When you choose a bank for your daily checking and savings needs, you can choose between a national bank, a smaller regional bank, credit unions of varying sizes, and even online banks and financial technology companies.
Since early 2023, when Signature Bank and Silicon Valley Bank both experienced failures after customers pulled out large amounts of money during bank runs, banking customers may feel more comfortable choosing a national bank.
Although the U.S. government took extraordinary measures to protect the assets of SVB and Signature Bank customers, and deposits held in the accounts were FDIC insured, many customers were still rightfully concerned about gaining access to their money in a timely manner.
After the banking crisis of 2008, the Federal government declared banks like JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, and Wells Fargo as “too big to fail.” But these aren’t the only national banks or credit unions available.
You might think that smaller online banks may have lower fees, while small local banks are known for friendly and responsive customer service. But the national banks on this list blend the best of all worlds: low fees, high marks for customer satisfaction, ways to avoid overdraft fees, convenient ATM networks, and a variety of banking products.
16 Best National Banks
Here are the 16 best national banks that offer exceptional services, excellent customer support, and innovative banking solutions to meet all of your financial needs.
1. SoFi – Best for Digital Banking & High Yields
SoFi became a nationally chartered online bank in 2022, after acquiring Golden Pacific Bancorp, Member FDIC. Originally known for its vast array of loan products, including private student loans, today SoFi has a combination checking and savings account, or a cash management account, with no monthly service fee.
SoFi also has no minimum balance requirements, no overdraft fee, and overdraft protection up to $50 with qualifying direct deposits each month. You can bank for free at any of 55,000+ fee free Allpoint ATMs nationwide.
As an online bank, SoFi offers higher interest rates than you may find at brick and mortar banks. Earn up to 4.60% APY on your savings account balance and 0.50% on money in your checking account. When you use your SoFi debit card at select local businesses, you can earn up to 15% cash back.
SoFi offers two tiers of accounts: SoFi and SoFi Plus. To qualify for the “freemium” SoFi Plus membership, bank customers must have qualifying direct deposits. Plus, when you sign up, you can earn a cash bonus of $300 when you set up direct deposits of $5,000 or $50 with a direct deposit as low as $1,000.
SoFi Plus members receive loan rate discounts, bonus rewards, access to special entertainment events and more, making SoFi a unique company when it comes to online banks.
2. U.S. Bank – Best Mobile App
U.S. Bank is currently welcoming new applicants in 26 U.S. states with a special online offering:
- Earn up to $800 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 March 12, 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.
You can link your Bank Smartly checking account to a standard savings account or Elite Money Market to earn even more. To avoid fees on your savings account, you’ll want to keep a $300 minimum daily balance or a $1,000 average monthly collected balance. If you are already a Bank Smartly customer, you can enroll in Smart Rewards to waive savings account fees.
The Elite account is better for those with high balances. You can earn up to 4.00% APY on balances from $25,000 up to just under $500,000.
The appeal of U.S. Bank is in its high ratings for banking satisfaction across the board from customers. U.S. Bank earned accolades for having the best mobile app, the best digital mortgage tools, the best customer service features, and best mobile check deposit capabilities. These factors all contribute to its ranking as a best national bank.
3. Discover Bank – Best for Cash Back
Discover may be best known for cashback and rewards credit cards. But its online banking products are some of the best you’ll find among national banks.
With no monthly fees and no minimum balance, your Discover Cashback checking account pays 1% cashback on up to $3,000 worth of debit card purchases monthly. You’ll never pay overdraft charges, and you can withdraw cash at a network of 60,000+ fee free ATMs.
You can qualify for overdraft protection by linking your Discover Bank savings account. Discover Savings pays a high 3.90% APY with no minimum deposit required.
Other Discover Bank deposit accounts include CDs with terms from 3 months to 10 years, and a money market account that pays 3.80% APY for balances under $100,000 and 3.85% on balances $100,000 and up.
For questions or help with your account, you can reach a U.S.-based customer service representative for Discover Bank by phone, 24/7/365.
