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Bank of the West Review: Checking, Savings and CDs

Banking, Banks & Credit Unions, CDs, Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts
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Bank of the West Review: Checking, Savings and CDs

Bank of the West
NerdWallet’s rating: 3.0 / 5.0

Bank of the West’s checking and savings accounts are fairly unimpressive, but monthly maintenance fees are easy to avoid. The bank’s physical presence is limited to Wisconsin and 18 states west of it.

The bottom line

  • Solid sign-up bonus (expires Sept. 27) but comparatively low returns on savings
  • Easy-to-waive monthly fees for basic checking and savings, but accounts earn little to no interest
  • Few branches in most of the 19 states it covers. Nearly half of its brick-and-mortar banks are in California.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best checking accounts

Read on for more details about Bank of the West’s checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit, bank experience and fees.

Checking

3.5 / 5.0

At $150, the sign-up bonus for opening an Any Deposit Checking account is good, but you won’t earn any interest from the account over the long run. Another downside is the limited ATM network, which consists of only about 600 machines.

On the plus side, avoiding the $10 monthly fee is easy: Either receive at least one direct deposit per month, or make at least one monthly mobile, ATM or in-branch deposit. The fee is also waived for account holders under 25 years of age.

ProsCons
  • $150 sign-up bonus. To get $100, open an account by Sept. 27 and receive a direct deposit of at least $250. Earn an additional $50 by making at least 10 debit card purchases for two months.
  • No minimum deposit requirement


  • No interest earned

  • Small ATM network
 Account reviewed for rating: Any Deposit Checking.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best free checking accounts

Savings

2.5 / 5.0
Bank of the West’s Classic Savings account earns just 0.01% annual percentage yield in most states (0.02% in Arizona, Utah and Wyoming), and there’s a $5 monthly fee. The bank waives the fee for three types of customer: those 18 or younger, those who keep an average balance of $300 a month ($50 in Minnesota), and checking customers who set up automatic monthly transfers of at least $25 into their savings.

ProsCons
  • Low minimum opening deposit of $25
  • Monthly fees
  • Low interest rate

 Account reviewed for rating: Classic Savings.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best savings accounts

Certificates of deposit

1.5 / 5.0
Bank of the West’s Flexible-Term CDs vary in length, but the rates are universally low. Rates vary by state; in California, they top out at 0.65% while residents of Iowa qualify for the highest rates, which max out at 1.15%. The minimum opening deposit is $1,000.

ProsCons
  • True to its name, Flexible-Term CD available for terms of 32 days to about 5 years
  • California residents can lock in rates from 0.03% APY to 0.65% APY, with longer terms earning higher rates. Rates vary by state.
 Account reviewed for rating: Flexible-Term CDs.

Bank experience

4.5 / 5.0
You can easily navigate the bank’s homepage for different accounts, but the FAQ page is not readily visible or especially helpful. Customer support is convenient thanks to the live chat feature on the site, a Twitter account for customer questions and extensive phone hours that stretch into the weekend.

Both the iOS and Android mobile apps receive solid ratings and let customers make mobile check deposits.

The bank has over 200 branches in California, but few other states have more than 30 locations.

Overdraft fees

2.0 / 5.0

The overdraft fee is $35 in most of the states the bank serves, and there’s a limit of four fees per day. But there’s good news for folks who don’t overdraw their account often: Bank of the West will waive one overdraft fee every 12 months, if you ask.

If your account is overdrawn by at least $15 for five straight business days, you’ll be charged $30 on the sixth day. You can get overdraft protection by linking your savings account, but that will cost $12 each day that a transfer is made. You can also apply for an overdraft line of credit, though this also comes with several fees.

» MORE: Best banks and credit unions on the West Coast

Not the best option, but good for some

Bank of the West’s fees, generally low interest rates and limited ATM network leave a lot to be desired. But if you live in California and want to be able to visit a branch, you might find an account here that can serve you well.

Spencer Tierney is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: spencer@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @SpencerNerd.

Updated Aug. 25, 2017.


Ratings methodology

NerdWallet’s overall ratings for banks and credit unions are weighted averages of several categories: checking, savings, certificates of deposit or credit union share certificates, bank experience and overdraft fees.

Factors we consider, depending on the category, include rates and fees, ATM and branch access, account features and limits, user-facing technology, customer service and innovation.

The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.