bank rates

2014 CD Rates: A Midyear Report Card

final exam scoreSince we’re midway through the sixth month of 2014, we thought this might be a good time to take a look at how CD rates have changed since the start of the year.

The question: Are savers any better off today than they were on Jan. 1?

Come see for yourself.

We’ll walk through this report card term by term, ticking off the highlights and assigning a letter grade to each term. Agree or disagree, let us know in the comments.

3-month CDs

Top rate then: 0.45% APY
Top rate now: 0.51% APY

Challengers: At the start of the year, five banks offered nationally available deals that paid at least 0.40% APY. Today, we’re tracking nationally available rates from 14 banks, and there still are just five that pay at least 0.40% APY.

Follow the daily changes to the best 3-month CD rates on our new list.

Grade: F

Advice: These CDs aren’t worth your time. Take advantage of EverBank’s 6-month rate guarantee on its money market account instead.

6-month CDs

Top rate then: 0.90% APY
Top rate now: 0.87% APY

Challengers: This is the only term we track that has a worse top rate today than at the start of the year. In January, two banks paid 0.90% APY and four paid at least 0.85% APY. Today, we’re tracking nationally available rates from 18 banks; just one pays at least 0.85% APY. Wow.

Follow the daily changes to the best 6-month CD rates on our new list.

Grade: F

Advice: See 3-month CDs.

12-month CDs

Top rate then: 1.10% APY
Top rate now: 1.10% APY

Challengers: The top nationally available rate remains unchanged, but two banks offer that top rate today, compared with just one in January. Today, we’re tracking nationally available rates from 18 banks; six pay at least 1.05% APY compared with four at the start of the year.

Follow the daily changes to the best 12-month CD rates on our new list.

Grade: D-

Advice: Inflation is higher than the yield here, so you’re not gaining anything by investing in a 12-month CD. However, these rates do beat the best liquid accounts. If you’re waiting for rates on longer-term CDs to increase, this might be a good place to park your cash.

24-month CDs

Top rate then: 1.25% APY
Top rate now: 1.26% APY

Challengers: The best rate hasn’t moved much, but we’re seeing a lot more competition among the banks just below the top. In January, just two banks paid at least 1.20% APY. Today, we’re tracking nationally available rates from 23 banks; six pay at least 1.20% APY.

Follow the daily changes to the best 24-month CD rates on our new list.

Grade: D-

Advice: If you don’t mind locking your money up longer, stretch for a 3- or 5-year CD. You might also try looking local. We’ve found 2-year CDs that pay as much as 2% APY on our list of the highest CD rates from credit unions and local banks.

36-month CDs

Top rate then: 1.45% APY
Top rate now: 1.45% APY

Challengers: Once again, we’re seeing more competition in this term with three banks offering the top rate today and seven banks that pay at least 1.35% APY. In January, just two banks paid as much. Today, we’re tracking nationally available rates from 23 banks.

Follow the daily changes to the best 36-month CD rates on our new list.

Grade: D

Advice: We’ve found four nationally available credit union deals that top the best bank deal. We’ve also written about 15 local deals that beat 1.45% APY, topping out at an offer that pays 2.02% APY. If three years is the term length for you, go with one of these options.

60-month CDs

Top rate then: 2.16% APY
Top rate now: 2.30% APY

Challengers: Five-year CDs have recovered more than any other term. In January, none paid at least 2.25% APY. Today, we’re tracking nationally available rates from 19 banks; five pay at least 2.25% APY.

Follow the daily changes to the best 60-month CD rates on our new list.

Grade: C

Advice: We sure would like to see a return to 3% CD rates here soon. But the days when the top nationally available 5-year CD paid less than 1.8% APY are still too fresh in our minds to be bitter about current yields. If interest rate projections are to be believed, any 5-year CD bought today won’t look so good three years down the road. It’s the best we’ve got for savers today, though. Look for early withdrawal penalties that aren’t crushing.

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