Deciding which financial institution you want to bank with is a significant decision. You want to make sure you have easy access to your money, the customer service is good, and your money is safe and secure. There may also be additional products and services that are of value to you.
These are just some of the things that you need to think about before choosing a bank. To make it easier, we've put together a list of the best national banks.
|TD Bank||Savings Accounts|
|BBVA||Small Business Banking|
Deal of the Day: Chase is now offering a $200 cash bonus when opening a Total Checking® Account. No minimum deposit and all deposits are FDIC insured up to the $250,000 per depositor maximum. Learn More
Chase: Best National Bank for Broad Access
If you're looking for a national bank with access across the country, Chase is one to look at. Right now, they have nearly 5,000 branches in over 30 states and roughly 16,000 ATMs that you can access with no fee.
JPMorgan Chase was awarded an A- in trustworthiness from the Better Business Bureau. And it ranks second on J.D. Power's U.S. National Banking Satisfaction Study.
Chase also offers a wide variety of other financial products, like credit cards. They offer some of the best rewards cards and many other products and services to help with any of your other financial needs.
One thing to be aware of is that Chase does charge high monthly fees depending on the account type. So you'll want to make sure you do some research before blindly signing up for a product with them. That being said, they are my top recommendation for broad access.
Read more: Chase Total Checking® Review
Ally: Best National Online Bank
If you're looking for an online-only bank, Ally is my top recommendation. There aren't any branch locations, so you have to be okay with doing all of your banking online.
However, Ally has some excellent features, including over 43,000 ATMs connected to the Allpoint network that you can use across the United States for free. Ally Bank also has some of the best customer service in the world. Their customer service is 24/7, and you can reach them through online chat or phone.
They also offer some excellent high-yield savings accounts, and their app and online interface is intuitive and easy to navigate.
Regarding the Ally savings accounts, one other feature that I love is creating sub-accounts for different savings events, such as saving for a car, or a home, or a baby. You can set up "subaccounts" to save little bits of money and have it separate from just one large savings balance.
The downside to Ally Bank for some will be that it is an online-only bank. So if you like being able to walk into a local branch and talk to someone face-to-face, you’re better off looking elsewhere.
Read more: Ally Bank Review
Discover Bank: Best National Bank for Rewards
Like Ally, Discover Bank is an online bank that offers checking accounts, savings accounts, and CDs. Discover has an excellent ATM network with access to over 60,000 fee-free ATMs across the country. Today's APYs on both CDs and Discover's savings accounts are very competitive against current rates in the market.
Probably the best feature, though, is with the Discover Bank checking account. The Discover Bank checking account comes with rewards. So you get 1% cashback on any qualifying debit card purchase for up to $3,000 per month.
And on top of all of this, you get access to Discover Bank's award-winning customer service.
The biggest downside to Discover is that your checking account debit card will be a Discover card. So while Discover is accepted at many places nowadays, if the place you're making a debit card purchase doesn't accept Discover, you will be out of luck. You'll have to use another debit card or another credit card, like a Visa or MasterCard. However, knowing those minor limitations, Discover Bank is an excellent option for earning cashback with a checking account.
Read more: Discover Bank Review
TD Bank: Best National Bank for Savings Accounts
TD Bank is a brick-and-mortar bank located primarily on the east coast (mostly northeast). While their rates don’t typically compete with online banks, TD offers a reasonable APY on savings accounts for a brick-and-mortar bank.
Additionally, if you open other accounts like a checking account and expand your banking relationship with TD Bank, you get additional perks and sometimes higher rates.
The savings account with TD Bank does require that you maintain a $300 minimum balance to avoid a monthly maintenance fee. You can also upgrade to two other tiers of savings accounts.
TD Bank also offers various additional banking products, such as checking accounts, CDs, credit cards, home equity loans, personal loans, mortgages, IRAs, prepaid cards, and more. So if you're looking for a bank that you can do all of your banking with, TD Bank might be a great option.
CIT Bank: Best National Bank for CDs
CIT Bank is an online bank that offers various banking solutions, such as savings accounts, money market accounts, checking accounts, and, best of all, CDs. I like CIT best for their CDs, mainly because they have a no-penalty, 11-month CD that currently pays 3.30% APY and has a minimum of $1,000 to open.
