I Am Just Not Too Excited About a 1-Year CD at 2.85% APY
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I Am Just Not Too Excited About a 1-Year CD at 2.85% APY

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There are several well-known online banks that are offering 1-Year CDs at 2.85%. In fact, some banks may even be a little higher. You can see the list of the best online 1-year CD rates here. You may also find better one-year CD rates offered by local banks near you or credit unions near you.

BestCashCow, of course, provides the most comprehensive list of CD rates in the US. At various points, I have highlighted what I believe to be great one-year rates.

I, however, have not been particularly eager to recommend that people get heavily into one-year CDs at 2.85% and that has caught many of BestCashCow’s readers by surprise and been the source of a lot of queries that I have received.

Here are the reasons why I would be hesitant to jump in heavily:

First, the Federal Reserve is still raising rates, most recently moving the Fed Funds rate to a range of 2.25% to 2.50%. The Fed has also most recently guided towards a neutral rate of 2.80%. But, they also said that there are 2 more moves in 2019 and one in 2020 and that would take the Fed Funds rate to 3.00% to 3.25% in a little over a year.

Second, I see a risk of real inflation in 2019 and into 2020 as I outlined at the end of this article. If that happens, we are looking at higher rates and a Fed that will raising faster and higher.

Third, savings rates are pretty high and getting more so. Even if I believe that they aren’t going higher, they really are unlikely to go lower over the next twelve months. I count no fewer than ten nationally available online savings offerings at 2.25% and many more available at banks locally and at credit unions. $100,000 deposited in any of those places paying 2.25% is going to deliver no more than $600 less than a one-year CD (and that $600 difference is fully taxable). The savings account could also wind up delivering roughly the same amount or even more than a one-year CD if savings rates continue on their upward trajectory.

Fourth, you are locking your money up and even though 1-year is a short period of time, it is still locked up. In return for that extra fully taxable $600 (or less) on $100,000, you are locking your money up into 2020. If you need your principal back, Sallie Mae or Live Oak Bank are going to charge you three months’ interest (other online banks, such as Marcus or Purepoint will actually charge you more to break a one-year CD). A three-month’s interest penalty on $100,000 at 2.85% is $712.50.

If you have money that you don't need for a year, you can always put some of it into 1-year CDs. However, if you think that there is even a remote chance that you will need the money back or that rates could go much higher, then the risk-reward of the 1-year CD just is not very exciting. I’d stay primarily in online savings accounts.

Ari Socolow
Ari Socolow: Ari Socolow is the Chief Economist and Editor-in-Chief at BestCashCow. He is particularly interested in issues relating to bank transparency and the climate crisis. Since co-founding BestCashCow in 2005, Ari has been frequently cited in the media as an expert on local and national savings accounts, CD products, mortgage and loan products and credit card rewards products.

Today's Highest Online CD Rates

Bank Product Term Interest Rate (APY)
Finworth, a division of InsBank 1-Year 5.38% APY with $50,000 minimum
TotalDirect, a division of City National Bank of Florida 1-Year 5.35% APY with $25,000 minimum
Rising Bank, a division of Midwest BankCentre 1-Year 5.31% APY with $1,000 minimum
Dollar Savings Direct, a division of Emigrant Bank 3-Year 5.00% APY with $1,000 minimum
M.Y. Safra Bank 3-Year 4.70% APY with $500 minimum
First Internet Bank of Indiana 3-Year 4.66% APY with $1,000 minimum
First Internet Bank of Indiana 5-Year 4.55% APY with $1,000 minimum
BMO Alto, a division of Bank of Montreal Harris 5-Year 4.50% APY with no minimum
Colorado Federal Savings Bank 5-Year 4.35% APY with $5,000 minimum

See More Online CD Rates →


  • NAN

    January 05, 2019

    Thank you for all of your informative insightful commentarys into the world of savers. Very helpful.

  • Jane Green

    March 29, 2019

    I have two CDs, at least 2.50% each, that I juggle back and forth. Usually they mature 1 to 2 years apart. In between times when I'm not able to access them, I throw as much money as I can into my 2.25% savings, growing it until it can be put into the next matured CD.

  • Dolores

    December 14, 2019

    Is online banking safe looking at Nasa Federal Credit Union a 13 Month CD

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