bank rates

CD Rates Too Good To Be True

CD offer from insurance agentThe incredible CD rates in a spate of recent newspaper ads practically jump off the page.

An “FDIC-insured” 12-month CD for 3.11% APY from Asset Management Alliance.

A 3-month certificate of deposit paying 5.0% from Interstate First Financial of Illinois.

But Asset Management Alliance? Interstate First Financial? Those don’t sound like banks. And they’re not.

They’re insurance agents using eye-catching CD rates to sell annuities.

To obtain these above-market rates you must go to the agent’s office and listen to a sales pitch.

Buy an annuity — which is almost always a bad idea — and you can buy one of the lucrative CDs.

Customers write a check to an FDIC-insured bank, which the insurance agent uses to buy a CD. So the principal is guaranteed, just like the ad promised.

Of course that CD is also paying far less than the ad promised.

The insurance agent makes up the difference from the substantial commission he’s paid for selling the annuity. That’s what the fine print means when it says: “Promotional incentive may be included to obtain yield.”

While the agents usually say you don’t have to buy an annuity to buy a CD, the ads usually contain another clause that says something like: “Yield and deposit amount subject to availability.”

So if you don’t buy some sort of insurance, don’t be surprised if the great CD rate that got you in the door turns out to be unavailable.

The fine print also limits how much you can invest at the advertised CD rate to $10,000 or $20,000.

We know the average 3-month CD rate is a paltry 0.62% APY, and the average 12-month CD rate is 1.18%. We feel your pain.

But our extensive database of CD rates is a better way to find legitimate, better-than-average deals.

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  1. Rayle Shonie said:
    on June 15th at 01:33 pm

    Very good, informative article. This is a terrible way to trick the consumer. Watch the fine print!