As part keeping the interest rate on my emergency fund as high as possible, I’ve shared my like of rewards checking, savings bonds, and the Ally Bank 5-Year CD. Ally CDs have a small 60-day interest withdrawal penalty, so the liquidity is still quite good. As long as you hold it for 6 months, you’ll be earning more interest than the highest rate from an online savings account even after the penalty is factored in. After that, the effective rate just keeps getting better until you reach maturity at the full rate.
With no minimum balance requirements, you can also buy them in whatever size chunks you want. And I have. But I checked the rates again today, and was sad to see they’ve been dropping quite fast recently. The current Ally Bank 5-year CD rate is 1.60% APY (as of 10/25/13). I decided to compile the rate history from as far back as I’ve been tracking them.
There have been a few small rate hikes, but for the most part the rate has been gradually dropping due to market conditions. If you’ve been thinking about buying, I would buy now before rates drop even farther. When opening a CD, remember they have a “10 Day Best Rate Guarantee” in which you get the best rate they offer within 10 days of opening. You can now also find slightly better rates elsewhere, for example Alliant Credit Union has their 5-year certificate at 2.35% APY (2.45% for $25k+), but with a larger 6-month interest penalty. I’ll probably still buy a little more at 2.17%, but if the rate drops below 2% then I’m looking elsewhere.