What makes a bank one of the best? Is it low fees, high-interest rates, a slick online platform, or perhaps a combination of all those things?
There’s certainly no shortage of banks vying for your business, so don’t settle for just any financial institution. Why not earn more money over the long term by going with a bank that can meet your specific needs?
Here’s a look at the best banks for every type of consumer.
Best Banks of 2022
- Chase Bank: Best Overall
- Discover Bank: Best Online Bank
- Wells Fargo: Best Big Bank
- Bank of America: Best for Students
- Axos Bank: Best for Small Business
- Capital One: Best Free Checking Account
- Ally Bank: Best Savings Account
- PNC: Best for Personal Loans
- Revolut: Best for Cryptocurrency
- Radius Bank: Best for Trust Accounts
- Chime: Best Neobank
🏆 Best Overall
Chase Bank is the largest consumer bank in the U.S. and also tops our list of best national banks. This New York-based financial giant is well-known for its wide range of account options and lucrative sign-up bonuses.
Chase offers deposit accounts for both consumers and businesses, credit cards, loans, and an investment platform. Chase has nearly 5,000 physical branches and over 16,000 ATMs nationwide.
What’s more, its online banking platform consistently ranks as one of the best among traditional banks. Chase also leaves most other brands behind when it comes to credit card intro bonuses and rewards.
🏆 Best Online Bank
Online banks, sometimes referred to as digital banks, are banking platforms that exist entirely in the digital space without any retail locations. Discover Bank is an online-only bank operated by Discover Financial, one of the leading credit card issuers in the US.
Discover’s online banking platform includes rewards checking, high-yield savings, certificates of deposit (CDs), and a money market account (MMA).
Where this bank truly shines is in the fees category. Discover is a truly fee-free bank, and you won’t pay a thing for monthly maintenance, overdrafts, or low balances.
You’ll also have access to more than 60,000 free ATMs, and the Discover Bank mobile app is one of the best-reviewed banking apps available.
🏆 Best Big Bank
Wells Fargo is the third-largest bank in the US and has more branch locations than anyone else (more than 8,000).
Headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo’s strongest presence is on the West Coast. The bank offers deposit accounts, credit cards, loans, retirement planning, wealth management services, and more.
As far as big, traditional banks go, Wells Fargo is one of the best examples, with plenty of in-person support and financial products available. Like most big banks, the downside is there are relatively low savings rates and frequent fees.
But, with an improved mobile banking app platform and a new emphasis on improved customer service, Wells Fargo is making strides.
Bank of America
🏆 Best Bank for Students
Whether you’re a high school or college student, starting a relationship with a bank is an important step toward building a sound financial future.
Bank of America (BoA) is the second-largest national bank in the US, servicing nearly 11% of all American bank deposits.
BoA’s Advantage SafeBalance Banking is a bank account designed specifically for students. If you’re under 24 and enrolled in high school or college, you won’t have to worry about a monthly maintenance fee or overdraft fees. The account is checkless (which means you can’t write checks), but you can make payments with a debit card, digital wallet, or through the mobile app.
🏆 Best for Small Business
If you’re a small business owner, freelancer, or entrepreneur, a good small business bank account is essential for your enterprise’s financial health.
Axos, formerly known as Bank of Internet USA, is one of the nation’s longest-running online-only banks and offers both personal and business solutions covering everything from accounts, to loans, to investing.
For business owners, Axos offers both small business and commercial banking services, with an emphasis on modern, evolved business banking solutions.
Axos Small Business Bank Accounts
|Axos Business Interest Checking||up to $200||December 31, 2022||
|Axos Business Premium Savings||up to $200||December 31, 2022||
|Axos Business Savings||up to $200||December 31, 2022||
🏆 Best Savings Account
Ally is the most popular online bank in the US. With competitive high-yield savings accounts (HYSAs), loan products, and an investment platform, it’s easy to see why.
Not only is Ally the biggest bank in the digital space, but it’s one of the biggest banks in terms of total assets in the country, period.
Ally originally made its name issuing auto loans, and it still stands as one of the largest car finance companies in the country. Its high-yield savings account comes with one of the best interest rates around.
Best of all, you won’t see any monthly fees or minimum balance requirements.
🏆 Best Free Checking Account
Capital One is a hybrid bank that operates both online and with brick-and-mortar bank branches, and Capital One 360 is now offering a fee-free checking account with no service fees or minimum balance.
Still, there are some fees in case of an overdraft, bounced checks, or some other occasions. Make sure you always read the fine print.
The main perk of Capital One Free Checking Account is the outstanding customer experience. You will also have access to more than 40,000 fee-free ATMs since you can use both Capital One 360 and Allpoint ATMs for free nationwide. The account earns also earns you a 0.20% annual percentage yield on all balances.
Its online banking and mobile banking app are compatible both with Apple and Android devices. They are highly rated and are equipped with fast mobile deposit, bill pay, an ATM finder, spending alerts, and more.
Capital One 360 checking account also offers a free checkbook and no foreign transaction fees.
