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Compare The Best Banking Accounts of 2022

Whether you’re looking to open a checking account, grow your money in a savings account or open CD – easily compare and find the right plan for your needs.

Products that appear on this page are from companies from which this website receives compensation. This may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). We do not compare all providers in the market. Any information provided can be updated and may include additional terms.

UFB Elite Savings
Up to 3.83% APY
Flexible money-transfer options
Time-saving bill pay services
CIT Bank Savings Connect
3.00% APY
$100 minimum deposit
No monthly service fees
Barclays Bank Savings
3.00% APY
No minimum opening deposits
No monthly account fees
Synchrony Bank Savings
3.25% APY
No monthly fees
FDIC insurance
Marcus Savings Account
3.00% APY
No monthly fees
Unlimited Withdrawals
Live Oak Bank Savings
3.10% APY
No monthly fee
Excellent mobile app
Capital One 360 Savings
3.00% APY
No monthly fees
Great mobile app
Discover Bank Savings
3.00% APY
No monthly fees
One-stop shop banking
Ally Bank Savings
3.00% APY
No maintenance fees
No minimum deposit
American Express Savings
2.75% APY
No minimums, no monthly fees
24/7 account access and support
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Table Of Content

Whether you’re looking for a new savings account or want to move all of your banking activities to a new bank, it is important to compare banks.

While it is easy to assume that all banks are the same, each financial institution has different products and levels of service.

Why It's A Good Idea To Compare Banks?

Although it may seem easier to look for the bank nearest your home or place of work, there are several reasons why you should be comparing banks. These include:

  • The Variety of Product Offerings: Although you may only be interested in opening one specific kind of account, you need to consider your long-term banking needs. Establishing a relationship with your bank is far better, which may make it easier if you need a loan, mortgage, or another product type.
  • Accessibility: Banks have varying degrees of physical and online presence, so you need to find those that meet your requirements and preferences. If you prefer the reassurance of being able to go into a branch, you need to check if banks have branches in your area. If you manage your account online, you’ll need a bank with a robust online platform and a highly-ranked banking app. Finally, don’t forget to check the coverage of the ATM network.
  • Customer Service: Finally, not all banks offer the same levels of customer support and service. You need to know that you can rely on your bank to deal with the issue quickly and effectively if you have an issue. The last thing you want is to wait for hours on a phone helpline or to keep chasing up different customer support staff members to make sure they action your request.

How Does Inflation Impact Your Bank Account?

These days, every time you watch a news channel or read a newspaper, they discuss inflation. Unfortunately, higher inflation rates affect almost every aspect of your life.

For example, while you may be aware of the impact of high inflation on your grocery shopping, it can also impact your bank account.

  • Higher Savings Rates: The first and possibly most noticeable way inflation impacts your bank account is that you’re likely to be offered higher savings rates. Even if you only have a basic, instant-access savings account, you can expect to earn more interest on your balance.
  • Higher Lending Rates: Whether looking for a personal loan to reorganize your debts, an auto loan, or a mortgage, you are likely to notice that as inflation continues to be high, the lending rates are also rising. This means that if you agree to a fixed rate when rates are at their peak, you will pay this higher rate for the loan’s lifetime.
  • More CD Deals: Many banks offer even more CD deals when inflation is high. If the economy is uncertain, many people are wary about investing and want to keep their money “safe.” This makes CDs a prime choice since your capital, and returns are guaranteed. However, if rates increase, be wary of committing to a long-term CD, as inflation will reduce your buying power. So, when your CD matures, the real-world value of the cash may be lessened.

How to Compare Bank Promotions?

When the financial market is particularly competitive, many banks tend to offer promotions to attract new customers and encourage their existing customers to open new accounts to move their money from other financial institutions.

This can be worked to your advantage, providing you know how to compare bank promotions. Fortunately, some tips can help you.

  • Check the Promotion Requirements: The first thing you need to do is check what is required of you to get the bonus or promotion reward. For example, if you are offered $100 to open a new savings account, how much do you need to deposit, and do you need to keep the funds in the account for a certain period? If the promotion is for a new checking account, do you need to move your salary to the bank, or can you keep it in your existing account?
  • What Fees Will Apply? Next, look at any fees you may incur for using the account. For example, there is no point in switching your checking account to another bank for a $50 bonus if you need to pay $10 in maintenance fees each month when your existing account is fee free.
  • When Will You Receive the Bonus? Finally, check the promotion fine print to see when you will receive your bonus. If you compare promotions and one bank that will give you your bonus significantly quicker, it is more advantageous to go with the first bank.

