If you’re looking to open a bank account in North Dakota and are exploring the best banks and credit unions, keep reading. In great detail, we’ve compared and reviewed the top financial institutions in North Dakota.
We’ve crunched the numbers and compared the options—doing the homework so that you don’t have to—narrowing them down to a list of the top 8.
There’s an abundance of options based on your credit score, banking (or credit union) needs, and any special bells and whistles.
7 Best Banks in North Dakota
Here are the best banks and credit unions in ND you can open an account with today:
- U.S. Bank
- Gate City Bank
- Wells Fargo
- BNC National Bank
- First Community Credit Union
- Bell Bank
1. U.S. Bank
Founded in 1863 as the First National Bank of Cincinnati, U.S. Bank has roots as a small, regional bank. In the early 21st century, First National Bank (FNB) went through a series of mergers before finally becoming established as U.S. Bank with headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
In terms of assets, U.S. Bank is the fifth largest bank in the country with assets worth just under $600 million. In terms of branch locations in North Dakota, U.S. Bank has the fourth largest presence in the state with 17 store locations.
In addition to checking and savings account options, U.S. Bank provides other banking services like CDs, IRAs, home loans, and credit cards.
- Checking Account: U.S. Bank offers three different checking options, ranging from bare bones to a Platinum account with loads of extra perks. There’s a monthly service fee for any of these accounts, but it can be waived for meeting minimum requirements.
- Savings Account: APY interest rates can vary from 0.01% to 3.85% for a Standard Savings or Elite Money Market
- CDs: APY rates range from 0.05% to 4.55% depending on the initial deposit amount and length and other terms of the CD.
- Plenty of U.S. branch locations throughout the state.
- Personal and business checking and bank solutions.
- Security of a large, national bank.
- More overdraft forgiveness than other financial institutes of similar sizes. S. Bank offers a cushion of up to negative $50 before any overdraft fees are assessed. Additionally, customers have until the end of the following day before any overdraft fee is charged.
- The website is harder to navigate than other banks and credit unions on this list, in particular when looking for information about CD rates or bank account
- More limited checking account options than other similar size banks.
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. Gate City Bank
Founded in 1923, Gate City Bank in Fargo, Gate City Bank is the ultimate bank for North Dakotans. Now celebrating its 100th anniversary, Gate Bank has longstanding roots in the local community and its banking prowess has caught national notice.
With 34 locations throughout the state, Gate City Bank is also a very convenient choice. Gate City has more branches than any other financial institution in the state and is the number one mortgage lender in North Dakota.
- Checking Account: Gate City Bank offers four different checking account options, with all offering overdraft protection and Early Payday. Other account-based options include no minimum balance, free checks, interest, and low opening deposit requirements.
- Savings Account: Gate City offers five different savings account options, including money market savings and a Coverdell Education College Savings Account. Annual percentage yield (APY) rates range from 0.15% to 1.92%.
- CDs: A number of Certificate of Deposit (CD) options with APY rates up to 4.04%.
- Gate City has more locations than any other bank in North Dakota.
- Outstanding transparency with rates, fees, and requirements for products and services.
- Exceptionally easy-to-navigate website (top one among all sites reviewed on this list).
- Innovative, solution-oriented products like childcare business loans, BetterLife student loans, and My School Spirit debit cards.
- SavingsLink to minimize overdrafts. For a $5 fee, an overdrawn checking account can be covered by a linked savings account.
- A minimum balance of $25 is required to open a checking account.
- CDs have lower rates of interest than larger banks like Wells Fargo or S. Bank.
With locations in Fargo and West Fargo, VISIONBANK is a locally-owned, community bank founded by North Dakotans for North Dakotans. Founded in 2003, the banker founders brought to life a vision of creating a better bank for their community: big-town resources delivered with a small-town touch.
VISIONBank’s simple and decisive motto of “Getting it Done” is felt in every aspect of how they serve customers and the diverse financial products offered to meet your needs.
You can review some of VISIONBank’s standard offerings below:
- Checking Account: Four tiers of checking accounts, including Totally Free Checking, Interest Checking (requires direct deposit or automatic payment), 55+ Interest Checking (can have a co-signer age 55+), or High-Interest Checking.
- Savings Account: APY rates of 0.3% to 1.75% for savings and money market accounts based on the minimum account balance.
- CDs: Rates of up to 4.06% APY.
- Free checking account options, including a free, instant debit card and free online and mobile banking, and free bill pay
- Specially designed accounts for accountholders age 55+
- Reimbursement of up to four ATM withdrawal fees per month
- No monthly banking fees for any of the checking accounts. (Except for a monthly maintenance fee for a High Interest Checking account if the minimum balance of $1,500 is not maintained.)
