South Carolina’s five million residents have plenty of financial institutions available, but what are the best banks in South Carolina?
Since each person’s banking needs are unique, different financial institutions will likely stand out to potential customers.
Selecting one financial service provider over another might come down to fee structure, earning potential, perks offered on banking products, or the range of features available through mobile apps.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best South Carolina banks and credit unions to help ease your search for a bank or credit union.
9 Best Banks in South Carolina
Here are the top 9 banks in SC you can open an account with today:
- First Citizens Bank
- CIT Bank
- Axos Bank
- Wells Fargo
- Bank of America
- United Community Bank
- The People’s Bank
1. First Citizens Bank
First Citizens Bank is a national bank headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is a full-service bank with over 270 branches in South Carolina alone.
First Citizens Bank offers three types of checking accounts.
Their Free Checking Account is a non-interest-bearing deposit account that requires a $50 minimum opening deposit, comes with no monthly fees, a free Visa debit card, and overdraft protection. First Citizens’ Prestige Checking Accounts and Premier Checking accounts both earn varying rates of interest, require a minimum opening deposit of $100, and have monthly fees, which are waived should you meet their pre-set criteria.
First Citizens Bank’s Online Savings Account charges no monthly fees and has no minimum account balance requirements. The opening deposit required for this bank account is $50, and you can open an account online. This online savings account pays out 0.03% APY and interest compounds daily.
First Citizens Bank is a full-service bank offering credit and debit cards, lending, wealth management, and business banking services.
- You can open an account online
- some accounts have no monthly fees
- It doesn’t pay out as much interest as some of the other banks
Ally Bank is an online bank that prides itself on being a one-stop online shop for banking customers looking for a wide range of services. The bank has no physical branches – but customers can access over 43,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs across the United States.
Ally’s Interest Checking account is their sole checking product, earning a variable rate of 0.25% Annual Percentage Yield (APY). This account has no pre-set minimum opening deposit or balance requirements. Some features of this account include mobile check deposits, a free MasterCard debit card, and RoundUps – a feature that rounds up transactions to the nearest dollar and deposits the difference into your savings.
Regarding savings, Ally offers an Online Savings Account, a Money Market Account, and a range of CDs.
Their Online Savings Account comes with no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements, as well as a savings buckets feature to help you reach your financial goals. The account pays out an above-average interest rate with a variable rate of up to 2.10% APY.
Apart from checking and savings accounts, Ally offers Money Market accounts, CDs and high-yield CDs, IRAs, mortgages, personal and auto loans, and investment and wealth management services.
- Higher than average rate of APY
- no minimum balance requirements
- no account maintenance fees
- 24/7 customer service
- No physical bank branches
- no credit cards
3. CIT Bank
CIT Bank has been a subsidiary of First Citizens Bancshares group since its merger in early 2022. The bank offers all its services online and through its mobile app.
CIT Bank’s eChecking account requires a minimum opening deposit of $100. This bank account has no monthly or overdraft fees and free online transfers. The account earns up to 0.10% APY (balances of $25,000 or under), while balances over this amount earn up to 0.25% APY.
CIT Bank offers two types of savings accounts:
- Their Savings Connect account charges no monthly maintenance fees and has a minimum opening deposit requirement of $100. The account earns up to 2.70% APY, which is well above the national average.
- CIT Bank also offers Savings Builder accounts with tiered interest rates that compound daily to maximize earnings.
Besides checking and savings accounts, CIT also offers loans, bill pay facilities, retirement accounts, debit cards, CDs, loans, mortgages, and Money Market accounts.
- Pays out a higher than average rate of APY
- No overdraft fees
- No monthly fees
- No credit cards
- No physical branches
4. Axos Bank
Axos Bank is an FDIC-insured online bank that has been around since 2000. Axos offers its financial services nationwide, and customers can withdraw from approximately 91,000 fee-free ATMs across the country.
Axos Bank currently offers a range of five checking accounts to suit different customer profiles. Their Essential Checking Account has no minimum balance requirements or overdraft fees, charges no monthly maintenance fees, and comes with a Visa debit card to facilitate payments and ATM withdrawals.
Axos bank’s High Yield Savings account charges no monthly maintenance fees, comes with a free debit card, and has no minimum balance requirements other than the initial opening deposit of $250. These accounts have a tiered interest rate structure that allows for up to 0.61% APY earnings.
Apart from checking and savings accounts, Axos offers Money Market accounts, CDs, mortgages, home equity loans, lines of credit, small business banking services, and both personal and auto loans.
- No monthly fees
- competitive interest rates on most accounts
- No physical bank branches
- no credit cards
5. Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo is a household name for all things banking related and is one of the oldest financial institutions in the United States.
Wells Fargo offers five checking account options, the most popular being their Everyday Checking Account. The account is non-interest bearing, requires a $25 minimum opening deposit, and charges a $10 monthly account maintenance fee. It’s worth noting that monthly fees on this type of account are waived when meeting one of the bank’s pre-set criteria.
Wells Fargo has two savings account options. Their most economical is the Way2Save savings account. A minimum opening deposit of $25 is required, and account holders will pay a $5 monthly fee. This account allows for additional savings by automatically moving funds from your checking account into savings whenever you pay a bill or make in-store or online payments.
Further to checking and savings accounts, Wells Fargo also offers credit and debit cards, CDs (certificate of deposit), personal loans, investment, small business, and commercial banking services. They also pride themselves on being one of the leading residential real estate lenders in the United States.
- Full-service bank
- Numerous account and lending options
- Most accounts come with monthly fees
6. Bank of America
Bank of America is a multinational financial services organization headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The bank currently offers three types of checking accounts. Bank of America’s SafeBalance Banking Checking Account is available to anyone over 16 and charges no overdraft fees. The account charges a $4.95 monthly maintenance fee which the bank will waive should you meet the pre-set criteria.
