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.

15 Best National Banks in America

Every bank is going to come with pros and cons. Which is “best” for you 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 2023:

1. Chase Bank

Best Bank Bonuses

Chase Bank is one of the largest banks in the U.S., and one of our top picks for national banks. You’ll have access to more than 4,700 physical branches, 16,000 ATMs, and a well-liked mobile app that makes it easy to skip both.

Like most of the national banks, their rates aren’t great, but their product breadth makes it easy to conveniently bank all at one place.

Plus, when it comes to bank bonuses and perks, no one can match Chase Bank.

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 the dozens of credit card products they have to choose from.

Chase Bank Logo Chase Bank Overview

U.S. Locations By State

Data Source: FDIC

Map of Chase Bank U.S. Locations By State

Number of Branches: 4,700+
Number of ATMs: 16,000
Interest on Savings: 0.01% APY
Interest on Checking: 0.01% APY
2022 J.D. Power National Banking Satisfaction Score: 678 (Second Place and +15 points compared to 2021!)
BBB Grade: A+
Apple iOS: 4.8 based on 4.8M ratings
Google Play: 4.4 based on 1.8M ratings
Chase Bank Logo

up to $3000

Chase : Private Client Checking℠
Available nationwide

Chase Business Complete Banking℠ Logo

up to $500

Chase : Business Complete Banking℠
Available nationwide


2. Citi

Best for Savings

Citibank N.A., 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 4.05%, and you only need a minimum balance of $1 to earn it.

Citi 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.

Like Chase, Citi is also known for offering nearly year-round sign up bonuses. What makes Citi promotions unique, however, is that they’re often tiered.

The low requirements make the offers accessible to most people, but even better, Citi will reward you with thousands of dollars if you can meet the highest terms – which usually require a large deposit.

Citibank Logo Citi Overview

U.S. Locations By State

Data Source: FDIC

Map of Citibank U.S. Locations By State

Number of Branches: 961
Number of ATMs: 60,000
Interest on Savings: 4.05% APY
Interest on Checking: 0.03% APY
2022 J.D. Power National Banking Satisfaction Score: 647 (+16 points compared to 2020)
BBB Grade: F
Apple iOS: 4.9 based on 3.4M ratings
Google Play: 4.8 based on 970k ratings
Citi® Logo

up to $2000

Citi® : Citi Priority
Available nationwide

Citi® Logo

4.05% APY

Citi® : Accelerate Savings
Open online


A note on the F rating from the BBB: In September 2020, the U.S. CFTC fined Citibank $4.5M for “supervision failures that led to the deletion of subpoenaed audio recordings.” The government action is cited as the reason for the failing grade, along with 75 unresolved complaints.

3. US Bank

Best for Low Fees

U.S. Bank, member FDIC, is the fifth-largest bank in the United States and has nearly 500 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. With the exception of Florida and North Carolina, US Bank has no East Coast presence.

However, their mobile app is rated well by users (and was in the top 10 in JD Power’s recent mobile app satisfaction study), so your day-to-day experience should be positive.

What’s nice about U.S. Bank is the multitude of account options.

U.S. Bank recently overhauled their consumer line-up, simplifying the choices for both savings and checking accounts. Where they used to have an arguably overwhelming but not well differentiated number of choices – including 5 savings accounts and 5 checking accounts – they now offer a single checking account and a single savings account, plus two Money Market accounts.

They did, however, keep specialty CDs, including their Step Up CD, where rates go up every 7 months, and their Trade Up CD, which includes a one-time rate increase.

Their CD rates are also higher than most big national chains. For example, Chase offers a rate of up to 0.05%. Compared to U.S. Bank, whose best CD rate is 4.65% APY.

In simplifying their checking and savings accounts, US Bank also reduced their monthly fees.

