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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 bank or credit union in the Empire State is right for you? Here are seven of the best credit unions and banks in New York.
Best banks and credit unions in New York
Accounts: If you want rewards for debit spending, you're covered with Discover's Cashback Debit account. Customers earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month, 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 partners with two nationwide ATM networks that 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.
Alliant Credit Union
Accounts: Alliant offers a free checking account that also pays a competitive interest rate. The credit union’s High-Rate Savings account pays a competitive 0.60%, and Alliant will pay the $5 minimum deposit for you.
Access: Alliant is online only but customer service is available 24/7 by phone. Unusual for a credit union, 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: 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 as of 12/14/2021. Interest rates are variable and subject to change. The account's interest rates aren't competitive, but its monthly fee is fairly easy to avoid and the bank offers a generous sign-up promotion for new checking customers.
Access: Chase stands out when it comes to access. It has more than 4,700 branches across the country, including more than 600 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: 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 0.01% APY.
Access: M&T is a regional bank with great branch and ATM representation in New York, especially near Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse. If you’re not near home, you can also find coverage in Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. You can also use the app for banking tasks. (Read our M&T Bank review for more.)
» Renting in the Empire State? Check out the best cheap renters insurance in New York.
Accounts: Ally’s checking and savings accounts don’t charge monthly fees, and both pay interest. Its 0.60% 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 by live chat or a 24/7 phone line. Need cash? You can use Allpoint’s nationwide network of over 43,000 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 offers a basic checking account that doesn’t charge a monthly fee or have a minimum balance requirement. It also offers an account that 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. At 0.70% APY, PenFed’s online savings rate is competitive. PenFed’s money market certificates — similar to a CD — pay up to a stellar 3.00%.
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 join. You can become a member by applying for a savings account and depositing at least $5. (Check out our PenFed review.)
» Find other nonprofit financial institutions with NerdWallet’s best credit unions
Charles Schwab Bank
Accounts: Charles Schwab Bank 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 competitive, though available terms are short. And the checking account doesn't charge a fee for using your debit card overseas.
Access: Schwab Bank is another online bank, so you’ll have to do your banking using the extended-hours phone service or on the website or apps. It also offers chat support with extended weekday hours. And when it comes to cash, the bank pays unlimited rebates for fees at any ATM in the world, and doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. (Check out our Schwab Bank 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 New York and nationwide online institutions, taken from the same list in our standard methodology:
We took a close look at over 80 financial institutions and financial service providers, including the largest U.S. banks based on assets, internet search traffic and other factors; the nation’s largest credit unions, based on assets and membership; and other notable and/or emerging players in the industry. We rated them on criteria including annual percentage yields, minimum balances, fees, digital experience and more.
Financial institutions and providers surveyed are: Affirm, Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, Alliant Credit Union, Ally Bank, America First Credit Union, American Express National Bank, Axos Bank, Bank of America, Bank of the West, Bank5 Connect, Bank7, Barclays, BB&T (now Truist), BMO Harris, Boeing Employees Credit Union, BrioDirect, Capital One, Charles Schwab Bank, Chase, Chime, CIBC U.S., CIT Bank, Citibank, Citizens Access, Citizens Bank, Comenity Direct, ConnectOne Bank, Connexus Credit Union, Consumers Credit Union, Current, Discover Bank, E-Trade, Fifth Third Bank, First Foundation, First Tech Federal Credit Union, FNBO Direct, GO2bank, Golden 1 Credit Union, HSBC Bank, Huntington Bank, KeyBank, Lake Michigan Credit Union, LendingClub Bank, Live Oak Bank, M&T Bank, Marcus by Goldman Sachs, Monifi, Nationwide (by Axos), Navy Federal Credit Union, NBKC, One, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, PNC, Popular Direct, PurePoint Financial, Quontic Bank, Redneck Bank, Regions Bank, Revolut, Salem Five Direct, Sallie Mae Bank, Santander Bank, Scarlet, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, Security Service Federal Credit Union, Service Credit Union, State Employees’ Credit Union of North Carolina, Suncoast Credit Union, SunTrust Bank (now Truist), Synchrony Bank, TAB Bank, TCF Bank, TD Bank, TIAA Bank, U.S. Bank, UFB Direct, Union Bank, Upgrade, USAA Bank, Varo, Vio Bank, Wells Fargo and Zynlo Bank. How we rate banks and credit unions.