Santander is a full-service financial institution with branches from the Northeast to Pennsylvania. It also offers certificates of deposit, home and auto loans, insurance, credit cards and investment accounts.
Santander Bank may be right for you if:
- You live in the northeastern U.S. and prefer access to physical branches.
- You want checking and savings account options with low or no monthly fees, even if they don’t offer many perks.
- You’re able to deposit a minimum of $75,000 in combined accounts — or make at least $6,000 in direct deposits each month — to open an interest-bearing checking account and access personal banking services.
|Savings & money market accounts|
|Certificates of deposit|
Read on for more details about Santander’s checking and savings accounts, CDs, customer experience and fees.
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You can open a Simply Right Checking account at Santander with just $25. These accounts have a $10 monthly fee, which is waived as long as you use it to make at least one transaction — deposit, transfer, withdrawal or payment — per month. They’re no-frills and don’t earn interest. And if you travel abroad, note that Simply Right Checking accounts have relatively high international ATM fees.
Santander also has a Basic Checking account with a $3 monthly fee that the bank won’t waive, but no transaction requirements. And there’s Premium Plus Checking, which earns interest but has a $35 monthly fee. You’ll need at least $75,000 in combined account deposits or $6,000 in monthly direct deposits to avoid the fee and get the account’s best benefits: access to a personal banker and no extra charge for using out-of-network ATMs. The ATM owner might charge a separate fee.
Savings and money market accounts
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For people with at least $10,000 to deposit, Santander’s money market savings accounts shine. They offer an annual percentage yield, or APY, that ranges from 0.8% to 1.0% APY, depending on your location. The above-average yields earn the bank a spot on NerdWallet’s list of best money market accounts.
Santander also offers a basic savings account with no monthly fee on balances of at least $100, but the APY is only 0.03%, half the national average.
Certificates of deposit
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Santander provides a selection of CDs with terms ranging from three months to five years. Rates range from 0.9% APY for a 15-month term to 1.7% APY for a five-year term.
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Santander’s website has a clean, usable design, but it’s missing some crucial pieces of information. In many cases, it’s hard to pin down the interest rates, monthly fees and other essential features of specific accounts.
If you have questions, however, you can reach customer service by phone or email. Representatives are available from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time, seven days a week.
Santander Bank also has mobile banking apps for iOS and Android devices, but they tend to receive average to poor reviews in the app stores. Many complaints come from users who have a hard time using the check deposit feature.
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Santander also charges $3 per month for paper statements, but you can opt out by choosing electronic delivery.
If you think overdraft fees would be a problem for you, it’s worth considering more affordable options, such as Capital One’s 360 Checking. This account has no overdraft fees and offers free transfers from a linked savings account.
But if Santander’s fees aren’t a stumbling block and you like their offerings, it’s a decent choice for basic accounts.
This article was updated May 16, 2016. It was originally published in July 2015.
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:
— Among the very best
— Very good; only minor caveats for most customers
— Good; issues that might make a difference to some customers
— Fair; make sure strengths and weaknesses are a good match for you
— Poor; proceed with great caution
(or below) — Best to avoid