Best Banks of 2024

  • Ally Bank
    1.3(1,569)
  • US Bank
    1.6(1,907)
  • Armed Forces Bank
    2.0(97)

Top Picks

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Best Banks of 2024

56
Companies considered
9
Companies selected
37K+
Reviews analyzed
54
Features compared

The best banks stand out from the rest because they offer a combination of excellent customer service, competitive interest rates and low fees. But trying to sift through all your options can feel overwhelming if you don’t know what to compare.

Consider your personal preferences and what you’re willing to trade off. For example, while brick-and-mortar banks offer a sense of security for customers who prefer in-person interaction, online-only banks offer lower fees and better interest rates. If you’re someone who banks on the go, you’ll want a variety of mobile banking options. And while interest rates and fees are important factors, customer service should not be overlooked.

How we selected the best banks

To make our top picks, the ConsumerAffairs Research Team vetted 56 banks. We considered more than 37,000 reviews and features, including types of accounts and products offered, fees, interest rates and extra services available. Our list includes both traditional brick-and-mortar banks as well as online-only banks. All our picks are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

You can read our full methodology to learn more about how we compared different banks and chose our top picks. Our picks may be Authorized Partners that compensate us. This does not affect our recommendations or evaluations but may impact the order in which companies appear.

Why trust ConsumerAffairs?
  • Our recommendations are based on what reviewers say.
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  • We use intelligent software that helps us maintain the integrity of reviews.
  • Our moderators read all reviews to verify quality and helpfulness.

Compare our picks for top 9 banks

Our pick for low fees
Opening deposit required
$0
Overdraft fee
$0
In-person branches
No

Ally Bank is widely regarded as one of the best banks for low fees. As an online-only bank, it doesn’t charge monthly fees for its checking or savings accounts. It also offers a number of other money-saving services, such as free checks, free overdrafts and reimbursements for non-network ATM fees.

In addition to low fees, Ally Bank is known for its competitive interest rates on both checking and savings accounts. This allows customers to earn money on their deposits, rather than simply avoid fees.

In addition to checking and savings accounts, it also offers high-yield certificates of deposit (CDs), money market accounts, credit cards and loans. While you won’t find a ton of account options with Ally (it only offers one checking and one savings account), it focuses on quality over quantity. Its low fees and competitive rates make it a popular choice.

Ally Bank offers some serious benefits to its clients, including:

  • No monthly fees or overdraft fees
  • Competitive interest rates
  • Non-network ATM fee reimbursements

Some potential customers might be disappointed that Ally Bank has:

  • No physical branches
  • Limited account options
  • No cash deposits

A number of ConsumerAffairs readers have praised Ally Bank for its competitive interest rates and helpful customer service.

Marcia from Denver had this to say: “Ally has always been responsive to my questions, either online or via phone. They make me feel confident in banking with them and using new transaction practices. Their rates are competitive with other large banks, and I would recommend Ally's services.”

Other customers noted that they like Ally Bank’s lack of fees and its convenient mobile banking app. That said, we’ve also received negative reviews of Ally Bank, including complaints about frozen accounts and long wait times for customer service.

Our pick for businesses
Opening deposit required
$25
Overdraft fee
$36
In-person branches
2,000+

As one of the largest banks in the nation, U.S. Bank offers everything from standard checking and savings accounts to credit cards and loans. But its range of business products makes it a strong choice for businesses looking for a reliable banking partner.

With U.S. Bank, customers can find business checking accounts with mobile banking, cash management tools and merchant services that allow businesses to accept credit and debit card payments.

U.S. Bank also provides business loans, including Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, lines of credit and even McDonald’s franchise financing. Treasury management services help businesses manage their cash flow, optimize working capital and reduce financial risk.

While not all of U.S. Bank’s checking and savings accounts have overdraft fees or minimum deposits, some do. For instance, the minimum opening deposit is $25 for the Standard Savings Account and Safe Debit Account. There’s a $36 fee for overdrafts of $5.01 or more with some accounts.

U.S. Bank’s size allows it to offer a number of advantages, such as its:

  • Large network of physical branches
  • Variety of financial products
  • Good options for small business financing
  • Free credit monitoring services

But a big bank also comes with a few inevitable pitfalls, like:

  • Monthly fees on some accounts
  • High minimum balance requirements to waive monthly account fees
  • Low savings account interest rates

A lot of ConsumerAffairs readers praise U.S. Bank for its easy-to-use online banking platform and helpful customer service.

