Choosing the right bank is about more than just saving your money. It’s about finding a financial partner that understands your needs and can help you achieve your goals. If you live in the Southeast, are a first-time homebuyer, or want to open a free checking or savings account, Ameris Bank is worth your consideration.
Read on to learn more about Ameris Bank and what makes it a competitive choice for your financial institution.
What Is Ameris Bank?
Founded in 1971, Ameris Bank is a small to mid-sized bank with locations across the Southest and Mid-Atlantic.
They originally opened as the American Banking Company and rebranded to Ameris Bank in 2005 to collapse their multi-charter organization under a single brand. Today, they are headquartered in Atlanta, GA and have expanded their personal and commercial banking operations across the Southeast.
One of Ameris Bank’s most popular products is their mortgage loans. They offer several Ameris Bank mortgages including fixed-rate mortgages, adjustable rate mortgages, FHA loans, VA loans, and even a first-time homebuyer loan program. In addition to mortgage loan options, Ameris Bank offers a suite of commercial and personal products, such as checking and savings accounts, credit cards, and several loan types.
Ameris Bank: Checking Accounts
From a free account to an interest-bearing account, Ameris Bank has three checking accounts to meet the needs of their customers.
1. Free Checking
Ameris Bank’s Free Checking account is their most basic and affordable checking account. It requires an opening deposit of $100, and it is monthly service fee free and doesn’t require a minimum balance.
When you open a Free Checking account, you will also get a Visa debit card for in-store, online, and in-app purchases. You can also manage your account online or through the Ameris Bank mobile app.
2. Amenity Checking
The Amenity Checking account offers fraud protection, credit monitoring, cell phone protection, and more alongside standard checking account features.
With only a $100 opening deposit, you will gain access to features such as IDProtect identity theft monitoring and resolution, credit file monitoring and alerts, up to $10,000 in identity theft expense reimbursement, and the ability to request a 3-in-1 report every 90 days or upon receipt of a credit alert.
With these features, you will be charged an $8 monthly service fee, but you can lower this to $6 by enrolling in e-statements.
3. Advantage Checking
The Advantage Checking account is Ameris Bank’s only interest-bearing checking account. Ameris Bank doesn’t disclose the interest rate on their site or the schedule on which interest compounds or is credited.
You must have at least a $1,000 opening minimum deposit if you open your account in a branch or a $100 minimum opening deposit if you open your account online.
This account also charges a $20 monthly service fee, but it can be waived if the combined total of all related Ameris current personal loan balances and daily average balances within personal deposit accounts is $25,000 or more.
Ameris Bank: Savings Accounts
Ameris Bank offers three different savings accounts – Personal Savings, Minor Savings, and Education Savings – to complement your checking account.
1. Personal Savings Account
Ameris Bank’s Personal Savings Account is their standard, interest-bearing savings account. You need at least $100 to open an account and a $200 minimum daily balance to earn interest.
Much like the Advantage Checking account, the bank does not say how much interest you’ll earn with the account.
The account is limited to six withdrawals per quarter, and you will incur a $5 fee for every withdrawal in excess of this limit. You will also be charged an $11 quarterly maintenance fee unless you can maintain a $300 average daily balance or more.
2. Minor Savings Account
The Minor Savings Account is Ameris Bank’s solution to teaching kids the importance of saving money from a young age. There is no minimum deposit requirement to open an account, and you only need to maintain a $0.01 balance to earn interest.
The account is only available for customers 18 years of age or younger. There is no quarterly service fee, which makes it easy for kids to grow their savings without losing their money to fees.
3. Education Savings Account
The Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA) is a potentially tax-advantaged way for parents to save for their children’s education. You can contribute up to $2,000 per year per beneficiary to the account.
These contributions are not tax deductible, but withdrawals can be made tax-free when needed for qualified education expenses. Your annual income may impact your eligibility to open an account, so check with an Ameris Bank financial advisor to ensure you are eligible.
Ameris Bank: CD Account
Ameris Bank offers a single certificate of deposit (CD) product to their customers. You need at least $1,000 to open a CD, and your interest rate will vary based on your term length.
You can choose between term lengths ranging from one month to five years. While they do not disclose their rates, their site claims that their rates are competitive compared to other banks and credit unions.
To open a CD with Ameris Bank, you will need to fill out their online application. You can manage your certificate online or through their mobile app.
At renewal, your CD will automatically renew, and you’ll have the option to roll interest back into your CD. Any interest that you earn from your CD can also be transferred to another Ameris Bank interest-bearing account at no charge.
Ameris Bank: MMA Account
Ameris Bank’s Personal Money Market Account (MMA) allows you to earn more the more you save.
Their tiered interest rates let you capitalize on every dollar you put into the account. You need at least $2,500 to open the account or $100 if you’re opening it online. You need to maintain a $2,500 minimum daily balance to earn interest on the account. They do not disclose the tiered interest rates or minimum balances for each tier.
