3 Great Reasons to Open a CD Today

Interest rates are still historically high, but that isn't the only reason you might want to open a CD right now. Read on to learn more.

3 Great Reasons to Open a CD Today

A happy man and woman look at a laptop screen.

Image source: Getty Images

Certificate of deposit, or CD, accounts have become far more appealing to savers than they were just a few years ago. As I'll discuss in a bit, CDs have their highest interest rates in more than 15 years, but there's no guarantee it will stay that way. Plus, the requirements for opening a CD make it easier than ever to get started, even if you don't have a ton of money available.

1. Historically high yields

As of this writing, CD rates are hovering near their highest level since before the 2008 financial crisis, and the rise has been especially apparent among shorter-term CDs. According to data from the Organization for Economic Co-Operation Development, the average rate on a 3-month CD rose from an average of 0.11% in 2021 when the Fed's zero-interest policy was in full effect to 5.16% in 2023, and they remain near that level.

2. Interest rates are forecast to go down

By far, the most compelling reason for using a CD instead of a savings or money market account is that you get a guaranteed yield for a certain amount of time.

To be perfectly clear, as of this writing, it's entirely possible to get a higher yield from a savings account than a CD in many cases. But it's important to realize that this is the yield you're getting today.

For example, let's say that you have $10,000 that you'll need in about five years to help pay your child's college tuition. You're torn between putting that money in a 5-year CD with an APY of 4.25% or a high-yield savings account with an APY of 5.00%.

The problem is that 5.00% APY from savings isn't guaranteed. If the economy takes a downward turn and the Federal Reserve starts to aggressively cut rates, that yield could fall sharply. But the rate you lock in on a CD now is guaranteed for the duration of its term, be that three months, or five years

We certainly have no idea if rates will plunge anytime soon, or when it could happen. But virtually all experts believe the general direction of interest rates over the next few years will be downward, so opening a CD now while rates are up can let you lock in a high yield.

3. You can (literally) get started with a dollar

Of course, $1 compounded at a 4%-5% annualized rate isn't likely to get your blood pumping, but the point is that with the emergence of online banking, CDs have become far more accessible than they once were. It wasn't too long ago when banks often required $500, $1,000, or even more just to open a CD.

That has changed. There are now some excellent financial institutions that offer CDs with no minimum deposit whatsoever, and in many cases, you can have dozens (or more) CDs open at the same time with the same bank.

So, if your goal is to save a certain amount of money in a CD (say $1,000), you don't necessarily need to wait until you've saved it. Let's say that you have $200 available today. You can open a high-yield CD with it, and simply open additional CDs as you have more money available. If you don't think you have enough money to earn a reasonable amount of interest in a CD, it doesn't necessarily need to stop you from opening an account today.

Should you open a CD today?

CDs aren't the best fit for everyone, and there's no way to say with 100% certainty that right now is an ideal time to open a CD. After all, it's entirely possible that inflation could spike again, and CD yields could rise to 6% or even 7% as a result. It's not the most likely scenario, but it could happen.

However, if any or all of the three reasons I've outlined above seem as if they fit your current financial situation, it could be an excellent idea to open a CD right now.

Alert: highest cash back card we've seen now has 0% intro APR until 2025

This credit card is not just good – it's so exceptional that our experts use it personally. It features a 0% intro APR for 15 months, a cash back rate of up to 5%, and all somehow for no annual fee!

Click here to read our full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes.

We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.