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Reviews

The best three-year CD when you want to lock in a good interest rate

CNBC Select reviews the First National Bank of America CD so you can decide if it's right for you.

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Editor's Note: APYs listed in this article are up-to-date as of the time of publication. They may fluctuate (up or down) as the Fed rate changes. CNBC will update as changes are made public.

With the right long-term certificate of deposit (CD), you can earn more interest than you would with many other types of bank accounts, including high-yield savings accounts.

This is because savings accounts typically have variable APYs while CDs have fixed APYs. With a CD, you lock in the rate the day you open the account, and it won't change for the entire length of your CD term. Term lengths range between three months and five years, and usually the longer the term, the higher the APY. The trade off is, if you sign up for a three-to-five year CD, you won't have easy access to your cash for quite some time unless you pay an early withdrawal penalty fee.

The three-year First National Bank of America CD ranks on CNBC Select's list of the top CDs because, with a fixed 0.75% APY, it offers an interest rate that's more than double the national three-year CD average.

Below, we take a closer look at the three-year First National Bank of America CD by breaking down its APY, access to your cash, perks and fees, so you can decide if this CD is right for you.

First National Bank of America CD review

First National Bank of America CD

Information about the First National Bank of America CD has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the bank prior to publication. First National Bank of America is a Member FDIC.
  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    0.75% fixed APY

  • Minimum balance

    $1,000 to open and start earning interest

  • Monthly fee

    None

  • Early withdrawal penalty fee

    For 3-year CD (or any CD between 24-47 months): Equal to 360 days of interest

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Higher-than-average APY
  • Low minimum balance
  • No monthly fees
  • Partial withdrawals allowed depending on CD term length
  • Website provides a helpful FAQ section

Cons

  • Interest is compounded quarterly and added to the CD account at that time
  • You can't access your money before your CD term ends, except for partial withdrawals
  • Early withdrawal penalty fee

First National Bank of America CD APY

The First National Bank of America CD currently offers a fixed 0.75% APY on its three-year CD. With the national average rate for a three-year CD at 0.26% APY according to the FDIC, this is more than double the national average.

First National Bank of America (FNBA) compounds interest quarterly and adds it to the CD account at that time.

Access to your cash

FNBA is a Michigan-based bank with personal CD and high-yield savings account offerings available online.

While FNBA does allow partial withdrawals depending on your CD term length, there are penalties for withdrawing your savings before the CD's maturity date.

When a First National Bank of America CD matures, account holders have a few options. The CD will automatically rollover for another three-year term at the rate currently offered, unless users choose to rollover into a new CD term with the current rates, withdraw part and rollover the remaining portion or withdraw all their funds. There is a 10-day grace period at the time of maturity when account holders can add funds to their CD.

Perks

FNBA's website offers a helpful FAQ section that can guide you through the process of opening a CD.

New account holders can make their deposits through ACH transfer from an external checking or savings account.

Fees

The minimum deposit is $1,000 to open and start earning interest with a three-year First National Bank of America CD. Though this is on the higher end for the online CDs we rated in our top five (with some requiring $0 to open a CD), it's not unusual for opening deposits for CDs to be much higher. There are no monthly maintenance fees, which is typical of CDs.

The penalty fee for withdrawing your full savings from any FNBA CD with terms between 24-47 months (including the three-year CD) is equal to 360 days of interest (nearly a full year).

Bottom line

The First National Bank of America CD offers users a higher-than-average interest rate, partial withdrawals and a helpful FAQ section that can guide you through the process of opening a new account.

If three years is too long of a timeframe, consider a shorter term CD, such as the three-month BrioDirect High-Rate CD, six-month iGObanking High-Yield iGOcd® or one-year CFG Community Bank CD.

Learn more: 12 key terms everyone with a savings account should know

Our methodology

To determine which certificates of deposit (CDs) offer the best return on your money, CNBC Select analyzed dozens of CD accounts offered by online and brick-and-mortar banks, including large credit unions. We narrowed down our ranking by only considering those high-yield or traditional CDs that offer competitive APYs, or higher-than-average rates, as well as low minimum deposits requiring $1,000 or less to open an account and zero monthly maintenance fees (which is typical of CDs).

We did not include CDs offered by credit unions on this list, as well as specialty CD types like no-penalty CDs (for easy withdrawals), add-on CDs (for making additional contributions), jumbo CDs (for large deposits) and IRA CDs (for retirement).

When rating our top five CD accounts, we ranked the best in the following categories: three-month CD, six-month CD, one-year CD, three-year CD and five-year CD.

While the accounts we chose in this article consistently rank as having some of the highest APY rates, we also compared each CD account on a range of features, including penalties for early withdrawal, website and mobile features, insurance policies and customer reviews when available. We also considered users' deposit options and the frequency with which the interest compounds.

All of the CD accounts included on this list are FDIC-insured up to $250,000 per person. If you are opening a joint account CD with a spouse, the insurance limit is doubled.

The rates and fee structures banks advertise for their CD accounts are not guaranteed forever. They are subject to change without notice and they often fluctuate in accordance with the Fed rate. If you open a CD account, however, you are locked into that APY offered at account opening for the entire term length.

Your earnings depend on the CD term length, the amount you deposit, the APY offered when you opened the account and any associated fees. Generally, a longer term with a larger deposit and a higher interest rate will earn you the most money. Any early withdrawals may result in penalty fees that lower your principal balance/earnings.

To open a CD account for the first time at a bank, most banks and institutions require a deposit of new money, meaning you can't transfer money you already had in an account at that bank.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.