We Ranked All the Best Banks for 2015

We examined over 120 financial institutions and picked the best.

Every day, we make choices that majorly impact our lives — where we work, who we spend time with, what we do in our free time. But one of the most important choices we will ever make might be less obvious: where we bank.

Choosing a bank in 2015 is more critical than ever. As interest rates rise, bank fees grow and the country’s largest generation struggles with crippling student loan debt, the best place to put your money is something you need to know whether you’re 18 or 88.

In order to help readers determine the best bank for their needs, GOBankingRates examined more than 120 financial institutions with the goal of identifying the best. Banks were judged according to several factors and placed into one or more of the following categories: Best Savings Account, Best Checking Account, Best CD Account, Best Online Bank, Best Brick-and-Mortar Bank and Best Military Bank.

GOBankingRates will release a top 10 ranking each week beginning January 12, 2015.

>>Video: 5 Reasons You Need to Switch Banks This Year

Top Finalists for “Best Banks of 2015”

Below are the banks GOBankingRates considered as finalists in it’s 2015 rankings:

Air Force Federal Credit UnionDiscover BankNationwide Bank
Ally BankEverBankNavy Federal Credit Union
American Express BankFirst Internet BankPresidential Online Bank
Andrews Federal Credit UnionFirst National Bank of OmahaRBFCU
Arkansas Federal Credit UnionFirst-Citizens Bank & Trust CompanySallie Mae Bank
Bank of AmericaFlagstar BankSimple Bank
Bank of Internet USAFNBO DirectSynchrony Bank
Bank5 ConnectFort Knox Federal Credit UnionTIAA Direct
Barclays BankiGObanking.comU.S. Bank
BBVA Compass BankJPMorgan Chase BankUSAA Federal Savings Bank
BB&TKeyBankWells Fargo
Capital One BankLangley Federal Credit UnionZions First National Bank
CIT BankMySavingsDirect

All of these institutions were named among the top 10 in at least one ranking category. We will regularly update this page in the coming weeks as our latest rankings are released.

See last year’s “Best Banks” Rankings

Ranking Winners & Methodology

Institution Selection for Best Bank by Product

To compile its list of the top 100 banks by asset size, GOBankingRates surveyed the FDIC’s list of banks sorted by assets, excluding non-active institutions, those with less than $1 billion in assets, investment banks and any institutions that require customers to use investment services to access commercial bank accounts. This list of 100 banks included 10 online banks as well as conventional brick-and-mortar institutions. In addition, the study considered an additional 20 online-only banks, according to the GOBankingRates database (no asset threshold was consulted for online banks). These lists were compiled Oct. 23, 2014 and verified against the individual institutions’ websites.

Best Savings Account

Winners: GE Capital Bank, MySavingsDirect, Barclays Bank, iGObanking.com, Ally Bank, Bank5 Connect, Synchrony Bank, CIT Bank, American Express Bank, Flagstar Bank.

Learn more about the “Best Savings Account” winners>>

GOBankingRates examined personal savings accounts belonging to 120 banks: the top 90 U.S. banks by asset size, as well as the top 30 online banks (see above for selection details), taking into account a number of factors to quantitatively rank each institution’s savings product: (1) minimum deposit, (2) monthly maintenance fee, (3) minimum deposit to avoid fee and (4) annual percentage yield (APY). Each criterion was individually scored from most to least favorable; APY was weighted more heavily and accounts were ranked by overall score. In the case of a 10th place tie, GOBankingRates deferred to APY as the tie breaker. Data was compiled via the GOBankingRates interest rate database and verified against the individual institutions’ websites.

Annual percentage yield was based on minimum deposit required to open an account. Note that some interest rates might be short-term or promotional offers only and it is possible additional terms and conditions must be met in order to obtain the interest rates listed. Rates and availability might vary by region. All savings account data was last verified as of December 23, 2014; terms and conditions are subject to change at any time at the discretion of individual financial institutions. Please verify terms and conditions before opening an account.

Best Checking Account

Winners: Bank5 Connect, FNBO Direct, Bank of Internet USA, Capital One 360, iGObanking.com, Ally Bank, TIAA Direct, EverBank, KeyBank, Simple Bank.

Learn more about the “Best Checking Account” winners>>

GOBankingRates examined personal checking accounts belonging to 120 banks: the top 90 U.S. banks by asset size, as well as the top 30 online banks (see above for selection details), taking into account a number of factors to quantitatively rank each institution’s savings product: (1) minimum deposit, (2) monthly maintenance fee, (3) minimum balance to avoid fee, (4) annual percentage yield (APY) and (5) insufficient funds (NSF) fee. Each criterion was individually scored from most to least favorable; The criteria were weighted equally except minimum balance to avoid a fee, which was given a lesser weight, and accounts were ranked by overall score. In the case of a 10th place tie, GOBankingRates deferred to APY, monthly maintenance fee, NSF fee, and then minimum deposit requirement as tie breakers. Data was compiled via the GOBankingRates interest rate database and verified against the individual institutions’ websites.

Annual percentage yield was based on minimum deposit required to open an account. Note that some interest rates might be short-term or promotional offers only and it is possible additional terms and conditions must be met in order to obtain the interest rates listed. Rates and availability might vary by region. All checking account data was last verified as of December 23, 2014; terms and conditions are subject to change at any time at the discretion of individual financial institutions. Please verify terms and conditions before opening an account.

