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TCF Bank Review: Checking and Savings

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TCF Bank Review: Checking and Savings

TCF Bank
NerdWallet’s rating: 3.0 / 5.0

3.0 stars out of 5

TCF Bank
Learn more
at TCF Bank
TCF Bank has its roots in Minnesota and has spread out to Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

TCF is a big bank with a wide range of products and a small network of branches and ATMs. It’s convenient for those who live near a TCF location, but for those who don’t,  other national banks may offer better account options.

The bottom line:

  • A small network of branches and ATMs.
  • Low savings rates.
  • Out-of-network ATM fees aren’t reimbursed on basic deposit accounts.
Our Ratings
Basic checking3.5 stars out of 5
Basic savings3.0 stars out of 5
Certificates of deposit 2.5 stars out of 5
Customer experience3.5 stars out of 5
Overdraft fees1.5 stars out of 5
Overall3.0 stars out of 5

» MORE: Best online checking accounts

Checking

3.5 stars out of 5
3.5 / 5.0
This checking account is best for customers who won’t stray from TCF Bank ATM and branch locations. Unlike some of the other checking accounts that this bank offers, the basic checking account doesn’t include two free out-of-network ATM withdrawals per statement cycle.

ProsCons
  • No monthly maintenance fee or minimum balance requirement.
  • A low deposit requirement of $25.
  • No interest earned on the basic checking account.
  • Only 341 branches for in-person banking.
  • A small network of 849 ATMs.
Account reviewed for rating: TCF Free Checking.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best national banks

Savings

3.0 stars out of 5
3.0 / 5.0

TCF’s Power Savings account comes with an interest rate that falls below the national average. Some savings products at this bank can offer slightly higher rates, but they don’t come close to the rates of 1% or higher that some online-only banks and credit unions offer.

ProsCons
  • The monthly maintenance fee of $4 is waived with a minimum balance of $100.
  • A low $25 opening deposit.
  • A low rate of 0.01% APY (rates may vary by state).
  • A withdrawal limit fee of $15 for exceeding six monthly transactions.
Account reviewed for rating: TCF Power Savings.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best money market accounts
» MORE: NerdWallet’s top high-yield savings accounts

Certificates of deposit

2.5 stars out of 5
2.5 / 5.0
TCF Bank offers a variety of fixed terms, some with special rates occasionally offered in different states. Explore other options from an online-only bank or a credit union if you’re hunting for the best rates.

ProsCons
  • A low minimum deposit of $500.
  • Term rates from three months to 10 years.
  • A 0.20% APY for two-year CDs (varies by state).
  • A 0.25% APY for three-year CDs (varies by state).
  • A 0.35% APY for five-year CDs (varies by state).
  • Matured CDs renew automatically after seven days.
  • Early withdrawal penalties apply.
Account reviewed for rating: TCF certificate of deposit.

Customer experience

3.5 stars out of 5
3.5 / 5.0
At TCF Bank, you get the experience of a big bank but with slightly higher rates. The small network of branches and ATMs is a deal breaker for basic deposit accounts, because if you travel outside of TCF Bank’s service areas you’ll likely face out-of-network fees.

Customer service is available only by phone, but you can make many transactions, such as transferring money internally or paying bills, through the website or mobile app. Transferring money to friends or loved ones at other banks isn’t an option on mobile.

Overdraft fees

1.5 stars out of 5
1.5 / 5.0
TCF Bank fees can add up quickly. The bank can charge a $37 overdraft fee up to five times in one day.

Usually you can avoid this fee with overdraft transfers, which are significantly cheaper, but TCF Bank’s fee is steep at $10. An account at this bank will require extra padding that goes beyond the minimum balance requirement to avoid these fees.

Many options that won’t grow your money

TCF Bank
Learn more
at TCF Bank
TCF Bank has an abundance of options, but they may end up costing you in fees. You can find better accounts with lower fees and higher savings at a credit union or online-only bank.

Melissa Lambarena is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: mlambarena@nerdwallet.com. Twitter:@LissaLambarena.

Verified Jan. 11, 2017.


Ratings methodology

NerdWallet’s overall rating is a weighted average of each category: checking, savings, CDs, 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 tech and customer service. Several Nerds contribute to each financial institution’s ratings to ensure consistency and accuracy.

What the ratings mean:
5 stars out of 5 — Among the very best
4.5 stars out of 5 — Very good; only minor caveats for most customers
4 stars out of 5 — Good; issues that might make a difference to some customers
3.5 stars out of 5 — Fair; make sure strengths and weaknesses are a good match for you
3 stars out of 5 — Poor; proceed with great caution
2.5 stars out of 5 (or below) — Best to avoid