What Bank Is Best for You? Take Our Quiz to Find Out

You can get a recommendation by answering a few questions.
Dec 23, 2021

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Finding the best bank for you might start with knowing what’s out there. Checking and savings accounts can vary wildly in features and perks depending on where you bank.

Take our quiz below to find the best banking institution for you. You can focus on just a new checking or savings account, or a combination at the same bank.

Here are some quick notes:

  • Use the quiz as a starting point. If the first recommendation is perfect for you, that’s great. But feel free to click for more options or start over. This quiz is free and requires no sign-up.

  • Not every institution shown is a traditional bank. In fact, our recommendations include brick-and-mortar and online-only banks as well as credit unions, the not-for-profit equivalent to banks. We also include neobanks, financial tech firms that offer banking accounts with FDIC insurance generally through bank partnerships. They each have pros and cons. Learn more about types of institutions in our guide to how to choose a bank.

How NerdWallet chose these recommendations: For all banks, credit unions and neobanks (or fintech platforms) that we review, we analyze dozens of data points for each financial institution and calculate star ratings. (For more details about ratings, see our methodology.)

These ratings help us compare the best checking accounts, savings accounts and certificates of deposit. Some account features, such as access to a branch network, required a deeper look at institutions that have highly rated accounts as well as the additional feature.

Other things to consider

  • Not sure what a term means? See our glossary below.

  • You can have multiple checking and savings accounts. Some people use savings accounts like a modern-day envelope system: one for emergencies, another for vacation, etc. Having multiple checking accounts is not as common, but you may decide to open a new one where you have a mortgage or other loan to make payments easy.

  • Many institutions with highly rated checking and savings accounts don’t have a branch network. Often you’ll find online-only banks and credit unions with high savings rates, which is in part due to having lower overhead costs than brick-and-mortar banks. If you’re firm about needing branch access, though, the quiz provides some options.

Types of bank accounts in this quiz

Types of financial institutions in this quiz

  • National brick-and-mortar banks: These banks typically have large nationwide ATM and branch networks. (See the largest banks in the U.S.)

  • Online banks and credit unions: These internet-only institutions often have no monthly fees on checking accounts and high rates on savings accounts. (See the best online banks.)

  • Brick-and-mortar credit unions: Some of these credit unions have both a large shared branch network and checking or savings accounts with rates or rewards you’d find at an online-only institution. (See the best credit unions.)

  • Neobanks: These financial tech platforms can have comparable checking or savings accounts with online banks. (See a list of neobanks.)

Banking terms to know

Here are some terms you may see in the quiz, along with their definitions in case you’re not familiar with them:

APY: Annual percentage yield, or the amount of interest a bank account can earn in a year, including compounded interest. (See full definition.)

Bitcoin: The first and most popular cryptocurrency. At least one bank has a way to earn Bitcoin as a checking reward. (See full definition.)

Brick-and-mortar bank: A bank that has branches. In-person interactions may still be necessary for some transactions, though most everyday banking can be done online. (See reasons to keep a bank with branches.)

Cash back: A type of checking account reward in which you make a debit card purchase and receive a percentage of the purchase amount back. It’s more common to see credit cards with cash back than debit cards.

CD: Certificate of deposit. This type of savings account has a fixed rate and an upfront deposit which you keep untouched for an agreed-upon period of months to years. (See full definition.)

Checking account: A common type of bank account that has multiple ways to deposit and withdraw money, such as through debit cards, online transfers, and transactions at ATMs and branches. (See full definition.)

Credit unions: These not-for-profit, member-owned financial institutions offer similar accounts and services as banks. (See full definition.)

Early withdrawal penalty: The main type of fee that CDs have. If you take money from a CD before its term expires, you may pay an amount equal to several months or even a year’s worth of interest earned on that CD. (See more about this penalty.)

Monthly fees: Banks can charge this maintenance fee on a monthly cadence if you don’t maintain a certain checking or savings account balance, among other requirements. Many online banks and credit unions offer free checking accounts, meaning they have no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements associated with a fee.

Overdraft fees: This fee gets charged if a transaction pushes your checking account balance negative. Banks choose how many fees can be charged per day. (See full definition.)

Overdraft transfers: Also called overdraft protection transfers. This alternative to standard overdraft coverage lets checking account customers link up a savings account at the same bank. If a checking transaction would go red, a transfer from savings occurs automatically to cover the cost. There can be a fee. (See full definition.)

Share certificates: Also called certificates. Some credit unions use this name for their CDs.

Shared branch network: A solution for credit unions to offer nationwide access to services at branches beyond an individual credit union’s locations. The Co-op network, in particular, is a way for credit unions to compete with banks that offer big individual branch networks.

Savings account: A common type of bank account that earns interest and lets you store cash for future use. There are three types of savings accounts: regular savings accounts (often referred to as just savings accounts), certificates of deposit, and money market accounts. Regular savings accounts and MMAs can have a limit on the number of monthly withdrawals. CDs typically have one withdrawal only. (See full definitions of savings accounts and MMAs.)

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