Finding a good bank account can be challenging. There are more than 10,000 banks and credit unions in the U.S., and many of them offer excellent products and services. But depending on your needs, some financial institutions may be better than others.
In this guide, we’ll cover some of the best banks for all types of people, allowing you to choose the best option for you based on your needs and preferences. Whether you’re looking to open a checking account or earn a great interest rate on your savings account, there’s something on this list for you.
Best banks for checking accounts
If you’re looking for the best checking account for basic services, you can’t go wrong with a national bank with a wide reach and solid services. Here are our top two choices.
Current Bank: Best for families and no fees
Current Bank is an online-only bank that offers early paychecks, no overdraft fees, and refunds any holds placed on your account when buying gas. If you’re a parent of teens, you can also set up special accounts to help them manage their money with a little control from you.
The free checking account is the basic online account, but if you opt for a premium account or a teen account, there will be a monthly fee.
Read our Current Bank review
BBVA Online Checking: Best for easy online and mobile banking
The BBVA Online Checking account is available for customers throughout the U.S., even if BBVA’s physical footprint is across only a handful of states. The account has no monthly fees, and you’ll get all the basic features you need in an online checking account. Also, if you live in one of the states in which BBVA has bank branches, you have the option to get in-person service at a local branch.
You’ll also get the chance to earn cash back on certain offers with your debit card. Simply use your online account or mobile app to search offers based on your spending, add them to your card and make your purchase as usual.
Read our BBVA checking review
Chase Total Checking: Best for an upfront bonus
Chase Total Checking provides everything you need from a banking standpoint, and the bank also has a suite of other products and services if you need them.
You can also enjoy a $200 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking account and set up direct deposit. You'll also get access to 16,000 Chase ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches. All you'll need is your phone to manage all your accounts — deposit checks, transfer money, and more — all in the Chase Mobile app.
An added benefit is that Chase Bank also offers a great line of credit cards as well. Cardholders of Chase credit cards will get easy access to both their bank accounts and credit card accounts in one easy-to-navigate online banking experience.
Best banks for savings accounts
If you’re looking for the best savings account to stash your emergency fund or for another important financial goal, you won’t earn much in interest from most banks and credit unions. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the average annual percentage yield (APY) on a savings account in the U.S. is a measly .05% (as of Sept. 16, 2020). But with the competitive rates offered by the banks below, you’ll get a lot more than that. Plus, a savings account offers some additional perks as well.
Radius Bank High-Yield Savings Account: Best for savings and cashback checking
The Radius Bank high-yield savings account’s interest rate can be as much as five times the national average, but on its own, it likely wouldn’t have made our list. As of Sept. 16, 2020, you’ll earn different APYs in tiers, including:
- $0.01 – $9.99: 0.00% APY
- $10 – $2,499.99: 0.05% APY
- $2,500 – $24,999.99: 0.15% APY
- $25,000+: 0.25% APY
What makes the bank so special is when you couple the online savings account with a Radius Bank Rewards Checking account. With the checking account’s debit card, you’ll earn unlimited 1.5% cash back in select spending categories and 1% back on everything else. You can use that cash to bolster your savings or however else you want.
Axos Bank High-Yield Savings: Best for maximizing savings earnings
If you want a high interest rate on your savings account, the Axos Bank High-Yield Savings account offers .90% APY, as of Sept. 16, 2020. That’s impressive, especially considering there are no monthly maintenance fees.
Axos also offers a valuable Rewards Checking account, which functions differently than the one offered by Radius Bank. Instead of getting cash back directly from your debit card purchases, you’ll earn interest in tiers based on your account activities. For each of the following, you’ll receive 0.4166% APY, up to a maximum of 1.25% APY:
- Receive $1,000 or more in monthly direct deposits.
- Use your debit card at least 10 times per month, with a minimum transaction of $3.
- Use your debit card at least 15 times per month, with a minimum transaction of $3.
If you pay attention to these milestones, you could end up earning significant interest on your deposits.
Best banks for both checking and savings accounts
The previous two options provide solid checking and savings accounts, but there are a few other really great alternatives in that arena. Here are some of our top choices when it comes to opening both of these banking accounts at the same institution.
