Chime, SoFi, Ally Bank, and Capital One are some of the best banks millennials can use, thanks to their $0 monthly service fees, modern tools, and more. Here are our top seven picks for the best banks for millennials and what stands out about each of them.
- Many millennials enjoy banking with financial institutions that have online services and mobile apps.
- Many online banks offer accounts with no fees and minimum balance requirements.
- Two of the best online banks for millennials are SoFi and Varo.
- Two of the best traditional banks for millennials are U.S. Bank and Capital One.
- Some banks may enable you to get your paycheck up to two days early when you set up direct deposits.
The best banks for millennials
- U.S. Bank: Best for branch access
- Chime®12 : Best for automated savings9
- SoFi: Best for online banking
- Wealthfront: Best for investors
- Varo: Best for high-yield savings
- Ally Bank: Best for overdraft protection
- Capital One: Best for traditional banking
Comparison of the best banks for millennials
|Bank||Best for||Depository products||Annual percentage yield||Monthly service fees|
|U.S. Bank1||Branch access||
||U.S. Bank Smartly Checking13 : Must ask a banker for current rates||U.S. Bank Bank Smartly Checking: $6.95, can be waived|
|U.S. Bank Standard Savings: 0.01% (as of May 31, 2023)||U.S. Bank Standard Savings: $4, can be waived|
||Chime Checking: N/A||Chime Checking: $0|
|Chime High-Yield Savings7 : 2.00% (as of Aug. 29, 2023)5||Chime Savings4 : $0|
||SoFi Checking: 0.50% (as of Aug. 2, 2023) with direct deposit||SoFi Checking: $0|
|SoFi Savings: 4.50% (as of Aug. 2, 2023) with direct deposit||SoFi Savings: $0|
||Wealthfront Cash Account11 : 4.80%||Wealthfront Cash Account: $0|
||Varo Online Bank Account: N/A||Varo Online Bank account: $0|
|Varo High-Yield Savings: 5.00% (as of Aug. 29, 2023) with direct deposit||Varo High-yield savings account: $0|
|Ally Bank||Overdraft protection||
||Ally Bank Interest Checking: 0.25% (as of Sep. 18, 2023)||Ally Bank Interest Checking: $0|
|Ally Bank Savings: 4.25% (as of Sep. 18, 2023)||Ally Bank Savings: $0|
|Capital One||Traditional banking||
||Capital One 360 Checking: 0.10% (as of Jul. 21, 2023)||Capital One 360 Checking: $0|
|Capital One 360 Performance Savings: 4.30% (as of Jul. 21, 2023)||Capital One 360 Performance Savings: $0|
U.S. Bank: Best for branch access
Who it’s best for: Millennials who prefer in-person banking and want a bank with many local branches.
Why we like U.S. Bank
US Bank is one of the largest banks in the United States, with over 2,000 branches located in 26 states.
The bank has the most branches in California, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, and Washington. Customers can find the nearest US Bank branch or ATM by using the online locator tool or the mobile app.
U.S. Bank’s mobile app lets you deposit checks, transfer money between your accounts, manage and pay your bills, and send, request, and receive money from friends with Zelle. You can also view insights on your spending and saving habits and benefit from overdraft protection.
What we don’t like about U.S. Bank
U.S. Bank is only available in 26 states. Depending on where you live, you may not be able to open an account. The bank also charges monthly service fees for some of its accounts. Although these fees can be waived if you meet certain requirements, such as maintaining a minimum account balance or having direct deposits.
Additionally, U.S. Bank doesn’t appear to offer competitive annual percentage yields (APY) on most of its checking and savings accounts. For example, the U.S. Bank Standard Savings account only earns 0.01% (as of May 31, 2023).
Chime®12 : Best for automated savings
Who it’s best for: Millennials who prefer digital banking and want automatic saving tools.
Why we like Chime
If you need help saving money, Chime might be where you’d like to bank. With Chime, you can set up automatic transfers for a percentage of your paycheck to be deposited directly into your savings account.
Chime also lets you round up6 your Chime Visa Debit Card14 transactions to the nearest dollar and deposit the round-up amount into your savings account. Keep in mind that opening a Chime savings account is optional but requires having a Chime checking account.
In addition, if you set up direct deposit with Chime, you could get your paycheck up to two days early. The Chime SpotMe feature also offers fee-free overdrafts up to $200 for eligible members.
What we don’t like about Chime
Chime isn’t a traditional bank, so it has no physical locations or branches. This also means that cash deposits can’t be done at a local branch. Instead, depositing cash requires you to go to a participating retailer, such as Walgreens15 .
The Chime High-Yield Savings7 account offers a decent APY of 2.00% (as of Aug. 29, 2023)5 , but it lags behind what some competitors offer.
… Or learn more in our Chime review.
