GOBankingRates

10 Best and Worst States for Affordable Banking

As Americans work their way to rebuild depleted savings and trust in big banks after the recession, seeking out the most affordable banking opportunities is essential for continued recovery. But knowing where these affordable banking markets are can be challenging.

In a new investigation, GOBankingRates evaluated key factors that contribute to reasonably priced banking services, identifying the 10 best and worst states for affordable banking.

When asked what is the most important component of affordable banking, James Zussman, business development associate for RateWatch, said:

“The easy answer to what makes banking affordable is high yields on bank accounts and low fees, but there is much more to it than that. Because financial institutions are continuously looking to increase non-interest revenue, consumers really need to pay attention to the fees they are being charged. Among various institutions, these fees can vary quite significantly; for example, a bank or credit union may charge anywhere from $1 to $25 per month for a checking account. That is a huge difference and can significantly impact the affordability of that product.”

To rank each state’s affordability, the study considered data gathered from GOBankingRates’ database of interest rates, aggregated from Informa Research Services, as well as deposit account fee information from RateWatch.

affordable banking

Click Image to Enlarge.

10 Best States For Affordable Banking

The most competitive states offering affordable banking in the country were highly centralized in the Midwest and Southern regions, with the exception of two outliers.

1. Arkansas

Average Checking Account Rate (APY): 0.302%
Average Savings Account Rate (APY): 0.137%
Average Minimum Checking Account Balance Requirement: $2,366
Average Minimum Savings Account Balance Requirement: $395
Number of Financial Institutions: 52
Average “Non-Sufficient Funds” Returned Check Fee: $29
Average ATM/Debit Fee: $2
Average Monthly Savings Account Maintenance Fee: $4
Average Monthly Checking Account Maintenance Fee: $8

Jason Kincy, SVP and marketing director of Arvest Bank, which serves the Arkansas banking community, shared why he thinks the state was ranked No. 1 for affordability.

“A key factor is that Arkansas is served by many small community banks or mid-size banks, with very few national banks having a large presence,” Kincy explained. “I believe this contributes to keeping fees lower than in other parts of the country, where larger banks are more prominent. Additionally, Arkansas is a very competitive retail banking market, with Arvest holding the largest market share. Many of our fees are well below the national average and, in some ways, may influence pricing many consumers might expect from their bank.”

2. Iowa

Average Checking Account Rate (APY): 0.424%
Average Savings Account Rate (APY): 0.099%
Average Minimum Checking Account Balance Requirement: $2,859
Average Minimum Savings Account Balance Requirement: $1,057
Number of Financial Institutions: 47
Average “Non-Sufficient Funds” Returned Check Fee: $28
Average ATM/Debit Fee: $2
Average Monthly Savings Account Maintenance Fee: $3
Average Monthly Checking Account Maintenance Fee: $7

3. Oklahoma

Average Checking Account Rate (APY): 0.380%
Average Savings Account Rate (APY): 0.149%
Average Minimum Checking Account Balance Requirement: $2,275
Average Minimum Savings Account Balance Requirement: $884
Number of Financial Institutions: 33
Average “Non-Sufficient Funds” Returned Check Fee: $27
Average ATM/Debit Fee: $2
Average Monthly Savings Account Maintenance Fee: $4
Average Monthly Checking Account Maintenance Fee: $9

4. Massachusetts

Average Checking Account Rate (APY): 0.317%
Average Savings Account Rate (APY): 0.106%
Average Minimum Checking Account Balance Requirement: $1,557
Average Minimum Savings Account Balance Requirement: $414
Number of Financial Institutions: 75
Average “Non-Sufficient Funds” Returned Check Fee: $31
Average ATM/Debit Fee: $2
Average Monthly Savings Account Maintenance Fee: $4
Average Monthly Checking Account Maintenance Fee: $11

5. Missouri

Average Checking Account Rate (APY): 0.272%
Average Savings Account Rate (APY): 0.117%
Average Minimum Checking Account Balance Requirement: $2,758
Average Minimum Savings Account Balance Requirement: $925
Number of Financial Institutions: 78
Average “Non-Sufficient Funds” Returned Check Fee: $30
Average ATM/Debit Fee: $3
Average Monthly Savings Account Maintenance Fee: $4
Average Monthly Checking Account Maintenance Fee: $9