Sebastian from Honolulu wrote: "We've been with U.S. Bank for at least 12 years now, and we love it. U.S. Bank helped me with my first account after I turned 18 and got me through school. The bankers are wonderful and have given me all sorts of insight, from how to invest to spending on a daily basis."

However, some customers had negative experiences with loan applications, and others complained about high fees and poor communication from the bank.

Our pick for military
Opening deposit required
$25
Overdraft fee
$20
In-person branches
94

Armed Forces Bank is considered one of the best banks for military members due to its long-standing history of serving active-duty and retired military personnel and their families since 1907.

As a full-service institution, Armed Forces Bank provides a variety of products, including savings accounts, money market accounts, CDs, credit cards, personal military loans, home equity loans and mortgages.

One standout product of Armed Forces Bank is its Recruit Access Checking account, which is designed specifically for new recruits. It charges no monthly maintenance fees (with direct deposit), offers early access to direct deposits from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service and provides a network of over 30,000 ATMs nationwide.

Armed Forces Bank also has other bank accounts that come with identity monitoring, cellphone protection, roadside assistance, movie and theme park discounts and more.

Armed Forces Bank’s savings account has a $25 minimum opening deposit. A $20 fee applies to overdrafts over $5 (up to $100 in total overdraft fees per day).

Armed Forces Bank will definitely appeal to Americans in uniform, given that:

  • Its products and services are tailored to the military.
  • It has an account specifically designed for new recruits.
  • Some members are entitled to early paydays.

Armed Forces Bank won’t be a good fit for everyone given that:

  • Its branches are located on military bases.
  • Some of its products can only be applied for at its branches.
  • Most of its checking and savings accounts have monthly fees.

Many ConsumerAffairs readers appreciate Armed Forces Bank’s focus on serving military personnel and their families, as well as its wide range of financial products.

Robert from Chula Vista, California, is very grateful for the bank’s customer service. “I am so thankful for the men and women of this business. … Lately, I have had attempts of people trying to take money from my account. The Armed Forces Bank personnel worked so very hard to help,” he said.

Some of the negative reviews of Armed Forces Bank that we’ve received complained of limited support hours and excessive fees.

Our pick for students

PNC Bank

Opening deposit required
$0
Overdraft fee
$36
In-person branches
2,300+

PNC Bank offers a variety of financial products specifically designed to help students manage their finances. The Virtual Wallet Student account is one of its most notable offerings. It includes three accounts in one: Spend, Reserve and Growth. It has no monthly fees for up to six years from the date of account opening and comes with $5 in monthly ATM rebates and one overdraft refund.

PNC also offers private student loans and education refinance loans. For younger students, PNC’s S is for Savings program is designed to teach children how to save money and build a strong financial foundation for their future.

Beyond these student and youth-specific offerings, PNC provides credit cards, mortgages, small business accounts and other financial products that can be useful for students as they transition into adulthood.

Most PNC checking and savings accounts have a $0 minimum opening deposit.

Some of PNC’s most notable attributes are its:

  • Good savings and checking options for young people
  • Large ATM network
  • Free financial education resources

A few of PNC’s drawbacks include:

  • Limited availability in some regions
  • High overdraft fees
  • Monthly fees for some accounts

Some ConsumerAffairs readers have praised PNC for its helpful customer service and wide range of financial products.

Eric from Erie, Pennsylvania, gave PNC Bank a 5-star rating and said: "I absolutely love, love, love PNC Bank. About a month ago, I upgraded from their prepaid card to the Virtual Wallet Performance account (Spend, Reserve & Growth)! I couldn’t be more happy and thankful. PNC is the absolute BEST, BEST, BEST bank I have ever been with. Customer service is extraordinary, great branch and ATM locations nationwide and my local branch is phenomenal."

However, some negative reviews of PNC complained of poor communication with the bank’s staff.

Our pick for in-person access
Opening deposit required
$0
Overdraft fee
$34
In-person branches
4,700+

Chase’s extensive branch network and range of personal and business financial services make it an excellent choice for those who need in-person access to their accounts.

The bank, which is the largest in the U.S., has over 4,700 branches and 16,000 ATMs. Its branch network spans 49 states (there are no Chase branches in Alaska) and Washington, D.C. Its branches offer personalized assistance to customers who prefer to conduct their banking in person.

