Best National Banks

The United States has more banks than any other country, with over 5,000 FDIC-insured institutions.

Local banks and credit unions have their own benefits, but most Americans choose to go with a nationwide bank due to convenience, extensive customer service, and peace of mind.

Still, with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to figure out which bank is best for you.

In This Article

15 best national banks in America

Every bank is going to come with pros and cons, which will depend on what you want in a banking experience. The best bank really depends on your banking needs and financial goals.

We’ve selected our list based on several important features to help you find the best bank for your specific situation.

Here are the top national banks in 2021:

1. Chase Bank

When it comes to bank bonuses and perks, no one can match Chase Bank, which is a part of the largest financial institution in the U.S.

They routinely offer nationally available sign-up bonuses for new banking customers.

Chase is also well known for its credit card sign-up bonuses and dozens of credit card products to choose from.

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Chase Bank LogoChase Chase Business Complete Banking℠ $300 July 23, 2021
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Chase Bank LogoChase Chase College Checking $100 July 14, 2021
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2. Wells Fargo

With 8,000 locations across the US, Wells Fargo takes the crown for the largest presence of brick and mortar banks in the country.

If you’re looking for a traditional banking experience with tellers, advisors, and free lollipops for your kids — Wells Fargo is hard to beat. They’ve also built up an impressive mobile banking platform, so it’s the best of both worlds.

Wells Fargo’s offerings are comprehensive, covering everything from bank accounts, credit cards, loans, retirement planning, and wealth management services.

Account options are pretty standard for a big bank and don’t stand out one way or the other, but the bank has recently made strides to improve its customer experience with enhanced tech and new consumer-friendly policies.

Together with Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Citibank, Wells Fargo is one of the “Big Four” American national banks.

This means that they manage more money than anyone else. However, this status isn’t without its drawbacks, and Wells Fargo is no exception. With all big national banks, you can expect higher than average account fees and suboptimal interest rates.

3. Bank of America

Bank of America (BoA) gets the nod for having the most widespread ATM network. Aside from certain sections of the South and Midwest, BoA ATMs are basically everywhere.

Bank of America was founded in 1998 from the merger of NationsBank and BankAmerica, and has since become the second-largest bank in the country, serving more than 10% of all American deposits.

BoA boasts more than 4,000 physical branches and over 16,000 ATMs. Like the rest of the Big Four, you can count on a holistic banking relationship that meets all of your basic banking needs.

BoA is increasingly moving into the online banking space and has one of the best financial mobile apps available. They also employ tons of customer service representatives. If you need help, their phone lines open seven days a week. You can also get support via Twitter and online chat.

4. PNC Bank

PNC Bank, based out of Pittsburgh, operates in 21 states across 2,300 locations — making it one of the biggest national banks in the country. In addition to personal banking, they also offer asset management and corporate banking.

The most intriguing product that PNC offers is called Virtual Wallet, which is a bundle of accounts. Checking, short-term savings, and long-term savings accounts are all included in the same package.

Spend is PNC’s checking account and has no monthly fees or minimum deposit requirements.

Reserve is the short-term savings account and acts as a backup checking account. Reserve offers a low APY and is intended to be used for emergency funds, for setting money aside for future expenses.

Growth is the long-term savings account in the Virtual Wallet, and this is where things get exciting. With an APY of .65% and just a $1 minimum opening deposit requirement, Growth serves as a solid HYSA option.

The Virtual Wallet also comes with some nice sign-up perks, with a $200 cash bonus for linking one of the accounts with direct deposit.

5. TD Bank

TD Bank touts itself as “America’s Most Convenient Bank.” In many ways, it lives up to the tagline.

In J.D. Power’s comprehensive 2019 study of banking customer experiences, TD Bank is the highest-rated national bank in terms of customer satisfaction. Within the study, TD Bank ranked highest in terms of convenience, branch service, and online banking satisfaction.

Most TD Bank locations are open seven days a week, and they tend to have more flexible hours than big national banks. While they have over 1,000 locations, TD Bank is heavily East Coast based. Texas is the only state outside of the east coast that has a TD Bank branch.

6. Ally Bank

Online banks have started to pop up more and more in recent years, and Ally Bank consistently ranks among the best. If you don’t feel the need for a physical location, an online-only bank could be a great fit.

The main benefit is that due to the lower overhead that online banks carry (no buildings, fewer employees, etc.), customers are usually rewarded with higher interest rates and low fees.

Ally Bank is no different and offers some of the highest APYs in the business. Ally’s high yield savings account comes with an 0.60% APY at the time of this writing. You also won’t see any monthly maintenance fees or get dinged for failing to meet a minimum balance.

As far as taking out cash goes, Ally doesn’t have their own ATMs. But, they do provide free access to over 43,000 Allpoint ATMs across the country. They also reimburse you up to $10 per statement period for any fees associated with out-of-network ATMs.

The only real downside with Ally is that making deposits can be a little tricky. There is no way to deposit cash, and checks need to be deposited through the app or the mail. If your employer doesn’t offer direct deposit, or if you get paid in cash, it might be worth looking into a more traditional option.

7. US Bank

U.S. Bank is the fifth-largest bank in the United States and has over 600 locations in California. With access to 24/7 phone support, you’ll never have to worry about getting in contact with your bank if you have an issue.

