Can I get the interest rate advertised on a foreign CD?June 15, 2012: 4:20 PM ET
Citibank offers a 5.85% six-month term deposit ...in Australia. How do I get that?
— Warren Glaser, East Greenbush, N.Y.
Move to Australia. That introductory deal and other juicy rates touted by Australian banks like Citibank's subsidiary are for locals only. One U.S. bank, EverBank, makes it easy to invest in foreign certificates of deposit, but its rates are a lot lower than Citibank's offer—
2.25% for a one-year Aussie CD, for example. And that's before an exchange fee of 0.75% is deducted twice. Net result: a yield in line with U.S. CDs' sub-1% rates.
A bigger problem with overseas CDs is that a stronger U.S. dollar could turn a gain into a loss. "The currency risk can overwhelm the yield," warns Denver planner Ray Benton. Instead, get a high-yield multiyear U.S. CD with a low early-
withdrawal fee. (Find one in Bankrate.com's 2012 CD early-withdrawal penalty survey.)
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