6. Nebraska

Average Checking Account Rate (APY): 0.210%
Average Savings Account Rate (APY): 0.143%
Average Minimum Checking Account Balance Requirement: $4,156
Average Minimum Savings Account Balance Requirement: $747
Number of Financial Institutions: 15
Average “Non-Sufficient Funds” Returned Check Fee: $28
Average ATM/Debit Fee: $2
Average Monthly Savings Account Maintenance Fee: $4
Average Monthly Checking Account Maintenance Fee: $7

7. Louisiana

Average Checking Account Rate (APY): 0.399%
Average Savings Account Rate (APY): 0.161%
Average Minimum Checking Account Balance Requirement: $2,156
Average Minimum Savings Account Balance Requirement: $1,056
Number of Financial Institutions: 59
Average “Non-Sufficient Funds” Returned Check Fee: $31
Average ATM/Debit Fee: $3
Average Monthly Savings Account Maintenance Fee: $4
Average Monthly Checking Account Maintenance Fee: $10

8. Kansas

Average Checking Account Rate (APY): 0.279%
Average Savings Account Rate (APY): 0.101%
Average Minimum Checking Account Balance Requirement: $2,304
Average Minimum Savings Account Balance Requirement: $1,703
Number of Financial Institutions: 17
Average “Non-Sufficient Funds” Returned Check Fee: $28
Average ATM/Debit Fee: $2
Average Monthly Savings Account Maintenance Fee: $4
Average Monthly Checking Account Maintenance Fee: $8

9. Rhode Island

Average Checking Account Rate (APY): 0.283%
Average Savings Account Rate (APY): 0.109%
Average Minimum Checking Account Balance Requirement: $2,757
Average Minimum Savings Account Balance Requirement: $925
Number of Financial Institutions: 11
Average “Non-Sufficient Funds” Returned Check Fee: $33
Average ATM/Debit Fee: $2
Average Monthly Savings Account Maintenance Fee: $3
Average Monthly Checking Account Maintenance Fee: $8

10. Tennessee

Average Checking Account Rate (APY): 0.308%
Average Savings Account Rate (APY): 0.152%
Average Minimum Checking Account Balance Requirement: $2,617
Average Minimum Savings Account Balance Requirement: $899
Number of Financial Institutions: 89
Average “Non-Sufficient Funds” Returned Check Fee: $33
Average ATM/Debit Fee: $3
Average Monthly Savings Account Maintenance Fee: $5
Average Monthly Checking Account Maintenance Fee: $9

10 Worst States For Affordable Banking

The worst states for affordable banking were found mostly in the West, with a few poorly performing states sprinkled throughout the Midwest and the East Coast.

10. Wisconsin

Average Checking Account Rate (APY): 0.116%
Average Savings Account Rate (APY): 0.081%
Average Minimum Checking Account Balance Requirement: $3,085
Average Minimum Savings Account Balance Requirement: $1,476
Number of Financial Institutions: 47
Average “Non-Sufficient Funds” Returned Check Fee: $32
Average ATM/Debit Fee: $3
Average Monthly Savings Account Maintenance Fee: $5
Average Monthly Checking Account Maintenance Fee: $10

9. Delaware

Average Checking Account Rate (APY): 0.109%
Average Savings Account Rate (APY): 0.083%
Average Minimum Checking Account Balance Requirement: $4,055
Average Minimum Savings Account Balance Requirement: $1,288
Number of Financial Institutions: 12
Average “Non-Sufficient Funds” Returned Check Fee: $33
Average ATM/Debit Fee: $2
Average Monthly Savings Account Maintenance Fee: $4
Average Monthly Checking Account Maintenance Fee: $10

8. South Carolina

Average Checking Account Rate (APY): 0.147%
Average Savings Account Rate (APY): 0.112%
Average Minimum Checking Account Balance Requirement: $3,690
Average Minimum Savings Account Balance Requirement: $589
Number of Financial Institutions: 20
Average “Non-Sufficient Funds” Returned Check Fee: $34
Average ATM/Debit Fee: $3
Average Monthly Savings Account Maintenance Fee: $5
Average Monthly Checking Account Maintenance Fee: $13

7. Indiana

Average Checking Account Rate (APY): 0.153%
Average Savings Account Rate (APY): 0.080%
Average Minimum Checking Account Balance Requirement: $4,626
Average Minimum Savings Account Balance Requirement: $2,150
Number of Financial Institutions: 37
Average “Non-Sufficient Funds” Returned Check Fee: $32
Average ATM/Debit Fee: $3
Average Monthly Savings Account Maintenance Fee: $4
Average Monthly Checking Account Maintenance Fee: $10

