Best Banks & Credit Unions in Georgia

The Peach State hosts some of the best banks in the country. With such a wide selection of quality banks, everyone is bound to find a good fit – regardless of their financial situation and aspirations.

This article will look at the best banks in Georgia, including their pros and cons and what you need to look out for when choosing a bank.

Best Banks in Georgia

Ally Bank

Ally is an online bank with no physical presence in Georgia (or anywhere else). As they have no branches, they offer some of the cheapest accounts, and their interest rates tend to be industry-leading.

At Ally Bank, you can find different checking and savings accounts, investment options, mortgages, auto loans, and personal loans. They do not offer any credit cards at the moment; however, there are plans to re-introduce them.

Pros:
  • Earn interest on checking
  • APY of 1.00% on savings
  • investment options
Cons:
  • No branches

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo is the third-largest bank in the US, with 202 branches and 654 ATMs in Georgia alone. It offers all the products and services you would expect a bank to offer, which can help you get everything you need under one roof.

Both checking and savings accounts have a monthly fee, with several different ways to avoid paying it. The APY rate on their savings accounts ranges between 0.01% and 0.02%. Wells Fargo also offers many investment tools and educational materials to help you improve your financial situation.

Pros:
  • Many branches and ATMs in Georgia
  • wide range of financial products and services
Cons:
  • Low APY rates
  • no free accounts

Chase Bank

Chase Bank is the consumer banking arm of JPMorgan Chase – the biggest bank in the US. They have 109 locations in Georgia, with the bulk in Atlanta, where they have 22. Chase has a range of products and services you might need and is known to have welcome bonus offers. They are offering new customers opening a Chase checking account up to $200.

Both checking and savings account have a monthly fee, which you can waive in most cases. The standard APY rate on savings accounts is 0.01% on all balances. Their selection of credit cards is one of the vastest available that is sure to appeal to different requirements and needs.

Pros:
  • Known to have welcome bonuses
  • large selection of credit cards
Cons:
  • No free accounts
  • APY rate is only 0.01%

United Community Bank

United Community Bank is a regional bank servicing the Southeast and headquartered in Blairsville, Georgia. They operate 190 ATMs and include some 1.260 Publix Presto ATMs in their network for an even wider reach.

United Community Bank offers a wide range of checking and savings accounts with specialized accounts for seniors, kids, and students with no service charge. Even so, the requirements to avoid the charges are on the lower side when compared to the competition, while APY rates on standard savings account go up to 0.05%.

Pros:
  • Wide ATM network
  • healthy APY rate
  • low account balance requirements
Cons:
  • Limited national reach

Bank of America

Bank of America is the second-largest bank in the US, headquartered in North Carolina.

Checking accounts have monthly maintenance fees that range between $4.95 and $25, with multiple ways to avoid the fee. The minimum opening deposit required ranges between $25 and $100, while only the top tier account receives an APY rate that goes up to 0.02%

On the other hand, their Advantage Savings account comes with an $8 monthly fee, waived when meeting eligibility criteria, and an APY rate between 0.01% and 0.04%. There’s also a large selection of credit cards, with many having an online bonus up for grabs.

Pros:
  • Credit card online bonus
  • healthy selection of accounts
  • large selection of credit cards
Cons:
  • No free accounts
  • low APY rates

Regions Bank

Regions Bank is a regional bank that serves states in the Midwest and South. They operate close to 2,000 ATMs in the 16 states they serve.

They offer a large selection of checking accounts with fees ranging from $5.90 to $18, depending on your account and options such as online statements. Minimum opening deposits range between $10 and $50 and offer specialized accounts for students and seniors.

Savings accounts come in many shapes and sizes, with no monthly fee. The APY rate is 0.01%; however, this may vary depending on your ZIP code. Regions Bank offers many different credit cards with introductory offers that include bonus points and cash rewards.

Pros:
  • Free savings account
  • good selection of credit cards
Cons:
  • Low flat APY rate

Ameris Bank

Ameris Bank is a regional bank offering full-banking services in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, North and South Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia. They also offer mortgages-only in a few other states.

