11 Best Banks in Illinois of 2024

Illinois is home to Chicago, one of the most populous cities in the U.S. But whether you live in Chicago, Joliet, Carbondale, or one of the many small towns in Illinois, there’s a bank for you.

The Prairie State is home to a wide range of bank branches, from large, national banks to small banks and credit unions. When you’re ready to shop banks in Illinois, there are several factors to consider.

Welcome to Illinois

11 Best Banks in Illinois

Whether you’re new to Illinois or looking to switch banks, the options can be overwhelming. This guide narrows down the 12 best banks in Illinois to help you find a financial partner that fits your needs.

1. U.S. Bank

For Illinois residents considering a national bank, U.S. Bank is a top contender, with a robust presence in 26 states.

U.S. Bank is currently welcoming new applicants with a special online offering:

  • Earn up to $700 when you open a new U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking account and a Standard Savings account, and complete qualifying activities.
  • Subject to certain terms and limitations. Offer valid through June 27, 2024. Member FDIC.
  • Offer may not be available if you live outside of the U.S. Bank footprint or are not an existing client of U.S. Bank or State Farm.

The account includes a free debit card that can be locked or unlocked if ever misplaced or stolen. There are no ATM transaction fees at U.S. Bank ATMs and no surcharge fees at over 40,000 MoneyPass® Network ATMs.

The checking account requires a $25 opening deposit and a $6.95 monthly fee. This fee can be waived for those 24 and under, 65 and over, or military members (must self-disclose).

Additionally, the fee can be waived with monthly deposits of $1,000+, an average balance of $1,500+, or holding an eligible U.S. Bank credit card. Qualifying for any Smart Rewards® tier (Primary, Plus, Premium, or Pinnacle) also waives the fee.

2. SoFi

The SoFi Checking & Savings account offers online banking with an edge. You get an impressive 4.60% APY for the online savings account, and 0.50% on checking account balances.

Plus, you can earn a bonus ranging from $50 to $300 depending on your direct deposit amount.

SoFi eliminates monthly fees and provides no-fee overdraft coverage up to $50 with qualifying direct deposit. You can also get your paycheck two days sooner.

As for ATM access, you can utilize over 55,000 ATMs worldwide for free, courtesy of the Allpoint® Network. And if that’s not enough to put your mind at ease, SoFi provides robust FDIC insurance coverage for your money, up to $2M.

3. BMO Harris Bank

Headquartered in Chicago, BMO Harris is a regional bank with a strong presence in Illinois, where it has been considered one of the best banks since its inception in 1882. The bank also has branches in Indiana, Arizona, Missouri, Minnesota, Kansas, Florida, and Wisconsin.

With over 40,000 BMO Harris and MoneyPass ATMs, customers have convenient access to their funds. BMO Harris offers a checking account with no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements, and there’s a $25 minimum deposit required to open the account. It also comes with a robust mobile banking app that allows you to transfer money and pay bills.

The BMO Harris savings account offers the opportunity to earn up to 3.56% APY. This higher interest rate is available when you bundle your Relationship Plus Money Market account with a BMO Relationship Checking account.

4. Upgrade

Upgrade offers a robust online banking experience with its Rewards Checking Plus and Premier Savings accounts, designed to optimize financial benefits and efficiency.

The Rewards Checking Plus account stands out for its lack of minimum deposit requirements and absence of monthly, overdraft, and transfer fees.

Account holders enjoy up to 2% cash back on everyday debit card purchases and the convenience of accessing their paychecks up to two days early through direct deposit.

Furthermore, the Premier Savings account, maintained through Cross River Bank—a Member of FDIC—ensures that funds are protected up to $250,000.

Additionally, Upgrade compensates for up to five ATM fees per month when using out-of-network ATMs, subject to specific conditions, enhancing the overall banking convenience.

5. Huntington Bank

Huntington Bank is a regional bank with branches in Illinois, Ohio, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

There are multiple tiers of checking accounts, but if you’re looking for the basics, the Asterisk-Free Checking Account has no monthly fee. There are no minimum balance requirements and no minimum opening deposit.

Before choosing this bank, it’s advisable to check for branches and ATMs in your area. The bank boasts over 1,600 Huntington-owned ATMs, ensuring plentiful fee-free options for cash withdrawals.

If you prefer using mobile banking apps for your financial tasks, Huntington offers a comprehensive suite of online banking services that can assist you, even when you’re on the go.

In addition, Huntington Bank offers savings accounts, money market accounts, CDs, credit cards, business checking accounts, and more.

