Navy Federal CDs (certificate of deposit) offer higher returns than basic savings accounts and are a good option for reaching your savings goals. Like other credit unions, the Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) has “share certificates.” However, the way they work is the same. You’ll deposit cash in the certificate for a fixed period of time for a guaranteed amount of interest.

Membership for the credit union is limited to those with ties to the armed forces, National Guard, or Department of Defense. The credit union offers a number of financial products, such as Navy Federal student loans, credit cards, checking and savings accounts.

Navy Federal CDs are share certificates that are available for three months to seven years terms. The minimum deposit is $1,000, but the Share Certificate CD requires a minimum deposit of only $50.

With any of its CDs, you’ll be able to get better benefits through a CD ladder where you can open multiple CDs with different terms. This allows you penalty-free access to the amount you deposit, along with interest at different time periods.

The dividends on Navy Federal CDs are compounded daily and are credited monthly.

Benefits of Navy Federal CDs

Whether you’re saving for a house or a short-term goal, there are a number of advantages of choosing Navy Federal CDs:

CD Rates at Navy Federal Credit Union

Navy Federal CD rates are significantly higher than the national average and what’s offered by most major banks. Effective April 8, 2024, the credit union also has a special rate offer for its EasyStart Share Certificate. If you choose the 18-month term, the dividend rate is 4.59%, and the APY is 4.70%.

The rates for different Navy Federal CDs are given below.

Short-Term Certificate Rates

Term$1k Minimum APY$20k Minimum APY$100k Minimum APY
3 Months2.75%2.75%2.80%
12 Months4.80%4.80%4.85%
18 Months4.50%4.50%4.55%
24 Months4.20%4.20%4.25%

Long-Term Certificate Rates

Term$1k Minimum APY$20k Minimum APY$100k Minimum APY
3 Years4.00%4.00%4.05%
5 Years3.80%3.80%3.85%
7 Years3.80%3.80%3.85%

SaveFirst Account Rates

3-60 Months0.40%

EasyStart Certificate Rates

TermMinimum DepositAPY
12 Months$504.75%
18 Months$504.45%
24 Months$504.15%

Navy Federal Credit Union offers three main types of CDs that provide guaranteed returns so you can plan your savings.

Standard Certificate

  • APY: 4.85%
  • Term: Three months to seven years
  • Minimum Deposit: $1,000

Standard certificates are best for those who don’t need access to their savings for a longer time but want to earn a higher dividend rate.

EasyStart Certificate

  • APY: 4.75%
  • Term: 12 to 24 months
  • Minimum Deposit: $50

EasyStart Certificates are ideal for those who want to start building good savings habits or want to save for a short-term goal.

Special EasyStart Certificate

  • APY: 5.30%
  • Term: 12 months
  • Minimum Deposit: $50

If you have a checking account and direct deposit at Navy Federal, this certificate will allow you to access a special rate with the flexibility of adding money to the CD at any time.

SaveFirst Account

  • APY: 0.40%
  • Term: Three to 60 months
  • Minimum Deposit: $5

SaveFirst Account is ideal for those who want to save for a specific purpose but want the flexibility of choosing their term and making additional deposits to the account at any time.

Navy Federal CD rates are significantly higher compared to the national average. The average return on 12-month CDs is currently 1.81%. In comparison, Navy Federal offers a 4.75% APY for the same term.

If you’d like to understand how much you can earn, we recommend using Navy Federal’s certificate calculator. Since CD rates can vary greatly between banks and credit unions, we also recommend comparing your options. Here’s a quick look at how Navy Federal CD rates stack up in comparison to other financial institutions.

TermNavy Federal Credit UnionUSAAChase Bank
12 Months4.80% APY; 4.85% for balances over $100k4.80% APY2.00% APY
24 Months4.20% APY; 4.25% for balances over $100k4.40% APY2.50% APY

If you’d like to open a Navy Federal CD, you’ll need to be a member of the credit union. Here’s a detailed look at the eligibility requirements for membership and the process of opening a CD account.

Eligibility Requirements

Navy Federal Credit Union serves military members and their families. You can qualify for membership if you’re in one of these categories.

  • Active-duty member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Guard, or Space Force
  • DoD Officer Candidate/ROTC
  • DoD Reservists
  • DoD civilian annuitants and retirees
  • DoD civilian employee
  • DoD contractors and government employees
  • Retirees, annuitants, and veterans
  • Immediate family members of the above

Opening Process and Required Documentation

If you’re already a member, the application process is quite simple and can be done online.

  1. Make sure you have a Membership Savings Account
  2. Ensure there’s a minimum $5 balance in your account
  3. Get your documents ready, including your home address, Social Security number, government ID, and a bank account or credit card to fund the account
  4. Choose the type of certificate, deposit amount, and term length to open the CD account

If you already have a Navy Federal CD that’s near its maturity date, it's important to know what to do next.

What Happens as Your CD Term Ends

You can get penalty-free access to your deposit money and interest once the CD term ends. You’ll get a notification from Navy Federal, during which you must instruct them what you’d like to do with the money.

You can renew the certificate within 21 days from the maturity date. If you don’t notify Navy Federal what you want to do within that timeframe, the money may roll over to a new CD at your current interest rate and the term you chose in your CD.

Your Options When the CD Matures

Once your CD matures, there are two main options available to you:

  • You can cash out and have the funds deposited in your checking account if you want to use the money for a specific purpose, such as paying off credit card debt. You can also move the money to a savings account if you’d like to keep saving or to an IRA if you want to save for retirement.
  • If you don’t need the funds, you can renew it with a new CD. You may renew the entire amount or renew a portion of the money and withdraw the rest.

Can You Withdraw Money Before the Maturity Date?

Early withdrawal from a Navy Federal CD before the maturity date can result in penalties. Here’s what you can expect to pay for different terms:

  • 1 year or less: You’ll lose up to 90 days of dividends earned on the withdrawal amount or all dividends earned since you opened the CD, whichever is less.
  • 1 year to 5 years: You’ll lose up to 180 days of dividends earned on the withdrawal amount or all dividends earned since you opened the CD, whichever is less.
  • 5 years or more: You’ll lose up to 365 days of dividends earned on the withdrawal amount or all dividends earned since you opened the CD, whichever is less.

If you’re planning to open a new certificate account, Navy Federal is a good choice. The credit union offers higher rates, low minimum balances, and terms ranging from three months to seven years. The deposits are insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

If you’re comfortable with putting away money for at least a year, we recommend Navy Federal CDs because the annual percentage yield (APY) is quite high for one-year or longer terms. Another perk is that the dividends compound daily.