The 5 Best National Banks of 2022

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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 2022.

Our Best National Bank

U.S. Bank

Why it stands out: Among national banks on our list, U.S. Bank has the lowest checking fee and the best rate on a 12-month CD.

You have five different checking accounts to choose from, and the standard one has a low fee you can waive. U.S. Bank offers CD terms from one to 60 months. At 0.05%, the 12-month rate, and the lowest rate you'll receive on any CD, is highly competitive. But U.S. Bank also has CD Specials with promotional rates you'll be hard-pressed to beat elsewhere. 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 checking fee
  • Wide range of products offered
  • 0.05% APY for 12-month CD
  • 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 2,300 branches. 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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More of the Best National Banks 2022

JPMorgan Chase Bank

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.

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

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. 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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Wells Fargo Bank

Why it stands out: Wells Fargo Bank has the most locations of the national banks on our list and excellent mobile app reviews — over 8 million of them, more than any other bank on this list. 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.

Pros:

  • More than 7,200 locations
  • Wide range of products offered
  • Excellent mobile app reviews

Cons:

  • Low 12-month CD APY
  • No higher-yield savings options

What to look for: Wells Fargo Bank has around 4,700 locations and excellent mobile app reviews. Plus, the bank offers a lot of services, like 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 also 0.30%

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Bank of America

Why it stands out: Bank of America, Member FDIC, has great mobile app reviews, 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.

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:

  • Great mobile app reviews
  • 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, which is solid for a national bank. There are also a wide variety of products offered like auto loans, mortgage loans, credit cards, investment services and insurance. There are more than 4,000 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

    Why it stands out: PNC Bank has a low checking fee and offers a wide range of services, including auto loans, mortgage loans, credit cards, investment services and insurance. 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. 

    Pros:

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

    Cons:

    • 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. 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 2,600 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

    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.

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    Check the Fees

    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 and you should be aware of any fees charged ahead of time. In many cases, overdraft fees are quite high.

    Read the Fine Print

    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.

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    Check the APY

    For some customers, the APY 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

    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

    All national banks carry at least the standard FDIC insurance, 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.

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    FAQs About National Banks

    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.

    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 Sept. 19, 2022.

    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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    About the Author

    Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 
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