KeyBank Review: Noteworthy Checking Accounts for Balances of All Sizes

GOBankingRates Score

4.6
Quick Take: KeyBank is a full-service financial institution, but its primary strength lies in its checking accounts. The bank ranks in eighth place in the GOBankingRates study of Best Checking Accounts of 2022. With choices that include basic fee-free checking and an online-only option as well as relationship accounts, KeyBank provides a robust selection of checking products customers can use singly or in combination with other accounts for maximum control over their finances.
  • Checking Accounts
    5.0
  • Ease of Use
    5.0
  • Digital Experience
    4.0
  • Breadth of Products
    4.5
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Overdraft protection available with a linked savings account
  • Upgraded ATMs accept cash deposits
  • $0 charge for ATM withdrawals at 1,000 branches, 40,000 KeyBank ATMs and nationwide Allpoint ATMs
  • Robust mobile app

Cons

  • HIgher-tier checking accounts have high monthly maintenance fees and high balance requirements to waive them
  • Interest-bearing checking accounts earn only 0.01% APY
  • Must live in one of 15 states served to bank with KeyBank

Overview of KeyBank

KeyBank is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, and currently the 17th-largest bank in the United States and a GOBankingRates Top 100 Banks list for 2022 as well as No. 1 in the Best Regional Banks of 2022 rankings.

This bank offers a multitude of personal and business financial products, plus investment and insurance products.

Backed by its 190-year history, KeyBank has over 1,000 full-service branches in the 15 states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

KeyBank Review Product Details

Find out how KeyBank’s banking product can help you manage your money and grow your savings.

Checking Accounts

With five different choices, including the online-only KeyBank Hassle-Free Account with no monthly service fee, KeyBank offers several checking account options with a variety of features. Whether you’re looking for a basic account with no minimum monthly fee or a checking account that earns some interest, KeyBank has the solution. Get extra perks when you also open a savings or money market account with KeyBank. 

There are no service fees on the two non-interest-bearing accounts, Key Smart and Hassle-Free. The main difference between the two accounts is checks — Hassle-Free is a checkless account that requires the use of the online platform and electronic bill pay. Key Smart is more full-featured allowing for paper checks. Neither accounts have minimum balance requirements and can be opened with just $10. The KeySmart checking account is one reason GOBankingrates named KeyBank in its list of Best Checking Accounts of 2022.

For individuals who need more than basic features from a checking account and plan on holding higher balances, Advantage, Privilege and Privilege Select accounts all earn 0.01% in interest but come with a monthly maintenance fee of $18, $25 or $50. 

The fee can be waived when you set up a KeyBank mortgage automatic payment deduction of at least $500. Or you can maintain a combined balance of $10,000 for Advantage account holders or at least $1,000 per month in Key@Work direct deposits. Privilege account holders with at least $25,000 in combined balances can avoid the monthly maintenance fee.  To avoid the $50 fee for Privilege Select accounts, a combined balance of $100,000 is required.

Savings Accounts

KeyBank bank offers several savings account options. Key Active Saver is the basic savings account that can be opened with $10. The $4 monthly maintenance fee can be avoided if you have a KeyBank checking account. KEY4KIDS is the bank’s savings account for children under 18. And, for eligible customers, KeyBank has health savings account offering tax-free withdrawals for qualified health care spending. 

The bank’s free EasyUp program automates saving every time you use your KeyBank checking account debit card to make a purchase. It’s a good way to automate your savings plan to grow your emergency fund or set money aside for a large purchase. 

KeyBank’s savings accounts offer a minimal amount of interest at 0.01% APY. A KeyBank savings account isn’t the best option to grow your savings aggressively but can be useful to ensure you avoid overdraft fees. You can sign up for overdraft protection and link your KeyBank checking and savings account. There is $0 charge for a transfer to cover the balance if your account falls into the red.

Refer to GOBankingRates’ Best Savings Accounts for banks offering higher yields. 

Money Market Accounts

Money market accounts are a good choice for customers who need to make an occasional payment or write a check directly from their account. Withdrawals are more restricted than a checking account, with a limit of six due to federal law. You have two money market accounts to choose from: Key Silver Money Market Savings and Key Gold Money Market Savings. The Key Gold account offers slightly better rates than the 0.01% to 0.02% you’ll earn with Key Silver, but it requires a much higher minimum opening deposit.

You can open a Key Silver account with just $50. To waive the $12 monthly fee, maintain a balance of at least $5,000, have monthly transfer activity of at least $25 or link a KeyBank interest-bearing checking account. You’ll need $25,000 to open a Key Gold account and maintain at least that amount to avoid the $18 monthly maintenance fee. However, it may be worth it because you can earn 0.02% to 0.05% APY.

CD Accounts

A certificate of deposit can grow your funds faster than a regular savings or money market account. Choose between KeyBank’s short-term, tiered or jumbo CD. You can open a short-term or tiered account with a minimum of $2,500; jumbo CD accounts require a minimum deposit of $100,000.

Short-term CDs have terms of seven days to less than six months. Tiered CDs have terms of six months to 10 years and jumbo CD terms start at seven days and up to 10 years. At this time, all CDs earn 0.05% APY regardless of term and deposit amount. 

Best Features of KeyBank

Some of the top reasons KeyBank made the GOBankingRates Top 100 Banks, Best Regional Banks and Best Checking Accounts of 2022 rankings were the following four features:

Checking Accounts

KeyBank provides five quality checking accounts for all banking stages. The Key Smart account is low in fees with no minimum requirements or monthly maintenance fees. In addition, there are three interest-bearing accounts available for individuals who plan on making higher deposits. KeyBank allows account holders to link a savings or money market account for overdrafts without any transfer fees.

