What are Bank CDs?
Build savings with Certificates of Deposit.
A bank Certificate of Deposit (CD) is a federally insured,1 secure savings account that has a fixed interest rate for a fixed amount of time, called a term.
CDs usually don’t have monthly fees, but they do impose fees if funds are accessed before the term ends on the maturity date.
The difference between CDs and other savings accounts
Compared to other types of savings accounts, CDs typically earn higher interest, and usually, the longer the term, the higher that interest rate is. But unlike savings accounts, you can’t access all the money in your CD account. Withdrawing your principal (that’s the original deposit you put in) from the CD savings account before it matures will trigger a considerable fee. Usually, at any time during the term you can withdraw accrued interest without a penalty.
How do CDs work?
CDs offer a set rate of return in exchange for holding your money for a certain amount of time. Typically, the longer the term, the higher the interest rate. And, the rates for CDs are usually higher than what you’ll find in savings accounts. Once the term ends, you can access your money without restrictions.
What is a CD maturity date?
A CD's maturity date is the date when CD’s term ends. Once the terms ends, you can take your money out of the CD without paying early withdrawal penalties.
What happens to my CD at maturity?
Here’s what to expect when your CD matures. First, you’ll get something called a maturity notice from the bank holding your CD. The bank is required to send it to you shortly before the maturity date, and it will include all the information you need, including the:
- Maturity date of your CD
- Explanation of what happens by default, if you don’t take any action with the CD. (Typically the CD will renew, or roll over to another CD.)
- Rate for renewing the CD, which may be different from the rate you started with
- Maturity date that will be set for a renewed CD
- Date by which you can do something other than renew
Usually, the default action for a bank will be to renew the CD. That means that if they don’t hear from you by the date included in your notice, they’ll put your money into another CD. It will typically have the same term length as your previous CD. Remember, rates change, and the new rate may be lower or higher than your previous rate. So when your CD matures, you can:
- Let the CD renew with the terms the bank sets
- Close that CD and take the money to spend, save or invest
Why should I get a certificate of deposit?
You should open a CD when you know you won’t need to access your deposit until the term ends. CDs help you save on a schedule with low risk and a return you can plan for, all without the monthly fees you might get with a savings account.
You’ll be able to choose a long-term CD or short-term CD based on your own savings goals and timelines of your financial commitments.
Are CDs worth it?
Because many CDs earn higher interest than other savings accounts, and give you a return you can count on, they are a secure, low-risk savings option. They’re worth it when you know you can put your deposit aside and not access it until the term ends. If you access it before the maturity date, you’ll pay fees, and they can be high. And to take advantage of the highest interest rate, you’ll often need to lock away your deposit for a longer term. If you’re thinking of a short-term CD, you might be able to find a comparable interest rate from a traditional savings account and keep the access to your money.