New York City is a major financial capital, but it's not the only place in the state where you can find great banking options. Which is right for you? Here are seven of the best banks in New York.
Best banks and credit unions in New York
Accounts: Like most big banks, Chase has a range of checking options. The most basic has a monthly fee, but it’s easy to avoid. Savings options pay low APYs; the basic savings account earns 0.01% (effective 9/14/20; rates are variable and subject to change), but its monthly fee is fairly easy to avoid.
Access: Chase stands out when it comes to access. It has more than 4,700 branches across the country, including more than 700 in New York state. It also boasts more than 16,000 ATMs and well-rated mobile apps. (Learn more with our Chase review.)
» Want to find out how other big banks compare? See our list of the best national banks.
Accounts: If you want rewards for debit spending, you're covered with Discover's Cashback Debit account. The bank pays 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in monthly transactions, and the account doesn’t charge a monthly fee. You can also open a savings or CD account, both of which pay impressive yields, and there’s no minimum deposit for savings.
Access: Discover is an online bank, but you can get help on the 24/7 customer service line or through social media. And you won’t have trouble getting cash. Discover’s partners at two nationwide ATM networks will let you withdraw cash at more than 60,000 machines for free. (Read more at our Discover review.)
Cashback Debit details from Discover: "ATM transactions, the purchase of money orders or other cash equivalents, cash over portions of point-of-sale transactions, peer-to-peer (P2P) payments (such as Apple Pay Cash), and loan payments or account funding made with your debit card are not eligible for cash back rewards. In addition, purchases made using third-party payment accounts (services such as Venmo® and PayPal™, which also provide P2P payments) may not be eligible for cash back rewards. Apple, the Apple logo and Apple Pay are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries."
See Discover's website for more details.
Accounts: M&T’s basic checking account doesn’t charge a monthly fee, but it also doesn’t pay interest, and the bank doesn’t pay much on basic savings, either. The account earns a minimal 0.02%.
Access: M&T is a regional bank with great branch and ATM representation in New York, especially near New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany. If you’re not near home, you can also find coverage in Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Virginia, West Virginia and D.C, and a few ATMs in Florida. You can also use the app for some banking tasks. (Read our M&T Bank review for more.)
Alliant Credit Union
Accounts: Alliant offers a free checking account and one that pays interest if you’re willing to meet a few monthly requirements. Neither charges a monthly fee. The credit union also pays 0.55% on its High-Rate Savings account, and it will pay the $5 minimum deposit for you.
Access: Alliant has only one public branch, its Chicago headquarters, and no shared branching. But if you’re comfortable banking online, its membership is open to just about anyone: Choose to support partner charity Foster Care to Success when signing up (Alliant will fund a $5 donation). Members can also get cash at more than 80,000 free ATMs. (Read more at our Alliant review.)
Accounts: Ally’s checking and savings accounts don’t charge monthly fees, and both pay interest. Its 0.50% savings rate is particularly good, and it pays great rates on CDs as well.
Access: Ally is an online bank, and it doesn’t have any branches, but you can reach customer service via a 24/7 phone line or live chat. Need cash? You can use Allpoint’s nationwide network of ATMs for free, and if you need to go out of network, you can get up to $10 per month in ATM fee reimbursements. (Get the details at our Ally review.)
» Looking for more great rates? Check out our best high-yield savings accounts.
Pentagon Federal Credit Union
Accounts: PenFed pays at least 0.15% on checking balances, and the monthly fee is easy to avoid: Maintain a daily balance or receive a monthly direct deposit of at least $500. Its savings rate isn’t very compelling, but if you’re willing to use a money market certificate — similar to a CD — you can earn up to 0.75%.
Access: PenFed’s branches are concentrated around military bases — such as West Point — but you don’t have to be affiliated with the military to apply. You can become a member by supporting one of several charities that work with military families. (Check out our PenFed review.)
» Find other nonprofit financial institutions with NerdWallet’s best credit unions
Charles Schwab Bank
Accounts: Charles Schwab offers banking products as well as brokerage accounts and doesn't charge monthly fees. You can find higher rates on checking and savings elsewhere, but CD rates are some of the best on the market. And the checking account doesn't charge a fee for using your debit card overseas.
Access: Schwab is another online bank, so you’ll have to do your banking using the extended-hours phone service or on the website or apps. Schwab also has 24/7 chat support. And when it comes to cash, the bank pays unlimited rebates for fees at any ATM in the world. (Check out our Schwab review.)
Compare options to find the best fit
There's no shortage of banking options, so you're bound to find one that best serves your specific needs. Comparing products side by side can make selecting a bank or credit union much less daunting.
For this review, we considered only institutions with a retail presence in Florida and nationwide online institutions, taken from the same list in our standard methodology:
We took a close look at 70 financial institutions, including the largest U.S. banks based on assets, debit card volume, internet search traffic and other factors; the nation's largest credit unions, based on deposits as well as broad-based membership requirements; and other notable and/or emerging players in the industry. We rated them on criteria including annual percentage rates, minimum balances, fees, digital experience and more.
Financial institutions surveyed include: Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, Alliant Credit Union, Ally Bank, America First Credit Union, American Express, Associated Bank, Axos Bank, Bank5 Connect, Bank7, Bank of America, Bank of the West, Barclays, BB&T, BBVA, Boeing Employees Credit Union, BMO Harris, Capital One 360, Charles Schwab Bank, Chase, Chime, CIBC US, CIT, Citibank, Citizens Access, Citizens Bank, Comenity Direct, Comerica Bank, Commerce Bank, Connexus Credit Union, Consumers Credit Union, Discover Bank, E-Trade, Fifth Third Bank, First Foundation Bank, First National Bank, First Tech Federal Credit Union, Flagstar Bank, FNBO Direct, GoBank, Golden 1 Credit Union, GS Bank, HSBC Bank USA, Huntington Bank, KeyBank, Live Oak Bank, M&T Bank, Nationwide Bank, Navy Federal Credit Union, NBKC Bank, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, PNC, Popular Direct, PurePoint Financial, Radius, Redneck Bank, Regions Bank, Salem Five Direct, Sallie Mae Bank, Santander Bank, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, Security Service Federal Credit Union, Service Credit Union, State Employees’ Credit Union of North Carolina, Suncoast Credit Union, SunTrust Bank, Synchrony Bank, TAB Bank, TCF Bank, TD Bank, TIAA Bank, Union Bank, UFB Direct, USAA, U.S. Bank, Varo, Vio, Wells Fargo, Woodforest Bank and Zions Bank.