The best bank or credit union offers features that make it easy to save and spend money. They’re transparent and don’t try to bury unnecessary fees in pages of fine print. We researched more than 130 financial institutions based on criteria like accessibility, fees, account type offerings, interest rates, and special features. If any banks had associated monthly fees, we made sure there were reasonable ways to waive them.
Quick view: 14 best banks and credit unions
Compare the best banks and credit unions and see why they made our list.
Bluevine’s Business Checking account is a top account, and there are two plans to choose from: Standard for $0 per month, and Premier for $95 per month. Both plans offer unlimited transactions, 200 free checks if you maintain a balance, no overdraft or foreign transaction fees, and up to $3 million in FDIC insurance. Both can be interest-bearing for some extra earnings.
No cap on deposits. Unlike other business checking accounts, BlueVine doesn’t limit how many free deposits you can make each month.
Free plan option. With Bluevine Standard, there are also no fees for monthly maintenance, incoming wires or overdraft fees. You can also earn up to 2% APY on your balance up to $250,000 by meeting activity requirements.
High interest. Get a whopping 4.25% interest on your account balance with the paid plan Premier, and you can also waive the $95 monthly fee by meeting some requirements.
Software integrations. You can sync Bluevine up with QuickBooks Online, Wave, Freshbooks, PayPal, Stripe and more.
Fee for cash deposits. BlueVine is one of the only online banks that accepts cash deposits, but you’ll pay a $4.95 fee to the retailer when you do it.
No savings account options. Bluevine doesn’t offer any other bank accounts, but considering its flagship account earns 4.25% APY, this may not be a dealbreaker.
You may think of credit cards when you hear of American Express, but its High Yield Savings account has one of the best rates in the country. You’ll also enjoy $0 monthly fees and you only need $0 to open the account.
Earn 4.30% APY.
$0 monthly fees and $0 minimum opening deposit.
24/7 customer service.
No ATM access.
No in-person support.
PNC Financial Services Group
Best bank for budgeting
PNC Financial Services Group offers two savings accounts that help you set savings goals and reach them with competitive APYs. Plus, this bank offers a wide selection of other financial products.
Strong APYs. Interest rates range from 1.75% to 1.90% depending on which account you choose.
Management tools available. Virtual Wallet is a checking and savings account in one that allows you to strategically organize and keep track of your money.
Sign up bonuses. Open a Virtual Wallet account and get a $100, $200 or $300 bonus.
Limited availability. Anyone in the US can open a Virtual Wallet account, but you must live in a state with a PNC Financial Services Group branch to open a High Yield Savings account.
Monthly fees. Some of PNC Financial Services Group‘s savings accounts have monthly fees, but you can avoid them by keeping a monthly balance or setting up auto transfers.
Best bank for ATM access
Synchrony is the second largest online-only bank in the US that offers great interest rates and unique perks like identity theft resolution services, travel and leisure discounts and more.
Strong APY. Earn 4.75% APY with a High Yield Savings account and up to 5.25% APY on CDs.
Optional ATM card. The Synchrony High Yield Savings account comes with an optional ATM card that lets you withdraw money for free at any ATM nationwide. But you’re still subject to ATM operator fees.
No branches. This is a fully-only bank, so you can’t visit a branch for in-person support.
Small product selection. It offers one savings account, one money market account and a handful of CDs.
Difficult cash deposits. You either have to mail a check or money order to deposit cash since Synchrony is an online bank.
Best for CD rates
Marcus Online Savings is an online bank offering up some of the best CD rates in the nation. You’ll also find relatively low opening deposits, making this bank a win for anyone who wants to lock in a competitive rate.
Several term options. Marcus CDs start at six months with a 5.1% APY and go up to six years with a 4% APY.
10-day CD rate guarantee. This guarantee means you’ll automatically get bumped up to a higher interest rate if APYs increase within 10 days of funding your account.
Marcus no-penalty CD. Its 13-month CD earns a competitive 4.6% APY and lets you make penalty-free withdrawals after seven days of opening.
No branches. Marcus is entirely online, which means you can’t visit a branch for support.
No partial withdrawals. You’ll have to withdraw your full balance and close out your account if you need to access funds before your CD matures.
Chase has plenty of enticing signup bonuses to get you in the door, but monthly fees and low APYs may counteract the upfront cash. Before signing up, review the terms and conditions of the account to make sure you can comfortably meet any minimum requirements.
Sign up offers. Get $200 when you open a Chase Total Checking® account with direct deposit, $300 when you open a Chase Business Complete Banking® with qualifying activities and more.
Convenience. Chase has over 15,000 ATMs and 4,700 branches across the US. You can also manage all your Chase accounts, credit cards and loans in one place using the mobile app.
Low interest rates. Chase does a good job of getting people in the door with attractive signup bonuses, but some of its underlying accounts only earn around 0.01% APY.
Monthly service fees. Most accounts have service fees of $5 to $25 or more.
Below-average customer service. Chase is one of the four largest banks in the nation, which means you may get stuck with long wait times if you need assistance.
An almost-completely online credit union, Alliant offers transparent services and financial education resources for its members.
Accessible ATMs. With 80,000 $0-surcharge ATMs, Alliant has one of the largest networks.
No minimum deposits. Many accounts don’t carry a minimum deposit.
Solid interest rates. Savings can earn 1.65% APY, and checking can earn 0.45% APY.
