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By Leslie Cook
October 28, 2020
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One of the benefits of getting older is the perks you’re offered. You can qualify for discounts on theater tickets, car rentals, hotel stays — and bank accounts.

Senior checking accounts share many of the features of regular checking accounts. The main difference is in the fees. Banks will either waive or reduce standard account fees in an effort to establish better banking relationships with seniors, who might go on to purchase CDs, take out a HELOC or personal loan, or open savings accounts.

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To pick the Best Bank for Seniors, we looked at senior-specific checking accounts at the 23 largest national banks, those with deposits of over $100 billion. We looked for accounts that offered attractive interest rates while charging low or no monthly service fees or overdraft/insufficient fund fees. Finally, we also looked for high ratings for the bank’s mobile app.

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Best Bank for Senior Checking: TD Bank

Why it wins: TD’s 60 Plus Senior Checking account, available to customers age 60 and up, is our pick for its no opening balance requirement, easily waived fees, and the interest it pays on deposits.

While relatively slight, the accounts 0.03% in interest, as of Oct. 8, is unusual among checking accounts. Other benefits include free money orders and official bank checks, and, if you’re not a fan of e-statements, free paper statements. TD also offers a 0.25% rate discount on home equity and personal loans as part of the account perks.

There is a $10 monthly service fee, but it can be waived by maintaining a reasonable daily balance of $250 in the account. The TD Bank account can be opened one of three ways: in person at a bank branch, by phone, or online, and there is no fee to open the account.

As part of the 60 Plus Senior Checking Account, you’ll have fee-free access to TD’s 1900 ATM machines throughout the country.

Caveat: Most of TD’s bank branches are concentrated on the East Coast, so if you prefer doing your banking in-branch, TD may not be the best option. TD also charges a $3 transaction fee for using out-of-network ATMs, which isn’t the highest fee out there but also isn’t the lowest.

Runners Up:

PNC Virtual Wallet: PNC will waive the $7 monthly service fee on its Virtual Wallet checking account if you’re 62 or older. You can open an account with as little as $25, and enjoy fee-free transactions at over 9,000 PNC ATMs. There is a $3 fee for out-of-network ATM use.

The Virtual Wallet account is divided into three - the Spend portion is your primary checking account; the Reserve portion is an interest-bearing checking account; and the Growth portion is an interest-bearing savings account. Interest rates vary between 0.01% and a maximum of 0.03%.

BB&T: BB&T’s Senior Checking Account is available for those 55 years or older, which is the lowest age threshold of all the accounts we looked at and can be opened with a minimum $100 deposit. There is a $10 monthly service fee, but it can be waived if you keep a balance of $1,000 or have a monthly direct deposit of $500 or more.

You’ll get a free traditional “wallet-style” checks with this account or a $6 discount on the cost of other check designs. If you also happen to have a certificate of deposit with BB&T, having a Senior Checking account allows you to make one early withdrawal during the CDs term without penalty to take care of a medical emergency.

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To produce this year’s Best Bank rankings, Money reviewed account information for 23 of the biggest traditional banks that have both branches and online banking and deposits of over $100 billion. The account information included account minimums and qualifications, interest rates, monthly service fees, ATM fees, overdraft fees, overdraft protection fees, insufficient funds fees, debit card replacement fees, domestic wire transfer fees, and online banking capabilities. When selecting finalists, priority was given to checking and savings accounts with no or easily waived monthly fees, free ATMs, and higher interest rates. In naming free accounts, we assumed customers would be okay with receiving e-statements to avoid a monthly fee. Money’s editorial team fact-checked information in October.

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