North Carolina is one of my favorite states. I spent my childhood vacationing in the Outer Banks, and Asheville is one of my favorite cities in the world.
Whether you’re a native North Carolinian or a newcomer to the Tar Heel State, finding the right bank is crucial.
North Carolina residents have no shortage of banking options. I’ve narrowed down the list of the best banks in North Carolina based on their products, features, fees, accessibility, and customer service.
Read on to learn more about each bank and determine which one is the best fit for your finances.
11+ Best Banks in North Carolina
Here are the best banks in North Carolina where you can open an account today:
- U.S. Bank
- First Citizens Bank
- PNC Bank
- Truist Bank
- First National Bank
- Fifth Third Bank
- Ally Bank
- Chase Bank
- Bank of America
- Mechanics & Farmers Bank
- Fidelity Bank
- First Horizon
- First Carolina Bank
1. U.S. Bank
Best For: Checking Account Bonuses
U.S. Bank is one of the best banking options for North Carolina residents. Founded in 1929, it has more than 200,000 customers in the state, with a handful of branches and 87 ATMs.
Whether you live near a branch or not, you can easily manage your accounts on U.S. Bank’s highly-rated user-friendly mobile app.
The bank offers competitive checking and savings accounts, loans, credit cards, wealth management resources, and business banking products.
U.S. Bank’s Smartly Checking account has a lot to offer. It includes a debit card, fee-free overdraft protection, mobile deposits, and budgeting tools.
When you enroll in the Smart Rewards Program, you get additional perks based on your account balance, such as reduced mortgage costs, free investment trades, and increased interest on your checking and savings accounts.
While there is a $6.95 monthly maintenance fee, there are several ways to waive it, like having $1,000 of direct deposits a month, having an active U.S. Bank credit card, being enrolled in the military, or being 65 or older.
U.S. Bank offers a Standard Savings account, Elite Money Market account, and Retirement Money Market account.
The Standard Savings account has a waivable $4 monthly fee. You can set up automated recurring transfers and enjoy free overdraft protection transfers to linked U.S. Bank accounts. While it’s lower than the rates offered by online banks, the account earns 0.01% APY. Meanwhile, the Elite MMA earns up to 4.50% APY.
- User-friendly mobile app
- Additional account rewards
- Easy to waive monthly fee
- Low APY for savings accounts
- Difficult to waive monthly fees
U.S. Bank’s Smartly Checking Account earns variable interest and comes with a wealth of benefits to help you manage, move, and spend your money wisely.
2. First Citizens Bank
Best For: Checking Accounts
Headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, First Citizens Bank is a full-service bank with 207 branches throughout the state.
With over 125 years in business, First Citizens Bank has a comprehensive suite of banking products, including the following:
- Checking accounts
- Savings account
- Digital banking
- Business Banking
- Money market accounts
- Certificates of deposit (CDs)
- Credit cards
- Investment accounts
- Mortgage loans
- Home loans
- Auto loans
- Car insurance
- Property insurance
- Life insurance
- Pet insurance
First Citizens Bank offers three checking accounts.
The Free Checking Account is a non-interest-bearing account with a free Visa debit card and overdraft protection. There is a minimum opening deposit of $50, and no monthly fee when you enroll in paperless statements.
They also offer Prestige and Premier Checking accounts, both interest-bearing (interest rates vary) and a required initial deposit minimum of $100. These monthly fees can also be waived if you meet specific criteria.
First Citizens Online Savings Account allows you to manage your account and make deposits from anywhere. This account has a minimum opening deposit of $50, no minimum monthly balance, no monthly service charge, and a 0.03% APY that compounds daily.
Its digital banking program allows you to check account balances, transfer money, pay bills, and deposit checks through the First Citizens Bank mobile app. It also offers security features, including fingerprint and facial recognition, to ensure the safety of your data and funds.
- Extensive banking products
- Offers free and interest-earning checking accounts
- Highly rated mobile app
- Low APY for savings account
- Savings account holders can only make two free transfers per month
3. PNC Bank
Best For: ATM Access
With over 160 years of experience, PNC Bank is a trusted name for banking. This national bank has a strong presence in North Carolina, with over 100 branches statewide. It offers a range of financial products, including checking and savings accounts, credit cards, loans, and investment and wealth management services.
