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Share certificates are a type of credit union savings account very similar to the certificates of deposit, or CDs, offered at banks. These accounts usually offer higher yields than regular savings accounts; in exchange, you leave your money in the account for a specified amount of time. Longer lengths tend to have better rates than shorter ones. If you withdraw your money too early, you can be charged a penalty.
In addition, money put into one of these accounts by members of federally insured credit unions is safe. Share certificates and other accounts are generally insured for up to $250,000 through the National Credit Union Administration, or NCUA.