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We conducted an assessment of 2-year certificate of deposit options provided by the biggest banks and credit unions across the country to determine the best options, ultimately only featuring those that fit our strict criteria. To be eligible, a bank or credit union must:
- Fall among the top 30 banks and top 10 credit unions based on 2022 consolidated assets.
- Be federally insured by either the FDIC or the NCUA.
- Offer 2-year CDs in all 50 states.
Understanding Our Methodology
Annuity.org’s independent editorial team evaluated CD products from the country’s 30 largest banks and 10 largest credit unions, selected based on consolidated assets as reported by the U.S. Federal Reserve or National Credit Union Administration, to determine the qualifying institutions for their rankings.
Out of the 19 qualifying banks and credit unions falling under the criteria outlined above, only 11 offered CDs with 2-year terms. However, two banks that did not structure their terms by 1-year increments offered terms near two years with high interest rates, and we included them in our review.
The staff further narrowed the selection to only those offering more than 3.00% APY for their final comparisons, resulting in a shortlist of eight institutions.
Final selections were based on evaluating APY, minimum deposits, early withdrawal penalties and any bonuses or promotions offered by the institution.
Learn more about our broader Editorial Guidelines.
Before purchasing a CD, make sure you are comfortable leaving your money on deposit for the specified term. Failure to do so will usually trigger a loss-of-interest penalty. Generally, the longer the term, the more punitive the charge.
Editor’s Choice: Best Overall
Alliant Credit Union Details
Founded by United Airlines employees in 1935, Alliant is now one of the largest credit unions in the United States with 700,000 members and $17 billion in assets, as reported by Alliant.
- Highly competitive APY
- Low-cost membership
- Large network of surcharge-free ATMs
- High minimum deposit ($1,000)
- Limited physical branch locations
- Must have an active Alliant savings or trust account
Best for Small Depositors
Capital One Bank Details
Capital One launched in 1984 as a credit card company. It expanded to auto loans in 1996 and into retail banking in 2005. Based in McLean, Va., it had $453.3 billion in assets in 2022, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve.
- No minimum deposit requirement
- High APY
- Robust online banking options
- Access to 70,000 fee-free ATMs
- High early withdrawal penalty
- May have to use out-of-network ATMs
- Physical branches are limited to six states and the District of Columbia
Best for Online Bankers
Marcus by Goldman Sachs Details
Goldman Sachs launched Marcus in 2016 as an online bank offering personal loans and savings accounts to retail clients. It is an online-only bank offering high-yield savings accounts and similar products.
- Best APY offered by a bank in our roundup
- Relatively low minimum deposit requirement ($500)
- Relatively high early withdrawal penalty (270 days’ interest)
- Online only with no branches or ATM access
Best for Military and Veterans
Navy Federal Credit Union Details
Navy Federal has 12.3 million members and 350 branches globally. Membership is limited to military members, their families or household members, veterans and U.S. Department of Defense personnel. According to the U.S. Federal Reserve, Navy Federal had $156 billion in assets in 2022.
- APY is competitive with online banks
- Branches and ATMs near military installations
- Membership is limited to family or household members of current or former military
- $1,000 minimum deposit requirement on standard certificates
- 180-days’ dividend early withdrawal penalty on the amount withdrawn
Best Special Rate
U.S. Bank Details
U.S. Bank’s earliest charter in Minneapolis dates back to the Civil War, but the modern version emerged from acquisitions during the 1990s. According to the U.S. Federal Reserve, it is the fifth largest bank in the United States with $585.1 billion in assets reported in 2022.
- Low minimum deposit requirement ($500)
- High APY
- More than 3,000 physical branches in 29 states
- The special rate is only for 19 months instead of a full 24
- Rates vary by location
Others We Considered
Among the other institutions Annuity.org considered, we found four banks that offered competitive choices among rates, minimum deposits and early withdrawal penalties.
- American Express Bank
- Just fractions of a percentage point edged American Express Bank out of our choice of Best for Small Depositors. At the time of consideration, it offered a competitive APY with no minimum deposit and an early withdrawal penalty of 270 days’ interest.
- Discover Bank
- Discover Bank offered a solid APY and an early withdrawal penalty of just six months’ worth of interest. But it also required a $2,500 minimum deposit — higher than most banks we reviewed.
- BMO’s CD terms are not structured to coincide with years and its nearest term was 25 months. It required a $1,000 minimum deposit and had a steep early withdrawal penalty — up to 545 days’ interest.
- HSBC Bank
- HSBC offered a 2-year CD with a lower-than-ideal APY and a minimum deposit of $1,000. The minimum withdrawal penalty was 90 days’ worth of interest.
Other Top 2-Year CD Options
How Do 2-Year CDs Compare to Other CD Terms?
Compared to shorter-term CDs, which are considered less risky by banks and credit unions, 2-year CDs generally offer higher interest rates — but lower rates than longer-term CDs.
Locking in funds for longer periods of time, such as with 5-year or 10-year CDs, typically results in higher interest rates but also carries more risk for the depositor.
It’s important to note that these are not strict guidelines, as rates can vary widely between institutions and even within a single bank or credit union. So, it’s important to compare different institutions and CD terms when shopping for a certificate of deposit.
Who Should Get a 2-Year CD?
A 2-year CD may be a good choice if you’re looking for a balance between earning a relatively high rate of return while still keeping some flexibility in your investment strategy.
It’s important to consider your personal financial goals and needs when choosing the length of your CD term. It’s also important to consider circumstances that may arise requiring you to tap your savings. Early withdrawal penalties can eat away at your earnings.
You may choose to consider alternative options as well, such as high-yield savings accounts, to determine what saving or other personal finance strategies work best for you.
Frequently Asked Questions About 2-Year CDs
Typically, short-term CDs are those that have a maturity of one year or less. These include 30-day, 3-month, 6-month, 9-month and 12-month CDs. Banks and credit unions are free to determine which terms they will offer and not all institutions offer all CD terms.
High-yield savings accounts are a possible alternative to 2-year or shorter-term CDs. While they may not offer as high a return, high-yield savings accounts can offer greater flexibility and liquidity if you need to access your savings before a CD matures. Other alternatives include money market accounts and short-term government or corporate bonds.
CD laddering involves blending longer-term CDs with shorter-term certificates of deposit. A 2-year ladder may include CDs with 6-month, 12-month, 18-month and 2-year CDs. And a 5-year ladder may include 1-, 2-, 3-, 4- and 5-year CDs.