Guide to Add-On Certificates of Deposit

By Rebecca Lake · May 20, 2024 · 9 minute read

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Guide to Add-On Certificates of Deposit

A certificate of deposit (CD) can be a good savings vehicle, and an add-on CD can be even better if you crave more flexibility. Traditional CDs allow you to save money for a set term while earning interest. Typically, when you open a CD, you make a one-time opening deposit and leave it in the account until the end of the term.

But add-on CDs offer a convenient twist on that basic principle: They are CDs which permit you to deposit additional funds after the account is opened.

Banks and credit unions may offer add-on CD accounts alongside other types of CDs. Whether it makes sense to open an add-on CD can depend on your financial goals.

Key Points

•   An add-on certificate of deposit (CD) allows additional deposits after the initial investment.

•   This flexibility can be beneficial for those who want to increase their savings gradually.

•   Add-on CDs typically offer lower initial deposit requirements compared to traditional CDs.

•   Interest rates for add-on CDs might be lower than those for traditional CDs.

•   Early withdrawal penalties may apply, which could affect the total interest earned.

What Is an Add-On CD?

Certificates of Deposit (CDs) are designed to help you save money that you can afford to “lock up” for a period of time. Generally, when you open a CD account, you make an initial deposit. That deposit earns interest throughout the CD’s term until it matures, or becomes accessible again. The term can be anywhere from a month to 10 years, but many people opt for several months or a few years.

Once the CD matures, you can withdraw your initial deposit and the interest earned, or you can opt to roll the entire amount into a new CD. CDs typically pay a higher interest rate than a traditional savings account but still keep your money safe, since these accounts are federally insured.

Add-on certificates of deposit, sometimes referred to as add-to CDs, give you the option to make additional deposits to your CD after opening the account. So, for example, you might open an add-on CD with an initial deposit of $500. You might then choose to deposit $100 per month into the CD account for the remainder of the maturity term.

The bank or credit union with which you open the add-on certificate of deposit account might require additional deposits to be made via automatic transfer. There may also be a minimum amount that you’re required to deposit monthly or bimonthly.

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How an Add-On CD Works

An add-on certificate of deposit account works much the same as any other CD, with one exception: You can make additional deposits to the account. Opening an account for a CD add-on starts with choosing a CD term. This is the length of time you’ll leave the money in your account.

Choosing the right term for an add-on CD matters for two reasons. First, it can determine how much interest you’ll earn on deposits. The longer the term, the more time your money has for compound interest to accrue. Banks and credit unions may also reward you with a higher interest rate and annual percentage yield (APY) for choosing a longer add-on CD term.

Second, you need to be fairly certain that you won’t need to withdraw money from an add-on CD account before it matures. Banks can impose penalties for early CD withdrawals, which can be equivalent to some or all of the interest earned. The penalties might even take a bite out of your principal.

Once you choose an add-on CD to open, you can complete the application and make the initial deposit. The amount required to open an add-on certificate of deposit accounts can vary from bank to bank. It’s typically less than for a traditional CD; perhaps $100. You can also decide how much you’d like to contribute to your add-on CD each month going forward.

As you make new deposits to your add-on CDs, that amount gets added to the principal and earns interest. You’ll then earn interest on the principal and interest as the CD compounds over time.

Recommended: How Long Does it Take to Open a New Bank Account?

Can You Add Money to a CD Before It Matures?

Generally, you cannot add money to a traditional CD beyond the initial deposit you make when you open the account. Once the CD reaches maturity, your bank may allow you a grace period of seven to 10 days in which you can make new deposits to the account. You might choose to add money during the grace period if you plan to roll the funds into a new CD account.

Add-on CDs give you more flexibility since you’re not bound by such strict rules for deposits. You can set up additional deposits to your CD to continue growing your balance, based on an amount that fits your budget and savings goals. You could even take investing in CDs a step further and create a CD ladder.

A CD ladder strategy involves opening multiple CDs, add-on or otherwise, with varying maturity terms and interest rates. Rolling maturity dates mean you may not have to worry about triggering early withdrawal penalties if you need cash. Why? Because with the staggered terms, you can always have a CD getting close to its maturity. This means you’re likely to soon have access to your cash. Laddering also allows you to take advantage of interest rate hikes if they occur.

