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Money market accounts vs. CDs: Which to choose?

Whether you're saving for your retirement or looking for a safe yet liquid place to keep your money between major investments, money market accounts and certificates of deposit--often called CDs--may both be good choices--but they have key differences.

If you are comparing money market accounts vs. CDs, here are the main differences and why you'd choose one over the other.

Money market accounts offer high interest and security

Available from nearly any bank, money market accounts provide the security and liquidity of traditional savings accounts but usually at a higher average rate. In exchange, money market accounts typically have certain requirements, such as a minimum deposit amount and limits on withdrawals.

Money market accounts are very secure: Like a savings account, they are guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for up to $250,000 per depositor, per institution.

CDs: safe but locked up

Certificates of deposit are also protected by the FDIC but otherwise differ significantly from money market accounts.

While it's possible to withdraw money from a money market account with no penalty, CDs are locked in for a fixed term--which could be as little as 1 to 6 months or as long as 7 years or more--with penalties if you withdraw before the term is up. Once you fund a CD, you can't pull out your money without a steep penalty.

In money market accounts vs. CDs decision, money market wins for many situations

So which option wins in the contest between money markets vs. CDs? That depends on your circumstances, your need for liquidity and the interest rates offered on each. In general, however, money market accounts are a wiser choice if you aren't absolutely sure that you can leave your cash locked away for a certain amount of time.

What's more, even though you might be tempted to choose a CD for a slightly higher rate when deciding between money market accounts vs. CDs, you may actually be in a better position if you think interest rates will rise in the future.

That's because interest rates on money market accounts fluctuate with the market, while CD rates are locked in when you fund a CD. If interest rates rise, the money market rate will also rise but the CD rate will not (unless you have a special CD with floating terms).

In the comparison between money markets vs. CDs, money market accounts win out for most scenarios. With comparable average interest rates and easier access to your cash, money market accounts come out ahead and are a smart choice for experienced and casual investors alike.

Money Market Rates

1.29%
Rate
1.30%
APY
$1
Min to earn APY

Advertiser Comments

  • Great Rates + Safety = Peace of Mind
  • Member FDIC
1.29%
Rate
1.30%
APY
$0
Min to earn APY

Advertiser Comments

  • 100% U.S. Based Customer Service
  • No monthly minimum balance, no monthly fees
  • Open in Minutes
1.24%
Rate
1.25%
APY
$0
Min to earn APY

Advertiser Comments

  • Consistently Competitive Rates
  • 24/7 Customer Care
  • Ally Bank, Member FDIC
Ultima Bank
Minimum to earn APY $0
2.02% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-10
Advertiser Comments
SMART Savings Account - for young adults 18 yrs or younger, withdrawals prior to 18th See morebirthday may result in a penalty

Type: Savings

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Dollar Savings Direct
Minimum to earn APY $0
1.50% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-15
Advertiser Comments
Dollar Savings Account - apply online- must have a personal checking account in a US See morebank.

Type: Savings

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Salem Five Direct
Minimum to earn APY $0
1.50% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-10
Advertiser Comments
eOne Savings - APY on balances of 0.01- $1,000,000. Companion account to eOne Checking, no See moreminimum balance, no monthly fees, free ATM card, Online applicants only, who do not have existing deposit accounts with Salem Five

Type: Savings

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UFB Direct
Minimum to earn APY $0
1.41% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-10
Advertiser Comments
UFB Direct Money Market Savings Account - No monthly maintenance fee with a minimum $5,000 See moreaverage daily collected balance; otherwise, the fee is $10.00 per month - Apply online

Type: MMA

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Popular Direct
Minimum to earn APY $0
1.40% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-10
Advertiser Comments
Popular Direct Plus Savings - $4 monthly fee waived with $500 minimum daily balance

Type: Savings

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Nationwide Bank
Minimum to earn APY $10,000
1.40% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-12
Advertiser Comments
Tiered Money Market - tier $10,000 - $24,999 - apply online

