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One of the Biggest U.S. Banks Is Now a CD Rate Leader

Key Takeaways

  • The best CD rates in the country are typically offered by smaller banks and credit unions, with large banks often paying lower rates.
  • BMO—the 12th largest U.S. bank—is currently bucking that trend, offering the top nationwide rate in two CD terms.
  • The bank’s online-only portal, called BMO Alto, is paying nation-leading rates of 5.20% for 4 years or 5.25% APY for 5 years.
  • Looking for a shorter term? Our daily ranking of the best CD rates includes 15 options paying at least 5.75% and as much as 6.18% APY.
  • Though other banks pay more on high-yield savings accounts, BMO Alto offers a reasonably competitive savings account rate of 5.10% APY.

Rare Opportunity to Earn a Tip-Top Rate from a Very Big Bank

If you’re a seasoned CD rate shopper, you know that the best returns typically come from CDs offered by smaller banks and credit unions, often with unfamiliar names. But if you prefer depositing your money with a bigger, brand-name bank, you’re in luck right now.

BMO (formerly BMO Harris) is the nation’s 12th largest bank, ranked by total deposits. While the Chicago-based bank operates roughly 1,000 physical branches located primarily in the Midwest, it this year launched BMO Alto, an online-only portal serving customers who live anywhere in the U.S.

Though it offers reasonably competitive rates in every CD term, BMO Alto is leading the CD pack in its longer-term offers. In the 4-year term, BMO Alto is paying the nationwide high rate of 5.20% APY. And for 5 years, it’s the industry co-leader, paying 5.25% APY.

Tip

Interested in a different big-name bank? CD rates offered by the four biggest banks—Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citi—are often quite a bit lower than what you can earn elsewhere. Occasionally one of these banking giants will offer a somewhat competitive rate on a select CD term, but you can do even better if you expand your search to CDs from the 30 largest banks. Banks in this tier that have a history of offering better-than-average CD rates include Ally, American Express, Capital One, Discover, Marcus by Goldman Sachs, and Synchrony.

Looking for a Shorter Term? You’ve Got Plenty of High-Paying Options

If terms of four to five years are much longer than you’re shopping for, don’t fret. Our daily ranking of the best CD rates provides abundant options to earn a top rate in any term. True, many of the CDs are from banks or credit unions with less name recognition than the big banks. But just because you haven’t heard of an institution doesn’t make it unsafe. Your deposits at any FDIC bank or NCUA credit union—regardless of its size—carry equal federal protection in the unlikely case that the institution fails.

Still, BMO Alto is an option in any of these terms. You can see below how much you can earn from the top and 15th-ranked CDs in every term, along with what BMO Alto is currently paying.

CD Term Top Nationwide Rate (APY) 15th-Ranked Nationwide Rate (APY) BMO Alto Rate (APY) 
3 months 5.66% 4.75% Not offered
6 months 5.76% 5.50% 5.50%
1 year 6.18% 5.65% 5.65% 
18 months  5.80%  5.50% Not offered
2 years  5.60% 5.25% 5.00% 
3 years  5.50% 5.00%  5.10%
4 years  5.20% 4.70% 5.20%
5 years  5.25%  4.70% 5.25%

How BMO Alto’s Savings Account Rate Compares

If you’re also in the market for a savings account, we compile a daily ranking of the best high-yield savings accounts as well. BMO Alto doesn’t make our list of the Top 15 rates, which currently range from 5.25% to 5.40% APY. But it does offer a rate of 5.10% APY, which is the highest rate from a Top 30 bank.

While it can be tempting to put your money in a savings account instead of committing it to a CD, beware that savings account rates can go down at any time. But the rate you lock in when you open a CD is yours to keep for the duration of the term.

Rate Collection Methodology Disclosure

Every business day, Investopedia tracks the rate data of more than 200 banks and credit unions that offer CDs and savings accounts to customers nationwide and determines daily rankings of the top-paying accounts. To qualify for our lists, the institution must be federally insured (FDIC for banks, NCUA for credit unions), and the account’s minimum initial deposit must not exceed $25,000.

Banks must be available in at least 40 states. And while some credit unions require you to donate to a specific charity or association to become a member if you don’t meet other eligibility criteria (e.g., you don’t live in a certain area or work in a certain kind of job), we exclude credit unions whose donation requirement is $40 or more. For more about how we choose the best rates, read our full methodology.


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