Each week throughout January and February, GOBankingRates has revealed its rankings of the best savings accounts, checking accounts, CDs, online banks, brick-and-mortar banks and military financial institutions of 2015. This is all part of our “Best Banks” of 2015 series, which aims to connect consumers with best banks and credit unions for their needs.
We looked at the 100 biggest banks by asset size, according to the FDIC, along with 30 online-only banks and 36 military banks and credit unions to determine the best products and places for your money in 2015. Here’s a roundup of the 40 banks and credit unions that made it onto one of our top lists. These institutions offer their customers and members the best features, rates, convenience, access and overall value this year.
View all our 2015 Top 10 rankings:
- Best Savings Accounts of 2015
- Best Checking Accounts of 2015
- Best CD Accounts of 2015
- Best Banks of 2015
- Best Online Banks of 2015
- Best Military Banks and Credit Unions
Best Banks and Credit Unions of 2015: The Definitive List
Air Force Federal Credit Union
This military credit union ranked No. 10 among the best military financial institutions. Members of Air Force Federal Credit Union enjoy convenience and accessibility, with access to 30,000 fee-free ATMs, along with an extensive suite of deposit products. Active and retired military members and civil personnel — among other eligible groups — can join the credit union, which offers toll-free customer service phone numbers in Germany, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and other overseas countries.
Ally Bank ranked most often in the top 10 lists in our “Best Bank” series (tied with Bank5 Connect). Ally boasts a top savings account (ranked No. 5), checking account (ranked No. 6) and the third-best one-year CD, and was ranked the overall best online bank of 2015 by GOBankingRates.
As an online-only bank, Ally ensures its customers get the highest rates — 2.00% APY on savings, 2.65% APY on one-year CDs — and don’t pay a monthly checking account maintenance fee, all while having access to 24/7 customer support over the phone, live chat with a bank representative and a mobile app for banking on the go.
American Express Bank
An online bank available to anyone, American Express Bank ranked No. 9 for its High-Yield Savings Account, offering a yield of 1.90% APY. Showing that American Express offers more than credit cards, this personal savings account has no hidden fees and allows customers to receive alerts to better keep tabs on their funds and account balances. Like Ally Bank, this institution offers its customers 24/7 customer service over the phone.
Andrews Federal Credit Union
As a military institution with membership open to those residing in Washington, D.C., civilian personnel and military members of Andrews Air Force Base and McGuire Air Force Base, among other outposts in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and 200 other employer groups in Maryland and New Jersey, Andrews Federal Credit Union ranked No. 3 on GOBankingRates’ list of best military banks and credit unions.
With services available internationally, this credit union helps its members traverse the financial complications that arise when deployed overseas. Access to branches and ATMs is available worldwide, helping members stay connected to their funds. The credit union’s suite of online and mobile services — SmartConnect online banking, SmartPay, SmartMobile and SmartCall — also help bridge the gap between members and their accounts, no matter where they’re located.
Arkansas Federal Credit Union
More than 500 select employer groups are eligible for membership with Arkansas Federal Credit Union, in addition to employees of Little Rock Air Force Base, Camp Pike, Camp Robinson, Fort Chaffee, and federal and state employees in Arkansas. Membership comes with the perks of interest-bearing deposit accounts, health savings accounts, IRAs and a unique, liquid high-yield account, the Member Freedom Money Fund. All of these product offerings helped Arkansas Federal Credit Union take the No. 2 spot on our ranking of the best military banks and credit unions.
Bank of America
Bank of America‘s wide branch availability, boasting 5,101 locations, helped boost it to the No. 3 spot among best banks of 2015. Its deposit yields aren’t the strongest selling point for the institution, but its convenience, customer service, and commitment to providing tools and resources to strengthen its customers’ financial literacy might be reason enough to join its customer base.
Bank of Internet USA
Bank of Internet USA ranked No. 3 for its checking account, offering a return of 0.47% APY with no monthly service or NSF fees. Customers benefit from peace of mind, as there is no minimum monthly balance to maintain and just $100 is required to open. Meeting additional requirements, however, can lead to a rate boost as high as 1.25% APY to push your funds even further while maintaining all the liquidity you’re used to with your checking account.
