Today’s top widely available 3-month CD pays 0.50 percent APY. A 3-month CD could be a great place to invest for short-term financial obligations, like establishing a rainy day fund you can eventually transfer to a savings account.
Savers have tons of places to park their cash. But choosing between a savings account and a certificate of deposit (CD) can be difficult.
A CD allows you to tuck away your money at a bank and earn fixed interest on that money until the CD matures. But because 3-month CDs are pretty short investments, banks tend to offer lower interest rates on these when compared to a high-yield savings account.
The top savings accounts pay around 0.70 percent annual percentage yield (APY). But the average yield is much lower (0.08 percent APY). If you’re hoping to earn a higher rate of return and you want the money you invest to be accessible, consider buying a 3-month CD.
The best 3-month CD rates available from banks and credit unions pay more than five times the national average of 0.11 percent APY, according to Bankrate’s most recent national survey of banks and thrifts.
The best 3-month CD rates for December 2020
BrioDirect: 0.50% APY; $500 minimum deposit
Navy Federal Credit Union: 0.50% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit
Bethpage Federal Credit Union: 0.40% APY; $50 minimum deposit
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union: 0.35% APY; $20,000 minimum deposit for APY
VyStar Credit Union: 0.25% APY; $500 minimum deposit
First Internet Bank of Indiana: 0.25% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit
TIAA Bank: 0.25% APY; $5,000 minimum deposit
Note: The APYs (Annual Percentage Yield) shown are as of Nov. 30, 2020. Bankrate’s editorial team updates this information regularly, typically biweekly. APYs may have changed since they were last updated. The rates for some products may vary by region.
Bankrate’s guide to choosing the right CD rate
Why you can trust Bankrate
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Methodology for Bankrate’s Best CD Rates
At Bankrate, we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. We follow strict guidelines to ensure that our editorial content is unbiased and not influenced by advertisers. Our editorial team receives no direct compensation from advertisers and our content is thoroughly fact-checked to ensure accuracy.
Bankrate regularly surveys around 70 widely available financial institutions, made up of the biggest banks and credit unions, as well as a number of popular online banks.
To find the best CDs, our editorial team analyzes various factors, such as: annual percentage yield (APY), the minimum needed to earn that APY (or to open the CD) and whether or not it is broadly available. All of the accounts on this page are insured by Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) banks or by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUA) at National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) credit unions.
When selecting the best CD for you, consider the purpose of the money and when you’ll need access to these funds to help you avoid early withdrawal penalties.
Finding the best 3-month CD rates
Comparison shopping is a must when you’re looking for the best 3-month CD rates. There are multiple types of CDs, including bump-up CDs and liquid CDs. But the top 3-month CD rates are usually found in the form of a traditional CD.
Check out the best 3-month CDs offered by banks and credit unions and weigh the pros and cons of going with a short-term certificate of deposit over an account that’s more liquid. Don’t forget to crunch the numbers and calculate how much interest you could earn by the end of your term.
Best 3-month CD details
BrioDirect – 0.50% APY; $500 minimum deposit
BrioDirect is Sterling National Bank’s online brand. All BrioDirect savings deposit products are provided by Sterling National Bank, which was founded in 1888.
BrioDirect only offers CDs and a high-yield savings account. Both of these savings products offer a competitive yield.
BrioDirect gives customers a variety of CDs to choose from since it offers 13 different terms — starting with 30 days and going out to five years. Even with this range of terms, the one-year CD is the best deal and has the highest APY for a CD at BrioDirect.
Navy Federal Credit Union – 0.50% APY; $1,000 minimum deposit
Navy Federal Credit Union has more than 8.8 million members and is the world’s largest credit union. It has a global network of 340 branches. Navy Federal Credit Union has its headquarters in Vienna, Virginia.
Membership at Navy Federal Credit Union is open to all Department of Defense and Coast Guard Active Duty, civilian, contract personnel, veterans and their families
In addition to CDs, Navy Federal Credit Union also offers checking and savings accounts, loans and credit cards.
Bethpage Federal Credit Union – 0.40% APY; $50 minimum deposit to open
Bethpage Federal Credit Union was founded in 1941 for people working at Grumman.
Bethpage Federal Credit Union is located in Bethpage, New York. It has more than 400,000 members and offers nine terms of CDs. The three-month CD is the shortest term and the five-year CD is the longest term. Bethpage also offers a 39-month bump-up CD.
Besides CDs, Bethpage offers checking accounts, savings accounts, loans and other financial products.
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union – 0.35% APY; $20,000 minimum deposit to earn APY
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union was formed during the Great Depression in 1934. The credit union, created by school employees, has 50 branches.
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union has low minimum balances and CD terms from as short as 30 days to as long as five years. CDs at this credit union have four balance tiers: $500, $20,000, $50,000 or $100,000.
