The Best Credit Union CDs (2024)

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We survey 90 credit unions every weekday to determine which ones have the best CD rates. We’ve created this list of credit-union-specific CD rates for people who prefer to work with credit unions because they’re customer-owned and often have better rates than banks. The credit unions below are available to customers nationwide, and they’re all federally insured institutions. Your funds are protected through the National Credit Union Administration, up to $250,000 per depositor per institution.

The list below highlights the best credit union CDs by term, with a few months of wiggle room on either side of the term to capture the best rates available. When there’s a tie, we favor credit unions with the lowest minimum deposit requirement and the most forgiving early-withdrawal policies.

Scroll down for the top credit union CD rates available as of July 9, 2024.

Best Credit Union CDs for July 2024

  • Best 3-Month CD:INOVA Federal Credit Union
  • Best 6-Month and 3-Year CDs:Vibrant Credit Union
  • Best 1-Year CD:Nuvision Federal Credit Union
  • Best 18-Month CD:FedChoice Federal Credit Union
  • Best 2-Year, 4-Year, 5-Year, and 10-Year CDs: Credit Human
TermCredit UnionAPYMinimum DepositEarly Withdrawal Penalty
3 Months (2–4 months included)INOVA Federal Credit Union (4 months)5.40%$20090 days of dividends
6 Months (5–9 months included)Vibrant Credit Union (9 months)5.50%$5All earned interest
1 Year (10–14 months included)Nuvision Federal Credit Union (10 months)6.00%$1,0003 months of interest
18 Months (15–20 months included)FedChoice Federal Credit Union (15 months)5.15%$5004 months of interest
2 Years (21–29 months included)Credit Human5.10%$500Greater of $50 or 270 days of interest
3 Years (30–41 months included)Vibrant Credit Union5.00%$5All interest earned
4 Years (42–53 months included)Credit Human4.65%$500Greater of $50 or 360 days of interest
5 Years (54–66 months included)Credit Human4.65%$500Greater of $50 or 360 days of interest
10 Years (114–120 months included)Credit Human4.05%%$500Greater of $50 or 1,095 days of interest

Best Credit Union CDs

Best Credit Union CDs

  • Our Top Picks
  • INOVA Federal Credit Union
  • Vibrant Credit Union
  • Nuvision Federal Credit Union
  • FedChoice Federal Credit Union
  • Credit Human
  • See More (2)
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Best 3-Month CD : INOVA Federal Credit Union

INOVA Federal, headquartered in Elkhart, Indiana, has six branches in Indiana and one in Berkeley, California. It also is part of the CO-OP network of shared branches and ATMs. The credit union was established in 1942 for the employees of Miles Laboratories. INOVA Federal offers personal and business accounts, loans, credit cards, insurance products, and CDs with terms from 30 days to six years.

If you’re not eligible for membership through your employer, you can join by joining the Tru Direction Financial Literacy Program with a $5 donation. You also must keep $5 on deposit at the credit union.

Best 6-Month and 3-Year CDs : Vibrant Credit Union

Vibrant Credit Union is based in Moline, Illinois, and was started in 1935 by eight people as Deere Harvester Credit Union.

It has branches in Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana, but membership is available to anyone nationwide who opens a savings account with a minimum $5 deposit. Online banking is available, and the credit union also has a mobile app compatible with both Android and Apple devices. Account holders also can manage their accounts at shared branches that are part of the CO-OP network.

Best 1-Year CD : Nuvision Federal Credit Union

In operation for nearly a century, Nuvision Federal Credit Union is based in southern California and was originally the credit union of Douglas Aircraft. It offers loans and credit cards along with checking, savings, and money market accounts, IRAs, and CDs with 3-month to 5-year terms. You can join the credit union if someone in your household is a member, you’re an employee of Boeing or another employer in the Select Employer Group, or you’re willing to join the American Consumer Council for as little as $8.

Best 18-Month CD : FedChoice Federal Credit Union

FedChoice Federal Credit Union was founded in 1935 by a group of IRS agents. It has since grown to have over 25,000 members and over $425 million in assets. FedChoice offers a variety of banking products like checking and savings accounts; high-yield CDs; credit cards; and various loans. You can join FedChoice online with a $5 opening deposit.

Best 2-Year, 4-Year, 5-Year, and 10-Year CDs : Credit Human

Credit Human was formed in San Antonio, Texas, in 1935 to serve members of the National Federation of Federal Employees Local #28 union. It took the name Credit Human in 2016. Membership is available nationwide to anyone who joins the American Consumer Council, and Credit Human agrees to pay the fee to join the ACC.

The credit union has several branches throughout Texas, but members nationwide can access their accounts through online banking, a mobile app, or through CO-OP's shared branching network. Credit Human is not part of a fee-free ATM network.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Credit Union?

Credit unions are financial institutions that provide banking services like checking accounts, savings accounts, and loans. They are customer-owned not-for-profit organizations, and they tend to have a community focus. To join a credit union, you typically need to share a common bond with other customers. For example, you might all work for the same employer or live in the same area. However, some credit unions, like those listed here, are available to customers nationwide. To qualify, you typically need to join a nonprofit organization, often with a small donation.

How Do Credit Unions Differ From Banks?

Credit unions provide many of the same services as banks. But their not-for-profit structure makes them unique. In theory, credit unions primarily focus on serving customer-owners and keeping rates competitive. Without the need to generate profits for outside investors or pay taxes on earnings, credit unions might have an edge. Still, it’s always worth comparing offerings from both banks and credit unions.

“Membership” is another difference. To join a credit union, you must meet specific eligibility criteria. Banks, on the other hand, make their services available to anybody.

