Best CD Rates Today – APYs Hold at Up to 5.4% Following the Fed’s Latest Decision, March 21, 2024

The Federal Reserve has elected to hold the federal funds rate steady once again. What does that mean for CD rates? Essentially: More of the same.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The decision, announced after yesterday’s March Open Market Committee Meeting, is the fifth time the Fed has paused rate hikes since July 2023. Since then, we’ve seen CD rates steadily dropping, although they still remain attractive. Top CDs currently offer annual percentage yields, or APYs, as high as 5.4%.

But with many experts expecting the Fed to cut rates later this year, now’s the time to open a CD if you’ve been thinking of doing so. Banks are likely to continue dropping rates in anticipation of future cuts, so the sooner you open a CD, the more interest you stand to earn.

“We are likely in a level or soon-to-be declining interest rate environment, so if you are looking to add some higher-yielding, stable investment to your portfolio or cash reserve, then you should consider a CD soon,” said Faron Daugs, CFP, founder and CEO at Harrison Wallace Financial Group.

Read on to see where you can find the highest CD rates today.

Key takeaways

  • Today’s top CDs pay as much as 5.4% APY.
  • The Fed’s latest rate hike pause means you still have time to lock in a great rate on a CD.
  • Opening a CD now will protect your earnings from rate drops, which experts predict will begin later this year.

Experts recommend comparing rates before opening a CD account to get the best APY possible. Enter your information below to get CNET’s partners’ best rate for your area.

Today’s best CD rates

Here are some of the top CD rates available right now and how much you could earn by depositing $5,000 right now:

APYs as of March 21, 2024, based on the banks we track at CNET. Earnings are based on APYs and assume interest is compounded annually.

How Fed rate pauses affect CD rates

Savers have enjoyed high CD rates since early 2022 when the Fed began raising the federal funds rate to fight rampant inflation. From March 2022 to June 2023, the Fed regularly increased this rate, which affects how much it costs banks to borrow money from — and lend money to — each other. As a result, when the federal funds rate goes up, banks usually raise their rates on consumer products like savings accounts and CDs to attract new customers and boost their cash flow. At one point, APYs on the best CDs topped 5.6%.

Since July 2023, the Fed has opted to pause rate hikes while it monitors signs that inflation has started to cool. In response, CD rates stopped climbing and, by the fourth quarter of 2023, began moving downward. While today’s best CD rates are still well above 5%, we continue to see banks cutting APYs across terms.

Here’s where rates are compared to last week:

Term CNET average APY Weekly change* Average FDIC rate
6 months 4.85% No change 1.52%
1 year 5.02% +0.20% 1.81%
3 years 4.08% -1.21% 1.38%
5 years 3.95% No change 1.38%
APYs as of March 21, 2024. Based on the banks we track at CNET.
*Weekly percentage increase/decrease from March 11, 2024, to March 18, 2024.

The latest Consumer Price Index Report showed the price of goods rose 3.2% in February — which means we have a way to go before hitting the Fed’s target rate of 2%. The Fed’s decision to continue holding interest rates steady reflects this. As to when the Fed will start cutting rates, as experts have predicted it will later this year, the answer is: We’ll see.

“In considering any adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate, the Committee will carefully assess incoming data, the evolving outlook, and the balance of risks,” the Fed stated in yesterday’s press release. “The Committee does not expect it will be appropriate to reduce the target range until it has gained greater confidence that inflation is moving sustainably toward 2 percent.”

“The Fed has done the heavy lifting over the past 24 months, and I do not feel that they are willing to unravel that too quickly,” said Daugs. He cites high energy and housing costs and a labor market that may not be as solid as the Fed believes.

“The Fed has a ‘goldilocks’ balancing act ahead of them here,” Daugs said. “They cannot cut too soon and cannot wait too long; it needs to be ‘just right.’ To sum it up, my expectation is two rate cuts (25 basis points each in June and July) for 2024.”

That means you still have time to lock in a great APY and safeguard your earnings against rate cuts when they do occur.

Reasons to open a CD now

With rates as high as they’re expected to go, now is the time to lock in an APY before they drop further. But a fixed APY isn’t the only benefit of opening a CD today. CDs offer attractive perks in any rate environment.

CDs held at banks covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or credit unions insured by the National Credit Union Administration are protected by federal deposit insurance. That means your money is safe up to $250,000 per person, per institution if the bank fails. This makes them a low-risk way to grow your savings.

Plus, most banks charge an early withdrawal penalty if you take out money before the CD matures. If you’re worried you’ll be tempted to tap into your funds before you need them, this penalty could inspire you to stay disciplined.

Comparing CD accounts: What to consider

In addition to a competitive APY, here’s what you should consider when comparing CD accounts:

  • When you’ll need the funds: Early withdrawal penalties can eat away at your interest earnings. So, be sure to choose a term that fits your savings timeline. You should be comfortable leaving your money untouched for the entire term.
  • Minimum deposit requirement: Some CDs require a certain amount to open an account — typically, $500 to $1,000. Others have no such requirement. How much money you have to put away can help you narrow down your account options.
  • Fees: Fees can erode your balance. Many online banks don’t charge maintenance fees because they have lower overhead costs than banks with physical branches. Still, read the fine print for any account you’re evaluating.
  • Federal deposit insurance: Check that any institution you’re considering is an FDIC or NCUA member to ensure your money is protected if the bank fails.
  • Customer ratings and reviews: Check out sites like Trustpilot to see what customers are saying about any bank you’re considering. You want to make sure the bank is responsive, professional and easy to work with.

Methodology

CNET reviews CD rates based on the latest APY information from issuer websites. We evaluated CD rates from more than 50 banks, credit unions and financial companies. We evaluate CDs based on APYs, product offerings, accessibility and customer service.

The current banks included in CNET’s weekly CD averages are: Alliant Credit Union, Ally Bank, American Express National Bank, Barclays, Bask Bank, Bread Savings, Capital One, CFG Bank, CIT, Fulbright, Marcus by Goldman Sachs, MYSB Direct, Quontic, Rising Bank, Synchrony, EverBank, Popular Bank, First Internet Bank of Indiana, America First Federal Credit Union, CommunityWide Federal Credit Union, Discover, Bethpage, BMO Alto, Limelight Bank, First National Bank of America, Connexus Credit Union.


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