- A small regional bank with only 2 locations, both in the Fargo metro area.
- Newer bank; founded 20 years ago versus the long (proven) history of more established financial institutes.
4. Wells Fargo
A list of top North Dakota banks wouldn’t be complete without Wells Fargo. Many associate the bank with this state, as Fargo is the state’s largest city. However, Wells Fargo Bank was actually founded in New York City in 1852, by Henry Wells and William G. Fargo.
As the fourth-largest bank in the country in terms of total assets and the second-largest in terms of total branch locations, there’s a Wells Fargo branch store or ATM just about anywhere in the country. With 16 locations in North Dakota, it’s ultra-convenient to do business with this financial behemoth.
The size and scale of Wells Fargo mean round-the-clock customer service—through mobile, online chat, and phone—and vast scope of financial products and services designed to meet the individual banking needs of all its customers. This includes business customers too.
- Checking Account: Wells Fargo offers its customers four checking accounts. The minimum deposit to open any of these accounts is $25, but there are no banking fees if you meet the minimum daily balance requirements.
- Savings Account: APY rates of 0.15% to 2.5% depending on account balance.
- CDs: APY rates of up to 4.5% depending on the initial deposit amount and CD terms.
- Branches throughout the state.
- Options for teens. Clear Access Banking is designed for teens aged 13-17.
- Security of banking with a large, multinational financial institution.
- Personal and business banking
- A minimum deposit of $25 is required to open a checking account.
- More fees than smaller, regional banks or credit unions. A non-sufficient fund (NSF) fee of $35 is charged for any overdraft, whereas other banks may assess as little as $15 to $20 per NSF.
- A monthly service fee of $5 to $35 for a checking account, although the fee may be waived for meeting certain minimum requirements.
5. BNC National Bank
Headquartered in Bismarck, North Dakota, BNC National Bank provides business and personal banking services and wealth management to customers in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Arizona. Outside of those core states, BNC also offers mortgage banking in Illinois, Kansas, and Missouri.
In North Dakota, BNC National Bank operates 10 branches and provides a local community feel. The bank strives to support local civic, non-profit, art, culture, youth, and economic development.
- Checking Account: BNC National Bank offers four different free account options, offering competitive interest rates based on different balance tiers.
- Savings Account: BNC offers a variety of saving options, including money market accounts, CDs, and traditional savings accounts with APYs up to 0.55%.
- Attractive APY rates for savings accounts.
- Variety of interest-bearing checking account options, including Elite Free Interest Checking designed for seniors age 55+.
- Local bank with strong community ties.
- Relatively few locations throughout North Dakota despite its headquarters in the capital Bismarck.
- Minimum deposit of $50 to open a checking account.
- Monthly fees of $6 if your Premier Interest Checking daily balance falls below $1,500.
6. First Community Credit Union
Founded in Jamestown, North Dakota in 1939, First Community Credit Union (FCCU) is the largest credit union in the state.
In 2017 and 2018, Citizens Community Credit Union (Devil’s Lake, ND) and Agassiz Federal Credit Union both merged with FCCU contributing to its large financial footprint.
Today FCCU has 29 branch locations that cover half of the state (and 3 branches in Central Minnesota), serving a community of 45,000 members. The FCCU was recently named Community Credit Union of the Year by the Credit Union National Association, based on its best-in-class services, financial products, rates, and overall banking experience.
- Checking Account: FCCU offers 3 account options, including Free Kasasa Checking (with very high-interest rates) and Reward Checking which offers the ability to earn points for prizes.
- Savings Account: APY rates of 0.25% to 3.56% based on the total balance.
- CDs: 2 different APY rate options for 3.54% (27-month) or 4.00% (13-month).
- A great option for those who prefer credit unions to banks. (Credit union deposits are also federally insured up to $250K.)
- Accessibility: over 29 locations throughout the state.
- Outstanding reward options for checking accounts with no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees.
- Limited hours of service. There’s no central phone line or online chat assistance. Members have to call their local branch during business hours.
7. Bell Bank
Headquartered in Fargo, Bell Bank is the largest family-owned bank in the Upper Midwest and one of the largest in the country. This state bank has over $13 billion in assets and a loyal, local member base.
Founded in 1966 in a shopping center, Bell Bank has expanded to 9 locations across North Dakota.
