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M&T Bank Review: Checking, Savings and CDs

Banking, Banks & Credit Unions, CDs, Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts
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M&T Bank Review: Appealing features and support — if you can avoid the fees story

NerdWallet’s rating: 2.5 / 5.0
2.5 stars out of 5

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M&T Bank is a strong regional bank with nearly 800 branches. If you’re in the neighborhood, it could be a good choice for you. Note, however, that its checking and savings accounts have the high fees and low savings yields you might expect to find at large national banks.

The bottom line

  • The majority of M&T’s branches are in New York, Pennsylvania and the greater Washington, D.C., area
  • It’s fairly easy to get checking account service fees waived
  • Savings accounts rates are below average

» Want to see what nearby banks have to offer? Our experts rounded up the four best banks and credit unions in the Northeast

Read on for more details about M&T’s checking and savings accounts, CDs, customer experience and overdraft fees.

Checking accounts

3.5 stars out of 5
3.5 / 5.0

It takes just $25 to open a checking account at M&T Bank, and there are five to choose from, with features that vary depending on bank balance and account use. The entry-level EZChoice Checking account has a $6.95 monthly fee, but it’s easy to get it waived. All you have to do is make at least one transaction a month.

ProsCons
  • $6.95 monthly fee is easy to get waived by making at least one transaction — a deposit, withdrawal, or check or debit card purchase
  • 1,800 surcharge-free ATMs
  • Low $25 minimum deposit to open account
  • Doesn't earn interest
  • EZChoice Checking customers face a $3 fee for out-of-network ATM use
Account reviewed for rating: EZChoice Checking

» Learn more about the best checking accounts with low fees, good rates and convenient ATM access

Savings accounts

2.0 stars out of 5
2.0 / 5.0

M&T’s Relationship Savings charges a $7.50 monthly fee. The requirements are fairly easy to meet to get the fee waived, but if you don’t meet them each month, your savings account could actually lose money.

ProsCons
  • Relationship Savings has a monthly fee of $7.50. It can be avoided by:

    • Making at least one deposit in your account per month

    • Keeping a minimum balance of $500

    • Opening a high-end M&T Bank checking account

  • At 0.02% annual percentage yield, interest rates on the Relationship Savings account are less than half the national average

Account reviewed for rating: Relationship Savings

» Looking for a savings account with higher yields? See our roundup of best savings accounts

Certificates of deposit

2.0 stars out of 5
2.0 / 5.0

The initial deposit requirement for a CD is $1,000, which is standard for large banks. Many online banks and credit unions, however, have certificates with lower deposit minimums and earn better rates.

ProsCons
  • Customers have several CDs to choose from, with terms that range from 32 days to six years
  • Rates on short-term CDs are mostly below average
  • Steep initial deposit requirement of $1,000
  • To open some M&T Bank CDs with terms between six months and three years, customers must first open a premium M&T checking account

» Compare CD rates with our monthly best CD rates roundup

Bank experience

3.5 stars out of 5
3.5 / 5.0

M&T Bank operates primarily in the mid-Atlantic region. If you live within its footprint, you’ll have access to nearly 800 branches and 1,800 ATMs.

If you prefer to bank online, M&T’s website and apps offer funds transfers, bill pay and mobile check deposit. The bank’s iOS and Android apps have average reviews. Some users complain that the apps crash or freeze too often.

Live customer service is available seven days a week, with extended hours on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.

Overdraft fees

1.5 stars out of 5
1.5 / 5.0

If you have a checking account at M&T, keep a close eye on your balance. If you make a transaction when the balance is below zero, M&T Bank charges an overdraft fee of $38.50 per transaction, which is more than what even some of the largest banks charge. The bank will cap the fees at five per day (for a possible total of $192.50).

To avoid an overdraft, you can link an M&T savings account or line of credit to your checking account, but there is a $12.50 charge each day a transfer is made. The line of credit has an interest rate of 18%. Fees add up quickly, so if you think you’ll have trouble with overdrafts, you may want to find a bank with a friendlier overdrafts policy. (Check out our list of overdraft fees by bank, including those that charge no overdraft fees.)

Basic banking

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M&T isn’t for everybody, but if you live within its territory, avoid overdrafts and meet the requirements to get monthly charges waived, the bank may serve your needs.

Otherwise, you might want to give other financial institutions a look. Online banks, for example, typically have some of the best yields for savings and checking accounts. They also have more forgiving overdraft policies that can help you hold on to your cash.

To find your best banking fit, it helps to do your homework.

See our picks for best checking accounts, and compare interest ratings among top high-yield online savings accounts.

Tony Armstrong is a writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: tony@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @tonystrongarm. NerdWallet writer Devan Goldstein contributed to this article.

Updated Sept. 20, 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, customer 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.