Safest Banks In the U.S. With the Best Security

Between March and May of 2023, three U.S. banks failed—Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), Signature Bank, and First Republic Bank.

Bank failures are alarming, and the recent string of closures may have you feeling anxious about whether or not your money is safe with your current bank.

While most banks are generally reliable and unlikely to fail, it’s important to know what makes a bank safe. In the guide, we’ll highlight some key safety features to look for and provide you with an overview of the safest banks in the US.

What Makes Your Bank Safe?

The biggest safety feature to look for in a bank is FDIC insurance. In the aftermath of bank closing during the Great Depression, the FDIC was created to federally insure your bank accounts for $250,000 per depositor, bank, and account type.

If you use a credit union, your accounts should have similar coverage from the National Credit Union Share. And banks that are part of the IntraFi Network partner to offer even higher FDIC limits for high-net-worth individuals.

  • Size
  • Assets
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Ability to freeze your debit card
  • Data encryption
  • Suspicious activity alerts
  • 24/7 customer support

Bottom line—if your bank is FDIC insured, everything from your online savings to checking, CDs, and money market accounts is protected. The other factors listed can bolster your account’s security and give you peace of mind.

7 Safest Banks in the U.S.

Here are some of the safest banks in the U.S. with the best security:

  1. Wells Fargo
  2. U.S. Bank
  3. JP Morgan Chase
  4. PNC Bank
  5. Citibank
  6. Capital One
  7. M&T Bank Corporation

1. Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo is often considered the most secure of the national banks in the US. Wells Fargo can count on 12,000 free ATMs in its network and 4,700 brick-and-mortar branches all over the United States.

This financial institution has $1.886 trillion in assets and counting.

Another factor contributing to Wells Fargo’s reputation of being one of the safest banks is that Berkshire Hathaway Inc., owned by Warren Buffet, has invested in it. The company bought common stock worth nearly $13 billion from the bank, and the number keeps going up.

Wells Fargo also has a “Guarantee Against Unauthorized Access” feature, which insures your money against a potential hack attack on your bank account.

Other banks with this extra layer of safety are Ally Bank, HSBC, Charles Schwab, and First Tennessee Bank.

Security features and measures:

  • Account alerts that track your transactions and spot unusual activity
  • Control Tower–a secure place for your Wells Fargo cards and account information for easy monitoring
  • Ability to turn your cards on and off
  • Small businesses get an Account Access manager
  • Encryption and browser requirements
  • 2-step Verification, Voice Verification, Face ID, and Touch ID sign-on options

2. U.S. Bank (U.S. Bancorp)

U.S. Bank’s parent company U.S. Bancorp is the 5th largest bank in the USA, according to the Federal Reserve. with $590 billion in assets.

There are more than 2,000 U.S. Bank branch locations in the United States, most of them in the Midwest, and 469 are in California alone. In addition, with U.S. Bank, you can count on 4,700 ATMs.

In addition to being one of the safest banks in America, this financial institution can be trusted internationally. If something happens to your cards (e.g., they get stolen or lost), you’ll be able to report the incident through your online banking account or U.S. Bank’s helpline.

This feature is super convenient, especially while abroad when having access to a cell service might not be available at all times. The ability to report fraud through the web portal can be a lifesaver.

Security features and measures:

  • Authentication options–one-time passcode, fingerprint scan, visual pattern, and Face ID for mobile banking
  • Helpful resources to educate customers about fraud and account safety
  • Easily report suspicious activity to the bank by phone or email
  • Data encryption to keep your information safe and secure

Smartly Checking Account Logo

Smartly Checking Account

Learn More

3. J.P. Morgan Chase

J.P. Morgan Chase is the biggest bank in the U.S. Its headquarters are in Manhattan, New York City, and you may know it as just Chase for banking purposes.

J.P. Morgan Chase has had its troubles in the past, with its infamous multibillion-dollar trading loss. However, it’s still going strong financially and in terms of safety.

J.P. Morgan Chase’s total assets amount to about 3.267 trillion dollars. This bank, despite the setback we just mentioned, still has a $397 billion market cap.

Another great feature is Chase’s “money guarantee against unauthorized access.” This feature adds an extra layer of safety that makes Chase one of the best banks for fraud protection and gives its account holders and depositors peace of mind.

And Jamie Dimon, J.P. Morgan Chase’s CEO once stated that the bank could only be at risk of failing in the rare event of a collision between the earth and the moon.

Security features and measures:

  • Encryption of data
  • Monitoring for suspicious activity
  • Secure Messaging
  • Resources on how to protect yourself from fraud
  • Toll-free number you can call to check if you’re dealing with a scam/ fraud

4. PNC Bank

PNC Bank has over 2,600 brick-and-mortar branch locations and an extensive network of around 7,000 ATMs. This bank is present in 27 different states in America, but its headquarter is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

PNC Financial Services boasts 556 billion dollars in assets. PNC also owns ¼ of the asset management from BlackRock Inc.

At the end of 2008, PNC successfully closed its National City acquisition, something even harder to do in 2008 when financial markets were at risk.

PNC Financial Services has several extra security layers in place to protect you from theft, fraud, and scams. From data encryption to security questions to ensure that only you can access your account, it’s doing a lot to keep you and your money safe.

Security features and measures:

  • Encryption of your personal information
  • Two-Step Verification and optional additional sign-on security
  • Security Questions
  • Quick and easy to report fraud by email or phone
  • Security tips and extensive resources on how to protect yourself from fraud

5. Citibank

Citibank is a national bank that offers many account options: checking accounts, high-yield savings accounts, credit cards, CDs, and more with solid interest rates.