Easy membership eligibility. Anyone can join Alliant if they make a $5 donation to Alliant’s partner charity, Foster Care to Success.
Few branches. Alliant only has two branch locations, so in-person support is limited.
Best bank for small businesses
EverBank offers a suite of business banking products for commercial, nonprofit and small business use. These accounts go beyond simple cash management with tools that help you stay organized.
Large ATM network. EverBank has over 80,000 free ATMs through the Allpoint and MoneyPass networks.
Low fees. Some accounts don’t have associated monthly fees. Others have fees you can avoid by maintaining a certain account balance.
Earns interest. The only two accounts that aren’t interest bearing are the EverBank Business Checking and Business Analysis accounts.
$1,500 to open. Every EverBank business account has a minimum $1,500 opening deposit.
Limited free transactions. There’s a cap on how many free transactions come with each checking account. Once you hit that limit, you’ll pay a small fee for each deposit.
How do I find the best bank for me?
Ideally, you’ll want to manage all of your finances through one bank. This can simplify your life and increase the likelihood you’ll qualify for loyalty rewards and discounts. To find the best bank for you consider the following:
Products. Compare bank accounts offered by the institutions you’re considering. Look at product fees, APYs and requirements to see if they fit your financial needs and goals.
Interest rates. Some banks are still only paying interest rates well below the national average of
0.46% APY for savings and
0.07% APY for interest-bearing checking accounts. Ideally, you’ll want to find an account that offers a rate higher than the average. You’ll find that the best high-interest savings accounts are at 3% APY and above.
Accessibility. If you depend on in-person banking or making ATM deposits and withdrawals check the ATM network to see how many branches and free ATMs are offered. Some banks let you use out-of-network ATMs without tacking on an extra fee.
Online vs in person. While most traditional banks offer the ability to bank online and through a mobile app, those who favor an intuitive digital banking experience will likely be best suited with a digital bank. If you prefer in-person banking, look at banks with a large national presence and ATM network. If you prefer a mix of both, look at online banks.
Fee structure. If you want to keep your fees to a minimum, the best bank might be a credit union. Credit unions don’t need to charge fees for everything, largely because they don’t have the costs of keeping shareholders happy like bigger banks do. Many banks also provide low- or zero-fee accounts — but the requirements tend to be more specific, while credit unions typically offer them more broadly.
Sign up bonuses. Some banks turn to new account bonuses as a way to attract new customers, a value often worth anywhere from $150 to $300. But you’ll also want to make sure that underneath the bonus, the account is still worth it. After the bonus expires, you’ll be stuck with the account. Check out which banks are offering bonus offers, and consider whether the account fits into your normal spending habits.
Reputation. Check customer reviews and ratings to get a sense of a bank’s reputation. Ask friends and family if they’ve used the bank before and be mindful of any red flags.
3 bank and credit union alternatives
If you’re trying to get away from traditional banks and credit unions, here are some alternatives to consider:
Digital banks. These institutions offer fully digital bank accounts on the cutting edge of technology. Most come with budgeting tools, early direct deposits and ways to automate your savings.
Cash management accounts. Accounts like Betterment Cash Reserve are offered by brokerage firms and integrate seamlessly with your investment account. They’re typically FDIC insured through a partner bank.
Prepaid cards. With a prepaid card, you can spend money in real-time without having to worry about overdrawing your account or racking up credit card interest. They’re also a good option for those with no credit or bad credit.
11 top banks in the US
Traditional banks offer a wide variety of products, including savings and checking accounts, mortgages, personal loans and credit cards. The table below shows the top 11 banks in the US, along with the location of each institution. The list is ranked by asset size according to the Federal Reserve’s latest findings.
Credit unions are focused on community because they’re owned by their members rather than a group of shareholders. Here are the top 11 credit unions by asset size, along with the number of branch locations owned by each institution.
Online-only banks generally offer a better mobile-banking experience and they can afford to offer more attractive interest rates because they have lower operating expenses than brick-and-mortar banks. On the other hand, physical banks make it easier to deposit cash and access ATMs. Plus, they allow you to meet with bank tellers and bank managers face-to-face.
Ultimately, online banks and brick-and-mortar banks each have appealing features and choosing between them boils down to your specific needs and expectations. But if you want the best of both, look for an online bank that offers many ways for you to get a hold of customer service and allows you to deposit cash and offers mobile check deposits.
Should I use a major bank or a smaller one?
It’s all about finding the one that’s best for you. Consider these pros and cons of big banks when making a decision.
No single bank stands out as the safest bank in the industry, but many banks offer a similar level of security. In general, banks that offer the following features should be considered safe.
FDIC insurance. All reputable banks are backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for at least $250,000.
256-bit encryption. Most banks have websites and apps that protect your personal data using this level of security.
Multifactor authentication. The best banks and credit unions require more than simply a password to log in to your account.
Pay attention to the factors that are most important to your financial health when comparing top banks. If you’re still not sure where to start, use our guide to bank accounts to figure out differences between accounts so you can understand what will work best for your situation or compare the best savings or checking accounts to find one that suits your needs.
Compare even more bank accounts
Compare popular banks based on their interest rates, minimum opening deposits, ATM networks and ATM fees.
Cassidy Horton is a freelance personal finance copywriter and past contributing writer for Finder. Her writing and banking expertise have been featured in Forbes Advisor, Money, The Balance, Money Under 30, Insure.com, and other top digital publishers. She holds a BS in public relations and an MBA from Georgia Southern University.
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