Whether you’re a native North Carolinian or a newcomer to the Tar Heel State, finding the right bank is a crucial part of your financial stability. Luckily, North Carolina offers its residents a diverse range of banking services, from the bustling city of Charlotte to the charming town of Asheville.
If you’re deciding between a large national bank or a locally owned community bank, here, I’ll provide an overview of the best banks in North Carolina, highlighting specific provider and account details to help you make an informed decision about the right bank for you.
Before we get started, take some time to consider your financial goals as well as the key features you’re looking for in a bank. Once you have that figured out, you can compare the banks on this list for the option that best suits your needs.
10 Best Banks in North Carolina
Here are the best banks in North Carolina where you can open an account today:
- First Citizens Bank
- Wells Fargo
- Truist Bank
- PNC Bank
- First National Bank
- Fifth Third Bank
- Ally Bank
- Chase Bank
- Bank of America
- Mechanics & Farmers Bank
See North Carolina’s Best Bank Bonus Offers and Promotions
1. First Citizens Bank
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 the monthly $10 fee is waived 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 specific criteria are met.
First Citizen’s 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 is compounded daily.
Customers have to enroll in digital banking; however, once they do, they can 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
2. Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo is a reputable national bank serving customers since 1852. With over 4,700 branches nationwide (256 in North Carolina), customers can easily find a convenient Wells Fargo location or ATM.
Wells Fargo offers five types of checking accounts, with the Everyday Checking Account being the most popular. It requires a $25 minimum opening deposit and charges a $10 monthly account maintenance fee (which can be avoided with a $500 minimum daily balance).
Other checking accounts include Clear Access Banking (ideal for teens and students), Prime, and Premier Checking, which are both interest-earning accounts with added perks like fewer fees and priority service.
Wells Fargo offers two savings account options, including the Way2Save savings account, which automatically transfers money from your checking account into your savings whenever you pay a bill or make a purchase.
The Way2Save account has a minimum opening deposit of $25, a $5 monthly fee, and a 0.15% APY. Also offered is the Platinum Savings Account, which provides higher, tiered interest rates based on how much you have in your account.
Wells Fargo customers can also access CDs, credit and debit cards, loans, investment services, business banking services, and financial education resources. The mobile app is superbly rated on both the Google Play and App Store (4.8/5.0), allowing you to access and manage your money anytime.
- Highly rated mobile app
- Offers early direct deposit
- Checking account fees are easy to avoid
- Most accounts have a monthly fee
- Low APY on Way2Save account
3. Truist Bank
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 2781 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.
For savings, 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 by 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. PNC Bank
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). (Customers can enroll only in Spend or Reserve and 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 Waller 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 high-yield savings account is not available in North Carolina
- Expensive overdraft fees ($36 for each business day you are overdrawn)
- Low APYs
5. First National Bank
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 an average of 0.40% APY) or promotional CD specials (averaging 3.50% APY).
You can visit one of North Carolina’s 88 FNB branches or manage your bank accounts online or via the mobile app. There you can easily monitor your credit score, check your account balances, and transfer money. 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
6. Fifth Third Bank
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 avenues to waive it. In terms of savings, Fifth Third Bank also offers a 529 college fund, HSA, CDs, a savings account for minors, and a money market.
Pay your bills, check your statements, deposit checks, and transfer funds anytime and anywhere with its highly rated, user-friendly mobile app. 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
- Barely-there interest rates for savings accounts and standard CDs
- Monthly fees ranging from $5 to $25
7. Ally Bank
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 have access to 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 a 0.25% APY, 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 of 3.40%, 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. Further, you can rest assured that 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
8. Chase Bank
Headquartered in New York City, Chase is a leading financial institution in the U.S., boasting nearly 5,000 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. Furthermore, when opening an account, Chase typically offers a sign-on bonus.
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, providing cover in case 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
9. Bank of America
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 Merill 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
10. Mechanics & Farmers Banks
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 at the time. 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 fees 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, as well.
- 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
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best bank in North Carolina?
The best bank for you in North Carolina depends on your individual financial needs, goals, and preferences. You’ll want to consider exactly what you’re looking for and the defining features that make a bank “the best.”
You may want a national bank with a strong reputation and convenient locations, in which case, you should look into Truist Bank, Wells Fargo, and First Citizens Bank, as they have the most branches in the state.
What is the best credit union in North Carolina?
Similarly, 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.
However, Excite Credit Union, Coastal Federal Credit Union, and Truliant Federal Credit Union are a few top-rated credit unions in North Carolina.
What is the safest bank to put your money in?
If you want to keep your money in a safe bank, choose one that is FDIC-insured. This means that your funds are protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and insured up to $250,000 in case your bank fails and you lose your deposits. Remember that it’s best to choose a bank with a great track record for security, customer service, and responsible financial practices.
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.
What banks are in Raleigh, NC?
Raleigh is the capital city of North Carolina and is home to many banks, including national banks, regional banks, community banks, and credit unions.
What banks are in Charlotte, NC?
Charlotte is a major financial center in the southeastern region of the U.S., with the headquarters of Bank of America, Truist, and Wells Fargo. Further, plenty of banks have established branches in Charlotte to serve the needs of businesses and individuals in the area.
Which of the Best Banks in North Carolina Are for You?
From the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains to the sandy shores of the Atlantic, North Carolina has an abundance of banking solutions, whether you’re looking for a bank with a solid online presence, a local bank, or a national bank with a vast range of services.
While North Carolina offers an impressive number of banking options, I hope the ten I’ve included here will give you a helpful starting point. Ultimately, when it comes to choosing a bank, it’s a personal decision only you can make.
Remember—do your due diligence. Figure out your current banking needs, future goals, and how you want to grow your money over time. Then, research your options, and compare each bank’s fees, interest rates, branch locations, and any unique offerings, services, or perks you’d like to have.
I wish you luck as you take this next step in your financial security!