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National banks are financial institutions with substantial branch and ATM networks throughout the US. Below, you’ll find our picks for each region of the US. We’ve also listed our choice for the best nationwide bank (for travelers and people who frequently move), and our selection for the best online bank.
The Best National Banks
These institutions have stayed as our top picks for the last few months because they continue to stand out for their variety of services and unique perks.
Our Expert Panel for the Best National Banks
We consulted banking and financial planning experts to inform these picks and provide their advice on finding the best national bank for your needs.
We’re focusing on what will make a national bank most useful, including customer service, fees, rates, and more. Here’s what they had to say about finding a bank. (Some text may be lightly edited for clarity.)
How can someone determine whether a bank is the right fit for them?
Mykail James, MBA, certified financial education instructor, BoujieBudgets.com:
“The No. 1 thing about a checking account is you should know what provider the debit card is coming from. And a lot of people don’t think about that, because there are places that don’t accept MasterCard or don’t accept an Amex.”
Sophia Acevedo, certified educator in personal finance, banking reporter, Personal Finance Insider:
“I would create a list of what I prioritize most in a bank account. For example, some banks have accounts that charge monthly service fees. I would look to see what the requirements are for waiving the monthly service fee and whether I think I could feasibly meet those requirements each month. If I’m searching for an interest-earning bank account I’ll pay attention to interest rates. I would make sure the account pays a higher interest rate than the average bank account.”
What should someone look for in a brick-and-mortar bank?
Tania Brown, certified financial planner at SaverLife:
“How can that bank grow with you? If you are 25, single or newly married, and all you need is a checking account, that’s going to look very different 15 years from now when you may have had a couple of jobs, you may have an IRA roll over, or you may want a financial adviser.”
Mykail James, CFEI:
“How accessible it is. So where are the branches? And if I am to go out of town or something, how accessible is my money to me?”
What should someone look for in an online bank?
Tania Brown, CFP:
“With an online bank, absolutely online customer service, because you do not have the advantage of walking inside and talking to a human being. How often are you able to get them? What are their hours?”
Roger Ma, certified financial planner with lifelaidout® and author of “Work Your Money, Not Your Life”:
“How onerous the transfer process is, transferring money in and transferring money out. Is it same day, next day? Is it pretty easy to sync a brick-and-mortar checking account to this particular high-yield savings account?”
Mykail James, CFEI:
“When it comes to online banks, you want to be a little bit more strict about what type of interest rates they’re providing. That’s the biggest thing, because online banks are supposed to have the higher interest rate because they don’t have the overhead of the brick-and-mortar. You want to make sure that it’s well above the national average. What type of securities do they provide? Do they have two-factor identification? If it’s an online bank, they should definitely have — at the bare minimum — two-factor authentication in how easy it is to change your passwords and things like that, because you want to be a little more hypersensitive about the cyber security for a strictly online bank.”
At Personal Finance Insider, our goal is to create useful content that helps you make good decisions about your money. We recognize that every person has distinct preferences, so we provide ample options for you to find the most suitable financial product or account for you.
We created a list of 18 of the largest national banks. Then we compared different account features and bank services to find the standouts of each type of institution.
See our full methodology for how we rate banks »
Best national banks
Best national bank in the Northeast
Best national bank in the Southeast
Best national bank in the Midwest & West
Best national bank in the Southwest
Best national bank if you move around
The Best National Banks Frequently Asked Questions
Technically, a national bank is a bank chartered by the US government. For the sake of our list, we considered a national bank to be one with an extensive network of bank branches and ATMs, or an online bank that’s available nationwide.
National banks have an edge over smaller banks because they have more locations, and they typically offer more products and have stronger technological resources.
You may prefer a smaller bank if you value personalized customer service, though. Many small banks also charge lower fees than big banks.
It depends on your priorities. If you value face-to-face banking, you’ll want a brick-and-mortar bank. Physical banks are also better for anyone who needs to deposit cash regularly; with an online bank, you can usually deposit checks with your phone, but there’s no way to deposit cash.