6. California

Average Checking Account Rate (APY): 0.109%
Average Savings Account Rate (APY): 0.103%
Average Minimum Checking Account Balance Requirement: $3,672
Average Minimum Savings Account Balance Requirement: $2,095
Number of Financial Institutions: 209
Average “Non-Sufficient Funds” Returned Check Fee: $31
Average ATM/Debit Fee: $3
Average Monthly Savings Account Maintenance Fee: $4
Average Monthly Checking Account Maintenance Fee: $14

5. South Dakota

Average Checking Account Rate (APY): 0.201%
Average Savings Account Rate (APY): 0.054%
Average Minimum Checking Account Balance Requirement: $3,413
Average Minimum Savings Account Balance Requirement: $1,132
Number of Financial Institutions: 11
Average “Non-Sufficient Funds” Returned Check Fee: $31
Average ATM/Debit Fee: $3
Average Monthly Savings Account Maintenance Fee: $5
Average Monthly Checking Account Maintenance Fee: $10

4. Nevada

Average Checking Account Rate (APY): 0.229%
Average Savings Account Rate (APY): 0.082%
Average Minimum Checking Account Balance Requirement: $4,167
Average Minimum Savings Account Balance Requirement: $225
Number of Financial Institutions: 11
Average “Non-Sufficient Funds” Returned Check Fee: $33
Average ATM/Debit Fee: $3
Average Monthly Savings Account Maintenance Fee: $5
Average Monthly Checking Account Maintenance Fee: $14

3. Connecticut

Average Checking Account Rate (APY): 0.085%
Average Savings Account Rate (APY): 0.056%
Average Minimum Checking Account Balance Requirement: $3,109
Average Minimum Savings Account Balance Requirement: $1,457
Number of Financial Institutions: 31
Average “Non-Sufficient Funds” Returned Check Fee: $34
Average ATM/Debit Fee: $3
Average Monthly Savings Account Maintenance Fee: $4
Average Monthly Checking Account Maintenance Fee: $12

2. Washington, D.C.

Average Checking Account Rate (APY): 0.097%
Average Savings Account Rate (APY): 0.067%
Average Minimum Checking Account Balance Requirement: $2,639
Average Minimum Savings Account Balance Requirement: $1,801
Number of Financial Institutions: 7
Average “Non-Sufficient Funds” Returned Check Fee: $35
Average ATM/Debit Fee: $3
Average Monthly Savings Account Maintenance Fee: $6
Average Monthly Checking Account Maintenance Fee: $8

1. Arizona

Average Checking Account Rate (APY): 0.106%
Average Savings Account Rate (APY): 0.075%
Average Minimum Checking Account Balance Requirement: $5,193
Average Minimum Savings Account Balance Requirement: $2,836
Number of Financial Institutions: 37
Average “Non-Sufficient Funds” Returned Check Fee: $33
Average ATM/Debit Fee: $3
Average Monthly Savings Account Maintenance Fee: $4
Average Monthly Checking Account Maintenance Fee: $13

Share This Article

  • Tammy N.

    C’mon Arizona, this is ridiculous!!

  • Watching Eagle

    Pretty strange that Connecticut was one of the worst while Mass and RI were two of the best, yet all three are served by the same Boston Federal Reserve. Explanation Guvnur D.?

  • sailndayz

    Nevada? My Credit Union has free checking and Savings, with reasonable rates of return.

    • Conrad Osticator

      Credit Unions are not banks, Skippy.

      • sailndayz

        Golly, Skippy? When I worked for a Bank, we provided terrific service! But now my Credit Union provides Loans, Auto, Mortgage, just like a Bank. My Credit Union Checking and Savings provide very competitive interest rates. Frequently beating banks. My Credit Union ATM network, via the COOP network, provides unparalleled Free access nationwide. Being part of the Cirrus Network, I have access to my money nearly around the world. I love my Credit Union very low interest Visa. OK Mr. Banker, so my Credit Union isn’t a bank….. What am I missing?

      • Chairman Mousey Tongue

        Thank God credit unions are not banks.

  • scola251

    This is an especially silly article. Banks are national if not international and with online banking location of the bank headquarters and the customer need not be anywhere near each other.

    The 1980s called. They want their article back.