How to Compare Free Checking Accounts

If you’re comparing free checking accounts, it may seem like one is as good as another, but there are some things that you need to look at to make a thorough comparison.

  • Assess the Other Fees and Charges: The term free checking account typically refers to a lack of a monthly maintenance fee. However, this means that you may still need to pay other fees and charges such as ATM fees, wire fees and overdraft charges. So, when you’re comparing accounts, be sure to read the fine print that lists all the potential fees and charges, which will enable you to see which account is better day to day.
  • Account Features: Another important point of comparison is the account features. Does the account offer access to budgeting tools? Does it make money transfers easy? Can you pay your bills online or via an app? Think about what you need from your new checking account to ensure that you compare products that have these features.
  • Is the Account Interest Bearing? If you’re not paying a monthly maintenance fee, the chances are the account is not interest bearing, but there are some exceptions. While it may not offer savings account level interest, earning on your account balance is a nice bonus.
  • Account Rewards: Finally, check to see if the accounts offer any rewards or bonuses. You may be able to earn cash back on your debit card purchases or there may be a welcome bonus if you move your salary payments to the account.

How to Compare Savings Accounts

If you’re looking for a new savings account, there are different factors to consider. These include:

  • The Savings Rate: This is the most obvious area for comparison, as it will let you know the return you can expect on your account balance. Banks and financial institutions display their savings rates as a percentage APY. This refers to annual percentage yield, so if you have a 5% APY and you have $1,000 in your account, you will receive $50 if the funds are in the account for a full year.
  • Monthly Maintenance Charges: While getting a great rate is superb, it can quickly be offset if you need to pay a monthly maintenance charge on the account. If you’re comparing saving accounts that all have a monthly maintenance fee, check to see if the fees can be waived and which bank has the easiest criteria to meet.
  • Withdrawal Restrictions or Penalties: You may intend to leave your funds in your new savings account, you may have a financial issue which means that you need to access your money. So, when you’re comparing savings accounts, it is important to check if there are any withdrawal restrictions or penalties. Some savings accounts may offer a higher return, but you could be limited to a specific number of withdrawals per month or year.

How to Compare CDs

CDs tend to be relatively straightforward and simple to understand. They provide a safe investment avenue, guaranteeing your capital and returns. However, when you’re comparing the CD offerings from various banks, you will need to consider the following:

  • The Term Options: Most banks and financial institutions offer a variety of CD terms, but you need to check that your preferred terms are available. For example, if you want to try building CD ladders, you will need access to various CD terms.
  • The Rates: Many CDs tend to have a relationship between the term and the rate to incentivize customers to commit to a longer term. So, the longer the term, the higher the rate. However, this is not always the case. If you’re unsure which CD terms would be helpful to you, compare the rates for various term products.
  • The Minimum Deposit: Although some banks offer CDs with no minimum deposit, most require that you fund your CD with a minimum amount. Since you are effectively locking the funds in for the lifetime of the CD, you need to be comfortable with the amount you need to commit.
  • Withdrawal Penalties: Finally, check if there are any withdrawal penalties. You may intend to allow the CD to mature, but should you experience a financial emergency, will you get hit with a penalty if you need to cash out early?

How to Compare Online Banks

Online banks are becoming more popular, as they tend to offer more attractive terms. This is because the bank doesn’t need to cover the overhead of operating a branch network. However, some key differences can determine whether one online bank is a particularly better option for you compared to other online banks.

  • Customer Support: Since you won’t have the option to call a branch and speak to a member of the banking team, you need to check how you will access customer support if you have a query or concern. Many online banks offer phone helplines, email support, online chat, or a combination. You need to ensure that your new online bank has your preferred contact method.
  • The FDIC Coverage: Reputable banks and financial institutions have FDIC coverage. This is federal insurance that provides up to $250,000 of coverage if the bank fails. FDIC coverage ensures that your funds are protected and indicates that the financial institution is legit.
  • Deposit Access: Since you don’t have access to a branch, you need to know how you can pay funds into your account. If you tend to deal with cash, you’ll need a bank with facilities to accommodate this type of deposit. Some online banks do not allow cash deposits, meaning you need to pay cash into another account and then transfer it.

