August 02, 2021
Where you park your cash matters. Which is why The Ascent compiled a shortlist of the best banks and banking accounts of the past year. These awards winners led the pack with high APYs, low-to-no fees, modern online and mobile experiences, great customer satisfaction, and more.
Ally Bank is one of the most popular online banks, and for a good reason. Its customer service is among the best in the banking world. There's a myriad of support options available to Ally customers all day, every day. Live customer support is at hand 24/7 by phone. You can also get help via chat support, secure messages, and an extensive online knowledge base. Plus, most support options are accessible through Ally Bank's highly-rated mobile app.
Bank of America's Preferred Rewards program has no equal, going beyond common perks like waived fees and higher APYs to offer unique and lucrative rewards to customers with multiple accounts. If you open a Bank of America checking account and keep at least $20,000 in all your Bank of America accounts, you can earn bonus rewards on your Bank of America credit cards, take advantage of fee-free out-of-network ATM transactions, lower fees on loans, and discounts on Merrill Guided Investing services.
Varo Bank offers a modern spin on banking. You no longer need to drive to your local bank to open an account, make deposits, or get support. Help is right at your fingertips thanks to Varo Bank's highly-rated app and online access. Deposit checks, set up automatic savings rules, make payments, or send money to family and friends -- all from your mobile phone. Enjoy contactless transactions through Varo's debit card. You can also lock your debit card through the mobile app in seconds if it's lost or stolen.
Chime goes further than any other bank to make managing your money intuitive and effortless. It's one of few banks to give customers access to their direct-deposited funds right away -- up to two days earlier than you could access them at some other banks. Customers who also have a savings account can leverage its high APY and automated savings tools to grow wealth more quickly, and they won't have to worry about fees cutting into their profits. While fees tend to be minimal with online banks, Chime goes further than its competitors, offering up to $100 in fee-free overdraft protection to eligible customers.
Other banks may offer ATM fee reimbursements, but few go as far as Charles Schwab Bank. Schwab customers can get ATM fee reimbursements worldwide. Yes, you read that correctly -- worldwide. No more worrying about whether an ATM is in-network or not. No matter where your travels take you, you'll never have to deal with pesky fees to access your money. Plus, Charles Schwab Bank is one of the rare banks that offer an ATM card with your savings account.
Though Chase no longer leads in terms of the most bank branches in the U.S., it stands out for having over 4,700 branches in 38 states and Washington, D.C., giving it one of the largest service areas of any bank in the country. This, coupled with its variety of services and largely favorable customer reviews, make it a popular choice for those who aren't quite ready to cut ties with traditional brick-and-mortar banks.
With unlimited ATM fee rebates worldwide, the Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking® account saves you money on every withdrawal. You can also use it for international purchases, as it doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee. To top it off, there are no service fees, maintenance fees, or minimum account balances.
Axos offers the perfect marriage of low fees and high returns with its Axos Rewards Checking account. It offers the highest APY of any popular checking account by a wide margin. On top of this, it's not too hard to qualify for the highest-earning tier. You won't have to pay any monthly maintenance fees and you'll get unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements, so you don't have to worry about fees eating into your balance. If you use your card regularly and deposit more than $1,000 into your account each month, this checking account is a no-brainer.
You'll be hard-pressed to find another checking account that offers a higher interest rate than the Axos Rewards Checking account. Plus, while other high-yield checking accounts require you to keep a five-figure balance to max out your returns, this one's requirements are within reach for most people. With no monthly maintenance fees and unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements, you can milk those returns for all they're worth.
If you're looking for a bank with an extensive ATM network, Radius Bank more than fits the bill. Radius checking accounts come with access to 325,000+ fee-free ATMs through partnerships with several large ATM networks. If that isn't enough, you'll also receive unlimited ATM fee rebates for out-of-network ATM use worldwide. No fees means your money stays in your account where it belongs.
Few banks offer as much as Radius Bank when it comes to checking accounts. In addition to not charging monthly fees, Radius Rewards Checking is packed with perks. You can earn interest and cash back rewards, get free ATM use worldwide and a free first checkbook, and much more. There's also an option to receive direct deposits up to two days early. It's hard to argue with the value found with Radius Bank checking accounts.
Synchrony combines flexibility with some of the highest CD rates on the market. With a minimum deposit of $2,000, you can open a Synchrony CD for terms ranging from three months to five years. Unlike many other banks, Synchrony even lets you withdraw interest earnings penalty-free before your CD has matured.
Ally Bank is home to some of the highest CD rates among online banks. The APYs for all seven Ally CD term lengths are competitive. And none of them have minimum deposit requirements or monthly fees. You'll even earn extra loyalty rewards when you renew an Ally CD, building up your savings even more. If high-yield CDs aren't enough, Ally's Raise Your Rate CDs and No Penalty CDs could provide flexibility too.
Among the big banks, U.S. Bank has competitive CD rates and offers a variety of options to fit different financial goals. You can open one of the bank's Standard CDs with just $500, one of the lowest minimum deposits. Available terms start at one month and stretch to five years. For a $1,000 minimum deposit, U.S. Bank also offers Step Up CDs and Trade Up CDs, which give you the opportunity to increase your rate during your CD's term.
The Synchrony Bank High-Yield Savings account checks all the boxes. It offers one of the highest APYs of any savings account, so you can rest assured you're earning as much interest as possible. There are no maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements to worry about. Last but not least, you'll get a debit card so you can make ATM withdrawals, which is a rarity among online savings accounts.
Citi Accelerate Savings’ high APY is impressive for a big bank. While most big banks offer a savings account rate that’s practically 0%, Citi goes the other route, offering a 0.70% APY that competes with the highest-yielding online savings accounts. You’ll be hard pressed to find a higher rate with a national, brick-and-mortar bank.
The Ally Money Market Account includes the essentials we covet, including a high APY, ATM fee reimbursements, high-quality online and mobile app experience, and no monthly maintenance fees. The cherry on top is Ally’s well-rounded banking offerings that allow you to consolidate your banking and investing needs under one roof, with high APYs and low fees across the board.
We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team. The Motley Fool has a Disclosure Policy. The Author and/or The Motley Fool may have an interest in companies mentioned.
The Ascent is a Motley Fool service that rates and reviews essential products for your everyday money matters.
Copyright © 2018 - 2021 The Ascent. All rights reserved.