Categories
Best Banks

Radius Bank

Radius Bank is an online-only bank founded in 1987 and headquartered in Boston. With more than $1.4 billion in assets as of 2020, it offers a full complement of personal and commercial banking services, including checking, savings, lending, and more.1 Its policy of unlimited ATM fee reimbursements increases convenience for customers.

  • PROS AND CONS
  • COMPANY OVERVIEW

Pros

  • No ATM fees
  • Industry competitive interest rates
  • Cash back on debit card purchases

Cons

  • No physical branches
  • Multiple account choices can be confusing
  • $100,000 balance required to earn the best interest rates

Who Is Radius Bank Best For?

Radius Bank should appeal to most consumers comfortable with online banking who do not need access to a physical branch but are looking for:

  • Free access to ATMs anywhere in the world
  • Cash back on debit card purchases
  • A low-fee online banking relationship

What Does Radius Bank Offer?

Radius Bank offers standard options for deposit accounts. These include:

  • Checking accounts
  • Savings account
  • Certificates of deposit
  • Credit Cards

Checking Accounts

Rewards Checking

A Rewards Checking account charges no fees, provides unlimited ATM fee rebates, interest on balances of at least $2,500, and cash back on eligible purchases. Opening an account requires a minimum deposit of $100, but no minimum balance thereafter.

ATM fee rebates are paid at the end of each statement cycle, and annual percentage yields on balances are 0.15% for balances between $2,500 and $99,999.99 and 0.15% for balances of $100,000 or greater, as of August 20, 2020.

Account-holders are eligible for 1% cash back on debit card purchases if they receive $2,500 in direct deposits during a statement cycle or if they maintain a minimum balance of $2,500. Other features include early direct deposits if supported by the payer, and no charge for the first order of checks.2

Superhero Checking

Superhero Checking is the same as Rewards Checking except it pays interest at a different rate and donates a matching amount to the March of Dimes. Accounts of $2,500 or more earn 0.05% interest, as of August 20, 2020.2

Essential Checking

Customers with an unfavorable banking history who may not qualify for a Rewards or Superhero checking account can attempt to repair their banking record with an Essential Checking account. It costs $9 per month and has several other limitations:

  • A daily debit card limit of $250 for the first 30 days
  • A daily debit card limit of $500 after 30 days
  • No more than $1,000 worth of mobile check deposits in a single day or $2,000 worth every 10 days

Account-holders who maintain a positive banking history for 12 months may be eligible to upgrade to a Rewards or Superhero account.3

High-Yield Savings Account

A High-Yield Savings account has no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirement after an initial $100 deposit. Earn 0.15% APY on balances of $2,500 to $24,999, and 0.25% APY on balances of $25,000 or greater, as of August 20, 2020.

Accounts come with a free ATM card, and Radius Bank does not charge ATM fees regardless of who owns the ATM.4

CDs

Radius Bank offers a range of CDs with a $500 or $1,000 minimum to open. Rates start at 0.25% APY for 3 months and go up to 0.5% APY for 5 years, as of August 20, 2020.5

CD Rates
TermAPY
3 months0.25%
6 months0.25%
9 months0.25%
1 year0.50%
18 months0.50%
2 years0.50%
3 years0.50%
4 years0.50%
5 years0.50%

Keep in mind that CD accounts are time-bound. You can’t withdraw funds at any time. If you withdraw before the maturity date, you’ll have to pay a penalty.

Credit Cards

Radius Bank offers several Visa Cards through Elan Financial Services with features best suited for rewards, low introductory rates, repairing credit, and for business.6 Here are some of the cards offered:

Cash Back Credit Card

  • Visa Real Rewards Card

Balance Transfer Credit Card

  • Visa Platinum Card

Secured Credit Card

  • Visa Secured Card

Business Credit Cards

  • Visa Business Cash Card
  • Visa Business Real Rewards Card
  • Visa Business Rewards PLUS Card

Other Financial Products From Radius Bank

Radius Bank also has a wide range of other offerings:

  • Car loans
  • Personal loans
  • Student loans
  • Mortgages
  • Insurance
  • Business loans

Radius Bank Customer Service

Customers can reach a service representative via phone or live chat seven days per week with varying hours. Phone and live chat support is available Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. –midnight Eastern Standard Time and Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m.–8 p.m. EST. Assistance is available via social media Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m.–8 p.m. EST.

Categories
Best Banks

Northpointe Bank

Northpointe Bank is a regional bank headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but is available to anyone through its online and mobile platforms. Founded in 1999, the bank offers a range of products, including a free checking account and a savings account whose rates outshine the national average, but are not among the very best.1

  • PROS AND CONS
  • COMPANY BACKGROUND

Pros

  • Savings account interest rates higher than most traditional banks
  • Variety of deposit accounts to choose from
  • Interest checking

Cons

  • Not all accounts offer great interest rates
  • Just one banking center, in Michigan

Who Is Northpointe Bank Best For?

Northpointe Bank offers competitive interest rates and a range of accounts. The bank is best for customers who:

  • Want competitive interest rates on savings accounts
  • Are interested in a range of low-cost checking and savings accounts from one bank
  • Live in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area

Thanks to mobile banking, you can use Northpointe as an online-only bank from anywhere in the U.S. That, along with low fees and competitive interest rates, may be enough to tempt you to sign up, even if you don’t have a branch near home. Online banking transfers are free to other banks and you can add funds to your accounts with mobile banking deposits using your smartphone and the Northpointe Bank app.2 3

What Does Northpointe Bank Offer?

At Northpointe Bank, you’ll find a range of accounts to suit your needs:

  • Checking accounts
  • Money market account
  • Savings accounts
  • Certificates of deposit (CDs)

Checking Accounts

Free Checking

Northpointe’s Free Checking is a basic checking account that requires a $100 opening balance and does not pay any interest. The account is free with no minimum balance and reimburses other banks’ ATM fees up to $15 per month.4 This makes it a good account for people who live anywhere—not just near the Grand Rapids banking center.

You could easily use this as an online banking account and never visit in-person. As long as you don’t need to make cash deposits, you can use the account for free anywhere in the U.S.

Most deposits are available the next business day.5 If you deposit a check through the mobile banking app, you can expect relatively quick access to your funds. Overdrafts cost $29, though you can lower the cost to $8 with an overdraft protection transfer.3 Electronic transfers and standard bill pay payments are free.

Interest Checking

Most checking accounts don’t pay any interest, but if you have $2,500 to open a new account, you will collect interest every month with Northepointe’s Interest Checking. This account is free and you’ll get an annual percentage yield (APY) of up to 0.30% depending on your balance. Rates are as of August 18, 2020.6

Interest Checking
BalanceAPY
$0 to $2,499.990%
$2,500 to $9,999.990.15%
$10,000.00 to $24,999.990.15%
$25,000.00 to $99,999.990.25%
$100,000.00 to $499,999.990.30%
$500,000+0.30%

If your balance is high enough to qualify for interest, this account makes more sense than the free checking, since it also includes the $15 reimbursement in monthly ATM fees and other fees are the same. However, this account isn’t available to open online.4

Money Market Account

The Ultimate Money Market account at Northpointe pays up to 0.55% APY, which is several times higher than the national rate, but not as good as the top-earning money markets out there.7 This rate is available for balances of $5,000 to $2 million. Current rates are as follows:

Ultimate Money Market
BalanceAPY
$0 to $2,499.990.0%
$2,500 to $4,999.990.25%
$5,000 to $24,999.990.55%
$25,000 to $2 million0.55%
Over $2 million0.50%

This money market account requires a $1,000 opening deposit and there are no monthly recurring fees. It comes with an ATM/debit card, and you can write checks and pay bills with the account. However, you’re limited to six transactions a month out of the account; if you go over, you’ll be charged $15 per transaction, plus the bank may not complete your transaction as requested.8

Savings Accounts

Ultimate Savings

Northpointe Bank offers up to 0.55% APY on its Ultimate Savings account for certain account balances.6 This interest-bearing account offers mobile check deposit and is FDIC-insured.

Ultimate Savings
BalanceAPY
$0 to $99.990%
$100 to $4,999.990.25%
$5,000 to $24,999.990.55%
$25,000 to $2 million0.55%
over $2 million0.50%

There is no minimum deposit to open the account and no monthly fees.9 However, unlike the money market account, the Ultimate Savings account doesn’t come with a debit card, checks, or bill pay ability.

You’re allowed up to six withdrawals per month before you’re charged a $15 fee per transaction, and if you close the account within 120 days of opening it, you’ll be charged a $10 fee.

Kids Savings

This basic savings account charges no monthly fees and offers competitive interest rates. Balances up to $1,000 earn 1.50% APY; amounts over that up to $9,999.99 earn 1.12% APY; larger balances earn 0.55%.6 There is no minimum deposit required to open the account.

Certificates of Deposit

Northpointe Bank offers CDs with terms starting at just seven days. The following rates are as of August 18, 2020.6

CDs
TermRateAPY
7-91 Days0.30%0.30%
92-182 Days0.30%0.30%
6-11 Months0.30%0.30%
12-23 Months0.49%0.50%
24-47 Months0.49%0.50%
48-60 Months0.64%0.65%

CDs require a $1,000 minimum deposit to open, so make sure you don’t need the money for the length of the term. If you take it out too soon, early withdrawal penalties apply.