U.S. Bank’s locations are mainly based in the West and Midwest. U.S. Bank has no East Coast presence, with the exception of Florida.

As far as big banks go, U.S. Bank fits right into the mix.

8. Capital One

Capital One is mainly an online bank, but it does have some branch locations in the Northeast and parts of the South. They also have one of the best mobile banking apps.

The Capital One mobile app is rated at 4.8 stars (out of 5) in the App Store and 4.6 stars (out of 5) in the Google Play store.

On a high level, Capital One offers a solid personal finance platform with numerous account options and a wide variety of credit cards and investment products.

The bank is mostly in line with all the things that make online banks great — low fees, high APYs, and a user-friendly online banking experience.

While it’s true that Capital One’s physical locations are limited, a few of them have a coffee shop built so you can grab some java when you stop in.

9. Citibank

Citibank, the last of the Big Four, holds the title for the highest APY on a personal savings account, making it a bit of an outlier from the rest of the group.

It’s only available in certain markets, but the Citi Accelerate Savings account claims a standard APY of 0.70%.

Citibank is based in New York City, and the majority of its branches are concentrated in major metropolitan areas across the country, making it a solid option for urban dwellers.

10. BBVA

BBVA only has 600 locations, so some of its services may not be available in your area. However, BBVA offers a full range of financial services and free deposit accounts for small businesses.

Even if you don’t have a branch near you, BBVA does offer a well-regarded online business bank. If you need a physical branch and traditional business checking account, you’ll have to reside in one of the states where BBVA is present.

11. CIT Bank

CIT Bank, headquartered in Southern California, is the online-only banking subsidiary of the CIT Group.

CIT Bank offers your standard checking accounts and savings accounts. The bank really shines when it comes to money market accounts and certificates of deposits (CDs).

With a CIT Money Market account, you’ll have access to one of the best interest rates available (which is currently over seven times the national average).

You can also open an eChecking account with CIT with as little as $100. This account will earn you up to 0.25% APY.

As far as ATM fees go, CIT doesn’t charge any, and they’ll reimburse up to $30 per month for fees charged by out-of-network ATMs.

12. Barclays

Barclays Bank is a unique member of this list in a few ways. First, Barclay’s doesn’t offer checking accounts, just savings accounts, credit cards, and CDs. Second, the bank isn’t based in the US.

Headquartered in London, Barclays is the best option for international travelers that need to do some banking overseas.

Barclays also has 12 stateside locations; however, their online services are probably the most appealing. At the time of this writing, the

Barclays HYSA offers a competitive 0.05% APY on deposits.

13. Huntington Bank

Huntington Bank is probably one of the lesser-known banks on this list, but make no mistake; they’re a quality option, especially if you live in the Midwest.

Huntington’s Asterisk-Free Checking account is a no-frills account that makes checking simple. As an account holder, you’ll enjoy no monthly service fee and no minimum balance requirement.

The savings and CD rates here are relatively low, but customer service is excellent, and the mobile app is also well-liked.

One area where Huntington falls a bit short is when it comes to overdraft fees. They do give you a 24-hour overdraft protection window to get your account back in the positive before the fees come through. If you miss that window, Huntington’s overdraft fees are some of the highest around.

14. nbkc

The National Bank of Kansas City (nbkc) is a top-ranking local bank with only four branches in Kansas City. The bank also offers a top-notch online platform.

nbkc takes a unique approach to personal banking by combining checking and savings into one account, which is called the nbkc Everything Account. Basically, you get all the practicality and flexibility of a checking account, coupled with the interest-earning potential of an HYSA.

The nbkc Everything Account has no minimum account balance, no overdraft fees, and no maintenance fees. What’s more, you’ll earn a 0.50% APY on deposits.

nbkc also offers options for business accounts and home loans. The bank’s website is super easy to use and features a tool that helps you manage your money and make sound financial decisions.

15. Discover Bank

Discover Bank is not just a credit card company. The company also prides itself on not charging fees to banking customers.

With a Discover Online Banking account, you’ll never pay a monthly maintenance fee, overdraft fee, or insufficient funds fee. Most banks cannot offer the same benefits.

Discover also has one of the only rewards-earning debit cards, which is a good option for those who would rather earn cash back on debit card purchases as opposed to with a credit card.

When you need cash, Discover Bank has an ATM network with over 60,000 no-fee ATM locations.

So, who is the number 1 bank in the U.S.?

If this were a clear-cut answer, we wouldn’t need to take the time to make a list of 15. Looking at the numbers: Chase is the biggest bank in terms of assets under management. Ally is the best online bank, and Citibank has the best APY.

At the end of the day, no bank can claim to be the outright number one bank. It all depends on what banking services you need and identifying the bank to best serve those needs.

Which national banks are the safest?

All of the banks on this list are FDIC-insured, which means that your deposits are protected up to $250,000. This is a requirement for any banking option that you should be considering.

Most of the bigger banks will also guarantee your money against unwanted access in the event that someone hacks your account, and some, such as Bank of America and Chase, will even reimburse you the next day while they look into it.

Which of these top national banks will work best for you?

Now that you’re familiar with the benefits of each top national bank, the next step is picking the one that’s right for you, based on your individual needs.

Do your research and you’re bound to make a great choice.

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