The Best Bank for You, 2020

We've identified the banks and credit unions that offer the best combination of high rates, low fees and a customer-friendly focus.

If you're in the market for a new bank, your priorities may be shifting as the U.S. faces a recession and grapples with the continuing effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The interest paid on bank accounts has declined sharply since the Federal Reserve slashed short-term rates earlier this year. At the same time, the personal savings rate among consumers hit a record 33% in April, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, and bank deposits are on the rise. 

Another change: Going to a branch is less than desirable when social distancing is the norm. Branch visits in many areas were down by 30% to 40% this spring, according to research firm Novantas, and many banks closed their lobbies or reduced hours to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Only 45% of customers expect to go back to their regular branch activities after social distancing ends, according to a Novantas survey. As Americans began receiving government stimulus checks in April, new registrations for bank mobile apps increased by about 200%, and bank app usage more than doubled at one point, according to financial-technology company FIS

Whether you're on the hunt for a higher yield on your checking or savings account, aiming to do more of your banking online, or looking for a bank with branches nearby, you'll likely find an institution to suit your needs among our list of the best banks and credit unions, which we evaluated with the help of Informa Financial Intelligence, a financial research service. All of them offer mobile apps that allow you to deposit checks, review account balances and perform other banking activities on the go, and you can often open accounts online or over the phone. 

To help you narrow the choices, we've divided our winners into several categories. We've awarded gold, silver and bronze medals to national banks, internet banks and credit unions. We've also named winners and runners-up among institutions best suited for high-net-worth families, retirees and parents and kids

As you evaluate your options, keep in mind that account interest rates fluctuate regularly, so it's wise to check an institution's current yields before you commit. Rates listed here are as of mid June.

Licensing Options for Winning Banks: Logo LicensingReprint/E-Print ProductsPlaques

Best National Banks

These big institutions have branches that stretch into various regions of the country, and they offer plenty of online and mobile tools, too. They also provide wealth-management and advisory services.

Best Internet Banks

Thanks to smaller overhead costs, banks that operate primarily online usually offer higher interest rates and lower fees than brick-and-mortar institutions. And during a pandemic, their no-touch services are more attractive than ever. If you're thinking about making the switch, consider these banks.

Best Credit Unions

Credit unions are not-for-profit institutions owned by their members, and the ones listed here offer membership to anyone in the U.S. These credit unions also participate in the CO-OP Shared Branch network, through which customers can get account services at any participating credit union branch.

Best Banks for High-Net-Worth Families

These banks cut fees and load on benefits for customers who keep sizable amounts in deposit and investment accounts. Plus, they offer wealth-management services and access to branches for in-person service. Take a look at our top picks.

Best Banks for Retirees

Low or no minimum account balances, free checks and paper statements, and access to investment and advisory services make these banks attractive for retirees.

Best Banks for Parents and Kids

These banks offer dedicated accounts for children and teens, plus a host of great accounts for parents, too. See our top picks.

How We Chose the Top Financial Institutions

With data from Informa Financial Intelligence, as well as from financial institutions and other sources, we evaluated 17 national and large regional banks, 14 credit unions, and 14 internet banks (including online accounts from brokerage firms). We reviewed checking accounts, savings accounts, money market deposit accounts and certificates of deposit from each institution. We looked at interest rates; minimum deposit and balance requirements; monthly maintenance fees and the ease of waiving those fees; ATM benefits, such as waived or reimbursed fees for out-of-network withdrawals; free or discounted benefits, such as personal checks, cashier's checks, paper statements, overdraft-protection transfers and other items; and online and mobile banking features, such as the availability of peer-to-peer payment services. 

Informa Financial Intelligence compiled the data as reported by the financial institutions that it tracks; the information is subject to change.

LICENSING OPTIONS FOR WINNING BANKS: Logo LicensingReprint/E-Print ProductsPlaques

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