14 Best Banks in South Carolina for 2024

Banking

As one of the fastest-growing states in the country, South Carolina is drawing residents from all over. But whether you’re new to the state or you’ve been around a while, it’s important to find a bank that can help you reach your financial goals.

South Carolina has no shortage of banks, from small community credit unions to large corporate banks. You’ll also find plenty of online banking options that are available wherever you live.

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14 Best Banks in South Carolina

Do you need a bank with branches nearby that you can regularly visit, or is it more important to find banks with full-featured mobile banking apps? Here’s a look at the best banks in South Carolina to get you started on your search.

1. First Citizens Bank

Headquartered in North Carolina, First Citizens Bank has branches throughout South Carolina, as well as in 19 other states.

You can choose from multiple checking accounts, including a free checking account when you sign up for paperless statements. The account comes with no minimum balance requirements, a free Visa debit card, and overdraft protection.

There are no monthly fees, and the minimum opening deposit to open an account online is just $50. Although First Citizens Bank offers low rates on savings and money market accounts, you can earn up to 5.00% APY on CDs.

While First Citizens Bank only allows for the use of its own ATMs within its network, these are conveniently located across 21 states. Keep in mind that using an out-of-network ATM will result in a $2.50 transaction fee, in addition to any other fees charged by the ATM owner.

Besides these features, First Citizens Bank provides additional perks such as competitive rates on home improvement loans and credit cards that let you earn rewards.

2. SoFi

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SoFi stands out as one of the best online banks for South Carolina residents, particularly those interested in robust checking and savings accounts.

With SoFi’s online savings account, you’ll enjoy a high annual percentage yield (APY) of 4.60%. Their checking accounts are also impressive, offering a 0.50% APY with no monthly fees.

One of the unique features of SoFi is its early direct deposit option, which allows you to access your paycheck up to two days sooner than with traditional banks. If you use a SoFi debit card, you can get up to 15% cash back at select retailers, adding more value to your everyday shopping.

SoFi takes the security of your funds seriously. They offer FDIC insurance that covers up to $2 million, which is much more than what many other banks offer.

If you happen to overdraw your account, you won’t be hit with overdraft fees as long as you have qualifying direct deposits. Instead, SoFi will cover you for up to $50.

New customers can expect a welcome bonus ranging from $50 to $300, depending on the amount set up for direct deposit. Moreover, you won’t struggle to find an ATM when you need one; SoFi provides access to more than 55,000 Allpoint® Network ATMs for your convenience.

3. TD Bank

TD Bank is a notable national bank with a strong presence in South Carolina, boasting 77 branches in key cities such as Columbia, Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Rock Hill, and Greenville.

The bank’s Convenience Checking account is a standout, waiving the $15 monthly fee with just a $100 daily balance. New customers might also snag a $300 bonus by meeting specific early requirements.

For those interested in high-interest savings, TD Bank offers up to 4.00% APY on savings accounts and 5.00% on CDs. Their mobile app enhances convenience, allowing you to manage your finances on the go.

Customer service is available 24/7 online, and the bank also offers extra time for sorting out overdrafts. With these features, TD Bank solidifies its position as a reliable national bank in South Carolina.

4. GO2bank

GO2bank is a top choice for those looking for an online bank. Backed by Green Dot, this bank offers a hassle-free process for opening online checking accounts and special savings vaults, with no minimum balance necessary. If you’re looking to grow your savings, you’ll be pleased with their 4.50% APY on balances up to $5,000.

Managing your funds with GO2bank is easy, given that they provide 90,000 retail locations where you can make cash deposits. Additionally, you can make free transfers from other banks and have free access to more than 55,000 ATMs using your complimentary Visa debit card.

An added benefit of using GO2bank is their early direct deposit feature. This lets you receive your paycheck up to two days sooner than normal, and you can even get government benefits up to four days in advance. If you set up direct deposit, the bank will waive the $5 monthly fee.