Chime Bank: Best for low fees and savings features
What makes Chime Bank stand out is its significant lack of fees. Sure, there are some, but you won’t get any of the common ones like monthly fees, foreign transaction fees, or even overdraft fees.
You can also set up your account so that when you receive your paycheck — which comes up to two days early — you automatically transfer a percentage to your savings account. You can also have every transaction you make with your debit card rounded up to the nearest dollar, with the difference transferred to your savings account.
Read our Chime Bank review
Green Dot: Best for killer cash back and savings interest
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better checking-savings combination than Green Dot. The bank will give you unlimited 2.00% cash back when you use your debit card to shop online or through mobile apps with its Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account. What’s more, you’ll earn 2.00% APY on up to $10,000 in the bank’s high-yield savings account, as of Sept. 16, 2020.
The biggest drawback is that these benefits are limited. You’ll only earn cash back on certain purchases, for instance, and anything over $10,000 that you have saved won’t earn interest at all. Also, the checking account charges a $7.95 monthly fee, but you can get it waived if you spend $1,000 or more each month.
Read our Green Dot review
Aspiration: Best for socially-conscious consumers
The Chase Total Checking account isn’t the only one with a checking account bonus offer. In fact, Aspiration will give you $100 if you open an Aspiration Spend & Save account, deposit at least $100, and spend $1,000 or more in the first 60 days.1
For ongoing value, Aspiration provides up to 10% cash back when you use your debit card to shop at select socially-conscious retailers. There is, however, a $7 monthly fee, which isn’t waivable if you want to maximize your rewards. Customers who are OK with earning 3% or 5% cash back can opt to pay whatever they think is fair for a monthly fee.
On top of the rewards the checking account offers, you’ll earn up to 1.00% APY on your balance, as of Sept. 16, 2020, with the Save account.
- Earn cash back rewards - up to 10% - when you spend with your debit card
- Get $100 bonus when you spend $1000 in the first 60 days
- Up to 1.00% APY interest (up to 25 times higher than Big Banks)
- Unlimited fee-free withdrawals at 55,000+ ATMs
- Deposits are FDIC insured
Best banks for other accounts
As online banks have become more popular, some financial institutions have gotten more creative with their offerings and the value you can gain from an otherwise basic bank account. Here are some of the best banks to consider if you’re looking for financial products that go beyond a basic checking or savings account.
Wealthfront Cash Account: Best for a cash account
The Wealthfront Cash Account is not a traditional bank account, but a cash account with a brokerage firm. Wealthfront’s approach to banking offers a .35% APY, as of Sept. 16, 2020. You also won’t have to worry about fees, and soon you’ll also have the option to set up direct deposit, use a debit card, and pay your bills directly from your account.
And if you’re an investor with Wealthfront, having money in a Wealthfront Cash Account gives you easier access to your funds if you want to transfer to and from your brokerage account.
Stash Banking: Best for stock-related rewards
Stash banking is another unique option for investors. It’s extremely light on fees, including no monthly fees or overdraft fees.2 And with the account’s debit card, you’ll earn .125% in Stock-BackⓇ rewards on every purchase you make, plus 5% back when you spend with certain merchants (as of Sept. 16, 2020).3
That’s right — instead of earning cash back, you’ll earn rewards in the form of shares in your favorite companies. Depending on how they perform, you could get far more value in the long term with Stash than with other rewards checking accounts.
Read our Stash Invest review
Betterment Cash Reserve: Best for family banking and investing
Betterment is a robo-advisor, which offers hands-off investment management. For Betterment users who want more, the Betterment Cash Reserve account can provide some bank account-like benefits.
The account works similarly to the Wealthfront Cash Account, but gives you slightly more interest with a .40% APY, as of Sept. 16, 2020. You can also open a joint account with a partner or someone else.
Read our Betterment review
How to pick the best bank for you
With so many different bank accounts out there, it can be challenging to find the right fit for you. Here are some factors to consider as you compare the best banks:
- Ease of use: Some banks provide an easy-to-use online and mobile interface, making it that much easier to manage your money without needing to study the platform to figure it out.
- Fees: We don’t know of any banks that don’t charge any fees at all, but some are more low cost than others. Although some banks do charge monthly fees, don’t write them off too quickly. In some cases, you can get the fee waived with your regular banking habits or by maintaining a certain account balance. Or it could turn out that the account provides enough value to make up for the monthly cost.
