When it comes to banks, your choices are seemingly endless. However, some financial institutions are a cut above the rest. The most popular banks are the ones with multiple branches and ATMs for maximum convenience. They also provide the most generous rewards for new customers, various financial products, streamlined mobile banking, and easy access to your money.
But unfortunately, all of this convenience and ease comes at a price. Many of the institutions that offer these benefits also have more fees versus credit unions and local banks. Additionally, they provide less return on your investments relative to credit unions or online banks.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a middle ground with a big bank. Bankrate assessed the fees, account rates, mobile app useability, and minimum deposits for the most popular institutions to find the best banks in 2020.
Bankrate rated Capital One as the best big bank for three consecutive years. Capital One provides a range of products and services, including bank accounts, credit cards, and several personal loan options. Additionally, you don’t need to pay a fee for any of its deposit products or pay an initial deposit when you open an account. Capital One checking and savings accounts also accumulate more interest versus other popular big banks.
Banking at Capital One is convenient, too: You can use over 39,000 ATMs and over 700 branches. Depending on the location, some locations offer an in-bank cafe where you can get some coffee, create an account, or schedule a meeting with a finance coach. It also has a robust mobile app so that you can check your account hassle-free.
With more than 200 million accounts, Citibank is the third-largest bank in the US. It offers several account options, including checking, saving, investing, lending, or credit card. Citibank also provides exclusive perks to wealth management professions searching for more individualized services.
Citibank also offers a high-yield savings account called Citi Accelerate in many states. Additionally, it provides retail accounts under five levels of packages so customers can find the best fees and benefits for their needs. These accounts offer rewards and convenient perks, such as unlimited refunds for ATM charges.
While some banks have hefty monthly maintenance fees, Citibank will waive these fees if you maintain a specific balance in your account. If you open an account in a lower-level account, you can avoid these fees with a deposit or eligible bill payment.
According to Bankrate and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Wells Fargo is one of the most popular financial institutions in several states. One reason is that it has branches throughout the country. With more than $1.8 trillion in customer assets, Wells Fargo is the country’s fourth-biggest bank — and the third most popular big bank, according to Bankrate.
Wells Fargo has a few checking account options, with the Everyday Checking account being a customer favorite. This bank account comes with a $10 maintenance fee, but if you are a student, maintain a $1,500 balance, direct deposit $500 or more each month, or use your debit card a minimum of ten times per month, Wells Fargo will remove the charge.
Wells Fargo also has minimal deposit rates, requiring just $25 to open a savings account and $2,500 for certificates of deposit. However, except for certificates of deposit, Wells Fargo accounts have a modest return — coming in just under 1%.
Additionally, Wells Fargo has come under fire several times for various behaviors that have impacted its customers. The bank has invested in new features like Control Tower to help customers monitor their accounts in response.
PNC has 2,300 branches and 9,100 ATMs across the Northeast, Southeast, and Midwest. But in light of the pandemic and recession, PNC has announced plans to close several locations this year.
Bankrate rated PNC as the fourth-best big bank because of its generous high-yield savings account and Virtual Wallet, which gives customers access to voice banking and other convenient features.
Plus, it only takes $25 to create an account, and if you open a Virtual Wallet account online, you don’t have to pay anything at all. However, PNC’s regular savings accounts have a relatively small return — just 0.01% per year.
- “The Best Big Banks Of 2020.” Bankrate, www.bankrate.com/banking/best-big-banks/.