Intro: Best CD Calculators for 2017 | 6 Tips for Finding the Best CD Interest Rate Calculators

Putting a little money into savings every month is one of the top mantras in personal finance. Despite this commonly shared piece of wisdom, most Americans do not save the way they should be. Sixty-three percent of Americans do not have enough money put away to cover a $500 unexpected expense or emergency.

Those that do make a point in saving can benefit from additional peace of mind – having a financial cushion that will buffer them from financial chaos in the event of an emergency as well as the pride that comes from using their money wisely.

However, personal finance professionals recommend you go further than just saving. Once you have established a habit of saving, the best thing to do is to start putting that money into investments. Money that sits in your savings account runs the risk of losing its worth due to inflation. As a result, allocating some of those funds into investments, such as mutual funds, stocks or certificates of deposit, can allow your money to retain its value and even grow.

This article will focus on certificates of deposit, CD calculators, CD interest calculators, and how to calculate CD return.

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Why Look for a CD Rate Calculator?

If you are a consumer looking at CD calculators, CD interest calculators, and CD rate calculators, you likely fall into one of two groups.

The first group consists of consumers who do not have any certificates of deposit. Their interest in the above-mentioned calculators is more exploratory. These individuals have heard of certificates of deposit and are likely drawn to their relative safety compared to the volatility of stocks.

However, putting your money away into an investment vehicle for a specified amount of time can be unappealing. As a result, some return on investment is expected. Interested parties may choose to calculate CD return in advance to ensure this is the kind of investment they want.

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The second group consists of individuals who already have certificates of deposit. They may have casually acquired a certificate of deposit during a windfall or received one as a gift some time ago. Either way, it is only expected that they would want to calculate CD return to see how much money their investment has earned.

This article will provide tips on how to find and use online tools to calculate CD rates and calculate CD interest. It will also provide tips about what things to consider if you are thinking about purchasing a certificate of deposit in addition to helpful information about this kind of investment.

Whether you want a CD interest rate calculator in order to compare to other potential investment vehicles or you are simply looking for a way to calculate CD rates on an existing certificate of deposit, this article will prove helpful and informative.

1. Access a User-Friendly CD Interest Rate Calculator on Bankrate

Bankrate offers an extremely easy and user-friendly CD calculator. When you hold a certificate of deposit, there are a number of variables to take into consideration. These are all important factors to plug into the CD interest calculator to see how much you will earn and what kind of return you will be getting on this investment.

This Bankrate calculator allows you to input a number of variables. You can input your initial deposit. If you have already bought the certificate of deposit, you should know what this amount is. If you are planning to buy a certificate of deposit and want to calculate CD interest based on that amount, you can use this CD calculator for that as well.

Let’s say the amount you currently own as a certificate of deposit or the amount you plan to invest is $10,000. This is the amount you will plug into the CD calculator as your initial deposit.

The next piece of data the CD calculator requires is the number of months the certificate of deposit will be held for. The end of this period is known as the maturity date. You can buy a certificate of deposit for a several different time periods, including 3 months, 6 months, 18 months or even 5 years. The length of time depends on how long you can go without access to this money.

Let’s say the amount of time you choose is 1 year. This is the amount of time you would plug into the CD calculator for months. The next piece of data the CD interest rate calculator requires is the interest rate. The interest rate we will use for this demonstration is the CD rates offered by Bank of America for 1 year deposits: 0.05 percent.

The next piece of information required is the interest type. What the CD calculator is looking for here is whether the interest on your certificate of deposit is compounded daily, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually. Using Bank of America’s rates again, we can enter that our interest will be compounded monthly.

In summary:

  • Initial Deposit: $10,000
  • Months: 12
  • Interest Rate: 0.05 percent
  • Interest: compounded monthly

After plugging this into Bankrate’s CD calculator, we learn that we would have $10,005 after one year.

This tool to calculate CD rates is an easy way to see what your rate of return is if you already hold a certificate of deposit or what it will be if you are considering buying one.

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2. CD Calculator for Factors Such as Taxes and Inflation

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The tool offered by Bankrate to calculate CD interest and earnings is a simple, straightforward tool to use. So long as you have the basic information about your existing certificate of deposit or you know what you would invest if you are considering buying a certificate of deposit, the Bankrate CD calculator is extremely easy to use.

However, you may be more comprehensive when it comes to making a decision about your certificate of deposit. Or you may have more sophisticated questions that you would like answered by a CD calculator.

In addition to calculating the interest on a CD interest calculator, the CD calculator offered by provides users with additional fields for more data. This calculator allows you to not only calculate CD interest but also determine the amount of money you will earn after inflation and once adjusted for your particular tax rate.

For those who are especially detailed about their finances and investments, this is a useful feature. A certificate of deposit will not earn you a lot of money back, but it will certainly keep a nice chunk of money out of your checking account and provide incentive to save.

