Best Banks to Bank With in America (Reviews)

In the US, there are many different types of banks and credit unions that provide checking and savings accounts as well as a broad array of lending, credit, and other banking products.

So which is the best bank to bank with in the US, and which one should you specifically go with?

Ever since AdvisoryHQ launched in March of 2015, we have become the fastest-growing review and ranking site for the banking and financial advisory industries. As such, we have received a lot of queries asking about the best banks to bank with, and also for the best banks with the highest interest paying accounts.

The answer to these questions depends on what you are looking for.

Are you interested in a high yield savings account? If so, a bank that offers high yield savings rates would be your best bank to bank with.

Or are you mostly interested in a bank that offers a free checking account? Or do you want both?

Best Banks to Bank with in America

What about a bank that reimburses you for your ATM fees or one that has no maintenance or minimum balance requirements? Also, are you looking for an online bank or a traditional brick-and-mortar financial institution?

This article presents the lists and detailed reviews of the types of U.S. banks presented below:

  • Best Online Banks
  • Top Brick-and-Mortar Banks
  • Best Banks for Small Businesses
  • Top Credit Unions in the US
  • Biggest/Largest Banks in America

Are you interested in the best bank to bank with in the UK? Then check out this review of the top UK banks.

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Lists of the Top US Banks to Bank With

Best Online Banks

List of the Best Online Banks & Accounts – US

APY

Bank of Internet USA

1.25%

EverBank

1.11%

My Savings Direct

1.10%

GE Capital Bank

1.05%

Synchrony Bank

1.05%

Ally Bank

1.00%

Barclays Online Banking

1.00%

Salem Five Direct

1.00%

iGObanking

1.00%

Discover Bank

0.95%

American Express Bank

0.90%

Bank5 Connect (1)

0.90%

Sallie Mae Bank

0.80%

Bank5 Connect (2)

0.76%

Capital One 360

0.75%

FNBO Direct

0.75%

Click here for the detailed comparison table: Best Online Banks to Bank With and High Yield Rate Details

Top Brick-and-Mortar Banks

  1. Bank of America (MyAccess Checking)
  2. Capital One (360 Free Checking)
  3. Chase (Total Checking)
  4. CIT Bank (High Yield Savings)
  5. Citibank (Basic Checking)
  6. PNC Bank (Virtual Wallet)
  7. SunTrust (EZ Checking)
  8. TD Bank (Convenience Account)
  9. U.S. Bank (Gold Checking Account)

Click here for the comparison table: Top Brick-and-Mortar Banks with Free Checking Accounts

Biggest Banks in America

List of the Largest US Banks to Bank With

Assets*

JP Morgan

2,096,114

Bank of America

1,599,746

Wells Fargo

1,571,389

Citigroup

1,335,871

US Bank

405,363

PNC

340,231

Bank of NY Mellon

316,699

State Street

274,919

Capital One

253,202

TD Bank

234,389

HSBC

194,569

SunTrust

185,316

BB&T

184,405

Fifth Third

138,030

Goldman Sachs

127,771

Morgan Stanley

126,857

Assets*:  Consolidated Assets (Mil $)

Click here for the detailed comparison table: Largest Banks in the US by Asset Size

Best Banks in America for Small Businesses

  1. Bank of America
  2. Capital One Bank
  3. Chase Bank USA
  4. CitiBank
  5. First National Bank
  6. First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company
  7. Synovus Bank
  8. Wells Fargo

Click here for the detailed comparison table: Review of the Best US Banks to Bank With for Small Businesses

Top Credit Unions in the US

  1. Alliant Credit Union
  2. Digital Federal Credit Union
  3. First Technology Federal Credit Union
  4. Kinecta Federal Credit Union
  5. Lake Michigan Credit Union
  6. Patelco Credit Union
  7. Pentagon Federal Credit Union
  8. San Diego County Credit Union
  9. The Golden 1 Credit Union

Click here to view the comparison table: Review of the Best US Credit Unions for US Consumers

 

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Which is Better for You? A Traditional or an Online Bank?

There are various pros and cons to the two types of banking, but at the end of the day, it’s really all about your preference.

A major advantage of going with a traditional bank is your ability to easily walk into a branch and conduct a bank transaction.

Online banks, on the other hand, have little to no branches, so their overall costs are much lower than traditional, big banks, and they can better pass these savings to you.