Chase provides a diverse mix of financial products, including rewards credit cards, checking accounts, savings accounts, business banking, mortgages, investments and car loans.

Chase’s massive banking footprint gives it the following advantages over a number of competing banks:

  • Its branch network is extensive.
  • Its ATM network is huge.
  • It offers a full range of products and services.

Chase also suffers from some of the disadvantages that are common among large banks:

  • Some accounts charge monthly fees.
  • High minimum balances may be required to waive monthly fees.
  • Savings account interest rates are low.

A number of people who left reviews of Chase with ConsumerAffairs seem to appreciate Chase’s online banking platform, helpful customer service and convenient branch locations.

Margery from Prudenville, Michigan, said: “Whether online or in person, they look out for me and my money. They tell me of new things that are available and … that I may be interested in. The ATM area is always clean, and drive-up window is always a breeze to get in and out of fast.”

But some customers had less positive experiences. Negative reviews mentioned account fees and difficult loan application processes, among other issues.

Our pick for extra features
Opening deposit required
$25
Overdraft fee
$35
In-person branches
4,700

Wells Fargo products include checking and savings accounts, credit cards, loans and investment platforms. However, it also provides a variety of extra features that make banking more convenient and secure.

One key feature is Wells Fargo’s 24/7 fraud monitoring. The bank has systems in place to help detect and prevent fraud, including real-time transaction monitoring.

Customers can also set up activity alerts to receive notifications when certain types of transactions occur, such as purchases over a certain amount or ATM withdrawals. The bank also offers a credit monitoring service called “Credit Close-Up” to help customers stay on top of their credit scores and catch potential identity theft.

Another extra feature that sets Wells Fargo apart is Early Pay Day. Customers can receive their paychecks up to two days early when they set up direct deposit, allowing them to manage cash flow and potentially avoid overdrafts.

Among Wells Fargo’s most notable perks are its:

  • Wide range of products and services
  • Large branch and ATM network
  • Mobile banking app with a variety of features
  • Good low-interest credit cards

Some of Wells Fargo’s weaknesses are its:

  • Monthly fees for some accounts
  • Low interest rates on some savings accounts
  • History of creating fraudulent bank accounts without clients’ consent
  • Lack of branches in 14 states

Many ConsumerAffairs readers have expressed how much they appreciate Wells Fargo's branch services, security measures and friendly customer support.

Donald from Firestone, Colorado, said: “They have always been courteous and helpful to solve problems. When we had a credit card fraud, the bank immediately solved the crisis. In almost 30 years, we have been very happy. We would never switch banks.”

However, some customers have had negative experiences with hidden fees and poor communication.

Our pick for loan options
Opening deposit required
$0
Overdraft fee
$0
In-person branches
No

SoFi started as a student loan company but has since expanded to offer a full lineup of loans, including personal loans, home loans, credit card consolidation loans, family planning financing and small business financing. It also offers investment services, high-yield checking and savings accounts, career coaching and complimentary financial planning.

Its high-yield checking and savings accounts offer competitive interest rates and no monthly fees. Investment products like ETFs and retirement accounts are available through SoFi Invest.

Among SoFi's most notable offerings are its student loan refinancing options, which can help borrowers lower their interest rates and monthly payments. Fixed and variable rate options are available, and loans are offered in repayment terms including five, seven, 10, 15 and 20 years. Borrowers can also defer payments for up to 36 months if they experience financial hardship.

SoFi’s extensive lending history and online-only structure allow it to offer these key benefits to its customers:

  • It has a wide range of loan products.
  • There are no minimum balance requirements for checking or savings accounts.
  • Checking and savings balances benefit from high annual percentage yields (APYs).

SoFi’s comparatively small size also leads to a few weaknesses:

  • It has no physical branches.
  • The process for depositing cash into a SoFi bank account is a bit convoluted.
  • Its range of products is relatively limited outside of loans.

A lot of ConsumerAffairs readers have indicated that they had positive experiences with SoFi. For example, Pedro of Bethesda, Maryland, stated: "They offered me the lowest rate, highest loan amount and best loan term. Also, their process is user friendly, which is important to me because looking for a loan is already frustrating enough. Their customer service is also very attentive and polite."

On the other hand, a number of ConsumerAffairs readers have complained about frustrating loan approval processes and poor communication with SoFi.

