The Most Rewarding 6-Month CD Rates To Grow Your Money in 2020

Get the most interest from your money through these top CDs.

When you’re saving up for a wedding or some other short-term goal, stashing your money in a six-month certificate of deposit can help you maximize your dollars while keeping risks low. The best CDs offer a high annual percentage yield and a reasonable minimum deposit. However, you’ll find that the biggest financial institutions might not provide the most advantageous return on your investment, so it pays to shop around for better rates.

If you’re looking for a short-term CD, check out GOBankingRates’ guide to the most rewarding six-month CD rates:

Here’s a quick look at the best six-month CDs available in 2020:

Best 6-Month CD Rates at a Glance
Bank APY Minimum Deposit To Open
Nationwide logo 2017 Nationwide by Axos Bank 0.40% $500
Live Oak Bank 0.70% $2,500
HSBC logo 2017 HSBC Direct 0.40% $1,000
Banesco USA logo Banesco USA 0.45% $1,500
sallie mae bank logo Sallie Mae Bank 0.50% $2,500
first internet bank First Internet Bank 0.55% $1,000

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Best 6-Month CD Rates

The national rate for six-month CD accounts is just 0.33% for the week of Jan. 20, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Meanwhile, the most lucrative six-month CDs provide rates that exceed five times that.

Why should you leave thousands of dollars sitting at your local bank when there are other financial institutions that will give you much more for the same amount of money? Take a look at the following breakdown of the best CD rates and accounts of 2020.


Nationwide logo 2017

Nationwide by Axos Bank

Why Consumers Like It: This account offers exceptional interest rates and the smallest minimum deposit on GOBankingRates’ list of the best six-month CDs. Online customers will find plenty of digital banking tools, such as the Axos Bank for Nationwide mobile app and a no-hassle switch kit to help you move funds from your current bank.

Benefits:

  • Very low minimum deposit of $500
  • FDIC insurance up to $250,000
  • Automatic renewal with a 10-day grace period

Drawbacks:

  • No physical bank branches
  • The early withdrawal penalty applies even if no interest has accrued yet

Fees: If you withdraw any of the principal before the CD matures, Nationwide by Axos Bank charges three months’ worth of interest, whether it’s accrued or not, based on the amount taken out.

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Minimum Deposit: $500

APY: 0.40%

How To Open an Account: You must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to open a CD account with Nationwide by Axos Bank. Additionally, make sure your Social Security number, U.S. driver’s license or state ID, and address — no P.O. Box numbers allowed — are on hand.

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Live Oak Bank

Why Consumers Like It: Live Oak Bank’s six-month CD rate beats that of many competitors, and there are no monthly maintenance fees. Customers can use the bank’s mobile app to manage their account from anywhere in the U.S.

Benefits:

  • FDIC-insured up to $250,000
  • The CD renews automatically in 10 calendar days after the term ends

Drawbacks:

  • Relatively high minimum deposit of $2,500
  • Live Oak Bank’s only brick-and-mortar branch is located in Wilmington, North Carolina

Fees: The early withdrawal penalty for Live Oak Bank’s six-month CD is 90 days’ worth of simple interest.

Minimum Deposit: $2,500

APY: 0.70%

How To Open an Account: There’s a three-step application to open a CD account with Live Oak Bank, and it’s only available online. You’ll be required to provide personal details and external bank account information to transfer money into your new CD.

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HSBC logo 2017

HSBC Direct

Why Consumers Like It: This six-month CD offers an interest rate that soars above the national average. As a bonus, customers on either coast have the option to visit a physical HSBC branch to take care of their banking needs.

Benefits:

  • Options to renew automatically, transfer your balance, add more money or renew with a different term after your CD matures
  • Savings are covered by HSBC’s $0 Liability, Online Guarantee
  • FDIC insurance up to $250,000

Drawbacks:

  • No physical branches available for customers who don’t live on the East or West coasts
  • Renewing with a different CD term after the maturity date requires calling HSBC’s Customer Relationship Center

Fees: You’ll get charged 30 days’ worth of simple interest if you withdraw any of the principal before the CD’s maturity date.

Minimum Deposit: $1,000

APY: 0.40%

How To Open an Account: To open a six-month CD with HSBC Direct, you’ll need to complete a six-step application process. Additionally, you must be at least 18 years old and possess a Social Security number, longtime U.S. residential address, valid form of personal identification and external bank account.

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More: HSBC Review: Is It the Right Bank for You?

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Banesco USA logo

Banesco USA

Why Consumers Like It: Along with competitive rates, BaneSmart CDs provide some flexibility. Customers can choose from four different payment schedules depending on what works best for their financial goals.

Benefits:

  • Determine your own payment schedule: monthly, quarterly, semiannually or at the end of the CD term
  • FDIC-insured up to $250,000

Drawbacks:

  • Banesco branches are located in Florida and Puerto Rico
  • Customer service is only available between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays

Fees: The early withdrawal penalty for this six-month CD is 90 days’ worth of interest.

Minimum Deposit: $1,500

APY: 0.45%

How To Open an Account: You can open a CD account with Banesco by completing an online application, as long as you’re at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. To apply, make sure you have your Social Security number, a longtime home address and an external bank account to fund your new CD.

Related: Banesco USA Review: Community Banking in South Florida

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sallie mae bank logo

Sallie Mae Bank

Why Consumers Like It: Returns on this six-month CD are guaranteed, and customers can stay connected to their account through convenient mobile text banking and alerts. Overall, GOBankingRates recognized Sallie Mae Bank for having some of the best CD rates and accounts in 2020.