That being said, you may still want to ensure that the money you store away does not wind up being worth less than it was when you first bought the certificate of deposit, due to inflation. Additionally, people may also want to take their marginal tax rate into consideration. Using’s CD calculator allows individuals to calculate CD return while taking all of these factors into consideration.

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3. You Can Adjust CD Calculators for Any Time Length (Short Term & Long Term – 6-Month CD Calculator, 5-Year CD Calculator)

You can technically get a certificate of deposit for as long or short as you like, although most banks will likely quote their rates by time periods of 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, 1 year, 18 months, 2 years, and 5 years. Let’s say you have a chunk of money you can do without at present but that you are not willing to lock away for the long term.

A short-term or long-term certificate of deposit – say 6 months or 5 years – is absolutely possible. If you have or are planning to choose either of these, a CD calculator is a good way to see how much your investment will be worth. However, do not look for something like a 6-month CD calculator or a 5-year CD calculator.

Any CD calculator will allow you to adjust for different time periods. It is one of the data fields in the calculator. Running a search for a “6-month CD calculator” or a “5-year CD calculator” will simply turn up results for regular CD interest calculators that calculate CD rates. You can adjust the variables within the CD rate calculator. If you are comparing the rates of different companies based on different minimum deposits and time periods, a CD interest rate calculator will be extremely useful.

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4. Input Different Companies’ Interest on CD Calculators and Compare Varying Rates

Checking varying rates of interest on CD calculators is a very useful feature of CD calculators, but their versatility is more helpful when you consider the varying rates offered by companies.

Not only do different financial institutions vary on the interest rates they offer, they also vary in terms of the minimum required deposit per rate and the minimum time length of the certificate of deposit. Checking the interest on CD calculators can be done for controlling these factors as well. You can then see what combination of time length, interest rate, minimum deposit, and financial institution works best for your expectations and level of comfort.

Yahoo Finance offers a CD calculator that can check for the usual variables in addition to taking your marginal tax bracket or rate into consideration. Use this CD interest calculator to plug in offers and rates from several different companies and find the best rate for you.

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5. Consider Certificates of Deposit from Online Banks When You Compare and Calculate CD Rates

Online banks are the place to go if you want to earn high interest on the money that you stash away. While big bank JPMorgan yields a measly 0.15 percent for a deposit under $10,000 held for 18 months, Ally Bank offers 1.2 percent for a deposit under $5000 and 1.25 percent for a minimum deposit of $5000. Plugging the numbers from Ally Bank into a CD calculator will quickly turn it into a high yield CD calculator, which is music to anybody’s ears.

Synchrony Bank also has staggering interest rates that can turn that CD calculator you are playing around with into a high yield CD calculator. For an 18-month investment of $2000–$24,999, Synchrony Bank offers an interest rate of 1.25 percent.

What is it about these banks that allows you to use a high yield CD calculator? Simply put, these banks are based solely online. This means that they do not have physical branches their customers can visit, and while customers can withdraw cash, their interactions with the actual banks are electronic and online.

This online base means that these online banks do not have to pay the same kinds of administrative costs that the bigger banks do. They can instead pass on the savings to their customers in the form of lower fees and higher interest rates.

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6. A CD Calculator Is Most Useful If You Understand the Purpose of a CD in Your Investment Portfolio

Calculate CD return on an initial deposit. As you can see, you will not get rich off of certificates of deposit. They do not have the same potential for exponential growth that stocks do. Certificates of deposit grow at a fixed interest rate, and that interest rate is usually very low. Stocks, on the other hand, have the potential to make people big money; however, they are also very risky and can mean a lot of lost money as well.

Consider the calculations we did above using the Bankrate calculator. After an initial deposit of $10,000 for 1 year, we only made an extra $5 –hardly a killing. But when you calculate CD return, you notice something obvious but less exciting: that is $10,000 you may have otherwise spent or blown (depending on the value of your purchases) had you not parked it away.

This is the main purpose of a certificate of deposit. It is a safe, predictable vehicle for saving your money in a way that gives you just a little more return than you would otherwise realize in a checking or savings account.

Additionally, as you know from the length of time you plugged into your CD calculator, you have locked this money in for a fixed amount of time. You can certainly withdraw your money, but you will incur a penalty, and, for many people, this is enough motivation to keep their money in the CD and remain patient.

Instead of being disappointed by the meager earnings when using a CD interest calculator, while calculating your CD return, consider the purpose of certificates of deposit in your investment portfolio: a nice little place to tuck away money, out of reach from your debit card and your discretionary spending. And if you can benefit from a higher interest rate and a little more return by using an online bank, that’s just the cherry on top.

Make Room for a CD in Your Investment Portfolio and Use a CD Calculator to Compare Rates

Certificates of deposit can be great for a number of things. If you have saved up a certain sum of money and are worried about dipping into your savings or you get a windfall that you do not need to spend immediately, you can lock away that cash in a certificate of deposit.

Do your research while making use of a CD calculator, calculate CD return to find the most attractive rate, and make room for a certificate of deposit among your investments.

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