Concerned that a credit union is too small? If your credit union participates in shared branching, you can use branches and ATMs at other credit unions for free. The CO-OP shared branching network has more than 6,000 branches across the U.S.—more than Wells Fargo or Chase.

Pros

  • Customer-owned organization designed to serve them

  • Competitive rates on loans and deposits

  • Community focus

  • Government-backed deposit insurance at federally-insured institutions

Cons

  • Eligibility requirements may pose hurdles for some consumers

  • Small institutions might lack some services

  • Some large credit unions lose the community feel and focus

Why Are Credit Union Rates So Good?

Credit unions often pay higher rates on CDs than banks. Without the need to maximize profits for outside shareholders, credit unions can maximize what they pay out in savings accounts and CDs. Plus, credit unions don’t pay federal income taxes. That provides additional resources for offering high rates to members.

How Do CDs Work?

A CD is an account that pays a specified rate for the length of time that you choose. When you use a CD, you commit to leaving your funds with the bank, and you may have to pay a penalty if you withdraw funds early. Banks and credit unions typically reward you for your commitment by paying higher rates on CDs than they pay on savings accounts.

CDs are “time deposits.” To open a CD, you select a term (six months or three years, for example) and deposit money. Your CD “matures” when the term ends, and you can withdraw the proceeds or reinvest them in another CD. Doing nothing prompts some banks and credit unions to reinvest your funds automatically into another CD with the same term.

How Do Early-Withdrawal Penalties Work?

CDs pay more than savings accounts because you promise to keep your money untouched for an extended period. But if you need to withdraw funds, you can often do so—at a cost. An early withdrawal penalty is a charge you pay to your bank when you take money out before a CD matures.

Penalties are often quoted as a number of days’ worth of interest. For example, a bank or credit union might have the following schedule of charges:

  • For terms shorter than one year, pay 90 days of interest
  • For terms of one year to five years, pay six months of interest
  • For terms greater than five years, pay 12 months of interest

Early-withdrawal penalties typically increase on CDs with longer terms.

What Is a No-Penalty CD?

Some CDs do not have early withdrawal penalties. You can take funds out of a no-penalty CD at any time without paying additional charges. You might have to wait at least seven business days after opening the account, but the money is free and clear after that.

No-penalty CDs offer flexibility, but you may pay a small price to keep your options open. These CDs typically pay lower rates than CDs that feature an early withdrawal penalty (all other things being equal). Still, a no-penalty CD might make sense if you’re setting aside funds for an unexpected need. Likewise, if you think rates might fall, you can use a no-penalty CD instead of a savings account. That strategy allows you to lock in today’s rates (for a while, at least) while keeping your money liquid.

What Is a CD Ladder?

A CD ladder is a strategy that helps you avoid problems that may arise if you put all of your money into one CD. To use a laddering strategy, purchase multiple CDs with different maturity dates. By doing so, you have CDs mature periodically, and you can use those funds for spending needs. What’s more, as rates rise and fall, a ladder prevents you from investing everything into the lowest-yielding CDs.

For example, if you have $20,000 to invest, you might use the strategy below:

  • $5,000 in a 6-month CD
  • $5,000 in a 12-month CD
  • $5,000 in an 18-month CD
  • $5,000 in a 24-month CD

Whenever a CD matures, you put the proceeds into a new 24-month CD. As you cycle through CDs, you have cash available every six months. You can spend that money or reinvest at whatever rates are available.

What Should You Look for in a CD?

Competing CDs can differ in multiple ways. Factors to consider when deciding which option is best for you include:

  • Earnings: The rate you earn from a CD is one of the most important aspects. Credit unions typically quote an annual percentage yield (APY), which helps you compare offerings from different places. APY accounts for compounding, so you don’t need to pay attention to compounding frequency if you use this measure. If you compare interest rates (but not APY), CDs with daily compounding are best, all other things being equal.
  • Safety: Verify that you buy CDs from a credit union that’s federally insured. NCUSIF insurance is backed by the U.S. government, and your funds are protected up to $250,000 per depositor per institution.
  • Flexibility: As you evaluate CDs, review early-withdrawal policies. You may need to get your money before maturity, and it’s nice to know how much you’ll pay to do so. If multiple credit unions offer similar rates, consider using CDs with the most liberal early-withdrawal penalties.
  • Minimum Deposit: Before you commit to a credit union, investigate the minimum purchase requirements for CDs. Depending on how much you have to work with, that may determine where you open an account. CD minimums of $500 are not uncommon, but some institutions require $2,500 or more.

What Are Some Alternatives to CDs?

CDs are excellent for keeping your money safe while maximizing your earnings. If you’re keeping funds in a bank or credit union, a CD probably offers the highest rate. But other vehicles might be a better fit for your needs.

  • Savings accounts also pay interest, but you can cash out if you need funds immediately—without worrying about an early withdrawal penalty.
  • Money market accounts pay rates similar to savings accounts, but they may include tools for spending. For example, you might be able to use a debit card, checks, or online bill pay.

Key Takeaways

As member-owned organizations, credit unions are an excellent place to buy CDs. They often pay more than banks, and even small credit unions might provide ample access to branches and ATMs. When you commit to a term of several months (or more), credit unions tend to pay more on CDs than they pay in savings accounts. But watch out for early withdrawal penalties, and consider using no-penalty CDs or a CD ladder if you want to avoid getting stuck in a CD that causes problems.

Article Sources

  1. National Credit Union Administration. "Share Insurance."

  2. Co-op Solutions. "Co-op Shared Branch."

  3. National Credit Union Administration. "Credit Union and Bank Rates."

  4. IRS. "Information for Federal and State Credit Unions Regarding Automatic Revocation of Exemption."

  5. National Credit Union Administration. "Share Insurance."

The Best Credit Union CDs (2024)
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