A time deposit
or term deposit
(also known as a certificate of deposit
in the United States, (Chinese: 定期存款
)), is a deposit with a specified period of maturity and earns interest. It is a money deposit at a banking institution that cannot be withdrawn for a specific term or period of time (unless a penalty is paid). When the term is over it can be withdrawn or it can be held for another term. Generally speaking, the longer the term the better the yield on the money. In its strict sense, certificate deposit is different from that of time deposit in terms of its negotiability: CDs are negotiable and can be rediscounted when the holder needs some liquidity, while time deposits must be kept until maturity.
The opposite, sometimes known as a sight deposit
or "on call" deposit, can be withdrawn at any time, without any notice or penalty: e.g., money deposited in a checking account in a bank.
The rate of return is higher than for savings accounts because the requirement that the deposit be held for a prespecified term gives the bank the ability to invest it in a higher-gain financial product class. However, the return on a time deposit is generally lower than the long-term average of that of investments in riskier products like stocks or bonds. Some banks offer market-linked time deposit accounts which offer potentially higher returns while guaranteeing principal.
A time deposit is an interest-bearing bank deposit that has a specified date of maturity. A deposit of funds in a savings institution is made under an agreement stipulating that (a) the funds must be kept on deposit for a stated period of time, or (b) the institution may require a minimum period of notification before a withdrawal is made.
"Small" time deposits are defined in the U.S. as those under $100,000, while "large" ones are $100,000 or greater in size. The term "jumbo CD" is commonly used in the United States to refer to large time deposits.
In the U.S., banks are not subject to a reserve requirement against their time deposit holdings.