Online banks are typically better for low fees and higher APYs, though. Because online banks don’t have to pay for physical branch locations, they can afford to charge less and pay more.
Chase has the most branches in the United States. It has over 4,700 branches throughout the lower 48 states. However, Wells Fargo is closely behind with approximately 4,700 branches in 37 states.
Banking needs vary from person to person, so you’ll need to consider what you prioritize in account before settling on an account.
Best National Bank in the Northeast
TD Bank (Member FDIC)
Branch and ATM locations: TD Bank has over 1,100 branch locations across 16 states and Washington, DC, and there are roughly 2,600 ATMs.
Why it stands out: Many branch locations are open seven days per week, which is great if you struggle to make it to the bank during the workday. TD Bank also ranked third in J.D. Power’s 2021 US National Banking Satisfaction Study.
What to look out for: TD Bank’s ATM fees aren’t necessarily higher than other banks’ fees, but its fine print may affect which checking account you choose to open.
Just be aware that the TD Bank Beyond Checking Account is the only TD Bank checking account that doesn’t charge a fee when you non-TD Bank ATMs. Also, for TD Bank to reimburse fees charged by out-of-network ATM operators, your balance must be at least $2,500.
Best National Bank in the Southeast
Regions Bank (Member FDIC)
Branch and ATM locations: Regions has about 1,300 branch locations in 16 states, and around 2,000 ATMs.
Why it stands out: Regions offers a variety of bank accounts, so you can likely find one that fits your needs. The LifeGreen® Savings account doesn’t charge monthly fees, and it pays an annual cash bonus.
What to look out for: Although Regions has a plethora of locations across the Southeast, there are no branches in Virginia, West Virginia, or Washington DC. People in those areas looking for a national bank could consider alternatives such as Chase or PNC Bank.
Best National Bank in the Midwest & West
US Bank (Member FDIC)
Branch and ATM locations: US Bank has around 2,000 branch locations in 26 states, and roughly 5,000 ATMs.
Why it stands out: If you want to open a CD with a national bank, US Bank is a solid choice. The bank provides more types of CDs than most big banks, including Step Up CDs that increase your rate every seven months, and Trade Up CDs that increase your rate once during the term if US Bank rates go up.
What to look out for: Although it’s possible to waive monthly maintenance fees, US Bank makes it a little harder than many competing national banks. There are also currently no branch locations in Michigan. Residents of Michigan might consider national banks such as Chase, Bank of America, or PNC Bank.
Best National Bank in the Southwest
Bank of America (Member FDIC)
Branch and ATM locations: Bank of America has nearly 4,000 branches in 38 states, and 16,000 ATMs.
Why it stands out: Although Bank of America has fewer branch locations than Wells Fargo or Chase, it does have more ATMs — in fact, Bank of America is tied with Chase for the most ATMs by a national brick-and-mortar bank.
What to look out for: You may have to pay a monthly service fee if you don’t meet the requirements to waive it.
Best National Bank if You Move Around
Chase (Member FDIC)
Branch and ATM locations: Chase has over 4,700 branches throughout the lower 48 states, and around 16,000 ATMs.
Why it stands out: Chase has a large network of branches and ATMs. It also has a variety of bank accounts, including specialized accounts for military, college students, and kids.
What to look out for: Chase has strong checking accounts, but some of them charge high monthly fees. You may qualify to waive the fees, but it’s harder with some accounts than others. Chase also doesn’t have branches in some states.
Best Online Bank
Ally (Member FDIC)
Branch and ATM locations: As an online-only bank, Ally doesn’t have any branch locations. Ally doesn’t have its own ATMs, but you can use over 55,000 ATMs in the Allpoint network in the US for free.
Why it stands out: This bank has been a power player in the high-yield savings space for a few years now, and it consistently nabs top awards for online banking. Its mobile app has features many banking apps lack, such as mobile check deposit and an in-network ATM locator. Unlike many online banks, Ally has 24/7 customer service over the phone and via online chat.
