Remember when your financial institution would pay you instead of the other way around? Those days are still alive at a few select places, MONEY’s 2014 survey found.
Why are you settling when it comes to your bank?
You probably don’t have any plans to leave your financial institution. Only 5% of Americans have changed banks in the past 12 months, according to a recent J.D. Power & Associates poll, and a mere 3% said they’d definitely move in the next year. Plus, consumers now have a positive view of the industry for the first time since 2007, Gallup found—a result pegged partly to improvements in customer service.
That’s all well and good, but research from our fourth annual effort to identify the best banks in America suggests that more folks ought to pack up their deposits and go.
In analyzing checking, savings, and CD terms from 70 of the nation’s largest banks, MONEY found a lot not to like. For example, 80% of checking accounts now have monthly maintenance fees. And the average is $15, so you could pay $180 a year if you can’t overcome the hurdles to avoid the charge. (Minimum-balance requirements now commonly top $2,500, by the way.) Use an out-of-network ATM twice a month, and you’ll foot $55 more a year, before surcharges levied by the banks that own the ATMs. All told, you’re out hundreds of dollars.
And for what reward? The average interest on $10,000 in savings is 0.10% at brick-and-mortar banks, so that’s all of 10 bucks you’re getting back.
While banks’ new attention to customer service is terrific, a great handshake shouldn’t keep you in a bad relationship. Fees and interest are still paramount in deciding where to stash your hard-earned cash. The 15 winners below will give you back more than they take from you.
Also try out our new Bank Matchmaker tool, which helps you select the perfect checking and savings accounts from among the 70 banks we surveyed based on your preferences, location and habits.
Now you’ve got no excuse for staying put.