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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.
When it comes to saving money, consumers might want to consider a certificate of deposit (CD) because you can lock in a fixed interest rate for a certain period of time — thereby guaranteeing a return on your money no matter what happens with the market.
But there are some rules you need to know about before you sign up for a traditional CD. You typically can't access your money before the CD reaches its maturity date (when the term ends) without having to pay an early withdrawal penalty fee. And, unlike with brick-and-mortar and high-yield savings accounts, you are limited to making a one-time deposit upfront, and there's no opportunity to make any additional contributions during the length of the CD term.
If these rules seem to strict, there are other CD options you can consider. In fact, financial institutions offer a variety of CD types to meet the different money management behaviors and overall goals of their customers.
Below, CNBC Select outlines five specialty CDs that deviate from the traditional CD and offer more flexibility.
When shopping around for the best CD account, it's important to consider the term (how long you will have to lock up your money for), the minimum deposit requirement and ease of use. But, arguably most important, is the CD's annual percentage yield (APY).
High-yield CDs are just like traditional CDs but with better-than-average interest rates. For example, the national average APY on 1-month to 60-month CDs ranges from 0.05% to 0.35%, respectively, for deposits under $100,000, according to the FDIC. High-yield CDs offer APYs that are more than double this national average.
CNBC Select rated the best CDs that fall into this category. Depending on the term length you are looking for, the below five ranked as our favorites.
- Best 3-month CD: BrioDirect High-Rate CD (0.50% APY)
- Best 6-month CD: iGObanking High-Yield iGOcd® (0.60% APY)
- Best 1-year CD: CFG Community Bank CD (0.73% APY)
- Best 3-year CD: First National Bank of America CD (0.85% APY)
- Best 5-year CD: Ally Bank High Yield CD (1.00% APY)
Read more about these top five CD accounts here.
The top CDs ranked on CNBC Select's list all offer low minimum deposits of $1,000 or less to open an account, but sometimes savers want to deposit much more. In this case, people with large deposits may be better off with a jumbo CD than a traditional one.
The typical minimum deposit for jumbo CDs is $100,000, but savers may not always earn much more interest with a jumbo CD than they would with a traditional CD. For instance, the national average APY on a traditional 60-month CD is 0.35%, according to the FDIC. But for "jumbo deposits" equal to or greater than $100,000, the national average rate is just marginally higher at 0.36%.
Bump-up CDs allow savers to take advantage when interest rates rise. Normally, you would be locked into a fixed interest rate, but a bump-up CD allows you to ask the bank for a higher rate if they end up offering one during your term.
For example, if you opened a 3-year CD, and after one year the bank raises the interest rate offered on that product, you could opt into that higher rate for the remaining two years of your term.
Most banks offering bump-up CDs only allow you to opt in once per CD term. Before choosing a bump-up CD, make sure to also compare the starting APY to the bank's traditional CD's APY. If it's lower, then you may end up just bumping the APY to the traditional CD rate down the road.
Step-up CD: These are similar to bump-up CDs, with the caveat that the bank automatically raises your interest rate to the new, higher yield at specific times during your loan term. Savers don't need to ask the bank in order to opt in to the higher rate.
Unlike most CDs, add-on CDs allow savers to make additional contributions throughout their CD term. Savers aren't stuck with just their initial opening deposit and can build their savings by adding more money over the months and/or years of their CD term.
Before opening an add-on CD, make sure you know ahead of time the number of additional deposits the bank allows. Most restrict how many you can make depending on the length of the CD term.
If you're worried about not being able to have access to your savings, a no-penalty CD can help.
No-penalty CDs are more convenient than traditional CDs, allowing you to easily withdraw money before your CD term ends without having to pay the typical penalty fee.
There are still some withdrawal rules: Most banks have timeline requirements that prevent you from withdrawing penalty-free for at least seven days after you open the account.
No-penalty CDs often come with lower interest rates, which is something to take into account before opening one. If you really think you'll need access to your cash, you're better off putting it into a high-yield savings account.