If you like to do most or all of your banking online and like to earn a higher interest APY on your checking account, then you want to go with the free or high interest paying online checking or savings account.

If, however, you like the convenience and guarantee of a big bank, then you’ll want to go with a more traditional bank.

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Detailed Review – Best Online Banks to Bank With

When searching for the top online bank to bank with, consumers consider a few key factors. Online banks with no fees are a top priority for consumers searching for the best banks to bank with. This priority includes finding banks with no monthly service fees, no account opening fee, and no maintenance fees.

In addition to banks without service fees, another key factor for selecting top online banks to bank with are those banking firms that provide high interest savings accounts. Besides having high yield accounts, banks that also reimburse you for your ATM costs is another top consideration for individuals searching for the best banks to open a checking account with.

Below, we present a list of the top rated best banks with no fees as well as a review of some of the important factors that you should consider before signing up with one of these top-ranked banks.

How Can These Online Banking Firms Offer Such High Rates?

Most of the online banks on our list are able to provide these high yield savings and checking accounts and offer some of the highest savings rates available because of their unique banking business models.

For example, most: 

  • Do not operate many bank branches  
  • Do not hire nearly as many employees as traditional brick-and-mortar banks  
  • Rely heavily on automated online tools

Based on the above factors, many of these online banks are able to pass along these "overhead cost savings" as additional savings and yields to their depositors.

Comparison: Top Online Banking Firms With High Yield Checking and Savings Accounts

Sorted by highest to lowest APY

Firm

APY

Min. to Open

Selection Factors – What We Like About These Top Rated Online Banks

Bank of Internet USA – Checking

1.25%

$100

  • Bank of Internet USA is one of the top rated online banks to bank with based on its high yield "Rewards Online Checking" account which comes with unlimited ATM reimbursements
  • Plus, you can earn up to 1.25% APY on all balances of $150,000 or less. This is one of the highest APYs available on a checking account across the U.S. However, it does have some requirements
  • Requirements: To earn the 1.25%, you’ll need to do the following:

*    Receive direct deposits each month totaling $1,000 or more

*    Use your Rewards Checking Visa® Debit Card 15 or more times per month for normal everyday purchases (min. $3 per transaction)

  • No monthly maintenance fee or minimum monthly balance
  • No overdraft or non-sufficient funds fee
  • You also have access to free FinanceWorks™ money management software
  • Use any domestic ATM, and the bank automatically refunds the fees by the next business day

EverBank

1.11%

$1,500

  • EverBank is another best bank to bank with based on its Yield Pledge Money Market online account which pays 1.11% on $0-$150,000 in balances
  • You also get a 1.60% bonus interest rate, which applies to the first $150,000 for the first 6 months
  • Use ATMs across the country and never pay an EverBank ATM fee
  • Keep your balance at or above $5,000 each month, and EverBank will pay you back 100% of the ATM fees charged by other U.S. banks
  • No monthly bank fee
  • Free bill pay
  • Mobile check deposits

My Savings Direct

1.10%

$0

  • My Savings Direct also ranks high on our list of best banks based on its high yielding savings account
  • No fees  and no minimums
  • No need to change your checking account. Your MySavings Account™ will be linked to your current checking account
  • Opening an account is easy; the only requirements are that you are at least 18 years old, have a valid tax identification number, a legal address, and a personal checking account at a U.S. bank

GE Capital Bank

1.05%

$0

  • Earn 1.05$ APY on $1 to $1,000,000
  • No minimum deposit required to open an account
  • No transaction fees
  • Interest compounded daily and paid monthly
  • Open a bank account online with no deposit

Synchrony Bank

1.05%

Varies

  • Earn 1.05% on any balance deposited in the High Yield Savings Online Account with Synchrony Bank
  • As long as you keep a $30 minimum balance, the bank will waive the $5 monthly service charge
  • If you are ever a victim of identity theft, Synchrony Bank will provide you with complimentary identity theft assistance service through Identity Theft 911®.
  • You are automatically enrolled in Synchrony Bank Perks as soon as you open an account. No signup is required, and you don't have to keep track of points
  • Your perks, which start with deposit perks such as ATM reimbursements and expand to include exciting travel benefits, are based on your balance or the length of time you have been a customer with the bank — whichever is greater

