Best Banks in Virginia

If you’re looking for a new bank in Virginia, you’ll be glad to know that there are several high-quality options available.

Whether you’re looking for an account with no fees, a high APY, or anything in between, you’re likely to find a bank that ticks all the boxes.

In our best banks in Virginia review, we’ll look at the best banks available in VA, highlighting everything you need to know to make the best possible decision.

11 Best Banks in Virginia

1. Ally Bank

  • Pros: High APY rate, low fees
  • Cons: No branches, no credit cards

 

Ally Bank, also known as Ally, is an online bank. It does not have any branches in Virginia or any other state. Not having physical branches means its overheads are lower, so it can offer lower fees and higher rates than many other banks.

Ally offers an Online Savings Account, which has no monthly maintenance fees. Other items, including overdraft fees, ACH transfers, and incoming wires, are also free. The APY (Annual Percentage Yield) interest rate is 2.25% right now.

Ally also offers an Interest Checking account, which pays out an APY of 0.25% – a rate higher than many banks pay on their savings accounts. You get access to over 43,000 Allpoint ATMs for fee-free withdrawals. Just like their savings account, there is no monthly fee here either. The account also offers early direct deposit.

Ally offers many other products and services, including CDs (Certificate of Deposit), MMAs (Money Market Accounts), mortgages, loans, and investment options.

2. Carter Bank & Trust

  • Pros: Low fees, cash giveaway to help you save money
  • Cons: APY rates are not listed

 

Carter Bank & Trust is a community bank based in Virginia. As a state-chartered bank, it serves communities in Virginia and North Carolina. It has won numerous awards, including Best Bank, as voted by Martinsville Bulletin Readers’ Choice in 2022.

Carter Bank & Trust offers four different checking accounts, all of which have a minimum opening deposit of $50. All accounts except their Premium Interest Checking don’t have a minimum balance requirement. Most checking accounts also earn interest, which is an excellent way to make money just by having a bank account.

The bank also has one savings account called the Carter Savings Account, with a monthly fee of $5.00. You can avoid paying it by maintaining a minimum balance of just $100. For each $25 you save, you also get a ticket for their Carter Ca$h giveaway, where you can win as much as $25,000.

Carter Bank & Trust offers other savings accounts, credit cards, mortgages, loans, and other financial products and services. It’s a great contender if you’re looking for a local bank that offers almost everything a large bank does.

3. Truist (formerly BB&T and SunTrust)

  • Pros: Negative balance buffer, bonus system
  • Cons: Low APY rate

 

Truist is the product of a merger between BB&T and SunTrust, which took place in 2019. The bank serves a handful of states, including Virginia.

If you’re looking to build or repair your credit, the Truist Confidence Account is an option worth checking. It has a minimum opening deposit of $25 and a monthly fee of $5.00, with numerous ways to waive it.

Alternatively, opt for Truist One Checking. This checking account has a monthly fee of $12, which the bank can also waive. It features a negative balance buffer and a bonus system that improves depending on your average monthly balance.

Truist also offers several savings account options. Monthly fees start from $0 for the Truist Confidence Savings. You can go a step further and opt for their Truist One Savings account, which has a monthly fee of $5.00, which the bank will waive if you meet any of the pre-set criteria. The APY rate is 0.01% across the board.

Truist also offers CDs (Certificate of Deposit), MMA (Money Market Accounts), credit cards, loans, mortgages, insurance, investment, and retirement options.

4. Chase

  • Pros: Large selection of products and services
  • Cons: Low APY rate

 

Chase is a national bank that needs no introduction. It is the largest bank in the U.S. and the fifth largest globally. Chase has 28 branches and ATM locations in Virginia alone, giving it a good reach should you prefer face-to-face banking.

Chase offers various financial services, including checking accounts, with the Chase Total Checking stealing the spotlight. New customers get a $200 bonus when meeting the eligibility criteria, making for a welcome introduction.

The account has a monthly fee of $12, which can be waived. While there are bank accounts with a higher monthly fee, there is also one account with a monthly fee of $4.95. Unfortunately, this fee cannot be waived and does not include overdrafts or paper checks.

The Chase Savings account has a monthly fee of $5.00, which the bank will waive if you meet any of the five criteria. The APY rate is 0.01%, which goes up to 0.02% when qualifying for the premier relationship rates.

Chase also offers specialized and premier checking and savings accounts, CDs (Certificate of Deposit), a wide variety of credit cards, loans, mortgages, and investment options.

5. Chime

  • Pros: Low to no fees, SpotMe spots you up to $200
  • Cons: No branches

 

While Chime is technically not a bank, it offers bank accounts with great features that make it worth considering. Chime’s banking services are provided through The Bancorp Bank, ensuring you don’t miss out on protections like FDIC insurance.

Chime offers one checking account with no monthly fees, balance requirements, or overdraft fees. You also get a free debit ATM card, which you can use for fee-free withdrawals from over 60,000 ATMs. Other notable features include SpotMe – which can spot you up to $200 should you find yourself a little bit short on cash.

