The best 12 month CD rates may not be impressive overall today compared with historical rates. With the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates low for the near future, all types of deposits will not command the interest rates that were common before the recession. With nowhere to go but up, it may not make a lot of sense to lock in a rate for a long period of time. With most certificates of deposit, once you agree to a term like five years, you’ll be stuck with that rate even if new CDs have different rates.
This is a good approach in an environment where rates are high and possibly falling, but not a great idea when rates are low and possibly increasing. Nevertheless, you can often find better rates for CDs than for savings and money market accounts, so if you know you won’t need your savings for three months, six months, or a year, you might be able to achieve slightly higher interest payments from the bank. One drawback is there is often a penalty for accessing your cash before your term is up.
For the uninitiated, a certificate of deposit (CD) is considered a “time deposit.” CDs are generally considered cash or savings when it comes to asset allocation, but the “time” requirement presents a maturity date like a bond. This probably doesn’t matter for most individual savers and investors, but it does carry an important distinction for businesses whose investments are reported to regulatory authorities.
Like savings accounts, CD interest rates are compared using APY, annual percentage yield.
Here are some of today’s best 12 month CDs APY rates.
Discover Bank offers a hassle-free banking experience. I am a current, happy customer. Discover offers a rate of 1.25% APY for their 12-month CD as of March 29, 2017.
Ally Bank offers two unique types of CDs in addition to a traditional CD. The Ally Bank Raise Your Rate CD has a feature that mitigates the risk of CD rates increasing while you’re locked in. You’ll have one opportunity during the term of the CD to lock in the market interest rate. The shortest term offered is 2 years, though, not 12 months. The rate for this 2-year product is 1.30% APY as of August 21, 2016.
Ally Bank also offers a No-Penalty CD, where you can withdraw your money at any time without a penalty. This term is slightly less than a year at 11 months, and the current rate is 0.87% APY as of August 21, 2016. Beyond these products, Ally Bank also offers a typical 12-month CD, subject to an early withdrawal penalty and no option to increase the interest rate mid-term, and the current rate for a 12-month high yield CD is 1.05% APY as of August 21, 2016.
Capital One 360, the brand that emerged from Capital One’s acquisition of ING DIRECT, remains a mainstay of online banking and continues to set the standard for all other online banks. Like ING before it, Capital One 360 offers state-of-the-art banking products and delivers excellent customer service. The interest rate for Capital One 360’s 12-month CD is 0.75% APY as of August 21, 2016.
American Express is a relative newcomer to online banking, but their products are compelling to offer here. I like my account with American Express. This bank offers a wide range of terms for CDs from six months to 60 months, with many intermediate terms. The interest rate American Express offers on their 12 month CD is 0.55% APY as of August 21, 2016.
Sallie Mae Bank is also new to offering banking products, having been established in 2005. My account with Sallie Mae was the easiest to open, and my only criticism is the lack of integration with Quicken and online tracking tools. Sallie Mae offers a strong 1.25% APY on the 12 month certificate of deposit as of August 21, 2016.
Do you have a favorite bank, offering a compelling CD product, you’d like to see added to this list? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
If time deposits aren’t right for you and you’d like the ability to withdraw your money as needed, consider a high yield savings account from one of the best online banks. If you do like the idea of saving with CDs, consider creating a CD ladder to make the most of the highest CD rates.
Updated March 29, 2017 and originally published August 20, 2011.