7/22/2014 3:15 PM ET|
America's biggest banks, ranked by savings accounts
Savings accounts are one of the most basic services banks offer customers. How does your bank stack up?
One of the most important considerations when choosing a new bank are the savings account offerings.
Important questions include:
What are the interest rates?
What’s the minimum balance?
And what sort of fees will customers be charged?
We looked at 10 of America’s biggest banks (to be considered, the bank had to have over $100B in deposits), then compared their savings account plans.
For each savings account, we assigned a Smart Rating out of 100 based on the following factors:
- Interest rate: the higher the better
- Monthly fees: the lower (and fewer) the better
- Minimum balance to avoid fees: the lower the better
- Account features: the more useful, the better
- Minimum balance to open: the lower the better
- ATM fees: the lower the better
- Outbound wire charges: the lower the better
- Overdraft fees: the lower the better.
Finally, we averaged the scores for all the savings account plans within each bank to give each institution one overall score.
Here’s what we found:
- No. 10: HSBC - 81
- No. 9: US Bank - 83
- No. 8: Citibank - 83
All three of these banks have higher fees than average, making them less-than-ideal for new customers—particularly those with low-balance accounts. In particular, each bank offers plans that charge a high monthly fee in exchange for high interest rates. It’s not a terrible deal, but you can find similar interest rates at other banks, under simpler, cheaper accounts.
- No. 7: Chase - 85
- No. 6: PNC - 86
- No. 5: BB&T - 87
These banks offer better rates on the whole, but have a tendency to nickel and dime customers with $10 and $20 fees—low enough that you may not mind signing up, but high enough that you’ll soon wish you picked a cheaper (or free) option. What’s more, each of these banks tends to require above-average minimum balances to avoid fees.
- No. 4: Bank of America - 88
- No. 3: Sun Trust Bank - 89
- No. 2: TD Bank - 91
When it comes to fees, Bank of America is similar to the banks in the previous category. However, with a wider array of features and lower thresholds for opening an account, the bank jumps up in the rankings. Meanwhile, Sun Trust’s fees tend to be a bit lower than other banks, earning them the third overall spot. It’s TD Bank, however, that wins outright in the fee department, providing nearly a dozen different options, complete with several $0 / month alternatives for customers looking to save.
- No. 1: Wells Fargo - 94
Wells Fargo doesn’t quite match TD Bank on fees, but it makes up for it with everything else, including class-of-the-industry features (ex: from overdraft protection to online offerings) and low new account requirements. You’ll see flashier interest rates from other banks, but for the amount you pay, Wells Fargo offers the best overall selection of savings account options.
Note: Keep in mind that these ratings assess each bank’s savings account offerings overall. Individual accounts at each bank will vary.
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You are far better off with an account at your local credit union. The fees are lower, they are still federally insured, the customer service is better, loan rates are lower, and it is easier to qualify. Why make the bankers rich when you can pay less for more?
Also the interest rates they pay on savings are higher because they are nonprofit and as a member you are like a stockholder who receives dividends.
Folks you can blame low savings rates on the Fed keeping lending rates at near zero. It makes absolutely no sense to put money in a savings account. My dad talks about the 80s. Interest rates were pretty good, but mortgage rates were awful and car loans were outright abysmal.
Not sure how much longer the FED will keep printing money, once inflations starts to really kick in, the interest rate landscape will change radically.
Wells Fargo is the sorriest bank on the planet.
The people that did this survey, were they paid off by WF?
Were they drunk or were they doing the imported weed from Mexico?
All of your large banks will pay you only what the government prescribes.
They could do better, but they would rather pay you nothing for using your money.
How does WF put it?, "Courtesy"? Get a life.
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