Most CDs have a penalty for withdrawing your cash early, but there are no penalties to access your funds in this account if you need it before maturity. There are no opening or maintenance fees, and your interest compounds daily, plus it's FDIC-insured.
CIT Bank also offers jumbo CDs, RampUp CDs, term CDs, and some additional products.
On the standard banking front, they have an eChecking account that offers 0.25% APY on balances over $25,000, and balances under $25,000 get a 0.10% APY. There are no ATM fees, and you get up to $30 reimbursed from other banks' ATM fees every month. Your debit card comes with EMV chip technology, and you have 24/7 account access online from your mobile phone.
CIT Bank also has an excellent savings account called CIT Savings Builder. You can get up to 1.00% APY with a minimum balance of $25,000 or a $100 monthly deposit with a $100 minimum opening deposit.
Overall, if you’re looking for a robust online bank that has multiple banking solutions for you, CIT Bank is a great way to go.
Read more: CIT Bank Review
BBVA: Best National Bank for Small Business Banking
What I like them best for is their small business solutions, though. If you’re a small business, you can use BBVA for checking, savings, lending, credit cards, merchant services, and specialty programs. This includes the PPP loan that can be managed directly through BBVA.
What sets BBVA apart as a business bank is its digital banking solutions. In 2020, BBVA won the Javelin Online Banking Money Movement Award, which gave credit to their award-winning digital solutions like remote banking and mobile banking.
BBVA offers checking, savings, credit cards, mortgages, investments, and a lot more on the personal banking side.
Citibank: Best National Bank for Credit Cards
Citibank is part of Citigroup and was founded in 1812, originally as the Citibank of New York. And it later became the National Citibank of New York. Now it's Citibank, and it's one of the nation's largest financial institutions. They offer various financial products, including banking, checking, savings, and IRAs, lending products like mortgages and personal loans, investment solutions, and wealth management solutions. And best of all, Citibank offers credit cards.
If you're looking for a national bank that you can do all of your banking with as well as have an excellent credit card with, Citibank is one to look at. Two credit cards stand out to me right now.
One is the Citi Double Cash Card, which allows you to earn 2% cashback. You earn 1% cashback on your purchases and then another 1% cashback when you make your payment. If you're paying your card in full every month, you're getting 2% cashback on all your purchases.
The other credit card that I like from Citi is the Citi Diamond Preferred Card, which is geared towards people who want to pay off high-interest debt.
Citibank offers an excellent variety of standard banking solutions on top of credit cards, such as a checking account and a savings account. Their checking and savings options will vary based on where in the country you're at. However, there are a few things in common.
Checking with Citibank allows for unlimited check writing, a zero minimum opening deposit required, and over 60,000 fee-free ATMs across the United States. You can pay other people with Zelle and the Citi Mobile app.
You can pay bills online, you can get payment alerts, you get access to Citi entertainment, and you can even earn Citi ThankYou rewards points. There are several different packages for checking accounts. So I would encourage you to go to Citi's website to learn more.
The savings account from Citi offers no minimum opening deposit for savings accounts and competitive APYs. Again, this will depend on where you live and the type of product that you open. So I would encourage you to check the options out on their website.
Alternative Options to Consider
If you're not sure about going with a large national bank, another option is to choose a smaller bank, a neobank, or even a robo-advisor. Here are a few that I recommend.
The spending account gives you a debit card that you can use to make purchases, and the savings account offers a competitive APY. Plus, then you have all of your banking with one bank. Please read our complete review of Wealthfront for more information.
Chime is an award-winning financial app and debit card; they offer individual spending accounts (they don’t currently offer joint accounts) and a very intuitive mobile app to manage all of your money. Chime allows you to get paid with your paycheck up to two days early, and you can also set up some features to help you save more money.
Chime also gives you a savings account. And with that, you can allocate 10% of your paycheck immediately to your savings account once you're paid. You can also round up your debit card purchases with Chime to the next nearest dollar. And that money is then transferred into your savings account.
Chime has many features, and it's growing in popularity, so I recommend reading all about Chime in our complete Chime review.
Chime Disclosure - Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.
1Chime cannot guarantee when files are sent by the IRS and funds can be made available.
^Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.
Empower offers an Empower Card with no overdraft fees and no account minimums. You can access your paycheck up to 2 days faster and score up to 10% on cashback deals.* Plus, get Cash Advance of up to $250 with no interest, no late fees and no risk to your credit.
