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Best Banks In Alabama

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by Jane Thier Updated

Finding the Best Banks in Alabama

If you live in Alabama and are looking for a great bank, you’re in luck. Alabama residents have a wide range of options from which to choose when it comes to financial institutions that offer fantastic account options and an extensive physical presence throughout the state. In the case of choosing where to bank, finding the “best” bank depends what you’re looking for. Ample account options? Round-the-clock customer service? Several local branches? High interest rates? Wherever your priorities lie, take a look at the selection of banks below to find the best savings and checking accounts and most accessible banks in the state of Alabama.

Bank APY Minimum Deposit Highlights
Regions Bank Regions Bank logo Read More 0.01% $50
  • Best National Bank & Best Customer Service
  • Many branches across Alabama, as well as nearly 1,500 locations nationwide
BBVA Compass BBVA Compass logo Read More 0.05% $25
  • Best Local Bank
  • Solid ATM access
Peoples Bank of Alabama Peoples Bank of Alabama logo Read More 0.60% $50
  • Best Free Checking Account
  • Five checking options, including one targeted towards students
PNC Bank PNC Bank logo Read More 0.01% $25
  • Best for Students
  • Low monthly maintenance fees

How We Determine the Best Banks in Alabama

SmartAsset’s banking experts found the 15 most popular banks in Alabama. They compiled this list based on which have the most branches within state lines, especially in the most popular cities of Jackson, Hunstville, Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile.  Among those banks, we then narrowed down the selection to the very best national and regional banks and chose the best savings and checking accounts based on their their minimum balance requirements, annual percentage yields (APYs), fee structures and customer accessibility.

Best National Bank & Best Customer Service: Regions Bank

Regions Bank

With almost 1,500 branches around the country and 221 in Alabama, Regions Bank has perhaps its most significant presence in the state of its headquarters. Regions alone controls nearly 23% of the wealth in Alabama, far outranking its runner-up, Wells Fargo. With nearly 2,000 ATM locations in operation—a large portion of which is in Alabama—banking with Regions is particularly easy in the Yellowhammer state. 

If you’re looking to put all your assets under one roof, Regions is a strong choice. It doesn’t just feature multiple checking accounts, savings accounts, mortgage loan plans, IRAs and CDs. On top of all of those account options, Regions also provides its customers with access to frequent rewards, secured credit cards, home and auto loans and top-of-the-line financial advisors.

If you’re looking for mobile or online banking, Regions has you covered there, too. With the Regions Mobile App for iPhone, iPad, and Android, you can make a deposit, send money using Personal Pay, access your rewards, locate ATMs and branches, check your account balances and transaction history, transfer funds, pay bills and even search for your recent transactions. 

For customer service rankings of banks with physical locations in Alabama, Regions topped the J.D. Power list. Regions boasts a full-fledged electronic customer service set-up, coupled with an enormous presence statewide. Customer service is never difficult to access, and even if you’re not looking for help with a certain dilemma, the ability to take your banking operations into your own hands is easy, especially with your smartphone. 

Checking and savings accounts, additionally, are a huge selling point for Regions. Its accounts are known for coming with opening deposits 10 to 20 times lower than most national banks, coupled with easy-to-meet monthly fee waiver requirements. In short, those qualities make Regions a quality choice for your banking needs.

Best Local Bank: BBVA Compass Bank

BBVA Compass

BBVA Compass Bank, a subsidiary of Spanish multinational Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria since 2007, is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. 

BBVA’s interest rates are low, especially given its small size and local presence. But its redeeming qualities lie mostly in its highly accessible and straightforward deposit accounts. Additionally, BBVA’s website, mobile apps and phone and email customer service are well-regarded by its customers, ensuring quality consumer experiences. 

Another BBVA perk that earns its title as Best Local Bank: the low minimum deposit required to open a checking account. In addition, it doesn’t charge a monthly service fee for the checking account. This feature makes entering business with BBVA Compass Bank easy. To open a fee-free checking account, you are only required to deposit a reasonable payment of $25. If you’re looking for a more specific service, such as a loan, you can begin an application online—and possibly get approval within within hours. 

The bank’s number of fee-free ATMs tops 50,000 nationwide. BBVA is the 30th-largest bank in the country.

