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Ratings Methodology for Banks and Credit Unions

NerdWallet adheres to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from partners. Here’s how we make money.
We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

NerdWallet’s overall ratings for banks and credit unions are weighted averages of ratings in the following categories:

  • Checking accounts.
  • Savings accounts.
  • Certificates of deposit (and share certificates, the credit union equivalent).
  • Bank experience and access.
  • Overdraft fees and policies.

Our survey of over 70 financial institutions included the largest U.S. banks by assets, debit card volume, internet search traffic and other factors, as well as the nation’s largest credit unions based on deposits and broad-based membership, plus notable or emerging players in the industry.

We considered over 25 data points for each bank and credit union. Depending on the category, these included account fees and rates (such as annual percentage yields), ATM and branch access, account features, customer service access and user-facing technology such as innovative tools and mobile apps. We gathered this information from each financial institution’s website, a media representative or both.

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

»Want to learn about where to open an account? Go to NerdWallet’s list of bank and credit union reviews.