Best National Banks

These brick-and-mortar banks are among the largest in the U.S., offering branches that are spread throughout multiple states. All of these institutions offer a breadth of accounts and services, including wealth and investment management.

photo illustration of a bank
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Citizens Bank

Why it won: Citizens offers a range of checking accounts to fit most needs and free financial planning services for all its customers. 

Standout account: With One Deposit Checking, avoid a $10 monthly fee by making one monthly deposit of any amount.

Where it is: About 1,100 branches in 14 states in New England, the Mid Atlantic and the Midwest. 

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Along with the basic One Deposit Checking, Citizens offers another appealing account with Quest Checking, which provides freebies including checks, money orders, wire transfers and stop payments. Plus, pay no foreign-transaction fees when you use your debit card overseas. If you have at least $5,000 in total monthly deposits to your checking account or keep at least $25,000 in combined deposit and investment balances with Citizens, you skip the account’s $25 monthly fee. Citizens also offers Private Client Checking—which provides additional benefits, such as dedicated financial advisers and up to $10 reimbursed monthly for the fees that out-of-network ATM operators charge for using their machines—for those who keep $200,000 or more in deposit and investment balances, as well as a free checking account for students younger than 25. 

The bank’s savings accounts pair with its checking accounts. One Deposit Savings waives the $5 monthly fee if you make one monthly deposit of any amount, and Quest Savings is free if you have a Quest Checking account. Among the money market deposit accounts is Quest Money Market, which yields as much as 2.75% if you put in at least $25,000 in funds not already on deposit with Citizens. The 14-month certificate of deposit yields 2.75% with a $1,000 minimum balance. 

Through Citizens Checkup, all customers get free financial-planning services from bankers, who assist with defining short- and long-term goals and planning for retirement.  

Fifth Third Bank

Why it won: Fifth Third offers a free checking account—a rare find among large brick-and-mortar institutions—and an attractive premium checking account for customers who keep high balances. 

Standout account: Momentum Checking has no monthly fee or minimum-balance requirement.

Where it is: About 1,100 branches in 11 midwestern and southern states. Rates and terms are for Cincinnati. 

Momentum Checking is a great choice for customers who want a basic checking account with no strings attached. For those who have $100,000 or more in Fifth Third deposit and investment accounts, Preferred Checking waives the $25 monthly fee, and it comes with a host of benefits, including access to a team of investment advisers and free identity-theft protection services. Other perks include free checks, money orders, cashier’s checks, stop payments and incoming wire transfers, plus reimbursement of up to 10 out-of-network ATM fees per month. Plus, Fifth Third offers a free checking account for students.

Rates on the bank’s Momentum Savings and Relationship Money Market accounts were recently just 0.01%. But the bank’s Promotional CDs offered yields of 4.85% for a five-month maturity and 4% for nine months ($5,000 minimum).  

TD Bank

Why it won: A longstanding winner among national banks in our rankings, TD Bank continues to provide a solid collection of customer-friendly accounts. 

Standout accounts: Convenience Checking requires a low minimum daily balance of $100 to avoid the $15 monthly fee, and Beyond Checking provides plenty of perks with a reasonable minimum-balance requirement. 

Where it is: More than 1,100 branches in 15 eastern states and Washington, D.C. Rates and terms are for Delaware.

Convenience Checking is TD Bank’s most popular checking account, and it charges no monthly fee for account holders age 17 through 23. Beyond Checking provides three ways to waive the $25 monthly fee: Receive monthly direct deposits of $5,000 or more, maintain a $2,500 daily checking balance or keep at least $25,000 in combined balances in eligible TD deposit accounts, mortgages, and home equity loans or lines of credit. If you keep at least $2,500 in your checking account, TD reimburses out-of-network ATM fees, and account holders also get complimentary checks, money orders, cashier’s checks, stop payments and incoming wire transfers; one outgoing wire-transfer fee is reimbursed monthly. Plus, pay no foreign-transaction fees when you use your debit card abroad.

Some of TD’s savings accounts and CDs recently offered decent yields. 

Lisa Gerstner
Editor, Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine

Lisa has been the editor of Kiplinger Personal Finance since June 2023. Previously, she spent more than a decade reporting and writing for the magazine on a variety of topics, including credit, banking and retirement. She has shared her expertise as a guest on the Today Show, CNN, Fox, NPR, Cheddar and many other media outlets around the nation. Lisa graduated from Ball State University and received the school’s “Graduate of the Last Decade” award in 2014. A military spouse, she has moved around the U.S. and currently lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two sons.