Ally Bank

1.00%

$0

  • Although its high yielding rate is less than those provided by the banks above, we consider Ally Bank to be one of the very top ranking best banks to bank with
  • Ally Bank is one of the original online banks with free checking and no minimum balance requirement
  • Ally Bank’s online savings accounts currently pay a savings interest rate of 1% on any balance
  • The bank also provides a high yield checking account (0.60% APY). However, this APY is only offered on daily balances of $15,000 or more. If you have less than $15,000, then you only get a 0.10% APY
  • There is no minimum deposit required to open an account
  • There are no monthly bank maintenance fees
  • An Ally Bank account comes with no ATM fees (nationwide ATM fee refunds)
  • Schedule transfers up to a year in advance

Barclays Online Banking

1.00%

$0

  • Barclays is another top bank to bank with
  • The firm's high yield online savings account pays a 1.00% APY
  • Free checking account with no minimum balance
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • No minimum balances required to open an account
  • Open a bank account online for free with no deposit
  • Online transfers to and from other banks
  • Direct deposits to make saving simple and easy

Salem Five Direct

1.00%

$0

  • Salem Five Direct is an online division of Salem Five Cents Savings Bank, which is located in Salem, Massachusetts, with over 150 years of banking experience
  • The bank’s online savings account offers a 1% APY
  • No minimum balance
  • No monthly fees
  • Mostly importantly, there is no commitment – move money in and out whenever you want

iGO banking

1.00%

$0

  • High interest savings account
  • No fees and no minimums to maintain the account
  • No monthly maintenance charges

Discover Bank

0.95%

$500

  • Interest is compounded daily and paid monthly
  • No monthly service bank fees
  • No minimum balance bank requirements
  • 24/7 customer service
  • No hidden bank fees

Click here to: Open a New Discover Bank High Yield Savings Account

American Express Bank

0.90%

$0

  • American Express Bank, FSB, is a top online bank that offers saving accounts with competitive rates
  • The firm’s High Yield Savings Account currently offers a 0.90% savings account interest rate
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • Apply for an account online or by phone
  • No hidden bank fees
  • 24/7 account access

Bank5 Connect – High Yield Savings

0.90%

$10

  • Bank5 Connect, another one of our top online banks to bank with, offers everything a traditional bank does, including checking accounts, savings accounts, CDs, and more
  • The bank’s high yield savings account offers a 0.90% APY
  • They also offer online bill pay, e-statements, and free mobile banking
  • The minimum balance to open a Bank5 Connect High-Interest Savings Account is $10
  • The minimum balance to earn interest is $100
  • They’re FDIC-insured for up to $250,000

Sallie Mae Bank

0.80%

Varies

  • High-Yield Savings Account
  • Interest rate compounds daily – this gives you a higher return on your money
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balance requirements

Bank5 Connect  Checking

0.76%

$10

  • Bank5 Connect’s high interest checking account currently pays a 0.76% APY
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Free online banking/bill pay/e-statements
  • UChoose Debit Rewards program
  • Free ATMs anywhere, anytime!**

Capital One 360

0.75%

$0

  • A high interest savings account paying 0.75% APY
  • 360 Savings® — the online savings account from Capital One 360®
  • No maintenance or account opening fees required
  • No minimum balance required to open or keep an account

FNBO Direct

0.75%

$1

  • FNBO Direct Online Savings is a high interest savings account that pays 0.75%
  • No monthly service fees
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • Free person-to-person payments with Popmoney®
** Please note that all rates, promotions, fees, information, and ranking/review factors presented in this article may change at any time. Please review the respective banks' websites for the most updated information. 

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Top Brick-and-Mortar Banks to Bank With

When conducting our research analysis to identify traditional top US banks that are the best banks to bank with, we reviewed fifty of the largest banks in the US.

A tough lesson most Americans have learned is that the days of completely free checking accounts with traditional, major banks are gone. Most banks charge a fee to cover the costs of debit cards, checks, ATMs, tellers, and online banking. Despite most major traditional banks charging a monthly or service fee, your ability to avoid bank fees is not an impossible task or fairy tale.

We identified numerous ways in which you can still maintain a free checking account with major banks without the feesFor example, most big banks on our list of best banks to bank with will waive the monthly fees if you meet some requirements, usually by directly depositing wages or maintaining a minimum balance.

Featured Bank: CIT

CIT is a traditional (brick-and-mortar) US bank, and a top rated best bank to bank with. It is featured here based on its impressive high yield savings account, which is higher than those offered by most traditional banks. This account also has no maintenance fees.