SoFi: Best for online banking
Who it’s best for: Millennials looking for a smooth online banking experience while earning high APYs on their savings.
Why we like SoFi
SoFi is a fintech company that offers online banking services in the form of a checking and savings account that come together as a package deal. Both accounts have $0 monthly services fees and don’t require a minimum balance.
If you receive direct deposit, you could earn an APY of 4.50% (as of Aug. 2, 2023) with the SoFi Savings account and 0.50% (as of Aug. 2, 2023) with the SoFi Checking account.
You can also get your paycheck two days early when you set up direct deposit. And, with a SoFi debit card, you can earn up to 15% cash back on your purchases at select local establishments.
What we don’t like about SoFi
SoFi’s checking and savings accounts come as a package deal. You can’t open one without the other. Also, SoFi is completely online, so there are no branches that you can walk into if you have an issue.
Your ATM withdrawals are limited to $1,000 per day. Lastly, earning the highest APY requires direct deposits. If you don’t receive direct deposits, you’d instead earn an APY of 1.20% (as of Aug. 2, 2023).
… Or learn more in our SoFi review.
Wealthfront: Best for investors
Who it’s best for: Millennials who want to invest while having access to banking services at the same place.
Why we like Wealthfront
Wealthfront offers a Cash Account that acts like a bank account and charges no monthly service fees. Your Cash Account can be linked to your Wealthfront investment account.
Wealthfront’s Cash Account lets you get your paycheck directly deposited up to two days before payday. You can also use your Cash Account to pay your bills and set up an automatic savings plan. The Cash Account earns an APY of 4.80%.
Your money may receive insurance of up to $5 million with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
What we don’t like about Wealthfront
Like many companies that offer online banking services, Wealthfront doesn’t have physical branches. It also doesn’t offer paper checks and limits daily withdrawals to $1,000.
Additionally, Wealthfront might not be a good option for millennials who work as digital nomads. It requires you to live in the U.S. and have a permanent U.S. address to open a Cash Account.
… Or learn more in our Wealthfront review.
Varo: Best for high-yield savings
Who it’s best for: Millennials who want to access a competitive APY and can fulfill its requirements.
Why we like Varo
If you’re just starting to save money, Varo offers a competitive high-yield savings account that charges no monthly service fees. This account can help you earn an APY of 5.00% (as of Aug. 29, 2023) on balances up to $5,000. However, there are specific requirements you must meet to earn the highest yield.
- You need to receive direct deposits totaling $1,000 or more each month.
- You also need to end each month with a positive balance in your Varo online bank account and high-yield savings account.
Balances above $5,000 earn 3.00% (as of Aug. 29, 2023). This is also the same rate you’d receive without direct deposits.
Varo also allows you to receive your direct deposits up to two days early and offers up to 6% cashback rewards on eligible debit card purchases.
What we don’t like about Varo
Earning the highest APY rate with Varo has several requirements and only applies to $5,000. People with big enough savings may end up earning more money in annual dollar terms from a bank that offers a slightly lower APY rate that applies to their entire balance.
Additionally, Varo doesn’t offer any interest earnings on balances you keep in its Online Bank Account. Your daily spending limit with Varo’s debit card is $2,500, which is probably more than enough for everyday purchases. However, it may still limit you when purchasing things like furniture or certain appliances.
… Or learn more in our Varo review.
Ally Bank: Best for overdraft protection
Who it’s best for: Millennials who are concerned about overdraft fees and need a high limit for overdraft protection.
Why we like Ally Bank
Ally Bank offers checking and savings accounts that have $0 monthly service fees. The bank doesn’t charge fees for overdrafts up to $250, a feature it names CoverDraft.
But there are some stipulations. You must wait 30 days after depositing $100 or more in your account to qualify for CoverDraft.
The minimum coverage offered is $100. To qualify for the maximum of $250, you need to set up a direct deposit of at least $250 for two months in a row. Any overdraft funds must be repaid within 14 days.
Ally Bank can help you earn 4.25% (as of Sep. 18, 2023) on money in your savings account. It also offers automatic savings features that can help you move money into your savings with little effort.
What we don’t like about Ally Bank
Ally Bank limits withdrawals from your savings account to six per statement cycle, so you should use the number of allowed withdrawals wisely.
And while Ally Bank offers interest-bearing savings and checking accounts, its APYs aren’t as high as some other banks. Ally Bank Savings earns 4.25% (as of Sep. 18, 2023), while the Interest Checking account earns 0.25% (as of Sep. 18, 2023).
… Or learn more in our Ally Bank review.
Capital One: Best for traditional banking
Who it’s best for: Millennials who prefer a bank that offers a traditional banking experience while also having access to more modern tools.
Why we like Capital One
Capital One is a good banking option for millennials who prefer a more traditional banking experience without having to pay monthly service fees for their checking or savings accounts.