Type: MMA

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Nationwide Bank
Minimum to earn APY $25,000
1.40% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-12
Advertiser Comments
Tiered Money Market - tier $25,000 - $49,999 - apply online

Type: MMA

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Nationwide Bank
Minimum to earn APY $50,000
1.40% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-12
Advertiser Comments
Tiered Money Market - tier $50,000 - $99,999.99 - apply online

Type: MMA

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Nationwide Bank
Minimum to earn APY $100,000
1.40% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-12
Advertiser Comments
Tiered Money Market - tier $100,000 - apply online

Type: MMA

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CIT Bank
Minimum to earn APY $0
1.35% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-13
Advertiser Comments
CIT Bank Savings - Premier High Yield - Tier $0 - $250,000 - Apply online

Type: Savings

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SFGI Direct
Minimum to earn APY $1
1.31% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-10

Type: Savings

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EverBank
Minimum to earn APY $0
1.31% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-10
Advertiser Comments
Yield Pledge Money Market - APY for all balances

Type: MMA

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EverBank
Minimum to earn APY $0
1.31% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-10
Advertiser Comments
Yield Pledge Money Market - This is a 1 Year Introductory APY for balances between See more$0 - $250,000 - Must be first time money market customers with new money deposit

Type: MMA

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Radius Bank
Minimum to earn APY $2,500
1.30% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-10
Advertiser Comments
Radius High-Yield Savings - APY for balances $2,500 and above - apply online

Type: Savings

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ableBanking
Minimum to earn APY $0
1.30% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-13
Advertiser Comments
Money Market Savings - APY for all balances - Up to 6 withdrawals are permitted See moreper month - apply online - a division of Northeast Bank based in Maine

Type: MMA

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UFB Direct
Minimum to earn APY $25,000
1.30% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-10
Advertiser Comments
UFB Premium Savings offers a rate of 1.30% APY with interest compounded daily - APY See morefor balances $25,000 and above - Must be new funds to receive stated rate

Type: Savings

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Sallie Mae Bank
Minimum to earn APY $0
1.30% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-10
Advertiser Comments
Nationwide - Apply online

Type: MMA

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Capital One 360
Minimum to earn APY $10,000
1.30% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-13
Advertiser Comments
360 Money Market - Tier $10,000 or more

Type: MMA

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Nationwide Bank
Minimum to earn APY $0
1.30% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-12
Advertiser Comments
Regular Savings - APY for all balances - Online savings account

Type: Savings

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Barclays
Minimum to earn APY $0
1.30% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-13
Advertiser Comments
Online Savings - APY for all balances

Type: Savings

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American Express
Minimum to earn APY $0
1.25% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-13
Advertiser Comments
High Yield Savings - APY for all balances - Apply online

Type: Savings

Learn More
FNBO Direct
Minimum to earn APY $0
1.15% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-11
Advertiser Comments
Online Savings - Rated Kiplinger's Best Online Savings Account - No minimums, no monthly fees, See moremanage account securely online

Type: Savings

Learn More
SmartyPig
Minimum to earn APY $10,000
1.15% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-10
Advertiser Comments
SmartyPig Savings - Tier $10,000.01 - $50,000

Type: Savings

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Nationwide Bank
Minimum to earn APY $0
1.15% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-12
Advertiser Comments
Tiered Money Market - APY for balances between $0-$999.99

Type: MMA

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Nationwide Bank
Minimum to earn APY $1,000
1.15% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-12
Advertiser Comments
Tiered Money Market - tier $1,000 - $9,999.99 - apply online

Type: MMA

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Bank of Internet
Minimum to earn APY $1
1.05% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-13
Advertiser Comments
Money Market Savings Account - No monthly maintenance fees - No minimum monthly balance requirements

Type: MMA

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SmartyPig
Minimum to earn APY $0
1.05% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-10
Advertiser Comments
SmartyPig Savings - Tier $0.01 - $2,500

Type: Savings

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Bank of Internet
Minimum to earn APY $0
1.05% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-13
Advertiser Comments
Smart Savings - No monthly maintenance fees - No minimum monthly balance requirements

