Santander Bank Review: Is It the Best Bank for You?

GOBankingRates Score

4.6
Quick Take: Santander Bank is one of the largest Spanish banks and offers online banking in the U.S., with limited U.S. branch locations. If you're comfortable doing most of your banking using a mobile banking app and a debit card, Santander may be a good option. Here's more on the bank and if its services are right for you.
  • APYs
    4.5
  • Benefits
    4.5
  • Products
    4.8
  • Customer Service
    4.6
How did we calculate this?

For an overview on Santander Bank, consider its biggest strengths and weaknesses.

Pros

  • Checking and savings accounts, credit cards and personal loans available
  • Four checking account options
  • Waivable monthly service fees on accounts
  • Prequalify for a personal loan without affecting your credit

Cons

  • Limited branch presence
  • CDs can't be opened online

    Santander Bank Overview

    Santander Bank offers online banking services in the U.S. There are limited branches on the East Coast. Santander Bank’s customers are mainly focused in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

    Regardless of where you’re located, you can access ATMs whenever you need with no fees assessed by Santander. In addition, Santander will reimburse select account holders up to $30 per month in fees charged by other banks when you use their cash machines.

    Key Features

    Santander Bank earned a GOBankingRates score of 4.6 out of 5. Here’s how:

    APYs

    Santander Bank’s annual percentage yields aren’t groundbreaking, but they do help you grow your balances. Standard money market accounts earn rates from % to % APY, depending on your balance.

    CDs may be your best bet to maximize the interest you can earn. An APY of 0% for CDs of 15-month terms is possible if you can set your funds aside that long.

    Benefits

    The biggest benefit of banking with Santander is its ease if you’re comfortable with online banking. The mobile banking app makes it possible to handle most everything from monitoring your accounts to making mobile check deposits in one place, 24/7.

    You can also set up bill payments or use Zelle to send and receive money from friends and family with no fee.

    Products

    If you’re interested in banking with Santander, there are several account options to choose from. 

    There are three main checking account options: Select, Simply Right and Basic, all of which require a minimum $25 deposit to open. Santander also offers a Student Value checking account with an opening deposit of $10. The Select Checking account offers free ATM withdrawals worldwide and up to $30 in ATM fee reimbursements.

    Here’s more on each account option:

    Account Monthly Fee Ways to Waive Fee Interest
    Basic Checking $3 None No
    Simply Right Checking $10 At least one transaction of any kind per month No
    Select Checking $25 Maintain a monthly combined balance of $25,000 or more Yes
    Student Value Checking $0 N/A No

    Santander’s savings account is free if you have a linked checking account or an average monthly balance of at least $100. Otherwise, you’ll pay a $1 monthly maintenance fee. It offers an APY of %.

    Besides the savings account, you can opt for higher interest with one of two Santander money market accounts. As with the savings account, linking it to a Santander checking account will help you avoid monthly maintenance fees. 

    To lock in a guaranteed interest rate for a specified time period, you can open a Santander CD with at least $500. However, CDs can only be opened at a branch, which may be an issue if you don’t live near one of the very few branches available.

    Customer Service

    To reach out to Santander customer service, call 1-877-768-2265 anytime between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. EST, seven days a week. You can also login to your account to contact customer service, or do so through the mobile app.

    How Santander Bank Stands Out

    Santander Bank’s limited offerings for online banking isn’t the strongest or most innovative showing, but it does provide solid banking options. Your best bet is to open and link a checking and savings or money market account to boost your combined balances and avoid the bank’s monthly maintenance fees.

    Using the mobile app to monitor and manage your accounts is simple, thanks to the user-friendly design and the many options available.

    Comparable Santander Bank Options

    To compare banks before you choose, consider the following alternatives. 

    Santander Bank vs. Ally Bank

    Comparing two online banking versions, you’ll find that Ally Bank has a stronger showing with higher yields on your balances. Ally pays higher interest rates on your balances, with an APY of .00% on its savings account.

    However, if you live in an area with Santander bank branches, the physical presence may trump Ally Bank’s higher yields.

    Santander Bank vs. Capital One Bank

    It’s worth comparing Santander Bank to Capital One Bank since they both focus on online banking with a limited number of branches. Capital One’s branches are known as cafes, places where you can handle your banking needs, have meetings or simply hang out.

    Capital One Bank’s accounts edge out Santander when it comes to fees. The accounts are almost entirely free. However, the bank’s account offerings are pared down — Santander has more account options, including money market accounts. 

    How To Apply

    To open an account with Santander Bank, you could visit a local branch or apply online. You’ll need to provide a government-issued photo ID and a second proof of identity, such as a utility bill, debit card or credit card. In addition, your Social Security number and permanent address are required.

    Once your application is approved, you’ll need to fund the account by wiring funds using an external account number and routing number.

    Who Santander Bank Is Best For

    Santander Bank is best for someone looking for a simple, no-frills banking experience. Savings rates aren’t the highest. Therefore, if your focus is having a low-cost checking account and a savings account to hold a small amount of cash in case of emergency, Santander could be the bank for you.

    To make the most of banking with Santander, you’ll need to feel comfortable handling most of your banking using the mobile app. Otherwise, the branches available may be too few and far between for your convenience.

    Final Take

    Santander Bank’s presence in the U.S. is mostly online. The bank provides a variety of checking and savings options to choose from.

    As long as you keep your account active with periodic transactions each month, you should be able to avoid monthly service charges with Simply Right checking. You can then add a savings or money market account with no monthly fees as long as they’re linked to your checking.

    FAQ

    • Is Santander Bank a good bank?
      • Santander is a reputable bank that originated in Spain. It offers online banking to customers in the U.S. and branch locations in select areas of the East Coast.
    • Is Santander part of Wells Fargo?
    • Is Santander linked to NatWest?
      • Santander purchased NatWest and is now its parent company.
    • Is Santander better than Bank of America?
      • Santander may be better than Bank of America if you're in search of a low-cost online banking experience.
      • However, Bank of America has a strong local presence with branches nationwide. In addition, Bank of America has more bank account, loan and credit card options than Santander Bank.

    Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of June 21, 2022.

    Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Santander Bank. 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 Santander Bank.

    Is this your bank?

    Stay Up to Date on the Latest From Your Bank

    Keep a good thing going with top financial tips and advice from GOBankingRates.

    Please enter an email.
    Please enter a valid email address.
    There was an unknown error. Please try again later.

    Thank You For Signing Up!

    Get ready to receive top financial tips from the experts at GOBankingRates.

    Take Advantage of our Best Offer(s)

    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.

    Best Bank Accounts of July 2022

    Untitled design (1)
    Close popup The GBR Closer icon

    Sending you timely financial stories that you can bank on.

    Sign up for our daily newsletter for the latest financial news and trending topics.

    Loading...
    Please enter an email.
    Please enter a valid email address.
    There was an unknown error. Please try again later.

    For our full Privacy Policy, click here.