Like Ally Bank, Bank5 Connect ranked in the top 10 for four categories: best savings account, checking account, one-year CD and online bank. Its High-Interest Savings account earns a handsome 0.90% APY (helping it rank No. 6), while its checking account ranked No. 1 with a low $10 minimum to open and high 0.76% APY return.
For one-year CDs, Bank5 Connect ranked No. 4 with its 1.00% APY and $500 minimum to earn the yield. These strong product offerings helped Bank5 Connect rank No. 2 in the best online banks of 2015.
Barclays Bank made three of GOBankingRates’ “Best Banks” lists this year — best savings accounts, CDs and online banks. For its Online Savings account, the bank ranked No. 3 offers a yield of 1.85% APY. Its one-year CD has no minimum account balance and a 2.55%APY return. Those interested in opening a CD have options, too; Barclays Bank offers nine termed accounts of varying lengths to its customers. It should be noted that Barclays Bank offers no checking accounts.
These factors helped Barclays Bank rank No. 10 on our list of the best online banks. Those hesitant to transition their funds to an online bank shouldn’t be worried about customer service with Barclays, which offers 24/7 telephone support, live chat with a bank representative and a mobile app.
With the highest BauerFinancial Star Rating possible, of 5, BB&T ranked No. 7 for best banks. Those who bank with BB&T have access to 1,852 branches and a host of online resources to help them plan for all life stages, such as paying for college and building retirement savings.
BBVA Compass Bank
Ranking No. 2 for best banks, BBVA Compass Bank offers above-average returns on its one-year CD, at 0.45% APY, along with a variety of products for customers to choose from, including four credit cards, several mortgage offerings and all the deposit products expected from a major financial institution.
Capital One 360
With a lower checking interest rate, Capital One 360 still ranked No. 4 for beating the average at even its lowest rate tier, 0.20% APY. Those with balances upwards of $100,000 enjoy increased yields of 1.00% APY. In addition to these returns, the account comes with no minimum balance requirement, service fee or NSF fee; customers also have access to over 40,000 Allpoint and Capital One ATMs.
Its ample branch access, offering 5,710 locations to its customers, helped Chase Bank rank No. 8 for best banks. Chase offers most of the products GOBankingRates surveyed, from auto and mortgage loans to credit cards and investment services; online apps like Chase Quickpay further help customers live, and spend, easy.
CIT Bank‘s High Yield Online Savings account is just one product that helped it rank among GOBankingRates’ study of the best banking products and institutions. CIT Bank ranked No. 8 for its savings account, which offers a rate of 2.15% APY and no monthly maintenance costs. Its one-year CD ranked No. 5 among the best CDs of 2015 due to its high 2.20% APY and $1,000 minimum deposit requirement. These deposit products helped the bank take sixth place in the best online banks.
CIT Bank customers enjoy a variety of CD terms to choose from and can bank through the CIT mobile app, though live chat and 24/7 phone support are not available.
Discover Bank ranked No. 3 on GOBankingRates’ list of best online banks, thanks to its high savings yield of 0.90% APY, the 1.00% APY on its one-year CD and low savings account opening deposit of $500. Other high-yield deposit products include its 0.75% APY money market account and 1.45% APY three-year IRA CD.
Depositors with EverBank can beat the national checking account average, earning a 0.25% APY on their deposited funds when they open the Yield Pledge Checking account with a minimum deposit of $5,000. This account ranked eighth in our list of the best checking accounts of 2015; customers can make their money work extra hard by depositing right now and taking advantage of promotional rates.
First Internet Bank
First Internet Bank ranked on two of GOBankingRates’ lists: best CDs and best online banks of 2015. Its one-year CD offers a yield of 1.00% APY with a minimum account balance of $1,000. Additionally, the bank boasts a BauerFinancial Star Rating of 5, a high savings yield of 0.60% APY, a mobile app and live chat services, all of which propelled it to the No. 9 spot among the best online banks.