In terms of the bank’s security, Citibank is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). It has implemented a range of security measures to put your mind at ease.

The bank goes above and beyond to provide additional layers of safety to its customers. Citibank has a dedicated Security Team to keep an eye on any suspicious new technologies and activity and immediately alert if anything looks unusual.

They provide a 2-way SMS service that allows the bank to alert account holders of any suspicious transactions. If you receive an SMS from the bank, you should follow the steps in the message to get in touch with them and inform them about the unauthorized transaction.

Citibank uses 256-bit SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption to provide security and ensure your information can’t be read by anyone else. Overall, you can trust your data, and your money is safe with Citibank.

Security features and measures:

  • Encryption of your personal data
  • Lock My Card feature to disable your card temporarily
  • Free, personalized support if your identity is stolen
  • $0 Liability on unauthorized transactions
  • Fraud detection and warning alerts

6. Capital One

Capital One is one of the biggest U.S. national retail banks with a wide variety of financial services, from credit cards to deposit accounts. Capital One’s credit cards are known to offer fantastic rewards, perks, and sign-up bonuses.

As a major bank, it’s not surprising that it takes security very seriously. Capital One is an FDIC-insured bank, so any money you keep there (up to $250,000) is protected.

Capital One also delivers several advanced security features, like SwiftID, Card Lock, and multi-factor authentication to keep your account and money safe.

Eno, a virtual assistant, watches over your account to spot any suspicious activity instantly. If it does, it’ll alert you on the Capital One mobile app immediately.

Security features and measures:

  • Data encryption
  • Multi-Factor authentication
  • Eno – Capital One virtual assistant that monitors your account 24/7
  • Fraud alerts when suspicious activity is recorded on your account
  • Instant purchase notifications to monitor your spending
  • Card lock feature
  • Virtual cards available

7. M&T Bank Corporation

Founded and headquartered in the state of New York (in the city of Buffalo), M&T Bank Corporation made the list of the most secure banks in the USA for multiple reasons.

This bank has a long history. It was first established as a “Manufacturers, and Traders Trust Company” by two businessmen called Pascal Pratt and Brownson Rumsey in 1856.

Today, it has a strong presence of more than 1,000 physical branch locations and over 2,000 in-network ATMs in 12 different states. Moreover, its assets are worth over $201 billion and its market cap is $19.98 billion.

In 2022, M&T acquired People’s United Bank, featuring its reach and solidifying its financial strength even more.

Security features and measures:

  • 256-bit SSL data encryption
  • Real-time continuous monitoring to detect security incidents
  • Security alerts when suspicious activity is spotted
  • Personalized security questions
  • Easy to report security concerns by phone

How to Choose one of the Safest Banks

Here are a few pointers to help choose one of the safest banks for your needs.

Whether you opt for a local bank, a fintech, a traditional brick-and-mortar bank, or a credit union, look out for some of the features below:

  1. Look for security features: Every good, safe bank should offer features like data encryption, multi-factor identification, automatic logout, and account monitoring for suspicious activity.
  2. FDIC insurance: Once again, your bank must be FDIC insured, so you won’t incur the risk of losing your deposit accounts if something happens. If you are depositing at a credit union, then it must be NCUA-insured.
  3. Pay attention to size: The largest banks are less likely to fail in most cases. For big banks with many assets, it should be easier to recover from a loss, even though that isn’t always true, as demonstrated by the financial crisis.
  4. Read customer reviews: Before you commit to a bank, check its customer reviews, ask other customers, and get as much information as you can from the bank itself about its anti-fraud policies.
  5. Check the Global Finance List of Safest Banks: This list tells you if a bank is safe enough after evaluating factors like the bank’s assets to determine the level of safety of each financial institution.
  6. Look for a guarantee against unauthorized access: Some banks offer a guarantee against unauthorized access features. This guarantee means they will pay you back if somebody accesses your funds fraudulently.
  7. Opt for debit card blocking: Can you easily block your card at short notice? The quicker you can do that, the better. Make sure the financial institution you go for makes it easy.
  8. Ask about single-use card numbers: Some banks offer a single-use card number for you to use when purchasing online, for example, which makes for a safer experience.
  9. Get an EMV chip card: Today, almost all debit cards use EMV chips, which are safer than sliding a card to buy something because they are better encrypted.
  10. Look into liability: If you get charged for a purchase that has been made by someone else hacking your account, the bank usually covers it. That said, sometimes there are penalties for lost cards, so be aware of them.
  11. Note customer service accessibility: Avoid banks that make it hard to communicate with them, especially about security problems. The best customer services are helpful, can be reached in multiple ways, such as online, by phone, and in person, and are available 24/7.

Are Credit Unions as Safe as Banks?

While it’s true that some credit unions can be safer than banks, this depends on what you need in terms of personal finance. There are safe banks and safe credit unions alike.

If you just want a place to store your money, a credit union might be a better option for you. And if you work in an industry served by a particular credit union, you’ll be able to get extra benefits.

On the other hand, credit unions are sometimes more localized, so if you’d like to transfer money abroad or travel frequently, you may be better off with a bank.

Which of the Safest Banks is Best for You?

It’s crucial to choose a bank that prioritizes protecting your money and your personal information. That’s become even more evident with the recent failure of SVB and other banks.

Fortunately, most banks are unlikely to fail, and if yours does, you can trust the FDIC to keep its word. In every bank failure since 2000, the FDIC has paid out account owners quickly, giving them a new account at a secure bank.

With that peace of mind and an idea of the other safety features to look out for, you can focus on perks like APY, overdraft protection, and high withdrawal limits when you compare banks.