Our pick for savings options
Opening deposit required
$25
Overdraft fee
$15
In-person branches
1,000+

M&T Bank is a regional institution that provides banking services to consumers and businesses. Its products include basic and interest-bearing checking accounts, as well as savings accounts, loans, credit cards and business bank accounts. M&T Bank is headquartered in Buffalo, New York, and it’s an excellent pick for anyone looking for a bank with a wide range of savings options.

Not only does M&T Bank offer traditional savings accounts, but it also has other types of accounts, such as CDs, money market accounts and business savings accounts.

Among the standout options offered by M&T Bank are its promotional CDs. These accounts earn up to 4% APY (as of publication) and allow customers to lock in a specific interest rate for a set period of time.

Some of M&T Bank’s biggest selling points are:

  • It has a wide range of savings vehicles.
  • It has over 1,000 branch locations.
  • Its promotional CDs offer competitive rates.
  • It has multiple credit cards with no annual fee.

These aspects might give you pause before you gravitate toward M&T Bank:

  • Some of its checking accounts have high monthly fees.
  • Some of its savings vehicles have low APYs.
  • All M&T checking accounts have a $25 minimum opening deposit.
  • M&T branches are primarily located on the East Coast.

M&T Bank has received many strong reviews from ConsumerAffairs readers, some of which have highlighted M&T’s personalized customer service and its focus on serving local communities.

Pat from Niagara Falls, New York, offered this description of M&T: “Large bank with a hometown feel. Very personable, professional and friendly. They have made recommendations for me and my accounts that I have with them. They also do excellent follow-up on any questions you have about your accounts.”

Negative M&T reviews include complaints about long wait times and unexpected fees.

Our pick for financial planning
Opening deposit required
$0
Overdraft fee
$35
In-person branches
1,000+

Citizens Bank provides a range of financial products, including deposit accounts, loans, credit cards, mortgages and investment accounts. But its financial planning services are where it excels.

Every customer of Citizens Bank has free access to Citizens Checkup, a financial planning service in which a Citizens Bank customer can consult with a banker or advisor and get help mapping out their goals. In addition, the bank offers retirement, educational, estate and insurance planning.

One key benefit of choosing Citizens Bank for financial planning is the level of personalization offered. The bank says its financial professionals will take the time to understand each customer's unique situation and work with them to develop a customized plan that meets their needs.

Citizens Bank also offers a range of online resources to help customers manage their finances. From budgeting and savings calculators to retirement planning tools and investment resources, the bank provides a wealth of support to help customers make informed financial decisions.

Citizens Bank stands out from competitors due to its:

  • Free financial checkups for customers
  • Comprehensive financial planning services
  • Online tools and educational resources

A few of Citizens Bank’s weaker points are its:

  • High overdraft fees
  • Below-average interest rates
  • Limited service area

A number of ConsumerAffairs readers have praised Citizens Bank for its variety of quality accounts and the accessibility of its customer service.

Gail from Titusville, Florida, put it like this: “We have mortgaged through Citizens for the past three houses. Since we have our savings/checking through them also, going online to check our balances is so nice to have all our mortgage info available on the same page and location.”

There are, however, some negative Citizens Bank reviews that mention frustration with expensive overdraft fees.

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How to choose a bank

“As long as your bank is FDIC-insured, the safety of your money is covered. So when choosing a bank, it really comes down to the interest rate, fees associated with your bank and other services offered,” explained Kendall Meade, a certified financial planner at SoFi.

With Meade’s advice in mind, take the following approach when choosing a bank:

Consider your needs
Are you looking for a bank that offers a lot of online services? Do you need a bank with a lot of physical locations? Do you need a bank that offers a specific type of account? Make a list of your needs and use it to narrow down your options.
Look at fees
Bank fees can wipe out your account balance if you’re not careful. Look for a bank that has low or no fees for the services you need. Some common bank fees to look out for include ATM fees, overdraft fees and monthly maintenance fees.

“It’s important to take all of these fees into account because even if you are getting a higher APY, these fees may end up costing you more than the interest you earn,” said Meade

Check the interest rates
If you're looking to earn money back on your savings, check the interest rates offered by different banks. Most of the time, you’ll find the best rates at online banks.
Research the bank's reputation
Look for reviews online and ask friends and family members for their recommendations. You want to choose a bank that’s reputable and has a good track record of customer service.
Consider convenience
If you value face-to-face service, look for a bank that has branches and ATMs in convenient locations near you. If you prefer online banking , make sure the bank's website and mobile app are easy to navigate.

