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Top 10 US banks as of 2023


Fresno California

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There are a number of reasons you may want to open an account with a national bank. Perhaps you travel a lot, are planning to relocate soon or just prefer a bank that offers a wide range of financial services.

The five main national banks — those located in 20 or more states — are Bank of America, Chase, PNC, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo. To find the best of the year, GOBankingRates ranked these reputable institutions based on the following factors:

  • Total assets
  • Number of branch locations
  • Checking account annual fee
  • Savings account APY
  • 12-month CD APY
  • Customer service products offered
  • Bauer rating
  • Products/services offered
  • Average mobile app rating

Here are the Best National Banks of 2023.

Our Best National Bank

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Wells Fargo Bank

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Why it stands out: Wells Fargo Bank has a highly competitive 12-month CD rate and excellent mobile app reviews — over 10.5 million of them combined on Google Play and Apple's App Store.

Wells Fargo gives customers five checking accounts to choose from, including an everyday account with no overdraft fees. You also have two savings accounts to choose from -- Way2Save Savings, with Saves As You Go auto transfers as well as daily and monthly auto transfer options. Wells Fargo doesn't list its Platinum Savings account as a money market account, but it offers check-writing privileges.

One of Wells Fargo's strongest features is its outstanding mobile app. Fingerprint and biometric sign-on let you log in to the app without having to enter a password. From there, you can review your transactions and manage all your accounts, including Wells Fargo Advisors and WellsTrade accounts. In addition, you can use Wells Fargo Mobile to add Wells Fargo cards to digital wallets from Apple, Google, Samsung and PayPal for secure contactless payments.

CDs are another standout feature. The standard 12-month CD rate is 0.00% on CDs up to $99,999.99 and 2.00% for $100,000 CDs and higher. However, you'll need a $2,500 minimum deposit to open one.

Pros:

  • Highly competitive 12-month CD APY
  • Wide range of products offered
  • Excellent mobile app reviews

Cons:

  • Physical branches closing at high rate
  • No higher-yield savings options

What to look for: Wells Fargo Bank has an extensive selection of banking products and services and excellent mobile app reviews. Services include auto loans, mortgage loans, credit cards, investment services and insurance. There is a $10 monthly checking fee. The Wells Fargo savings APY is 0.15% and 12-month CD APY is 1.50% on most balances. 

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U.S. Bank

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Why it stands out: Among national banks on our list, U.S. Bank has one of the lowest checking account fees.

You can choose between a U.S. Bank's Bank Smartly Checking account, which is the standard checking option, and the checkless Safe Debit account. Smartly Checking has an easy-to-waive $6.95 monthly fee, but the account is always free for members of the military and other select groups. The account has three overdraft options, including forgiveness of certain overdrafts you cover before 11 p.m. on the same day. Safe Debit has a $4.95 fee that can't be waived, but there are no overdraft charges and you get free credit score access. U.S. Bank offers standard CD terms from one to 60 months. The rate on a 12-month CD is 0.05%, which is competitive for a national bank. But U.S. Bank also has CD Specials with promotional rates you'll be hard-pressed to beat at competing banks. The only catch is that you'll need a $1,000 deposit for a CD Special, whereas the minimum deposit for a standard CD is $500. Other CD products include step-up and trade-up CDs that don't lock you into the rate you receive upon opening the account.

Pros:

  • Low, waivable checking fee
  • Wide range of products offered
  • High rates on CD Specials
  • Flexible options on CDs

Cons:

  • Not as many locations as other national banks

What to look for: U.S. Bank's 0.05% APY for a 12-month CD is great for a national bank. There are also a wide variety of products offered like auto loans, mortgage loans, credit cards, investment services, and insurance, all available at more than 2,000 branches in 26 states. U.S. Bank's standard checking account fee is only $6.95 per month, which can be waived by meeting different requirements. APYs offered depend on your ZIP code.

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JPMorgan Chase Bank

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Why it stands out: JPMorgan Chase Bank has more than 4,700 locations and a Bauer Rating of 5. This could be a good option if you have financial needs that require in-person banking. You can schedule a meeting with a banker at any branch you choose or request a phone appointment right on the Chase.com homepage.