Bank of America only offers one type of savings account with a $100 minimum opening deposit requirement. The bank charges an $8 monthly maintenance fee on this account which you might be able to avoid. You also get 0.01% APY.
Besides checking and savings accounts, Bank of America offers credit cards, CDs, IRAs, business banking, lending, and investment banking services.
- No overdraft fees
- checking accounts available to customers from the age of 16
- Low-interest rates on savings accounts
- monthly account maintenance fees
7. Truist (formerly BB&T)
Truist offers two types of checking accounts. Their no-frills Truist One Checking Account is a non-interest-bearing account that requires a minimum opening deposit of $50. A monthly account maintenance fee of $12 applies to this account which you can avoid paying if you meet the bank’s criteria. The account comes with a tiered range of rewards.
Truist’s One Savings Account comes with features such as automatic transfers from your checking account. The bank requires a minimum deposit of $50 to open an account and charges a $5 monthly maintenance fee which may be waived.
The bank offers credit and debit cards, loans, business, investment, and retirement services.
- No overdraft fees
- user-friendly mobile app with savings tips
- Monthly account maintenance fees
8. United Community Bank
United Community Bank is a customer service-centered bank with more than 20 branches across South Carolina, from Greenville to Charleston.
United Community Bank offers five types of checking products to suit different needs. Their United Essential Banking checking account is a non-interest-bearing account that requires a minimum opening deposit of $25. The account comes with overdraft protection and a debit card. The bank charges a monthly maintenance fee of $5 on this account.
When it comes to savings accounts, this bank offers an extensive range of savings accounts. United savings accounts require a minimum opening deposit of $100 and don’t charge a monthly maintenance fee should you maintain a daily balance of at least $100. The account earns up to 0.05% APY.
Further to checking and savings accounts, United Community Bank offers home loans and mortgages, credit cards, business banking, and investment solutions.
- Minimum account opening deposits are lower than average
- Monthly account maintenance fees on some accounts
- pays out lower than average interest rates
9. The People’s Bank
The People’s Bank is a local community bank serving Anderson County and the surrounding areas.
The People’s Bank offers two types of checking accounts with different customer profiles in mind. Their Rewards Checking Account is an interest-bearing account with no monthly maintenance fees, a debit card, and bill pay. The minimum opening deposit for this account is $100.
The bank also offers one traditional interest-bearing savings account, which requires a minimum opening deposit of $100.
At The People’s Bank, you’ll also find money market accounts, CDs, credit cards, HSAs, and IRAs. Furthermore, account holders can access business and personal loans, insurance, and investment services.
- A community bank feel and personal approach to banking
- Unlikely to find available bank branches should you travel frequently
BONUS: South Carolina Federal Credit Union
South Carolina Federal Credit Union is headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina. The credit union services Columbia, Charleston, Florence, Georgetown, Greenville, and Spartanburg.
Like most other credit unions, SCFCU offers checking and savings accounts, Money Market accounts, mortgages, auto and boat loans, and personal lines of credit.
How to Choose the Best Bank in South Carolina
The easiest way to choose a bank or credit union is to compare fee structures and interest rates. However, here’s a list of other things to help you make a more informed decision.
Find a Financial Institution that Fits Your Lifestyle
Before considering what banks and credit unions are available to you, it’s best to identify your long-term financial plans and goals. Understanding your likes and dislikes and evaluating your spending habits will help you make more informed choices.
A little forethought might save you from changing financial institutions or service providers later in life.
Understand Your Banking Preferences
Most bank customers nowadays use online or mobile banking services conveniently available irrespective of their preferences.
However, visiting a brick-and-mortar bank branch offers a more personal level of service. Those accustomed to online banking services are more likely to prioritize additional online features over personal service, while others may prefer the local community feel of visiting bank branch locations.
Consider Credit Unions
When looking for a financial institution, more often than not, the first institution you think of is a bank. It’s important not to forget to consider what credit unions might be available to you.
Some credit unions offer more advantageous perks or account terms when compared to some national banks.
Terms and Fees
Carefully reviewing terms and conditions when choosing a financial institution or product is paramount. You wouldn’t want to overlook something detrimental to your finances. Always ensure that your bank or credit union is a member of FDIC or NCUA and look out for any additional or potentially hidden fees.
Keep Flexibility in Mind
If the Covid-19 pandemic taught us anything, it was the value of having digital services and flexibility. Unfortunately, none of us can predict the future.
Finding a financial institution that meets your current needs and offers services that can adapt to changing personal and global situations.
The number of features an online banking service has or how many ATMs are available to you might not seem too important now, but they might make a difference.
Do Your Research
Several financial institutions offer similar financial products and services, so reading product and bank reviews might give insight into what it’s like to be the bank’s customer. The defining factors in choosing one bank over another might lie in customer service reviews, special banking app features, or perks.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the largest bank in South Carolina?
South Carolina is served by quite a few large national and multinational banks and credit unions. Some of the banks that have the largest physical presence in the state are Wells Fargo and First Citizens Bank.
What is the largest credit union in South Carolina?
South Carolina Federal Credit Union is one of the largest credit unions in South Carolina. It is also one of the oldest financial institutions in the state, as it was established in 1936.
Does South Carolina have a Chase bank?
Chase Bank is a national bank that operates across most of the U.S. There are several branches in South Carolina – use the branch locator on the Chase website to find your nearest.
Who can join South Carolina Federal Credit Union?
The South Carolina Federal Credit Union has a digital form on its website for interested applicants to submit their details for consideration.
The staff at the credit union will confirm your eligibility and membership through direct contact. A savings account with a minimum deposit of $ 10 is required to become a member.