Banking

What Are the Best Banks in the US?

The thing with money is that it is impractical to keep it in a cash form. Storing it is a challenge in this sense, and there would naturally be more of an incentive for theft if everyone just had their money lying around in their homes.

This is where the banking system comes into play, as it provides a reliable medium of storage for money. Additionally, it provides more convenient spending mechanisms, such as checks and debit cards, which allow you to spend money without needing to carry it around.

Choosing which bank gets to keep your money is one of your most important life choices. It doesn’t help that there are so many options available. All these banks claim that they can offer you the world, so it gets a bit overbearing when it’s time to make the decision.

Following is a comprehensive look at the top banking options that are available to you. You should note that this is all subjective, as various offerings make each bank best suited to a certain set of circumstances.

Capital One Spark Business

Starting on an unconventional note, turn your attention to business banking for a moment. Personal banking is one thing, but getting a bank to provide for your business needs is something that you can’t help but treasure. Capital One Spark Business is the best choice out there for small businesses in this regard.

One of the biggest barriers to opening a business account is the fees that are associated with doing so. Opening the account is one thing, but it feels as if everything you do with these accounts results in exorbitant fees. Capital One Spark Business is different in this regard.

Not only does the bank offer all the services that you need for your business, but it also has very attractive charges. In fact, the charges applied to your account make it feel as if there are no fees involved.

United States Automobile Association (USAA)

The name of this bank doesn’t give anything away. You’d be forgiven for thinking that you’re dealing with a car mart. However, USAA has the best options available for both veterans and military families.

The idea behind the workflow of this bank is to provide a level of convenience that is conducive to the way military personnel operates. The challenges that military personnel face are different from those that people with a normal schedule do. Having a bank that is conducive to the lifestyle of these heroes is a refreshing treat for those who are on active duty.

Apart from catering to the occupational needs of military members, the insurance packages offered by USAA are incredible. Whether you need insurance for your car, home, valuables, etc., you may not be able to find a better deal.

Of course, the banking sector has an amazing workflow and all the account types and services that are needed. The perks that come with some of these accounts are known to increase the attractiveness factor.

For example, consider the basic checking account. While similar accounts at other financial institutions have a minimum balance requirement, this one does not. Additionally, you don’t need to worry about monthly fees, as they are nonexistent.

For those who want to do business with the bank without paying the building a visit, there are several online banking services that you can use to make your banking experience that much more convenient, such as fast transfers, mobile wallet support, and mobile deposits.

Charles Schwab Bank

If you’ve ever heard about Charles Schwab bank, the chances are that you know it as a bank that is into the business of brokerage. However, the bank offers your traditional commercial bank features, such as the management of checking and savings accounts, to those who are aware.

If you already have any relationship with the Schwab bank, then you are likely to find that this bank is very convenient for you. Alternatively, this bank is likely to be very beneficial to you if you are into traveling.

The lack of ATM fees is already a huge plus, but where Charles Schwab stands out is in the area of fee reimbursement. As you know, many ATM cards can be used around the world. However, there are usually ATM fees present that are heftier than those that you’d have to deal with in your home country. When these charges happen, however, this bank reimburses such fees, which is very beneficial to travelers.

Additionally, there are no monthly fees present, which means it doesn’t feel like the bank is just randomly taking off with chunks of your money. Even when you’re doing transactions that fall outside of the norm, such as sending a wire, the low cost is likely to be a pleasant surprise for you. Most banks that offer online banking don’t allow you to do check deposits in-branch, but with Schwab, you can do so if you please. Be that as it may, it’s hard to imagine that people would rather deposit a check in-person rather than simply using mobile alternatives.

As stated before, most people who know about the bank know it as a brokerage, and it shines in this department too. The same low-fee workflow is present here. If you wish to open an investor checking account, then you need a linked brokerage account.