The U.S. Bank Smartly™ Checking account is $6.95/mo (compared to the $6.95 – $24.95/mo of their previous lineup), but that can easily be waived with direct deposit, maintaining $1,500 in the account, or by opening a U.S. Bank credit card. Plus, you won’t be charged for overdrafts if you link a second account, and you’ll get 100 free trades each year with their affiliated self-directed brokerage account.

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

U.S. Bank Logo U.S. Bank Overview

U.S. Locations By State

Data Source: FDIC

Map of U.S. Bank U.S. Locations By State

Number of Branches: 2,200+
Number of ATMs: 4,700
Interest on Savings: 0.01% APY
Interest on Checking: 0.01% APY
2022 J.D. Power National Banking Satisfaction Score: 652
BBB Grade: A+
Apple iOS: 4.8 based on 1.4M ratings
Google Play: 4.7 based on 360k ratings
U.S. Bank Logo

up to $400

U.S. Bank : Smartly® Checking
Open online

U.S. Bank Logo

up to $750

U.S. Bank : Business Checking
Available nationwide


4. Discover Bank

Best Cash Back

Despite what you may think, Discover Bank is not just a credit card company.

Operating as an online bank, Discover offers a host of personal banking products, including checking and savings accounts, MMAs, CDs, retirement accounts, and loans.

What makes Discover particularly special is their fee structure.

With a Discover Online Banking account, you’ll never pay a monthly maintenance fee, overdraft fee, or insufficient funds fee.

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 purchases as opposed to with a credit card. With it, you can earn up to $360 each year.

While Discover is an online bank, the company still owns and operates the original branch of The Greenwood Trust Company in Delaware (which they acquired in 2000), making it the bank’s only physical location.

Discover Bank Logo Discover Bank Overview
Number of Branches: 1
Number of ATMs: 60,000
Interest on Savings: 3.90% APY
Interest on Checking: No
2022 J.D. Power Direct Banking Satisfaction Score: 715 (First Place!)
BBB Grade: A+
Apple iOS: 4.9 based on 4.1M ratings
Google Play: 4.7 based on 280k ratings
Discover Bank Logo

up to $200

Discover : Online Savings
Available nationwide

Discover Bank Logo

up to $360

Discover : Cashback Debit
Available nationwide


5. Capital One

Best Customer Satisfaction

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 banking apps.

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.

In this year’s J.D. Power National Banking Satisfaction Study, Capital One came in first with a score of 694. Contributing factors were low fees that are structured clearly, high APYs, and a user-friendly online banking experience.

In addition to the emphasis on customer satisfaction and the solid app that makes it easy to self-service most banking tasks, Capital One has a couple of features to overcome their low number of branches.

First, in addition to their other locations, Capital One operates more than 40 cafes across the country, a cool twist on the traditional bank branch.

These Capital One Cafes are open to both Capital One customers and non-customers, but as a Capital One debit or credit card holder, you get 50% off any beverage. You’ll also have access to Ambassadors (similar to traditional bank tellers) who can answer questions, and to Money & Life Mentors who can provide confidential and free 1-on-1 mentoring. Lastly, you’ll have access to traditional cafe perks like free wifi, charging stations, and semi-private nooks for collaboration.

Second, Capital One has partnered with CVS to give customers greater access to convenient cash deposits than their branch network would otherwise provide.

Using their app’s Add Cash in Store feature, you can deposit up to $999 cash into your account each day at any CVS location. Keep in mind that you’re limited to just 5 transactions each month, however. It’s easy to do, though. Just sign into your mobile app, enter how much you want to deposit, show the barcode to the cashier at CVS, and you’ll get an instant confirmation and can use your money in minutes.

Capital One Logo Capital One Overview

U.S. Locations By State

Data Source: FDIC

Map of Capital One U.S. Locations By State

Number of Branches: 325
Number of ATMs: 70,000
Interest on Savings: 3.90% APY
Interest on Checking: 0.10% APY
2022 J.D. Power National Banking Satisfaction Score: 694 (First Place!)
BBB Grade: A
Apple iOS: 4.9 based on 6.8M ratings
Google Play: 4.6 based on 1.4M ratings

6. PNC Bank

Best Banking Bundle

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.

