Finding the right bank for your financial needs is an important (and often overwhelming) process. The best banks act as a trusted financial partner, offering needed security and support for every account holder. And with recent years marking an increased trend toward online banking, the options are more diverse than ever before.
Research shows that Americans are moving further and further away from the days of waiting in line to cash a check. A recent survey of Americans finds that more than one in 10 respondents hadn’t been to a physical bank in the past year. A notable 8 out of 10 respondents said that they handle all their banking needs online.
Most millennials hardly make time to check their bank account virtually, never mind making the trip to their local bank location. Another survey reports that 45% of millennials aren’t sure exactly how much money is in their bank account, and they are more likely to be found scrolling social media or playing with a pet. But it isn’t just millennials that don’t keep up with their balance. Similarly, a poll of 2,000 people reveals that more than half (55%) of Americans don’t know what they have in the bank, and they are afraid to check.
Clearly, comfort and accessibility are highly important factors when choosing a bank. And while many are more than ready to give up waiting in line at the counter to cash a check, others find security in being able to access their bank in a real, brick-and-mortar location. Regardless of your preference, Study Finds is here to take the guesswork out of choosing the best bank for your needs. From national banks you can find in most U.S. cities, to fully online banks available with the click of a button, we’ve scoured 10 expert websites to bring you the cream of the crop. If you have your own recommendations for the best banks, please share them with us in the comments below!
The List: Best Banks, According to Experts
Famed for its high-yield savings accounts and 100% online access, Ally has emerged as a clear favorite in the online banking industry. “Ally is known for paying competitive rates and not requiring initial deposits for any of its accounts. Its mobile app has features many banking apps lack, such as mobile check deposits and an in-network ATM locator,” says Business Insider.
Bankrate, who ranked Ally number one, notes their superior customer service. “The bank’s 24/7 phone customer service and wait-time notification on its website exemplify its commitment to customer service,” Bankrate says.
Money notes their selection of tools, with “a full complement of tools and boosters, [including] recurring balance transfers, identifying money that can be safely transferred from your checking account (even if it’s not an Ally account) and automatically moving it to savings, and moving the excess money from purchases to your savings account.”
2. Capital One
Even in the new age of banking, familiar names are finding new ways to provide superior service. Perhaps most notably, Capital One is a full-service financial leader, with both online and physical locations, 70,000+ ATMs, and a wide variety of account types and services. Bankrate notes Capital One’s ongoing commitment to eliminate fees, saying “Capital One’s deposit products do not charge monthly fees or require minimum balances. The bank plans to eliminate overdraft fees in early 2022.”
MoneyWise also celebrates its fee-free approach, adding “it charges none of the typical fees you’d find at most banks, including zero fees for maintenance, ATM usage and overdrafts on approved transactions.”
Despite its simple appearance, Capital One is not to be underestimated. “You’ll find a simplified checking and savings portfolio, but the account offerings are competitive compared to most banks,” says Forbes. And with multiple locations (including cafés) and online access, Capital One is accessible from virtually anywhere. “The Capital One mobile app is highly rated, earning 4.9 (out of 5) stars on the App Store and 4.6 (out of 5) stars on Google Play. It truly delivers as an all-in-one mobile banking solution,” Forbes adds.
Chase is among the largest banks in America, with locations in each of the continental United States. With such a large network comes some major benefits, including “access to more than 16,000 ATMs and 4,700 branches across the country,” says MoneyWise. Chase’s “vast network of branches, top-rated mobile app, strong customer service support and wide array of financial products and loans,” made it a top choice for Newsweek.
For those who favor doing business face-to-face, Chase is a great option, with “the most exhaustive banking experience in America for those who prefer in-person banking,” according to SmartAsset.
But mobile lovers are equally sure to appreciate the Chase experience, with SmartAsset noting, “Chase’s app has an average rating of 4.7 stars out of 5 between the Apple and Android stores and is arguably the most intuitive and easy-to-use banking app available.”
4. Axos Bank
Fully online Axos Bank is a favorite among those who value convenience and 24/7 virtual accessibility. They rank highly with NerdWallet for “[doing] away with many fees and [offering] something that’s somewhat rare: rewards checking.” Checking accounts are among Axos Bank’s top-rated offerings. “Axos offers five different checking accounts, all geared toward specific needs,” says Business Insider.
Though they are not a brick-and-mortar bank, Axos still places a priority on customer service. “Axos Bank personal banking customers can reach support through its mobile app, by sending a secure message through their online accounts or calling Axos, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” says Forbes. They also offer “automated online chat, secure online messaging and Twitter,” NerdWallet adds.
If you’ve only ever heard of Discover credit cards, you might be missing out on all they have to offer. “Discover is best known for its credit cards, but the national brand offers an impressive free checking account to consumers across the country,” says Bankrate. “The Discover Cashback Debit account not only charges no fees, it also has no minimum balance requirement.”
“Discover is a good option for people who want to do all their banking, investing, and borrowing with one institution,” says Business Insider. With over 60,000 ATMs and 24/7 online access, Discover provides diverse options for all kinds of banking needs. And what they lack in physical locations, they make up for in customer service, as “Discover is known for its superb customer service, available 24 hours a day,” Forbes says.
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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.