For terms of up to 179 days, the penalty is 30 days’ interest on the amount withdrawn. For terms between 180 days and one year, the penalty is 90 days interest on the amount withdrawn, rising to 180 days’ interest on the withdrawn amount if the term length is up to three years. Longer than three years, the penalty is 240 days interest on the amount withdrawn, and terms of five years carry a penalty of a full year’s worth of interest on the amount withdrawn.10

Other Financial Products From Northpointe Bank

Other financial services from Northpointe include:

  • Individual retirement account (IRA) CDs
  • Health Savings Account (HSA)
  • A big variety of purchase mortgages
  • Refinance mortgages
  • Home equity loans
  • Home insurance
  • Car insurance

Northpointe Customer Service

Accounts are FDIC-insured and easy to manage with online banking. Mobile check deposit, transfers, and other online banking features mean you never need to visit a physical branch to handle your business with this bank.

This bank supports mobile payment platforms including Apple Pay and Google Pay.11

If you live in the Grand Rapids area, the bank is even more tempting. While you can get better rates at some competing banks, having a banking center nearby is an added benefit for local customers.

Loan customers can receive in-person support at locations in 24 states. You can also reach the bank by phone Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern). Email, secure message, and chat support are available as well.

Categories
Best Banks

Banks for Savings Accounts

Savings accounts are an essential part of your finances. But the best banks for savings accounts allow you to do more than park your money somewhere safe—they also allow you to earn a decent amount of interest on your balance. Choosing the right account helps you grow your savings and avoid fees, maximizing the amount you have for spending.

So, where should you open an account? Lots of banks have excellent savings accounts, and we’ve highlighted some of the best offerings below. The banks on this list pay competitive annual percentage yields (APYs), keep fees low, and provide FDIC insurance on your deposits.

Best Banks for Savings Accounts of September 2020

BankWhy We Picked ItAPYMinimum Initial Deposit to Open
DiscoverBest for All-in-One Banking0.80%$0
SmartyPigBest for High Rates1.10% for the first $2,500$0
Customers BankRunner-Up for High Rates1.10%$25,000
Live Oak BankBest for Business Accounts0.80%$100
Alliant Credit UnionBest for Kids and Teens0.65%$5
SimpleBest for Managing Your Finances0.80%$0
AllyBest for Customer Service0.80%$0

We partnered with the following banks to bring you the savings account offers in the table below. Under that, you’ll find additional details on our editors’ picks for the best savings accounts and why we chose them. All of the banks and credit unions listed are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). We also include some money market accounts if they act like savings accounts—in other words, if they pay a high yield and don’t allow you to write checks.

Discover Bank: Best for All-in-One Banking

Discover Bank offers a wide variety of accounts, including an Online Savings Account that pays 0.80% APY.1 There’s no minimum deposit required, and you pay no monthly fees with that account. In fact, the only fee you should pay is an outgoing wire fee, if you choose to wire money. Official checks, returned deposits, and excess withdrawals are all fee-free, too.

While you can potentially earn more elsewhere, higher rates really only matter when you have a substantial account balance. If you don’t keep a large amount in your savings account, you might prefer having access to a robust set of features.

Discover has a lot more than a good savings account. Its Cashback Debit account provides a rare opportunity to earn rewards on debit card spending, and its money market and CD accounts have competitive rates, too. Discover also offers credit cards, free FICO credit scores, home equity loans, personal loans, and other financial services.

SmartyPig: Best for High Rates

SmartyPig has just one product: an online savings account offered through Sallie Mae Bank. The innovative account lets you create and track savings goals and requires no minimum deposit or ongoing balance. Competitive interest rates help you grow your money even faster. You’ll earn the highest interest rate on deposits up to $2,500, but rates go down as you deposit more—something to keep in mind if your nest egg is growing. Interest is compounded daily and credited monthly.

Customers Bank: Runner-Up for High Rates

The Ascent Money Market account from Customers Bank pays a high rate and charges no monthly fees.2 However, you need to open the account with at least $25,000, and you must keep your balance above that level to earn interest (you earn nothing with less than $25,000). There are no caps on your account balance, so you can potentially earn a substantial amount of interest.

Although the bank calls this account a money market account, you cannot write checks or spend from your balance with a debit card, so it’s similar to a standard savings account. Customers Bank, with $17.9 billion in assets, has locations along the I-95 corridor and in Chicago, but this account is only available online.3

Live Oak Bank: Best for Business Accounts

Live Oak Bank pays your business 0.80% APY in an easy-to-understand online bank account.4 There are no monthly fees, and there’s no minimum balance requirement to open an account or keep an ongoing relationship with Live Oak Bank. You cannot deposit cash, but you can fund your account with electronic transfers, paper checks, deposits with your mobile device. Live Oak Bank, founded in 2008, also offers personal savings accounts, CDs, and other banking services.5

Alliant Credit Union: Best for Kids & Teens

Alliant Credit Union caters to young people of all ages, and those aged 13 years or older can use a standard Alliance savings account. Rates are quite good at 0.75% APY, though there may be higher rates out there.6 7 These accounts require $5 to get started (though Alliant will pay it for kids 12 and younger), $100 to earn the stated APY, and there are no monthly fees.

Alliant also has a teen checking account, which earns 0.25% APY—pretty good when you consider most banks don’t offer interest checking.8 The account has no minimum balance or monthly service fee, and the credit union reimburses up to $20 of out-of-network ATM fees per month. To be eligible for these accounts, you may need to join Foster Care to Success, and Alliant pays the membership fee for you.9 Parents who are joint account holders of minor accounts must also be Alliant members.

This is an excellent way to teach children about money. They can see how interest helps their account grow, and they can practice saving for specific goals while watching their progress.

Simple: Best for Managing Your Finances

Simple lives up to its name by providing the essential features you need to manage your money on a day-to-day basis. Simple is not strictly a savings account, but you can earn up to 1.00% APY on the money in your high-yield account, and there’s no minimum balance required to earn that rate.10 Simple actually isn’t a bank, but accounts are FDIC insured through its partnership with BBVA.11

What makes Simple stand out is the built-in money management tools. This account is designed to help you manage your spending to reach specific goals. After you create spending categories and financial goals, you allocate a set amount each month to each category. Also known as zero-sum budgeting, this approach ensures that every dollar in your budget has a job and that you treat saving like a required expense.

Ally Bank: Best for Customer Service

There’s nothing worse than dealing with bank errors and trying to get access to cash when you need it. Ally Bank ranked in the top five of the J.D. Power 2020 Direct Banking Satisfaction Study, and the bank has competitive rates, as well.12 Ally Bank pays 0.80% APY with no minimum balance requirement and no monthly fees.13 Schwab Bank and E*TRADE Bank earned higher scores from J.D. Power, but they pay substantially less than Ally Bank.14 15

Customer service at Ally is available by phone 24/7, and the bank displays an estimated wait time online so you know what to expect. You can also use Ally for online checking, CDs, and more.

What Is a Savings Account?

​Savings accounts give customers the flexibility to deposit money, earn interest, and withdraw funds as needed. They also keep money safe—savings accounts are federally insured, which means that the government covers up to $250,000 if your bank fails.

Should You Get an Online Savings Account?

Online savings accounts provide flexibility and security, with additional advantages over traditional brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions. For starters, customers can manage money via smartphone or computer without depending on local branch hours and tellers. But most notably, they tend to offer higher rates and lower fees.  

Are Online Banks Safe?

Online bank accounts can be as safe as brick-and-mortar accounts. That’s true for deposit insurance and other forms of security. The most popular banks (including those listed here) benefit from FDIC insurance (for banks) or NCUSIF coverage (for credit unions) up to $250,000 per depositor, per account. When banking online, you might face unique risks associated with cybersecurity—but your brick-and-mortar accounts are probably online as well.

Here’s how to reduce risk:

  • Keep your browser and mobile apps up-to-date.
  • Use caution when clicking on links—or avoid clicking any links in email altogether.
  • Use a strong, unique password, and store your passwords securely.
  • Never respond to email, phone, or text message requests for your personal information or password.
  • Use two-factor authentication to make it harder for thieves to log into your accounts.

If you notice any signs of fraud, contact your bank immediately. You may be protected from fraud and errors in your account, but you need to act quickly for the highest levels of protection. Banks also monitor your accounts and employ sophisticated analytics to help detect fraud, regardless of whether you bank online or in a branch.

What Makes a Good Savings Account?

  • The interest rate: A competitive rate is helpful, and if you’re intent on getting the best interest rate, check out our list of the best savings account rates. But for many people, rate is not necessarily the most important thing. The interest you earn becomes increasingly important as your account balance grows. But if you keep a relatively small amount in savings, it’s potentially more important to select accounts that do not charge fees and make it easy to add to your savings.
  • No monthly fees: This is crucial, especially as you’re getting started. Monthly fees can wipe out any interest you earn and even cause your account balance to fall each month.
  • Deposit insurance: Verify that your funds are protected from bank failures. FDIC insurance and NCUSIF coverage are equally safe, so don’t be afraid to work with federally-insured credit unions.
  • Electronic transfers: The best accounts make it easy to move money in and out of savings. Setting up direct deposit from your employer helps to automate your savings and avoid temptation. Quick, free transfers by ACH help you keep your money in savings and earn interest for as long as possible before you need to take withdrawals.
  • Mobile deposit: If you receive paper checks, be sure your bank allows you to deposit checks with your mobile device. Doing so saves you time, as you can avoid trips to a branch and time preparing a deposit by mail. Plus, you can speed up deposits and start earning interest as soon as possible.

Can I Have More Than One Savings Account?