Ease of Use

Banking is easy through the online platform. In addition, there are over 1,000 bank branches for more complex transactions. KeyBank’s state-of-the-art touchscreen ATMs can handle more than just distributing cash — they accept cash and check deposits, print out mini-statements and more. 

Digital Experience

The KeyBank mobile app is worth mentioning. It can handle most banking tasks such as mobile check deposits, account balances and setting up bill payments. You can also sign up for a free Key Financial Wellness Review through the app to schedule a consultation by phone or in person to set up a financial plan

Breadth of Products

KeyBank offers a variety of products that go beyond bank accounts. Credit cards, loans, insurance, investing and retirement planning are also available. 

Editor’s Favorite

A primary benefit of KeyBank is that customers have plenty of choices when they have questions or need assistance. The customer service website has a comprehensive library of articles and FAQs where you can go for quick answers. Live assistance is also available when you need it, via live chat with extended weekday hours and a 24/7 customer service line.

Banking Experience

KeyBank has an online-only Hassle-Free checking account for customers who don’t need a bank with physical branches. Anyone else in the 15 states where KeyBank operates can bank online or in person at one of 1,000 full-service branch locations. A network of over 40,000 KeyBank and Allpoint ATMs lets you access your money on the go. 

Customer Service

Help is available when you need it, via online assistance, live chat and a 24/7 customer service number of 1-800-KEY2YOU (1-800-539-2968).

Digital Experience

Online and mobile banking give you complete control over your accounts.

The mobile app has the following ratings:

You can open most accounts online via the website or app. Once enrolled in online banking, log in to your account any time to keep track of your balances, deposit checks, pay bills, transfer funds between accounts and even send cash to family and friends. Fingerprint and face ID login and account alerts protect your accounts against theft and fraud.

How To Open an Account

Once you’ve decided which account you want to open, check the opening deposit requirements to make sure you have the funds. You can use cash if you’re opening the account in person. Otherwise, you’ll need an existing bank account or a credit or debit card.

Most accounts can be opened online in less than 15 minutes, but you’ll need to visit a branch to open a KEY4KIDS savings account. For any account, you’ll need the following:

  • Driver’s license or other state ID
  • Social Security number or other tax ID

Fees

Most KeyBank accounts have monthly service fees proportionate to account perks and minimum deposits, but fees can be waived by meeting certain balance or deposit requirements. Fees for excessive withdrawals from savings accounts are also tiered, so the fee is less steep for the basic savings account than for money market accounts. However, this and the steep overdraft fee are avoidable. Here’s a look at KeyBank fees:

Type Amount
Monthly Service Fee $0-$50, depending on the account
Overdrafts $33 each after the first two per year; $38.50 for each additional; $28.50 extended overdraft fee for accounts overdrawn five consecutive business days
Excessive Withdrawal $5-$15
Stop Payment $34
Return Deposit $15
Domestic Wire Transfer (Outbound) $30
Domestic Wire Transfer (Inbound) $20
Non-Bank ATM $0-$3 

KeyBank vs. Competitor Banks

Take a look at some of the key features KeyBank has versus some of its competitors.

Bank Key Feature
KeyBank Selection of relationship accounts
PNC Bank Virtual Wallet combining spending, reserve and growth account
Wells Fargo Low, easy-to-waive account fees
U.S. Bank Advanced mobile app with a virtual assistant

KeyBank vs. PNC Bank

PNC, like KeyBank, has a long history of serving bank customers and their communities. Its Virtual Wallet product makes PNC a good choice for customers who need an uncomplicated way to manage their budgets. However, it’s the bank’s preferred checking account and the only PNC checking account you can open online. KeyBank’s selection of checking accounts makes it a far less restrictive choice.

KeyBank vs. Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo remains one of America’s “Big Four” banks, and as such, it has among the most comprehensive selections of account types. It also has about 4,900 branch locations throughout the U.S., so it’s a better choice for anyone who prefers to do their banking in person but doesn’t live in one of the 15 states KeyBank serves. But the same type of customer is likely to consider good customers a priority, and that’s an area where KeyBank shines.

KeyBank vs. U.S. Bank

As America’s fifth-largest bank, U.S. Bank is significantly larger than KeyBank. That shows in its services, like an advanced mobile app you can query about your account using natural language. U.S Bank’s national presence is bigger than KeyBank’s to cover individuals who don’t live in the states KeyBank serves.

Final Take

As one of America’s largest financial institutions, KeyBank has a large selection of checking, savings and money market accounts as well as CDs. Although account fees can be steep, most can be avoided. Customers who stick with the basic checking and savings accounts can avoid monthly fees altogether. Add to that a large network of free ATMs and competitive CD rates, and it’s clear that KeyBank is worth a close look by anyone considering a switch.

KeyBank FAQ

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about KeyBank.
  • How do I check my balance with KeyBank?
    • You can check your balance using online or mobile banking, by calling 800-KEY2YOU (800-539-2968)and following the voice prompts, or by visiting a branch.
  • What do you need to open a KeyBank account?
    • To open a KeyBank account you'll need your Social Security number or other tax ID, a driver's license or state ID and an acceptable funding method, such as a bank check.
  • How can I open a KeyBank account?
    • You can open most accounts online. To open a KEY4KIDS children's savings account, visit your nearest branch location.
  • Is KeyBank legitimate?
    • KeyBank is an established banking institution that's been operating for over 190 years. It's the 17th-largest bank in the United States.

Daria Uhlig 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 Apr. 26, 2022.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by KeyBank. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by KeyBank.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

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About the Author

Cynthia Paez Bowman is a personal finance writer with degrees from American University in international business and journalism. Besides writing about personal finance, she writes about real estate, interior design and architecture. Her work has been featured in MSN, Brex, Freshome, MyMove, Emirates’ Open Skies magazine and more.

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