What’s more, in June 2021, PNC closed on a $11.5B acquisition of BBVA, which extended its reach to markets it had previously underserved, particularly throughout the Southwest.

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. It used to be a solid HYSA option with a very competitive rate, but now even after meeting the Relationship Rate requirements, balances over $2,500 will still only earn up to 0.03%. Time will tell whether the ongoing Fed rate hikes will have positive effects here.

On the bright side, PNC regularly offers sign up bonuses for opening a new Virtual Wallet account.

PNC Bank Logo PNC Bank Overview

U.S. Locations By State

Data Source: FDIC

Map of PNC Bank U.S. Locations By State

Number of Branches: 2,700
Number of ATMs: 18,000
Interest on Savings: 3.50% APY
Interest on Checking: up to 0.05% APY
2022 J.D. Power National Banking Satisfaction Score: 658 (-26 points compared to 2021)
BBB Grade: A+
Apple iOS: 4.8 based on 1.3M ratings
Google Play: 4.5 based on 225k ratings
PNC Bank Logo


PNC : Virtual Wallet®
Open online

PNC Bank Logo


PNC : Virtual Wallet® with Performance Spend
Open online


7. Bank of America

Best Online Banking

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 4,100 physical branches and over 17,000 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. In fact, J.D. Power’s 2021 Banking Mobile App Satisfaction Study ranked Bank of America highest, with a score of 871.

They also employ tons of customer service representatives. If you need help, their phone lines are open seven days a week. You can also get support via Twitter and online chat.

Bank of America Logo Bank of America Overview

U.S. Locations By State

Data Source: FDIC

Map of Bank of America U.S. Locations By State

Number of Branches: 4,100+
Number of ATMs: 17,000
Interest on Savings: up to 0.04% APY
Interest on Checking: up to 0.02% APY
2022 J.D. Power National Banking Satisfaction Score: 641
BBB Grade: A+
Apple iOS: 4.8 based on 4.1M ratings
Google Play: 4.6 based on 1M ratings
Bank of America Logo


Bank of America : Advantage Banking
Available nationwide

Bank of America Logo


Bank of America : Business Advantage Checking Bonus Offer
Available nationwide


8. TD Bank

Best Customer Service

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 study of banking customer experiences, TD Bank was the highest-rated national bank in 2019 in terms of customer satisfaction. Within the study, TD Bank ranked highest in terms of convenience, branch service, and online banking satisfaction.

In the more recent 2022 study however, TD dropped a few slots – now in 3rd – but still were rated favorably by the majority of their customers.

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 1,100 locations, TD Bank is exclusively East Coast based.

TD Bank Logo TD Bank Overview

U.S. Locations By State

Data Source: FDIC

Map of TD Bank U.S. Locations By State

Number of Branches: 1,100+
Number of ATMs: 700
Interest on Savings: up to 0.05% APY
Interest on Checking: No
2022 J.D. Power National Banking Satisfaction Score: 663
BBB Grade: B+
Apple iOS: 4.8 based on 250k ratings
Google Play: 4.3 based on 85k ratings
TD Bank Logo


TD Bank : Personal Savings
Open online

TD Bank Logo


TD Bank : Beyond Checking
Open online


9. Wells Fargo

Best for In-Person Banking

Wells Fargo used to take the crown for the largest presence of brick and mortar banks in the country.

If you were looking for a traditional banking experience with tellers, advisors, and free lollipops for your kids — Wells Fargo was hard to beat.

In recent years, however, they’ve been closing doors – hundreds each year, in fact.

Fortunately, they’ve built up an impressive mobile banking platform, and have been making strides to improve its customer experience with enhanced tech.

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.

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.

Arguably to counteract the bad publicity from their most recent scandals, Wells Fargo has been rolling out several consumer-friendly policies, including eliminating NSF and overdraft transfer fees, an extra-day grace period for overdrafts, and an early payday feature that makes direct deposits available up to two days early.

