I try to visit Miami once a year, and one of my favorite things to do in Florida is drive from Miami to Key West, which I did earlier this year.
Regardless of where you live in the Sunshine State, you have an abundance of banking options, from the largest banks in the US to community banks and credit unions.
We’ve analyzed dozens of financial institutions and identified the best credit unions and banks in Florida based on their accounts, features, fees, availability, and customer experience.
Read on for our top recommendations.
7 Best Banks and Credit Unions in Florida
Here are the best banks and credit unions in Florida that you can open an account with today:
- First Citizens Bank: Best Family-Controlled Bank
- Chase: Most ATMs and Most Variety
- Fifth Third Bank: Best Customer Service
- PNC Bank: Best for Students
- Ally Bank: Best APY on Online Savings
- VyStar Credit Union: Largest Credit Union in Florida
- Suncoast Credit Union: Great Local Rewards Program
1. First Citizens Bank
Best: Checking Accounts
Founded in 1889, First Citizens Bank merged with CIT Bank in 2022, becoming the 15th largest bank in the US with $110 billion in assets.
It currently has 31 branches in Florida, mostly on the coast. You’ll find physical locations and ATMs in towns such as Tampa, Jacksonville, Naples, and Coconut Grove.
First Citizens Bank offers a variety of personal, business, commercial, and wealth management products, including deposit accounts, credit cards, mortgages, loans, insurance policies, retirement accounts, and investment services. It also has a robust online banking service and a highly-rated mobile app.
First Citizens Bank offers small business and commercial bank accounts, as well as a lineup of personal accounts.
Individuals can choose from three tiers of checking accounts, including a free account and two premium accounts offering preferred rates, with waivable monthly fees. These flexible accounts make First Citizens Bank our top recommendation for checking accounts in Florida.
The bank also offers a fee-free interest-bearing savings account that doesn’t require a minimum balance. Individuals looking for more aggressive interest rates can choose a money market account or a CD account.
- Several branches across Florida
- Numerous account options
- Free checking and savings with paperless statements
- Difficult to waive monthly fees for upper-level accounts
- Low APY compared to competitors
Best: National Bank in FL
Chase has over 400 branches in Florida, and around 16,000 ATMs nationwide, granting good coverage when you’re traveling out of state.
Chase excels at customer service. You can talk to a Chase representative in person at a branch, by phone, email, mail, or Twitter, and the mobile app is highly rated by Apple and Android users.
With its widespread availability, product variety, and excellent customer experience, Chase is our top choice if you’re looking for a national bank.
Chase is an all-in-one financial institution that offers checking and savings accounts, CDs, credit cards, loans, mortgages, and investing options, with both personal and business accounts.
There are several checking options, including interest-bearing accounts, specialized accounts for kids, and a Private Client account for high earners. All of them give you access to mobile banking, mobile pay, and a secure debit card, with waivable monthly fees.
Chase also offers two savings accounts that earn interest, although you’ll find higher rates from online banks.
- Product variety
- Customer service
- Great bonus offers
- Most accounts have monthly fees
- Low APY
|Chase Chase Total Checking®
|April 17, 2024
3. Fifth Third Bank
Best: Customer Service
Founded in 1858 in Ohio, Fifth Third Bank has a longstanding reputation as an outstanding bank. With more than 160 locations throughout the state, it’s one of the best banks in Florida.
It also won our vote for best customer service based on its customer reviews, branch and ATM accessibility, and mobile app. Fifth Third earned the second place spot in J.D. Power’s 2023 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study for Florida, coming in just behind Chase.
Fifth Third Bank has numerous options when it comes to checking accounts, including a basic low-fee account, a bank account reserved for people in the military, and one for individuals with disabilities and their families.
Account fees and features vary from one account to the next, but most accounts give you access to mobile banking features such as mobile check deposits, an ATM/branch finder, account history, and Zelle.
Fifth Third offers an interest-bearing savings account, CDs, and specialty accounts for kids, HSAs, and 529 savings accounts. Fifth Third also has competitive commercial and small business banking products.
- Top-notch customer service
- Account variety
- Branch and ATM access
- Steep overdraft fees
- Low interest rates
4. PNC Bank
Best: ATM Access
PNC has been a popular banking option on the East Coast for years, but with its acquisition of BBVA USA, it’s now one of the country’s largest banks, giving you widespread access at home and on the go.
PNC currently has 184 branches in Florida, and nearly 60,000 ATMS nationwide, earning our vote for the best ATM access.
The bank offers an extensive lineup of products, with several bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and investment services.
PNC’s primary account is the Virtual Wallet, which is a hybrid savings and checking account. There are three Virtual Wallet options, and all of them earn interest. They’re also known to come with rewarding welcome bonus offers.
The APY for the Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend account isn’t the most competitive, but it does offer a high 12-month introductory APY on your savings balance. PNC also offers an individual savings account, a children’s savings account, CDs, and money market accounts.
Additionally, you can find several business bank accounts, loans, and services for small businesses and corporations alike.
- Extensive ATM and branch network
- Excellent welcome bonuses
- Digital budgeting tools
- Mediocre interest on most accounts
- Steep overdraft fees
5. Ally Bank
Best: Online Bank
Ally is an online-only bank, which means there are no brick-and-mortar locations in the Sunshine State or anywhere else. Fortunately, Ally has excellent customer service with a 24/7 phone line, live chat, and a streamlined app for easy online banking.
Some features of Ally’s app include mobile check deposits, a handy ATM locator, a balance history archive, and Zelle, a person-to-person money transfer service.
