Best CD Rates for October 2021

CDs can be a perfect way to earn interest for low-risk investors. See where to find the best CD rates today.
By Richard Barrington

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Just a few minutes spent searching for the best CD rates could earn you extra money for months or years to come. 

Shopping for bank rates is always a good idea. Generally, there’s a wide difference between the interest rates most banks offer and the top rates available.

When it comes to certificates of deposit, shopping for a higher rate can be especially rewarding. Because CDs generally pay a fixed interest rate over a specified period of time, finding higher CD interest rates rate today should continue to pay off for you over the life of that CD. Learn about CDs and discover CD rates that can earn you more interest.

Which Banks Have the Best CD Rates?

A large number of banks offer CDs, and many compete to have the best CD rates. Use the MoneyRates CD rate-finder tool below to sort through the list to find a CD that fits your financial goals.

Select the type of account, deposit amount, and desired CD length. The results show the top rates from our featured banks, but each listing can be expanded to reveal more rates. Click + to see all CD rates for each bank.

A second table below shows more CD products that meet your specifications. Rates in this table may be higher or lower than the featured-bank rates. Click + to see more offers.

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Disclosure: MoneyRates.com collects rates on a weekly basis and averages the last rate collected every month for each bank’s products to produce this dataset.

Current CD Rate Trends

CD rates started to fall after rising steadily a few years back. They began falling in 2019 and fell even faster after the coronavirus pandemic struck.

Still, the best CD rates for one- and five-year CDs are still much better than the average in each category. This makes it well worth shopping around for the best CD rate you can find.

Typically, online CD interest rates are higher than rates available from CDs at traditional, branch-based accounts. MoneyRates.com studies have found this rate advantage applies to one-year and five-year CD rates, but you can expect it to also be true of all CD lengths.

Long-term CD interest rates drop most

The drop in CD interest rates was especially steep for long-term CDs. This reflects caution on the part of banks. If rates are going to be falling, banks do not want to get caught having made commitments to pay higher rates on CDs with longer terms.

With long-term CD rates dropping more than short-term rates, the difference between long and short rates shrunk. While longer term rates are somewhat higher, the best CD rate consumers get for committing to a CD with a longer term has been reduced.

Choices for consumers in 2021

Despite the reduced reward for choosing a long-term CD, a falling rate environment might encourage you to choose longer CD terms if you can afford to commit your money for a longer period of time.

CD laddering is a technique you can choose to get some benefit from the best CD rates while still having a portion of your money become available at regular intervals.

Times when interest rates are changing make it especially important to shop around before you open a CD account. When rates are on the move, banks offering CDs adjust their rates at different times and by different amounts. That can change where the best CD rates are to be found.

Looking ahead, there is not much room for rates to fall further. The Federal Reserve has indicated it expects to keep interest rates low even if inflation pressures are felt in the economy in 2021. So, you may not see much more change in CD rates unless there is a big change in the economy.

How CDs Work

Unless you are already familiar with CDs, understanding a little about how they work might help you choose the CD that has the best CD rates for you.

CD interest rates, terms, and minimum balance requirements

A CD is a deposit instrument which requires you to commit to keeping your money in the account for a specified period of time. In return, the bank will typically agree to pay you a fixed interest rate for that length of time.

Some banks vary their CD interest rates depending on how much you deposit. In such cases, you have to meet a minimum balance requirement in order to qualify for the advertised rate.

A reward for committing your money for a specified period of time is that CDs generally pay higher interest rates than savings accounts or money market accounts. In most cases, the longer you commit to a CD, the higher the interest rate will be.

  • The length of time you agree to commit your money for is known as the CD term.
  • The date at which that term expires is known as the maturity date.

Can you cash in your CD at any time?

CD terms come in a variety of lengths, with the most common ones offering the best CD rates ranging from as little as one month to five years or longer.

If you want to take money out of the CD before the maturity date, you will usually have to pay an early withdrawal penalty. That early withdrawal penalty is important to consider before you lock your money up in a CD.

