CD Calculator: Free Calculator for Certificates of Deposit

Spencer TierneyMay 19, 2020
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NerdWallet's CD calculator shows what you can earn with a CD, a type of savings account you leave untouched for months or years. Like regular savings accounts, CDs are safe because they are federally insured. Use the CD calculator below to see total interest, or, if you're looking for the best CD rates, skip ahead in the story to check out three strong options.

» If access to funds is important, see our best high-yield savings accounts

Shop for the best CD rates

Some online-only banks have one-year to five-year CDs with annual percentage yields over 1%. Here's a closer look at some of the CD rates on the market:

Compare top CD rates

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1-year APY

0.65%

With $500 minimum balance

1-year APY

0.40%

With $0 minimum balance

1-year APY

0.60%

With $2,000 minimum balance

3-year APY

0.65%

With $500 minimum balance

3-year APY

0.40%

With $0 minimum balance

3-year APY

0.70%

With $2,000 minimum balance

5-year APY

0.70%

With $500 minimum balance

5-year APY

0.40%

With $0 minimum balance

5-year APY

0.80%

With $2,000 minimum balance

Minimum Balance

$500

Member FDIC

Minimum Balance

$0

Member FDIC

Minimum Balance

$2,000

Member FDIC

» Ready to see more? Check our list of the highest CD rates available this month.

What term length should you get?

The longer the term, the higher the rate tends to be. Terms typically range from three months to five years, so see how CDs fit in with your savings goals. Most have early withdrawal penalties, so be sure you won’t need your money before the term expires.

How much interest will you earn on a CD?

This varies based on your deposit, CD rate and term length. For example, a $10,000 deposit in a five-year CD with 1.50% APY will earn about $773 in interest, while a CD with 0.01% APY, all other factors the same, only earns $5 in interest. » Want to see other calculators? Check out our list of NerdWallet’s financial calculators

How do CD rates work?

CD rates are quoted as an annual percentage yield, or APY, which is how much the account earns in one year including compound interest. Banks generally compound interest monthly or daily. An interest rate is similar to APY but before factoring in compound interest. For more details, see our explainer on APY.

What should I know when choosing CDs?

  • Prioritize finding a high interest rate. Not every bank has competitive rates on their CDs. See our list of the best CD rates.

  • Avoid early withdrawal fees. Although short-term CDs mean less time to wait to access your money and less need to incur the penalty to get money early, long-term certificates mean a beefier rate.

  • Keep in mind that CD rates have climbed recently, so locking up cash for as many as five years might mean you miss out on rising rates.

» Not sure how to open a CD? Here's a step-by-step guide to opening a CD account

What happens if I withdraw a CD early?

Generally a CD has an early withdrawal penalty, which tends to range from a few months' to a year's worth of interest earned depending on the bank and the CD's term length. Longer lengths usually have bigger penalties. They only occur if you take out money before a CD term expires. Try our calculator to see dollar amounts for what an early withdrawal penalty costs.

» Curious about CDs without penalties? See our list of best no-penalty CDs

When will CD rates go up?

It partly depends on when the Federal Reserve raises its benchmark rate again, which dropped to nearly zero in March 2020. Federal Reserve actions are one factor in banks’ decision to change rates. Check where historical CD rates have been.

Are there other accounts I should consider?

Consider opening an online brokerage account if you’ve already built a robust emergency fund and want to boost your long-term savings. Although these financial products come with more risk than CDs, they could lead to higher returns.

Picking the right broker comes down to your priorities. Some investors are willing to pay more for a top-notch platform; others count costs above all else. With brokerage accounts, you don't have to worry about early withdrawal penalties, but your funds may be more difficult to access in a pinch, given that you’ll likely need to sell some investment shares before you can devote that money to anything else.

» For in-depth guidance, check out NerdWallet’s best online stock brokers for beginners.

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