Quick Look at the Best 3 Month CD Rates:
A well-diversified portfolio is key when investing, and if you don’t already have some short-term investments in yours, maybe it’s time to add a three-month certificate of deposit (CD). These secure deposits won’t always give you the best return on investment, but they will allow you to quickly turn your cash around with a slight increase.
Here are the best three-month CD rates Benzinga has found.
Best Minimum Deposit: Bethpage Federal Credit Union
While rates for a three-month CD aren’t as high as some other institutions, the $50 minimum balance makes this a great credit union for some. Bethpage Federal Credit Union also makes a point of educating its members. Basic knowledge of how CDs work is one of the keys to success, and this credit union is doing its part. The only downside we see in this credit union’s three-month CDs is its shorter-than-average grace period to take out your money once the term expires.
Best for Multiple Options: Navy Federal Credit Union
Navy Federal Credit Union offers three levels of saving for three-month CDs, making it a leader in this category. In addition to the standard three-month CDS, the credit union offers EasyStart Certificates starting at six months but only require a $50 minimum deposit to earn the same APY as a three-month CD with a $1,000 deposit. Finally, the credit union shines on one aspect of its early withdrawal penalty fees. While many other institutions reduce the principal balance if the accrued and unpaid interest are less than the fee, Navy Federal Credit Union does not.
Best for Online Banking: First Internet Bank of Indiana
The First Bank of Indiana is a great alternative for someone who wants to deal exclusively online — and that includes CDs and online savings accounts. You can set up and manage your CD account without ever leaving your home — and get competitive rates as part of the bargain. This bank offers CD terms that range from three months to five years and all only require a $1,000 deposit. The only drawback with this bank is that you have to pay a fee if you want monthly or annual statements but don’t want the interest you earn to be deposited into a savings or checking account.
Best for Nonrenewable CDs: TIAA Bank
If you’re looking for a short-term CD that does not roll over, TIAA is a great choice. Some people like the idea of a nonrenewable CD because it reduces the risk of forgetting the maturity date and having the money automatically roll over where it becomes inaccessible again unless you pay a penalty. TIAA Bank pays a competitive APY and only requires a $1,000 deposit, making it a great choice for those who don’t want to commit a lot of money.
Best for Connection: Security Service Federal Credit Union
Security Service Federal Credit Union has 66 branches across the nation, making it easy to connect with customer service at your local branch. In addition, the credit union has more than 30,000 ATMs nationwide that you can use for free. It offers a wide range of three-month CDs that will fit any budget — and all at competitive rates.
Features to Look for in 3-Month CDs
When looking for the best CDs, you should look for certain traits from the bank or credit union as well as the terms of the CD. Here are a few things to look for.
1. Customer Service
When you leave your money in the hands of a bank or credit union for an extended period of time — even if it’s only three months — it’s important to understand how to get in contact with them if you have questions. Some financial institutions are better at customer service than others, so it’s wise to research ways to contact a bank or credit union before depositing your money in a CD.
2. The Bank’s Credit Rating
You know how important your credit rating is, but did you know that banks also have one? It’s true, and as someone who is considering parking your money at a bank for three months, it’s wise to ensure that the bank is in good standing. You can find information online that will tell you your bank’s credit rating.
Keep in mind that your money will be insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Insurance Fund (NCAU) for up to $250,000.
You are allowing the bank to hold onto your money for three months for one reason: to earn interest on it so it increases in size. That’s why it’s important to look for the best CD rates you can find. Remember, the higher the interest rate that the bank pays you, the more interest you will earn on your investment.
4. Maturity and Grace Periods
Individual banks and credit unions handle things differently when a CD matures. Some automatically roll it over and allow you a grace period to decide whether you want to renew the CD or withdraw your money. And some don’t allow you to renew your CD. Each institution also offers unique grace periods, typically from seven to 14 days.
How to Apply for a CD
If you’re thinking about opening a three-month CD, you can prepare yourself by taking the following steps.
1. Make a Plan
Once you’ve decided to save some of your money in a CD, it’s time to start planning. That could mean setting up a budget to save for the funds you plan to deposit in a CD, or it could mean educating yourself on the process.
2. Start Saving
Once you’ve made up your mind that buying a CD is the right thing for you, begin saving for the deposit you need to open the CD. Look for the best savings accounts that link to high-yield CDs or pay higher-than-average interest rates. Then, begin slowly adding money to the account until you have the minimum deposit for your chosen bank or credit union.
3. Find the Right CD
After you’ve saved the right amount of money, it’s time to choose your bank or credit union. To do so, read articles like this and talk to the banks in your community. Remember to look for the terms you want, the institutions that accept the amount of deposit you’ve saved, and those that have the highest APYs.
4. Deposit the Money
Finally, it’s time to deposit your money with the bank and open your CD account. After that, you will collect interest each month for the three months. You can leave it in the account and let it add up, or in most cases, you can request that the institution transfer the interest to a savings account.
How You Can Improve Your Finances
Improving your finances can help you get on your feet, so you can start investing. Here are some things you can do to get you on the road to good financial health.
1. Pay Attention to Your Credit Score
Having a good credit score can help you build a better financial future. Did you know that everything — from the apartment you rent to the house you buy to the job you apply for to the insurance you apply for — all depend on your credit score? If yours isn’t optimal, start taking steps now to improve it.
2. Pay Your Bills on Time
Paying your bills on time dramatically improves your credit score, and that can help you build a better financial life. If you have trouble remembering to pay your bills, think about setting up automatic payments. The money will be taken out of your account when the bill is due, eliminating late payments, the accompanying fees and the unfortunate dings to your credit report.
3. Pay off Your Debts
The less debt you have, the more money you will have to invest. It doesn’t help your finances when all the money you earn goes to paying off debt, and that’s why you should make a plan to reduce that debt now. Even if you pay a little extra every month on your debt, it will result in less time that you have to carry it.
4. Get Your Debt-to-Income Ratio Right
The gross amount of monthly income you earn divided by the total monthly debt you pay equals your debt-to-income ratio (DTI). The highest your DTI should be 50%, and if it sits at that, you should try to reduce it. The goal is to make sure the money you have coming in every month goes toward savings and investments — not toward debt.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the interest rate on a three-month CD?
The interest rate you earn on a three-month CD depends on several factors. The bank or credit union you choose will offer varying rates, and those rates typically depend on how much money you deposit.
Where can I put my money to earn compound interest?
Compound interest is the magic elixir when it comes to investments, and a good place to earn it is in CDs. Your money will earn an agreed-upon interest rate, and if you leave the interest in the account until the CD matures, you will earn interest on not only the principle but on the interest as well.
Who has three-month CDs?
Both banks and credit unions offer three-month CDs, but not all of them do. If you’re looking for this short-term savings vehicle, be sure to check with your bank to see whether it offers it. If not, look for one that does.
Why are CD rates so low right now?
Interest rates have been very low for the past couple of years, and because CD APRs are based on the interest rate, CD rates have been lower. But the Federal Reserve is currently raising interest rates, and that means CD rates will go up, too.