4. Chase Bank – Best for Credit Card Rewards & Referral Bonuses
As the world’s largest national bank, JPMorgan Chase Bank doesn’t need to do much to entice customers. People will choose Chase based on its name, reputation, and more than 4,700 convenient branch locations across the U.S.
However, Chase happens to have one of the best bonuses for new customers and a generous referral bonus program when existing customers refer their friends. This, coupled with a robust and easy-to-use mobile app and a variety of checking, savings and investment services, puts Chase on our list of top national banks in the U.S.
Chase is currently offering new Chase Total Checking customers a $200 bonus when they open a new account and set up direct deposit within the first 90 days.
New or upgrading Chase Private Client customers can earn a $3,000 bonus with a deposit of $500,000 or more within the first 45 days of account opening. Deposits of $150,000 to $249,999 earn $1,000 and cash deposits of $250,000 to $499,999 earn $2,000. You must keep the money in your J.P. Morgan Wealth Management or JPMorgan Chase deposit accounts for 90 days to qualify.
In addition to Chase Total Checking, the bank’s most popular checking account, and Private Client services, Chase also offers other checking and savings accounts.
Chase Secure Banking has a $4.95 monthly fee and no overdraft fees. Chase Premier Plus Checking offers a few added benefits beyond Chase Total Checking, including ATM fee rebates up to four times per statement cycle, a linked personal checking account with no monthly fees, and a 0.01% interest rate on balances.
Chase also offers bank accounts for kids, teens, and college students, as well as CDs, savings and money market accounts, mortgages, loan products, and a full array of top-rated rewards credit cards.
If you have multiple Chase accounts, it’s easy to manage them all within the mobile app.
5. Chime® – Best for Building Credit
Chime® is a financial technology company backed by Stride Bank, Member FDIC, and Bancorp Bank, Member FDIC. It is not a bank, itself, but offers some of the same features, including online banking, a debit card, and direct deposit up to two days earlier2 than some other banks.
Chime has no monthly service fee, no overdraft fee, and no minimum balance requirements. Use your Chime debit card at any of 60,000+ fee free1 ATMs in the Allpoint, MoneyPass or Visa Plus Alliance ATM networks. Out of network ATM fees may apply, otherwise.
6. Capital One – Best for High Interest Rates at a Brick and Mortar Bank
Like Chase Bank, Capital One is well known for its top-rated rewards credit cards. The company is also one of the best national banks with a savings account and CDs offering interest rates higher than the national average.
Capital One Performance 360 savings has a 4.30% APY, no monthly maintenance fees, and no minimum deposit to open your account. A Capital One 360 Performance checking account, similarly, has no monthly maintenance fee, overdraft protection through your linked savings account, and early direct deposit.
You can bank with no fees at a network of 70,000+ ATMs nationwide, and can deposit cash easily at CVS retail locations. Although you must open your Capital One Performance account online, you can receive personalized service and deposit cash at any Capital One bank branches or Capital One Cafes.
7. CIT Bank – Best for High Interest Rates
CIT Bank, a division of First Citizens Bank, has earned awards and accolades for customer satisfaction, rated by American Banker as #1 for “delivering the most humanized experience in banking.”
You should be aware that deposits in First Citizens Bank & Trust Company, Member FDIC, are not separately insured. This only matters if you hold more than $250,000 in any single account type, such as checking or savings, in both First Citizens Bank and in CIT Bank.
CIT is the online only banking arm of First Citizens Bank, with high-yield savings accounts, CDs, money market accounts, and eChecking, all with no monthly fees and no overdraft fees. You won’t pay any ATM fees at CIT Bank machines, and CIT Bank reimburses up to $30 per month when you use out-of-network ATMs.
CIT offers 0.25% APY on checking when you hold more than $25,000 in your account, and 0.10% APY on balances under $25,000. The bank has high interest rates for savings, offering customers a 5.05% APY on balances of $5,000 or more with the Platinum Savings account.