VyStar Credit Union – 0.25% APY; $500 minimum deposit
VyStar Credit Union was founded in 1952. It was originally called Jax Navy Federal Credit Union and it was chartered at Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida.
Membership at VyStar Credit Union is open to anyone who works or lives in the 49 Florida counties or the four Georgia counties listed on its website.
VyStar Credit Union offers 10 CDs terms ranging from three months to five years. It also offers a one-year CD for Kid’s, VyTeen, Bravo and Achieve members only
First Internet Bank of Indiana: 0.25% APY, $1,000 minimum deposit for this APY
First Internet Bank of Indiana was the first FDIC-insured financial institution to operate entirely online, according to the bank’s website.
First Internet Bank of Indiana opened on February 22, 1999 and is available in all 50 states.
First Internet Bank offers eight terms of CDs, a money market savings account with a competitive yield, a savings account and two checking accounts.
TIAA Bank – 0.25% APY; $5,000 minimum deposit
TIAA Bank is a division of TIAA, FSB. TIAA Bank has 10 financial centers, all located in Florida.
Besides its TIAA Bank CD, TIAA Bank also offers a Yield Pledge Checking account, a Yield Pledge Money Market and other products. TIAA Bank’s CDs require $5,000 to open one. TIAA Bank also offers IRA-eligible CDs.
3-month CD rates offered by popular banks
Check out the 3-month CD rates offered by some of the country’s most popular banks:
Ally Bank: 0.20% APY; $0 minimum deposit
Discover Bank: 0.20% APY, $2,500 minimum deposit
Synchrony Bank: 0.15% APY; 2,000 minimum deposit
Ally Bank: 0.20% APY; $0 minimum deposit to open
Ally Bank started in 2004 and is headquartered in Sandy, Utah. In 2009, GMAC Bank was transformed into Ally Bank. Ally Bank exceeded 1 million Ally Bank customer accounts in 2012 and currently has 6.5 million customers and counting.
Ally Bank also offers a checking account, a money market account, term CDs, a no-penalty CD and two terms of a Raise Your Rate CD.
Discover Bank – 0.20% APY; $2,500 minimum deposit
Discover Bank may be known for its credit cards. But it also offers a wide selection of banking products. It has been offering deposit products online since 2007.
Discover Bank offers CDs ranging in terms as short as three months to 10 years.
It also offers a checking account, money market account and a savings account.
Synchrony Bank – 0.15% APY; $2,000 minimum deposit
Synchrony Bank offers competitive yields across 12 terms. All standard CD terms typically offered by banks and credit unions are available.
If Synchrony Bank receives your CD deposit within the 15-day period — and the CD rate increased, you’ll receive this higher rate.
The bank also offers a savings account and a money market account. The savings account has a competitive APY and has no minimum balance requirement.
How to use a 3-month CD in a CD ladder
With a CD ladder, you’ll open several short- and long-term CDs with staggered maturity dates. The long-term CDs should allow you to take advantage of higher CD interest rates, while the shorter-term CDs let you either access the money sooner or reinvest into a new CD if you can find higher interest rates.
A 3-month CD may fit into your ladder as the shortest rung. Once it matures, you can either use the funds or reinvest into a longer-term CD with a higher interest rate.
Alternatives to 3-month CDs
This type of CD isn’t right for everyone. Check out these alternatives to 3-month CDs:
Savings account or money market account
You may be able to score a higher interest rate with a money market account or a high-yield online savings account, while still maintaining access to your money.
“Money market and high-yield savings accounts typically offer higher interest rates than standard savings accounts, but normally require higher balances and may have restrictions or conditions to accessing one’s money,” says Robert Drury, executive director of the Association of Christian Financial Advisors.
Consider a CD with a longer term
CDs give savers a little bit of a yield boost over savings accounts in exchange for a long-term deposit. The longer savers agree to leave their money in the bank, the higher the yield.
Investing in a 1-year CD, for example, would require you to tie up your funds for a full 12 months.
“Money market and high-yield savings accounts typically offer higher interest rates than standard savings accounts, but normally require higher balances and may have restrictions or conditions to accessing one’s money,” Drury says. “CDs normally offer higher interest than these but unconditionally obligate one’s money for a specified term.”
To recap, see the best 3-month CD rates below:
Institution APY Minimum deposit for APY
BrioDirect 0.50% $500
Navy Federal Credit Union 0.50% $1,000
Bethpage Federal Credit Union 0.40% $50
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union 0.35% $20,000
VyStar Credit Union 0.25% $500
First Internet Bank of Indiana 0.25% $1,000
TIAA Bank 0.25% $5,000
Learn more about other CD terms:
Best 1-year CD rates
Best 18-month CD rates
Best 2-year CD rates
Featured photo by vorDa of Getty Images.