Chime also offers a High-Yield savings account with an APY of 1.50% on all balances. As with their checking account, there are no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements.

Aside from the two bank accounts mentioned above, Chime offers Credit Builder. This account comes with a Visa credit card and no monthly service fee or interest. It’s a great choice for building your credit safely and securely.

6. Wells Fargo

  • Pros: Large selection of products and services
  • Cons: Low APY rate

 

Wells Fargo is one of the biggest national banks in the U.S., with 205 branches and 422 ATMs in Virginia. Due to its size, Wells Fargo is considered a SIFI – Systemically Important Financial Institution.

Wells Fargo offers four different checking accounts. Monthly fees start at $5 and max out at $35, all of which the bank will waive when meeting the set requirements. All accounts have a minimum opening deposit of $25, while only their Prime Checking and Premier Checking earn interest.

Wells Fargo also has two savings accounts. The Way2Save savings account has a monthly fee of $5.00 and an APY rate of 0.01%. The Platinum savings account, on the other hand, has a monthly fee of $12 and an APY of 0.01%, which can go up to 0.02% through relationship interest rates.

Wells Fargo also offers CDs (Certificate of Deposit), a selection of credit cards that includes a cash back credit card, and various types of loans.

7. Bank of America

  • Pros: Large selection of products and services
  • Cons: Low APY rates

 

Bank of America is one of the biggest banks in the U.S. It has a sizeable presence in Virginia, with 61 locations. It is currently offering welcome bonuses on several of its credit cards.

Bank of America offers three different checking accounts with monthly maintenance fees ranging from $4.95 to $25. You can avoid all monthly fees if you meet the eligibility criteria. Minimum opening deposits start at $25 and max out at $100, depending on your chosen account. All accounts come with a debit chip card, Zelle, and a Digital Wallet.

The bank offers one savings account called Bank of America Advantage Savings. It has a monthly fee of $8, which you can avoid, and a minimum opening deposit of $100. The APY rate is 0.01% across all account balances; however, this can go up to 0.04% if you enroll in their Preferred Rewards program and reach the platinum level.

Aside from the accounts mentioned above, Bank of America also offers CDs (Certificate of Deposit), IRAs, credit cards, home loans, auto loans, and investment options.

8. Citizens Bank

  • Pros: Additional time to settle overdrafts through Citizens Peace of Mind
  • Cons: Low APY rate

 

Citizen Bank is a regional bank operating in several states, including Virginia. In 2021 it reached an agreement with HSBC USA to purchase its east coast operations, thus expanding its reach.

Citizens Bank offers five different checking accounts with monthly fees starting from $5.00. There are two options with no maintenance fees; however, you need to be under 25 or have combined deposits of $200,000 to qualify. Account features and perks vary between accounts and include early pay and Citizens Peace of Mind – which gives you extra time to refund overdrafts.

Citizens Bank also offers three different savings accounts, two of which are only available with specific checking accounts. The standalone account has a monthly fee of $4.99, which you can avoid paying when depositing any monthly amount. The account has an APY of 0.01%, and you also get access to their Citizens Checkup feature.

Citizens Bank offers credit cards, home loans, student and auto loans, and investment and retirement options.

9. PNC

  • Pros: Welcome bonus of up to $400
  • Cons: No fee-free accounts

 

PNC is an American bank operating in 27 states and the District of Columbia. In Virginia, it operates 90 branches, giving it a substantial physical reach in the state. It is currently the 10th largest bank in the U.S.

While PNC offers traditional checking and savings accounts, it also offers an account called Virtual Wallet. It merges a checking and savings account into one, and, depending on which combination you go for, you can earn a bonus of up to $400.

Monthly service charges range between $7 and $25, waived when meeting any of the set requirements. You also get different savings accounts for short-term and long-term savings, helping you manage your financial goals better. You can also get two layers of overdraft protection, ATM fee reimbursements, and access to tools to help you keep tabs on your spending and savings.

PNC also offers dedicated student and military banking, credit cards, prepaid cards, and various types of loans.

10. United Bank

  • Pros: Useful account perks
  • Cons: Does not disclose APY interest rates

 

United Bank is a regional bank based out of West Virginia. It operates in several states, including Virginia. It currently has 222 full-service locations and a further 22 loan origination offices.

United Bank offers four checking accounts, each of which serves a particular purpose. The United Free Checking account has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. At the same time, the United Rewards Checking account comes with valuable benefits such as credit file monitoring, identity theft coverage, and many others. There’s also a higher-tier account for those looking to earn interest on balances of $2,500 or more and a Veterans Checking account.

United Bank has one savings account called Platinum Savings. It has no monthly fee and no minimum balance requirements, while the minimum opening deposit is $50. The account does offer tiered interest; however, United Bank does not disclose the rate.

United Bank offers one credit card option, MMAs (Money Market Account), CDs, IRAs, loans, and investment options.