First National Bank of Omaha
First National Bank of Omaha offers few branches — just 127. However, its wide product offerings and no-fee checking account helped it rank No. 5 among the best banks of 2015.
First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company
Criteria varies by product, but active-duty military members, full-time reservists and members of the U.S. National Guard are among its customer base. First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company customers enjoy access to over 570 branches in 18 U.S. states, along with a variety of loan and deposit products, helping First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company rank No. 8 among the best military banks and credit unions.
Those looking to maintain liquidity while earning higher returns in the next 12 months can do so with Flagstar Bank‘s SimplySavings account. For the first 12 months of account opening, depositors earn 1.10% APY on their savings — an equivalent rate to the best CDs in our “Best Banks” lists and far above the national average. The minimal $3 monthly fee can be waived simply by averaging $300 in your account or by linking it to a Flagstar checking account.
The low minimum balance requirement (just $1) of FNBO Direct‘s online checking account helped it rank No. 2 among the 10 best checking accounts of 2015. The account has no monthly maintenance fee, but carries an NSF fee of $33. Its APY is a competitive 0.65% APY, which beats the national average by more than four times.
Fort Knox Federal Credit Union
Fort Knox Federal Credit Union ranked No. 5 on GOBankingRates’ list of best military financial institutions. Members have access to 24/7 member support, as well as a large, surcharge-free ATM network of 130,000 worldwide and 5,000 credit union service centers. Kentucky residents have access to more than a dozen branch locations for in-person banking.
Members of Fort Knox Federal Credit Union enjoy all the deposit and loan products available at larger financial institutions.
GE Capital Bank
Ranking among the best for savings, CD and online banks, depositors at GE Capital Bank enjoy a number of benefits. The bank’s Online Savings account tied (with MySavingsDirect) for the No. 1 spot on GOBankingRates’ list, offering a yield of 1.05% APY with no minimum balance requirement and no monthly fee. Its one-year CD ranked No. 2 among the best CDs of 2015, with a yield of 1.10% APY and a $500 minimum balance requirement. Paired together, these benefits helped GE Capital Bank rank No. 4 in the best online banks of 2015.
iGObanking.com ranked in the top 10 for two categories: best savings and best checking accounts. Its high return of 1.00% APY on its savings account, which also carries no fees, minimum balance or minimum deposit requirements, helped it rank No. 3, while its 0.25% APY checking account ranked No. 5 for having a low opening deposit requirement of just $1.
Named appropriately, KeyBank‘s Hassle-Free account ranked No. 9 among the best checking accounts of 2015. With no minimum balance requirements to meet, no NSF fee and no monthly maintenance charges, this account is simple, requiring just $10 to open.
KeyBank also ranked No. 9 on our list of the best banks of 2015, boasting a high 5 BauerFinancial Star Rating and 1,030 branches nationwide.
Langley Federal Credit Union
Ranked No. 7 among the best military financial institutions is Langley Federal Credit Union. Among its offerings are special products for service members, like a free interest-bearing checking account, insurance and tax services, loans, and identity protection. Its rewards program, CURewards, lets members with a Langley Federal Credit Union credit card earn points and redeem them for merchandise and products online.
As a military financial institution, the credit union serves U.S. service members along with those who work for select employer groups or select organizations, like churches and homeowner’s associations.
Tied with GE Capital Bank for the No. 1 best savings account is MySavingsDirect. Its 1.05% APY MySavings Account, which earns the same returns as GE Capital Bank’s, has no minimum deposit requirement or monthly fee.
Nationwide Bank nabbed the No. 1 spot for best CD account of 2015. Its one-year termed account offers depositors 1.86% APY on deposits up to $99,999.99 and bumps the rate up to 1.91% APY on accounts over $100,000; it only takes $500 to open the CD.
Navy Federal Credit Union
In the No. 1 spot for best military bank is Navy Federal Credit Union. Its array of products is vast, offering its members everything from 100 percent financed VA mortgages to traditional deposit accounts and retirement planning services.