PNC Bank offers a comprehensive online banking tool called the Virtual Wallet, in which you can use a combination of checking (Spend), short-term planning (Reserve), and long-term savings accounts (Growth). It also comes in three tiers: Virtual Wallet, Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend, and Virtual Wallet with Performance Select–each with varying features, welcome bonuses, fees, and savings APYs.
Virtual Wallet “Spend” is a basic checking account that comes with free mobile banking, online bill pay, and ATM fee reimbursement (if you incur a fee when using an ATM out of PNC’s network), as well as tools to manage your finances, set up a budget, and receive account alerts. A Spend account has a $7 monthly fee, which can be waived if you have a monthly direct deposit of $500 or an average combined balance of $500.
PNC’s Growth account is a long-term savings account that earns between 0.01% and 0.03% APY, depending on your balance, Virtual Wallet tier, and eligibility for relationship rates. The Reserve account is an interest-bearing checking account designed for short-term savings. However, it earns a low interest rate of 0.01% APY, well below the national average.
PNC customer service is available seven days a week; however, check the website for up-to-date hours of availability. You can tweet @PNCBank_Help to reach customer service at any time.
- Impressive welcome bonuses
- ATM fee reimbursements
- Helpful money management tools
- Can link your accounts to prevent overdraft
- PNC’s HYSA is not available in NC
- Expensive overdraft fees
- Low APYs
4. Truist Bank
Best For: No Overdraft Fees
Headquartered in Charlotte, Truist Bank was formed in 2019 when BB&T and SunTrust Banks merged. Currently, the seventh largest bank in the U.S. according to the Federal Reserve, Truist Bank has 2,000+ branches across 15 states, with 297 branches in North Carolina alone—the most locations out of any bank on this list.
Truist Bank has two checking account options, the better-known being the Truist One Checking Account. This is a basic, non-interest-bearing account with a minimum opening deposit of $50. The monthly maintenance fee of $12 can be waived with a $500 direct deposit per statement period. The One checking account has no overdraft fees and a $100 Negative Balance Buffer which protects you if you overdraw up to $100.
The Truist One Savings account pairs well with its checking counterpart. This basic savings account requires a $50 minimum deposit and a $5 monthly fee that can be waived with a $300 daily balance or linking it to a Truist checking account. The One savings account has a minimal 0.01% APY, so it’s not ideal if you’re looking to earn substantial interest.
In addition, Truist offers a CD, money market account, a debit card, multiple credit cards, personal loans, loans for home equity, auto, boat, or RV, mortgages, personal investing, financial planning, and various types of insurance, including home, auto, and pet.
- The $100 Negative Balance Buffer offers good overdraft protection
- Monthly fees are easy to waive
- Wide range of banking services
- Non-competitive APY rates for savings accounts
- Customer service is unavailable on Sundays
4. First National Bank
Best For: Product Variety
First National Bank, commonly called FNB, is a consumer bank headquartered in Pittsburgh. Initially founded in 1864 as the First National Bank of Pennsylvania, FNB has since expanded to seven other states, including North Carolina.
With FNB, you can access multiple checking account options, savings, IRAs, CDs, an HSA, mortgages, home equity loans, personal loans, lines of credit, investment services, home, life, and auto insurance, and much more.
FNB’s Freestyle Checking is its standard checking account designed to meet most people’s everyday banking needs. It comes with unlimited check writing, a debit card, and no monthly service fee or minimum balance. While it may not have any fancy bells and whistles, it’s a reliable and straightforward checking account option.
Similarly, FNB’s FirstRate Savings is their standard savings account. The $5 monthly fee can be waived with a $500 balance. It has a tiered APY that tops out at 0.05%, which, while higher than other banks on this list, still is not very competitive. If you want to earn interest with higher rates, consider FNB’s Money Market account with rates as high as 5% or CDs with rates of 1% – 1.5%.
You can visit one of North Carolina’s 88 FNB branches or manage your bank accounts online or via the mobile app. You can easily monitor your credit score, check your account balances, and transfer money on the app. You can also access the eStore, an online tool that helps you choose the right accounts and services for your needs.