The customer service is known to be top-notch, so expect all your concerns to be expertly addressed. These are the reasons that people who are familiar with the suite of offerings decide to take advantage of all the services offered by Schwab. To this end, they tend to have all their banking and investing services provided by the bank.

Capital One

Millennials are focused on technology-driven experiences that result in efficient workflows and fast processing. Meet the bank that provides that and then some. Capital One is best known for its 360 Savings and 360 Checking accounts. These accounts offer amazing interest rates, low fees, and an amazing modern experience, built on the pillar of technology.

It’s not just about millennials, though, as the bank’s offerings make it one of the best options for just about anyone. One example of Capital One’s amazing workflow is the way overdrafts work. While a bank overdraft can be convenient, many people prefer not to have to address the aftermath of one.

With Capital One, you can use a linked account to fund the overdraft, or you can have your account set up in a way that automatically denies the overdraft at no charge to you. While ATM use is not free everywhere, you do get to use all Capital One and Allpoint ATMs at no charge. The amazing interest rates that you can get on the 360 Savings and 360 Checking accounts are not tied to any requirements where your level of activity or minimum balance is concerned.

The fees associated with a bank are usually enough to turn off many people from ever creating an account, even those who do routinely contemplate switching their banks just to get away from the ridiculous fees that they deal with. If you ever want to experience banking without the hassle of such fees and you want a convenient and smooth experience, then you may want to consider using Capital One for your banking needs.

Simple

No one can say that this bank doesn’t represent its name well, as it provides a simple and seamless experience for its members. This bank is best suited to students who are at the college level.

Most of the college demographic consists of students who have just matriculated from high school. As you know, financial management is not something that is usually built into their school curriculum. This means that a lot of the financial experience that they gain at the college level is done through trial and error.

However, if they had the benefit of financial advice and assistance via budgeting, certain mistakes would be avoidable, such as falling into the trap of early perpetual credit card debt and putting themselves at a financial disadvantage before they even exit the school system.

This is where Simple comes into the picture, as the online and mobile banking apps come with budgeting built into the design. The best part is that this is available at no charge. Note that, while this is best suited to college students who have no experience, anyone who has trouble creating and sticking to their own budget can take advantage of the offering.

It’s also great to know that the fees that the bank charges are minuscule. In fact, the only fees that you may ever pay are ATM related. If you use your card outside of an ATM that lies within the Allpoint Network or outside of the USA, then be prepared to pay a fee. However, these fees are very low, so they are likely to not affect you at all.

The other reason that this bank is suited to college students is that it has heavily invested in providing a top-notch digital experience to its customers. Today’s college students do many things digitally that previous generations did manually. Having the option to do their banking in a similar manner is very attractive, especially when it works as well as it does with Simple.

Not only does the system work great, but it is more user-friendly than you can imagine. The combination of this with the amazing goal-setting features go a far way in helping students to steer clear of financial mistakes that can lead to a dark feature. Check this one out if you’re in college and you need an amazing bank to help you through.

Wells Fargo

Like college students, teenagers are at a point in their lives where learning and discovery play a key role in their development. What better time is there to learn about the financial concepts and actions that can positively impact their monetary decisions and situation in the future?

A big part of that process is learning how to be responsible in the use of a bank account. Wells Fargo is conducive to this, and it has an impressive ATM network. Teens tend to get their money from part-time and holiday jobs, and this bank provides an excellent place to store the said money.

Of course, one can’t give a review about Wells Fargo without discussing the scandals that the bank has been at the center of. However, the bank remains as a top option for teenagers. It doesn’t hurt to have 6,000 branches and 13,000 ATMs.

Opening a teen checking account only requires a deposit of $25, and there are no monthly fees to worry about with owning such an account. However, overdraft and other fees do exist, so you do need to be careful with how you use the account so you don’t accrue a bunch of unnecessary and costly fees.

These teen accounts provide an excellent learning tool, but they are also real accounts that have associated fees. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to make your decisions with caution as you use it.