Best CD Account

Winners: Nationwide Bank, GE Capital Bank, Ally Bank, Bank5 Connect, CIT Bank, TIAA Direct, First Internet Bank, Barclays Bank, Synchrony Bank, Presidential Online Bank.

Learn more about the “Best CD Account” winners>>

GOBankingRates examined certificate of deposit (CD) accounts belonging to 120 banks: the top 90 U.S. banks by asset size, as well as the top 30 online banks (see above for selection details), and evaluated each institution’s one-year CD product. CD accounts were evaluated according to 1) minimum opening deposit and (2) annual percentage yield (APY) in order to quantitatively rank each institution’s product. Each criterion was individually scored from most to least favorable; APY was weighted as the most important factor and accounts were ranked by overall score. Data was compiled via the GOBankingRates interest rate database and verified against the individual institutions’ websites.

Annual percentage yield was based on minimum deposit required to open an account. Note that some interest rates might be short-term or promotional offers only and it is possible additional terms and conditions must be met in order to obtain the interest rates listed. Rates and availability might vary by region. All CD account data was last verified as of December 29, 2014; terms and conditions are subject to change at any time at the discretion of individual financial institutions. Please verify terms and conditions before opening an account.

Best Online Bank

Winners: Ally Bank, Bank5 Connect, Discover Bank, GE Capital Bank, Synchrony Bank, CIT Bank, Sallie Mae Bank, TIAA Direct, First Internet Bank, Barclays Bank.

Learn more about the “Best Online Bank” winners>>

Institution selection: In order to determine its “Best Online Bank” rankings, GOBankingRates examined 30 online-only banks, according to the GOBankingRates and FDIC databases, and did not consider online products offered by institutions with a physical, retail banking presence.

Criteria for rankings: Banks were scored from most to least favorable in the following categories: (1) checking account fee, (2) savings account APY, (3) one-year certificate of deposit APY, (4) BauerFinancial Star Ratings for overall financial strength. Each criterion was individually scored from most to least favorable. Banks were then scored according to whether they offered the following services, all of which contributed to a single weighting: (5) 24/7 customer service available by Web or phone and (6) live chat service with a human being and (7) a mobile app. Finally, banks were ranked according to overall score. Data was compiled via BauerFinancial and the GOBankingRates interest rate database; figures were verified against the individual institutions’ websites and are accurate as of December 18, 2014.

Best Bank

Winners: Wells Fargo, BBVA Compass Bank, Bank of America, BankUnited, First National Bank of Omaha, Zions Bank, BB&T, Chase Bank, KeyBank, U.S. Bank.

Learn more about the “Best Bank” winners>>

Institution selection: In order to determine its “Best Bank” rankings, GOBankingRates examined the top 100 banks by asset size according to the FDIC, excluding non-active institutions, those with less than $1 billion in assets, investment banks and any institutions that require customers to use investment services to access commercial bank accounts.

Criteria for rankings: Banks were scored from most to least favorable in the following categories: (1) BauerFinancial Star Ratings for overall financial strength, and the rankings previously assigned through our survey of (2) checking accounts, (3) savings accounts, and (4) one-year certificates of deposit. Each criterion was individually scored from most to least favorable in comparison to the category average (weighted equally). Banks were then scored according to whether they offered each of the following services, all of which contributed to a single weighting: (5) auto loans, (6) mortgage loans, (7) credit cards, (8) investment services and (9) insurance services. The final criteria was the (10) number of bank branches, as reported by the FDIC. Banks were then ranked according to overall score. Data was compiled via the GOBankingRates interest rate database and verified against the individual institutions’ websites.

Best Military Financial Institution

Winners: Navy Federal Credit Union, Arkansas Federal Credit Union, Andrews Federal Credit Union, RBFCU, Fort Knox Federal Credit Union, USAA Federal Savings Bank, Langley Federal Credit Union, First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company, Tyndall Federal Credit Union, Air Force Federal Credit Union.

Learn more about the “Best Military Financial Institution” winners>>

Institution selection: In order to determine its “Best Military Financial Institution” rankings, GOBankingRates examined 36 military financial institutions offering retail bank services, including credit unions and banks. To be considered for ranking, banks had to be members of the Association of Military Banks of America (AMBA) for banks, and credit unions had to be listed as serving a military membership by the NCUA; from those GOBankingRates selected the top military banks and credit unions for inclusion in our survey based on the following criteria.

Criteria for rankings: Financial institutions were scored from most to least favorable in the following categories. The categories given the most weight were (1) free checking account option and (2) low-fee or free ATM use, including reimbursing ATM fees. The next criteria were (3) savings account APY, (4) 12-month CD APY, (5) product and service offerings (including auto loans, VA mortgage loans, credit cards, insurance, and investment services), (6) a mobile app and remote deposit capability, and (7) financial education services. The criteria were rounded out by the financial institutions’ (8) BauerFinancial Star Ratings for overall financial strength, which were given a lesser weight.

GOBankingRates is a personal finance and consumer interest rate website owned by ConsumerTrack, Inc., an online marketing company serving top-tier banks, credit unions and other financial services organizations. Some banks mentioned in this ranking are clients of ConsumerTrack, Inc., which serves more than 100 national, local and online financial institutions. Rankings are 100 percent objective and no institution, client or otherwise, paid for inclusion or specific placement.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the bank advertiser, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. This site may be compensated through the bank advertiser Affiliate Program.