Santander Bank Review: Checking, Savings and CDs

Santander Bank offers solid options for basic checking, savings and CDs. But rates are generally low, and overdraft fees are steep.
Jan 11, 2022

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Overall bank rating

Santander Bank, National Association
  • Savings

  • Checking

  • CD rates

  • Banking experience

  • Overdraft fees

3.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

Santander Bank has thousands of ATMs and hundreds of branches, mostly across the Northeast. It charges monthly fees for its checking and savings accounts, but those fees are easy to waive. Just watch out for low interest rates and high overdraft fees.

Pros

  • Strong presence in the Northeast: over 2,000 ATMs and about 500 branches mostly across that region.
  • Overdraft fee charged only if your account is overdrawn by $100 or more.

Cons

  • Basic checking account earns no interest.
  • Low savings account rates.
  • Steep overdraft fees.

Full review

Santander Bank, National Association Savings Account
Santander Bank, National Association Savings Account

Savings

Member FDIC

3.5

/5
 NerdWallet rating 
APY
0.03%
With $0.01 min. balance for APY

For the Santander Bank savings account, all it takes to avoid the $1 fee is to also have a Santander checking account. A $100 average daily balance also does the trick. But the savings rate is lower than the already poor national average of 0.13%.

» For higher savings rates, check out NerdWallet’s best high-yield online savings accounts

Santander Bank, National Association Simply Right® Checking
Santander Bank, National Association Simply Right® Checking

Checking

Member FDIC

3.5

/5
 NerdWallet rating 
Monthly fee
$10.00

Simply Right Checking waives its $10 fee if you make one transaction every month, whether that’s a deposit, withdrawal, transfer or payment. There’s no minimum balance requirement to maintain the account, but you need $25 to open it. Simply Right Checking accounts do not earn interest.

With Santander, you get access to over 2,000 ATMs, including those in many CVS Pharmacy locations. But Simply Right Checking has high fees for out-of-network ATMs and international purchases. The bank charges $3 to withdraw from domestic non-Santander ATMs, on top of any fees the ATM owner may charge. If you use a debit card at an international ATM, the fee is $6 plus 4% of the withdrawal amount. There is one exception: It’s free to withdraw from Santander ATMs in Mexico.

» Compare NerdWallet’s best free checking accounts

Santander Bank, National Association CD
Santander Bank, National Association CD

CD

Member FDIC

3.0

/5
 NerdWallet rating 
3-year APY
0.40%
Minimum deposit
$500

You need just $500 to open a CD at Santander. Compare that with other banks that set the minimum at $1,000 or more. But the CDs generally earn low rates. While you can find reasonable rates on some Santander CDs with unusual term lengths, most are not competitive. You must also go into a branch to open a CD, which may prove difficult if you don’t live in the Northeast or Miami.

» Want to see more short-term CDs? See the best 1-year CDs this month

Banking experience

3.5

NerdWallet rating 

You can reach customer service representatives by phone from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, seven days a week. Other options include contacting Santander on Twitter or visiting one of its over 500 branches. The bank also has solid mobile app ratings.

Overdraft fees

3.0

NerdWallet rating 

Santander charges $35 for overdrafts — which is typical for a big bank, according to a NerdWallet study. Santander does give more wiggle room than other banks that charge overdraft fees: The fee is charged when your account is overdrawn by more than $100. Other banks charge an overdraft fee if your account is overdrawn by more than $1.

You can be charged the overdraft fee up to three times a day. And leaving an account with a negative balance for five consecutive business days results in an additional $35 extended overdraft fee. Not every bank charges this fee. You should also know that if the bank declines a transaction because it would cause you to overdraw your account, you’ll still be charged a $35 fee.

There is no fee for overdraft protection transfers from a linked savings account.

Santander Bank, National Association Savings Account
Santander Bank, National Association Savings Account

Savings

Member FDIC

3.5

/5
 NerdWallet rating 
APY
0.03%
With $0.01 min. balance for APY

For the Santander Bank savings account, all it takes to avoid the $1 fee is to also have a Santander checking account. A $100 average daily balance also does the trick. But the savings rate is lower than the already poor national average of 0.13%.

» For higher savings rates, check out NerdWallet’s best high-yield online savings accounts

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, banking 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.