The best national banks offer extensive ATM networks as well as features like sign-up bonuses and strong interest rates.
» Looking for the largest national banks? Jump ahead to our list.
|Alliant Credit Union|
|Bank of America|
Best National Banks
Discover is an online bank with high yields on savings and certificates of deposit, and a rewards checking account.
- Strong ATM network: Access to 60,000 fee-free ATMs
- Checking comes with rewards: 1% cash back on qualifying debit card purchases, up to $3,000 a month
- High rates: APYs on Discover Savings and certificates of deposit are highly competitive
- Fee-free: No monthly fees or minimum deposit requirements on deposit accounts
» Find savings account with rates over 1% on NerdWallet’s list of best savings accounts
Ally has no physical branches, but fees are low and interest rates are high.
- Online bank with many ATMs: Ally is an online-only bank, but you can access your cash with a robust nationwide ATM network of over 43,000 locations
- No fees: There are no monthly fees on checking and savings accounts
- High rates: Interest rates are competitive across all deposit accounts — checking, savings and certificates of deposit
Bonuses set Chase apart from other large banks. Accounts come with monthly fees that are fairly easy to avoid, but interest is low on checking and savings accounts.
- Get a bonus: The bank regularly holds promotions for new customers. A new checking account can fetch you an additional $200, and a new savings account gets you $150 (expires 4/15/19).
- Fees are avoidable: Sidestep monthly charges by linking direct deposits, minimum daily account balances or keeping a certain amount across all Chase accounts
- Low rates: APYs are minimal for both checking and savings accounts
- Many branches and ATMs: Chase has about 5,100 branches across roughly 26 states, and 16,000 ATMs
» Interested in sign-up bonuses? See what other banks are offering
Alliant Credit Union
Alliant offers nationwide accessibility, highly competitive interest rates and no monthly fees across deposit accounts.
- Online credit union with many ATMs: Easy to join and accessible mostly online, Alliant boasts an ATM network of over 80,000
- High rates: APYs on deposit accounts are competitive with other online banks
- No fees, minimum balances: No monthly fees or minimum balance requirements on checking or savings accounts, or certificates of deposit
Bank of America
Bank of America offers good accessibility and communication channels, but like other large brick-and-mortar banks, interest rates are minimal.
- Robust branch and ATM coverage: The bank has about 4,400 branches in approximately 35 states
- Easy to reach customer service: Call center hours are 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends. Bank of America’s customer service Twitter handle @BofA_Help is prompt, and chat support is available online to logged-in customers.
- Low rates: The interest is minimal on checking accounts, savings accounts and certificates of deposit
- Fees can be avoided: Fees can be avoided through qualifying activities such as linking direct deposit to your account or keeping a minimum balance
Best national banks of 2019
|Financial institution||Interest rate on savings||Minimum deposit to open|
|Chase Bank||0.01% (Rate effective as of 12/21/18. Interest rates are variable and subject to change.)||$25|
|Alliant Credit Union||2.00%||$5|
|Bank of America||0.03%||$100|
6 largest national banks
If you’re most interested in being able to visit a bank branch, you might want to explore the largest national banks instead. Here are the top six in the U.S., based on their assets, that also have at least 1,000 branches across 15 or more states.
» Wondering if better options are available at smaller banks, online banks or credit unions? See NerdWallet’s best banks and credit unions for the top accounts overall.
Keep in mind that having branch access usually means paying more in fees and earning less interest. If you’re curious what you’d be giving up in returns, run your balance through our calculator.
To determine the best accounts, 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. For this roundup, we considered only those banks with at least 1,000 branches in at least 15 states.
Financial institutions surveyed include: Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, Alliant Credit Union, Ally Bank, America First Credit Union, American Express, Aspiration, Associated Bank, Bank5 Connect, BankDirect, Bank of America, Bank of Internet, Bank of the West, Barclays, BB&T, BBVA Compass, Boeing Employees Credit Union, BMO Harris, Capital One 360, Charles Schwab Bank, Chase, Chime, CIT, Citibank, Citizens Bank, Comerica Bank, Commerce Bank, Connexus Credit Union, Consumers Credit Union, Discover Bank, TIAA Bank, Fidelity, Fifth Third Bank, First Citizens Bank, First National Bank, First Tech Federal Credit Union, GoBank, Golden 1 Credit Union, GS Bank, HSBC Bank USA, Huntington Bank, KeyBank, M&T Bank, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, PNC, PurePoint Financial, Qapital, Radius Bank, Regions Bank, Santander Bank, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, Security Service Federal Credit Union, Simple, Star One Credit Union, State Employees’ Credit Union of North Carolina, State Farm Bank, Suncoast Credit Union, SunTrust Bank, Synchrony Bank, TCF Bank, TD Bank, Union Bank, UFB Direct, USAA, U.S. Bank, Varo, Wells Fargo, Woodforest National Bank, and Zions Bank.