6. Fifth Third Bank

Another regional bank with a significant presence in Illinois is Fifth Third Bank, headquartered in Ohio. With branches spread across states including Illinois, Ohio, Florida, Georgia, and many others, it offers convenience and accessibility.

The bank’s most popular checking account is the Momentum Checking, which comes with no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. One standout feature is Fifth Third Extra Time.

It not only notifies you of insufficient funds to help you avoid overdrafts but also allows you the opportunity to deposit money by the end of the day to rectify the situation.

In terms of ATM access, you have the luxury of using over 40,000 Fifth Third and MoneyPass ATMs. Additionally, Fifth Third Bank offers identity theft monitoring services through Trilegiant for an extra fee.

7. Great Lakes Credit Union

Founded in 1938, Great Lakes Credit Union (GLCU) is a not-for-profit, member-owned institution that has been serving the Chicagoland area and beyond for over 80 years.

While it is a credit union, it competes effectively with some of the best banks in Illinois by offering financial products suitable for a wide range of customers.

Great Lakes Credit Union has multiple locations across various cities in Illinois, including Crystal Lake, Chicago, Bolingbrook, Gurnee, Zion, and Waukegan, ensuring convenient access for its members.

One unique program offered by GLCU is the Checking Account Management course for those with negative entries in ChexSystems. Completing this online course allows individuals to earn the privilege to open an account, setting them up for a positive banking experience.

The Fresh Start Checking account is a second chance checking account designed to help people with a negative banking history. It requires a $50 initial deposit and carries a $10 monthly fee that cannot be waived. To maintain this checking account, you must have monthly direct deposits of at least $250.

If maximizing your savings is a priority, Great Lakes Credit Union offers an exceptional rate of up to 5.00% APY with its Free Checking account for balances up to $10,000.

8. Chase

For those interested in a national bank, Chase Bank could be a strong choice. With branches in Illinois and 47 other states, excluding Alaska and Hawaii, accessibility is rarely an issue.

Chase currently entices new customers with a $200 bonus, available when setting up direct deposit within 90 days of opening a bank account.

When it comes to checking accounts, Chase Total Checking stands out as the most popular. It comes with a $12 monthly maintenance fee, which is waived if you maintain a monthly inflow of at least $500. This makes the bonus offer particularly attractive, as it essentially covers several months of the monthly fee.

Additional features include access to over 16,000 Chase Bank ATMs and the availability of checking and savings accounts specifically designed for children ages 6 to 17.

9. PNC Bank

PNC Bank is a big regional bank found in 27 states, including Illinois. New customers can get up to $200 bonus when they open a checking account and choose certain Virtual Wallet options. PNC also offers a $200 bonus when signing up for a business checking account.

What makes PNC Bank special is its strong online tools. One of these is the “Low Cash Mode” which helps you keep track of your money when it’s running low. There are no monthly service fees for the checking account, and it is simple to start with no minimum deposit or minimum balance required.

Customers can also use over 60,000 ATMs and get a 2.00% APY on savings accounts and a generous 4.50% APY on high-yield savings accounts, making PNC a great choice for those looking to handle their banking online with good benefits.

10. Ally

Ally Bank operates solely online, offering detailed services through its web and mobile platforms. Despite having no physical branches, it affords a host of benefits, including a checking account that comes with no monthly service fee or overdraft fees.

Moreover, both the checking and savings accounts allow customers to earn interest. The checking account offers a 0.25% APY, while the high yield savings account comes with a substantial 4.25% APY. Starting an account is hassle-free, with no initial deposit or ongoing balance requirements.

An added advantage is the free access to a vast network of 43,000 ATMs not just in Illinois but across the nation. However, it is worth noting that unlike some other online-only banks, Ally doesn’t offer the facility to deposit cash at retail partners.

Ally Bank goes a step further to ease your financial management by offering an early paycheck arrival by up to two days, presenting you with more convenience and agility in handling your finances.

11. Regions Bank

With a significant presence in the Southern and Midwestern United States, Regions Bank operates over 1,450 branches and nearly 2,000 ATMs across 16 states.

Ranking an impressive 25th among banks nationwide, Regions Bank sets itself apart with its unparalleled customer service, which has received notable recognition.

Regions Bank offers a comprehensive range of banking products tailored to meet individual objectives. These products include checking accounts, savings, money market accounts, CDs, credit cards, and mortgages.

When opening an account online, there is a minimum deposit requirement of $50. However, it’s just $5.00 for in-branch openings, as long as you set up recurring monthly deposits.