» MORE: How many bank accounts does the average person have?

Banking alternatives

While traditional banks have been the go-to for managing finances for decades, there are now several alternatives. Here are some options to consider:

Credit unions

Credit unions are member-owned financial cooperatives that offer similar products and services to banks, such as checking and savings accounts, loans and credit cards. However, credit unions are typically smaller and focus more on local communities. They often offer better interest rates and lower fees than traditional banks.

Online banks

Online banks, also known as virtual banks or digital banks, operate entirely online without physical branches. One example of an online bank is Ally Bank, which is on this list.

Online banks offer similar services to traditional banks, but usually with lower fees and better interest rates. Online banks also tend to have user-friendly mobile apps and websites, making it easy to manage your finances on the go.

Neobanks

A neobank is a type of online bank that focuses on providing innovative digital banking experiences. Neobanks often offer features such as budgeting tools, instant money transfers and real-time spending notifications. They are also known for their sleek and modern designs, making them a popular choice for younger generations.

Community banks

Community banks are small, locally owned banks that focus on serving the needs of their surrounding communities. They offer similar services to traditional banks, but with a more personal touch.

Community banks often have a better understanding of local economic conditions than national banks, and they may be more willing to work with customers in challenging financial circumstances.

Other payment options

In addition to these bank alternatives, you have other options for paying bills and managing finances without a bank account. These include:

  • Money orders: A money order or money transfer service can be used to pay bills or send money to someone else without needing a checking account. Money orders can be purchased at banks, post offices and other retail locations.
  • Prepaid cards: A prepaid card is a reloadable card that can be used to make purchases and pay bills. They’re often used by people who don't have a traditional bank account or who want to limit their spending.
  • Cash: While cash may seem old-fashioned, it's still a viable option for covering some expenses. Just be sure to keep your cash in a secure location and track your spending carefully. And you might want to consider pairing your cash with a prepaid card for those bills that can’t be covered in cash.

FAQ

How is my money protected if I use a traditional bank?

When you use a traditional bank, your money is protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). This means that if the bank fails, your deposits will be insured for up to $250,000.

What are the different types of banks?

There are several types of banks, including traditional banks, online banks and community banks. Traditional banks have brick-and-mortar branches and offer a wide range of financial products and services. Online banks operate entirely online and often offer high interest rates and low fees. Community banks are usually locally owned and tend to serve a small number of clients who live in the same vicinity.

Can I have accounts at more than one bank?

Yes, you can have accounts at more than one bank. In fact, it can be a good idea to have accounts at multiple banks to take advantage of different products and services. For example, you might have a checking account at one bank and a savings account at another bank that offers a higher interest rate.

Do I need a good credit score to open a bank account?

No, you do not need a good credit score to open a bank account. However, some banks may check your credit score when you apply for certain products, such as a credit card or loan. If you have a low credit score, you may be denied these products or offered less favorable terms.

Methodology

To make our choices for top banks, we collected 54 individual data points for 56 popular banks. We then used this data to examine the most important considerations for consumers.

Customer feedback is a critical indicator when evaluating companies, and we factored in over 37,000 customer reviews and overall ratings from ConsumerAffairs readers when making our top picks. However, for those companies we considered that have no ratings from ConsumerAffairs, there were other variables that made them stand out, which factored into our decisions.

  • Accounts and products offered: We looked at the amount of checking, savings, retirement and other account types each bank offered. Higher consideration was given to banks that offered traditional accounts as well as specialized accounts, such as accounts for teens and military members.
  • Fees: Among the types of fees we considered were overdraft, out-of-network ATM and account maintenance fees. Preference was given to banks that have low fees or offer reimbursements or waivers of fees.
  • Additional options and services: We examined features like credit monitoring, fraud protection, financial planning, account alerts and account bonuses. Preference was given to banks that offer more of these features and services, as they provide customers with a more comprehensive banking experience.
  • APR and APY: Interest rates are important when selecting a loan or savings account from a bank, and we looked at APYs on savings accounts as well as annual percentage rates (APRs) on loans. We gave greater consideration to banks that offered high APYs and low APRs as of publication. However, since these rates fluctuate frequently, this variable was not given as much weight as others.

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