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*As of December 2021, the national average APY on a 6-month CD is 0.09%, according to the FDIC.

6-month CD rates at the largest US banks

The biggest banks in America pay lower rates than our top picks. However, it may be important to you to bank with a company you're familiar with. Here are the rates you'll earn on a 6-month CD with some of the most popular institutions:

Bank APY Next steps
Citibank 0.05% Citibank Citibank Fixed Rate Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
Capital One 0.10% Capital One Capital One 360 CDs®
PNC Bank 0.01% to 0.03% PNC Bank PNC Fixed Rate Certificate of Deposit
TD Bank 0.05% TD Bank TD Bank Choice Promotional Certificate of Deposit
Bank of America 0.03% Bank of America Bank of America Standard Term Certificate of Deposit
Chase Bank 0.01% to 0.05% Chase Chase Certificate of Deposit (CD)
US Bank 0.05% US Bank US Bank Certificate of Deposit
Charles Schwab Bank 0.15% Charles Schwab Bank Charles Schwab Bank Certificate of Deposit
Wells Fargo 0.01% to 0.02% Wells Fargo Bank Wells Fargo Step Rate Certificate of Deposit

If you want to grow your money but keep it safe from the turbulence of the stock market, a certificate of deposit (CD) may be a good option

The best 6-month CD rates are at least 0.40% right now. You can snag a higher APY with longer CD terms, but 6-month CDs have their perks.

You might not be comfortable parting with your money for more than six months. A 6-month CD stores your money for a relatively short amount of time, but long enough for you to accumulate some interest.

Learn more about our top picks

Why it stands out: Navy Federal Credit Union pays higher rates for higher balances, but its APY is competitive even for smaller balances. Navy Federal compounds your interest daily like most banks would, unlike many credit unions that compound monthly.

6-month CD early withdrawal penalty: 90 days interest

What to look out for: Membership and tiered APY system. You or a family member must have ties to the military for you to become a member of Navy Federal. Or you could join as a Department of Defense civilian personal or contractor, or housemate of a Navy Federal member. Also, keep in mind that you won't earn the highest APY unless your balance is at least $100,000.

Why it stands out: First Internet Bank of Indiana pays a good rate for 6-month CDs, and contrary to what the bank's name may lead you to believe, this online bank is available to residents of all US states.

6-month CD early withdrawal penalty: 180 days interest

What to look out for: Monthly compounded interest and early withdrawal penalty. First Internet Bank of Indiana compounds your interest monthly, not daily. Depending on how much money is in your CD, this may or may not make a significant difference. You can also find a bank that charges less for an early withdrawal from a 6-month CD.

Why it stands out: TAB Bank pays good rates and charges relatively low early withdrawal penalties. You get to choose how you receive your interest — keep it in your CD, receive a check, or transfer the money to another TAB bank account.

6-month CD early withdrawal penalty: 90 days interest

What to look out for: TAB CDs don't have any major red flags. The main downside is that you can find slightly better rates elsewhere right now.

Why it stands out: CIT Bank pays good rates for 6-month CDs, and its early withdrawal penalties are reasonable.

6-month CD early withdrawal penalty: 3 months simple interest

What to look out for: Minimum deposit. You'll need at least $1,000 to open a CD with CIT Bank.

Why it stands out: You'll earn a good rate with Sallie Mae, and its early withdrawal penalties are pretty good.

6-month CD early withdrawal penalty: 90 days simple interest

What to look out for: Minimum deposit. Sallie Mae requires $2,500 to open a CD.

Other 6-month CDs we considered, but didn't make the cut

We looked at the following 6-month CDs as well, but they currently have lower rates than our winners:

  • TIAA Basic CD
  • Live Oak Bank CD
  • Ally High Yield CD
  • Synchrony Bank CD
  • Discover CD
  • Pentagon Federal Credit Union Money Market Certificate
  • Marcus High-Yield CD
  • Popular Direct CD
  • Capital One 360 CD
  • American Express CD
  • BMO Harris CD

Frequently asked questions

Why trust our recommendations?

Personal Finance Insider's mission is to help smart people make the best decisions with their money. We understand that "best" is often subjective, so in addition to highlighting the clear benefits of a financial product or account — a high APY, for example — we outline the limitations, too. We spent hours comparing and contrasting the features and fine print of various products so you don't have to.

What is a CD?

