Finding the Best Banks in Arkansas
The best banks in Arkansas are, in part, the ones that provide the easiest branch access to its customers. In this case, Arkansasians will do better to look at smaller, more regional banks, rather than big bank names. We looked at the number of branches each bank owns in Arkansas as well as each bank’s account offerings to ensure Arkansas residents can get the best banking experience possible.
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How We Determined the Best Banks in Arkansas
To start, SmartAsset’s experts sorted through the banks in Arkansas with the largest number of branches. We found the top 15 of these banks, then delved into each bank’s account offerings. We looked at fee structures, interest rates, student options and more to find the best bank accounts in Arkansas.
Ally Bank: The Top Savings Account
The Ally Online Savings Account boasts a 0.50% APY, which puts it right near the top of the market in terms of interest-earning potential. This rate compounds on a daily basis, which is beneficial over multiple years. Ally savings account holders do not need to pay monthly maintenance fees, which can only aid your long-term account growth. Prospective customers can open an account regardless of the size of their initial deposit, as Ally has no minimums either.
Savings accounts lack easy and unlimited access to cash withdrawals, as federal law limits savings account transactions to six per statement cycle. Therefore, a solid, interest-bearing checking account like Ally’s Interest Checking Account becomes extra valuable. This account not only comes with a free debit card for purchases and ATM withdrawals, but also an APY of up to 0.25% depending on your minimum daily balance. Ally maintains its policy of no monthly fees or minimums with the Interest Checking Account.
If it’s not already clear, Ally is a branchless bank that operates solely through its online and mobile platforms. The bank is apparently doing this successfully, as its app currently holds a 4.35-star rating out of 5 between the Apple and Android app stores. Through this mobile offering, customers can initiate mobile check deposits, view online account statements and transfer money to friends and family for free through Zelle®. If you need to take out cash, Ally customers can use the Allpoint ATM network, which provides fee-free access to 55,000 ATMs around the world.
Best National Bank With Branches in Arkansas: Regions Bank
Although fewer locations than the more regional Arvest Bank, Regions Bank offers customers wider national branch access. In addition to The Natural State, you can find Regions Bank in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
Regions Bank offers a great spread of bank accounts from a simple checking account to Promotional CDs to an interest-earning checking account. This variety offers the opportunity to find an account that actually fits with you and your finances.
Unfortunately, Regions Bank doesn’t offer great interest rates on its bank accounts. So if you’re really looking to boost your savings by placing them in a savings account, you might want to look elsewhere.
Best Regional Bank & Best Customer Service: Arvest Bank
Arvest Bank is the best bank option for Arkansas residents in a number of ways. For starters, the bank offers a ton of different account options. Along with your own savings account, you can open a kids account, too. Its certificate of deposit (CD) accounts range from six months to five years giving plenty of opportunity to boost both short- and long-term savings. There are also four checking accounts with varying fee structures so you can choose the account that works best for you.
Arvest Bank also offers some of the best customer service in the region, according to a J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey. Just keep in mind that even with its many locations in Arkansas, Arvest operates branches only in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. The bank offers pretty standard customer service phone hours, but includes a separate line for Spanish-speaking customers and a 24-hour Account Information line. There are separate phone numbers for lost or stolen debit and credit cards.
The bank also offers Arkansas residents two of the best bank accounts, detailed more below.
Best Savings Account Rate: CIT Bank Savings Builder Account
Saving money is difficult enough as it is, and the mediocre nature of most interest rates make things even tougher. But if you have $100 to deposit, the Savings Builder account from CIT takes direct aim at this issue. Account holders get a 0.28% APY, though you can easily upgrade to a remarkable 0.40% APY by simply meeting one of two conditions:
- Make no less than $100 in deposits per month
- Maintain an account balance of $25,000
If online/mobile banking is important to you, you’re in luck. CIT is a branchless financial institution, meaning you’ll manage your accounts via its web- and phone-based platforms. All of the standard features are included in this suite, like remote check deposit, digital account statements and transaction histories and inter-account money transfers. Apple and Android customer reviews have left CIT’s mobile app with a 3.85-star rating out of 5.
There’s no shortage of ways to save at CIT Bank. Customers can open a money market account, the Premier High-Yield Savings account, 6-month to 5-year term CDs, 2-year to 5-year jumbo CDs, 1-year to 4-year “RampUp” CDs and a No-Penalty/11-Month CD.
Runner-up for Best Savings Account Rate: Arvest Bank Savings Account
In addition to its great free checking account, Arvest Bank also offers a solid savings account option for Arkansas banking customers. You will need at least $100 to open the account. After that, you can start earning at 0.05% APY. There is a small $2 monthly fee on the account that you can easily waive with a $100 minimum daily balance or a $500 average daily balance.
The Savings Account includes an Arvest ATM card if you maintain a checking account relationship. This offers more convenience in accessing your savings, especially on the go. Just don’t forget that as a savings account, you’re limited to six withdrawals per statement cycle. Each excessive withdrawal will cost an extra $5.
Best Free Checking Account: Arvest Bank Free Blue Checking Account
For free and easy checking, look to Arvest Bank’s Free Blue Checking account. For starters, you will need at least $50 to open the account. There is no monthly fee to worry about nor any balance hoops to jump through. The account includes a free debit card, online banking, mobile banking, unlimited check writing, free notary services and free checks for customers 62 and over. The account does require e.Statements instead of paper statements. Plus, you can benefit from $400 overdraft protection if approved.
Best High-Yield Checking Account: First Arkansas Bank and Trust Pure Checking Account
First Arkansas Bank and Trust’s Pure Checking account earns at one of the best interest rates on a checking account. For starters, you’ll want to meet these requirements to snag the account’s best rates: have at least 10 debit card purchases post and clear; have at least one direct deposit, ACH automatic payment or online bill pay post and clear; and receive electronic statements. For each month you meet those requirements, you’ll earn 1.50% APY on balances of $15,000 and under. Any balances above that will earn 0.10% APY.
If you don’t meet the qualifications, you’ll earn 0.025% APY for that month, regardless of your balance. Plus, you’re not stuck with this low rate forever, since your eligibility depends on each month’s transactions.
The account does have a pretty high minimum deposit requirement at $100.
Best for Students: Bank of America
Bank of America is the best choice for students, especially those going to school out of state. You can find the bank in 35 other states so whether you’re in Arkansas or traveling, you have a great chance of accessing your bank.
Bank of America® checking accounts. As a student, you'll most likely find an Advantage SafeBalance account or an Advantage Plus account as the best options. SafeBalance has fewer bells and whistles. The Plus account has a monthly maintenance fee of $12. However with both accounts, you can earn a fee waiver if you're an eligible student. You’re eligible as a high school, college, university or vocational program student under the age of 24. Of course, students will also have convenient on-the-go access online and on mobile.
Additional SmartAsset Bank Reviews in Arkansas
Didn't find the best bank for you? Consider the following banks in your area.