While a longer commitment is an opportunity to earn more interest, it also limits your access to your money. Having to pay an early withdrawal penalty may negate the rate advantage you gained by choosing a longer-term CD. That’s why shorter-term CDs may be a better idea for some people.

How safe are CDs?

CDs can be perfect for low-risk investors.

CDs offered by federally insured banks or credit unions are protected by deposit insurance. This covers up to $250,000 worth of deposits per customer at each participating financial institution. If you have more than one account you can only be insured for a maximum of $250,000 across all accounts. You can, however, gain more insurance coverage by spreading accounts across multiple institutions.

There are some CD products whose rates can vary under certain circumstances, and a few that don’t charge an early withdrawal penalty. However, these exceptions are fairly rare. 

What Should You Look for When Choosing a CD?

You could spend all day comparing CDs, but there’s a more efficient way to shop for the best CD rate.

Here’s how to narrow your search:

Select your CD term

The starting point for choosing a CD should be to decide how long you can afford to lock up your money. That makes it easier to compare rates based on the same CD length.

Most CDs are issued for uniform time periods such as one-year, three-years, five-years, or longer. Sometimes banks issue CDs with slightly irregular time periods such as 13 months rather than one year as a special promotion. These may meet your needs well enough to be included in your search.

Confirm deposit insurance

If you want full safety for your CD, you should limit your comparison-shopping to products backed by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) or the NCUA (National Credit Union Administration).

Investigate early withdrawal penalties

You should try to avoid paying an early withdrawal penalty by choosing a CD term that expires before you are likely to need to access your money. However, it’s still a good idea to compare early withdrawal penalties when choosing a CD just in case something goes wrong. If two CDs have roughly the same term and the same interest rate, it can be a good tie-breaker to choose the one with the lower early withdrawal penalty.

Compare fixed interest rates

Comparing interest rates is fairly straightforward if you are looking at CDs with the same term length. However, make sure that the rates you are comparing are fixed interest rates for the full term of the CD.

Know the maturity date

Knowing the maturity date helps you confirm the length of the CD term and allows you to plan ahead for when you cash out your CD or roll it over into a new one.

Verify minimum-balance requirements

The MoneyRates CD rate comparison tool above lets you to specify the size of the CD you want to find the best CD rates based on minimum balance requirements. This is important because you should base your rate-shopping on products that are available to your account size.

How MoneyRates Tracks the Best CD Rates

Though CD rates are locked in for the term of the CD, the rates banks offer on new CD accounts can change at any time. MoneyRates actively researches CD rates from week to week to bring you the most current information available.

Researchers for MoneyRates regularly monitor close to a thousand CD products from hundreds of financial institutions. These CD accounts represent a range of different terms and minimum balances, giving you plenty of CDs to choose from in searching for one that will meet your needs.

Also, the rates collected by MoneyRates are sorted into different term-length categories and averages are calculated for each of those categories. These averages are used as the basis for the interactive rate trend chart found above. Those averages can give you some context in evaluating whether a given CD product’s rates are above or below average.

FAQs

A certificate of deposit (CD) is a type of deposit product that pays a fixed interest rate on your funds for a specific period of time. Interest rates on CDs are typically higher than for savings accounts because your principal is locked until the CD matures.

CD accounts are typically insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), depending on whether or not the institution is an FDIC member, making them low-risk investments for savers.

Certificates of deposit usually require that the funds on deposit remain untouched for a defined period of time; however, many CDs allow the funds to be withdrawn before maturity if you pay a penalty.

See the graph below the rate-finder tool near the top of this page to see recent trends in CD rates. Another way to stay on top of changing interest rates is to bookmark the America’s Best Rates Survey, which is done every quarter here on MoneyRates.com.

While rates on most CDs are locked in for the term of the CD, the best CD rates available change all the time. Use the rate-finder tool near the top of this page to find the best CD rates available now.

Whether you are a low-risk investor or someone who can accept investment risk, some portion of your assets should be in safe investment options. Certificates of deposit make good low-risk investments because they are usually FDIC-insured.