Associated Bank Review: Extensive Account Options and Midwestern Customer Service

GOBankingRates Score

Associated Bank
GOBankingRates Best Banks 2023 scores and rankings are objectively determined by our research/editorial team. Our scoring formula weighs several factors that differ from category to category depending on what consumers want from varying products and banks.
Quick Take: Associated Bank offers extensive account options and banking services for a regional bank, but it's best for customers living in its three-state branch network in the upper Midwest.
  • Checking Accounts
  • Savings Accounts
  • Credit Cards
  • Banking Experience
How did we calculate this?


  • Multiple options for personal, business and commercial accounts
  • Surcharge-free access to more than 30,000 ATMs
  • Fan cards give sports fans extra perks


  • Low annual percentage yields
  • High fees

Associated Bank Overview

Associated Bank bills itself as the largest Wisconsin-based bank, with branches in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois and commercial services in a handful of other states. The bank has been in business since 1861 and today boasts $35 billion in customer assets. It offers a full lineup of products and services, from personal banking and lending accounts to wealth management, business accounts and commercial services.

GOBankingRates has ranked Associated Bank among the Best Regional Banks of 2023, naming it a finalist in the annual ranking.

Key Features

To earn its score of 4.5 out of 5 stars, Associated Bank was rated on the following features.

Checking Accounts

Associated Bank offers three checking accounts: Associated Choice Checking, Associated Balanced Checking and Associated Access Checking. All checking accounts come with free eStatements and Overdraft Transfer Protection Service.

Associated Access Checking is a no-frills account that costs $25 to open and has no maintenance fees or balance minimums.

The Associated Choice Checking account is the flagship offering, and the only one of the three to pay interest and offer customers complimentary checks. Its minimum opening balance is $100, and it has a $25 monthly maintenance fee. The monthly fee can be waived with a combination of $10,000 in deposit accounts or a Health Savings Account or investment account with the bank.

Associated Balanced Checking also has a minimum $100 opening deposit and a $9 monthly maintenance fee. To waive this fee, customers need to maintain a $1,000 minimum daily balance; make direct deposits or mobile deposits of $500 or more per statement cycle; or hold $2,500 in combined deposit accounts with the same statement cycle date. Another option is to open and keep an HSA or investment account.

Savings Accounts

Associated Bank also offers three types of basic savings accounts — Associated Savings, Zero Interest Savings and Relationship Savings.

The Associated Savings account has a $25 minimum opening deposit and a $5 monthly maintenance fee for all customers 18 years old and older. It can be waived by maintaining a $300 minimum daily balance or making at least $25 in recurring automatic deposits. Associated Savings has a low APY of on all balances.

Relationship Savings gives customers preferred rates with a qualifying Associated Bank checking account, but this comes with a hefty $25,000 minimum opening deposit requirement. To avoid the $20 monthly maintenance fee, you’ll have to maintain a $10,000 daily balance. This account offers tiered interest rates.

As you might expect, the Zero Interest Savings account pays no interest at all. It has a $25 minimum opening deposit and a $5 monthly maintenance fee that can be waived by maintaining a $300 minimum daily balance or making at least $25 in recurring automatic deposits.

Credit Cards

Associated Bank offers six credit cards — an impressive number for a regional bank — including a secured card for customers building a credit history. All cards come with online account access and fraud liability protection.

Two notable credit card options are the fan cards designed for Brewers and Wild fans. These cards feature the team logo on the card and come with additional perks. With the Brewers card, customers enjoy discounts on merchandise in the team store, tickets for events at the stadium and express check-in at the Associated Bank Gate. The Wild card comes with discounts at the Hockey Lodge.

Banking Experience

Customers can download the Associated Bank app for Apple and Android devices. The apps have mixed reviews, with a 4.0 rating on Google Play and 4.7 on the App Store. Some customers praise the app, while others report problems using mobile check deposit and logging in.

What the bank lacks in the mobile app, it makes up for in its customer service. The bank has more than 200 branches in its tri-state service area, and customers can use a number of branded ATMs, as well as those in the MoneyPass network with no surcharges. Customer service is available via phone six days a week with generous hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. CST Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST on Saturday.

Comparable Regional Bank Options

See how Associated Bank compares to similar banks that operate in its service area.

BMO Harris

Although Chicago-based BMO Harris is larger than Associated Bank in terms of assets and number of branches, it offers comparable products in Associated Bank’s service area. Its Smart Advantage checking account has no monthly service fees and requires a minimum $25 opening deposit.

BMO Harris customers also have access to more fee-free ATMs, but they pay more to use a non-network ATM. The bank charges $3 for each transaction instead of the $2 Associated Bank charges. BMO Harris’ standard savings account, the Savings Builder Account has a paltry APY, but the bank pays $5 per month each month you save at least $200 for the first year you have the account.

Wisconsin Bank & Trust

Wisconsin Bank & Trust operates 11 branches in the state of Wisconsin and offers three checking accounts. Two of them earn interest, and the other is completely fee-free. To make sure the account is completely free, you’ll need to enroll in eStatements; otherwise, you’ll pay a monthly statement fee.

Wisconsin Bank & Trust’s regular savings accounts has a lower minimum balance requirement than Associated Bank — $100 versus $300 — to avoid fees.

Final Take

Associated Bank offers a wide range of products and services, and customers can pick and choose the account types that best serve their needs. The bank does come up short when it comes to APYs and fees, but it is still a solid option for those living within reach of one of its 220-plus branches in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

It’s best for sports fans in the area who will take advantage of the fan accounts to score discounts when they support their teams.

Associated Bank FAQ

Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about Associated Bank.
  • How many ATMs does Associated Bank have?
    • Associated Bank has more than 220 branch locations and offers surcharge-free access to more than 30,000 MoneyPass ATMs nationwide.
  • Does Associated Bank have Zelle?
    • Yes; Associated Bank offers Zelle services for no additional charge. 
  • Is Associated Bank a good bank?
    • Associated Bank has been in business for more than 100 years and has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Its history, reputation for providing excellent customer service and range of banking options makes it a good bank for the right customer, which is part of the reason GOBankingRates named it a finalist in the Best Regional Banks of 2023.
  • Is Associated Bank safe?
    • Associated Bank is a member of the FDIC. Your money is protected up to $250,000 in each ownership category. The bank also is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
  • Is Associated Bank a real bank?
    • Yes, Associated Bank is a real bank. The bank, headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin, has been in operation since 1861.
  • What is the minimum balance for Associated Bank?
    • For most accounts, the minimum balance to open is $25, though that varies by account type. The minimum balance you need to avoid paying a monthly service fee also varies by account.

Vance Cariaga 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 Jan. 6, 2023.

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.

To discover the Best Regional Banks, GOBankingRates looked at the top regional institutions (excluding credit unions, online banks and neobanks) with under $100 billion in total assets. To determine rankings, GOBankingRates looked at the following factors: (1) checking product minimum deposit; (2) monthly checking fee ratio (percentage based on the minimum to avoid the fee compared to the monthly fee itself); (3) savings product minimum deposit; (4) savings product APY; (5) Bauer rating (out of 5 stars); (6) products/services offered (auto loans, mortgage loans, credit cards, investment services and insurance); and (7) the average mobile app rating between the Android and Apple app stores. All factors were then scored and combined, with the lowest score being best. Factors (1) and (3) were weighted 0.5 times, factor (4) was weighted 2.5 times, and factor (6) was weighted 1.5 times.

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