The 8 Best Big Banks of 2019

There are perks to signing up with one of the big names

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When searching for the best bank for your needs, there are a lot of perks to choosing a financial institution with a lot of money and human resources behind it. The most obvious thing that will impact your day-to-day experience is the great technology that comes with the best big banks: think cutting-edge mobile apps and online experiences, lots of ATMs, and 24/7 customer service (either in-person or over a well-staffed phone line). Big banks tend to offer better security, which includes fingerprint log-in for mobile banking, and even voice- and face-authentication systems. Many big banks also provide a ton of tools that can help you track your finances like credit trackers and blogs that feature all the personal finance advice you could ever want or need.

01
Best for Always-Open Branches: TD Bank

Most of TD Bank’s 1,200 branches are open seven days a week, giving you access to excellent customer service and personalized attention at your convenience. You can avoid the $15 monthly fee if you maintain a balance of $100 or more in your checking account. If you sign up for a regular checking account, you can score a cool $200 by receiving at least $500 in direct deposits in the account in the first 60 days. TD Bank allows you to set up custom e-mail alerts at different balance levels like $500, $300 and $100 to help you monitor spending to avoid overdraft fees. There is a $35 charge for each overdrawn amount paid or returned, up to five charges per business day. 

The bank also offers a wide variety of loans and investment products, like CDs. Consider the interest rates: What good is a savings account if you are only saving an extra 0.01% each year? If you are looking for a bank that will help you grow your wealth, skip the ones that do not offer high-interest savings accounts. TD Bank offers 0.50% on balances between $5,000 and $9,999.99.

Check out our full review of TD Bank.

02
Best for Investors: Chase Bank

You can make free trades on over 100 stocks and ETFs through Chase, with no minimum investment amount. You'll also have access to an excellent website, financial tools, and a great mobile app, as well as a wide variety of credit cards.

Chase checking account fees and services are similar to those of other national banks. They charge a $12 monthly fee for Chase Total Checking®. Two of the most common ways to waive monthly fees are having direct deposits or keeping at least $1,500 as a daily balance. Chase requires a minimum of $25 to open their primary account and charges $34 overdraft fees (up to three per day). If you are an international traveler, you don’t want to use your debit card at any ATMs – you will be hit with a fee of $5 plus 3% if you do. 

Read through our full review of Chase Bank.

03
Best for the Community-Minded: KeyBank

KeyBank is recognized as one of the “Civic 50” companies that are most community-minded, and they do so by valuing the experiences of their customers and the places in which they live. They invest, literally, in both diversity and in growing their local communities. If you use your checking account eight times or deposit at least $500 a month, you can waive the monthly maintenance fee. (There is also no minimum balance fee.)

You should avoid over-drafting if you can because their fees are higher than most, but the excellent customer service — online, on Twitter, and in person — more than makes up for it. Choosing a bank is not as important as choosing a house, a spouse, or even a new job: the relationship between you and your bank begins and ends on your terms. If you value diversity and gender pay equity, you will align with KeyBank's messaging and priorities.

04
Best for Savings: Ally Bank

Ally Bank has a five-star “safe and sound” rating from Bankrate, and American consumers have entrusted them with nearly $100 billion in deposits. That might be because they offer 1.90% interest in their savings accounts, which is hard to beat. While you cannot deposit cash, it is easy to transfer money into and out of your bank accounts. There are no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balances. They charge $25 in overdraft fees, which is lower than most, and only allow one fee per day.

Ally is online-only, so it’s not a great bet if you prefer in-person service, but they do have outstanding customer service (it just isn’t face-to-face). Their reps are available 24/7 through live chat and over the phone, including phone lines for international callers and the hard of hearing. Ally's website offers a helpful educational section that is dedicated to improving customers’ financial literacy.

05
Best for Big Savers: Capital One

If you have $100,000 or more in your Capital One checking account, you will earn another $1,000 per year just for letting it sit there. But that's not the only way to save: there are zero fees on any Capital One checking accounts, and your first checkbook is free, so you do not need to be a big saver to save big.

If you have a teenager at home, you can open up an account for them that comes with a debit card in their name – and gives you access to their spending history. They also offer a variety of investment products so that you can start saving towards the financial future you deserve. Under the Next Day Grace program, if you do not make a large enough deposit within one business day after an overdraft, the bank charges a $35 overdraft fee per item, up to four items a day.

Consider the costs: Does the bank offer free checking, or do they charge a monthly fee? Be sure to read the fine print: some checking accounts cease to be free if you don’t maintain a monthly minimum balance. Also, consider how much you will be on the hook for if you accidentally overdraft.

06
Best for Online-Only: Discover Bank

You probably know Discover from their credit cards, but did you know they offer personal banking, too? They have some crazy perks you will not find in other big banks, like 1% cash back on debit card purchases, no monthly fees, and no balance requirements to avoid savings account fees. They also offer retirement products and CDs starting at just a $2,500 investment.

Their app is beautiful and easy to use, but if you need the assistance of an actual human, one will be available 24/7. Discover is also known as a favorite among international travelers. There are no fees for international charges where other banks often charge 2- 5% for every purchase.

While most big banks offer cutting-edge mobile banking and friendly online experience, it is worth taking a few minutes to poke around the website or download the mobile app before you take the plunge and put your money into a bank. Is the site easy-to-use, or confusing? Are there extra perks, like a credit tracker or a personal finance blog, that you can see yourself benefiting from?

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

07
Best for Branches: Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo features an impressive 5,800 branches, making the act of popping in to speak with a customer service representative, teller, or advisor a breeze. Not everyone values the in-person banking experience, but if you are someone who does, this level of access is an excellent feature of banking with Wells Fargo. You can get pretty much any financial products you need at Wells Fargo: they have traditional checking and savings accounts, a variety of personal and business loans, credit cards, and many different investment products.

The standard overdraft fee is $35. You can be charged up to three fees per day, for a maximum of $105. Unlike some banks, Wells Fargo won’t charge a continuous overdraft fee if your account remains in the red for an extended period of time. Loyal members may find themselves receiving upgrades or seeing fees removed.

Check out our full review of Wells Fargo.

08
Best for ATMs: Bank of America

With over 16,000 ATMs, it won’t be difficult for you to find one as a Bank of America customer. Although not everyone needs constant cash infusions, knowing an ATM is nearby can be a relief for many individuals who use cash often. They have high earnings and secure investments, so your money is safe for the long-haul. They also have great mobile and online banking tools, which makes checking on your money any time of day or night a breeze. They require a $12 monthly fee, which can be waived, on checking and charge $35 overdraft fee for up to four purchases per day.

Some banks offer thousands of branches and ATMs; others don’t. While most big banks offer both, it is something to check into locally. 16,000 ATMs won’t do you much good if there are none near your home or your office.

Read up on our full review of Bank of America.