To choose this year's Best Banks, Money evaluated the largest 90 brick-and-mortar banks, 50 credit unions, and 15 online banks, as identified by bank consultancy firm Novantas. Bankrate.com, Money’s project partner, collected data on fees, interest rates, and account requirements for checking and savings accounts. Using Bankrate’s data, Money compared more than 800 accounts and 18,000 data points.
Data was collected in July and August, and Money independently fact-checked information for each winner in September and early October.
When selecting the best bank winners by state, Money excluded checking accounts that required a minimum balance greater than $1,500 to either open the account or waive monthly fees. Priority was given to banks whose checking accounts had no (or easily waived) monthly fees and low or no ATM fees.
Money also sought higher interest rates for checking and savings accounts. Additional factors included J.D. Power customer service ratings, when available, from the 2017 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study, geographic reach within a state, recent enforcement actions, and mobile app ratings in the iTunes and Google Play stores.