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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.

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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

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  • 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.?