What to look out for: If you prefer face-to-face banking, an online bank probably isn’t your best fit. Also keep in mind that Ally offers a wide range of CD types, so if you want to open a CD with this bank, be sure to choose the right one for your needs.
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Other National Banks That Didn’t Make the Cut and Why
Below, you’ll find national banks that didn’t end up featured in our best national banks guide. Still consider exploring these banks if one appeals to you. If you’re interested in an online bank, read Insider’s guide to the best online banks.
- Wells Fargo (Member FDIC): Wells Fargo has the second most branches in the most US states, but its customer satisfaction and trustworthiness scores are lower than Bank of America’s scores.
- Citizens Bank (Member FDIC): Citizens Bank is a solid option for people in the Northeast, but it isn’t as widespread as TD Bank.
- Santander Bank(Member FDIC): As with Citizens Bank, Santander is a worthwhile choice for people in Northeast, but TD Bank has more locations.
- Huntington Bank(Member FDIC): You can earn interest on your checking account balance at Huntington, but it’s only available in a few states.
- SunTrust(Member FDIC): SunTrust has a strong presence in the Southeast, but Regions has more locations.
- Woodforest (Member FDIC): Woodforest has a lot of locations around the Northeast, Southeast, and parts of the Midwest, but keep in mind the mobile app isn’t as beloved as those of our top picks.
- PNC Bank(Member FDIC): You can find PNC Bank branches in chunks of the Northeast, Southeast, and Midwest, but it doesn’t dominate a certain area.
- Fifth Third Bank(Member FDIC): You might like Fifth Third Bank if you live in certain states in the Southeast and Midwest, but it only has branches in 10 states.
- KeyBank(Member FDIC): You’ll find KeyBank branches sprinkled across the US, but it isn’t prevalent in a certain region.
- Citi (Member FDIC) : This bank has free ATMs around the world, but its “package” system can be confusing.
- M&T Bank(Member FDIC): M&T Bank is a good option for people living in one of the 10 states where it operates, but beware that its overdraft fee is higher than most banks’ fees.
- BMO Harris(Member FDIC): BMO Harris only has branches in nine US states, but you might like the bank if you live near a branch.
- Capital One (Member FDIC): Capital One is a worthwhile option if you’re looking for a hybrid brick-and-mortar/online bank, but its locations are limited and it doesn’t have 24/7 customer support over the phone like Ally.
Bank Trustworthiness and BBB Ratings
The Better Business Bureau grades companies based on responses to customer complaints, advertising, and transparency about business practices. Here are the BBB scores for our top national bank picks:
US Bank has a B+ rating from the BBB rating due to government action against the bank. The BBB also cites recent government actions against TD Bank, Regions and Chase for their grades. Meanwhile, Ally has an A rating because it has 3 unresolved complaints on the BBB website.
A strong BBB grade doesn’t guarantee you’ll have a smooth relationship with a bank, though. You might want to speak with friends and families who have banked with an institution or read online reviews. You may also consider recent scandals.
The US Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection said TD Bank has been breaking the law by charging customers for its Debit Card Advance service without their permission.
US Bank paid the government $200 million in a settlement when accused of approving FHA mortgages for insurance when borrowers didn’t meet the minimum criteria.
The Department of Justice charged Bank of America for unfairly denying home loans to adults with disabilities, even though they qualified for loans. Bank of America paid around $300,000 total to people who were refused loans. The Department of Labor required Bank of America to pay $4.2 million to people who claimed the bank discriminated against women, Black, and Hispanic applicants in the hiring process.
The Department of Justice required Chase to pay $920 million for wrongful trading in 2020. In 2018, JPMorgan Chase & Co. paid the Securities and Exchange Commission $135 million for mishandling American Depositary Receipts, certificates that let Americans invest in foreign stocks.
In 2022, Regions Bank was required to $191 million in a settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB accused the bank of charging surprise overdraft fees for some ATM withdrawals and debit card transactions.
You may prefer to bank with another one of our top picks if any of these scandals worry you, or to bank with a different institution in your area.
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