A CD, or certificate of deposit, is a time-sensitive savings account that usually holds your money at a fixed interest rate for a specified period of time. If you don't need immediate access to your savings, a CD can guarantee a return on your money since you lock in a fixed APY for the term of the CD.

With most institutions, you typically won't be able to deposit more money or access your funds before the CD matures without paying a penalty.

You will, however, earn interest on the amount and have the option to collect those payments monthly or reinvest them into your CD. Most banks offer varying rates for different terms and deposit amounts — in many cases, the longer the term, the higher the rate.

At the CD's maturity date, you'll typically have a 10- to 14-day grace period in which you can withdraw your money and close the account or renew the term.

What is a 6-month CD?

With a 6-month CD, you stash away your money for six months and typically earn a fixed rate. You have the option to renew your CD at the end of the 6-month period, or close the account and pocket the money.

How do CD rates work?

Most CDs lock in your rate for the entire term. For example, if you open a 6-month CD at a 0.40% APY, you'll earn 0.40% for the entire six months. If you renew your CD after it matures, you'll earn the new rate available in six months.

There are exceptions to the fixed-rate rule. Some institutions offer variable-rate CDs or CDs that allow your rate to change after a predetermined amount of time.

Which is best: a 6-month, 1-year, or 5-year CD?

CDs with 1-year and 5-year terms pay higher rates than ones with 6-month terms. You may prefer longer terms than six months to earn better interest rates.

Ultimately, your choice will likely depend on how soon you plan to need the money. For example, if you want the money to buy a house in less than a year, a longer term isn't the best idea.

Going for a shorter term also gives you the opportunity to snag a better APY if rates are up in a year. With a 1-year or 5-year CD, you could miss out on higher rates. But on the other hand, you could avoid lower rates with a 1-year or 5-year term if rates drop later.

Many experts recommend CD laddering. With this strategy, you open multiple CDs with different term lengths so you can take advantage of higher rates with longer terms, but also access some of your money earlier. For instance, you might open 6-month, 1-year, and 5-year CDs at the same time, which means you'll get some of your money back in six months, then more in a year, then more in five years.

Which is better, a 6-month CD or a high-yield savings account?

The choice between a 6-month CD and high-yield savings account will depend on several factors.

First, many institutions pay higher rates on high-yield savings accounts than on 6-month CDs. This isn't always the case, though, so be sure to double-check.

A CD also locks in your rate for the entire term. If rates are dropping, this could make the CD a better choice, because your savings account APY could decrease over the next few months. If rates are rising, the savings account might be a better fit, because your rate could go up. Either way, there's a good chance rates will fluctuate over a 6-month period.

It also depends on when you'll need to access your money. You should be able to access funds from your savings account regularly — but you'll have to pay a fee if you need access to money from your 6-month CD before it matures. You can also continuously add money to your savings account, whereas most CDs block you from making additional deposits after opening the account. 

Which is better, a 6-month CD or a money market account?

Like with a high-yield savings account, you may prefer a money market account over a CD if you want quick access to your money. Money market account rates also fluctuate, so you may prefer a money market account if rates are rising, but a CD if rates are dropping. Still, remember that rates will likely go up or down over a 6-month term.

Many banks require higher deposits for money market accounts than CDs, which could affect your decision. It's also good to remember that you can add more funds to your money market account over time, while a CD only allows an opening deposit.

Which is better, a 6-month CD or another investment account?

CDs aren't generally considered investments the same way something like an index fund, which puts your money into the stock market, is. Instead, a CD is typically viewed as a type of savings account, and your potential for losses and gains — your risk — is much more limited. Because the stock market is risky, experts generally don't advise investing money you'll need in the next five years. In the case of a stock market drop, you wouldn't have time to make up your losses.

If you need to access your money in six months and want a guaranteed rate of return, a 6-month CD is a better choice than a different type of investment account. 

If you're comfortable parting with your money for longer and want to take more risk with your money, then you may want to invest in the stock market. One way to do this is through tax-advantaged retirement accounts, like a 401(k) or IRA, which grows your money over decades. Another is through brokerage accounts, which are useful tools to build long-term wealth, but can't guarantee a given return like a CD can.

There is such a thing as an IRA CD, which is a sort of combo savings/investment account. It's a safe investment tool that may be a worthwhile option for people who are close to retirement age.

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