CD Rate Forecast: Are CD Rates Going Up in 2024?

CD rates have been going up, but they are rising more slowly than in 2022 and may soon drop.
Spencer Tierney
By Spencer Tierney 
Updated
Edited by Sara Clarke

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Interest rates on certificates of deposit play an important role for some savers. CDs’ fixed rates can offer guaranteed returns for terms of several months or years. And locking in a high CD rate can mean earning strong yields even if the economy enters a low-rate environment. Here’s an overview of where CD rates might be headed.

» COMPARE: NerdWallet’s best CD rates

Are CD rates going up?

No, CD rates have started incrementally dropping in 2024. Both national average and high-yield CD rates saw a slowdown in increases last year. Here’s a quick comparison: From mid-December 2023 to late January 2024, the average one-year CD rates at 15 online banks dropped from about 5.50% to 5.25% annual percentage yield, according to a NerdWallet analysis. While not drastic, more rate drops may be coming. Now’s the time to take advantage of current high-yield CDs, which still have some of the highest rates in more than a decade.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs logo
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Member FDIC

Marcus by Goldman Sachs High-Yield CD

Marcus by Goldman Sachs logo
APY

5.15%

Term

14 months

Barclays logo
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Member FDIC

Barclays Online CD

Barclays logo
APY

5.15%

Term

1 year

Discover® Bank logo
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Member FDIC

Discover® CD

Discover® Bank logo
APY

4.80%

Term

1 year

A big reason why rates are at such highs is due to the frequency with which the Federal Reserve increased its federal funds rate. The Fed pushed up the target range of this Fed rate, which is the interest rate banks use to borrow money from each other, as one tool to curb inflation. Since March 2022, the Fed raised its rate 11 times, with more increases in 2022 than in 2023. The last increase occurred after the Fed’s July 25-26 meeting, but in its meetings since then, the Fed has kept rates steady

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Federal Open Market Committee: Meeting calendars, statements, and minutes (2019-2024). Accessed Jan 29, 2024.
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Banks generally adjust their rates on new CDs in the same direction as Fed rate changes. Credit unions — the not-for-profit equivalent to banks — similarly raise rates on their CDs, known as share certificates.

CD rate trends

  • High-yield CDs tend to be at online banks and online credit unions, which have rates that are whole percentages higher than national average CD rates. For example, the national averages are 1.83% for one-year CDs and 1.40% for five-year CDs. Top one-year yields are above 5%, and the best five-year CD rates are closer to 4%.

  • Short-term CD rates remain higher than long-term rates, for national averages and among high-yield CDs, according to a NerdWallet analysis. This phenomenon, known as an inverted yield curve, can reflect that banks expect that future interest rates are headed downward.

CD rate forecast: 2024

The Fed kept its rate the same after its first meeting of 2024 on Jan. 30-31. Projections suggest that we may see no rate increases in 2024, and that the Fed might start dropping its rate as soon as March, according to the CME FedWatch Tool on Jan. 31. If the Fed rate drops, CD rates will likely follow suit and drop as well, though it’s up to each bank and credit union as to if and when that occurs.

The Fed’s fight against inflation is more likely to end in what’s known as a soft landing instead of a recession in 2024, according to a September forecast from the American Bankers Association’s Economic Advisory Committee. The committee consists of chief economists from some of the largest U.S. banks

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“If we have a soft landing scenario, where there is no significant damage to the economy, there is no reason for the Federal Reserve to keep rates up [at] a very restrictive range,” Dawit Kebede, senior economist at the Credit Union National Association, said on Oct. 18, referring to the Fed rate’s target range.

When the Fed rate drops, CD rates will likely drop too. But the drops might not be as drastic as they were after March 2020, when the Fed cut its rate to nearly zero. The Fed rate may drop more gradually over the next few years, according to the Fed’s December economic projections

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Summary of Economic Projections: December 14, 2023. Accessed Jan 29, 2024.
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Take advantage of today’s CD rates

Lock in CD rates sooner than later. CDs are typically best for specific goals, such as protecting some savings from inflation’s effects or earmarking a fixed sum for a large purchase within five years, such as a car or house.

Don’t forget about specialty CDs. If you’re unsure about getting a CD now, some types of CDs offer flexibility. Bump-up CDs allow you to increase the rate at least once during a CD term, as long as rates on new CDs go up. No-penalty CDs give you a fixed rate plus the opportunity to jump ship for free.

Consider a CD ladder to hedge your bets. A CD ladder strategy reduces the stress around timing your CDs. Split up an investment equally into several CDs of different term lengths, such as one year, two years and three years. When each CD matures, reinvest in a longer-term CD or, if you need the cash, withdraw. Ideally, though, you can have multiple long-term CDs that mature at staggered intervals. You mix short-term CD access with long-term rates.

Compare other short-term ways to save and invest. For more everyday savings with the same low risks as CDs, consider a high-yield savings account or money market account, which have top rates above 5% APY. Or, if you’re looking to invest, consider more ways to invest your savings.

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