Wells Fargo Logo Wells Fargo Overview

U.S. Locations By State

Data Source: FDIC

Map of Wells Fargo U.S. Locations By State

Number of Branches: 4,800+
Number of ATMs: 12,000
Interest on Savings: up to 0.02% APY
Interest on Checking: 0.01% APY
2022 J.D. Power National Banking Satisfaction Score: 625 (-3 points compared to 2021)
BBB Grade: NR
Apple iOS: 4.8 based on 7.8M ratings
Google Play: 4.8 based on 2.0M ratings
Wells Fargo Bank Logo


Wells Fargo : Way2Save® Savings
Available nationwide

Wells Fargo Bank Logo


Wells Fargo : Personal Checking
Available nationwide


10. Ally Bank

Best Online 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. 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.

Ally Bank Logo Ally Bank Overview
Number of Branches: 0
Number of ATMs: 43,000
Interest on Savings: 3.85% APY
Interest on Checking: up to 0.25% APY
2022 J.D. Power Direct Banking Satisfaction Score: 709 (Third Place!)
BBB Grade: C
Apple iOS: 4.7 based on 55k ratings
Google Play: 3.9 based on 25k ratings

11. Truist

Best Community-Focused Bank

SunTrust and BB&T merged in 2019 to form Truist, becoming the sixth-largest bank in the U.S. with more than 10 million customers.

They position themselves as being community-focused, pledging to “lend or invest $60 billion to low- and moderate-income and minority borrowers” from 2020-2022 alone.

It took nearly two years, but new customers can finally open accounts under the Truist brand.

As we predicted, their product lineup boasts a wide range of products, including 2 checking accounts, a standard savings account, money market and CDs, 5 credit cards, home, auto and personal loans, and a suite of small business products.

Noticeably missing is a high-yield savings option, and their standard product boasts an interest rate that’s laughably low.

Following the trend of streamlining product offerings, Truist recently overhauled their checking accounts. Where they used to have 5 different accounts, they now have just two personal checking options, one of which is geared toward second-chance customers who need a straightforward account to help build good financial habits.

Their new flagship checking account, Truist One Checking, has consolidated the others and instead now offers tiered benefits based on how much you keep in your Truist accounts. Keep in mind, the balances across your entire “Truist One Portfolio” count toward these tiers, including checking, savings, CDs, IRAs, and investments.

They call these tiers “levels”, and there are 5 in total, from Level 1 to Level Premier.

Truist credit card customers earn an additional 10-50% rewards on their credit card purchases as a loyalty perk, with the amount increasing at each level. The account also offers a “debit” card that earns Delta Skymiles (but also comes with an annual fee that starts at $95, dropping to $25 for Level Premier customers).

Truist One has a $12 monthly fee, but there are several very easy ways to have this fee waived, including maintaining $500 across all of your personal accounts or receiving $500 in direct deposits each month.

Truist Bank Logo Truist Overview

U.S. Locations By State

Data Source: FDIC

Map of Truist Bank U.S. Locations By State

Number of Branches: 2,100+
Number of ATMs: 2,100+
Interest on Savings: 0.01% APY
Interest on Checking: No
2022 J.D. Power National Banking Satisfaction Score: 605 (-31 points compared to 2021)
BBB Grade: A+
Apple iOS: 4.7 based on 445k ratings
Google Play: 4.7 based on 120k ratings
Truist Bank Logo


Truist : One Checking
Open online

Truist Bank Logo


Truist : Business Checking
Open online


12. CIT Bank

Best for Money Market Accounts

CIT Bank, formerly the online-only banking subsidiary of the CIT Group, has officially merged with First Citizens Bank.

For now, CIT, CIT Bank, and OneWest Bank will continue business as usual, operating as divisions of First Citizens Bank. That means customers of CIT Bank still need to visit CIT Bank branches and open new accounts directly through CIT Bank.