Active-duty members of the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Department of Defense, Navy and Air Force are all welcome to join Navy Federal Credit Union, as are U.S. government employees assigned to Department of Defense installations and others.
Presidential Online Bank
Presidential Online Bank ranked No. 10 among the best CDs of 2015. Its one-year termed account requires a $1,000 minimum deposit but offers high returns to its customers of 0.95% APY. Those who’d prefer a different CD term length can choose from eight options at the online bank, starting at 30-day investments.
You don’t have to be an active military member to join Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union. Ranking No. 4 among the best military banks and credit unions of 2015, RBFCU membership is also available to Texas residents, students of local schools and family members of current RBFCU members.
Among its product offerings are cash-back credit cards and rewards debit cards, a truly free checking account, and competitive auto loans.
Sallie Mae Bank
This online bank ranked No. 7 in that category due to its high BauerFinancial Star Rating of 4, high-yield savings rate of 0.80% APY and the even higher 1.15% APY on its one-year CD. Unfortunately, Sallie Mae Bank doesn’t offer its customers a mobile app, 24/7 telephone support or live chat; however, its other high-dividend accounts, like its 0.90% APY money market account, likely make up for that for many customers.
Simple‘s checking account tied with KeyBank for the No. 9 spot, offering a completely no-fee product, but with a low 0.01% return. Those with a Simple checking account don’t even have to worry about overdraft fees, which the bank doesn’t charge. Customers have access to a large, surcharge-free ATM network of 55,000.
Ranking No. 5 among the best online banks, Synchrony Bank also ranked No. 7 for best savings account and No. 9 for its one-year CD account. Its savings account ranked highly due to its competitive 1.00% APY and no minimum opening deposit requirement. The bank’s one-year CD offered a 1.10% yield that was increased to 1.15% APY following the completion of GOBankingRates’ study.
TIAA Direct ranked among the best for checking (No. 7), CDs (No. 6) and online banks (No. 8). Its checking account comes with no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements, and even earns interest at a modest 0.05% APY, while its one-year CD offers a high return of 1.01% APY. In addition to these product features, TIAA Direct ranked No. 8 for best online bank, offering a mobile app for convenient on-the-go account access.
Tyndall Federal Credit Union
Although not exclusive in its membership to military personnel, Tyndall Federal Credit Union ranked No. 9 among the best military banks of 2015. The credit union, located in Panama City, offers a variety of products to meet any member’s needs, from competitive rates on loans and deposit products to IRAs and young adult accounts. Even outside of Panama City, members can maintain access to their funds through its network of 55,000 fee-free ATMs around the world.
With a BauerFinancial Star Rating of 4 and a variety of deposit accounts geared toward young people — including its Student Checking account and Star Savers Club Account — U.S. Bank ranked No. 10 among the best banks of 2015. U.S. Bank customers enjoy the convenience and accessibility that comes with 3,239 branch locations.
USAA Federal Savings Bank
USAA ranked No. 6 among the best military banks and credit unions. Its eligible customer base is vast, with the bank offering its services and products to U.S. military service members (active, retired and honorably discharged), in addition to cadets and midshipmen in U.S. service academies, those in ROTC programs, and eligible family members.
Customers of USAA benefit from free ADT home monitoring and vehicle storage during deployment, along with a variety of products expected from a national bank, including retirement accounts, investment vehicles and deposit accounts.
Coming in at No. 1 for the best bank of 2015 is Wells Fargo. The bank boasts a vast customer base and a large number of branch locations (6,353, to be exact), as well as a BauerFinancial Star Rating of 4, $1.7 trillion in assets and all the products GOBankingRates surveyed for its ranking of best banks: auto loans, mortgages, credit cards, insurance and investment services.
Zions Bank ranked No. 6 among the best banks thanks to its lack of maintenance fees on its checking account and above average savings yield. Zions Bank’s savings account earn returns of 0.45% APY; the bank boasts a BauerFinancial Star Rating of 5 but somewhat limited branch access, with just 145 locations.
Photo credit: Elliott Brown
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