Empower also has an Automatic Savings feature and can provide you smart recommendations to help you save more money.
Empower is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by nbkc bank, Member FDIC.
You can read more about Empower in our full Empower review.
What If I'm Running a Small Business?
If you're running a small business, I've already recommended BBVA above for a national bank that offers business banking. However, if you're not looking for a large national bank, and instead, you want a smaller, newer bank with potentially different types of solutions. Here are a few that I recommend.
Novo is a fintech company that offers award-winning business banking. It takes only a few minutes to apply for an account, and you can connect a variety of different services to your business account, including Shopify, Stripe, Slack, Xero for accounting, and more.
Your Novo card is a MasterCard, so it’s accepted worldwide, and it’s EMV chip protected. You can easily make transfers with the online app to and from other accounts. And you can also use Google Pay and Apple Pay easily.
The best thing about Novo is that there are no hidden fees. Any fee that Novo charges is entirely transparent, so you could see all of that in advance before you sign up. They also refund ATM fees, which is a nice feature for a business account.
Check out our Novo review for more information.
NorthOne Bank is another online bank designed for businesses, and you can open an account in as little as three minutes. Currently, NorthOne has over 190,000 enrolled companies in their accounts, and they’re growing at a rapid pace.
Your account is FDIC insured, and it allows for simple payments through ACH and wires (and you can do this directly from your phone or your computer). You can send a check by mail to anyone directly from the app, and you can deposit checks from your phone or ATMs. You also get a debit card powered by MasterCard.
What's nice about NorthOne is that you can create sub-accounts for things like taxes, rent, payroll, and anything else automatically.
The unlimited banking costs $10 per month, but there are no other hidden fees, no minimum balance, no commitment, and you can cancel at any time.
Check out our NorthOne review to learn more.
Bluevine is another online business bank and offers 2.0% APY on your balance up to $100,000, with no monthly NSF or incoming wire fees - Eligibility requirements apply. You get unlimited transactions with no minimum balance required, and you’re able to pay vendors and bills through ACH wire or check.
Additionally, Bluevine gives you access to over 38,000 ATMs with no fees. If you’re looking for business loans, Bluevine offers those as well. They offer a business line of credit.
Bluevine makes it easy to get started. It's flexible by design, meaning that there are no long-term contracts or prepayment fees for credit lines, and you get dedicated support. So the team is available to walk you through the process and help you get the funds that you need if you are looking for a line of credit.
Check out our full review of Bluevine for more information.
What Is a National Bank?
Believe it or not, a national bank doesn't just mean that they have branches or a footprint across the country. By definition, a national bank is a commercial bank that is chartered under the Federal Government and is a member of the Federal Reserve System.
That being said, most national banks have a large footprint, either in physical branches across the country, or a large footprint across the internet, such as Ally Bank.
Which Is Better, a National Bank or a Smaller Bank?
There's no definitive answer to this question because it depends on your personal preferences. A larger national bank may have more banking options and a larger footprint. So if you travel a lot, you may have access to ATMs or physical branches to go into.
Chase is an excellent example of this. You can go almost anywhere in the country and find a Chase Bank that's at least somewhere close to you.
On the flip side, a smaller bank may operate entirely online, have little to no branches and have fewer products. Still, because of the lower overhead, they may offer better rates or a better online experience.
Related: Is Online Banking Safe?
So it just depends on what your personal preferences are. Regardless of what you choose, make sure your bank is legitimate and is FDIC insured.
Some banks like Chime have financial backing from another larger bank, which is FDIC insured. So, either way, you are protected, but it's best to do a little bit of due diligence before you sign up for an account.
Which Is Better, a Brick-and-Mortar Bank or an Online Bank?
Like the comparison of a national bank versus a smaller bank, choosing a brick-and-mortar bank versus an online bank comes down to personal preferences. The difference here is a little bit more stark, though.
A brick-and-mortar bank allows you to physically go into a branch and see someone face-to-face, or sit down and talk to someone about financial products that you might want to sign up for, or your investments, or your banking, or anything else financially related.
You'll have someone you can speak with face-to-face. An online bank does not give you that option. So you're talking to customer service, either through email, chat, or on the phone.
For some people, a brick-and-mortar bank is much better because they want to have that personal touch with someone. If it's a small bank, the bankers might know you when you walk in. With an online-only bank, you're probably just getting connected to a customer service representative.