GO2bank also offers some financial safety nets. If you encounter unplanned expenses, they offer up to $200 in overdraft coverage to give you some breathing room. And if you’re aiming to improve your credit score, GO2bank provides a Secured Visa Credit Card as part of their services.

5. The Citizens Bank

The Citizens Bank, a staple in the Olanta community since 1943, has grown to become one of the best banks in South Carolina. With multiple branches across the state, it offers excellent in-person service, as well as a full suite of online banking tools for your convenience.

If you’re looking for checking accounts, The Citizens Bank has five options to choose from. One of the most popular is the TCB free checking account, which comes with no monthly maintenance fee and no minimum balance requirement.

Opening an account only requires a $50 minimum deposit. It’s a great option if you want a straightforward way to manage your money.

However, if you’re someone who travels frequently, it’s worth noting that The Citizens Bank’s ATMs are only available within South Carolina. So you might want to withdraw some cash before heading out of state.

In addition to its personal banking options, The Citizens Bank offers both business and personal loans, giving you the financial flexibility you might need for various life events or business ventures.

6. Founders Federal Credit Union

Founders Federal Credit Union stands as a strong option for those based in South Carolina, offering a member-centric approach to banking.

It’s the largest credit union in the state, and has more than 30 locations across the Carolinas. Locations in South Carolina include Columbia, Rock Hill, Spartanburg, Fort Mill, Gaffney, Lancaster, and Laurens.

In terms of account types, Founders Federal Credit Union offers a free checking account that doesn’t require you to maintain a daily minimum balance. You can also choose between two savings account options.

The one that offers the highest yield is the Loyalty Savings account, equipped with various tools to help you make the most of your money.

When it comes to fees and requirements, Founders Federal keeps things simple. There are no monthly maintenance fees and no need to maintain a daily minimum balance. Additionally, you have access to CO-OP ATMs nationwide.

As for rates, you can earn up to 4.07% APY on savings accounts and up to 5.46% APY on share certificates. The credit union also offers competitive rates on auto loans and a variety of credit cards, some of which come with rewards or low-interest rates.

7. Axos Bank

Axos Bank is a standout choice for those who prioritize online banking services. Though it doesn’t have physical branches, the bank compensates by offering account holders free access to a network of over 90,000 ATMs across the nation. Plus, it offers unlimited ATM fee reimbursements.

With just a $50 initial deposit, you can open a Rewards Checking account that comes with a generous $300 bonus. This bank account also allows you to earn an impressive 3.30% annual percentage yield on your balance.

Axos Bank eliminates the stress of fees by not charging monthly fees or overdraft fees, and there’s also no minimum balance requirement.

But Axos Bank doesn’t stop at checking accounts. It also provides a broad array of other products, including savings accounts, CDs, and money market accounts. Axos Bank also doesn’t charge lender fees on mortgages.

8. First Palmetto Bank

Consistently named one of the best small banks in South Carolina, First Palmetto Bank has branches from Greenville to the coast and everywhere in between.

However, it’s important to note that its ATMs are confined to South Carolina. So if you often find yourself needing cash while on the road, this bank might not be your best fit.

In terms of checking accounts, First Palmetto Bank offers a free option. But if you tend to keep a higher balance in your bank account, you might benefit more from one of their three interest-bearing checking accounts, each coming with its own set of advantages.

One of the strong points of banking with First Palmetto is the absence of monthly fees, requiring only a $50 initial deposit to get started. Moreover, the bank extends an array of perks such as robust options for business banking and various home loan opportunities.

9. First National Bank of South Carolina

First National Bank of South Carolina is a notable option for those who prefer a nationally recognized bank with its roots in South Carolina. This full-service bank offers an array of products such as checking and savings accounts, loans, and business accounts to meet your various needs.

The bank’s First Secure Checking account comes with a modest monthly maintenance fee of $4.95, but you can reduce this to $2.95 if you opt for electronic statements over paper ones. If your credit score isn’t quite up to par but you’re in need of a loan, the bank also offers secured loans.

