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A woman considers a money market vs. share certificate.

Money Market vs. Share Certificate – Which One Is Better?

Money market accounts and share certificates offer a chance to earn higher rates than regular savings without risking your funds in the stock market or other unpredictable investments. 

A money market account may be a better choice if you want to maintain access to your funds, while a share certificate offers higher rates when you leave your funds untouched for a fixed period. 

Key Differences Between Share Certificates and Money Market Accounts

The main difference between a share certificate and a money market account (MMA) is your ability to access your funds. 

When you open a share certificate, you choose a term of 3 months to 72 months and you’ll be penalized for withdrawing funds before the end of your term, also called a maturity date. Share certificates generally offer higher rates than MMAs but keep in mind that a short certificate term with a low balance may earn less than an MMA. 

NextMark allows for up to 3 monthly withdrawals via check, online transfer, or in-person transfer. Money Markets are also considered tiered accounts, so your earning rate will go up as you achieve a higher balance in the account; say $10,000, $25,000, and $100,000.

A Quick Comparison of Money Markets vs. Share Certificates

Features Share Certificates Money Market Accounts
Fixed terms  
Penalty for withdrawals before the end of term
Open-ended account 
Up to 3 withdrawals a month
Fixed Rates 
Variable Rates
Longer terms earn higher rates 
Higher balances earn higher rates
Minimum Balance $100
Minimum Balance $2,500

When a Money Market Account Is a Better Option

Here are some common reasons why you might prefer to open a money market account vs. share certificate:

  • You want the freedom to withdraw money up to three times a month for emergencies, a specific bill, or any other reason.
  • You want a range of ways to withdraw funds—by transfer, check, or ATM card.
  • You want to keep adding funds at any time.
  • You have a higher balance and want to earn higher rates than regular savings.
  • You don’t want to lock your funds away for a fixed term.

When a Share Certificate Is a Better Option

There are also some great reasons why you might choose a share certificate over a money market account: 

  • You want to earn better rates than both money market and regular savings accounts.
  • You want a fixed rate so you can easily calculate your earnings no matter what happens in the markets.
  • You have a lump sum of cash that you want to use for a particular purpose in the future, like a down payment on a home, a car, or education expenses.
  • You want to lock your money away for a term because you’re often tempted to spend your money and the penalty for early withdrawal serves as an incentive to save.

When to Open a Regular Savings Account Instead

A regular savings account may be a good choice if you’re just getting started on your savings goals and have a lower amount to deposit. You can open a savings account and start earning dividends with as little as $5. Plus, you can make up to six withdrawals per month.

Another great feature of a savings account is you can set it up as overdraft protection for your checking account so you don’t go into the red and can avoid unnecessary fees.

By comparison, money market accounts reward higher balances starting at $2,500 and you may not earn any dividends if your balance falls below that amount. Meanwhile, you need just $100 to open a share certificate but you won’t be able to access the funds for three months or more.  

Where to Open a Share Certificate or Money Market?

You can open a share certificate or money market at If you’re not a NextMarker already, by becoming a member, you’ll get access to all of our quality creative and innovative products and services that will help you propel your financial future, faster.


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