Ameris Bank offers a free checking account but has limited benefits. Otherwise, you can expect the monthly service fee to run between $6.00 and $20.00, but this can also be waived.

Their savings account comes with a quarterly fee of $11, which works out to $3.67 per month or thereabouts. You can avoid this fee by maintaining an average daily balance of $300. You will also need a minimum of $200 in your savings account to earn interest.

Withdrawals are also limited to six every three months.

Pros:
  • Free savings account
  • Free checking accounts
Cons:
  • Limited savings withdrawals
  • limited number of ATMs

CIT Bank

CIT Bank is a subsidiary of First Citizens BancShares – one of the largest banks in the US and the largest bank that is also family-owned.

CIT Bank offers one checking account called eChecking. This account comes with no monthly fees, no overdraft fees, and an APY rate that ranges between 0.10% and 0.25% – a rate that is considerably higher than what most of the competition offers on their savings accounts, making this one of the best checking accounts around.

Their Savings Builder account comes with an APY of 0.70%. However, you’ll need to deposit at least $100 a month or keep a balance of at least $25,000.

Unfortunately, CIT Bank doesn’t offer any credit cards, but it does offer home loans.

Pros:
  • Great interest rates
  • free accounts
Cons:
  • No credit cards

Fifth Third Bank

Fifth Third Bank is a regional bank servicing 11 states in the Midwest, including Georgia. The bank operates close to 2,500 ATMs and just over 1,1340 branches.

Their standard checking account packs a punch with no monthly fees, no minimum balance requirements, and no overdraft fees. You can get earlier access to your paycheck, and if you deposit a check, you can get instant access to funds – although fees may apply to use this feature.

Their savings account comes with a $5 monthly charge – but there are multiple ways to avoid it, including having a qualifying checking account. The APY is set at 0.01% and comes with features such as Smart Savings to help you reach your financial goals faster.

Pros:
  • Free checking account
  • savings tools
  • good selection of credit cards
Cons:
  • Low APY rate

First Citizens Bank

First Citizens Bank (not to be confused with Citizens Bank) is owned by First Citizens BancShares – a holding company with several banks to its name. They have a presence in 19 states, with 56 locations across Georgia.

Their free checking account has no maintenance fees; however, you must sign up for paperless statements and deposit at least $50 to open the account. They offer two other checking accounts with maintenance fees but also have other perks such as interest.

Their savings account comes with no monthly fees and no minimum balance. Interest is set at 0.03% and is credited monthly to your account. First Citizens also offers many other products and services, including credit cards, loans, and insurance, among others.

Pros:
  • Free accounts
  • higher than average interest
Cons:
  • Minimum deposit required to open accounts

PNC Bank

PNC Bank is one of the largest banks in the US. They operate in several states across the US, with close to 10,000 ATMs and just over 2,500 branches.

PNC recently upgraded its checking account to Virtual Wallet, combining a checking account and savings account. While you can get a Virtual Wallet as a checking account, combining the two gives you access to features like Low Cash Mode, overdraft protection, and digital tools for tracking and automation.

Monthly fees start at $7.00, with many options available to waive this fee. to earn interest on your savings account, you need to opt for the mid or high-tier version, with monthly fees starting from $15.00. You will also need to maintain a minimum balance of at least $2,000 to earn interest.

Pros:
  • Virtual wallet makes managing accounts easier
Cons:
  • A minimum of $2,000 is required to earn interest

Truist Bank

Truist bank is a relatively new bank. It results from a merger between two well-known banks – Branch Banking and Trust Company (BB&T) and SunTrust Banks. Truist has operations in 15 states, including Georgia.

The monthly checking account fees start at $5 and go up to $20. They also offer a Prepaid Money Account, which can be a good option if you’re looking to open your first account and want to avoid overdraft fees.

Truist’s savings account comes with no monthly fees, minimum opening deposit requirements, and an APY of 0.01%. At Truist, you’ll also find a selection of credit cards, loans, investment options, and insurance.