The Personal MMA comes with a $12 monthly service fee that can be lowered to $10 if you enroll in e-statements. You may be able to have your monthly service fee waived altogether if you maintain a minimum daily balance of $1,000 or average daily balance of $3,000 or more.
In addition the their checking, savings, CD, and money market accounts, Ameris Bank also offers:
- Health Savings Accounts (HSA.)
- Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA.)
- Student Banking.
- Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC.)
- Credit Cards.
- Auto Loans.
- Mortgage Loans.
- Personal Loans and Lines of Credit.
- Cash Value Life Insurance Line of Credit.
- Business Checking.
- Business Savings.
- Business CDs.
- Business Money Market.
- Commercial Loans.
- Commercial Real Estate.
- SBA Loans.
- Business Credit Cards.
There are several key features of Ameris Bank that nearly every customer can enjoy.
- Online and Mobile Banking: Ameris Bank’s online banking platform and highly-rated mobile app make it easy, convenient, and secure to manage your bank accounts wherever you happen to be.
- Bill Pay: The Bill Pay feature lets you easily set up one-time or recurring payments to ensure that your bills are paid on time and without having to remember multiple passwords for your various lenders or vendors.
- Zelle: Ameris Bank uses Zelle to let you easily and quickly transfer funds from one account to another person, usually within minutes. You can access the Zelle feature through the Ameris app, which means you don’t have to download another app.
- e-Statements: Ameris Bank’s e-statements let you easily view your account activity from your phone, laptop, or tablet. Plus, they will often lower your account’s monthly service fee if you switch from paper statements to e-statements.
- At-Work Banking: The At-Work Banking feature offers special perks if your employer has a partnership with Ameris Bank, such as reduced interest rates on loans and free checks.
Pricing and Fees
Ameris Bank charges similar fees to other financial institutions, such as account maintenance fees and overdraft fees. They offer ways to waive or lower these fees, such as maintaining a certain average daily balance or signing up for e-statements.
Account Maintenance Fee
When you open a savings or checking account with Ameris Bank, you will be charged an account maintenance fee. This fee varies from account to account and can be waived if you meet certain balance requirements or lowered if you sign up for e-statements. Here are the standard account maintenance fees for Ameris Bank checking and savings accounts:
- Amenity Checking: $8
- Advantage Checking: $20
- Personal Savings Account: $11
You won’t face any fees for using an Ameris Bank ATM, but you will be charged a $2 ATM surcharge and an additional service charge if you use another bank’s ATM. The additional charge will depend on the bank that owns the ATM.
Ameris Bank charges a $35 fee per paid item that overdrafts your account. There is a limit of three per-item charges each business day.
Currently, there aren’t any Ameris Bank promotions. However, the bank does routinely offer welcome bonuses for opening a new account and meeting a few minimum requirements.
We continuously review bank promotions and regularly update our content to reflect new offers. You can check back here to see if Ameris is offering any bank bonuses in the future.
You can get started with Ameris Bank either by opening an account online or in-person at a branch. Whether you choose to open your account online or at a branch, you will need to provide certain information and complete a few steps before your account can be approved.
Before you become an Ameris Bank customer, you will need to explore the different account types available. Consider whether you’re looking for a checking account, savings account, a loan, or another type of product or service. Choose the type of account that best suits your financial needs.
Once you click “Open an Account” or begin your application at a branch, you will be asked to provide personal information, such as your name, date of birth, Social Security number, contact information, and a valid form of ID. Depending on your account type, you may also be required to make a minimum deposit through electronic transfer.
Ameris Bank will need to verify your identity for the security of the account. Once they verify that you’re who you say you are, your account will be approved and ready to use.
To ensure its members’ security, Ameris Bank employs a multifaceted approach to ensure the safety of its members’ financial information and transactions. This includes cybersecurity measures to protect against hackers and deposit insurance to protect against banking collapse.
Ameris Bank utilizes several cybersecurity measures to safeguard data transmitted between customers and their systems. This includes encryption technology, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and multi-factor authentication. These systems work together to act as barriers to protect against cyber threats and unauthorized parties.
In addition to cybersecurity, Ameris Bank is member FDIC, which protects their depositors from a potential banking collapse. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insures all deposits made with a member financial institution. This means that your deposits are protected up to $250,000 in case Ameris Bank fails for any reason.
You can contact Ameris Bank customer support in a number of ways. If you live close to a branch or even their corporate office, you can visit the location closest to you to get help with your accounts or become a customer.
You can also contact their centralized customer support team at 866-616-6020 or through their “Contact Us” box on their website.
Like other regional banks, Ameris Bank has mixed customer reviews. If you live in an area that has a local branch, we recommend checking out reviews from accountholders at your location to get a better idea of what it’s like to bank there.
At any rate, here are a few reviews from Ameris customers to help you assess their overall customer experience:
I have banked with Ameris in Atlanta for several years. I have a checking account that pays me a small amount of interest with no cost to me. There is never a wait to use a teller and their ATMs have been reliable. I have never had a problem that they didn't take care of immediately.