Yes, you can open as many savings accounts as you want. Multiple savings accounts can help you separate money for certain goals, stay below deposit insurance limits, or move your money where it serves you best. However, it might not make sense to keep multiple accounts if you have to pay fees for each account. Also, keeping track of numerous accounts can cause confusion, but there’s nothing wrong with having a manageable number of savings accounts.

What’s the Difference Between Savings Accounts, Money Market Account, and CDs?

Money market accounts and CDs are similar to savings accounts. But there are some important differences.

While money market accounts pay interest like savings accounts, they typically offer check-writing and debit card options. You can see what these kinds of accounts have to offer on our round-up of the best money market accounts and rates.

Savings accounts and money market accounts also differ in the ways banks and credit unions use your deposit. Money market deposits can be used to invest in certificates of deposit (CDs), while savings account deposits can only be used to make loans.

CDs offer higher rates than savings accounts, but require you to keep your savings in the bank for months or years. Time commitments vary, but you might have to pay a penalty if you take out your money early.

Key Terms to Know

Interest: The amount your bank pays you based on your account balance. This is typically expressed as an annual rate, but may be paid monthly. For example, if your bank pays a 1.20% annual interest rate, you would receive 0.1% per month. On a balance of $100, that translates to $1.20 per year, although the amount could be higher due to compounding.

Compounding: When you earn interest in a savings account, you might leave those interest earnings in the account. Your bank adds money to your account, and that new money generates additional interest earnings. In other words, you earn interest on the interest you previously earned. That process, known as compounding (or earning compound interest), helps your account balance grow at an increasing rate.

Annual percentage yield (APY): APY is the amount you earn on your savings when you take compounding into account. If your bank pays interest more often than yearly (banks often calculate interest daily), you earn more than the stated annual interest rate. That higher amount, known as the APY, is a more accurate way of understanding how much banks pay.

Excess withdrawals: Savings accounts are designed to hold your funds for extended periods. You can withdraw money occasionally, but frequent withdrawals may be problematic. Financial institutions usually limit certain types of withdrawals to no more than six per month. When your withdrawals exceed those maximums, you may have to pay fees, and your bank might close your account if you make a habit of it.

Minimum balance: As you compare accounts, note any minimums (some banks do not set minimum balance requirements). You may see several different types:

  1. Minimum initial deposit: The amount you need to deposit to open an account. Unless you meet that requirement, you can’t open an account.
  2. Minimum to earn interest: Banks may pay different rates at different levels. Pay attention to how much you need to keep in your account to earn the highest rates.
  3. Minimum to avoid fees: You may be able to prevent monthly fees in your account by keeping your balance above a certain level. 
Categories
Best Banks

Wells Fargo Bank

Wells Fargo is a community-based financial institution offering banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, consumer and commercial financial services.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo has been in business for more than 150 years. It has offices in 42 countries and territories, and $1.9 trillion in assets. One in three U.S. households is a Wells Fargo customer. If yours isn’t yet one of them, our in-depth review can help you decide if you should switch to this bank.1

  • PROS AND CONS
  • COMPANY OVERVIEW

Pros

  • It’s a full-service bank, offering a wide variety of banking products and services.
  • Manage your accounts online, via mobile banking, and at more than 8,400 branches and 13,000 ATMs.
  • Enjoy special relationships banking benefits and discounts.

Who Is Wells Fargo Best For?

Wells Fargo may appeal to individuals and business owners who want the convenience of online banking with access to branch banking. It may be an especially good fit for customers who want to:

  • Have access to checking, savings, credit card, mortgage, investments, and other loan accounts all in one place. 
  • Open a checking account with as little as $25. 
  • Shop for a new rewards credit card. 
  • Enjoy fee-free access to more than 13,000 ATMs. 
  • Bank with an established financial institution. 
  • Take advantage of wealth management services through Wells Fargo Private Bank.

What Does Wells Fargo Offer?

Wells Fargo offers an extensive range of banking products and services that make it possible to meet all of your banking needs in a single financial institution.

Here’s a closer look at what you can expect when banking with Wells Fargo. 

Accounts

  • Checking accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • Certificates of deposit
  • Credit cards

Checking Accounts

Account NameFeeFee WaiverBest ForAPY
Everyday Checking$10At least 10 debit card transactions per month, $1,500 minimum daily balance, direct deposits of $500 or more, linked Wells Fargo Campus ATM or Campus debit cardStudents with direct-deposit paychecks or use their debit card for most transactions.None
Preferred Checking$15$10,000 minimum daily balance across deposit accounts, direct deposits of $1,000 or more, link to Wells Fargo home mortgageThose who write checks and want an APY from their checking account.0.01% ($500 or more)
Portfolio by Wells Fargo$30$25,000 total balances across your deposit accounts, or $50,000 total balances across bank, brokerage and credit balances. Customers with big balances who want discounts and fee waivers on other products.0.01%
Teen CheckingNoneN/ACustomers who are 13 to 17 years oldNone
Opportunity Checking$1010 or more debit card transactions per month, direct deposits of $500 or more, or maintain a $1,500 daily balance.Those who can’t get a regular checking account because of a poor banking history.None

Everyday Checking

Everyday Checking is Wells Fargo Bank’s most popular checking account option. You’ll need to deposit at least $25 to open the account. This checking account may be ideal for students since the $10 monthly service fee is waived for college students when the primary account owner is 17 to 24 years old.2

Preferred Checking

Preferred Checking may suit you better if you already have a home mortgage loan with Wells Fargo. This account earns interest on all balances of $500 or more. It offers no-fee cashier’s checks and a $10 discount on personalized checks. Though this account is designed for customers who keep a higher minimum balance in checking, it has just a $25 minimum opening requirement.3

Portfolio by Wells Fargo

Portfolio by Wells Fargo is also an interest-bearing checking account that offers relationship banking perks and rewards:

  • No fees for cashier’s checks and money orders
  • Waived non-Wells Fargo ATM fees for cash withdrawals
  • No fee for personal checks
  • Interest rate discounts on personal loans, home equity loans, and lines of credit
  • $25 minimum opening deposit4

Teen Checking

Teen Checking is designed for teens aged 13 to 17 who want to open an account with an adult co-owner. In Alabama, you must be 18 to open an account. Both parents and teens have access to the account, which can help as you teach kids the basics of money management.5

Opportunity Checking

Opportunity Checking is a checking account designed for people who can’t get approved for a regular Wells Fargo checking account due to poor credit or banking history. You can’t apply for this account directly, though. You have to apply for another Wells Fargo checking account first.

ChexSystems is the company responsible for maintaining negative banking history reports for consumers. If you’ve had a banking snafu in the past, it may be worthwhile to learn how you can clear up your ChexSystems report.

Savings Accounts

Account NameFeeFee WaiverBest ForAPY
Way2Save Savings$5Maintain a $300 minimum daily balance, set up a recurring savings transfer or be at least 18 (19 in AL)Customers looking for their first savings account and want to earn interest0.01%
Platinum Savings$12Maintain a $3,500 minimum daily balanceWells Fargo customers who want a savings account with the bank’s highest APY.0.01% or 0.02%

Way2Save Savings

Way2Save is one of Wells Fargo’s most popular savings accounts. You can open an account with $25. 

You can make automatic deposits to this account through Save As You Go transfers. The program transfers $1 from your checking to savings whenever you make non-recurring debit purchases and bill payment transactions.

Also, you can set up monthly automatic transfers of $25 or more. This account can be linked to your checking account for overdraft protection. As of Aug. 17, 2020, you can earn a 0.01% APY on all balances.6

Platinum Savings

The Platinum Savings Account offers a similar APY of 0.01% with the opportunity to increase that by 0.01% if you have a linked Portfolio by Wells Fargo checking account.

Though it’s a savings account you have the ability to write checks from this account, up to six per month. You can also link this account to a regular Wells Fargo checking account for overdraft protection. The minimum opening deposit is $25.7

Wells Fargo CDs

CD accounts can help you save for short- and long-term goals. Wells Fargo offers three types of CDs:

  • Standard
  • Special 
  • Step-Rate

Standard CDs are traditional fixed-rate CD accounts with a $2,500 minimum deposit. Special CDs offer higher fixed interest rates than standard CDs but require $5,000 to open. Step-Rate CDs offer guaranteed interest rate increases, with a $2,500 minimum deposit.8

Here are the rates you can earn for each CD option, as of Sept. 1, 2020 (bonus APYs apply if you have Prime or Portfolio accounts with Wells Fargo).:

Wells Fargo Bank Standard CDs
TermAPYBonus APY
3 months0.01%0.02%
6 months0.01%0.02%
1 year0.01%0.02%
Wells Fargo Bank Special CDs
TermAPYBonus APY
5 months0.01%0.02%
Wells Fargo Bank Step Rate CDs
TermAPYBonus APY
24 months0.03%0.04%

Credit Cards

Wells Fargo offers a number of credit cards, including rewards cards and a card with a low introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers. Here are some of the cards the bank offers:

Travel Rewards Cards

  • Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card

Cash Back Credit Cards

  • Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card

General Rewards Cards

  • Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card
  • Wells Fargo Rewards Card

Balance Transfer Cards

  • Wells Fargo Platinum Visa Card

Student Credit Cards

  • Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card

Other Financial Products From Wells Fargo Bank

Wells Fargo Bank also has a wide range of other offerings, including:

  • Mortgage loans
  • Home equity lines
  • Personal loans and lines of credit
  • Student loans
  • Auto loans
  • IRAs
  • Investments
  • Private wealth management

Wells Fargo Bank Customer Service

Wells Fargo offers the standard customer service benefits you’d expect with a bank of this size. That includes the option to manage your account over the phone, online, via mobile banking, at an ATM, or a branch location. One thing Wells Fargo doesn’t yet offer is live chat. 