To start banking with First National Bank of South Carolina, you’ll need a $50 initial deposit, and there are no daily balance requirements. You’ll have access to the bank’s own ATMs, and it provides options for both savings and money market accounts.

Additional advantages include the availability of both secured and unsecured personal loans as well as comprehensive business banking options.

10. United Community Bank

United Community Bank serves as a regional banking option with a presence in South Carolina and several other states such as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

The bank provides a wide range of services, including checking and savings accounts, money market accounts, CDs, credit cards, and loans.

Their free checking account option is available to those who agree to receive e-statements. If you prefer paper statements, you can still avoid the $8 monthly fee if you enroll in direct deposit and make at least one deposit of $200 or more each month. Opening an account requires a $50 initial deposit, and there are no daily balance requirements.

United Community Bank offers a wide range of financial services beyond basic accounts, including a health savings account and individual retirement accounts (IRAs).

The bank also offers wealth management services, complete with financial advisors, to help with long-term planning. These options, along with business banking solutions, make it a versatile choice for both individuals and companies.

11. Truist Bank

Truist Bank, a regional bank with a strong footprint in South Carolina, came into existence through the merger of BB&T and SunTrust.

With branches not just in South Carolina, but also in nearby states like North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, Truist offers a wide range of banking services.

Their free checking account, known as Truist One, stands out for charging no overdraft fees and requiring just a $50 deposit to open. While there’s a $12 monthly fee, it’s easily avoidable.

You can have it waived by making at least $500 in deposits each month, maintaining a $500 balance, or linking a qualifying account.

When it comes to interest rates, Truist doesn’t offer the highest yields on savings accounts but compensates with up to 5.00% APY on CDs.

Beyond the basic banking services, Truist also provides competitive home loan offerings and the opportunity to earn generous cash rewards when using a Truist Bank credit card.

12. SouthState Bank

SouthState Bank, a regional bank with an extensive network of over 240 branches serves not just South Carolina but also Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia.

When it comes to checking accounts, you have four options to consider, including one that stands out for having neither a service fee nor an initial deposit requirement.

SouthState Bank also offers a range of savings and money market accounts to meet various financial needs. If you’re in the market for an auto loan, SouthState Bank offers competitive rates to consider.

New customers opening a checking account can even take advantage of a $200 bonus. What sets SouthState Bank apart is its range of credit card options catering to diverse needs.

They offer student credit cards, travel rewards cards, and even a secured credit card for those with aiming to build their credit. With this extensive offering, SouthState Bank solidifies its standing as one of the best banks in South Carolina.

13. South Carolina Federal Credit Union

South Carolina Federal Credit Union is accessible to a wide range of people, whether you live in the service area or belong to specific member groups.

Even if you don’t meet these criteria, you can still become a member by opening a Share savings account with a $10 deposit. SCFCU has a quick assessment tool designed to provide insights into your financial habits.

Known for its excellent customer service, South Carolina Federal Credit Union also offers a compelling mix of low fees and competitive rates. Although there’s an $8 monthly fee, meeting certain requirements can have it waived.

The credit union requires a $25 initial deposit to open an account, but once you’re a member, you can enjoy rates of up to 2.25% APY on savings accounts, 3.11% APY on share certificates, and 3.25% APY on money market accounts.

For those looking to finance a home or car, SCFCU offers competitive loan rates. Additionally, you can choose from multiple credit card options.

14. The People’s Bank

The People’s Bank is a local option serving Anderson County and surrounding areas with seven branches. Although the bank’s ATM network is somewhat limited, the bank compensates by not charging out-of-network ATM fees and even refunds up to $25 in third-party fees each month.

The People’s Bank offers a free rewards checking account. To start earning rewards, you’ll need to meet a few monthly requirements, including making at least 10 point-of-sale transactions and receiving one external electronic deposit.