Chase

Chase is known for its amazing customer service as a bank that has its operation almost everywhere in the country. While you can interact with your account online, Chase is not as focused on that aspect as some of the other banks discussed.

However, it does have over 5,000 branches across the United States, which makes for one of the biggest networks of branches available. Online banking is convenient, but with that many branches, it shouldn’t be too hard for you to get to any one of them at any time.

Additionally, the bank’s account offerings are very diverse. There are investment accounts, credit card offerings, mortgage, savings, and checking accounts. This means that you can have all your banking needs addressed in a single location. It’s always beneficial to customers when they can have a simpler experience in this manner.

Unfortunately, though, there is a disadvantage to doing your banking with Chase, and this is what people have come to expect with these brick-and-mortar banks that have established large reputations for themselves. Chase’s interest rates on savings accounts are not very good. In fact, they are downright horrid. This wouldn’t be so bad if the fees associated with account ownership weren’t too steep. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, as there are several fees that you must deal with, which are not the lowest in the world.

Be that as it may, you may find that the way you manage your account leads to a complete lack of fees. There are set minimum balance and activity requirements that allow you to bypass most fees entirely. Therefore, if you do end up dealing with all of them, the chances are that you have an account that is not in very good standing.

Ally

The final bank to be discussed is none other than Ally, which is an online-only bank that offers the definitive banking experience to its customers. Ally combines high-interest rates, low fees, incredible customer service, and near-unbeatable savings and checking account options. This blend makes the bank a true pleasure to deal with, which is why it has such a dedicated and satisfied customer base.

The high yield savings account provides you with some of the best interest rates you can get in the entire banking industry. Additionally, the online checking account barely has fees, generates interest, and is packed to the brim with amazing features.

As an Ally customer, you get lightning-fast Zelle transfers, 24-hour customer service (which you can use to communicate with a human if you need to), mobile check deposits, and access to a fleshed out and amazing online experience. Additionally, Ally refunds up to $10 monthly for the fees that you incur as you use the ATM.

While Ally has superb offerings, you may want to consider another bank if you were hoping to make cash deposits, as this is not supported by Ally. Of course, this is the case with online-only banks, and it means that you may simply have to go with another alternative. Once you don’t fall in that category, however, the chances are that Ally has something in store for you.

Account Types

Now that you’ve gotten a good look at the best banks for various scenarios, it’s time to briefly look at the account offerings that exist and how each can be relevant to your needs.

Savings

Of course, savings accounts are the most popular. For most people, the first account that they ever open is a savings account. Even children open these under the guiding hands of their parents. This is where your banking relationship begins, and its usually a good idea to have your emergency cash stored in one of these accounts. You should know that the best interest rates tend to come from online accounts.

Checking

Checking accounts offer a similar basic account structure to a savings account, but there are a few additional perks to speak of, such as check deposits, bill pay services, and the writing of checks. Note that the paper check payment method is now all but obsolete, especially since debit cards have become so popular. While there are some fees to deal with, if you have a checking account, things such as minimum balance requirements and maintenance fees are non-factors.

Money Market

These accounts exist to blend the features of both checking and savings accounts. Additionally, the interest accrued is greater than that of either account type. If your account is likely to carry a high balance, you may want to consider opening a money market account to take advantage of the amazing interest. In fact, many money market account providers require minimum balance requirements as high as $10,000, so you may not have a choice in the matter of having a high balance. Additionally, you may not be able to make more than three withdrawals in a month.

Certificate of Deposit (CD)

This allows you to earn more interest than even the money market account, which means it trumps savings and checking accounts in that regard. Of course, there is a requirement. You cannot touch the funds for a predetermined period, such as two years, or you will face a penalty.

Retirement Accounts

As the name implies, these accounts are good for saving for your future, when working is no longer a feasible option. There are tax advantages to these accounts, which prevent you from having to deal with income tax on your CD or savings accounts each year. However, there is usually a catch associated with these benefits, so be sure to find out what it is.

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