- Low opening minimum requirements
- Free debit card with checking and savings accounts
- Many branches and ATMs in the area
- $10 transfer fee for overdraft protection
- Low savings rates
- Numerous fees
5. Fifth Third Bank
Best: Regional Bank in NC
Based out of Cincinnati, Ohio, Fifth Third Bank operates in ten states across the Midwest, Southeast, and Eastern regions of the U.S. With 74 branches in North Carolina, this bank is known for its strong connection to the communities it serves.
Fifth Third Bank has many services and products (including banking, investing, loans, insurance coverage, retirement, and estate planning), all aimed at meeting the needs of local NC individuals, families, and businesses and their diverse financial needs.
Their most common checking account is Momentum Checking, which has no minimum balance, no monthly fee, and early direct deposit (up to two days). Express Checking helps you manage your money, also with no monthly fee or balance requirement. It comes with check cashing and direct deposit (but does not have check writing, ATM check deposits, or online bill pay). Finally, the Preferred Checking Account is for customers with $100,000 or more assets and must be opened in person.
The Momentum Savings account is user-friendly and interest-bearing; however, the interest rate is a nominal 0.01% APY. While there is a $5 monthly maintenance fee, account holders have multiple ways to waive it. Fifth Third Bank also offers a 529 college fund, HSA, CDs, a savings account for minors, and a money market.
The mobile app lets you pay your bills, check your statements, deposit checks, and transfer funds anytime and anywhere. Direct customer service isn’t available 24/7; however, you can log on anytime and chat with an online digital assistant.
- Highly rated mobile app
- MyAdvance gets you an advance on your direct deposit
- Has an A+ rating from the BBB
- Low rates for savings accounts and standard CDs
- Monthly fees ranging from $5 to $25
6. Ally Bank
Best For: Savings Accounts
Founded in 2009, Ally Bank is a digital-only bank that offers a range of services from anywhere, ideal for those who prefer to bank and manage their accounts from a mobile device, tablet, or computer. While Ally has no physical branch locations, customers can access over 55,000 no-fee Allpoint ATMs across the U.S., with 560 located throughout North Carolina.
With Ally’s Interest Checking account, customers can enjoy interest on their balance, no minimum balance requirements, and no opening deposit requirements. Along with features such as mobile check deposits, a free MasterCard debit card, and RoundUps deposited into your savings account, this account can help you reach your financial goals faster than a traditional checking account.
Ally’s Online Savings Account offers a “savings bucket” feature where you can allocate your savings to specific goals while still earning interest on the total amount in your account. It has no monthly maintenance fees and offers an impressive APY significantly higher than the national average.
Along with checking and savings accounts, Ally Bank also offers money market accounts, CDs, mortgages, auto loans, personal loans, investing, and retirement services to help you achieve your financial goals. In addition, Ally Bank is FDIC-insured, meaning your deposits are protected and secure.
- Excellent interest rates for savings account
- Interest-earning checking account
- No monthly maintenance fees
- No physical locations
- Unable to deposit cash
7. Chase Bank
Best: National Bank in NC
Headquartered in New York City, Chase is a leading financial institution in the U.S., boasting nearly 4,700 branches in the lower 48 states—of which 29 branches are in North Carolina.
With a comprehensive range of products and services, Chase Bank offers everything you could need from a bank, whether you require personal banking, a business account, a credit card, loans, or wealth management services. Chase offers several personal account options, including those designed for younger children, high school and college students, to help promote financial literacy as they grow.
Chase’s most popular account is the Chase Total Checking account, which provides free credit reports, online bill payments, mobile check deposits, Zelle transfers, and account alerts. Alerts can inform you of a low balance, unusual account activity, and large transactions via email or text. Chase often offers sign-up bonuses, making opening an account even more enticing.
Most Chase accounts come with overdraft protection, where you won’t be charged an overdraft fee if your account is overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the business day.
The Chase Savings account offers free overdraft protection transfers, helping you during times when you don’t have enough money in your checking account.
