CD Loans, Explained

By Rebecca Lake · July 13, 2023 · 7 minute read

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CD Loans, Explained

A certificate of deposit (CD) can be a useful tool for saving money for an upcoming goal. The downside is that you need to wait until the CD matures in order to access your money. If you withdraw some or all of your funds early, you typically get hit with a hefty penalty fee.

If you’re in a pinch and need cash quickly, however, you may be able to get a CD loan. Also known as a CD-secured loan, this is a type of personal loan that uses the value of a CD account as collateral. CD loans are offered by some banks and credit unions. Typically, the lender needs to be the same institution that holds your CD.

Here’s a closer look at how CD loans work and how they stack up against unsecured personal loans.

What Is a CD Loan?

A CD loan is a type of personal loan that is secured by the money you have in a CD. Since the collateral lowers the risk for the lender, these loans can be easier to qualify for and have lower interest rates than unsecured loans. However, if you don’t repay the loan, the bank can take the money out of your CD to cover their losses.

Of course, to get a CD loan, you need to have a CD, which is a type of savings account that pays a fixed interest rate over a set amount of time, or term. You must leave the money untouched for the CD term, which can range from three months to five years. If you withdraw your funds before the end of the CD’s term, you usually have to pay an early withdrawal penalty. CDs generally pay a higher annual percentage yield (APY) than regular savings accounts. And the longer the CD’s term, usually the higher the APY. Similar to other types of savings accounts, CDs come with FDIC protection, up to the applicable limits.

How Do CD-Secured Loans Work?

If you take out a CD loan, the lender will charge interest. So you’ll be earning interest on the CD but paying interest on the CD-secured loan. In some cases, a bank or credit union will set the minimum annual percentage rate (APR) on their CD loans at 2% over the CD rate. So if your CD pays 3%, your CD loan rate would start at 5%. Your actual rate would depend on your credit and the term of the loan, among other factors.

How much you can borrow with a CD-secured loan depends on the lender. Often, you are able to borrow up to 100% of the value of your CD principal. The term of the loan can generally be as long as the term of the CD.

While you can typically access money in a CD if absolutely necessary and pay a penalty, that may no longer be the case if you get a CD loan. Typically, the funds being used as collateral are sealed even in the event of an emergency.

Who Might CD Loans Be Right For?

The idea of paying interest on a loan backed by an interest-bearing CD may seem counterintuitive. However, there can be some logical reasons for taking out a CD-secured loan. One is that you may be able to build your credit by taking out a CD loan and then making a series of on-time payments on the loan. More common ways to do that include getting a secured credit card or becoming an authorized user on another person’s credit card. But if those options aren’t available, and you have a CD, you might use a CD loan for that purpose.

Another reason you might opt for a CD loan is that you need access to your funds for an emergency before it matures. However, you’ll want to first check what your CD’s early withdrawal penalty is. It might be cheaper and easier to simply break open a CD early and pay the penalty. However, if the penalty would be more than what you’d pay in a CD loan’s fees and interest, you might consider a CD loan.

Before taking out a CD loan, it makes sense to weigh the pros and cons.

CD Loan Pros

•   Lower interest rates CD-secured loans often have lower interest rates compared to credit cards and unsecured personal loans, making them an attractive option for borrowers seeking lower borrowing costs.

•   Building credit CD loans offer an opportunity to establish or improve your credit history if you currently have limited or no credit.

•   Retaining CD benefits Despite using the CD as collateral, you can still earn interest on the deposited amount.

•   Fast access to funds If you apply for a CD loan with the bank or credit union that holds your CD, you can often get approved quickly and receive funds within a day or two.

•   Good for those with bad credit Borrowers with poor credit often qualify for CD-secured loans.

CD Loan Cons

While CD loans have their benefits, there are also some drawbacks to keep in mind.

•   Frozen funds The funds in the CD are tied up as collateral, limiting access to the money until the loan is repaid.

•   Potential loss of CD If you default on the loan, the lender can seize the CD, resulting in the loss of the deposited funds.

•   Limited loan amount CD loans are typically limited to a percentage of the CD’s value, which might not meet your full borrowing needs.

•   Fees Your bank may charge fees, such as an origination fee, for issuing you a CD loan.

•   Hard to find CD loans aren’t as common as other types of personal loan, so your bank or credit union may not offer them.

CD Loan vs Personal Loan

While CD-secured loans and unsecured personal loans have some similarities, they also have some significant differences.

With both types of loans, you get a lump sum of money up front and can then use those funds for virtually any type of expense. Both also typically offer fixed interest rates and a set repayment term so payments are easy to predict and budget for.

Unlike a personal loan, however, a CD-secured loan can be hard to find. Also with a CD loan, you need to put your savings on the line to secure the loan. With an unsecured personal loan, you don’t need to provide any funds or personal assets as collateral, making them accessible to borrowers without a CD or other assets.

CD loans also tend to have lower interest rates than unsecured personal loans due to the collateral, while personal loans tend to offer more flexibility in loan amount and repayment terms.

Recommended: Typical Personal Loan Requirements Needed for Approval

The Takeaway

CD loans can be a viable option for someone who has a certificate of deposit and needs access to funds while keeping their deposited amount intact. The lower interest rates and potential credit-building opportunities make CD loans attractive for some borrowers.

However, these loans aren’t widely available and the cost of the loan could potentially exceed the CD’s early withdrawal fee. Also, you could lose the money in your CD if you have difficulty making payments. It’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons, consider your personal financial goals and needs, and compare loan options before deciding on the best borrowing solution.

If you’re interested in exploring personal loans, SoFi could help. SoFi’s unsecured personal loans offer competitive, fixed rates and a variety of terms. Checking your rate won’t affect your credit score, and it takes just one minute.

See if a personal loan from SoFi is right for you.


Where can I get a CD loan?

CD loans are typically offered by banks and credit unions. It’s best to start by contacting your current financial institution to inquire about their CD loan options. They can provide you with specific details about their loan terms, interest rates, and application process. Typically, you need to take out a CD loan from the same institution that holds your CD.

What are CD loan interest rates?

CD loan interest rates vary depending on the lender, current market conditions, and your qualifications as a borrower. Rates tend to be lower than those of unsecured personal loans, since the loan is backed by the funds in the CD.

Some banks and credit unions will set the minimum annual percentage rate (APR) on their CD loans at 2% over the CD rate. So if your CD pays 3%, your CD loan rate would start at 5%. Your actual rate would depend on your credit and the term of the loan, among other factors.

Do you get money back from a CD loan?

When you take out a CD loan, you do receive money from the lender. However, it’s important to note that the funds received are borrowed money that you are obligated to repay, typically with interest. The funds from the loan are separate from the funds you have deposited in a certificate of deposit. The CD itself remains intact and continues to earn interest, but it is held as collateral until the loan is repaid. Once the loan is fully repaid, you regain full access to your CD and any interest it has earned during the loan term.

Photo credit: iStock/PeopleImages

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