How to Get the Best Certificates of Deposit (CD) Rates Available

Easy Ways to Find the Best CD Rates

Bank Vault

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If you want the best CD rates available, set yourself up for success. First, check our CD Rate Scorecard to see what the most competitive institutions are doing. Now, pick your product.

The chart below shows the CD rates by length of time from 2009 through today. This chart includes 3-month CDs, 6-month CDs, 1-year CDs, 2-year CDs, 3-year CDs, and 5-year CDs.

Time and the Best CD Rates

CDs with longer maturities (time periods) pay higher rates than those with shorter maturities. It is because you’re promising to leave the money with the bank for more time, and they reward you for this. Try comparing for yourself. You’ll see that the best CD rates have the longest maturities, although there are always some surprising exceptions.

Keep in mind that the economy in general dictates what “competitive” interest rates are, and that influences what the best CD rates are. Rates could rise or fall (see bank CD rates for more details). You need to decide whether or not you should lock your money up long term for a higher rate or whether you should wait and see if rates will be more favorable in the near future.

To improve your chances (and provide some flexibility), you might strategically choose when your CDs mature. Develop a method to meet your needs and keep life simple by using CD strategy tips.

Shop for the Best CD Rates

Next, you need to shop around, there are a few strong options.

  1. Try checking your local banks and credit unions to see if anybody is “having a sale.” You’ll often find that an institution needs to get deposits on the books quickly, and they know that one of the best ways to do this is to offer the best CD rate available locally. You’ll see these advertised on banners and in the newspaper.
  2. Another great place to shop is online. Online-only banks offer some of the best CD rates all the time. They have lower overhead than the brick-and-mortar banks so they can pass the savings on to you.
  3. A third place to shop is with a brokerage firm. Although you may not know it, your financial advisor may have some of the best CD rates available. Advisors have access to brokered CDs, which are typically sold in larger blocks. Make sure you work with somebody you trust and that you know the risks – getting out of a brokered CD before maturity can be expensive.

If you have more money than the FDIC is willing to insure, be careful. Brokered CDs can help you stay safe, as can CDARS.

Finally, check some of the personal finance blogs on the Web. These people do a great job of searching out the best CD rates and spreading the word.

Valued Customers Get the Best CD Rates

Finally, financial institutions offer the best CD rates to their best customers. To qualify for their best CD rates, you may need to meet a minimum investment requirement. Find out how much it would take to secure a higher rate. Many banks offer higher-than-usual rates for Jumbo CDs, designed for sizable deposits of over $100,000.

If you can afford it, take advantage. Sometimes it helps to consolidate your business with fewer providers—just remember to keep your accounts within FDIC insurance limits.