When you purchase a CD, you invest a fixed sum of money for a fixed period of time (or term)–six months, one year, two years, or three years–and, in exchange, we pay you interest, compounded monthly.

When you cash in or redeem your certificate, you receive the money you originally invested plus any accrued interest. But if you redeem your certificate before it matures, you may have to pay an early withdrawal penalty or forfeit a portion of the interest you earned.