You’ll need a $100 minimum deposit to open a checking or savings account at CIT Bank.
8. Bank of America – Best for College Students
As the second largest of the best national banks, behind Chase, Bank of America has the full gamut of banking products, with three checking accounts plus a student account, savings, CDs, and investment products.
It’s easy to waive monthly maintenance fees on a checking account with a minimum daily balance, direct deposits, combined balances across eligible linked Bank of America accounts, or by enrolling in their Preferred Rewards programs.
We like the Advantage SafeBalance banking for kids, teens, and college students under 25 years old. They have no monthly fee and no overdraft fees. Teens ages 16+ can have sole ownership of the account.
For everyone else, the bank offers Advantage Plus and Advantage Relationship checking accounts with easy ways to waive the monthly fees with direct deposit or a minimum daily balance.
When you open a new checking account, you can qualify for a $100 bonus when you receive qualifying direct deposits of at least $1,000 within 90 days of opening the account.
Of course, Bank of America also has CDs, and a savings and money market account. Plus you can invest with Merrill. All of these deposit accounts count toward your Preferred Rewards membership.
When you have a combined average daily balance of at least $20,000 for three months, you’ll qualify for the rewards program.
9. Axos Bank – Best Online Bank
Axos is an online only bank with a rewards checking account that delivers up to 3.30% APY, with no fees and unlimited ATM fee rebates for out-of-network ATMs.
To earn the maximum APY, you’ll need to set up direct deposit and Axos Bank’s free Personal Finance Manager for 0.70% interest. Then, open an investment account and take out an Axos personal loan or auto loan and earn another 2.60% annual percentage yield on your checking account balance.
Axos also offers an Essential Checking account with early direct deposit and no fees, and a Cashback Checking account, which gives you 1% cash back on debit card purchases, along with no maintenance fees and unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements.
Voted the best online bank by many top personal finance sites, Axos Bank offers more than just high interest, no fee checking.
Axos Bank offers CDs with terms between 3 and 60 months and a savings account with 0.61% annual percentage yield, with interest compounded daily. You can also find personal loans, car loans, mortgages, and investment products.
Like other national banks, Axos Bank provides FDIC insurance up to $250,000 or $500,000 for joint account holders. But you can expand your coverage up to $150 million with Axos Bank InsureGuard+ Savings from IntraFi Network Deposits.
Axos splits up your large deposit into multiple accounts across several banks, each covered up to $250,000. If you are dealing with a substantial amount of cash and want your savings protected at a single bank, Axos may be a good choice for you.
New customers can earn a $100 welcome bonus by opening an account with just a $50 minimum opening deposit.
10. Citi® – Best for Large Cash Deposits
The third of the four largest national banks in the U.S. based on assets, Citi, owned by Citigroup, is best for high net worth customers or those with large cash deposits divided among Citi checking, savings, and other accounts.
Currently, you can earn a generous cash bonus of $200 to $2,000 when you open a qualifying Citi checking account and meet specific minimum opening deposit requirements. Your bonus will be determined by your account balance on the 20th day after opening the account. Funds must remain in the account for an additional 60 days after the 21st day.
Citi offers multiple checking accounts to meet various customers’ financial needs, all with monthly fees that are easy to waive if you hold the required minimum balance. The bank accounts include:
- Citi Priority, which includes travel perks and access Citi Personal Wealth Management advisors
- Citigold, relationship banking and investment services
- Basic Banking and ATM access
- Access Account, a debit account with no paper checks
For the Basic Checking account, you’ll need to maintain a $1,500 minimum balance to waive the fees. The other accounts have larger minimum balance requirements to avoid monthly maintenance fees and take advantage of other perks, up to $200,000 for a Citigold account.
All accounts provide access to personal banking at Citi branches and access to more than 65,000 fee free ATMs across the U.S. All accounts except for Basic and Access accounts also have no fees at ATMs outside the Citi network.