11. CIT Bank

  • Pros: High-yield interest rate on savings account
  • Cons: Does not offer credit cards

 

CIT Bank is a division of First Citizens Bank – the largest family-owned U.S. bank. It is an online-only bank with no branches to visit; however, it does shine in other ways.

CIT Bank offers one checking account called eChecking. This free checking account does away with most fees and offers an APY that ranges between 0.10% and 0.25% – depending on your balance. The account also offers ATM reimbursements of up to $30 per month, a debit card with chip technology, and many other features.

CIT Bank’s Savings Connect is a savings account with a whopping 2.70% APY. It has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements – and the minimum opening deposit amount is $100.

CIT Bank offers a Savings Builder account, Money Market account, CDs, and home loans.

Credit Unions in Virginia

Credit unions are financial institutions that work similarly to a bank. The biggest difference is that the members own credit unions. When you open an account with a credit union, you become a member rather than just an account holder.

Credit unions are also managed differently than banks. They are not-for-profit and tend to invest any profit back into the credit union, which translates to lower fees and better interest rates.

As credit unions are membership-based, you must find one you qualify for to become a customer. Generally, membership depends on your place of residence, worship, or work. Credit unions can be state-chartered or federally chartered. State-charted credit unions follow regulations specific to the state in which they operate, in this case, Virginia. On the other hand, federally-chartered credit unions are regulated by the NCUA, which also insures accounts.

Virginia has 116 credit unions at the time of writing, including two of the biggest ones in the U.S. – Navy Federal Credit Union and Pentagon Federal Credit Union.

How to Choose the Best Bank in Virginia

Choosing the best bank in Virginia is primarily a matter of personal preferences and requirements. To make the best decision, you need to know what’s relevant to you as a customer.

Here are the top things to remember when looking for a new bank.

Product and services

The range of products and services can influence which bank you choose. Of course, you first need to see which of these products and services you need now and possibly in the future. Not all banks offer everything, and some might have a limited selection that might not cover your requirements.

If you’re only looking for a checking account for everyday debit card purchases like groceries, then other services may not be relevant. However, your financial situation and goals can change over time – so the products and services you’re not considering right now can become needed in the future.

Fees

Banks charge fees for all sorts of things. While some fees might not affect you, others might. It is worth looking at past bank statements to see where you are hit the hardest. Monthly maintenance and overdraft fees are two of the heftiest, which you can largely avoid. You might also want to look out for ATM withdrawal fees, reimbursements, and other fees, such as incoming and outgoing transfers.

Interest rates

You need to be on the lookout for two interest rates – APY and APR. The APY (Annual Percentage Yield) interest rate is how much money you’ll make on savings accounts. More and more banks are also offering an APY interest rate on their checking accounts – something worth considering. The APR (Annual Percentage Rate) is how much you have to pay when borrowing money, such as credit cards and loans.

FDIC insurance

FDIC-insured banks cover depositors for up to $250,000. If something happens to the member FDIC bank, the FDIC will refund you up to $250,000. Choosing a bank with FDIC insurance (or NCUA insurance if it’s a credit union) can help you rest easier knowing your money is secure should something happen.

Online banking

While most banks offer online banking nowadays, they might not necessarily cover everything that you’d expect them to. Online banking is important as it can save you a lot of time from visiting a branch whenever you need something – except for online banks, which have to ensure their online banking covers everything since going to a branch is not an option.

Mobile banking

Mobile banking is similar to online banking, except that you access it through a mobile app. It offers additional convenience since you can access it from anywhere if you have a smartphone with an internet connection. Look for features such as bill pay and mobile check deposit, which make mobile banking apps more convenient. Even so, try to read App Store or Play Store reviews to ensure, as much as possible, that the app works as it should.

Locations

If you prefer face-to-face banking at a local branch, the banking locations might be important in choosing the right bank. If you live in a big city like Richmond, you’ll have many more banks to choose from than if you live in a smaller town.

Speaking of locations, keep an eye out for the number of free ATMs in your area. These allow you to withdraw money without paying any atm fees – helping you keep more of your money.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most popular bank in Virginia?

Depending on which study you quote, Truist and Ally are some of the most popular banks in Virginia. However, this does not mean that some other study isn’t going to declare a different bank to be the most popular in Virginia.

Studies to determine the most popular bank are never 100% accurate. As such, they can end up with wildly varying results. The important thing is to find a bank that you’re comfortable with, which offers everything you need and can help you improve your financial situation.

Which bank is the safest in Virginia?

All of the banks we covered in the article are FDIC-insured, making them some of the safest banks in the country. For a bank to get FDIC insurance, they must comply with stringent standards, ensuring they are very safe.

Which bank is most stable in Virginia?

All banks we reviewed in the list of best banks in Virginia are considered stable. Banks such as Wells Fargo, considered a Systemically Important Financial Institution, may enjoy an additional degree of stability; however, this does not mean that any other banks are less stable.

In banking, stability is safety. The same rules apply – look for FDIC or NCUA-insured financial institutions to ensure a degree of oversight for better stability.