Long term, however, the CIT brand will likely be phased out, as First Citizens’ systems and operations are updated.

While that may cause heartburn for some customers, it actually makes the bank a stronger contender as a best national bank. First Citizens Bank now has more than $100 billion in assets (giving the institution lots of lending power and the ability to invest in value-adds for customers), and will grow the footprint of branches for former CIT Bank customers to more than 22 states.

For now, however, banking with CIT Bank is business as usual, as we mentioned.

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 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.

CIT Bank Logo CIT Bank Overview

U.S. Locations By State

Data Source: FDIC

Map of CIT Bank U.S. Locations By State

Number of Branches: 84
Number of ATMs: 0, but reimburses $30/mo in ATM fees
Interest on Savings: up to 4.85% APY
Interest on Checking: up to 0.25% APY
2022 J.D. Power Direct Banking Satisfaction Score: 638
BBB Grade: A-
Apple iOS: 4.6 based on 8k ratings
Google Play: 3.4 based on 2k ratings

13. Huntington Bank

Best No-Frills Account

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.

Huntington Bank Logo Huntington Bank Overview

U.S. Locations By State

Data Source: FDIC

Map of Huntington Bank U.S. Locations By State

Number of Branches: 1,200+
Number of ATMs: 1,700
Interest on Savings: up to 0.06% APY
Interest on Checking: No
2022 J.D. Power Retail Banking Satisfaction Score: 701 (North Central Region)
BBB Grade: A+
Apple iOS: 4.8 based on 210k ratings
Google Play: 4.5 based on 48k ratings
Huntington National Bank Logo


Huntington : Perks Checking
Open online

Huntington National Bank Logo


Huntington : Platinum Perks Checking
Open online


14. nbkc

Best All-In-One Account

The National Bank of Kansas City (nbkc) is a top-ranking local bank with only four branches in Kansas City. But, 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 even earn interest on your 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.

nbkc Logo nbkc Overview

U.S. Locations By State

Data Source: FDIC

Map of nbkc U.S. Locations By State

Number of Branches: 5
Number of ATMs: 37,000
Interest on Checking: 1.50% APY
J.D. Power National Banking Satisfaction Score: N/A
BBB Grade: A+
Apple iOS: 4.4 based on 670 ratings
Google Play: 4.1 based on 470 ratings

15. Barclays

Best International Bank

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 has 12 stateside locations, but they’re dedicated to investment services.

Barclays Logo Barclays Overview
Number of Branches: 12 (Investment)
Number of ATMs: 0
Interest on Savings: 4.00% APY
J.D. Power National Banking Satisfaction Score: N/A
BBB Grade: A+
Apple iOS: N/A – Only for UK residents
Google Play: N/A – Only for UK residents

Methodology: How We Chose the Best National Banks

To gather this list, we looked at the largest, most well-known retail banks in America.

Data: We then gathered a ton of data on each bank, 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.

Customer Reviews & Satisfaction Scores: After that, we layered on actual customer reviews and satisfaction scores. We placed a great deal of emphasis on industry studies, such as J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Banking and Credit Card Mobile App Satisfaction Study and J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study.

We ended up with this list of 15 great national banks!

You can’t go wrong by choosing any 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 will pay you the best bonus!

Pros and Cons of National Banks

Like everything in life, choosing a national bank as your primary financial institution comes with both positive and negative trade offs. Let’s look at a few.

Pros of National Banks

  • Product Offerings. National banks can be a one-stop shop for all of your financial needs. In addition to the standard checking and savings accounts, the big banks will offer mortgages, credit cards, personal and auto loans, investment services, and more. Plus, most are equally strong for business owners as they are in the consumer side (compared to credit unions, for example, who offer a wide range of personal products but are often lacking in business services.). Even if you don’t need multiple products right now, you likely will someday, and building a relationship with a single institution can lead to loyalty rates and perks.
  • Convenience. One of the most obvious benefits of the big banks is the number of branches and ATMs they have across the country. While online and mobile banking makes this less of an attraction as it once was, it can still be a huge convenience if you happen to need support while traveling.
  • New Account Bonuses. National banks like PNC, Chase, and Citi have the marketing dollars to offer new account bonuses nearly year-round. If you’re otherwise fairly indifferent to which bank you choose, opening a new account at a national bank will likely see you get paid.