Like all the larger national banks on this list, Citi has a full gamut of rewards credit cards, savings and money market accounts, and high-yield CDs.
11. Truist Bank – Best for Relationship Banking & Innovative Savings Perks
Truist Bank is one of the top 10 largest national banks, formed as a merger between BB&T and SunTrust in 2019. Called “the biggest bank you’ve never heard of” by CNN Business, Truist holds assets of $574 billion and has been growing steadily since the merger.
Truist offers checking and savings accounts, CDs, and credit cards. Truist checking and savings customers can earn perks and benefits. This includes access to Long Game, a savings game app that lets you earn cash when depositing into your Truist savings account. It also includes bonus rewards on your Truist credit cards.
Truist has four levels of relationship banking in its Truist One checking account. This means the more you deposit, the more perks you will receive, up to a 50% loyalty bonus on Truist credit cards, and a discounted annual fee for a Delta SkyMiles debit card. Benefits for relationship banking begin at $10,000 in combined average monthly balances for Truist deposit accounts.
Your Truist checking account has a $12 monthly fee, which is easy to waive with $500 or more in direct deposits each month or a $500 minimum balance across all Truist deposit accounts. Truist personal loan, mortgage or credit card customers also pay no fees on their Truist checking account.
You can also waive the monthly fee with a linked Small Business checking account or if you are a student under the age of 25. You’ll need a $25 minimum opening deposit for a Truist One checking.
Customers with lower income or just getting started establishing their finances can benefit from Truist Confidence checking and savings accounts. The account has just a $5 monthly maintenance fee, which is easily waived.
12. PNC Bank – Best in East and Southwest
PNC Bank is a large, national bank with branch locations across 29 states. Most branches are in the east, south, and southwest, although you will also find branch locations in some Midwest states.
PNC Bank’s online checking account is called Spend and it links to the PNC VirtualWallet. You can add a savings account, called Reserve, or upgrade to the Performance Select product with two tiers of savings and double layer overdraft protection.
When you set up your VirtualWallet with PNC Bank and open your Spend account, you can earn a $50 bonus.
Combining your Spend account with a PNC Bank Reserve account yields even more benefits. Earn a $200 bonus when you qualify. Finally, if you open a Performance Select VirtualWallet, you could earn $400.
Each account comes with a low monthly fee that is easily waived through qualifying monthly direct deposits or by meeting minimum balance requirements.
13. Wells Fargo – Best for Checking Account Options
Wells Fargo, one of the “big four,” is the fourth largest of the best national banks in the U.S. It is known for having many convenient bank locations, with 4,700 branch locations.
The vast number of branches across the country puts it top on our list for in-person banking and customer satisfaction.
Plus, we also rated it best for various checking account choices for everyone from children to retail investors.
Like the other national banks on this list, Wells Fargo has checking, savings, and CD accounts. The bank has four checking account options for consumers at various stages of their financial lives:
- Clear Access Banking, with no overdraft fee and a low $5 monthly fee, waived for teens and young adults ages 13 to 24
- Everyday Checking, the most popular bank account, with optional overdraft protection
- Prime Checking, offering discounted interest rates for loans and higher interest rates for linked CDs and savings accounts
- Premier Checking, a relationship banking service with 24/7 support and discounts on investing services
It’s easy to waive the $10 fee on Everyday Checking with a $500 minimum daily balance or $500 in monthly direct deposits. Waive the $25 fee on your Prime checking with $20,000 in linked balances. Similarly, your Premier Checking account will be free with $250,000 in linked balances, including investments with the bank’s Advisors.
You’ll need a $25 minimum opening deposit to open your account.
14. Ally Bank – Best Online Only Bank for Savings
Ally Bank is widely recognized as one of the best national online banks. It has very few fees, including no maintenance fee, no overdraft fee, and no ACH fee (even on expedited transfers). Plus, you’ll earn interest of 0.25% in your checking account and 3.85% APY on savings, including money you have allocated into various buckets.
