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NerdWallet's CD calculator shows what you can earn with a certificate of deposit, a type of savings account that you leave untouched for months or years. Like regular savings accounts, CDs are safe because they are federally insured. Use the CD calculator below to see total interest.
What should I know when choosing CDs?
Prioritize finding a high interest rate. Not every bank has competitive rates on their CDs. See our list of the best CD rates.
Avoid early withdrawal fees. Although short-term CDs mean less time to wait to access your money and less need to incur the penalty to get money early, long-term certificates typically have higher rates.
» Learn about more accessible options: See the best high-yield savings accounts
Compare top CD rates
» Learn more: Highest CD rates available this month
What happens if I withdraw a CD early?
Generally a CD has an early withdrawal penalty, which tends to range from a few months' to a year's worth of earned interest, depending on the bank and the CD term length. Longer term lengths usually have bigger penalties. These penalties occur only if you take out money before a CD term expires. Try our calculator to see what an early withdrawal penalty costs. If you want the flexibility of withdrawing early without a penalty, consider a no-penalty CD.
» Learn more: See our list of the best no-penalty CDs
What term length should you get?
The longer the term, the higher the rate tends to be. Terms typically range from three months to five years. Most have early withdrawal penalties, so be sure you won’t need the money before the term expires.
» Not sure how to open a CD? Here's a step-by-step guide to opening a CD account
How much interest will you earn on a CD?
This varies based on your deposit, CD rate and term length. For example, a $10,000 deposit in a five-year CD with 0.80% APY would earn about $408 in interest, while the same deposit in a five-year CD with 0.01% APY (all other factors being the same) would earn only $5 in interest.
» Want to see other calculators? Check out our list of NerdWallet’s financial calculators
How to calculate CD interest
If you’d prefer to try your hand at calculating interest without a calculator, use the compound interest formula:
A = ending amount (this means original balance plus all interest earned after n years).
P = original balance (or your initial deposit, since there are typically no other contributions to CDs).
r = interest rate (as a decimal)*.
n = number of times interest is compounded per year (typically 365 for daily, 12 for monthly, 4 for quarterly).
t = time (in years).
Once you get a result for A, subtract P from A (A - P) to get the interest amount.
» Learn more: See our explainer on compound interest
*Note: Interest rate and APY are slightly different. To be more exact, use the interest rate in the formula.
How do CD rates work?
CD rates are usually quoted as an annual percentage yield, or APY, which is how much the account earns in one year including compound interest. Banks and credit unions generally compound interest monthly or daily. An interest rate is similar to APY, but it doesn't factor in compound interest. For more details, see our explainer on APY.
When will CD rates go up?
It partly depends on when the Federal Reserve raises its benchmark rate again, which might not be for a while. Federal Reserve actions are one factor in banks’ decisions to change rates. See historical CD rates.
See CD rates by term and type
Check out the best CD interest rates on certificates of deposit:
See CD rates by bank
If you want to see what specific banks offer, here’s a quick list of both traditional and online banks’ CDs (and one brokerage’s offering):
Are there other accounts I should consider?
An online brokerage account is an option if you’ve already built a robust emergency fund and want to boost your long-term savings. Although these financial products come with more risk than CDs, they could lead to higher returns.
Picking the right broker comes down to your priorities. Some investors are willing to pay more for a top-notch platform; others count costs above all else. With brokerage accounts, you don't have to worry about early withdrawal penalties, but your funds may be more difficult to access in a pinch, given that you’ll likely need to sell some investment shares before you can devote that money to anything else.
» Learn more: Check out NerdWallet’s best online stock brokers for beginners