We recommend Ally to Florida residents who are considering an online account that provides higher interest rates and minimal fees.
Ally doesn’t offer any business bank accounts. Instead, it provides checking, savings, MMAs, CDs, credit cards, loans, and investment accounts for individuals.
The Ally Spending Account is a competitive checking account that earns interest and has no monthly fees, opening deposit, or minimum balance requirements. Some of its most convenient features are two-day early pay with direct deposits, free overdraft protection, and $10 of monthly out-of-network ATM fee reimbursements.
Ally’s Savings Account earns 5x the national average APY. There’s no minimum balance required to get started and no fees to maintain your account. It’s one of the most competitive savings account offers in Florida.
- Competitive interest rates
- Convenient online app features
- Overdraft coverage
- No brick-and-mortar branches
- No cash deposits
6. VyStar Credit Union
Best: Credit Union in Florida
VyStar is one of the largest credit unions in Florida, with over 50 branches in the state. It was founded over 70 years ago and serves Florida and Georgia residents.
It’s an excellent choice if you’re looking for a financial institution that’s involved in the community and is easily accessible. Customer service is available seven days a week, and it has a strong reputation based on customer reviews.
VyStar offers personal and business bank accounts. On the personal side of the house, customers can choose from a variety of check and saving accounts, CDs, MMAs, credit cards, loans, insurance, and investment accounts.
Unlike a lot of its competitors, VyStar’s checking account has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. There are also specialized accounts for seniors and children.
VyStar’s savings accounts are also free and earn a small amount of interest, with higher rates on their CDs and MMAs. The credit union also offers education, health, and holiday savings accounts, allowing you to set aside money for individual goals.
- Solid customer service
- No maintenance fees
- Versatile product lineup
- Locations limited to FL and GA
- Low savings account rates
7. Suncoast Credit Union
Best: Local Rewards Program
Suncoast is another credit union worth checking out if you’re located in Florida. Founded in 1934 as a credit union for teachers, today it serves over 1.18 million members throughout the state of Florida.
We recommend Suncoast Credit Union for its stellar membership perks and discounts, which range from cashback credit card rewards to discounts on financial services like tax filing assistance to pet insurance and free accidental death and dismemberment insurance. It even has an exclusive car dealership for credit union members.
Suncoast has personal and business bank accounts. Suncoast’s Smart Checking Account is a free account with no opening deposit or ongoing minimum balance requirements. It also pays a small amount of interest on your full account balance.
Additionally, you can open Share Savings Accounts, Student Savings Accounts, IRAs, HSAs, and Education Savings Accounts, with varying minimum balance requirements.
- Fee-free checking
- Extensive ATM network in FL
- Rewards benefit local schools
- Steep NSF fees
- Low APY on checking and savings
How to Choose the Best Bank in Florida
At BankBonus.com, we’re committed to providing consumers with the resources they need to select a bank or credit union. Here’s an overview of the steps we recommend our readers take to choose a bank:
- Understand different types of banks: You have access to traditional banks, online banks, credit unions, and neobanks. It’s important to understand the differences between them and determine which type of institution aligns best with your preferences.
- Choose the right account: Checking, savings, money market, and certificate of deposit accounts are the most common types of bank accounts. Understand what each offers and choose a bank with the type of account(s) you need.
- Look for low-fee banks: Account fees can add up quickly. As you compare bank accounts, look for an account that doesn’t charge unavoidable monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees, and ATM fees.
- Consider branch and ATM access: If having access to branches matters to you, choose a bank with physical locations. Regardless, you should prioritize banks that have a vast ATM network or reimburse ATM fees.
- Compare account features: Determine which features you’re looking for. A few common bank account features to consider are interest, cashback, mobile features, cash deposits, and minimum account balance requirements.
- Check out reviews and ratings: It’s crucial to pick a reputable bank. To get an idea of a bank’s customer experience, you can read expert reviews and look to sources like TrustPilot, the Better Business Bureau, and J.D. Power.
- Read the fine print: Don’t sign up for an account without understanding the terms and conditions. Make sure the account is FDIC or NCUA insured and get a sense of its requirements, fees, and expiration dates for bank bonuses.
- Look at the bank’s additional products: If you want to manage all of your finances under one roof, look into each bank’s additional products. A lot of banks also offer credit cards, wealth management, investment accounts, and loans.
The BankBonus team has analyzed dozens of banks to provide our readers with thoroughly informed and accurate reviews.
We evaluated digital financial platforms, online banks, regional banks, and national banks with a presence in Florida.
Our assessment of each bank factors in these considerations:
- Product lineup: We review the types of accounts, loans, and services offered by each bank, as well as the number of accounts.
- Fees and pricing: We also consider each institution’s fees, including monthly maintenance fees and other service charges.
- Account features: To compare banks, we take a close look at the features, limits, and capabilities each one has to offer.
- Interest: Along with these features, we consider whether or not the bank offers interest-bearing accounts and compare their rates to industry averages.
- Brand reputation: The bank accounts we recommend have been carefully vetted to ensure they are legitimate, secure, and backed by FDIC insurance.
- User experience: Additionally, we consider the ease of use and availability of resources on each bank’s website and factor in reviews of the mobile app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
- Branch and ATM access: To gauge convenience, we also look at each bank’s branch and ATM availability and consider their ATM reimbursement policies.
- Customer service: In our review process, we also explore their customer service channels, hours of availability, and third-party reviews.