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5 Best National Banks of 2019

Feb. 15, 2019
Banking, Banks & Credit Unions, Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts
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The best national banks are available across the country and offer extensive ATM networks as well as features like sign-up bonuses and strong interest rates. Some have brick-and-mortar locations, and others are available only online.

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. You can read more about each in our reviews.

  1. Chase: Great sign-up bonuses; nearly 5,000 branches and 16,000 ATMs.
  2. Bank of America: Polished online experience; about 4,400 branches and 16,300 ATMs.
  3. Wells Fargo: Easy-to-waive monthly fees on checking; about 5,700 branches and 13,000 ATMs.
  4. U.S. Bank: Solid promotional CD rates; about 3,000 branches and 4,800 ATMs.
  5. PNC Bank: Online account options and tools; about 2,600 branches and 9,000 ATMs.
  6. TD Bank: Long branch hours; about 1,300 branches and 1,900 ATMs.


» If you’re interested in the best banks and credit unions overall
, check out NerdWallet’s 2019 picks

Brick-and-mortar banks
Chase Bank
Chase

at Chase,

Member, FDIC

3.5 NerdWallet rating
  • $200 sign-up bonus for new checking accounts and $150 for new savings (both expire 7/15/19)
  • Nearly 5,000 branches in about 30 states and D.C.
  • What else we like about it
Bank of America
3.5 NerdWallet rating
  • In-app virtual financial assistant Erica can help with banking tasks
  • About 4,400 branches in about 40 states and D.C.
  • What else we like about it
Online banks
Discover Bank
Discover

at Discover,

Member, FDIC

4.5 NerdWallet rating
Ally Bank
4.5 NerdWallet rating
Alliant Credit Union
4.5 NerdWallet rating

Best National Banks

Chase

Chase

at Chase,

Member, FDIC

Sign-up bonuses set Chase apart from other large banks, and it has locations and ATMs across the U.S. 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 7/15/19).
  • Fees are avoidable: Sidestep monthly charges on checking by using direct deposits, maintaining minimum daily account balances or keeping a certain amount across all Chase accounts.
  • Low rates: APYs are minimal for savings products.
  • Many branches and ATMs: Chase has nearly 5,000 branches across about 30 states, and 16,000 ATMs.

» Interested in sign-up bonuses? See what other banks are offering

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 4,300 branches in about 40 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 using direct deposit or keeping a minimum balance.

Discover Bank

Discover

at Discover,

Member, FDIC

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 checking and savings accounts.

» Find savings account with rates well over 2% on NerdWallet’s list of best savings accounts

Ally Bank

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 monthly fees: There are no monthly fees on checking and savings accounts.
  • High rates: Interest rates are competitive across savings and certificates of deposit.

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.
  • Easy-to-avoid fees, no minimum balances: Monthly fees can be easily dodged, and there is no minimum balance requirement on checking accounts.

Best national banks of 2019

Financial institutionInterest rate on savingsMinimum deposit to open savings
Discover Bank2.10%$0
Ally Bank2.20%$0
Alliant Credit Union2.10%$0
Chase Bank0.01% (Rate effective as of 3/15/19. Interest rates are variable and subject to change.)$25
Bank of America0.03%$100

» 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.

Best National Banks 2019

  1. Discover: Online bank with a high savings rate and cash-back checking.
  2. Ally Bank: Online bank with high APYs and no monthly fees.
  3. Alliant Credit Union: Online credit union with high rates and a huge ATM network.
  4. Chase: Brick-and-mortar bank with great sign-up bonuses and a large branch network.
  5. Bank of America: Brick-and-mortar bank with many customer service options.


METHODOLOGY

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 brick-and-mortar banks with at least 1,000 branches in at least 15 states.

Financial institutions surveyed include: Alaska USA Federal Credit UnionAlliant Credit UnionAlly BankAmerica First Credit UnionAmerican ExpressAspirationAssociated BankAxos BankBank5 Connect, Bank7, Bank of AmericaBank of the WestBarclays, BB&T, BBVA CompassBoeing Employees Credit Union, BMO Harris, Capital One 360Charles Schwab BankChaseChimeCITCitibankCitizens AccessCitizens Bank, Comerica Bank, Commerce BankConnexus Credit UnionConsumers Credit UnionDiscover Bank, E-Trade, FidelityFifth Third BankFirst National BankFirst Tech Federal Credit UnionGoBankGolden 1 Credit UnionGS BankHSBC Bank USAHuntington BankKeyBank, MetaBank, M&T BankMovenNavy Federal Credit UnionPentagon Federal Credit UnionPNC, Popular Direct, PurePoint Financial, Radius Bank, Redneck Bank, Regions BankSallie Mae BankSantander Bank, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, Security Service Federal Credit Union, Service Credit Union, SimpleState Employees’ Credit Union of North CarolinaState Farm BankSuncoast Credit Union, SunTrust Bank, Synchrony BankTCF BankTD BankTIAA BankUnion BankUFB DirectUSAAU.S. BankVaroWells Fargo and Zions Bank.

How we rate banks and credit unions