Chase has one of the largest selections of accounts, with three everyday checking accounts, three for kids and students and two premium accounts. In addition, Chase offers two savings accounts -- the basic Chase Savings account, the bank's most popular, and Chase Premier Savings, which you'll want to pair with an eligible checking account. Chase CD terms range from one month to 10 years. The rate for a standard CD is just 0.01% APY, and the minimum deposit is $1,000. However, if you qualify for relationship rates, you'll earn significantly more. All Chase customers get access to the J.P. Morgan Wealth Plan, a digital money coach available in the Chase Mobile app. Wealth Plan is a valuable tool that gives you a 360-degree view of your finances, provides guidance in creating financial goals and helps you track goals in real time.

Pros:

  • Over 4,700 locations
  • Wide range of products offered
  • Easy-to-schedule live or phone appointments with bankers

Cons:

  • $12 checking fee
  • Low APYs
  • No money market account

What to look for: JPMorgan Chase Bank ranks high on the national banks list because of nearly 4,700 locations and a wide variety of products offered like auto loans, mortgage loans, credit cards, investment services and insurance. Its checking account does come with a $12 fee, which you can avoid with qualifying account activity. And this bank doesn't have the strongest rates at 0.01% for its savings account and 3.00% without a relationship rate on its 12-month CD. 

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Bank of America

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Why it stands out: Bank of America, Member FDIC, has great mobile app and digital tools, a Bauer Rating of 5 and it offers a wide range of services for those who want to keep a lot of their banking in one place.

Bank of America Advantage Banking has a checking account for almost any consumer. Fees range from $4.95 per month for SafeBalance, a checkless checking account with no overdraft fees, to $25 for relationship banking. However, all monthly fees can be waived with qualifying account activity. The Advantage Savings account has a waivable $8 monthly fee. It comes with optional auto roundups from checking and the Bank of America Life Plan, a digital tool that helps you set and track your financial goals no matter what life stage you're in.

In addition to standard mobile features, the Bank of America mobile banking app comes with Erica, a virtual financial assistant that provides a number of tools to help you manage your money. Erica can help you review monthly spending, send you bill reminders and alert you to recurring charges and increases in charges to help you keep track of memberships and subscriptions.

Pros:

  • Excellent digital money management tools
  • Wide range of products offered
  • Tiered rates for Preferred Rewards members

Cons:

  • $12 checking fee
  • $8 savings account fee

What to look for: Bank of America has a 0.03% Annual Percentage Yield for a 12-month CD. There are also a wide variety of products offered like auto loans, mortgage loans, credit cards, investment services and insurance. There are 3,900 locations nationwide. The checking fee is $12 and the APY on Bank of America's only savings account is 0.01%, but Preferred Rewards members get tiered rates.

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    PNC Bank

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    Why it stands out: PNC's standout product is the Virtual Wallet®, which combines two checking accounts — one for everyday spending and one for specific goals — with a savings account. A calendar lets you plan incoming and outgoing funds, and a Money Bar keeps you current on scheduled payments and how much money is free to spend. 

    In addition to the Virtual Wallet suite of accounts, PNC Bank has a foundational checking account with a low fee, no overdraft or returned-item fees and no overdraft fees. You can also opt for a standalone standard savings or, if you qualify for relationship banking, a Premier money market account. 

    CD terms range from seven days to 10 years and have a $1,000 minimum opening deposit. Rates are tiered, with balances under $1,000 earning 0.01%, balances from $1,000 to $24,999 earning 0.02% and balances of $25,000 and up earning 0.03%.

    Pros:

    • Low foundational checking fee
    • Wide range of products offered
    • 0.02% APY for 12-month CD

    Cons:

    • High fees for Virtual Wallet
    • Not as many locations as other national banks

    What to look for: PNC Bank's checking fee of $7 is one of the lowest among national banks. However, fees for the Virtual Wallet accounts add up to $47 per month if you don't meet the qualifying criteria to have them waived. The bank offers a wide variety of products offered like auto loans, mortgage loans, credit cards, investment services and insurance, all available at more than 2,600 branches. The bank offers a 0.01% APY on savings accounts and 0.02% APY on 12-month CD accounts with a balance between $1,000 and $24,999.99.

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    How To Choose a National Bank

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    Once you’ve decided that you want to bank with one of the major institutions, you’ll need to determine which one is best for you. Here are some of the factors you might want to consider.

    Check the Fees

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    Fees can vary greatly from bank to bank, and from account to account. National banks often offer lower fees for customers with larger deposits, so if you fall into this category, make sure to see if you can qualify for lower fees and/or higher interest rates. Look beyond the obvious expenses such as monthly maintenance fees and into fees that the banks charge for other services or events. For example, you might not send wire transfers or overdraw your account often, but most national banks charge for these services, so you should be aware of any fees charged ahead of time. In many cases, overdraft fees are quite high.