Bell Bank accounts offer a long list of freebies, including identity theft recovery insurance, roundup savings, no bank ATM fees, and reimbursement for ATM machine owner fees.
- Checking Account: Bell Bank offers three free checking accounts, including interest-bearing options.
- Savings Account: Bell Bank offers five savings account options, with APY rates ranging from 0.5% to 3.04%.
- CDs: APY rates of up to 4.29%.
- Generous, interest-bearing checking account
- A number of checking account freebies, including personalized debit cards, CardValet (to set alerts and better manage spending), ChangeSaver (to round up change and make saving effortless), and out-of-network ATM fee reimbursements.
- Outstanding customer service access for members relative to its size. The toll-free customer service number is available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT every day except Wednesdays when it’s 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Primarily a Fargo area bank. Eight locations are in the Fargo area with no coverage in Grand Forks, Bismarck, or other North Dakota
Choosing the Best Banks and Credit Unions in North Dakota to Meet Your Needs
To decide which North Dakota bank or credit union may be the right choice for you, here are items for you to consider.
- Do you prefer a bank or credit union? Banks typically have more resources and more branch locations. They are for-profit institutions while credit unions are nonprofits set up as cooperatives. For consumers with poor credit, credit unions may offer more loan options at more favorable rates.
- Ties to the community. Do you want a “small business” sort of bank with roots in the local community, or are you strictly concerned with the convenience of 24/7 customer assistance?
- Monthly service fees. There are many banks with no monthly service fees if you set up direct deposit or maintain a certain minimum balance. Always look for free banking options.
- Overdraft fees. Not all banks charge hefty overdrafts and NSF fees. Look for banks that offer overdraft forgiveness, overdraft grace period (i.e., a full business day to fund your account and avoid fees), low balance alerts, or the ability to link your savings to a checking in the event it’s overdrawn. Also, not all banks nail you with a $35+ NSF fee; some banks charge only $15 to $20.
- Credit and debit card providers. What sort of debit card or credit card will the financial institution give you? It could be an Amex, Visa, or Mastercard. Visa cards are more widely accepted than other cards, but other networks may offer better perks.
- Customer service needs. Do you need a brick-and-mortar location and a banker who knows your name? Or can you manage yourself, through reading Help Center articles and talking to online chat?
- ATM accessibility. Even with Zelle and Venmo, occasionally everyone needs to get a hold of cash. While many banks boast no ATM fees, that means they will not charge you on top of what the machine owner already charges. Look for institutions that will offer ATM fee reimbursement or that have their own ATMs or branch locations close by.
- Online banking and mobile app. Online banking refers to accessing bank accounts through the bank website and mobile banking refers just to the app. While most banks offer both, all apps and websites are not created equal. How easy is the app to navigate? How often is the site closed for maintenance? Is the experience user-friendly and intuitive?
- APYs and Annual interest rates. Look for banks that offer interest-bearing checking accounts and higher-interest savings accounts.
- Security. The bank should offer robust security and fraud protection like two-factor authentication, data encryption, suspicious spending alerts, and free credit monitoring.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best bank to use in North Dakota?
Gate City Bank offers local community roots, longstanding history, security, outstanding products and services, and the convenience of 34 locations throughout the state. It has more locations than any other bank or credit union.
Additionally, it offers a number of convenient perks for members, like 529 college savings plans, lower-interest private student loans, school spirit debit cards (that benefit local schools), and $5 overdraft protection.
What bank has the most branches in North Dakota?
Throughout North Dakota, there are 75 local, regional, and national banks operating across nearly 400 different communities.
The winner for most branches in North Dakota is Gate City, but here’s a full list of banks with a sizable presence (10 or more locations) in the state:
- Gate City Bank: 34
- Wells Fargo: 16
- First International Bank & Trust: 22
- Bravera Bank: 19
- S. Bank: 17
- Choice Bank: 15
- Dakota Community Bank & Trust: 12
- BNC National Bank: 10
- Dakota Heritage Bank: 10
- First United Bank: 10
- Starion Bank: 13
- Bremer Bank: 13
- Bank Forward: 10
- Cornerstone Bank: 10
*Exact numbers may vary slightly over time.
How We Chose the Best Banks in North Dakota
All the financial institutions on our list deliver an excellent customer experience, but we also examined the pros and cons in detail to present our readers with the best options.
We considered criteria like:
- Checking and savings account interest rates
- Financial products available
- Minimum balance requirements
- Opening deposit requirements
- Service or maintenance fees assessed
- Overdraft or NSF fees
- Customer service
- Online experience
- App experience
- Local community ties, including reputation and nonprofit giving