🏆 Best for Personal Loans
PNC has a massive regional presence in the Mid-Atlantic and is one of the US’s biggest banks, with over 2,000 brick-and-mortar branches.
PNC’s personal loans are highly customizable, with loan terms worked out case-by-case, depending on your loan requirements and financial situation. They will perform a soft credit inquiry when submitting a request to determine what terms you can qualify for, and if you decide to proceed with the application, the bank will carry out a hard pull credit check.
PNC does not charge origination or application fees nor requires collateral in line with personal loans from other institutions. Applications can be submitted online. PNC limits personal loans to California residents to $10,000 but has no prepayment penalties.
🏆 Best for Cryptocurrency
Revolut is a UK-based neobank that expanded to the US in 2020. Opening an account online takes a few minutes, and you can choose from Standard, Premium, or Metal accounts.
Revolut allows customers to purchase bitcoin directly through its app, which is available for Android and iOS devices. You can buy crypto anytime you want or set an auto exchange that instructs the app to buy when the exchange rate hits a specific price.
Signing up is free, and you get access to many other features, including early pay and an FDIC insured account.
🏆 Best for Trust Accounts
Trust accounts are an important aspect of wealth management because they allow a trustee to disperse an estate’s assets, usually according to the terms of a trust agreement or estate plan.
Most large national banks offer trust accounts, including Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Ally Bank.
Radius Bank, now owned by LendingClub, is a Boston-based online bank that offers a few different trust account options, including a high-yield savings account, rewards checking, and a CD.
Any of these accounts can be converted into a trust, so you won’t have to open a new account if you already have one.
🏆 Best Neobank
A neobank is similar to an online bank, and the two terms are often used interchangeably, but they’re different in one way: neobanks aren’t actually banks. Neobanks are fintech companies that partner with chartered banks to provide online banking products and services.
This way, your money is still protected by a member-FDIC financial institution, and you also get the next-level functionality of a modern tech company.
Chime provides online checking and savings accounts, allows for early direct deposit payments, and gives you the flexibility to overdraft your account without fees up to $100. The Chime Savings account earns interest at a highly competitive rate, and you’ll never pay hidden fees.
Chime’s mobile app is extremely well-liked, and its automated savings and money management tools can help you keep your personal finances on the right track.
How We Chose The Best Banks
We’ve gathered tons of data on banks across the nation, including what account types they offered, account minimums and fees, interest rates both for saving and borrowing, their physical presence through branches and ATM networks, the attractiveness of their welcome bonuses or rewards, their online banking tech, the institution’s BBB rating, and more.
After that, we layered actual customer reviews and satisfaction scores. We placed a great deal of emphasis on industry studies, such as J.D. Power’s 2021 Banking Mobile App Satisfaction Study and J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study.
You can’t go wrong by choosing any financial institution on this list – your money will be secure and you’ll find account offerings that should cover all of your financial needs. But, each bank shines for slightly different reasons, so you should consider what’s most important to you and choose accordingly.
If you’re stuck between two with no clear winner, follow the cash by choosing the bank that offers the best bonus!
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best overall bank?
If only it were so simple. Unfortunately, there’s no surefire answer to this question.
The best bank for one person won’t work for another, and one bank might have the best savings account but fall short in other areas.
It all depends on what you need and which bank can provide it. It also might come down to where you live and the type of business that you have.
Are online banks better than traditional banks?
Undoubtedly, online banking comes with perks. For example, you can usually count on low fees, high APYs, and advanced mobile apps and online platforms. The tradeoff is the lack of physical branches, and in some cases, less access to customer support.
If these trade-offs sound reasonable to you (and for many, they will), then online banks are probably a better fit.
On the other hand, if you frequently need to deposit cash, or if you need a variety of account services from the same provider, you might be better of with a traditional bank.
It all comes down to finding a provider that best services your unique financial needs.
Which banks charge the most fees?
In general, the bigger the bank, the higher and more frequent the fees. If you take a look at the fee schedules of any major bank, you will see that they charge similar amounts for monthly maintenance fees, overdrafts, and so on.
To avoid checking account fees, you are better off looking into online banking. With that said, this rule is not absolute because some online banks charge fees, and many traditional banks offer ways to avoid fees by meeting certain requirements.
Do you have to have a social security number to open a bank account?
Not all banks require that you have an SSN to open an account. They will allow you to use other forms of identification such as a valid ID issued by the US government and an ITIN rather than an SSN. Here is a list of banks that do not require SSNs.
Choosing Which Is the Best Bank for You
The key to finding the right bank is to narrow it down based on what you’re looking for. Are you a student or a small business owner? Do you prefer minimal fees or wider account options? How important is having access to a physical branch?
Once you answer these questions, the best bank for you should start to reveal itself.
Take your time, do the research, and find the bank that fits best into your own financial picture. And remember, you can easily switch banks if you’re not happy with your decision.
Here’s to finding the best bank for you that charges low fees and helps you hit your goals.