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Berkshire Bank Review

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We maintain strict editorial integrity in our writing and assessments. This post contains links from our advertisers, and we may receive compensation when you click these links. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone. | Advertiser Disclosure
Berkshire Bank Savings
0.05% APY

Berkshire Bank has a full range of banking services, including multiple savings, checking, money market, IRA and CD options. The bank has some of the easiest-to-meet minimum opening deposit requirements, especially for standard accounts, though its interest rates outside of normal and relationship CDs are a bit lacking.

The bank is principally located in the northeastern U.S., with most of its branches in Massachusetts and New York. Its free ATM network stretches far beyond those bounds though, as it belongs to the Cirrus and NYCE ATM brands.

Products Offered

Product Key Details
Savings Accounts
  • Six account options
  • Low opening deposit requirements
  • Accounts for military members and those with high balances
Checking Accounts
  • Low opening deposit requirements
  • Accounts available for specific types of customers, like teens and military
  • Easily waivable monthly fees
Money Market Accounts (MMAs)
  • High promotional interest rates available
  • Low or nonexistent monthly fees
Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
  • Great long-term and special interest rates
  • Many different terms offered
Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)
  • Bank will aid you in rolling over an IRA
  • Traditional and Roth IRAs available

Berkshire Bank Interest Rate Comparison

Berkshire Bank Overview

Berkshire Bank has been in business since 1846, and offers insurance, wealth and investment management, loans and more in addition to its staple banking products. Berkshire has nearly $12 billion in assets, making it the largest bank based in Western Massachusetts. The Boston Business Journal named the bank one of the most charitable companies in Massachusetts in 2017.

Berkshire Bank Statement Savings Account

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $10
Access to Your Account Branches, online, mobile and ATMs
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law
Fees $5 monthly service fee; waivable by maintaining a $250 minimum daily balance
Current Terms and Rates 0.05% APY

Perhaps the strongest area of banking products that Berkshire Bank offers is its savings accounts. In fact, it currently has eight different options, including money market accounts, proprietary accounts and more.

The Statement Savings account is your best option if you’re looking for an account that checks all the boxes of a solid modern savings option. It comes with a fee-free ATM card and online banking, giving you easy access to your funds at any time. Although it does have a $5 monthly, the $250 minimum daily balance requirement to waive it should be fairly effortless to meet.

For those who prefer saving old-school, the Passbook Savings account is where to be. Rather than have all the extra amenities, such as online banking, this account automatically records all of your transactions to make following your money as simple as possible. Telephone banking is available if necessary, though, and the same $10 minimum opening deposit and 0.05% APY of the Statement Savings account apply.

If you’ve got plenty of money locked up and ready to save, the High Yield Savings is going to give you the most bang for your buck as far as interest goes. For this, every dollar up to $25,000 is afforded an awesome 4.00% APY, as well as a 1.50% APY for accounts with $25,000 to $1 million and a 1.00% APY for accounts with anything higher.

Current and former U.S. military members will be glad to hear that Berkshire also has the eXciting Military Savings account. It only takes $10 to open this account, and you will earn interest at a 0.08% APY. Aside from this, you won’t pay any monthly fees and there’s no minimum balance to watch for.

With healthcare costs at an all-time high, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) have grown in popularity, and Berkshire has obliged. This account allows you to save money before you need a medical procedure, all tax-free.

Compare Berkshire Bank to Other Competitive Offers

Berkshire Bank NOW Checking Account

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $10
Access to Your Account Branches, online, mobile and ATMs
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law
Fees $7 monthly service fee; waivable by maintaining a $750 minimum daily balance
Current Terms and Rates 0.10% APY

Berkshire’s Free Checking account is a great choice for prospective customers who want a simple, hands-off approach to banking, it comes with online banking, mobile banking, bill pay, no minimum balance rules, no monthly fees and free checks. A MasterCard® debit card is also part of the package, so you can swipe for purchases or grab cash whenever you need to.

For a slightly more beneficial experience than the Free Checking account, the NOW Checking account earns interest at an unimpressive 0.10% APY. It essentially includes every other feature of its free counterpart, though a $7 monthly service fee is added. As long as you can manage to keep your daily balance above $750 over each statement cycle, though, that fee will be wiped away.

If you have a child who’s 15 to 17 years old, you can him or her a Teen Checking account. Not only will account holders earn access to the mobile app, online banking and a debit card, People Pay also comes stock. This Venmo-esque system allows your child to send and receive money from their friends or family.

The eXciting Military Checking account is about as cheap an account as you’ll find. There are no minimum balances, no monthly fees, a free ATM card, a free order of checks and just a $10 minimum opening deposit stipulation. This gives you the chance to manage your money, on your terms, without any outside factors affecting it.

No one wants to go through identity fraud, least of all when it comes to their bank accounts and money. The Berkshire Security Checking account has online/mobile banking and a MasterCard® debit card, along with unique anti-fraud perks. These include services like identity fraud research and recovery, even if it doesn’t have any direct repercussions to your Berkshire accounts.

Berkshire Bank Pure Excitement Money Market Account

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit Must own a Berkshire checking account and receive at least one direct deposit a month, or maintain a $5,000 minimum daily balance
Access to Your Account Branches, online, mobile and ATMs
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law
Fees None
Current Terms and Rates
  • 10K tier: 0.05% APY
  • 25K tier: 0.15% APY

Money market accounts (MMAs) often call for higher opening balance requirements, but receive better interest rates that typical savings accounts. Berkshire’s offerings don’t exactly follow that trend, though, as both of its MMAs require just a $10 initial investment. The standard MMA offers rates that range from 0.10% to 0.25%, depending on your balance.

