|Best 36-month CD rates | January 2019|
• 3.05% APY
• 3.30% APY
• 3.00% APY
• 2.92% APY
• 2.90% APY
Connexus Credit Union
• 3.35% APY
• 3.05% APY
» Want to see more options? Check out our list of the best CD rates overall
What are CDs?
Certificates of deposit, or CDs, are savings accounts in which cash is locked away for a predetermined period of time, generally three months to five years.
CD rates are shown as an annual percentage yield, or APY. That number shows how much the CD earns in one year, and includes compound interest. The higher the APY, the more your money will grow. Long-term CDs usually earn the highest rates.
Can you withdraw cash early?
Although most CDs don’t have monthly fees, banks typically charge early withdrawal penalties if you remove money before the CD’s expiration date. The penalty is often several months’ worth of interest.
» See what CDs can earn with our CD calculator
When does getting a CD make sense?
Ideally, you’ll take out a CD only if you’re certain that you won’t need that money before the term ends. If you want to keep your funds more accessible, a high-yield online savings account is a better choice. (Check out our list of best online savings accounts.)
What’s better: CDs or investment accounts?
That depends on how much risk you’re willing to take. Investment accounts can have higher returns than CDs, but CDs offer guaranteed returns in the form of fixed interest rates. And they’re typically federally insured for up to $250,000. Brokerage accounts can be riskier since you aren’t protected against losses. (For more information, see our list of the best online brokers.)
Best 3-year CD rates, January 2019
|Financial institution||APY||Minimum deposit|
|Connexus Credit Union||3.35%||$5,000|
We featured easy-to-join financial institutions that we’ve reviewed with the highest rates currently listed in NerdWallet’s CD rates tool for three-year CDs. For the ZIP code and minimum deposit requirement, we used 94103 and $5,000, respectively. We also included select, standout rates from other trusted online financial institutions that we have reviewed. Higher rates might be available elsewhere.