11 Must-Have Features All the Best Bank Accounts Offer

If you're looking to open a new bank account, make sure it has these banking features.


When you’re looking to open a savings or checking account at a new bank, choose a bank that offers low fees, flexible banking options and products that meet your needs. GOBankingRates’ Best Banks of 2017 study ranked 72 national banks and 28 online-only banks based on high yields, range of products, customer service and several other factors. It’s tough to compare all of these banks’ offerings, but you can look for a few key features to find your ideal bank.

Here are 11 must-have features all the best bank accounts have.

See: The Best Banks of 2017

1. Attractive Interest Rates

The Federal interest rate hikes of 2017 have resulted in banks offering savings products with higher interest rates, but the best savings accounts offer more generous returns than others, making them attractive options when searching for the best high-interest savings account. Synchrony Bank was named the Best Savings Account of 2017 because it carries a 0.60% APY with no minimum deposit. IncredibleBank offers a savings account with a 1.11% APY but requires a minimum deposit of $2,500.

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2. Interest-Bearing Checking Accounts

Your savings account doesn’t have to be your only account that bears interest. Many banks offer preferred checking accounts such as a money market account, which lets you earn interest on the balance and avoid monthly service fees if you meet certain balance requirements or other criteria. Accounts like these can be valuable if you tend to maintain a high balance in an active checking account throughout the year and don’t want to leave that money in a high-yield savings account.

Related: 10 Best Checking Accounts of 2017

3. No Fees

In addition to the best interest rates, a free bank account or accounts with no fees are the most attractive. Many banks offer no-fee checking accounts to stay competitive, and many will waive the fees on other accounts if you meet average daily balance requirements.

If you find that you frequently use ATMs not provided by your bank, open an account with a bank that waives all your ATM surcharge fees no matter where you go. You might need to earn the privilege by being a loyal customer or earning a certain status, but the effort can pay off. For example, Bank of America Preferred Rewards clients get all ATM fees reimbursed — even if they withdraw cash from a competing bank.

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4. No Minimum Balance Requirements

Some banks have minimum account balance requirements. If your cash flow requires low account balances on occasion, look for banks that don’t have any minimum balance requirements on their accounts.

Check Out: 13 Banks Offering Free Checking With No Minimum Balance 

5. Secure Online Banking Features

You don’t have to worry about making it to the bank before it closes when you have an online bank account you can access 24/7. Whether you choose an exclusively online bank or open a bank account at a brick-and-mortar bank that offers secure online banking services, look for the one that offers the most hassle-free online transactions, such as smartphone check depositing, online transfers and other convenient services.

6. Mobile Banking Options

According to the Federal Reserve Consumers and Financial Services 2016 Report, 43 percent of mobile users with a bank account used mobile banking services, an increase over the 39 percent reported the previous year. If your bank is mobile-friendly, you can check your account balance, transfer money and even deposit checks when you’re on the go.

7. Credit Card Rewards

When you’re looking to open a credit card account with a new bank, keep an eye out for cards with generous cash back and rewards programs. Some banks make it easy to double up on the rewards. For example, Bank of America’s BankAmericard Cash Rewards credit card allows you to earn up to 3 percent cash back on certain purchases for the first $2,500 each quarter plus a 10 percent customer bonus if you redeem your reward into a Bank of America checking or savings account. You can also earn up to a 75 percent bonus if you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client.

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See: Best Rewards Credit Cards 

8. Great Customer Service

Choose a bank known for its great customer service, especially if you like to make deposits in person with a teller or you want to see a personal banker at the local branch now and then. If you don’t go to the back often, consider an online bank that offers 24/7 access to a personal banker over the phone. Quality customer service can make the difference between a good bank and a great bank.

9. Free Online Bill Pay

Save a stamp by taking advantage of online bill pay features. Many banks offer online bill payment options where you can set up automatic payments to different payees and schedule payments so you always have funds available.

10. Loyalty Perks

If you tend to stick with one bank for several years, seek out financial institutions that offer perks and incentives for loyalty. The best bank to bank with for your high yield savings account, retirement account, and other long-term accounts might provide checking account offers where you earn privileges like free checks or no fees on accounts for maintaining the relationship for a certain number of years or travel rewards if you meet balance requirements.

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11. Bonus Offers

Look for bonus offers such as new bank customer promotions and introductory offers. Some of the best checking accounts and best online savings account promotions give you a cash reward. For example, you can get up to $350 deposited into your account by opening a Chase checking account with direct deposit and a new savings account with a deposit of at least $10,000. This can be an easy way to get rewarded for starting a new banking relationship.

Up Next: The 29 Best Banks of 2017

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.

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About the Author

Sabah Karimi

Sabah Karimi is an award-winning writer with more than 10 years of experience writing about personal finance, lifestyle topics, and consumer trends. Her work has appeared on U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, Yahoo!, AOL Daily Finance, MSN, and other mainstream publications. She was interviewed by The Wall Street Journal and CBS News about her work as a freelance writer early in her career and now works with a variety of clients.

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11 Must-Have Features All the Best Bank Accounts Offer
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