What is the best bank?

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It is perhaps unsurprising that the three largest financial institutions in the United States are Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo. If you’re looking for a brick-and-mortar banking experience, these three are easily among the first that come to mind for their national presence.

But could one bank be a better fit for you than the other two? May be.

We compared checking, savings and CDs to see which bank offers the most attractive products. We also compare the reliability of financial institutions so you can see if that plays a role in your selection.

Advantages and disadvantages of Bank of America

Advantages and disadvantages of Chase

Advantages and disadvantages of Wells Fargo

Checking account comparisons

We compared three databases


check accounts

offered by each bank. You may not have to pay monthly service fees on these accounts if you are eligible to waive them.

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

Any

Minimum deposit amount

$25

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

Any

Minimum deposit amount

$25

More information
  • Access to over 7,200 branches and 13,000 ATMs
  • Waive the $10 monthly fee when you have $500 in direct deposits per month, OR maintain a minimum balance of $500, OR link the account to a Wells Fargo Campus ATM or Campus debit card OR are between 17 and 24 years
  • FDIC insured

Savings account comparisons

Most physical banks pay low interest rates on savings accounts. If you want to earn a rate above the national average, consider checking out our guide to the best savings accounts.

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

0.01% to 0.04% APY

Minimum deposit amount

$100

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

0.01% to 0.04% APY

Minimum deposit amount

$100

Benefits
  • New accounts get monthly fees waived for the first 6 months
  • Several ways to waive the monthly fee after the first 6 months
  • No excess withdrawal fees if your balance is at least $20,000 or you are a Preferred Rewards customer
The inconvenients
  • Low APY
  • Interest compounded monthly instead of daily
  • $100 opening deposit
  • $8 monthly service fee
  • $10 Excess Withdrawal Fee

Read our review
Read our review A long arrow pointing to the right

More information
  • Access to over 4,200 branches and 16,000 ATMs
  • Enjoy slightly higher rates by becoming a Preferred Rewards customer and qualifying for Gold, Platinum or Platinum Honors
  • Earn money when you make a debit or credit card purchase through the BankAmeriDeals® program; Cardholders will be automatically enrolled in the Program when setting up Online Banking and a list of eligible offers and offers will be available through Online Banking.
  • Waive the $8 monthly service fee by maintaining a balance of $500, OR by logging into your Bank of America Advantage Relationship Banking® account, OR by becoming a Preferred Rewards customer
  • Monthly fee waiver if you are a student under 24
  • Interest compounded monthly and paid monthly
  • FDIC insured

CD comparisons

Bank of America Standard Term Deposit Certificate

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

0.03% APY

Minimum deposit amount

$1,000

Bank of America Standard Term Deposit Certificate

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

0.03% APY

Minimum deposit amount

$1,000

Benefits
  • Terms from 28 days to 10 years
  • Access to over 4,200 branches and 16,000 ATMs
The inconvenients
  • Low APY
  • Interest is compounded monthly, not daily
  • $1,000 opening deposit
  • High early withdrawal penalties
More information
  • Access to over 4,200 branches and 16,000 ATMs
  • Terms ranging from 28 days to 10 years
  • Early withdrawal penalties are as follows: the greater of all interest earned or 7 days interest on the amount withdrawn for terms less than 90 days; 90 days interest for terms greater than 90 days and less than 12 months; 180 days of interest for terms of 12 months to less than 60 months; 365 days of interest on terms of 60 months or more
  • Interest compounded monthly and paid monthly
  • FDIC insured

Which bank is the most reliable?

The Better Business Bureau rates companies on how well they respond to customer issues.

The BBB has assigned Bank of America an A+ rating, Wells Fargo has an NR (“No Rating”) rating and Chase a B+ rating. Wells Fargo currently has an NR rating because it is responding to previously closed complaints, and Chase has a B+ rating due to government action taken against the company.

A good BBB rating does not necessarily mean your relationship with a bank will be smooth. Talk to current customers or read customer reviews online to get an overall view of a bank.

The three banks have also been involved in public scandals in recent years.

Here are cases in which Bank of America has recently been involved:

Chase has been in the following cases:

Wells Fargo has been in the following cases:

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