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1-Year CD Rates from Online Banks 2020

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Two Months Ago I Bought A 1-Year CD Paying 1.35%; It Was a Mistake

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Less than two months ago, I locked into a 1-year CD paying 1.35%.   It was the best rate at the time and I really am unlikely to need the cash for the next 12 months (now 10 months).  Nonetheless, I know now that I locked in too low.

The best nationally offered one-year CD rates are now paying close to 1.50%.   One-year CD rates offered by banks or credit unions in your local area or state may even be paying higher.  And, Ally Bank is offering an 11-month No Penalty CD that pays 1.50% on balances over $25,000.  The Ally product gives depositors a much better rate than I am receiving and the ability to break the CD without an early withdrawal penalty. 

But, I am not even so sure that I should have locked into a one-year CD at all.  Savings rates are moving up quickly now with plenty of national offerings at 1.30%.  Again, local rates at banks and credit unions that may be available to you may be even higher.

Since I might need the cash to take advantage of the stock market crash that may come when impeachment proceedings begin in the fall, I certainly now wish I had just foregone locking into a gain over cash of what now looks at best to be just a couple of dollars.

Did you know that at some banks it may not even be possible to redeem your CD early, even with the payment of early termination fees?    

Before getting a CD read our 65 Questions to Ask before Choosing a CD which is also available as a e-book by clicking in the right column. 

EBSB Direct Is Offering A 19-Month CD at 1.61%

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Earlier today, EBSB Direct began offering a 19-month CD a 1.61%.  This rate is nationally offered and requires only a $1,000 minimum.

At the time of this writing, this rate is higher than any nationally offered 18-month CD and as high as all but the 5 highest nationally offered 2 year CD rates.   This offer is therefore compellingly priced on a national level.   Of course, there may be higher rates offered in certain markets and you will want to review local rates for 18-month CD rates here and for 2-year CD rates here to see rates in your market before locking in.

Please note that BestCashCow sees short CDs as somwhat compelling now.  However, after the recent Fed move, we think some level of caution is warranted right now around all CD products. Savings rates are rising now, and you run the risk of locking into something that will be offering less than the best savings rates in a matter of months. 

EBSB Direct is a subsidiary of East Boston Savings Bank.  You can learn more about the online bank here, and its parent here.

More information on this and other special-rate CDs can be found here.

Exhausted from Low Savings Account Rates? Consider 5-Year CDs

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It has been 9 years already of making virtually nothing from savings account rates.  Even with the best rates recently moving up to the 1.05% – 1.25% range as the Federal Reserve has raised the Fed funds rate, cash has been a frustrating asset class for many years now.

Many retirees and others who depend on appreciation of their cash not just to live, but to keep pace with real inflation, have begun to throw in the towel.  They have largely moved to riskier asset classes such as municipal bond funds and high yielding dividend stocks. 

I do not dispute the importance of dividend stocks in a balanced portfolio.  Verizon, Exxon and the major European pharmaceutical stocks pay fantastic dividends.  Even if you believe that the stock market is overvalued and ripe for a significant correction as the world begins to grapple with the consequences of an unstable US President, you probably should have some exposure to high yielding equities.

Your exhaustion with low savings rates, however, should not lead you into municipal bonds or municipal bond funds, Treasuries or virtually anything tied to a fixed rate of return over the long term (certainly not annuities, etc.).   If and when interest rates move up, these things will be slaughtered (and, may even become illiquid).

Instead, look to 5-year CDs.   A 5-year CD paying 2.30% provides about twice what leading online savings rates are paying at the moment.   Buying one with a 6-month early withdrawal fee, and reasonable certainty that the bank will honor it (read this article for more information on the risk to early withdrawal fees) will provide significant returns in today’s market and will also likely yield roughly about as much as an online savings account were you to redeem it early after, say, 12 months or a 1-year CD.  Most important,, you will have the option to hold it for the remaining four years and continue to make 2.30%.   And, equally importantly, you will not be slaughtered.

Key takeaway: Look at the early withdrawal fees on 5-Year CDs.  While EverBank’s fees are excessive, other major online banks have early withdrawal fees geared to match between six months and 1 year of interest.  

In sum, a number of 5-year CDs offered by leading FDIC-insured banks have 6 month early withdrawal options that provide the best and safest investment options for those who need steady and above-market interest rates.