early withdrawal. These factors allow us to ultimately decide which banks earn their spots in our rankings.
Here are the top 3-year CD rates as of May 19, 2022. Unless otherwise noted, all require you to leave your money on deposit for 36 months.
Best 3-Year CD Rates
|Bank or Credit Union||APY||Minimum Deposit||Early Withdrawal Penalty|
|Connexus Credit Union||3.01%||$5,000||6 months of interest|
|Department of Commerce Federal Credit Union (36–47 months)||2.90%||$25,000||180 days of dividends|
|KS State Bank||2.85%||$500||12 months of interest|
|Department of Commerce Federal Credit Union (36–47 months)||2.80%||$500||180 days of dividends|
|Merrick Bank||2.51%||$25,000||3% of balance|
|Rising Bank||2.50%||$1,000||6 months of interest|
|Colorado Federal Savings Bank||2.40%||$5,000||6 months of interest|
|Popular Direct||2.40%||$10,000||12 months of interest|
|CFG Bank||2.37%||$500||6 months of interest|
|First National Bank of America||2.35%||$1,000||12 months of interest|
Below are the top certificate of deposit rates available from our partners, followed by details about the institutions in our ranking.
Connexus Credit Union serves members nationwide through online banking and as a member of the CO-OP shared network. CO-OP and MoneyPass ATMs also are surcharge-free for members. The credit union is based in Wisconsin and has branches there as well as in Minnesota, Ohio, and New Hampshire.
Membership is available to residents of several communities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio, and to anyone affiliated with one of multiple organizations, employers, or schools, including the Connexus Association, which anyone can join for $5.
The Department of Commerce Federal Credit Union was chartered in 1964 and has two branches in Washington, D.C.—one at the U.S. Department of Commerce and another at the White House. It also has a branch in Silver Springs, Maryland. Those who do not live in the D.C. area can manage their accounts online or via a mobile app available for Android and Apple devices.
DOCFCU membership is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Washington, D.C., is a family member of a current member, or is a current or former employee of the U.S. Department of Commerce or its contractors, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the White House Management and Administration Office, or the Executive Office of the President. Those who do not meet these eligibility requirements can gain eligibility by joining the American Consumer Council.
KS StateBank is based out of Manhattan, Kansas, and has been around since 1969. It still operates chiefly in the state today, although it also has one additional branch in Phoenix, Arizona. It offers a wide range of account types which can be opened online.
Rising Bank is the online banking division of Midwest BankCentre, based in St. Louis. Its history dates back to 1906, when Midwest was known as Lemay Ferry Bank. In 2000, it changed its name to Midwest Bank Centre, and Rising Bank was launched in 2018. Rising Bank specializes in checking and savings accounts, along with CDs of varying terms. Checking and savings accounts require $1,000 to open and aim to offer interest rates competitive with other online banks.
Serving Colorado and the rest of the nation, Colorado Federal Savings Bank is headquartered in Greenwood Village. It opened in the 1990s as a savings institution and transformed into a non-branch direct banking platform after being acquired by new ownership in 2008.
Among the products offered are mortgages, commercial loans, savings accounts, and CDs. Customers can apply for a CD account online, choosing terms 1-month to 5-years.
As a subsidiary of Popular Inc., a full-service bank in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean, Popular Direct has 122 years of history. Popular Direct is focused on savings and CD accounts. CD terms range from three months to five years, and you can rest easy knowing your deposits are FDIC-insured.
CFG Bank is a privately owned and operated bank that dates back more than 90 years and is headquartered in Baltimore. As the 12th largest bank in Maryland, it serves mainly the mid-Atlantic region, but any U.S. citizen or legal resident who is 18 years or older can apply for a CD account. You’ll also need a valid Social Security number and a physical address in the U.S. CFG Bank offers CDs with multiple terms ranging from 12 months to 60 months. In addition, the bank has checking accounts, money market accounts, and more.
The grand-sounding First National Bank of America is actually based in small-town America. Specifically, it calls East Lansing, Michigan, home, and it operates only two branches in the smaller towns of Grand Rapids and Traverse City. It’s relatively small as far as banks go, with only $1.6 billion in deposits. Still, you easily can open an account there online.
What Is a 3-Year CD?
A certificate of deposit (CD), offered by banks and credit unions, provides a fixed interest rate (typically higher than other account types) in return for the account holder agreeing to leave the deposit for a set amount of time. Because the rate is fixed, the account holder knows exactly how much the CD will earn when it matures. For a 3-year CD, the account holder agrees not to touch the deposit for 30-41 months, depending on the bank or credit union. At the end of the term, the full interest will be added to the deposit amount. The customer then has the option to withdraw the full amount or renew or change the CD.
Who Is a 3-Year CD Best For?
A 3-year CD is appropriate for someone who wants to earn more interest than a typical savings account would offer.
A common reason to consider a 3-year CD is to save for some sort of life milestone that is set to take place a few years in the future. Perhaps your daughter’s Sweet 16 or a big wedding anniversary trip to Europe is on the horizon. The idea is that it’s an investment for the not-so-near future. Opening a CD helps safeguard your money, and lets you collect some interest while you wait for it to mature.
Typically, the longer the term, the higher the rate you’ll receive. A 3-year CD also can be used as part of a CD ladder. With a CD ladder, you buy CDs of varying lengths to mitigate the risks of locking all your money into one long-term CD.
You have to be OK with locking up your money for three years. That’s because there usually are early withdrawal penalties, and if you have to give back earnings to pay those penalties, it will have been a wasted opportunity.
What’s the Difference Between Interest Rate and Annual Percentage Yield (APY)?
The interest rate is what the bank actually pays you for your money. The APY is what you actually receive, on an annualized basis, after fees and compounding interest are factored in. If you’ve wondered why the advertised interest rates on CDs often are lower than their APYs, it’s because of compounding interest—the bank is paying interest on the interest it has already paid you!
What Are the Alternatives to a 3-Year CD?
If you’re looking for a savings option, a 3-year CD is just one of them. When choosing the best approach for you, the key is to think about your current financial situation, your goals, and your saving/spending habits. Beyond a 3-year CD, there are some other options to consider.
If you know you want to go the CD route, you may decide to go with a shorter or longer term, depending on your needs. Shorter-term CDs allow you access to your money sooner but probably will have a lower APY. Longer terms likely will earn more but will separate you from your money for a bigger stretch of time.
If you’d rather not tie up your money, you might consider an online savings account. Some APYs are close to what you’d earn from a 3-year CD. The difference is that savings account rates fluctuate. If opening a CD will help ensure that you won’t end up spending your savings, then that route might make the most sense for you.
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.