How We Chose Money’s Best Banks

To arrive at our list of the Best Banks of 2023-2024, Money evaluated 293 financial institutions, including national banks, direct or online banks, and credit unions.

Our analysis of national banks began with a list of the 28 largest banks ranked by assets by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). We then focused on the features provided by each bank's checking, savings and money market accounts.

We followed the same procedure with a list of the 20 largest credit unions in the nation, ranked by assets, as determined by the National Credit Union Administration. We prioritized those with membership open to just about anyone or with more flexible membership requirements.

To assess online banks, we looked at 20 of the largest direct banks, evaluating the interest rates and fees on each bank’s checking, savings and money market accounts.

Our list of best accounts for students, seniors and military members was constructed from the complete list of national banks, credit unions and online banks. Whenever possible, more emphasis was placed on accounts specifically designed for each category.

This year, we expanded our survey to include regional and state banks and credit unions. To arrive at our list of regional winners, we looked at the largest banks and credit unions, ranked by assets, in the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest and West. We then determined the largest banks and credit unions in the following states: New York, Florida, Texas and California.

Our regions are based on the U.S. Census Bureau regional and divisional map. Each region comprises the following states:

Northeast: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Rhode Island.

Southeast: Delaware, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

Midwest: Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri.

West: Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Washington State, Oregon, California and Nevada.

Main Methodology

To determine the winners in each category, we reviewed the following data points: minimum opening balance, interest rate paid, monthly fees charged and online accessibility. We also analyzed additional fees charged, including ATM use, overdraft and insufficient funds, wire transfers and overdraft protection.

When determining our winners, we emphasized checking and savings accounts that paid a high interest rate, required no opening or minimum balance and charged few or no fees. We also considered online and mobile accessibility, additional perks or rewards, and the size of the ATM network.

Most of the accounts we looked at are not high-yield savings accounts, but when many national banks typically pay 0.01% and a bank pays 0.10%, we consider that a high APY.

Whenever possible, we considered customer service rankings from the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study and the J.D. Power 2023 Direct Banking Satisfaction Study.

Money’s editorial team collected and analyzed the data between July and September 2023. All interest rates and bonuses quoted are valid as of Sept. 26, 2023, and are subject to change at any time.

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