In J.D. Power’s 2019 National Banking Satisfaction Study, Wells Fargo received a rating of 828, which is below the industry average 834.

Categories
Best Banks

8 Best National Banks

Choosing a bank is a big decision — you need to have trust in a company if you are going to hand over your money. Millions of Americans choose a big national bank for their money needs, drawn to a variety of factors like name recognition, a large branch footprint, or a wide variety of service offerings that let you do all kinds of banking in one place.

If you’re interested in choosing one of these large companies, it’s important to consider a few different features before you commit, including costs and fees, accounts and products offered, and convenience for how you prefer to handle your banking.

This may go without saying, but it’s best to avoid monthly fees when you can. Most online-only banks don’t charge any monthly fees. Traditional banks are another story — they often charge monthly fees, but you can usually get them waived by maintaining a minimum balance, signing up for direct deposit, or meeting transaction activity requirements depending on the bank. Overdraft fees are another costly issue for some banking customers. If you regularly run into overdrafts, those fees may be something to look at more closely.

Online-only banks are also on the rise, and many people prefer these options for their self-service convenience and the ability to bank anywhere. Others prefer a more traditional baking experience with a local branch they can visit in person. If you often use cash, look into how many ATMs the bank has and whether or not they reimburse for fees on out-of-network ATMs. 

For this list, we’re rounding up the best national banks by focusing on their checking and savings account offerings. But these institutions provide many other products and services including credit cards, mortgage loans, investment accounts, business banking, and other lending services. If you’re interested in finding a bank that allows you to do all your banking under the same roof (or online login), be sure to explore each bank’s additional offerings. 

We partnered with the following banks to bring you the offers in the table below. Under that, you’ll find the details on our editors’ picks for the best national banks. All of the banks and credit unions listed are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

Best Overall: Capital One

Capital One bank is our pick for the best national bank overall thanks to its nearly non-existent fees, a huge network of 39,000 free ATMs (mostly Allpoint), flexible options for overdrafts, and a wide range of products to meet other banking needs.

The flagship 360 Checking and 360 Savings accounts have no monthly fees and no account minimums. While the branch footprint is limited to a handful of large cities, you can easily handle all of your banking online unless you regularly get paid in cash. Checking and savings accounts also offer industry-leading interest rates.

One unique feature is the ability to choose between four overdraft options. You can auto-decline (no fee), transfer funds from your savings (no fee), draw from an overdraft line of credit (interest costs only) or opt for a next-day grace period that lets you avoid the $35 fee if you add funds by the end of the next business day.

Capital One also offers some great credit cards as well as auto loans, business credit cards and savings, and commercial services.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Ally

Ally offers excellent checking and savings products, as well as credit cards, auto loans, home loans, and investments. Ally’s Interest Checking account offers competitive rates, free Allpoint ATMs, and a reimbursement for up to $10 per statement period in other bank’s ATM fees.

Ally does not have any physical branches, but with common mobile banking features like mobile deposits and online transfers, you shouldn’t need a branch to handle banking if you are paid via check or direct deposit. For transfers to friends and family, you can send a same-day payment through Zelle.

Customer service at Ally is great and accounts are very simple. The account does charge a $25 overdraft fee (maximum one per day), but most other common activity is fee-free.

Best Fee-Free: Simple

Simple is an online bank that offers a mobile-first experience. The bank offers a streamlined checking account experience with an integrated mobile app, debit card, budgeting tools, and even a savings feature that pays top interest rates.

What sets Simple apart is that it doesn’t charge any fees. No overdraft fees, no monthly fees, no transfer fees, no card replacement fees, nothing. The only time you risk paying a fee is if you use your debit card abroad, where you may get a pass-through cost from Simple’s ATM provider.

Simple is another no-cash banking solution, but for most people that should work just fine. Because nearly all stores and restaurants take debit or credit these days, you may find that switching to an online bank makes cash a thing of the past. Another bonus feature: the “Safe-to-Spend” budgeting tool can help you meet a savings goal or reduce your day-to-day spending. 

Want more information? Check out our full review of Simple.

Best Expanded Service Offerings: Chase

Chase Bank is part of JP Morgan Chase, one of the largest banks in the world. If you want a modern bank with a huge branch footprint and service offering, Chase is a great choice. Chase has 5,100 branches and 16,000 ATMs. But if you want to use any ATMs outside of Chase’s network, you’ll pay a fee for that.

In fact, fees are the big downside to Chase and other large brick-and-mortar banks with a large network of physical branches. Chase offers several options for checking and savings depending on your needs. Most of them charge monthly fees, but you can avoid them by meeting certain activity requirements. Interest rates are also below what you’ll get from an online bank.

Aside from fees and interest rates, Chase is an excellent bank. In addition to regular accounts, it offers industry-leading credit cards, a wide range of lending products, and business services for companies of all sizes.

You can also read our in-depth review of Chase Bank.

Best Cash Back: Discover Bank

Discover Bank offers very good checking and savings accounts in addition to its well-known line of credit cards. This is an online-only bank, so no cash deposits. The Discover Bank checking account, with no minimum fees, pays 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in purchases per month on the account’s debit card, a rare benefit these days.

Discover offers 60,000 free ATMs. The only major downside to this account is that the Discover branded debit card is not as widely accepted as Visa and Mastercard. That means you’ll need a backup card just in case you go somewhere that does not accept Discover cards.

That aside, the accounts are great. Discover checking offers free checks and waives your first overdraft per year, which are useful perks for some banking customers.

For more information, check out our full review of Discover Bank.

Best for Veterans and Military Families: USAA

USAA is exclusively for active military, veterans, and their families. If you or an immediate family member has a direct connection to any branch of the US armed forces, you are eligible to join USAA. From there, you have access to a wide range of products and services custom-tailored to the needs of military families.

USAA offers several checking and savings account options (including some with no monthly service fees) as well as credit cards, home loans, auto loans, and investments, so you can handle all of your financial services under one roof.

This financial institution is also known for its high-quality insurance products, which are also only available to members. While USAA has limited locations, primarily near major military bases, there are tons of free ATMs and accounts automatically refund up to $15 of other banks’ ATM fees each month.

Best for Frequent Travelers: Schwab Bank

Schwab is best known for its excellent investment products, but today’s review is focused on Charles Schwab’s best-kept secret: the Investor Checking account from Schwab Bank. This account charges no monthly fees and gives you free ATMs anywhere in the world with no fees. Schwab charges none of its own ATM fees and automatically reimburses you for fees charged by other banks. This makes Schwab’s checking the best choice for frequent travelers.

Schwab is an online bank, so you can’t deposit cash. However, you can deposit checks online or in one of Schwab’s many offices around the country. Interest rates for Schwab’s checking and savings are not quite as good as the top tier of online banks, but they do offer better returns than traditional brick-and-mortar banks.

While it only offers credit cards and mortgages through partnerships with outside companies, you can do all of your banking and investing with one login at Schwab.

Want to read more? Check out our full review of Charles Schwab Bank. 

Best Branch Network: Wells Fargo

If you like the option of in-person banking and prefer an institution with a large number of branches and ATMs, Wells Fargo has you covered. This banking behemoth claims 8,200 branches and 13,000 ATMs. Pretty much anywhere you go in the United States, you’ll find a Wells Fargo nearby.

Wells Fargo charges high fees and offers poor interest rates, in line with other nationwide banks. It also was the subject of a string of controversies, including bankers opening fraudulent accounts in customers’ names. But while its reputation has suffered, it remains a cornerstone of US banking.

Wells Fargo offers just about every kind of personal and business bank account you could want. Be sure to note the minimum requirements to avoid monthly charges in the checking and savings accounts. If they work for you, you’ll probably find a Wells Fargo just around the corner.

Categories
Best Banks

Charles Schwab Bank

Charles Schwab is mostly known for investment management, but its banking arm, operating under Charles Schwab Bank, offers interest-bearing checking and savings options. The firm started more than 40 years ago, in April 1971 as First Commander Corporation with a corporate name change to Charles Schwab & Co., Inc in 1973.1 Today, most customers may use Schwab’s online options, although there are over 360 brokerage branches, primarily concentrated in California, Arizona, and Connecticut.

  • PROS AND CONS
  • COMPANY OVERVIEW

Pros

  • No monthly fees or minimum opening balance requirement for checking and savings accounts
  • Unlimited ATM fee rebates worldwide and no foreign transaction fee for checking and savings accounts
  • Easy to move money between investments, savings, and checking accounts
  • More banking services (including home loans) than some other online trading platforms

Who Is Charles Schwab Bank Best For?

Charles Schwab Bank calls itself the “bank for investors,” and should appeal to those hoping to move money between different types of accounts, including savings, checking, and brokerage. It may also be a good fit for customers who want to:

  • Travel abroad and access their funds without paying expensive ATM and foreign transaction fees
  • Earn some interest in checking accounts
  • Receive unlimited ATM fee rebates
  • Active investors who want a combination of liquidity, $0 equity trades and more than 13 different investment products

As you might expect from a financial institution of its size, Charles Schwab offers a considerable number of accounts and services.

What Does Charles Schwab Bank Offer?

Charles Schwab Bank offers several different accounts and services.