Best Free Checking Account: Peoples Bank of Alabama

eCheckingPlus

People’s Bank of Alabama’s eCheckingPlus account has no fees, nor minimum balances, to open—not to mention, it’s free. The only requirement is a $50 down payment to open the account. What’s more, with the eCheckingPlus checking account, customers are eligible to receive extra interest once the balance reaches $25,000. Additionally, customers can receive a monthly refund of up to $6 worth of ATM fees, should they elect to receive e-statements or make 10 or more debit card purchases during the statement period. Only residents of the state of Alabama are able to open an account account with People’s Bank. You can apply online and the process take less than an hour.

True to its winning title, People’s Bank of Alabama does indeed offer a free checking option to customers, as well as a long list of different checking and savings account plans that can cater to your particular needs. But perhaps its best asset is its myEasyAdvisor program, which is a personalized, automated financial advising tool, where customers can receive free financial advice about their accounts and savings. 

Its eCheckingPlus account has no fee or minimum balance and requires just $50 to open. 

The Basic Checking account from Bank of Hope is an account that really doesn’t require much to open. All you need is $25 ready to deposit and the ability to pay a $3 monthly fee. That fee does not have to stick around, though, as simply making five monthly purchases with your debit card or electing to receive e-Statements will completely eliminate it.

If earning interest is high on your list, People’s Bank’s Interest Checking accounts have some of the most impressive rates in the country. On its eCheckingPlus account specifically, the following balances will earn you impressive upgraded APYs: 0.60% on balances below $25,000 and 0.25% on balances of $25,000 and over. 

Best for Students: PNC Bank

PNC Bank

PNC Bank, which has several locations in Alabama, is among the best national banks you could ask for in terms of sheer number of options for students. Regardless of what state you reside in—or where you choose to go for school—PNC likely has you covered. 

PNC excels in offering a set of services for students and families preparing to leave for college. One of its most popular account plans is their Virtual Student Wallet® account, which is comprised of three different accounts working as one online money management tool. Any kind of pre-professional student can use this account, but it’s most popular among undergraduates. 

Beyond just students working toward their bachelor’s degree, PNC offers personalized accounts for a vast array of people enrolled in school, including:

  • Graduate or professional students who are enrolled at least half time in a degree or certificate program.
  • Undergraduate or graduate students enrolled at least half time in an accelerated program for a degree in a PNC-approved health-related field of study
  • MD, DDS, DO and DVM residents needing funds to cover interview, relocation and living expenses.
  • Law students within six months of taking the BAR exam

PNC doesn’t stop just at countless offers at varying terms and specifications. It also has created an exhaustive list of resources for individuals looking to take out the loans listed above. This is called the ELLC, or Education Lending Learning Center, and it serves to help customers make the most out of their financial decisions as they pertain to education spending and saving. 

Tips for Smart Investing

  • Whenever you’re making big investment decisions, it’s best to consult a financial advisor. Advisors can help you gauge your risk tolerance and options before you make the call. To help you find the right person, we developed our financial advisor matching tool. We'll ask you to answer some simple questions about your individual financial goals in order to link you to local advisors. 
  • To help you find the right advisor, the right way, ask each financial advisor these questions first—it can save you time, energy, and in the long run, lots of cash.
  • It’s a smart move to assess your risk tolerance before investing in any kind of bank securities. We suggest using an asset allocation calculator. This will help you visualize how you can break down your portfolio, with stocks and bonds, based on your risk tolerance. 
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Best Places to Save

SmartAsset’s interactive map highlights the places in the country where people have the opportunity to save money. Zoom between states and the national map to see the best places to save.

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Rank County Median Household Income Cost of Living Purchasing Power Estimated Tax Rate

Methodology Where you live can have a big impact on how easy it is to save money based on several regional factors. Our study aims to find the most suitable places for people to save based on median household income, average living expenses and income tax burden.

First, we calculated the average cost of living in each county for a household with two adults (one working). We then created a purchasing power index for each county. This reflects the counties with the highest ratio of household income to cost of living.

To better compare income tax burdens across counties, we applied relevant deductions and exemptions before calculating federal, state and local income taxes for a family making $50,000 annual income in each location. Next, we created an effective tax rate index for each county, which reflects the counties with the lowest ratio of income taxes to the assumed $50,000 annual income.

Finally, we calculated the weighted average of the indices to yield an overall best places to save score. We used a three-fourths weighting for purchasing power and a one-fourth weighting for tax rates. We indexed the final number so higher values reflect places that are better to save.

Sources: US Census Bureau 2016 5-Year American Community Survey, MIT Living Wage Study