Logging into your online portal at least once a month and opting for e-statements are also required to earn rewards. However, the minimum deposit to open an account is $100, which may be a bit higher compared to other banks.

There are no monthly fees, which makes it a cost-effective choice for those who can meet the account requirements. Additional services include a specialized team for commercial banking and wealth management services.

How to Choose the Best Bank in South Carolina

When it comes to selecting the best bank in South Carolina, the options can vary widely depending on individual needs, lifestyle, and financial goals. Here are some critical factors to consider:

  • Account types: Consider what types of accounts you need. Whether it’s checking, savings, or more specialized accounts like money market accounts or CDs, make sure the bank offers what you’re looking for.
  • Financial products: Beyond just banking, see if the bank offers other products that might be of interest to you, like credit cards, investment advice, or insurance.
  • Interest rates: Look for a bank that offers competitive interest rates on savings, checking, and investment accounts. The higher the Annual Percentage Yield (APY), the more money you’ll earn over time.
  • Fees: Understand all potential fees you could incur, such as monthly service fees, ATM fees, and overdraft fees. Many of the best banks in South Carolina offer accounts with no monthly service charges or ways to waive them.
  • Initial deposit requirements: Some banks require a minimum initial deposit to open an account. Make sure this is manageable for you.
  • ATM accessibility: Consider the size and accessibility of the bank’s ATM network, especially if you frequently withdraw cash. Some banks offer fee reimbursements for out-of-network ATMs.
  • Online and mobile banking: Evaluate the online and mobile banking features, especially if you prefer handling your banking transactions digitally.
  • Customer service: Research the bank’s reputation for customer service. This can include availability (24/7 support or not), the number of local branches, and online customer service options.
  • Loan options: If you’re considering buying a home or car, or need a personal loan, check to see if the bank offers competitive loan rates.
  • Special features: Some banks offer additional features like early direct deposit, cash back offers, and budgeting tools. Consider any features that might be particularly beneficial for you.
  • Security: Ensure that the bank is federally insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or a similar agency. This protects your money up to a certain limit if the bank fails.
  • Business banking: If you also have business banking needs, look for a bank that can offer you good deals on business accounts or loans.

By taking these factors into consideration, you can narrow down your choices and select the best bank in South Carolina that fits your financial needs.

Types of Banks in South Carolina

When you’re looking to bank in South Carolina, it’s essential to know the various kinds of banks at your disposal. Each comes with its unique set of advantages and limitations based on your specific needs:

  • National banks: These are extensive institutions that operate across multiple states. They often provide a comprehensive array of financial products, including checking and savings accounts, investment products, and loans. For instance, Bank of America, Chase, TD Bank, and Wells Fargo are national banks with a significant presence in South Carolina.
  • Regional banks: These banks operate in several states but generally concentrate on a specific region. They offer a range of services similar to those of national banks, but with more localized attention. United Community Bank and Truist Bank are examples of regional banks with operations in South Carolina.
  • Community banks: These smaller banks focus on serving specific communities or local areas. They often provide personalized service but may not offer as wide a range of financial products. First Palmetto Bank and The People’s Bank serve as good examples of community banks in South Carolina.
  • Online banks: These are banks without physical branches, operating entirely online. They frequently offer competitive interest rates on deposit accounts and lower fees due to less overhead. SoFi and Axos Bank are examples of online banks that serve customers in South Carolina.
  • Credit unions: These are financial cooperatives owned by their members. They often offer favorable interest rates and lower fees but require certain criteria for membership. Founders Federal Credit Union and South Carolina Federal Credit Union are examples of credit unions operating in South Carolina.

Bottom Line

The best banks in South Carolina offer various options to meet your financial needs, whether you’re focused on no-fee accounts, high interest rates, or robust business banking solutions. By carefully considering your priorities and the services offered, you can make an informed decision to partner with a bank that aligns with your financial goals. Happy banking!

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.