Accounts

  • Savings account 
  • Checking account
  • Certificates of deposit (CDs)
  • Credit cards

Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Savings Account

The high yield savings account offered by Charles Schwab pays 0.05% APY for all customers.2

  • No minimum deposit required for opening 
  • No monthly fee and no minimum balance requirements.
  • Unlimited ATM fee rebates worldwide 
  • Mobile check deposit 
  • FDIC-insured up to $250,000

Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking Account

When you open the High Yield Investor Checking account, you’ll simultaneously open a linked Schwab One brokerage account, to ease the transfer of funds, but you’re not obligated to fund the brokerage account. Your checking account also comes with these features:3

  • Unlimited ATM fee rebates worldwide, and no foreign transaction fees
  • Withdraw up to $1,000 per day from ATMs, and spend up to $15,000 per day
  • Can be used with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay
  • Free standard checks and unlimited free check writing
  • Bill pay options
  • Ability to avoid overdrafts through Schwab’s “Target Balance Transfer” feature
  • FDIC insured up to $250,000 in the event of a bank failure
  • The checking account pays 0.03% APY (variable), which isn’t as attractive a rate as that offered by high yield savings accounts, but it’s decent for a checking account with no fees, no minimum balance, deposit requirements, or tiers to keep up with.

Insufficient funds fees are $25 per day, up to $100 per day. This is lower than average.4

Certificates of Deposit

Charles Schwab acts as a virtual middleman for a variety of CDs from other banks; Schwab customers can use the Schwab CD OneSource online to compare rates and terms and purchase CDs. However, the CD rates are far lower than what you’d find with other online banks. 

Deposits start at $1,000 and increase in $1,000 increments with terms ranging from one month to 20 years. You’ll receive a notification when your CD reaches maturity so you can access your funds or reinvest into a new CD.5

Many financial institutions allow you to withdraw from a CD with a penalty, if you need your funds before maturity. However, Schwab requests bids on your CD and contacts you with the highest bid offered plus interest. You may not receive the amount you originally paid for the CD. 

The bank includes a selling concession in new issue CDs for online and broker-assisted trades. Secondary trades are charged a $1 transaction fee per $1,000 CDs. Broker-assisted trades are charged the online price of $25 per trade service charge.

Like your checking account deposits, CDs are FDIC-insured at each bank up to $250,000. You can extend your FDIC coverage by buying CDs across multiple banks through Schwab.

Charles Schwab Bank CDs as of 8/20/2020
TermRates up to (APY)
1-3 Month0.05%
4-6 Month0.10%
7-9 Month0.10%
10-18 Month0.15%
1.5-2.5 Year0.25%

Credit Cards

Charles Schwab offers just two credit cards—a premium credit card for investors and a travel credit card.

  • Schwab Investor Card from American Express
  • American Express Platinum Card for Schwab

Other Financial Products From Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab also has a wide range of other offerings:

  • Brokerage accounts
  • Margin loans
  • Robo-investing
  • Home loans
  • Personal lines of credit
  • Retirement accounts
  • Small business retirement accounts
  • Trust, estate and charitable accounts
  • Educational accounts 
  • Custodial Account
  • Annuities

Charles Schwab Customer Service

In J.D. Power’s 2019 Direct Banking Satisfaction Study, Charles Schwab Bank ranks highest in overall satisfaction among direct banks, earning an “among the best” rating. Customers were happy with the website, in particular.6 Customers can reach customer service by using the online chat or calling a toll-free number.

Dedicated financial consultants are available for those with $250,000 or more invested with Schwab. Additional fees and commissions may apply, and the consultants are paid through a base salary and commissions on service and solutions offered, and are not fee-only advisors.7  

Charles Schwab offers a mobile app allowing both iOS and Android to manage their accounts, deposit checks, transfer funds between accounts, execute trades, and more. Charles Schwab tied with Wells Fargo for the best wealth management app in J.D. Power’s 2019 Wealth Management App Study.8

How to Bank With Charles Schwab Bank

New customers can open an individual or joint checking account online or by calling 1-800-540-6718 and make the initial deposit in the following ways:9

  • Mobile check deposit
  • Transfer from a linked Schwab One brokerage account
  • Direct deposit
  • Transfer from another bank
  • Mailed check using a free postage-paid envelope
  • Wire transfer from another bank
Categories
Best Banks

Capital One Bank

Capital One, formed in 1994, is one of the 10 largest U.S. banks by assets. You can work with Capital One entirely online, but the bank has over 400 branches in six states, including Capital One Cafés in major cities, which are unique spaces with Wi-Fi and discounted coffee. Associates and money coaches are also there to help you manage your finances.

  • PROS AND CONS
  • COMPANY OVERVIEW

Pros

  • Competitive rates on savings and CDs
  • Highly-rated app makes it easy to manage accounts
  • Broad range of credit cards with a variety of perks

Cons

  • Not the highest-yield online bank
  • Limited branch footprint might not work for everyone
  • 2019 data breach

Who Is Capital One Bank Best For?

Capital One is a well-established bank, and it’s hard to go wrong opening an account here. The bank may be especially attractive to those who want to:

  • Bank primarily online
  • Earn interest at a competitive rate
  • Open a free checking account that pays a small amount of interest
  • Choose a credit card with rewards or low fees
  • Bank in-person in select major cities
  • Help children open an account and start learning about money

What Does Capital One Bank Offer?

Capital One has a broad range of banking services, including online banking and brick-and-mortar services.

Accounts

  • Savings accounts
  • Checking accounts
  • Certificates of deposit (CDs)
  • Credit cards

Savings Accounts

360 Performance Savings Account

The 360 Performance Savings account is a high-yield savings account that pays a competitive rate.1

  • Pays 0.65% APY
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • No minimum deposit to open
  • No ongoing minimum balance requirement
  • Mobile check deposit
  • An automated savings plan option
  • No debit cards, ATM cards, or check-writing capabilities

The 360 Performance Savings account is competitive with online bank accounts, and earns a decent rate while dodging fees. Although you won’t earn the highest interest rate possible at Capital One, the percentages are consistently good. Depending on how much you have in your account, this rate might be adequate, eliminating the need to chase rates as banks adjust their offers. As well, there are no debit or ATM cards. In general, a savings account may not be your best option for everyday spending.

Under Regulation D, banks were required to limit monthly withdrawals from savings accounts to a maximum of six. However, in April 2020, the Federal Reserve issued an interim final rule that allows banks to suspend enforcement of that limit. While the Federal Reserve issued this suspension, that doesn’t mean banks will, too. Getting cash at a branch doesn’t count against your limit, but you may still be charged a fee or have your account closed if you exceed your bank’s monthly withdrawal limit. Additionally, this is a temporary suspension and the Federal Reserve will decide at a future date whether to eliminate Regulation D indefinitely. Check with your bank to understand your monthly withdrawal limit.   

Kids Savings Account

The Kids Savings Account allows a parent or legal guardian to open a linked account with a minor under age 18, and start teaching them about money, like the benefits of saving and compound interest.2

  • Pays 0.50% APY
  • No minimum required to open or ongoing balance requirements
  • Mobile check deposit
  • View-only access for kids to monitor their accounts
  • Adult login required to transfer funds
  • Converts to a 360 Savings account once the child turns 18

The rate is lower than Capital One’s 360 Performance Account, which also allows you to add minors as joint account holders. As a result, there’s not much reason to use the Kids Savings Account.

Checking Accounts 

360 Checking Account

The 360 Checking account is Capital One’s version of a free online checking account. There’s no need to qualify for fee waivers, which is notable for a large bank with physical branches. As a bonus, you earn a small amount of interest on your balance.3

  • Pays 0.10% APY
  • No monthly maintenance charges
  • No minimum to open or ongoing balance requirement
  • Online bill pay
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Debit card for spending and cash withdrawals
  • Over 55,000 fee-free ATMs available, including Allpoint ATMs
  • No foreign transaction fee when using your debit card abroad
  • Free overdraft transfers from a linked savings account (optional)

Need to use an ATM that’s not in the network? Capital One does not charge you for using another bank’s ATM, which is great. Keep in mind, though, that the ATM owner may add charges to your transaction.

Capital One allows you to temporarily lock your debit card, which reduces the risk of fraud. Scheduled transfers and bill payments continue uninterrupted, but thieves have a harder time using your card information.

MONEY Teen Checking Account

MONEY Teen Checking allows you to open a joint checking account with your child age 8 years and older. This provides additional autonomy to kids, allowing them to spend from the account as they go through day-to-day life.4

  • Pays 0.10% APY
  • No monthly fees, minimum opening deposit, or ongoing minimums
  • Automatically issued debit card
  • Adults can monitor via text alerts, mobile app, or online access
  • $500 limit for withdrawals and purchases
  • No checks or online bill pay available

If you’re ready to let children take control of their spending and receive income via direct deposit into their own checking account, this account may be a solution. Once children reach age 18, they can switch to a 360 Checking account with more features.

Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

With no minimum deposit requirement, Capital One’s 360 CDs are accessible to all. Terms range from six months to five years, and rates are accurate as of August 21, 2020.5

Capital One 360 CD Rates

TermAPY
6-Month0.25%
9-Month0.30%
12-Month0.50%
18-Month0.50%
24-Month0.75%
30-Month0.75%
36-Month0.80%
48-Month0.90%
60-Month1.00%

You may face early withdrawal penalties if you cash out of a CD early, but that’s not unique to Capital One. Most banks impose these charges, and the details vary from bank to bank. Specifics for Capital One are as follows:

  • For terms of 12 months or less, you’ll pay three months of interest
  • For terms longer than 12 months, you’ll pay six months of interest

Credit Cards

Capital One has almost 20 credit cards to choose from. Whether you want cash back, seek travel rewards, or need a card that matches your credit score, you can filter cards with Capital One’s search tool.
Travel Rewards

  • Capital One Venture Rewards
  • Capital One VentureOne Rewards

Cash-Back Credit Cards

  • Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards
  • Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards
  • Journey Student Rewards from Capital One
  • Capital One Savor Rewards
  • Capital One SavorOne Rewards
  • Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard

Business 

  • Capital One Spark Cash for Business
  • Capital One Spark Miles for Business
  • Capital One Spark Classic for Business
  • Spark Cash Select from Capital One
  • Spark Miles Select from Capital One
  • BuyPower Business Card

Improving Credit

  • Capital One Secured Mastercard
  • Capital One Platinum

Other

  • BuyPower Card
  • Cabela’s CLUB Card
  • Bass Pro Shops CLUB Card

Other Financial Products From Capital One Bank

Capital One has a broad array of banking services, but the bank keeps the product line relatively simple for both consumers and businesses.

  • Car loans
  • IRA Savings
  • IRA CDs
  • Business loans
  • Business bank accounts

Capital One does not offer home loans or personal loans.

Capital One Bank Customer Service

Capital One has earned impressive marks for customer service across several business lines: 

  • Second place in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Banking Mobile App Satisfaction Study6
  • Ranked in sixth place in the J.D. Power 2020 Credit Card Satisfaction Study7

Customer service is available by phone from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern, seven days per week.8

Capital One’s Cafés offer a place to recharge, with workspaces, Wi-Fi, and discounted Peet’s Coffee for Capital One debit and credit card holders. Free workshops and three, one-hour money coaching sessions can help customers manage their personal finances.

Categories
Best Banks

Best Online Banks

Online banks can help you earn a high rate of interest or APY (Annual Percentage Yield) and keep fees low. They also tend to provide user-friendly apps and tools that make it easy to manage your finances. But that doesn’t mean you need to abandon brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions if you don’t want to. You can always have the best of both worlds: Tap into the strengths of online banks while keeping an account open at a local institution.

Whether you’re looking for a single online bank to handle your needs or you just want to open a high-yield savings account, you’ve got plenty of options. But don’t let the range of choices overwhelm you. We’ve identified some of the best online banks with a reputation for keeping costs low, while still insuring your deposits up to federal limits.

Best Online Banks of 2020

  • Ally Bank: Best Overall
  • Discover Bank: Runner-Up
  • Charles Schwab: Best for Frequent Travelers
  • Alliant Credit Union: Best for Students
  • First Foundation Bank: Best for High Rate on Savings
  • nbkc Bank: Best for Interest Checking
  • Capital One: Best for Mobile App
  • Simple: Best for Managing a Budget

We partnered with the following banks to bring you the savings account offers in the table below. Under that, you’ll find additional details on our editors’ picks for the best online banks and why we chose them. All of the banks and credit unions listed are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

Ally Bank: Best Overall

When choosing an online bank, there are numerous excellent choices. Ally Bank stands out with a broad lineup of offerings, competitive rates, and high scores on banking surveys such as the J.D. Power 2019 Direct Banking Satisfaction Study.1 

If you want interest earnings, it’s easy to open an interest checking account, high-yield savings account, a money market account, or CDs at Ally—and there’s no minimum required.2 The rates might not be the highest online, but they’re consistently competitive. 

Ally Bank accounts charge no monthly fees, and transactions at Allpoint ATMs in the U.S. are also free. You can open online savings accounts, interest-bearing checking accounts, CDs, money market accounts, IRAs, or use any combination of those services for one-stop shopping.

To maximize interest earnings, it may be best to keep money in the online savings account and transfer funds to your checking account when you’re ready to spend. Just make sure you don’t exceed the maximum amount of transfers your bank account allows each month (usually six).

Ally Bank’s CDs are known for being flexible and have competitive rates. For example, the Raise Your Rate CD gives you the chance to increase your rate once during your term if Ally’s rates go up, so you won’t miss out on earning more while your money is tied up. Ally also offers ways to invest and potentially grow your money through ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, and options.What We Like

  • Competitive liquid CDs
  • 24/7 customer support
  • No minimum deposit requirements

What We Don’t Like

  • Higher earnings available at other online banks
  • No in-person banking options

Discover Bank: Runner-Up

Discover Bank is another option for one-stop shopping with an online bank. Like Ally, Discover offers checking, savings, money market, CD accounts, and more, all with no monthly management fees.3 For starters, Discover’s Cashback Debit account provides rare cash back rewards in a checking account. You can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 of qualifying monthly debit card purchases.

Discover does have minimum balance requirements though, such as a $2,500 minimum to open a CD. The Discover Money Market offers a higher interest rate than Ally Bank’s money market (as of May 29, 2020), but that account also requires a minimum deposit of at least $2,500 to open.

It’s hard to go wrong with Ally or Discover (and there are other good choices on this page, as well). But if you have the assets—or if you need cash-back rewards—Discover may be worth a look.What We Like

  • Hard-to-find cash-back reward in a checking account
  • Full suite of banking products available
  • 24/7 customer service

What We Don’t Like

  • $2,500 minimum on CDs and money market
  • Checking cash back reward limited to $30 per month

Charles Schwab Bank: Best for Frequent Travelers

Charles Schwab Bank earned high marks on the J.D. Power 2019 Direct Banking Satisfaction Study, and it may be especially appealing for global travelers.1 Schwab Bank’s checking account is interest-bearing, offers unlimited ATM rebates within the U.S. and abroad, and has no foreign transaction fee when using other currencies.4

Otherwise, Schwab Bank’s online offerings are fairly standard. The checking account has no monthly fee and no minimum balance requirement. The same is true of the savings account, though the interest rate is unimpressive for an online bank. The main draw to Schwab Bank probably isn’t the interest you earn, though—it’s the advantages you get while traveling outside the U.S. with the Schwab debit card. So if you’re a traveler, it’s wise to consider Charles Schwab Bank.What We Like

  • Rare offering of unlimited ATM rebates
  • No foreign transaction charges
  • No monthly fees

What We Don’t Like

  • Must open a brokerage account to use the checking account
  • Interest rate is unimpressive

Alliant Credit Union: Best for Students

Alliant Credit Union has several accounts geared toward those under age 18, and adults can continue using Alliant’s offerings later in life. For minors, a parent, grandparent, or guardian must be a joint owner on the account, and the adult can monitor account activity.5

  • The Kids Savings Account pays an attractive rate on savings account balances. There’s a $5 minimum deposit required to open, but Alliant will pay it for you. Plus, there are no monthly fees. 
  • If you want to provide more autonomy, the Teen Checking Account is available to those between the ages of 13 and 17, with no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements.6

All of Alliant’s checking accounts earn interest, which can help you save even more.

Once children reach age 18, they can convert to a standard checking account at Alliant, which also keeps fees to a minimum.

Credit unions require customers to qualify by meeting specific criteria, but it’s easy to meet the requirements at Alliant. Anyone can become eligible by joining Foster Care to Success, which provides resources for foster children throughout the U.S.7 The membership fee is $5, but Alliant covers that cost. So if you want to get your child started with a savings account or need to teach your teen a little more about their personal finances, Alliant may be right for you. What We Like

  • Accounts specifically designed for children
  • Excellent rates, especially on small balances
  • ATM fee rebates up to $20 per month for Teen Checking

What We Don’t Like

  • Must join a separate organization for eligibility
  • Even higher rates available elsewhere

First Foundation Bank: Best for a High Rate on Savings

If you value high rates on savings accounts, First Foundation bank pays 1.20% APY in the Online Savings account. This is one of the highest rates currently available, and you can get that rate with a $1,000 initial deposit.8

To earn a rate this high, other banks require you to deposit substantially more or meet other cumbersome requirements. First Foundation even allows you to withdraw funds without losing access to the rate or facing monthly maintenance charges.9What We Like

  • ATM card available on request
  • No monthly fees or ongoing minimum balance requirements

What We Don’t Like

  • Branch locations limited to California, Nevada, and Hawaii
  • $1,000 minimum may be a hurdle for some savers

nbkc Bank: Best for Interest Checking

Online banks often pay high interest rates, and that applies to checking accounts as well as savings accounts. nbkc Bank pays 0.65% APY on your checking account with no monthly fees and a $5 minimum to open the account. This isn’t a rewards checking account that requires you to use your debit card numerous times every month—you simply qualify for the rate regardless of your activity.

nbkc also has relatively low fees. There are no overdraft or insufficient funds charges, and you get up to $12 per month in ATM fee rebates. Although nbkc technically has a few branches in the Kansas City area (both in Kansas and Missouri), it calls itself an online bank and the offerings are consistent with other online banks.10 The checking account has critical features like free online bill pay, mobile check deposit, a free book of checks, a Mastercard debit card, and fee-free access to over 32,000 MoneyPass ATMs in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.11What We Like

  • Easy-to-meet $5 minimum initial deposit
  • No fee for insufficient funds
  • Cashier’s checks at no charge

What We Don’t Like

  • Branch footprint limited to Kansas City area

Capital One: Best Mobile App

An online bank’s mobile app is especially important given that you often have to handle service requests and transactions yourself. Capital One received the highest score across all online-only banks in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Direct Banking Satisfaction Study, so picky customers may appreciate working with Capital One.1 With the app, you can handle essential tasks like mobile check deposit and payments. You can also lock your debit card temporarily, view free credit scores, and more.