Recommended: A Beginner’s Guide to Investing in CDs

Add-On CD vs Traditional CD

You might consider add-on CDs and traditional CDs if you’re comparing different types of high-interest accounts. Either type of CD could help you to achieve your savings goals. Before opening an add-on or traditional CD, it helps to know how they compare.

•  Add-on CDs allow you to add money after account opening; traditional CDs do not.

•  Minimum deposit amounts may be lower for add-on certificate of deposits versus traditional CDs.

•  Banks may offer different interest rates for add-on CDs vs. traditional CDs.

•  Different early withdrawal rules and penalties may apply.

When deciding where to open a certificate of deposit account, first consider whether add-on CDs are an option. Then you can look at the interest rates offered and the CD terms available.

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Advantages of Add-On CDs

Opening an add-on certificate of deposit account is something you might consider if you’re looking for something other than a traditional CD or a more flexible financial vehicle. Understanding the benefits of add-on CDs can help you decide if this is the right savings option for you.

Low Minimum Deposit

CDs impose a minimum deposit requirement; otherwise, you’d have no money to earn interest on. These minimums are often around $500 or $1000 or more. Banks may offer lower initial deposits for add-on CD accounts to get you to open them and continue depositing money later. You might find ones in the $100 range. That can be an advantage if you want to save with CDs but you don’t have a large amount of money in your bank account to deposit up front.

Guaranteed Return

If you’re looking for safe investments, it doesn’t get much safer than CDs. Add-on CDs can offer a guaranteed return for your money since you’ll know what the interest rate and APY are before opening the account. You can then use a CD calculator to estimate how much of a return you’ll get for your money over the maturity term.

Flexibility

Perhaps the biggest advantage of add-on CDs is the flexibility they offer. With a traditional CD, you make one deposit and that’s it. You can’t add anything else until the CD matures. An add-on CD, however, gives you the option to continue saving at a pace you can afford.

Disadvantages of Add-On CDs

Add-on CDs have some attractive features but they aren’t necessarily right for everyone. There are few potential drawbacks to keep in mind if you’re debating whether an add-on CD account might fit into your savings plan.

Lower Rates

Banks may offer lower interest rates for add-on CDs and reserve higher rates for traditional CDs. When comparing add-on CDs, consider the different rates you might get at traditional banks vs. online banks. An online bank may be the better choice if you’re hoping to get the highest rate possible for add-on CDs. Or, check and see what kinds of interest rates are being offered on high-yield savings accounts. You might find you fare better with one of those.

Early Withdrawal Penalties

Add-on CDs allow you to add money on your own terms but there are restrictions on when you can take money back out. Remember, the bank can charge an early withdrawal penalty if you decide to pull money from your CD before maturity. Penalties could cost you some or all of the interest earned.

Guaranteed Return

An add-on CD can offer a guaranteed return but it might not match the return you could get by investing your money elsewhere. Trading stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), or IPOs, for example, could yield a better return on your money but there’s risk involved — you could also lose your money.

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Example of an Add-On CD

Now that you know the pros and cons of add-on CDs, let’s zoom in on how exactly one might be set up to help you save. Let’s say you open an add-on 12-month CD that earns 5% APY and make an initial deposit of $1,000. At the six-month point, you’ve earned $24.70 in interest and your balance is now $1,024.70. You decide to deposit another $1,000. That extra cash earns the same 5% APY. When the CD matures, you’ll have around $2,075.

The Takeaway

Add-on CD accounts can help you reach your savings goals while offering more flexibility than other CDs. Before opening an add-on CD, it’s helpful to shop around to see which banks or credit unions offer them and how much interest you might be able to earn. You may also want to compare rates to what you could earn in a high-yield savings account (which offers even more flexibility). Also check into the minimum deposit required and different term lengths to find the best match for your needs and financial goals.

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FAQ

What is an add-on CD?

An add-on CD is a certificate of deposit account with more flexibility. It allows you to make additional deposits after the CD has been opened. Banks may impose a minimum deposit requirement, and you may need to automate deposits to add-on CDs.

Can you add additional funds to a CD?

CDs typically do not allow you to make additional deposits once your CD account has been opened. Add-on CDs, however, are designed to allow additional deposits before the CD matures.


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SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


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