How to Choose the Best Bank in Illinois

Choosing the best bank in Illinois involves more than just picking the nearest branch or going with a popular name. This crucial decision can have a lasting impact on your financial well-being. Whether it’s the interest rates you’ll earn on a savings account or the customer service you’ll receive, many factors come into play. Here’s a quick guide to help you make a well-informed choice that best suits you:

  • Assess your needs: Before you start, jot down what you specifically need from a bank. Are you looking for just a simple checking and savings account setup, or are you also interested in additional services like personal loans, credit cards, or investment advice? Your needs will guide you toward the type of bank that’s right for you, whether it’s a local, regional, national, or online bank.
  • Compare rates and fees: Investigate the interest rates on savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), and loans. While a high interest rate on savings accounts is beneficial, also keep an eye out for fees that might negate those gains, such as monthly maintenance or overdraft fees.
  • Location and accessibility: Map out the physical branches and ATMs of the banks you’re considering, especially their proximity to your home or workplace. Having a branch nearby is useful for transactions that require a personal touch, such as securing a mortgage or resolving account issues.
  • Customer service: Read customer reviews online, ask people in your network for recommendations, and perhaps make a few calls to the customer service departments of the banks you’re interested in. Gauge their efficiency, friendliness, and effectiveness in addressing potential concerns you might have.
  • Online banking: Evaluate the technological capabilities of the banks on your shortlist. Do they offer online and mobile banking features that match your lifestyle, such as mobile check deposits, online bill pay, and real-time transaction alerts? A user-friendly and feature-rich platform can make managing your money much easier.
  • Safety and security: Make sure you choose a bank insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which ensures your deposits are protected up to $250,000. Also, check the bank’s security measures like two-factor authentication, secure messaging, and data encryption protocols to protect your personal information.
  • Account types and offerings: If you’re interested in more than just basic banking, look for a bank that offers a wide range of banking services. These services include retirement accounts, various types of loans, or investment services. This allows you to manage multiple accounts under one roof.
  • Reviews and recommendations: Incorporate the opinions of others into your decision-making process. Listen to friends and family, read reviews, and consider professional evaluations. These can offer you a more comprehensive picture of what each bank can provide.

By carefully considering these various elements, you can find the best banks in Illinois and align yourself with one that meets your immediate expectations and long-term financial goals.

Types of Banks to Consider in Illinois

Illinois offers a wide range of banking options to fit your personal financial situation. To help you make the best choice, let’s explore the pros and cons of each type of banking institution.

Local Banks

  • Pros: A local bank is typically deeply connected to the community and offers highly personalized service. They often have strong relationships with local businesses, which can be advantageous if you’re an entrepreneur.
  • Cons: Local banks usually have limited geographical reach, with fewer branches and ATMs. Their technology platforms can also be less advanced than those of larger banks.

Regional Banks

  • Pros: Regional banks strike a balance between local and national banks. They offer a wider network of branches and ATMs compared to local banks and maintain a good level of customer service.
  • Cons: The range of financial products and services may be less comprehensive than what’s offered by national banks. Some may also charge fees for specific services.

National Banks

  • Pros: National banks provide a broad array of banking products and services, from a basic bank account to specialized investment options. Their extensive network and cutting-edge technology make banking highly convenient.
  • Cons: Customer service can be less personalized due to the sheer size of the institution. These brick and mortar banks might also impose higher fees for certain services.

Online Banks

  • Pros: Online banks often offer attractive interest rates and low or no fees, thanks to lower overhead costs. Their platforms are designed for easy online access and generally offer robust features.
  • Cons: The lack of physical branches can be a drawback for those who prefer in-person interactions or have complex banking needs that require face-to-face consultation.

Credit Unions

  • Pros: Credit unions are member-owned, meaning they usually offer lower fees and higher interest rates on deposits. They often excel in customer service and community involvement.
  • Cons: You’ll often need to satisfy specific membership requirements to join a credit union. Additionally, their services and geographical reach can be more limited than other types of banks.

Bottom Line

Illinois has plenty of options, whether you go with an Illinois bank or one headquartered elsewhere. The best banks in Illinois combine low fees with features that make banking convenient for you. Don’t rule out online banks, since you can easily find one with all the features you need, along with fee-free access to local ATMs.

Stephanie Faris
Meet the author

Stephanie Faris is a professional finance writer with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured on a variety of top finance sites, including Money Under 30, GoBankingRates, Retirable, Sapling, and Benzinga.