The 4 Best and Worst Banks
Tired of paying a monthly fee to keep up your bank account? Think you deserve more than you're getting from your bank? It might be time to switch.
But before you go to the next-closest, take a minute to assess your needs and look at some banks in your area that may suit them.
Not all banks are created equal, and that's why we've put together a list of the best and worst banks for customers.
Money magazine awarded five banks for being the best in their fields. Here is its top choices for consumer banks and how they can benefit you:
1. U.S. Bank
U.S. Bank was awarded the best national bank for basic checking, student checking, and senior checking accounts. With locations in 25 states, this bank makes it fairly easy to maintain a checking account if you have a steady source of income. Basic checking is free with a monthly balance of $1,500 or a monthly direct deposit of $500.
To maintain a free basic savings account, all you need is a $300 minimum, and a money-market account requires $1,000.
It's fees for using ATMs for other banks are lower as well – where some banks charge $3, U.S. Bank knocks that down to $2.50.
For seniors, it's especially rewarding. Anyone over 65 receives a free Premium Checking account – no fee or minimum balance required. You get free money orders, free cashier's checks, no fees on other ATMs, and 50% off a safety deposit box.
U.S. Bank does fall short with savings account interest. Rates are 0.05% on basic savings and on up to $10,000 in a money-market account, rising to 0.10% on money-market accounts over $10,000.
2. TD Bank
Voted best national bank for high balance account, TD bank branches are located in 15 states.
Premier Checking customers must maintain a monthly balance of $2,500 to avoid fees, and High Yield Savings linked accounts must have a balance of $10,000.
Perks include zero fees for using other ATMs on top of reimbursement for fees from other banks.
Interest rates are also very good on savings, with 0.2% to 0.25 on balances between $1,000 and $10,000, and 0.35% to 0.55% on $10,000 to $25,000.
But make sure you check your branch out first; TD banks great savings rates are contingent on the region.
This bank was tied for best midsize/regional bank. Located in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, this is the first bank on our list to offer completely free basic checking.
For basic savings, all you need is a minimum of $300 daily or a linked account to avoid fees. For Plus Checking, you need $15,000 across your checking and savings accounts.
Plus Checking receives 0.10% interest on up to $10,000. You also get free cashier's checks and a safety deposit box.
But it may not be the place to go for basic savings, as it only pays a 0.05% interest rate on up to $20,000.
4. First Citizens
First Citizens also received the best midsize/regional bank award. It's located across Arizona, California, Colorado, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.
This bank offers free basic checking, and you can upgrade to Select Checking free with a $1,500 monthly balance or a $250 direct deposit – even less than U.S. Bank's basic checking. Basic savings requires a $300 balance for no fees.
It's options for checking are pretty good in comparison to most other banks, though it's only located in select states. Premier Checking, which is free with a minimum $5,000 balance, even has 0.05% interest rate – and you get free checks and a safe-deposit box.
Savings interest rates are low, however, and to have free basic checking you won't get paper statements. But they make it easy to upgrade.
5. M&T Bank
M&T was also tied for best midsize/regional bank. It's located in Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia, and it offers free basic checking and Power Money Market.
If you want to upgrade to plus checking, this bank requires a minimum $2,500 monthly balance, and Premium Checking requires $7,500.
Plus Checking and Premium Checking both have interest rates of 0.01% and 0.05%, respectively, and they also offer a safety deposit box and waive out-of-network ATM fees.
If you have basic checking, you will have to pay a $3 fee for other ATMs, and that can weigh people who travel outside these six states.
Customers have been less than satisfied with some of the nation's biggest banks. In a J.D. Power and Associates study in August, Florida residents ranked Bank of America the worst for customer satisfaction.
And when The Consumerist performed its annual “Worst Company in America” poll, customers placed Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo, and Chase – the Big Four banks – in the running.
Customer service and high fees were among the biggest complaints about these banks.
Bank of America, for example, requires a monthly fee of $8.95 for online banking unless you decide to do everything digitally – statements, deposits, and withdrawals. Banks like M&T have no such requirement for banking online.
Citibank requires a minimum balance of $1,500 in basic savings or one direct deposit AND one bill payment each month to avoid the fee.
And Wells Fargo requires $3 a month for online bill pay after the first two months. Plus, basic checking accounts are only free with a minimum balance of $1,500 or direct deposits that are specifically salary, pension, or Social Security.
There may be other banks in your area that are good for you. Check out their fees before you decide.+12
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