Pros:
  • Prepaid money account
  • free savings account
Cons:
  • Low APY rate

Credit Unions in Georgia

If none of the banks above are what you’re looking for, you might want to consider a credit union instead. Credit Unions work just like banks, but they are not for profit. You’ll need to become a member rather than a customer, and their service tends to be more personalized.

To become a member, you need to have a connection to the credit union. Most often, this is the place of work or where you live.

Wings Financial and Navy Federal Credit Union are good options for those looking for a quality credit union in Georgia. Remember, you will need to check the membership requirements to determine eligibility. You might also want to check within your community or place of work to get a better understanding of what options might be available to you.

How To Choose the Right Georgia Bank

Let’s discuss some of the things you should be on the lookout for when choosing a bank. While not all of these things may be important to you, the list can help narrow your requirements down.

Range of products and services

  • Bank accounts – The more account options a bank has, the more you will likely find an account for your needs. The bank may supplement traditional accounts such as checking and savings with more specialized accounts such as money market accounts and CDs. If you use services such as a line of credit, make sure the bank offers it before making your final decision.
  • Loans – If you plan on taking out a loan, be it an auto loan, personal loan, or a mortgage, remember to check whether the bank offers it and what rates they offer.
  • Debit cards – Debit cards are typically linked to checking accounts and may come with additional perks.
  • Credit cards – Credit cards come in all shapes and sizes. Perks like cash back and bonus points may sound enticing, but remember to check yearly fees and APR rates.

Accessibility

  • Bank branches – If you prefer to do your banking in person, remember to check if there is a branch close by to save yourself long trips every time you visit.
  • Mobile banking – Mobile banking, internet banking, or user-friendly banking app often replace the need to visit a local branch. They can help you save time and money and make your banking experience more seamless and enjoyable.
  • ATM network – If you make cash payments, check how widespread the bank’s ATM network is. Out-of-network withdrawals can run you a pretty penny, and while some banks offer reimbursements, these may not be enough to cover all withdrawals.

Fees

  • Monthly maintenance fees – A fee charged for the maintenance of the account. Most financial institutions offer waivers that typically include maintaining a minimum balance or making a monthly direct deposit. Some financial institutions don’t charge monthly maintenance fees at all.
  • ATM FeesATM fees are fees charged by your bank when using an out-of-network ATM. Here you will typically be charged two fees – one by the ATM operator and one by your bank. Some banks do not charge any ATM fees, and others may offer you a monthly rebate.
  • Other fees – Other account fees such as NSF and overdraft fees don’t apply by default but may be very expensive. Always check the schedule of fees to know what you’re liable to pay should something happen.

Interest rates

  • APY – APY stands for Annual Percentage Yield and is the interest rate the bank pays you on accounts such as savings, CDs, Money Market, etc. While an APY rate may sound more attractive, use an APY calculator to determine how much you can expect to make based on your money-saving habits.
  • APR – APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate and is the interest rate you must pay your bank when borrowing money, including credit cards, loans, and mortgages. APR rates are much higher than APY rates. The lower the APR rate, the less money you’ll have to pay your bank.

Insurance

  • Deposit Insurance – Deposit insurance protects you should something happen to the financial institution holding your money.
  • FDIC – Federal banks are insured by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation), with account holders typically insured for up to $250,000.
  • NCUA – Federal Credit Unions, on the other hand, are insured by the NCUA (National Credit Union Administration) for up to $250,000.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which bank is best in Georgia?

While there is no best bank for everyone, the best bank in Georgia is the one that best fits your requirements. Check our list of best banks to find the one that offers the financial services and products you need. Pay special attention to what might be important to you, such as a strong mobile app, user-friendly budgeting tools, and no-fee accounts.

What is the most popular bank in Georgia?

Banks do not always release their customer figures by state, so it may not be easy to assess which bank is the most popular in Georgia. Our list of best banks in Georgia contains the most popular banks, so be sure to check it out.

Which bank has the most branches in Georgia?

Currently, Truist has the most branches in Georgia. However, keep in mind that branches open and close all the time, so this may change.

What is the biggest bank in Georgia?

JP Morgan Chase is the biggest national bank with a presence in Georgia.