A certificate of deposit (CD) is a time deposit, a financial product commonly offered to consumers in the United States by banks, thrift institutions, and credit unions.
CDs are similar to savings accounts in that they are insured and thus virtually riskfree; they are “money in the bank”. CDs are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for banks and by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) for credit unions. They are different from savings accounts in that the CD has a specific, fixed term (often monthly, three months, six months, or one to five years), and, usually, a fixed interest rate. It is intended that the CD be held until maturity, at which time the money may be withdrawn together with the accrued interest.
In exchange for keeping the money on deposit for the agreed-on term, institutions usually grant higher interest rates than they do on accounts from which money may be withdrawn on demand, although this may not be the case in an inverted yield curve situation. Fixed rates are common, but some institutions offer CDs with various forms of variable rates.