Savers can find very competitive deposit rates if they look beyond traditional CD terms.

Many banks, savings and loan associations and credit unions run specials for a limited time on terms outside the usual categories.  For example, if a depositor looking for a competitive rate on a CD were to expand their horizons to terms outside the usual 3-, 6-, 12-, 24- or 60-month terms, higher rates are available, even in the current low-interest-rate environment.

For example, according to RateWatch, the average rate on Aug. 7 for a CD special with a term ranging between 13 and 23 months was 1.74%, while the average for a 12-month CD was 1.15% and the average for a 24-month CD was 1.57%.

RateWatch collects deposit and loan rate data weekly from about 12,000 banks, S&Ls and credit unions and more than 80,000 branch locations, since institutions tend to offer different rates depending on competition in different areas. 

Banks, S&Ls and credit unions provide rate information for regularly-offered products such as a 6-month CDs or a savings accounts, along with rates for special products, such as CDs with terms outside the usual categories that may be offered only for a limited time.

Easy rate searches are available on BankingMyWay, using the RateWatch data, and the special CD products are included.  For example, if you search for institutions offering the highest rates on a 6-month CD, rates for CDs with terms ranging from 3 to 9 months will be included.  If you search by zip code, you can limit your search to banks within a certain geographical radius, or you can allow the search to include any institution that accepts deposits nationally. 

For example, from BankingMyWay’s home page, click “CD” in the “Search Rates” section, then begin by searching by zip code, say, New York’s 10019.  After hitting “Next,” select 6 months as the term length and click “Search CD Rates.”

A search on Thursday morning showed that the highest annual percentage yield offered in this category within was an 8-month CD from United Commercial Bank, with a yield of 2.18% for a $5,000 minimum.  The dollar sign under “Features” indicates that this is a special offer.  

Clicking the plus sign to the left of the institution’s name will expand the information display. While United Commercial is headquartered in San Francisco, the five New York branches listed all offer this 8-month CD, and all accept deposits from anywhere in New York State.  Under “Comments,” it says “NEW$,” meaning that the special offer is available to customers bringing new money in for deposit, not those transferring balances form other United Commercial accounts.

Of course, the next step would be to check with the bank for any other requirements or conditions.

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at