When looking for a bank, you’ll need to think about what you really need. Do you want a high-yield savings account? A basic checking? Investment accounts? All of the above?
To help you find the best banks, with the best products that fit your lifestyle, we’ve rounded up our picks for the six best banks.
Overview of the best banks of 2022
- Best overall: Ally Bank
- Best for online banking: Capital One
- Best for customer service: Discover
- Best for high APY: CIT
- Best for no monthly fees: Chime
- Best for social impact: Aspiration
Best overall: Ally
- Products: Checking, savings, CDs, retirement, loans
- Unique features: $10 ATM fee reimbursement
We absolutely love Ally Bank (and I can tell you, I just opened an account with them myself).
They’re an online-only bank that has a variety of both checking and savings account options. Their customer service is excellent, all their accounts have low fees, and their platform is easy to use and has a clean interface.
The Ally checking account offers a decent rate as far as checking accounts go — currently 0.10% for average daily balances less than $15,000 and 0.25% for average daily balances of at least $15,000.
Ally also offers a few different savings accounts, all with highly competitive rates, as well as CDs and IRAs.
Other perks include:
- You can deposit checks via the Ally app
- You can move money through services like Zelle and Amazon Alexa
- With a checking account, you’ll get refunded $10 per month on any ATM fees
Best for online banking: Capital One
- Products: All
- Unique features: Intuitive online platform with the ability to set up micro-savings goals
Capital One is great, and its online platform is almost unmatched.
First of all, Capital One is a major bank that offers all types of financial products without being overwhelming. Everything is connected (i.e., checking, savings, credit card, mortgage), but it focuses on one thing at a time. This is in stark contrast to some banks that throw everything in your face at once. So for those looking for a clean, easy-to-use online experience, Capital One is perfect.
Both the 360 Checking and Savings accounts have no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees, and you can link a bunch of external accounts, too. What most people love about the 360 Savings Account (myself included) is how you can create a ton of different savings accounts within one account. So if you have 10 different savings goals, you can parse them out into 10 different sub-accounts (e.g., Christmas, vacation, new computer, etc.).
This way, you can visually see how much each account or goal has. It’s not flashy and it won’t give you the highest rate of all time, but everything comes together and works seamlessly with Capital One, and the online experience is just beautiful.
Best for customer service: Discover
- Products: Checking, savings, CDs, retirement, student loans
- Unique features: Massive ATM network; cash back on the checking account
Discover has really stepped up its game outside the credit card business. It has a much larger selection of products than other online-only banks and its customer service is unmatched.
Regarding deposit accounts, you’ll find the usual checking, savings, and CD options with Discover — all with good rates. But now you can also get IRAs, student loans, credit cards, and personal loans from Discover, too. So they’re moving toward mega-bank status. One of the things we love is the massive ATM network — currently at 60,000 surcharge-free across the country.
But where Discover shines most is its customer service, winning a plethora of awards. And while their commercials are silly, it really does depict what a great experience you have when you call Discover.
So why aren’t they ranked best overall? The biggest challenge with Discover is that their cards aren’t accepted everywhere. So when you open a checking account and want to use the debit card, you may not be able to swipe it in all places (which is where the big ATM network comes in handy). Just something to think about.
Best for high APY: CIT Bank
- Products: All
- Unique features: Typically one of the most competitive APY rates
The CIT Bank Savings Builder account gets you 1.00% APY when you deposit at least $100 per month or carry a $25,000 flat balance. Meanwhile, the CIT Savings Connect account is even more impressive, earning you 3.25% APY with only a minimum of $100 to open your account.
Because both have limits of six transfers or withdrawals per statement cycle, they’re places to stash money you need access to only occasionally.
CIT has no fees, and a super attractive resource page area. They’ve also got money market accounts, CDs, and home loans you can check out as well.
- Products: Savings, checking
- Unique features: Banking with no monthly fees, including overdraft, minimum balances, foreign transactions, service, or deposit fees
Chime* is a financial app that has become a leader in the financial space, and prides itself on making sure everything on the fee front is completely transparent.
With Chime, there are no monthly fees or minimum balances, so you can keep your money exactly where it belongs — in your own pocket. (Keep in mind, however, that there may be third-party fees if you withdraw cash from an out-of-network ATM6 and the fee-free overdraft only applies up to $200.) Chime also provides free debit card replacement.
The only real downside to Chime is there’s no check-writing capabilities.
* Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC.
6 Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.
- Product types: Spend & Save account, investing
- Unique features: 10% of the money you give gets donated; you get a social impact score
Aspiration says it isn’t a bank; it’s a tree-planting, carbon-offsetting, automate-your-impact “neobank.” Their entire mission and focus feels much different than others; Aspiration commits to donating 10% of every earned dollar to charity.
Aspiration offers the Standard Spend & Save account as well as the Plus membership. The Standard account is fossil-fuel free and provides basic spending and saving features, including access to 55,000+ in-network ATMs, an optional tree-planting feature, everyday cashback, and a nifty debit card with a People and Planet impact score.
Aspiration Plus provides all the Standard services plus up to 10% cashback, up to 5.00% APY (Variable), the Planet Protection carbon-offsetting feature, and a recycled ocean plastic debit card. Aspiration also offers sustainable investment and retirement vehicles, as well as charitable giving options.
What to look for in a bank
There are several crucial things you should look for when choosing a bank:
In our case, we looked at banks that had a variety of products suitable to their ideal customer (i.e., an online bank that has everything someone banking online would want).
If you’re shopping for a new bank, you’ll want to ensure it has the types of accounts you’ll need, whether that’s nothing more than basic checking and savings, or more niche offerings like CDs, money market accounts, loans, and investment accounts.
Make sure the bank you choose has little to no fees. If they are charging you fees (and many do for some things), just make sure they’re being transparent with what those fees are and under what circumstances they’ll be charged.
Low barrier to entry
Banks shouldn’t make it hard for you to open an account with them. Find a bank that has no minimum deposit to open an account. If they do ask for one, make sure the perks and benefits make up for it.
Obviously you want to choose a bank that has products with good rates, but make sure that’s not all you’re looking for. For instance, CIT Bank has a great rate, but they’re kind of a one-trick pony — meaning you can’t do all of your banking with them. Alternatively, some banks don’t have the best rates but make up for it with a massive product line.
Don’t underestimate the power of a great customer experience. We’re getting to a point where banks are offering almost the same types of products at almost the same rates. So the key difference boils down to how they treat you as a customer. Choose a bank where you feel respected and valued.
For our own rankings, we used both J.D. Power and online reviews to determine which banks had the happiest customers.
Make sure your bank has FDIC insurance, which currently covers your deposits up to $250,000 in the event your bank fails.
Most banks will have this (and all the ones we recommend do) but always double-check. If you go with a credit union for any reason, you’ll get similar protection under NCUA.
Branch and ATM footprint
Depending on how often you need to do in-person banking or withdraw cash, you’ll want a bank that has convenient access to either branches or ATMs.
While physical branches aren’t as popular anymore, they still serve their purpose, and we took the weight of that footprint into consideration in our own rankings.
All our picks for the best banks cover a range of banking wish lists, from fee-free services to high-yield savings. But when it comes to deciding which of these is right for you, it’ll all come down to your own personal preferences and what best suits your own financial journey.
Just be sure to consider factors like the products offered, fees and rates, any barriers to entry, the quality of customer service, and whether the bank has FDIC insurance.