bank rates

3% CD Rates Have Returned!

Two CD rates deals we recently wrote about are now even better.You can compare the top 3-year CD rates by visiting our rate table.

This is not a misprint.

After a more than two-year hiatus, nationally available CD rates greater than 3% are back, thanks to Pentagon Federal Credit Union.

If you’re not a member, don’t worry, PenFed makes it incredibly easy to join.

But first, the offers.

With a $1,000 minimum deposit, this Alexandria, Va.-based credit union pays:

  • 3.04% APY on 60-month CDs.
  • 2.22% APY on 48-month CDs.

PenFed also pays 3.04% APY on its longer 7-year CDs, while its 3-year CD continues to pay 2.02% APY, much higher than you’ll find among other nationally available offers. It also increased its 2-year deal from 1.26% APY to 1.41% APY, also better than you’ll find elsewhere.

The new 5-year offer represents a significant increase from what PenFed paid last month, when it boosted rates to 2.02% APY.

The credit union, on its website, says this offer is good through Dec. 31, with the caveat that it’s “subject to change at any time.” Don’t assume this offer will hold up.

PenFed makes it simple to join.

Those not already qualifying for membership by reason of specified military or government service or organizational affiliation may join by signing up, through PenFed’s website, for either the National Military Family Association (a one-time $20 fee) or Voices for America’s Troops (a one-time $15 fee).

Under the “Join PenFed” tab on the website (, choose the “Help me join another way” option when prompted to answer how you are eligible to become a member.

Members can purchase CDs online, over the phone or in person at a Pentagon Federal Credit Union branch.

Branches are located in the Washington, D.C., area; Hawaii; New York; North Carolina; Tennessee; Texas; and at military bases in Guam, Japan, Portugal, Puerto Rico and Turkey.

We last saw 3% on a 5-year certificate of deposit available to savers everywhere in spring 2011. Rates only fell faster and further later that summer after the Federal Reserve first announced plans to hold down short-term interest rates for years.

That policy is still in effect, although we have seen some warming of CD rates since late spring.

But nothing has approached the offer introduced today by Penfed.

The best national available 60-month credit union deal on our list of the highest CD rates pays three-quarters of a percentage point less, and requires an active checking account and other commitments.

The best bank deals on our CD Rates Leaderboard have been hovering at or just above 2% – a full percentage point less than this offer – for months.

We cannot stress enough just how good a deal this is in today’s interest rate environment.

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Comments (1)
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One Existing Comment
  1. Kathy at Bankaholic said:
    on February 4th at 06:12 am

    PenFed dropped these rates, now paying:

    84-month = 2.27% APY
    60-month = 2.02% APY
    48-month = 1.76% APY
    36-month = 1.51% APY
    24-month = 1.26% APY

    But it did raise its 12-month rate to 1.16% APY from 0.75%.