What Is the Best Bank or Credit Union?

The best bank or credit union is one that meets your financial needs and helps you save money.

A whopping 93 percent of American household dwellers have bank accounts, according to the FDIC. If you’re among that statistic, you have a large number of banks and credit unions from which you can choose — and sometimes the choices can be overwhelming.

When choosing the best bank or credit union, it’s really a matter of what you need — and want — from a banking institution. The best bank or credit union for you will have features that fit your personal financial situation. If you’re in need of a new bank or credit union, or aren’t totally satisfied with your current financial institution, here’s how you can find the best bank for you.

What Do the Best Banks and Credit Unions Offer?

Banks and credit unions offer different products and services, but the best financial institutions have common factors. The best financial institutions will offer most — if not all — of these features:

  • Competitive interest rates
  • An interest-earning checking account
  • No minimum balance requirements for your checking or savings account
  • No fees for ATM transactions
  • Secure online banking features
  • Mobile banking
  • Rewards credit cards
  • High-caliber customer service
  • Free online bill pay
  • Perks for loyal customers
  • Bonus offers to attract and keep customers

Find the Best Bank in the U.S.

Banks often excel in certain areas — and GOBankingRates has identified the top contenders in different categories. Review these highlights to help you decide on the best bank for your needs:

  • Best national bank: TD Bank distinguishes itself with a tiered interest rate, high savings account APYs and a wide range of valuable and convenient banking products, plus plenty of brick-and-mortar locations for customers who like in-person banking.
  • Best online bank: If you prefer online banking, Ally Bank sets itself apart from the others with excellent customer service. You won’t have any physical locations you can visit, but you won’t have a problem reaching someone 24 hours a day if you need help.
  • Best savings account: Synchrony Bank has a competitive, high-yield savings option with no minimum deposit requirement or fees, plus a tiered loyalty reward system.
  • Best CD account: EverBank offers high-interest CD products with terms ranging from 12 to 60 months. Its Yield Pledge guarantees customers an APY that ranks high among its competitors’ rates. The CD has a 3.5-year term and requires a minimum deposit of $1,500. It gives you a one-time option to raise your APY if interest rates increase after you open it.
  • Best checking account: Bank5 Connect offers one of the best checking accounts you’ll find. You need only $10 to open it and a minimum balance of $100 to earn interest. It’s truly free checking, with no monthly maintenance fees and no charges for cashier’s checks, incoming wire transfers or overdraft transfers. Your first order of checks is free, too, as are all your ATM transactions.

Related: Who Ranks the Best Banks?

Find the Best Credit Unions in the U.S.

Unlike banks, credit unions are cooperative, not-for-profit, tax-exempt financial institutions owned by their members. Credit unions tend to have lower fees than banks because they give their savings back to their customers.

Credit unions usually serve members who have some commonality, whether it’s a connection through geographic location, an employer or a group like a homeowner’s association, church, labor union or school. Many of the best credit unions, however, have broad membership requirements that allow virtually anyone to join.

GOBankingRates.com has identified the best credit unions in a number of categories, including the best credit unions for CD rates and the best credit unions for car loans. Choose the one that fits your needs, and get started banking at a credit union today.

About the Author

Barb Nefer has been writing professionally for nearly 30 years, cutting her teeth as a news writer for the Daily Southtown in Chicago. She’s a doctor of psychology, and her eclectic expertise includes personal finance, psychology, travel and the pet industry. Her work reflects that diversity, with pieces appearing in places like About.com, CBS Local, Yahoo.com, WebPsychology, and Animal Wellness magazine.