On the flip side, many people would prefer an online bank because they don't want to deal with driving to a physical branch or going in and talking to anybody. And maybe they just want to chat with someone online and get an answer quickly. So again, this one comes down to your personal preferences.
Which Bank Is Best for YOU?
Choosing the best bank for you is going to depend again on your personal preferences and financial situation. That being said, here are some tips on how to choose the best bank for you.
Think About the Accounts You Need
If you need nothing more than a checking and savings account, that opens up a wide variety of options. However, suppose you want to do your banking with a bank that offers mortgages, investment accounts, wealth management, personal loans, credit cards, and other financial products. In that case, that narrows the list down and shifts you mostly towards a national bank.
Look at the Fees
You want to avoid banks that charge a high monthly maintenance fee or have hidden costs that aren't transparently shown to you when you sign up for the account. In most cases, I recommend finding a free account, so you don't have to worry about maintaining any monthly balance or worry about getting hit with any monthly maintenance fees.
That being said, if you do make a large number of deposits, often, it makes sense to pay a monthly maintenance fee because the benefits outweigh the costs. For example, maybe you have access to additional account types or a higher APY.
Think About How You Want to Access Your Money
I noted this point above, but if you're someone who likes to go into a physical branch, you should look for a brick-and-mortar bank. If you're someone who just wants to do banking on your phone or chat with customer service and have it all done online, an online bank might be better. So just think about how you want to access your money and what's best for you.
Make Sure They Have a Good App
Even if you have a brick-and-mortar bank in today's day and age, it still helps to have a good banking app where you can check your balances and do even minor transactions with your smartphone.
Online banks will have some of the best apps available because that's where they put their focus. But brick-and-mortar banks have apps too.
For example, Chase is a large national bank, and they have a great mobile app that allows you to do a ton of stuff. Small community banks may not have that same feature set. So it's just something to consider since most of us have our phones with us regularly.
Check Out Other Customer Reviews
Places like Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau offer a keen insight into what people's actual experiences are with some of these banks. So as you narrow down your list of potential options, it helps to go to these websites to see what other people are saying about their experiences with that bank.
How Many National Banks Are in the U.S.?
As of 2019, there were 4,519 national banks in the United States. This means all of these banks were FDIC-insured. One interesting fact is that over the last 10 or 20 years, the amount of national banks has significantly declined.
Who Is the Number One Bank in America?
On the list of the largest banks in the United States, JPMorgan Chase is at the top. Headquartered in New York City, JPMorgan Chase is the largest bank in America by assets managed. In second place is Bank of America, followed closely by Citigroup.
How Much Cash Can You Keep at Home Legally?
There's no legal limit to how much cash you can keep in your house. However, we do not recommend keeping large amounts of money sitting around your home because of the risk of losing it, theft, fire, and more. Your best bet is to put that money into a bank.
One thing to note is that any transaction of $10,000 or more usually has to be reported to the Federal Government by the bank. And if you cross any kind of border carrying more than $10,000, you have to declare it, or you risk having it taken.
Can a Bank Lose All Your Money?
The short answer is no. If a national bank is FDIC-insured, you are protected up to the FDIC insurance limit, currently $250,000. Some banks give more than this in additional protection. So it sometimes helps to spread your investments or assets across multiple banks if you have large sums of money.
Banks fail if they cannot meet their financial obligations, like if they lose too much money on their investments or can't provide enough cash when their depositors want it, but this is not common with large national banks.
How We Came Up with this List
In short, we came up with this list of the best national banks in the United States by narrowing down a smaller list of banks that are considered national banks and within the United States.
We also looked at the number of deposits that these banks manage to determine their size. We then chose several categories, which you'll see above, and divided banks into these different categories.
For example, we chose Chase as our best bank for broad access, and Ally, we chose as our best bank for online only. While there are plenty more national banks to choose from, these are the ones that fit the bill.
We also looked at trust ratings - places like Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau. We looked at customer reviews, and we looked at the variety of financial products that these banks offered.
There you have it, our list of best national banks in the USA, as well as some alternatives and some options for small business owners.
This is a pretty comprehensive list and should give you enough to make an educated decision on what type of bank you want to go with.
However, I would still recommend doing some research and to make sure one of these banks is right for you before making a final decision.
Ensure that they are trustworthy, have a good track record, good reviews, and the right products and services you need.