The bank can help you earn an APY of 4.30% (as of Jul. 21, 2023) on money in your 360 Performance Savings account. You can also benefit from receiving your paycheck up to two days early.
Millennials with young children or teenagers may also like that Capital One offers accounts for their kids. Parents can start saving for their kid’s college with Capital One Kids Savings. This account has an APY of 0.30% (as of Jul. 21, 2023).
When the kids get into their teens and start making their own money, you can open a Capital One MONEY teen checking account for them. This account earns 0.10% (as of Jul. 21, 2023).
The MONEY account acts as a joint account between parents and teens, and each has their own mobile app login. Teens can use the app to manage their money, while their parents can keep an eye on their teen’s spending habits.
What we don’t like about Capital One
Capital One has some limitations to be aware of. The bank doesn’t offer competitive APYs for its savings and checking accounts. This means that you may not earn much interest on your money compared to some online banking platforms.
Another limitation is that Capital One requires eligible deposits to qualify for overdraft protection. This means that customers need to have a direct deposit or a savings transfer set up to avoid overdraft fees. If customers do not have these options, they may incur a $35 fee for each overdraft transaction over $5.
How to choose the best banks for millennials
Online banks can often be a good choice for millennials because they enable you to quickly access and manage your personal finances through a mobile app or website without the hassle of going to a brick-and-mortar bank or getting stuck on hold with customer service.
Many online banks also offer benefits attractive to millennials, such as no monthly service fees, no required minimum balances, early direct deposit of paychecks, and automatic saving tools.
When choosing the best bank for you, consider the following factors:
- Interest rate earned: What is the APY the bank is offering on its accounts? And does it enable you to earn interest on checking accounts as well as savings accounts? You should also read the fine print for banks offering APYs higher than their competitors because there may be specific requirements you must meet to qualify for the higher APY.
- Deposits: Not all online banks with mobile apps allow mobile check deposits, so it's essential to research how you can deposit money into your accounts with a particular online bank. You should also consider any existing deposit limitations. For example, you can deposit cash into your Chime account at any Walgreens. However, you are limited to three deposits and $1,000 per day.
- Overdraft protection: Does the bank have overdraft protection to help if you don’t have sufficient funds in your account? If it does, how much are you covered for, and will it cost you anything? For example, Varo Advance might cover you up to $250 if your Varo Bank Account runs low on cash. However, borrowing more than $20 will cost you as much as $15 in fees. Ally Bank’s CoverDraft won’t charge you any fees for up to $250 in coverage, but you have to make deposits of $250 for two months in a row to qualify.
- Accessibility and limitations: How accessible is your money, and can you easily transfer it from checking to savings or external financial institutions? Also make sure you know the requirements to qualify for different features the bank or online banking platform may offer.
FAQ about the best banks for millennials
How many bank accounts should I have?
You may want to have at least two banking accounts — one checking and one savings account. This can help you use your money while having a separate place to save some cash. Having multiple accounts may help you keep track of your expenses, but too many accounts may get confusing and hard to manage. Also, check with your bank to see if it has limits on how many accounts you can open with them.
Where do most Millennials bank?
Many millennials choose to bank at traditional national banks. In fact, 44% of Millennials bank at Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, according to a 2019 study by Cornerstone Advisors. However, many online banking platforms may offer more benefits to millennials than traditional banks.
What’s a good bank account for Gen Z?
Capital One offers bank accounts that can be a good fit for Gen Z because these accounts are tailored toward young children and teenagers. Parents can start saving for their child’s future with a Capital One Kids Savings account. Capital One also offers a MONEY teen checking account for when your young ones are old enough to start making and saving their own money.
Best banks for millennials: bottom line
When looking for the best banks for millennials, you want to ensure the bank offers low or no fees and enables you to handle most of your banking online via the bank website or mobile banking app. After that, the choice of what bank is best for you depends on what specific features you are looking for.
If you want to get a high APY on balances under $5,000, Varo might be the bank for you. If you want a solid online banking experience, SoFi might be a better option. If you want to make sure you have decent overdraft protection to cover you when your funds are low, you might prefer to open an account with Ally Bank or Chime.
Explore more options in our list of the best banks.
More from FinanceBuzz:
To determine the best banks for millennials, we first identified some of this generation's common banking needs and preferences. Our research found that millennials value convenience, technology, rewards, and low fees when choosing a bank.
We then compiled a list of online and traditional banks that offer banking products and financial services that cater to these criteria. We gathered the features and benefits of each bank, such as annual percentage yields (APY), minimum deposit, ATM access, mobile app functionality, and more.
Our goal is to provide readers with an overview of the best banks for millennials to help them make informed decisions when choosing a bank that suits their lifestyles and goals. It’s important to note that we did not review every available option in the market, and our recommendations aren’t listed in a specific order.
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