  • tom56071

    Louisiana this is the poorest educated state in the union these people can’t read and write ,the politicians keep the people here stupid so they can continue on with their crooked ways in the government ,the women are trained to make babies and do church things as they have the most churches in the nation

    • John

      You are a fucking dumb ass

    • rmwayne

      Judging from your grammar you must be from Louisiana. The women are trained to make babies and do church things? Just what are “church things” and what’s so bad about them?

  • tom56071

    this survey as done by a crooked banker trying to shift people to do business in the states with the most crooked banks

    • dogman67

      …YOU ”SIR” are an ASS…

      • tom56071

        your an idiot

        • Kevin Snyder

          Hm. When calling someone an “idiot,” you may wish to consider checking your grammar.

          • JJ_Chester

            Thank you, Kevin.

          • diger56

            Only queers point out peoples grammar. I bet you got punched in the face a lot as a kid?

          • Kevin Snyder

            I bet you get called “Shrek” a lot now.

          • diger56

            I was correct!! gay ass progressive liberal who could not punch his way out of a wet paper bag!! I know you like big guys but I am gonna pass. You will have to pay some one else to play your boy toy shrek, we GOP like women!!

        • TycoMA1

          An idiot who knows more than you should be called King.

          • tom56071

            that’s your problem you will only be a king Obama if that

  • dogman67

    …BANKS Are NOT Your Friend…Duh…Wake Up…etc…;(

    • eric

      If u don’t like banks then don’t use one.

  • dicksicario

    I use my Fidelity Investment account
    They refund ATM charges when I use my Debit Card.
    Great on line bill paying system.
    Haven’t used a bank in years.

  • Kingcruiser

    Not reported: Bank rates usually reflect the default rates on loans (credit cards and mortgages). The higher the default, the higher the rates charged. In places like California, where the law is you HAVE to offer a credit card to even people who can’t pay, rates reflect it.
    And States with Crony Fascism, there is a limited amount of competition allowed by the bought and paid for politicians. The fewer banks, the higher the rates.
    Article says the best states have multiple local banks. Smaller banks now have an advantage in the market place with the new federal rules on big banks having to increase their reserves (too big to fail). That drives up the big bank’s expenses, which are reflected in lower yields and higher fees.
    As always, it PAYS TO SHOP AROUND and match up what you USE a bank for vs. the fees. If you only write a dozen checks a year but are paying $20 a month to have checking, you’ve picked the wrong bank! If you are charged for every debit card use, and you use it daily to withdraw $20 (and every purchase you make), you’ve again picked the wrong bank.

  • Ken Price

    If you are ex-military, be it Army, Navy or Air Force, open an account at USAA. Their service in excellent, and their charges are low.

  • RedMeatState

    pointless, meaningless, and value-less article!! Free checking? Yep. Credit cards? Nope. Savings account interest? What a joke!! If your money is in any bank you’re getting shafted, regardless of what State you’re in!!

  • Chairman Mousey Tongue

    Credit Unions are not-for-profit cooperatives. Every member is an equal share owner in the enterprise. Study after study has shown that credit unions generally pay higher savings dividends and charge lower loan rates and fees. Banks are stockholder-owned for-profit organizations whose primary goal is return on stockholder equity. You, the bank customer, are a means to that end. I have nothing against banks, but as a consumer, at least be aware of the fundamental business model and the role you play in that equation. It doesn’t matter what state you live in, you’ll be better off joining a credit union.

    • Mary Wilbur

      Do credit unions allow anyone to open an account? I thought they were restricted to certain membership groups, like a specific union or business.

      • Chairman Mousey Tongue

        That was originally the case, but in the 90’s, Congress approved conversion to “Community Charters”. There are still many CUs that serve specific unions or companies, but the vast majority converted to community-based charters. On a CU website, look for links that talk about membership requirements or “field of membership”.

        • Mary Wilbur

          Thank you for answering my question.

    • eric

      Well, when you don’t have a third of your profit go to pay taxes you should be more competitive and able to offer services at less cost. Credit unions pay no taxes, so should the government pass a law to not require banks to pay taxes as well? Not sure why credit unions no longer have to pay taxes now that they offer their services to anyone in the community unlike in the past where they were restrictions in this area. In fact, credit unions now of loans and deposit accounts for business. Walks like a duck, talks like a duck, should pay taxes like a duck (bank).

  • TycoMA1

    Washington DC is not a state…………it is Americas cess pool.