Capital One’s online banking products include high-yield savings accounts, checking accounts, and more. Online savings and checking accounts have no monthly fees and no minimum deposit required to open an account.12 Parents can also open accounts for minors, allowing them to handle and learn about money while an adult oversees the account. 

Capital One also offers a high-yield savings account with a competitive rate and no minimum balance required.

Though Capital One has branches, J.D. Power classifies it as a direct—also known as branchless—bank. Capital One is one of the largest U.S. banks but only has branches in a few states, meaning Capital One does a massive amount of business online.13What We Like

  • Free online checking available
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balance requirements

What We Don’t Like

  • Higher rates available at other online banks
  • Limited in-person service for customers nationwide

Simple: Best for Managing a Budget

OPEN ACCOUNT

If you want help managing your finances, Simple can help. This online institution automatically tracks your spending and helps you understand where your money goes.14 There’s no need to sign up for third-party apps, link accounts, and deal with dropped connections—robust budgeting tools are already in your account. Note though that Simple actually isn’t a bank, but accounts are FDIC insured through its partnership with BBVA.15

With Simple, you can specify monthly recurring bills as well as goals you want to save for. After accounting for those needs, Simple predicts how much you can spend without jeopardizing those goals. Speaking of goals, you can set aside cash in a dedicated account (separate from your everyday spending account) and earn a competitive rate of interest on your money while the funds build up.

There are no minimum deposit requirements or monthly fees at Simple, and other charges are relatively minimal. So if you’re looking for a little help in managing your money, Simple may be the way to go.What We Like

  • Budgeting tools included with your day-to-day account
  • Help saving for specific goals
  • Competitive rate on savings

What We Don’t Like

  • Terminology may take some getting used to
  • Savings and CD accounts require a Simple account

What Is an Online Bank?

Online banks are banks and credit unions that operate without brick-and-mortar branches. As a result, they may have lower overhead, and they may be able to get up and running without waiting to build and outfit branches.

Online banks have a reputation for offering high interest rates on deposits and keeping fees low. That makes them ideal for building up your savings without worrying about getting nickel-and-dimed.

Is Money Safe in an Online Bank?

Online banks can be just as safe as traditional banks and credit unions. When an institution is federally insured, your money is protected against bank failures up to $250,000 per account, per institution. With banks, that coverage comes from the FDIC. Federally insured credit unions receive equivalent coverage through the NCUA.

With any financial account, whether it’s at an online bank or not, there are fraud risks. It’s critical to monitor your accounts, and that’s especially easy when you set up account activity alerts. You might be protected against fraud and errors, but you need to act fast to benefit from the highest levels of protection.

Keep your devices up-to-date, and be vigilant about any communication you receive—whether by mail, email, text message, or other means. If you have questions, call the bank at a number you know is legitimate, and discuss your concerns with customer service. Don’t click on links or provide sensitive information just because someone reached out and said they work at your bank. Always take the time to verify the information on your own.

How Do I Access Money in an Online Account?

There may be several ways to spend your money, but the details vary from bank to bank. For example, you might receive an ATM card you can use to withdraw cash or make purchases. Some banks also provide checking accounts, which enable you to write checks, spend with a debit card, or pay bills through online bill pay.

At most online banks, you establish an electronic link to an external account, and you can transfer funds into and out of the online bank on demand. That external account might be your checking account at a brick-and-mortar bank or credit union.

Categories
Best Banks

Best Second-Chance Bank

Second-chance bank accounts offer convenient banking services for customers with a shaky banking history. Bounced checks or unpaid overdrafts can make it hard to open a bank account, but some banks still allow you to open a checking account with which you can write and deposit checks, use a debit card, and pay bills online.

We’ve highlighted some of the best options available. With the second-chance accounts listed below, your ChexSystems history and other issues won’t necessarily prevent you from opening an account. Also, we highlighted banks that keep fees reasonable and offer the experience you need for easy day-to-day banking.

Best Second-Chance Bank Accounts

AccountWhy We Picked ItMinimum Deposit to OpenMonthly Fee
Chime Spending AccountBest Overall and Best for Fees$0$0
Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking AccountRunner-Up$25$5
Radius Essential CheckingBest for Checking$10$9
Peoples BankBest for Easy Approval$30$4.95
BBVA Easy CheckingHonorable Mention$25$13.95

Chime Spending Account: Best for Overall Fees

Chime Bank Logo

Fees are one of the pitfalls of second-chance accounts, but Chime has no monthly maintenance charge, no overdraft charges, and access to 32,000 fee-free ATMs. Chime also allows you to deposit cash through partnerships with over 90,000 retail locations, there is no minimum deposit requirement and Chime won’t run a ChexSystems check when you apply. Chime’s main drawback is that you can’t write paper checks, although Chime can send checks on your behalf. This online banking platform is technically not a bank, but Chime partners with banks to provide functionality like your debit card and FDIC insurance.123What We Like

  • No monthly maintenance or overdraft charges
  • Access to direct deposit up to two days early

What We Don’t Like

  • Can’t write your own checks
  • Can only deposit cash via retail locations with Green Dot

You can pay bills online or request a check by mail, but you can’t use a checkbook as you might with a standard checking account at other banks or credit unions.

Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking Account: Runner-Up

Wells Fargo Logo

Wells Fargo may be worth a look if you want a traditional brick-and-mortar bank. Wells Fargo’s Clear Access banking account provides a debit card, online bill pay, and more. However, there are no paper checks and the ability to send funds to friends and family through your checking account is lacking. This account charges a $5 monthly fee, but that’s waived for customers between 13 and 24 years old. The Clear Access Banking Account requires at least $25 to open. For brick-and-mortar access, Wells Fargo has a strong branch footprint with 5,400 branches and over 13,000 ATMs.4What We Like

  • Free for customers between 13 and 24 years old
  • Numerous branch locations
  • No overdraft of non-sufficient funds fees

What We Don’t Like

  • No person-to-person money transfers
  • No paper checks
  • Monthly fee for customers over 25 years old

Radius Essential Checking: Best for Checking

Radius Bank

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Radius Bank checks all the boxes for payment options with the Essential Checking account. You can write checks, use a debit card, pay bills online, and send person-to-person payments. Customers have access to 20,000 surcharge-free ATMs, too. If all goes well, after one year, you can ask Radius Bank to convert your account to a Rewards Checking account with enhanced features and no monthly fee.5

However, the account has fees and limitations until then. You’ll pay a $9 monthly fee with no waivers and need to make at least a $10 deposit to open an account. Also, Radius Bank limits your debit card transactions to $500 per day ($250 per day for the first 30 days).5What We Like

  • Spend with checks, your debit card, and online bill pay
  • Potential upgrade to a standard account

What We Don’t Like

  • Debit card limit starts at $250 per day
  • Mobile deposits limited to $1,000 per day

Peoples Bank: Best for Easy Approval

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The Peoples Bank Second Chance Checking account is available to virtually anyone with blemishes on their checking background—as long as there is no fraudulent activity in your history. The account has a $4.95 monthly fee and includes check writing, a debit card, online bill pay, and more. The surcharge-free ATM network is limited to Peoples Bank’s two branches in Paris, Texas, so expect to pay $2 to Peoples when you use another bank’s ATM. You may also have to pay a fee to the ATM owner. To open an account, you’ll need to deposit $30.67What We Like

  • Full range of services
  • Potential to convert to a less-expensive account

What We Don’t Like

  • $13.95 monthly fee has no waivers
  • Limited surcharge-free ATM access

BBVA Easy Checking: Honorable Mention

BBVA Logo Primary

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BBVA offers an Easy Checking account with robust features, although the fees are on the high side. With this account, you can write checks, order a debit card for $10, pay bills online, and more. There’s a monthly service charge of $13.95 with no waivers, and you pay BBVA $3 when using a non-BBVA ATM. The ATM owner may charge an additional fee. After one year, you can request an upgrade to another BBVA checking account with no monthly fees and better ATM access. The Easy Checking account requires $25 to open.8What We Like

  • Full range of services
  • Potential to convert to a less-expensive account

What We Don’t Like

  • $13.95 monthly fee has no waivers
  • Limited surcharge-free ATM access

Pros and Cons of Second-Chance Bank Accounts

Pros

  • Standard banking services
  • Easily get your paycheck
  • Send money and make payments
  • Possible upgrade to better account

Cons

  • Fewer banks to choose from
  • Potentially higher fees
  • Limited features

Pros Explained

Standard Banking Services

Second-chance accounts enable you to open an account—even with a less-than-perfect history that might cause some banks to deny your application. With these accounts, you can typically use standard banking services like direct deposit, online bill pay, mobile deposit, and a debit card linked to your checking account. 

Easily Get Your Paycheck

A bank account can potentially save you time and money. With a second-chance bank account, you can have your employer send funds directly to your account. Alternatively, you can deposit paychecks via your mobile phone.

With no bank account, you may need to visit a check-cashing store or supermarket every pay period to cash your paycheck. In addition to making a trip to the store and waiting in line, you typically pay a fee for that service. If you’re paying $2 to $8 (or more) for every check you cash, a monthly bank fee might not look so bad.

If you cash your paycheck, you’ll be walking around with a substantial amount of cash that could be stolen or lost. Plus, it may be tempting to spend cash on hand.

Send Money and Make Payments

When you need to pay for something and cash isn’t an option, you may need to purchase a money order (for payments by mail, for example), which could cost close to $1 per order.