- Minimum deposit: Some banks will allow you to open a new bank account with little to no money. Others may require hundreds or thousands of dollars.
- ATM access: Online banks tend to offer the widest networks for fee-free ATMs, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need that many. Consider your travel habits and whether you’ll need fee-free ATMs across the country or if you just need them close to you. Also, note that some banks will reimburse you for out-of-network ATM fees.
- Debit card access: Some of the accounts we referenced, including Wealthfront and Betterment, aren’t technically checking accounts, so there’s no debit card access. Although Wealthfront appears to be remedying this soon, you’d have to open up a Betterment Checking account to get a debit card.
- Ability to write paper checks: Like the debit card issue, some of these institutions don’t offer the option to write paper checks, which can be frustrating when it turns out you need one.
- Interest rate: Check to see what kind of interest the bank is offering on its accounts and whether you need to jump through hoops to maximize the value. Higher interest rates can be appealing, but make sure you can easily earn the money and won’t lose out through fees.
- Mobile deposits: In most cases, you’ll have access to deposit checks through your mobile device, but that’s not available everywhere. Even if it is, the process can be more smooth with some banks than others.
- Customer service: Most of these banks are online banks only, which means you won’t get in-person service. As a result, it’s crucial to take the time to research all of your options and how they handle customer service to ensure it’s a good fit. If you prefer a more traditional experience, you might want to go with a more well-known big bank.
- Rewards: Relatively speaking, very few banks offer rewards on their checking accounts. Depending on how you plan to use your debit card, consider an account that will reward you when you spend like normal.
As you shop around and compare options, you’ll also find other features and terms that are important to you. Make sure to include these in your decision-making process.
The companies we chose for our best banks list are all current partners with FinanceBuzz. We did not evaluate all companies in the market. Companies were assessed according to a set of criteria, and then we used editorial judgment to determine what use or user each account would be best for.
FinanceBuzz evaluation criteria include:
- FDIC- or NCUA-insured: To make our list, a bank must be FDIC or National Credit Union Administration insured
- Fees: A variety of fees were taken into account in our assessment. Fees evaluated include monthly maintenance, ATM, minimum balance, foreign transaction, and overdraft fees.
- Account features: Accounts were evaluated on the availability of certain features such as paper checks, mobile deposits, rewards on spending, and whether the account is interest bearing.
- Customer experience: Accounts were evaluated based on how the customer can access and manage the account (mobile app and/or web-based portal), as well as the methods by which the customer can communicate with support.
FAQs about the best banks
Who is the best bank to open an account with?
There’s no single best bank for everyone, so it’s important to know what’s available and to choose one that best suits your personal finance needs and preferences. For example, some banks charge a waivable monthly fee, and it may not make sense for some people to get an account unless they can qualify to get that fee waived.
Others may prefer in-person service, which rules out most online banks. As you shop around, think about the features you want in a bank account and other preferences that can help inform your decision.
Is there a bank with no overdraft fees?
There are a handful of banks that don’t charge overdraft fees, including Current Bank, Chime Bank, and Stash Banking, all of which made the list of our best banks. These aren’t the only ones, though, so if you’re worried about overdrawing your account and getting slapped with a fee, consider that as you compare your options. Look for a bank that offers overdraft protection or at least doesn’t charge you overdraft fees.
What bank has no monthly fees?
The good news is that there are countless banks and credit unions that don’t charge monthly fees. Although many of them are online-only banks, it’s also possible to get an account with a brick-and-mortar bank that won’t charge a monthly maintenance fee. Even with banks that do charge a monthly fee, you’re often able to get the fee waived, essentially making it a fee-free account.
What does FDIC mean?
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation provides deposit insurance for consumers, specifically to protect their funds if their bank fails. The National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, administered by the National Credit Union Administration, provides the same benefit.
Accounts that are insured by the FDIC or NCUA must be deposit accounts, which include checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts, and CDs. With NCUA and FDIC insurance, you’ll get up to $250,000 in insurance per owner, per insured institution, per account category.
The bottom line
The best banks provide a lot of value for people who are looking for a little more from their banking experience. If you’re searching for a new bank account, our list of the best banks can help you narrow down your list of options, or at least provide you with a benchmark you can use to compare other bank accounts.