CIT Bank’s high interest savings account (High-Yield Savings) pays up to 1.05% APY (Tier 1), with no daily minimum balance required

  • The bank also has a Tier 2 savings account option, which also pays 1.05% but requires a daily balance of $25,000
  • The interest rate compounds daily, which gives you a higher return on your money
  • No account opening fees, but you’ll need $100 to open the account
  • No daily minimum balance

Comparison Table of the Best Free Checking Accounts With Traditional Banks

Account

Fees to Waive

How to Waive the Fee

Additional Info

Bank of America MyAccess Checking

$12

Bank of America will waive the $12 fee on its MyAccess Checking account if you have direct deposits of more than $250 per month or maintain a minimum daily balance of $1,500.

Bank of America is huge – they estimate 80% of Americans have access to their services – so it shouldn’t be hard to find a branch or ATM nearby.

Chase Total Checking

$10

The $12 fee is waived with $500 monthly direct deposits or a $1,500 minimum balance.

Chase has a nationwide footprint (low footprint in the Midwest).

The Chase Total Checking account does not have any bells and whistles to offer but is perfect for those who want straight checking.

Citibank Basic Checking

$10

A favorite option for direct depositors is the Citibank Basic Checking. It’s really easy to avoid the $10 fee by paying one bill with their online bill pay and having one direct deposit, which doesn’t require any minimum amount.

One direct deposit and one bill pay per month or a minimum daily balance of $1,500 in a checking or linked savings account.

Citibank has a nationwide footprint, but the real benefit of a Citibank account is the perks. Citibank offers presale tickets to tons of concerts and other events, so you can frequently get early access to big shows.

You can also earn up to 600 ThankYou points a month, which you can redeem for almost anything such as cash, travel, gift cards, and merchandise (redemption starts at 100 points).

Not only can you easily avoid fees, but they give you rewards for banking with them.

PNC Virtual Wallet

$7

There are no monthly maintenance fees if you stay out of the bank, sticking to ATMs and online tools instead.

You do have the option to stop by a branch, but you will be charged the $7 monthly fee unless your direct deposits or total account holdings are more than $500.

If you live east of the Mississippi River, there’s probably a PNC Bank nearby.

Branches are located only east of the Mississippi River.

SunTrust EZ Checking

$7

The $7 fee is waived if you make 10 transactions per month and receive paperless statements.

This shouldn’t be a hard goal to hit if you use your debit card a lot, and you still have the option of stopping by a branch if you need to.

If you live in the Southeastern U.S., SunTrust EZ Checking might be right for you.

The account is pretty much no-frills, with a free debit card and all the online tools you need.

There are branches in 12 of the Southeastern states.

TD Bank Convenience Account

$15

A minimum daily balance of $100 is required.

As long as you have an average minimum balance of $100, the TD Bank Convenience Checking account is free.

 

It only has branches on the East Coast, but it’s a good option as long as you don’t dip below that $100 threshold.

U.S. Bank Gold Checking

$10.95

The $10.95 monthly fee is waived if you have any line of credit open with U.S. Bank – even just a credit card.

A favorite option for a free account at a brick-and-mortar bank is the U.S. Bank Gold Checking Account.

You can apply for one of their fee-free credit cards. You don’t even have to use the credit card.

The branches are mostly in the Midwest and western states.

 

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Best Banks to Bank with in the US for Small Businesses

Click here for a comparison overview of the best US banks for small businesses: Review of the Best US Banks for Small Businesses

Top Rated Credit Unions in the US

Click here for a comparison overview of the top credit unions in the US: Review of the Best US Credit Unions for US Consumers

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Largest Banks to Bank with in the US and Across the World

Due to their global operations and scale, these large banking firms also rank as the biggest banks in the worldMost of these large banks are considered systemically important financial firms (SIFIs). SIFIs are banks or other financial institutions that are considered “too big to fail” because their failure could trigger a financial crisis.