Want to transfer money to a friend? That’s no problem if you get free person-to-person payments in your bank account. But in-person money transfer services may charge hefty fees to move money for you. Plus, a bank account lets you arrange payments and transfers online. Doing so reduces the need to make trips and wait in line.

Possible Upgrade to Better Account

When you open a second-chance account, you open the door to a less-expensive relationship with your bank. For example, BBVA and Radius both allow you the chance to upgrade to a regular checking account after 12 months. Getting your foot in the door is the first step.

Cons Explained

Fewer Banks to Choose From

Not all banks offer second-chance accounts, so you have fewer options. Instead of picking a bank that’s the perfect fit for your needs, you may have to start with a short list of banks that offer these accounts. But once you’re on your feet, you can change to another bank.

Potentially Higher Fees

Second-chance accounts may charge monthly fees with no opportunity for fee waivers. There’s only one option (Chime) on our list of accounts that does not charge a monthly service fee. If you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, $5 or $10 per month could put you in the negative. Plus, it doesn’t feel good to see those charges.

Limited Features

Second-chance accounts may lack your favorite features, such as the ability to write checks or send money to friends and family electronically. That may not be a dealbreaker for you, but it’s crucial to review any exclusions before you apply. Likewise, some accounts may limit how much you can spend on your debit card each day. Those limitations could prevent you from completing essential transactions like making a short-notice deposit on an apartment.

How Should You Choose the Best Second-Chance Bank Account?

Review Fees

Check for monthly service charges, and find out if there are any ways to get those fees waived. It’s also smart to review other charges that you may have to pay. If you occasionally overdraw your account or order cashier’s checks, research what it would cost.

ATM Access

If you like to get cash at ATMs, see if the bank has fee-free ATMs that are convenient for you. The bank may have its own machines, or it might participate in a nationwide ATM network. You can typically find this information by searching for locations on any bank’s website.

Account Restrictions

Different banks offer different features in their second-chance accounts. With some accounts, you might not have the option to write checks. Plus, some banks limit how much you can spend or withdraw with your debit card each day. You need to know about these limitations before you open an account.

Technology Tools

If several banks look appealing, investigate the tools that the bank’s app and online accounts provide. Features like mobile deposit and online bill pay are practically a necessity. Additional tools might include budgeting help, automatic savings programs, and person-to-person payments.

Categories
Best Banks

9 Best West Coast Banks

We are committed to researching, testing, and recommending the best products. We may receive commissions from purchases made after visiting links within our content. Learn more about our review process.

These days, the geographic location of banks matters less than it once did, as it’s entirely possible to do all of your banking online. But many of us still like to have a local branch nearby to obtain personal customer service, and if you live near on the West Coast, you’ll be happy to know that there are many reputable banks based on there with competitive rates and fees and good customer service.

There are also many banks based elsewhere that offer similar benefits along with a great network of branches and ATMs in California, Washington, and Oregon.

In many cases, savers out West are presented with a tradeoff. Banks with numerous ATMs and branches often offer the lowest interest rates on savings and checking accounts. But those banks offering higher rates have fewer physical branches. It all comes down to what’s most important to you.

With that said, let’s take a look at some of the largest and best banks on the West Coast.

Best Overall: CIT Bank

Based in Pasadena, Calif., CIT is an online-only bank that offers money market checking and high yield savings accounts, plus a wide range of CD products with terms ranging from six months to five years. It has unique CD products, such as an 11-month CD with no penalty for early withdrawals and Jumbo CDs with higher interest rates There’s also the ability to create custom CD laddering.

CIT does not offer checking, but is a good option for those looking for higher-than-average interest rates on savings accounts. CIT Bank offers a 0.95 percent APY through its Savings Builder Account if you maintain a $25,000 balance or deposit $100 per month. That’s one of the highest rates in the country.

In California, CIT also operates OneWest Bank, which offers lower rates but eight branches in Pasadena and nearby cities.

Want more information? Check out our full review of CIT Bank. 

Best Smaller California Bank: Bank of the West

Based out of San Francisco, Bank of the West has more than 600 branches all over the West Coast and Midwest and offers checking, savings, CDs and investment products. It is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas.

With the AnyDeposit checking account, customers can avoid a monthly account fee simply by making one deposit of any size each month. (Otherwise, the fee is $10.) Premier Checking customers can avoid the fee with a balance of $25,000. Basic savings accounts offer an APY of 0.02 percent on all balances.

As far as CDs go, the Bank of the West offers APYs starting at 1.60% (depending on your state of residence) on 13-month CDs with a $25,000 minimum balance.

Best Big California Bank: Wells Fargo

As the fourth-largest U.S. bank, Wells Fargo is big enough that no one thinks of it as a “West Coast” bank. But with headquarters in San Francisco, it qualifies. And it’s worth noting that it has more than 1,000 branches and 4,000 ATMs on the coast, including 849 branches and 3,816 ATMs in California alone.

Ubiquity may be Wells Fargo’s big selling point out West, but it also offers a wide range of products and services for any banking need, including checking and savings accounts, loans, credit cards, and investment services.

Wells Fargo’s Platinum Savings account has a low 0.05 percent APY but that goes up to 1.50 percent with balances above $25,000. A $3,500 average monthly balance fee is required to avoid the $12 account fee. For those with lower balances, there’s the Way2Save Savings account, offering 0.01 percent APY. The $5 monthly account fee is waived with $300 account balance.

You can also read our full review of Wells Fargo.

Best Washington State Bank: Washington Federal Savings and Loan

This Seattle-based bank has branches throughout the Pacific Northwest, as well as Texas, Utah, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona.

It offers savings and checking accounts, credit and debit cards, and loans.

Washington Federal offers a free basic checking account, as a well as a “Green” checking account that’s $6 per month and includes cell phone and identity theft protection. There’s also an interest-bearing “Stellar Plus” checking account for those with larger balances. The bank offers two savings account options for $3 or $10 per month, plus certificates of deposit. Passbook savings accounts earn 0.10 percent APY, while CDs can earn as much as 1.95 percent depending on the term length.

Washington Federal has an online and smartphone app service called MoneySync, which allows you to see a full picture of your finances in a single screen, with the ability to create “Bubble Budgets” that show how money is being spent.

Best Oregon Bank: Umpqua Bank

Portland-based Umpqua is all over the West Coast with the highest concentration in Oregon and Washington. There are also branches in California, Nevada, and Idaho. Umpqua in 2013 expanded its footprint out west when it bought Sterling Financial.

Umpqua has traditional saving and checking accounts, plus loans. Umpqua offers three different checking accounts, including two that are free if you set up direct deposit. A third is fee-free with a balance of $25,000. There are also three savings account options that are free if minimum balance requirements are met. (Otherwise, monthly fees range from $3 to $15.)

Umpqua has lower-than-average interest rates (savings accounts generate just 0.01 percent) but emphasizes personal, one-on-one customer service and will waive most fees for senior citizens. ATMs can be found throughout the west, but Umpqua will refund ATM fees if customers use non-Umpqua machines.

Best West Coast Credit Union: Golden 1 Credit Union

Anyone who lives in California can join the not-for-profit Golden 1 Credit Union and access a wide range of financial products, including checking and savings accounts, loans, insurance, and credit cards.

A basic checking account is free, though savers can access interest-producing checking by maintaining a $1,000 balance.

There are also special checking accounts for students and other young people.

Golden 1 customers can access 240 ATMs in California, plus another 30,000 that are part of a co-op.

Interest rates aren’t quite as competitive as other banks. Money Market accounts will generate a 0.25 percent APY, rising as high as 0.75 percent with balances of $250,000 and over. 

Any resident of California can join the Golden 1 Credit Union. It’s also possible to become a member if you work for one of nearly 1,000 select employers, or by joining the Financial Fitness Association for $8 per year.

Best International Bank: East West Bank

One of the largest banks based in Southern California, East West was founded as a bank for Chinese people living in the state in the 1970s. It now has 130 branches, including many in China.

The bank has three different main checking options, with two that earn interest for account holders. There are also checking accounts designed for students and seniors.

A $3 fee on passbook savings accounts is waived with a $2,500 balance.

East West currently offers a 0.1 percent APY on savings accounts with a balance of $25,000. Smaller balances offer rates of 0.05 percent APY.

Best Bank/Brokerage Combo: Charles Schwab

Based in San Francisco, “Chuck” is known more as a discount investment broker rather than a bank, but it does offer interest-bearing checking accounts with competitive rates and costs. You can earn 0.23 percent from a High Yield Investor Savings account and there are no account minimums or fees. Charles Schwab also offers mobile banking, online bill pay, free checks, a debit card, and unlimited rebates on ATM fees worldwide. The only catch is that the checking account must be linked to a Charles Schwab online brokerage account.

Charles Schwab has more than 60 branches in California, nine in Washington and five in Oregon. If you want to learn more, check out our full review. 

Best Bank for West Coast Transplants: Chase Bank

It’s not a West Coast bank, but its presence on that side of the country is enormous. Branches and ATMs are ubiquitous in California, and there are dozens in Washington and Oregon as well.

Chase Bank is a division of banking behemoth JP Morgan Chase and offers interest-bearing checking accounts with no fee if you have a balance of $1,500 or more. Interest rates on savings accounts range from 0.01 percent to 0.09 percent APY depending on the account and balance. Rates on certificates of deposit range from 0.02 percent to 1.75 percent depending on term and size.

Because Chase is a division of J.P. Morgan, customers have access to the company’s You Invest discount brokerage services.