Chase is a top provider of credit cards, offering generous rewards, low interest rates, and flexible spending limits, which results in high customer satisfaction ratings. The Chase Freedom Unlimited card offers a 1.5% cashback on all purchases, an introductory APR of 0%, and no annual fee.
- Great promotions for new customers
- Large selection of banking products
- Excellent credit card rewards
- Numerous account fees
- Low rates on some accounts
8. Bank of America
Best For: Mobile Banking
One of the most established providers of banking and financial services in North Carolina is Bank of America. This bank offers a variety of financial products and services, including multiple bank accounts, personal and business loans, credit cards, CDs, IRAs, 529 plans, and investment services through Merrill Edge.
The Advantage Plus checking account is Bank of America’s most popular option, offering features like check writing, overdraft protection, and cash-back deals with BankAmeriDeals. To avoid the $12 fee, you can make monthly direct deposits of at least $250 or maintain a minimum daily balance of $1,500.
As a Bank of America customer, you may qualify for their Preferred Rewards program, which offers benefits like higher interest rates, cashback on retail and travel purchases, and waived or discounted fees. To be eligible, you must have more than $20,000 in combined deposits across your Bank of America deposit accounts (or Merrill investment accounts).
In terms of savings, Bank of America offers the Advantage Savings account, which requires a $100 initial deposit and a monthly maintenance fee of $8. You can waive this fee by maintaining a minimum daily balance of $500 or by becoming a Preferred Rewards Member. Tiered APY rates are based on your account balance and Preferred Rewards status—they currently start at 0.01% and max out at 0.04%.
Residents can easily access their accounts with 76+ branch locations, and ATMs spread throughout North Carolina. Additionally, its user-friendly mobile banking app allows you to manage your finances on the go.
- Some monthly fees are easy to avoid
- Numerous convenient branch locations
- Wide range of product offerings
- Interest rates are low
- Accounts have balance requirements
9. Mechanics & Farmers Banks
Best For: Community-Oriented Bank
Mechanics & Farmers Bank (M&F) is a historic African-American-owned bank, based in Durham. Founded in 1907, M&F Bank was opened to provide financial services to African Americans excluded from mainstream banks. Today, this local bank remains committed to its community and helping individuals and businesses develop and grow.
With M&F, you can access many standard banking services and products, such as digital banking, IRA, CD, money market, HSA, credit card, financial planning, loans, home equity line of credit, and business banking.
M&F Bank’s Dash Checking account is a great option if you can meet the following criteria every statement cycle to earn its highest interest rate (3.00% APY on balances below $10,000) and earn up to $15 in out-of-network ATM fee refunds:
- Deposit at least $50
- Make at least 15 debit card transactions totaling $350
- Log into your mobile or online banking account at least once
- Enroll in e-statements
- Have direct deposits of at least $500
You can also open a Prestige or Interest Account (with a $100 deposit) that earns interest on your checking balance.
For savings, M&F accounts are geared toward specific needs, such as Golden Years Savings (for those 55 and older), Youth Savings (for those 21 and younger), and Holiday Savings (to save for purchases during the holiday season). They also offer Statement Savings, a standard savings account that requires a $100 opening deposit and a $6 monthly maintenance fee (waived with a $200 daily balance).
M&F Bank is FDIC-insured, with eight branches in Charlotte, Durham, Greensboro, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem. Each branch has a free ATM, and you can also use any ATM in the Wells Fargo network for free.
- Free high-yield checking account
- M&F Card Wallet allows you to track your debit card and lock it, if necessary
- A+ BBB rating
- No free overdraft protection
- Low APY and no ATM fee refunds on Dash Checking if you don’t meet all monthly criteria
10. Fidelity Bank
Best: Local Bank in NC
Fidelity Bank is a community bank in business for over 100 years. They’re known for their personalized service and pride themselves in remaining independent despite the vast number of bank mergers in recent years.
Fidelity Bank offers a large line of personal finance products, including checking, savings, student banking, digital banking, credit cards, and HELOCs. They offer a suite of products from basic accounts for everyday banking needs to more robust options with benefits like shopping deals, cell phone protection, and health savings accounts.