Key Ranking Statistics: Major US Banks & Largest Banks in the World per Asset Size

#

Bank Name

Assets (Mil $)
(Consolidated)

Assets (Mil $)
(Domestic)

% Assets
(Domestic)

Branches
(Domestic)

Branches
(Foreign)

1

JP Morgan

2,096,114

1,528,986

73%

5,576

30

2

Bank of America

1,599,746

1,517,375

95%

4,894

33

3

Wells Fargo

1,571,389

1,532,131

98%

6,225

9

4

Citigroup

1,335,871

741,466

56%

802

273

5

US Bank

405,363

404,591

100%

3,230

1

6

PNC

340,231

336,828

99%

2,792

2

7

Bank of NY Mellon

316,699

212,257

67%

3

13

8

State Street

274,919

212,845

77%

2

11

9

Capital One

253,202

253,117

100%

873

0

10

TD Bank

234,389

234,389

100%

1,308

1

11

HSBC

194,569

190,667

98%

231

3

12

SunTrust

185,316

185,316

100%

1,479

0

13

BB&T

184,405

184,262

100%

1,875

1

14

Fifth Third

138,030

137,215

99%

1,349

1

15

Goldman Sachs

127,771

127,771

100%

1

1

16

Morgan Stanley

126,857

126,857

100%

0

0

** Source: US Federal Reserve Statistical Release Data
** Both TD Bank and HSBC are 100% foreign owned banks

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SELECTION METHODOLOGY

1. Type of Account Provided

What are the differences between high yield checking and high interest savings accounts?

A high yield checking account comes with greater flexibility than a high yield savings account.

Banking regulations place limits on savings accounts. You are only allowed to make six free transfers or withdrawals during each statement cycle from a savings account.

2. High Yield APY (High yield paying checking/savings accounts)

The APY (annual percentage yield) is the annual interest rate that the bank pays you for depositing your money in an account with them.

Having as high a yield as possible is a high priority for most individuals.

3. ATM Fees Refund

Some of the best banks on our list will refund your ATM fees up to a particular amount each month.

This allows you to use any third party bank's ATM and have the ATM fee refunded that you are charged for using the other bank's ATM machine.

4. Monthly Fees

When selecting the best online banks to bank with and other traditional banking firms, we focused on banks with no monthly service fees.

5. Minimum Balance

The minimum balance is the minimum amount of money that a bank requires you to keep in your account each month.

For our top rated best banks to bank with, we focused on those firms with no minimum balance requirements.

6. Account Opening Deposit (minimum amount to open account)

The account opening deposit is the initial deposit required by some banks when you open an account.

7. Requirements to Earn High Interest Rates

Most of the banks listed on our list of best banks for checking and savings accounts require you to meet a few requirements in order to qualify for the high interest paying accounts. 

In addition, one or more of the top banks on our list only provides services to residents in a particular state or to individuals that are part of a group or affiliation.

FDIC-INSURED

All of the banks on our review lists of best banks to bank with are FDIC-insured.

In the unlikely event that any of these banks should fail, the FDIC would step in and "reimburse" your funds from the failed bank – up to $250,000 per bank and per beneficiary for checking, savings, and CD accounts.

The FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) is backed by the full faith of the US government, and $250,000 is the maximum amount allowed by law at FDI- insured banks.

In addition to savings, checking, and CD accounts, money market accounts and other types of demand deposits are also insured.

TYPES OF BANKING PRODUCTS

Retail Banks Accounts and Banking Products

  • Checking account
  • Savings account
  • Deposit account
  • Transaction account
  • Asset account
  • Loan account
  • Revolving loan account
  • Extension of credit
  • Credit account
  • Certificate of deposit account
  • Online bank account
  • Mortgage loan account
  • Safety deposit box
  • Other safekeeping services
  • Cash management services
  • Trust services

Financial and Investment Accounts – Broker-Dealer (BD), Global Markets (GM), Custodian, and Investment Manager (IM):

  • Broker-dealer trading accounts
  • Sales and trading
  • Transaction accounts
  • Custodian accounts
  • Trust services
  • Brokerage accounts
  • Investment management accounts
  • Clearing accounts
  • Services (research, M&A, etc.)
  • Investment and lending accounts

BANK DEFINITION

What is a bank? 

A bank or banking institution is any agent, branch, company, agency or office person that conducts business in any of the below capacities:

  • A commercial bank registered under the banking laws of a country within which the firm does business
  • A trust company registered under the banking laws of a country within which the firm does business
  • A registered private bank
  • A registered savings and loan association
  • An insured institution as defined in section 401 of the National Housing Act
  • A registered savings financial institution
  • A registered industrial bank
  • A registered thrift institution
  • A registered credit union
  • A registered national banking association

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AdvisoryHQ Review Team