We rated Ally Bank as the best online only bank for savings, not just because of the high interest rate, but because it offers so many ways to manage your money and ramp up your savings efforts.
You can set up recurring transfers into your savings account for specific goals or just to build up your emergency coffers. You can choose to round up transactions made with your Ally Bank debit card, or even electronic payments and checks. When Ally Bank finds at least $5 in “round-up” savings, it will be transferred automatically to your checking account.
Finally, Ally Bank analyzes your checking account periodically to reveal extra funds that are “safe to save.” Ally Bank automatically transfers that money for you. But you can transfer it back whenever you’d like.
In addition to these savings benefits, Ally Bank lets you access your money with your debit card with no fees at any of 43,000+ Allpoint ATMs. The online bank also refunds up to $10 in fees charged by out-of-network ATMs.
You can avoid stress and overspending with the Overdraft Transfer Service, which automatically transfers money from your Ally Bank savings account into checking. If you exceed six transfers or six savings withdrawals per month, Ally Bank will reimburse those fees, too.
You can also apply for CoverDraft℠ Coverage, which will cover up to $250 in charges that would put your account in the negative. You’ll qualify 30 days after you deposit at least $100 into your checking account. If you receive qualifying direct deposits of at least $250 two months in a row, you can increase your coverage to $250.
15. TD Bank – Best for Overall Banking Satisfaction
TD Bank, deemed America’s most convenient bank for its number of branches, branch hours and excellent customer service, blends the best of brick and mortar banks with easy online banking.
Most TD Bank locations are open seven days a week, including Sundays, with extended hours beyond what most brick and mortar banks provide. Most TD Bank branches are located across the East Coast, with locations in 15 different states and Washington, D.C.
TD Bank is the 7th largest bank in the U.S. based on deposits, with 1,668 branch locations nationwide. You can also reach customer service by phone, 24/7/365, which earns TD Bank high marks for banking satisfaction.
TD Bank offers six checking accounts for customers in various life stages:
- TD Essential Banking
- TD Convenience Checking
- TD Beyond Checking
- TD Simple Checking
- TD 60 Plus Checking
- TD Student Checking (for ages 17 to 23)
Currently, TD Bank is offering sign-on bonuses for new customers who open a TD Beyond or TD Convenience bank account. You’ll need a qualifying direct deposit (or more than one) totaling $2,500 within the first 60 days to earn $300 with TD Beyond, and a direct deposit of just $500 within the first 60 days to earn $200 with TD Convenience.
16. Schwab Bank – Best for Investors
Schwab may be best known as an investment service, but the bank was rated highest in banking satisfaction with checking accounts from J.D. Power & Associates four years running.
If you have a Schwab investment account, or are considering opening one, Schwab could be the best choice in banking for you.
The Schwab Bank Investor checking account has no foreign transaction fees, no minimums, and unlimited ATM fee rebates. Plus, earn 0.45% annual percentage yield on checking. Schwab’s savings account offers 0.48% APY.
Schwab also offers exceptionally high interest rates for CDs, with up to 5.40% APY and terms as short as 30 days. You’ll receive FDIC protection exceeding the federal maximum because you can purchase CDs from multiple banks, all through Schwab investment.
Methodology: How We Chose the Best National Banks
We evaluated a variety of banks and credit cards, taking into consideration the:
- Variety of products
- Interest rates
- Monthly fees
- ATM fees and ATM fee reimbursement
- Branch locations and number of branches
- Minimum deposit requirements
- Fraud protection and security
We also looked at consumer reviews, and drew on the general reputation of each bank to find the best national bank.
Finding the Best National Bank
Now that we’ve explored the specifics of the best online banks and brick and mortar banks nationwide, you probably still have questions about which one is really the best national bank.
Let’s compare the three largest in the U.S. based on number of branches, interest rates, and overall banking satisfaction.
Chase vs. Wells Fargo
For the largest nationwide bank, Chase offers excellent banking satisfaction with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, 4,800 branch locations, and an easy and intuitive mobile app. If you are shopping for a bank credit card, Chase also offers some of the best rewards cards available today.
