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BBVA Compass Bank Review: Checking, Savings and CDs

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BBVA Compass Bank
NerdWallet’s rating: 3.5 / 5.0
3.5 stars out of 5

BBVA Compass
Learn more
at BBVA Compass
BBVA Compass doesn’t offer much beyond the standard checking and savings options, and the rates on most of its accounts leave something to be desired. The bank’s most compelling feature is its prepaid debit card, which charges fewer fees than many of its competitors and refunds one out-of-network ATM fee per month.

BBVA Compass has about 700 locations in seven states. About half of the branches are in Texas, but customers elsewhere can get their questions answered on its easy-to-use and informative website.

The bottom line:

  • BBVA branches can be found in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico and Texas.
  • Though interest rates are low, BBVA offers accessible, no-frills deposit accounts.
  • With a quality website, highly rated apps and strong customer service, BBVA shines most in its customer experience.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best checking accounts of 2017

Our Ratings
Checking accounts3.5 stars out of 5
Savings & money market accounts2.5 stars out of 5
Certificates of deposit (CDs)2.5 stars out of 5
Customer experience4.5 stars out of 5
Overdraft fees2.0 stars out of 5
Overall3.5 stars out of 5

Read on for more details about BBVA Compass’s checking and savings accounts, CDs, customer experience and fees.

Checking accounts

3.5 stars out of 5
3.5 / 5.0

Though you won’t earn any interest on BBVA’s ClearChoice Free Checking, the account is easy to open and has no monthly fees.

ProsCons
• No monthly fees on ClearChoice Free Checking.

• Minimum opening deposit is a manageable $25.
• Free Checking users can only make fee-free withdrawals at 1,000 BBVA ATMs, so the $2.50 out-of-network fees could add up.

• No interest earned.
Account reviewed for rating: ClearChoice Free Checking

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best checking accounts for college students

Savings and money market accounts

2.5 stars out of 5
2.5 / 5.0

Although the quarterly fee is fairly easy to avoid, the ClearChoice Savings account gets dinged for its low interest rate.

ProsCons
• It's relatively easy to avoid the $15 quarterly maintenance fee by keeping a minimum daily balance of at least $500 or with an automatic monthly transfer of $25 from a BBVA checking account.• Pays annual percentage yields of only 0.05%.

• The $15 quarterly fee can add up if you don't meet the criteria to avoid it.
Account reviewed for rating: ClearChoice Savings

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best savings accounts

Certificates of deposit

2.5 stars out of 5
2.5 / 5.0

Standard rates vary by state, but BBVA CD rates are low across the board. You might be better off putting your money in a high-yield savings account.

ProsCons
• Offers nine term lengths, from one month to four years.

• Allows customers in every state except Alaska and Hawaii to open featured online CDs.
• Requires a $500 minimum deposit for all CDs.

• Rates are low — higher ones can be found at online-only banks.

Customer experience

4.5 stars out of 5
4.5 / 5.0

You won’t come across a BBVA branch as often as you will one for banking behemoths such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America. However, you can always get help on BBVA’s website, which does a good job of highlighting its various accounts and fees — and how to avoid them.

The bank also offers a wide range of customer service avenues, including chat, Twitter and the ability to schedule a call in advance. BBVA’s mobile apps have received solid reviews, and its website is clean and easy to navigate, with fees listed clearly.

Overdraft fees

2.0 stars out of 5
2.0 / 5.0

If you are likely to keep overdrawing on your account,  BBVA isn’t the best bank for you. It charges an exceptionally steep $38 overdraft fee — $32 for California residents — up to six times per day. The bank will charge an additional $25 fee if your account has a negative balance for 10 consecutive calendar days, and an extra $25 if the account remains in the red for another 10 days.

Higher rates, fewer fees exist elsewhere

BBVA Compass
Learn more
at BBVA Compass
If there’s a branch nearby and you’re looking for convenience, BBVA Compass will do. But if you want high savings rates or a more lenient overdraft policy, you’ll be happier banking elsewhere.

Consider online-only banks, which typically have the best checking accounts and high-yield savings accounts.

Tony Armstrong is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: tony@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @tonystrongarm.

Updated Dec. 16, 2016.


RATINGS METHODOLOGY

For banks and credit unions, NerdWallet’s overall rating is a weighted average of each subcategory: checking accounts, savings and money market accounts, CDs, customer experience and other fees. Factors we consider, depending on the subcategory, include rates and fees, ATM and branch access, account features and limits, user-facing tech and customer service. Several Nerds contribute to each financial institution’s ratings to ensure consistency and accuracy.

What the ratings mean:
5 stars out of 5 — Among the very best
4.5 stars out of 5 — Very good; only minor caveats for most customers
4 stars out of 5 — Good; issues that might make a difference to some customers
3.5 stars out of 5 — Fair; make sure strengths and weaknesses are a good match for you
3 stars out of 5 — Poor; proceed with great caution
2.5 stars out of 5 (or below) — Best to avoid