    Read the Fine Print

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    Since banks are entrusted with customer assets, they have extensive legal departments that work up the fine print to keep the bank safe from litigation. It’s in this fine print that you’ll often find fees or restrictions that you might not be expecting. For example, your account might have inactivity fees or requirements to avoid monthly maintenance fees. Be sure to read all of the terms and conditions on your account so you can compare them with other banks.

    Check the APY

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    For some customers, the annual percentage yield a bank pays on its accounts can be one of its most important features. While some banks proudly advertise their high APYs, many of those that pay low rates tuck them away in a footnote or on a back page on their website. Since national banks, in general, are not known for high APYs on their checking and savings accounts, you might have to dig a little to find out exactly how much you’ll be earning on your accounts.

    Check Out the Website and App

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    A bank’s digital presence, such as its website or app, might not be as important to you as a bank’s APYs and fees, but they’re still something to consider. The national banks tend to have excellent digital offers. If you intend to do most of your banking online or on your smartphone, your experience as a user can go a long way toward your long-term happiness with a bank.

    FDIC Insurance

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    All national banks carry at least the standard insurance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which covers depositors for $250,000 per eligible account type. However, many national banks also supplement this insurance with additional private insurance, oftentimes running into the millions of dollars. If having a large level of supplemental account insurance is important to you, be sure to compare the policies of the banks you are considering.

    Which National Banks Are Biggest?

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    If you’re of the mind that bigger is better, you might want to consider the banks in terms of assets.

    FAQs About National Banks

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    Although national banks can be found in communities across the country, many customers still have questions about how they operate and what makes them different. Here's a look at some of the most common questions regarding national banks.

    • What makes big banks different from smaller banks?
      • Big banks primarily differ from small banks in terms of their services and their geographic reach. Larger banks typically offer a wide variety of accounts, from checking and savings options to loans, mortgages, credit cards and investment services, among others. Smaller banks might only offer basic checking and savings accounts and perhaps some CDs.
    • Do national banks pay higher interest?
      • Larger banks typically pay lower interest rates than other types of banks, especially online banks. This is because large banks have extensive branch networks and a large number of employees, resulting in higher expenses. Coupled with the additional services many national banks offer, there's not as much room to pay out the highest interest rates.
    • Are national banks better than other kinds of banks?
      • National banks aren’t inherently better or worse than other kinds of banks. What matters is what you need out of a bank. If you need a bank branch on every corner and someone to talk to in person about credit cards, mortgages and investments, you might find that a national bank is better than an online or regional bank. However, some states are still dominated by regional banks, in which case you might prefer the local flair of a regional bank. Do-it-yourselfers who just want a no-fee, high-APY checking or savings account might find an online bank to be a better option.
    • Is my money safer in a national bank?
      • National banks share the same FDIC insurance as regional and licensed online banks. In that sense, your money isn't any more or less safe at a national bank. However, national banks might be stronger financially than online or smaller institutions, making it less likely that they could fail. In fact, regulators often have national banks take over the accounts of failing regional banks. Although FDIC insurance will protect you up to federally mandated limits, it's always a good idea to check out the financials of a bank before you decide to commit money to it.
    • What is the No. 1 bank in America?
      • In terms of assets, J.P. Morgan Chase is No. 1.
    • What are the Big Four banks in the U.S.?
      • The Big Four are J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank and Wells Fargo.

    Daria Uhlig, Ann Logue and John Csiszar contributed to the reporting for this article.

    Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Dec. 5, 2023.

    Methodology: To discover the Best National Banks, GOBankingRates looked at the top national institutions (located in 20 or more states). To determine rankings, GOBankingRates looked at the following factors: (1) total assets as sourced from the FDIC; (2) number of branch locations as sourced from the FDIC; (3) checking account annual fee; (4) savings account APY rate; (5) 12-month CD APY rate; (6) customer service products offered (24/7 customer service and live chat with a human); (7) Bauer rating (out of 5 stars); (8) products/services offered (auto loans, mortgage loans, credit cards, investment services and insurance); and (9) the average mobile app rating between the Android and Apple stores. All factors were then scored and combined, with the lowest score being best. Factors (1) and (4) were weighted 1.5 times, factors (2) and (8) were weighted 2 times, and factor (6) was weighted 0.5 times. For all savings and checking account data, only the basic accounts/products offered at each institution were analyzed.

    Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.

    Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Chase. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Chase.

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