Wells Fargo rivals Chase when it comes to number of branches, with roughly 4,700 locations across the U.S. It’s somewhat easier to waive the checking account fees at Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo offers higher interest rates for savings, with a 0.15% APY compared to Chase’s 0.01%.
Both banks have lower interest rates than you might find at online banks. However, if you are looking for national banks with a solid reputation, many branches, and high marks in banking satisfaction, either Chase or Wells Fargo would be a good choice.
Wells Fargo vs. Bank of America
Bank of America and Wells Fargo are the second and third-largest banks in the U.S. based on assets. BofA only has 4,000 branches compared to Fargo’s 4,700, but BofA boasts more ATMs nationwide.
BofA stands out when you join the Preferred Rewards program because you can waive the fees on your bank account and enjoy perks, bonus rewards on BofA credit cards, and rate discounts on loans.
If you have a large balance or are looking for an investing platform through your bank, BofA may be your best choice. On the other hand, Wells Fargo offers high interest rates on savings and convenient branch locations nationwide.
People have many questions related to whether an online bank is better than a traditional bank or whether a local bank is better than one of the largest national banks. We break it all down here.
Which is better, an online bank or a brick-and-mortar bank?
If you are looking for the highest interest rates and generous rewards programs, you are highly likely to find them at online banks. However, there are some advantages to a brick and mortar bank, including in-person service at local branches, the availability of paper checks, and easy ways to deposit cash in person or at branch ATMs.
You should expect the best national online banks and the best brick and mortar banks to have robust mobile apps, easy-to-waive fees, and fraud protection.
Make sure whatever bank you choose is “Member FDIC,” which means your deposits are insured up to $250,000 per account holder, per account type. That means joint accounts have $500,000 worth of FDIC insurance protection.
Is my money safer in a national bank vs. a regional bank (or a national credit union vs. a regional credit union)?
All banks on this list are Member FDIC, which means they are insured to the maximum allowable limit of $250,000 per account holder, per account type. Credit unions are covered up to the same limits by the National Credit Union Administration.
Many online banks are insured up to $2 million or more. These financial institutions divide cash deposits among multiple partner banks. Each bank insures deposits up to the maximum limit allowed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Read the fine print to determine your coverage limits when you choose a bank.
Beyond that, your money should be equally safe in a national bank, a smaller bank, or a credit union of any size. Also look for features such as fraud protection, fraud alerts via text, email or in the mobile app, and enhanced website security measures. You should also be able to lock and unlock your debit card in the mobile app if you misplace it or believe it may have been stolen.
What makes big banks different from smaller banks?
By definition, big banks will have larger market capitalization, which represents the total value of a bank’s stocks. Big banks will also hold more assets. For instance, Chase, which is the world’s largest financial institution, holds $3.2 trillion in assets. The second-largest national bank, Bank of America, possesses $2.41 trillion in assets. Larger financial institutions may also have more bank branches.
In many other ways, big national banks and smaller banks are similar, especially today. Customers want specific features and are unwilling to compromise on things like fee-free ATMs, no monthly fees, early direct deposit, and an intuitive mobile app.
How much interest do the best big banks pay?
In general, some of the largest national banks do not have the highest interest rates for savings and very few offer interest earning checking accounts.
Capital One 360 and Discover are two of the best national banks that offer interest on checking. To earn a higher APY with one of the largest national banks, you might want to consider CDs.
Are national banks better than other kinds of banks?
National banks aren’t necessarily better or worse than other kinds of banks. They may have more convenient branch locations, a higher number of branches, and a greater variety of products, but they might also have higher fees. Decide what’s most important to you when you choose a bank.
If you’d prefer to trust your money with one of the largest national banks, with a large market capitalization, high value, and branches nationwide, consider opening your checking and savings accounts with one of the best national banks on this list.
Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. Credit Builder card issued by Stride Bank, N.A.
1. Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply with Chime except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.
2. Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. Chime generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.