Ameris Bank Customer Trustpilot
I have banked with Ameris for years and they are a very good local bank…During the one time I encountered fraud with my account, the bank reimbursed me within days and took preventative action right away. The handling of cashier checks is done quickly and efficiently, deposits are made very easily without the use of a deposit slip.
Ameris Bank Customer Deposit Accounts
Worked through the issue (with Ameris), took too much time. I would like communication improved.
Ameris Bank Customer Trustpilot
Pros and Cons
Here are the major advantages and disadvantages of banking with Ameris Bank.
- Free checking and savings account: Ameris Bank offers options for people who want to open a checking or savings account but don’t want to pay exorbitant fees to keep their account. Their Free Checking account and Minor Savings account both allow customers to open an account without having to pay monthly service fees.
- Excellent first-time homebuyer loan program: Ameris Bank is perhaps best known for their mortgage programs, especially for first-time home buyers. They have programs that can help you buy a home with a low down payment or even no down payment, and they also have financial assistance programs to help you afford your first home.
- Extensive knowledge center: Ameris Bank helps their customers understand complicated financial topics through their extensive knowledge center. They have articles, financial calculators, a video library, and even a newsroom to help you answer all your financial questions.
- High minimum opening balance: Some of Ameris Bank’s accounts require high minimum opening deposits to establish an account. For example, Ameris Bank’s MMA requires a minimum opening balance of $2,500 to open an account.
- Limited number of ATMs: Ameris Bank isn’t partnered with any national ATM chains, which means you can only access their ATMs fee free. This can be limiting for people who like to withdraw or deposit money at ATMs.
Alternatives to Ameris
Before you decide to become a customer with Ameris Bank, you need to weigh your options and determine if there are other banks or credit unions that meet your needs. Here are some of our top picks for alternatives to Ameris Bank.
Fifth Third Bank
Fifth Third Bank is another regional bank with locations across several states in the Midwest and Southeast. Like Ameris Bank, they offer a checking account that doesn’t charge any monthly fees, requires no minimum balance, and won’t incur any overdraft fees. They also offer an early direct deposit feature that can let you access your paycheck up to two days ahead of your regular payday.
Wells Fargo is another top contender for alternatives to Ameris Bank. They have 202 branches and 654 ATMs in Georgia alone, which is quite competitive for a bank that isn’t even headquartered in Atlanta. Like Ameris, Wells Fargo has many different financial products, including checking and savings accounts with waivable fees. They also have several different investment options to help you grow your funds.
Bank of America
Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Bank of America is a prominent financial institution in the Southeast and beyond. While their checking and savings accounts have monthly fees ranging from $4.95-$25, they have lower minimum opening deposits than Ameris Bank with ranges between $25-$100. They also have an extensive selection of credit cards with hearty bonus programs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Ameris Bank a safe bank?
Yes, Ameris Bank is considered a safe bank. They are member FDIC, which means depositors are protected up to $250,000.
What bank did Ameris Bank merge with?
In 1979, Ameris Bank, then known as American Banking Company, acquired Toney Brothers Bank in Doerun, GA. They also acquired Balboa Capital in 2022.
Where is Ameris Bank located?
Ameris Bank conducts business in:
How do I take out a mortgage loan with Ameris Bank?
Borrowers looking to take out a mortgage loan or refinance their mortgage with Ameris Bank will need to work with a loan officer to determine the loan amount, monthly payments, and closing costs that are within their budget. They will also need to make sure their credit score and credit history is in a good place to qualify for the best interest rates.
Is Ameris Bank Best for Your Needs
For customers in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, Ameris Bank stands as a reliable choice for personal and business banking needs. With an emphasis on service and customer experience, Ameris Bank is an excellent choice for customers seeking a banking partner that values their financial well-being.
If you are looking for a bank that can offer stellar mortgage loans and personal banking services, Ameris Bank should be a top consideration for your banking needs. However, customers outside of Ameris Bank’s region or looking for low minimum opening balances should look to larger financial institutions.
The BankBonus editorial team has analyzed dozens of banks to provide our readers with thoroughly informed and accurate reviews.
We evaluate digital financial platforms, online banks, regional banks, and national banks across several metrics.
Our assessment of each bank factors in these considerations:
- Product lineup: We review the types of accounts, loans, and services offered by each bank, as well as the number of accounts.
- Fees and pricing: We also consider each institution’s fees, including monthly maintenance fees and other service charges.
- Account features: To compare banks, we take a close look at the features, limits, and capabilities each one has to offer.
- Interest: Along with these features, we consider whether or not the bank offers interest-bearing accounts and compare their rates to industry averages.
- Brand reputation: The bank accounts we recommend have been carefully vetted to ensure they are legitimate, secure, and backed by FDIC insurance.
- User experience: Additionally, we consider the ease of use and availability of resources on each bank’s website and factor in reviews of the mobile app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
- Branch and ATM access: To gauge convenience, we also look at each bank’s branch and ATM availability and consider their ATM reimbursement policies.
- Customer service: In our review process, we also explore banks’ customer service channels, hours of availability, and third-party reviews.