The Best Big Banks

If you are among the nearly nine in 10 consumers who want in-person service at a local branch but you often need a bank outside your neighborhood, you’ll want a bank with a broad footprint. The two winners here, which tied for first, cover wide but different swaths of the country. —Megan Leonhardt and Alicia Adamczyk

TD Bank (TIE)

WHY IT WINS: TD Bank stands above the pack, particularly for customers on the East Coast. It’s one of the few brick-and-mortar banks to offer a lowcost checking account that won’t charge you to use other banks’ ATMs—its Premier Checking Account is also a winner in our Best Stand-Alone Accounts section—and it gets high marks for both branch convenience and customer service.

CAVEAT: While TD’s money-market account pays almost seven times what other big banks offer, its 0.2% yield is still lower than what you can get online. You’ll do better by supplementing with a stand-alone savings account.

BRANCHES: 1,200 across 15 states and D.C. (Conn., Del., D.C., Fla., Maine, Mass., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Penn., R.I., S.C., Vt., Va.).

KEY FACTORS:
• TD’s branches are open an average of 59 hours a week, well above the big-bank average of 46 hours.
• TD ranks above average in all the regions it serves, according to J.D. Power’s 2016 retail banking survey.
• In addition to Premier Checking, TD’s Convenience Checking lets you avoid fees with a $100 daily balance, as long as you stick to its own 2,100-plus ATMs.


U.S. Bank (TIE)

WHY IT WINS: U.S. Bank provides a winning combination of broad coverage, easily waived maintenance fees (with a $1,500 average monthly balance on basic checking, say), and great service. It has outposts in half the states in the country, with a particularly strong presence in the West, and takes top marks for customer service, according to J.D. Power. And the bank offers discounted auto and other loan rates to customers—something done by fewer than half of the brick-and-mortar banks MONEY analyzed.

CAVEAT: In an age when mobile access is now expected—58% of Americans use mobile banking at least monthly—U.S. Bank’s app lags behind. Both Android and iOS users give it just over three out of five stars, on average, with reviewers complaining about the convoluted design and slow load speeds.

BRANCHES: 3,122 across 25 states (Ariz., Ark., Calif., Colo., Idaho, Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kan., Ky., Minn., Mo., Mont., Neb., Nev., N.M., N.D., Ohio, Ore., S.D., Tenn., Utah, Wash., Wis., Wy.)

KEY FACTORS:
• U.S. Bank ranks above average in customer service in all the regions it serves, J.D. Power finds.
• Customers get up to a 0.5-point discount on auto loans, plus other preferential finance rates, and up to $1,000 off mortgage closing costs.
• You pay no outside ATM fees on its Premium Checking, plus you get modest interest.

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