Cons of National Banks

  • Lower Interest Rates. The flip side to the plethora of account options and physical locations is that national chains have higher overhead costs to support those and that typically means lower interest rates. However, this is definitely not always the case (particularly in the era of low-interest rates across the board) so you should check before taking that for granted.
  • Higher Fees. Similarly to the low-interest rates, national banks are also more likely to ding you with fees. Monthly account fees (though these can often be waived!), overdraft fees, NSF fees, fees for wire transfers and checkbooks, and more. If you often incur fees from your bank, we recommend having a solid understanding of which activities you’re most often charged for, and shopping specifically for accounts that minimize or completely eliminate these. National banks like Discover, for example, differentiate themselves specifically by charging very, very few fees.
  • Less Personalized Service. Your local credit union or small regional bank will likely have more flexibility to consider scenarios on a case-by-case basis. For example, land loans are notoriously difficult because of the risk involved compared to a typical mortgage with the asset (the home) already in place. It’s common advice to check with your local credit union instead, which will better understand the value of the land in question. Another example is for those with less than stellar banking histories. If you’re actively taking steps to better your financial situation, but are still in the gray area, pleading your case to a local bank may be easier than a national chain. But those are just two small examples of the many ways that national chains may be more bound to corporate processes and operating procedures.

National Banks FAQs

What is a national bank?

Technically speaking, a national bank is a bank chartered by the U.S. government. For the sake of our list, we considered a national bank to be one that’s federally chartered, very well known, and/or with an extensive number of branches and ATMs.

Which is better, a national bank or a smaller bank?

A smaller bank will likely provide more personalized service. Many also charge lower fees and pay higher interest rates – this is particularly true of credit unions because of their not-for-profit model.

National banks, however, have more locations, stronger tech, offer higher bonuses, and typically provide more products and services.

Which is better, an online bank or a brick-and-mortar bank?

It depends on what you want in a banking experience. If you value face-to-face banking or if you deposit cash regularly, you’ll want a bank that has branches conveniently located to you.

Online banks, on the other hand, don’t have the overhead of physical locations and can typically afford then to pass on the savings to you – in the form of fewer fees and higher interest rates (though they don’t always!).

It used to be true that online banks had the leg-up in terms of technology and your online or mobile experience, but that’s no longer the case. Banks large and small have invested enough in technology that your day-to-day personal banking is hassle-free. Mobile check deposits, transferring money, checking balances, deposit alerts, debit card locking, bill pay – these are all standard features nowadays.

How much interest do the best big banks pay?

Right now, the national average for savings is just 0.13% APY, and even less for interest checking: 0.03%.

Of course, there are exceptions. For example, Citi® Accelerate Savings is currently offering 4.05%.

In general, however, if you’re looking for the highest rates, you’ll have the best luck by focusing your search on national online banks like Discover, Capital One, CIT, and Ally.

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 will pay me a bonus?

Chase Bank and Citi are known for running promotions nearly year-round. But most of the national banks will run bonuses periodically to attract new customers: you’ll be required to open a new account and meet certain requirements.

Check out all of the current bank promotions to see which banks are running deals right now.

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 per person, per ownership category, and per bank.

This should be a requirement for any bank that you’re 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.

Is my money safer in a national bank versus a regional bank?

Nope. Your money is equally safe in any bank that’s insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (or any credit union that’s insured by the NCUA).

Which of the top national banks is best for you?

As we said, the best bank for you really depends on what you want in a banking experience.

Now that you’re familiar with the benefits of the top national banks, 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.

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired or changed.