Common Mistakes When Shopping Around

If you are comparing banks, there are some common mistakes you need to avoid when you’re shopping around. These include:

  • Focusing on the Rates: While the deposit and borrowing rates are important, don’t be myopic and only look at the rates. As we’ve discussed earlier, there are many other factors to consider when evaluating banks and the various account types.
  • Getting Dazzled by Welcome Offers: A welcome bonus is a really attractive feature, but don’t be dazzled by it. Firstly, you need to make sure that the account is the right choice for you with minimal fees and charges, regardless of the bonus. Additionally, you need to ensure that you are comfortable with and can easily meet any promotional requirements.
  • Not Checking Consumer Reviews: Banks can look like a solid option, but there could be issues that you wouldn’t be aware of until you’re a customer. So, not checking consumer reviews is a real mistake. Of course, you need to take the comments of current and previous customers with a pinch of salt, as some people like to complain about very minor things. However, if there are multiple comments about a particular issue, it could be a red flag.
  • Not Considering Future Requirements: Finally, be sure to assess not only your current banking needs but also any products or services you may need in the future. Think about whether you will need an auto loan or mortgage refinance in a few years that may be more accessible if you’ve established a relationship with your bank.

How to Maximize Your Banking Offer

If your new bank is offering a welcome bonus or promotional offer, you should aim to maximize it for the greatest financial benefit. There are a number of ways that you can do this:

  • Carefully Check the Terms: You won’t be able to maximize the banking offer if you don’t fully understand the terms. So, take a few moments to carefully check the promotion terms.
  • Deposit the Required Amount: Unless you are getting an exceptional rate, only deposit sufficient funds to meet the promotional terms. Any excess funds you may have, you can direct into another account that offers better returns or terms.
  • Consider the Alternative Terms: If you have the option of maintaining a minimum deposit or meeting some other requirements, consider which one offers the best returns for you. For example, if you can easily meet a direct deposit minimum, this may be better than leaving thousands of dollars in an account that barely pays any interest.
  • Plan for After the End Date: If you do need to leave funds in the account for a minimum amount of time, mark this date and consider what you will do with the funds afterward. Many banks count on people forgetting about the end date and leaving funds in an account that has a typically lower yield.

Local Banks vs National Banks

When you compare banks, one of the main differences you’ll discover is whether it is a local bank or a national bank.

There are some crucial differences that will determine whether a local or national bank is the best option for you.

Local Banks
National Banks
  • Tend to offer more personalized service
  • Rates may be more attractive
  • Terms may be more flexible
  • More lenient lending requirements
  • Offer community support
  • Will have wider branch coverage
  • Are likely to have a larger network of ATM machines to avoid fees
  • Potentially wider scope of account features
  • Greater resources for tools, such as apps and online platforms
  • To determine if a local or national bank is a better choice for you, you will need to think about what you need and expect from your bank.

    While local banks tend to offer more personalized customer care, national banks are likely to be far more convenient.

    However, this can vary greatly depending on the specific bank or account, so be sure to make a head to head comparison before you open any account.

     

    National Banks vs Credit Unions

    The key difference between national banks and credit unions comes down to their ownership. Banks are owned by shareholders and need to deliver profits to keep them happy, while credit unions are owned by their members. This means that credit unions tend to offer more attractive rates, and have more flexible terms.

    For example, if you have savings with a credit union, you can typically expect a higher APY compared to the average national bank or if you need a loan, you may find it easier to qualify.

    On the other hand, national banks typically have a far greater product line, with many offering a variety of checking, saving and other accounts to choose from. Additionally, national banks are more easily accessible to everyone, as credit unions require you to become a member before you can open an account.

    Another important consideration in the national banks vs credit unions debate is branch access. Credit unions tend to have fewer locations compared to a national bank, which may make it more challenging to access in person customer support, pay in cash and deal with other issues that require you to be present.

    FAQ

    The challenge in comparing banks is that there are so many banks and financial institutions of varying sizes with multiple account options. This means that you need to compare bank to bank, account to account, which can be very time consuming.

    The FDIC has an official website with a facility to compare banks according to its financial statistics. This makes it easier to check how your potential bank ranks compared to its competition.

    National banks tend to have a far wider reach, which means that there are more consumer reviews and data to evaluate.

    If you’re looking at local banks, they will have a far smaller customer base and therefore less information to make your comparison.

    This depends on the type of account and the bank. Some banks have flexible terms that mean that even if you don’t have great credit, you can open up a checking account or qualify for lending products.

    There are many banks and bank account options that do not require a minimum deposit. Any minimum deposit requirements will be listed in the product terms and conditions.

    However, be sure to compare the accounts with others that have a minimum deposit to make sure that you choose one with the best terms, rates and features.

    Best Banking Accounts

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    The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation. 

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