On the other hand, the Pure Excitement MMA boasts rates from 0.15% to 0.60%. But what this account has that no other savings option does is a 12-month promotional APY. If your account’s size is anywhere from $2,500 to $25,000, your rate will be 0.35% for the first year. However, any amount up to $1 million gets a much more favorable 1.75% APY.

Berkshire Bank CDs

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $500 or $1,000 for "Specials"
Access to Your Account Branches, online and mobile
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law
Fees None
Current Terms and Rates
  • 12 Month: 0.25% APY
  • 24 Month: 0.75% APY
  • 36 Month: 1.00% APY
  • 48 Month: 1.40% APY
  • 60 Month: 2.00% APY

One of the best way to fully take advantage of what Berkshire Bank has to offer is to own a Special certificate of deposit (CD) and a checking account at the same time. If you can manage to do this, you could find yourself with an interest rate between 1.40% and 2.00%, which is a universally favorable rate range. But even if you don’t want a Berkshire checking account, your APR will still sit above the 2.00% mark.

Berkshire Bank IRAs

Even if you have a 401(k) or another retirement plan through your employer, an individual retirement account (IRA) is a great way to supplement your eventual retirement costs. Berkshire, like many banks, offers IRAs in two variations: traditional and Roth. The most blatant difference between these two options is how they handle taxes.

For a Roth IRA, you prepay your taxes when you put money into the accounts, allowing you to make tax-free withdrawals in retirement. Traditional accounts predictably do things in the opposite direction, meaning you make tax-free contributions to your IRA and hold them off until retirement.

Berkshire has the ability to aid customers with any rollovers that may accompany the opening of an IRA through the bank. To utilize this service, either call the bank at 800-773-5601, or talk to an employee at a local branch.

Where Can I Find Berkshire Bank?

Berkshire Bank has a little over 100 branch locations throughout six states in the Northeast. More specifically, you can visit the bank in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and Pennsylvania. Luckily for customers of Berkshire, the bank’s fee-free ATM network extends significantly beyond just the bounds of its branches. As a matter of fact, Mastercard® debit cardholders can use an ATM that bears the logos of Cirrus or the New York Currency Exchange (NYCE).

What Can You Do Online With Berkshire Bank?

Although Berkshire Bank does technically have an online and mobile presence, it doesn’t appear to be particularly strong or well-received by current customers. Through the bank’s website, you can transfer funds between your internal accounts, issue stop payments, view transaction histories and current balances and set up online bill pay. If you’re a Quicken® user, you can even fully integrate your account information directly from the site.

Berkshire has mobile banking apps for both Apple and Android, although it averages a two-star rating between the two competing app stores. Common customer complaints include issues with logging in on newer phones, mobile check deposit and other integral features. The bank is paired up with Apple and Samsung too, so feel free to add your debit cards to Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

How Do I Access My Money?

The easiest way to manage your accounts and the money within them is to visit Berkshire Bank in person. Here you can take care of anything and everything you want to. Should you find yourself too busy to get to a branch, the bank’s mobile app and website is available 24/7. Not only can you deposit checks remotely through the app, but you can also send funds from account-to-account. In the even you need cash, use the ATM locator to find a free ATM in your area.

If you decide to stop by an ATM or make a direct purchase, you’ll need a debit/ATM card -- a feature that Berkshire Bank includes with the majority of its offers. Certain accounts at this bank are paired with the Courtesy PaySM Discretionary Overdraft Service, which can come in handy if you are riding a low balance for an extended period of time. This service affords you financial protection from returned checks, debit card transaction overdrafts and ATM overdrafts. This is limited, however, to $750 for personal checking accounts.

How Can I Save More Money With a Berkshire Bank Account?

For most of the customers that join up with Berkshire Bank, interest rates alone will not make the bank better than any of its national or local competition. However, if you know where to look and are willing to commit to the bank, you could find yourself earning some desirable APYs.

This is most evident in Berkshire’s long-term and Special CD offers. If you can afford to drop $1,000 into a CD, you’ll qualify for a Special CD, which includes rates from 2.00% to 2.45%. Open a checking account with Berkshire and those rates could jump as high as 2.70%. Any prospective customers who can manage to hit all these points will likely find their relationship with the bank pretty productive.

What’s the Process For Opening an Account With Berkshire Bank?

There are three routes you can take to open an account with Berkshire Bank: online, in-person or over-the-phone. Branch addresses can be found online, along with the bank’s phone number, 1-800-773-5601.

Regardless of what way you choose, you will need your Social Security number, a form of identification and any funds to fulfill minimum balance requirements when you apply.

What’s the Catch?

Although it’s a tactic of many banks to follow a tiered rate structure, it could be argued that the APY ladder of Berkshire Bank is a bit sparser than what you’ll find elsewhere. If APYs are important to your overall banking experience, you might find this extremely frustrating, especially if you don’t have a ton of capital to deposit.

Although Berkshire is classified as a large bank, it’s reserved to just the northeastern corner of the U.S. in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and Pennsylvania. So if you are not located in that area of the country, there’s virtually no reason why Berkshire should be on your list of considerations.

Bottom Line

While nothing about Berkshire Bank really stands out in the grand scheme of things, there really isn’t anything that it lacks. That goes not only for its account offerings, but also the features and benefits that back them up. Despite the low ratings, the bank has a full array of online and banking services, accompanied by a large ATM network and a complimentary debit card for most accounts. If you can combine all of this with the top interest rates at Berkshire, you’ll almost assuredly have a solid experience.

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