Type: Savings

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SmartyPig
Minimum to earn APY $2,500
1.05% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-10
Advertiser Comments
SmartyPig Savings - Tier $2500.01 - $10,000

Type: Savings

Learn More
AloStar Bank of Commerce
Minimum to earn APY $0
1.05% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-13
Advertiser Comments
Limit of six transactions per month - APY for all balances - apply online

Type: Savings

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Ultima Bank
Minimum to earn APY $1,000
1.01% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-10
Advertiser Comments
UBM Direct Savings Account

Type: Savings

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TIAA Direct
Minimum to earn APY $0
1.01% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-10
Advertiser Comments
Money Market - Tier 0-$2,499.99

Type: MMA

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TIAA Direct
Minimum to earn APY $2,500
1.01% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-10
Advertiser Comments
Money Market - Tier $2,500 - $24,999.99

Type: MMA

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TIAA Direct
Minimum to earn APY $25,000
1.01% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-10
Advertiser Comments
Money Market - Tier $25,000 - $49,999.99

Type: MMA

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TIAA Direct
Minimum to earn APY $50,000
1.01% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-10
Advertiser Comments
Money Market -Tier $50,000 -$99,999.99

Type: MMA

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First Internet Bank
Minimum to earn APY $0
1.00% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-11
Advertiser Comments
Money Market Savings - Rate earned on balances from $0 to $250,000 - Transaction limitations See more- apply online

Type: MMA

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iGOBanking
Minimum to earn APY $0
1.00% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-12
Advertiser Comments
iGO Online Savings

Type: Savings

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Amboy Direct
Minimum to earn APY $3,000
1.00% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-13
Advertiser Comments
eSavings - Tier $3,000 - $10,000 - Apply online or by mail, offer not available See moreat branches.

Type: Savings

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Biscayne Bank
Minimum to earn APY $0
1.00% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-13
Advertiser Comments
Regular Savings - APY for balances of $.01 and over

Type: Savings

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Colorado Federal Savings Bank
Minimum to earn APY $2,500
1.00% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-13
Advertiser Comments
High Yield Savings - You may access your funds only through ACH (ACH fee applies)

Type: Savings

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Main Street Bank
Minimum to earn APY $0
1.00% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-12
Advertiser Comments
Kasasa Saver - Must be linked to a free Kasasa Cash or Kasasa Cash Back See morechecking account - 1.00% APY on balances up to $50,000 - No minimum balances - No monthly service fee

Type: Savings

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Sallie Mae Bank
Minimum to earn APY $0
1.00% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-10
Advertiser Comments
High-Yield Savings - No minimum balance and no monthly service fees - Nationwide - Apply See moreonline

Type: Savings

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Mutual of Omaha Bank
Minimum to earn APY $1,000
1.00% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-12
Advertiser Comments
Online Money Market - Rate/APY for balances from $1,000 - $1,000,000

Type: MMA

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MySavingsDirect
Minimum to earn APY $0
1.00% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-12
Advertiser Comments
MySavings Account

Type: Savings

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Capital One 360
Minimum to earn APY $0
1.00% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-13
Advertiser Comments
360 Savings Account - APY for all balances - No fees - No minimum balance See more- Online account

Type: Savings

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UFB Direct
Minimum to earn APY $20,000
1.00% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-10
Advertiser Comments
UFB Savings - Tier $20,000 and above - No monthly maintenance fee

Type: Savings

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CIBC
Minimum to earn APY $0
0.90% APY
Rates as of 2017-12-10
Advertiser Comments
CIBC Palladian Savings - Currently there is a promotional interest rate for CIBC Palladian Savings See moreAccount which is fixed at 1.30% for the first six months. After the promotional interest rate ends, the interest rate will be the non-promotional variable interest rate that is offered for Palladian Savings Account at that time (currently 0.90%). There is a minimum initial deposit of $1,000 and maximum initial deposit of $100,000.

Type: Savings

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