Fidelity Bank offers a Basic Checking account with a $25 opening deposit requirement. It’s great for everyday spending and includes digital banking and Zelle transfers. It has a $5 monthly fee that you can waive with direct deposits of at least $500 per month, ten or more debit card transactions monthly, or maintaining a $500 average daily balance.
They also have Preferred and Elite checking with more benefits like prescription and vision discounts, identity theft protection, and free ATM withdrawals nationwide.
Fidelity’s Personal Savings account requires only $25 to open, and you can link your Fidelity checking account to it for free overdraft protection. You only get two free withdrawals per month, but that motivates you to keep your money in your savings account to let it grow. It also includes mobile deposit, making it easy to deposit funds in your savings account.
Fidelity Bank also offers a Young Savers account for kids, Money Market Savings, Money Market Investment accounts, IRAs, and CDs.
- Many account options for people in all life stages
- Easy to waive monthly fees
- Robust digital banking
- Only two free withdrawals are allowed on savings accounts
- High requirements to waive monthly maintenance fees
11. First Horizon Bank
Best For: Small Businesses
First Horizon Bank opened in 1864 and today provides exemplary customer service and many banking opportunities for people in North Carolina. First Horizon Bank provides personalized banking recommendations, so you aren’t just a number when you bank there; you are a person with financial needs that they strive to satisfy.
First Horizon offers checking, savings, mortgage loans, credit cards, and financial planning for wealthy individuals. They also offer various digital banking products, including Zelle, online bill pay, and mobile deposit.
First Horizon offers three checking accounts, each with incredible benefits. Its FirstView checking account includes a free savings account, free digital and mobile banking, a free debit card, and no ATM fees at its 600 network ATMs.
You can also step it up with a SmartView checking account that includes a free money market account and a monthly fee ($15) you can waive with a $5,000 average daily balance in your checking account or a combined balance of $25,000 across all accounts.
The First Horizon Traditional Savings account requires a $50 opening deposit and a low $250 minimum daily balance to waive the quarterly maintenance fee. Interest compounds daily in the account and is paid monthly. Currently, the account pays 0.03% APY.
For higher interest earnings, the First Horizon Money Market Savings account offers tiered interest rates starting at 0.60%, ATM access, automatic savings from your checking account, and overdraft protection when linked to your checking account.
- All checking accounts include free mobile and digital banking
- FDIC insured
- Daily compounded interest on interest-bearing accounts
- Small ATM network
- Basic checking account doesn’t earn interest
12. First Carolina Bank
Best: Community Bank with Big Bank Reach
First Carolina Bank is a community bank located in North Carolina and also serves Virginia and Georgia. Despite being a newer bank, First Carolina Bank has been rated one of the fastest-growing banks over five years ending December 2020.
While they have only nine branch locations, they provide excellent customer service and take pride in their relationship building to help each customer feel seen and heard.
First Carolina Bank offers checking, savings, money market accounts, CDs, IRAs, consumer loans, and credit cards.
First Carolina offers three checking accounts requiring $25 to $100 to open. The Value and Carolina checking accounts are interest-bearing and have monthly fees you can waive with $1,500 to $3,000 average daily balances.
The Carolina Checking account includes perks such as a free safe deposit box, checks, and paper statements. All First Carolina checking accounts also include free online banking, bill payment, mobile deposits and banking, and notary services.
The First Carolina Regular Savings account requires a $100 opening deposit, is interest-bearing, and allows up to six withdrawals per month. It has a $5 monthly fee, but you can waive it with a $200 average daily balance.
They also offer a Minor Savings account for kids ages 0 – 17, with only a $25 opening deposit requirement and free online and mobile
- Community bank with a big bank reach
- Many options for checking and savings accounts
- Offers unique benefits, such as notary services
- Only nine branch locations
- Small selection of savings account options
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best credit union in North Carolina?
The best credit union in North Carolina depends on a few factors, such as the types of services and products offered, fees and interest rates, and customer service.
Which bank has the most branches in North Carolina?
Truist Bank currently holds the record of the most banks in North Carolina, with 297 locations statewide.
Which documents are needed to open a bank account in North Carolina?
The only document you need to open a bank account in North Carolina is a valid, government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license, state ID, or passport. You must also provide your Social Security number, name, address, and date of birth.
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 North Carolina.
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.