Benefits:

  • Interest disbursements are available monthly, quarterly, annually or at maturity
  • FDIC insurance up to $250,000
  • Option for automatic renewal

Drawbacks:

  • No physical branch locations
  • Higher minimum deposit of $2,500
  • The early withdrawal penalty applies regardless of how much interest you’ve accrued

Fees: Expect to get hit with an early withdrawal penalty of 90 days’ simple interest if you dip into the principal before the CD’s maturity date. If the penalty exceeds the amount of interest you’ve accrued, the difference will be deducted from the principal. Additionally, there’s a returned deposit fee of $5.

Minimum Deposit: $2,500

APY: 0.50%

How To Open an Account: If you’re looking to open a six-month CD with Sallie Mae, visit the bank’s website and follow the prompts to submit your application.

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first internet bank

First Internet Bank

Why Consumers Like It: First Internet Bank also received recognition from GOBankingRates for having some of the best CD rates and accounts of 2020. The bank’s six-month CD rate is many times higher than the national average.

Benefits:

  • FDIC-insured up to $250,000
  • Customer service is available Monday through Saturday

Drawbacks:

  • The early withdrawal penalty consists of the entire term’s interest
  • No physical branch locations

Fees: You’ll get slapped with a hefty penalty of 180 days’ interest for withdrawing your money before the CD matures.

Minimum Deposit: $1,000

APY: 0.55%

How To Open an Account: If you’re a legal U.S. resident and at least 18 years old, you should be eligible to open a six-month CD with First Internet Bank. Just prepare your Social Security number and government-issued ID before getting started.

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Tips for Choosing the Best CD

Term lengths, rates and minimum balances can vary across CDs, so the best choice for your financial situation will depend on several factors:

  • How much money can you commit to a CD? Some accounts might ask for less than $1,000 as an opening deposit, whereas others could require significantly higher minimum balances.
  • When do you need the funds? Time permitting, you could opt for a longer term and secure a higher interest rate as a result. If you need your money even sooner, some financial institutions also offer three-month CDs — albeit with lower interest rates.
  • What’s the best rate available? Online-only banks may provide better interest rates than brick-and-mortar institutions, so being flexible with your banking can pay off.

Related: Are CDs Still Worth the Investment?

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CD vs. Savings Account

On the surface, a CD might look very similar to a high-yield savings account. However, there are some key benefits and drawbacks to choosing a CD.

Advantages of a CD

  • CDs usually offer better interest rates compared to savings accounts.
  • With fixed rates, you can keep earning higher returns over the course of the CD’s term even if the national rates drop.
  • These accounts are considered one of the safest options for your savings, especially when they’re purchased through a federally-insured bank.

Disadvantages of a CD

  • Inflation could outpace the interest rate on your CD — and your money is contractually stuck in the account until the term ends.
  • You’re subject to an early withdrawal penalty if you dip into your funds sooner than the CD’s maturity date.
  • More aggressive investments, like stocks, can provide higher returns over time.

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FAQ

If you need further clarification, here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about CDs.

Read More: The Ultimate Guide To Investing In Certificates of Deposit

What Is a CD?

A certificate of deposit — aka CD — is a type of bank account that allows you to earn a higher interest rate compared to what’s typically offered by traditional savings accounts. Your money stays in the CD for a fixed length of time, with terms ranging from a few months to several years. When the CD matures, the money is returned to you, along with any accrued interest.

How Do CD Rates Work?

The CD rates available to you will vary depending on the amount of money you’re willing to deposit and how long you’re planning to lock up your money. Choosing higher deposit amounts and longer terms will generally result in better CD rates. However, you’ll need to commit to keeping the money untouched — you’ll risk incurring a penalty if you withdraw your funds prior to the CD’s maturity date, which can negate any interest that you earn.

When Should I Get a CD?

With the right personal documents, anyone who can meet the minimum opening deposit is eligible to open a CD account. However, it’s smarter to make the leap when you have a sizable emergency fund in place so that you’re not scrambling for cash when an unexpected expense pops up. Your money isn’t readily accessible in a CD, so keep your emergency fund elsewhere, like in a high-yield savings account.

What’s Better: CDs or Investment Accounts?

If you’re trying to beat market returns, CDs might not fit into your aggressive goals. Investment products like stocks, bonds and mutual funds have the potential to generate greater returns over time. However, these non-deposit accounts also aren’t insured by the FDIC, so CDs represent the safer choice for conservative investors.

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Don’t Miss: Money-Making Strategies for Current CD Interest Rates

Is a 6-Month CD Right for You?

Six-month CDs represent a solid option for people who are looking to capitalize on higher interest rates but aren’t willing to commit to longer terms. In any case, it’s important to assess your personal situation and goals before agreeing to lock up your money for an extended period of time.

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This content is not provided by the financial institutions mentioned in the article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by these financial institutions. Rates are subject to change, and all other information on accounts is accurate as of Jan. 23, 2020.

Nationwide, Nationwide Bank, the Nationwide N and Eagle and Nationwide is on your side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. Member FDIC.

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About the Author

Grace Lin

Grace joined the GOBankingRates team in 2017 with an editorial background in print journalism and magazines. Prior to editing and writing for GOBankingRates, Grace pitched books and movies from Renaissance Literary & Talent, a literary agency and management firm representing clients such as the estate of Audrey Hepburn, Kirk Douglas, Goldie Hawn and Heidi Murkoff of the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” series.

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