Finding the Best Banks in Baltimore
Baltimore offers a great mix of both national and regional banks to its residents. Each bank offers its own great variety of bank accounts, too. This allows you to choose the bank with the best checking accounts, saving accounts and more for your particular financial situation. So whether you want a local feel when you visit a branch or you just want high earnings, you can find the bank for you.
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How We Determined the Best Banks in Baltimore
We found the best banks in Baltimore by looking at the banks with the 15 most branches in the area. This ensures you’ll have convenient access to a branch and ATM. From there, SmartAsset’s experts collected each bank’s account information including interest rates, fees, minimum deposits and more.
Ally Bank: The Top Savings Account
No matter how much money you have to deposit, you can open an Ally Online Savings Account. Beyond this, the account doesn’t have any monthly maintenance fees, making it an extremely realistic option for many. The linchpin of any savings account, though, is its interest rate. Ally features one of the top rates on the market, as it boasts a 0.60% APY. If you were to deposit $10,000 in this account and let it mature for four years, it would see $242 in interest earnings.
Banking becomes a whole lot simpler if you can manage to keep all of your accounts at one institution. Ally’s Interest Checking Account fits the bill. Aside from the standard features, like a free debit card, the account offers fee-free access to 55,000 ATMs in the Allpoint network. Your checking balance will also earn interest, as accounts with a $15,000 minimum daily balance or higher receive a 0.25% APY. If you don’t meet this requirement, your rate will be 0.10%.
Ally is an online bank, so it should come as no surprise that it has a strong mobile app. In fact, users have rated the app 4.35 stars out of 5 across more than 22,000 reviews on the Apple and Android app stores. Through this platform, you’ll be able to search for in-network ATMs, send money to friends and family through Zelle®, deposit checks remotely, view account statements and more.
Best National Bank With Branches in Baltimore: PNC Bank
With 94 locations in Baltimore, PNC Bank can offer the easiest physical access to your money and the resources of a big bank. The bank also has location in 18 other states and the District of Columbia. PNC Bank’s offerings include a wide variety of accounts and services that fit a number of different financial situations whether you’re a student or a high spender.
PNC doesn’t offer the best rates available in the industry. This is because online banks, without the costs of physical locations, maintain the most competitive deposit rates. However, you might find that PNC’s rates are still better than a number of other big banks.
Best Regional Bank: M&T Bank
For Baltimore residents, the more regional M&T Bank can provide a few more branches than PNC Bank. M&T Bank maintains 99 branches in the Baltimore area and almost 600 more branches throughout New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, West Virginia and Florida. The bank also maintains about 1,500 ATMs for more convenient account access.
M&T Bank has a great variety of account offerings. You can choose from five checking accounts, two savings accounts, two money market accounts (MMAs) and multiple certificates of deposit (CDs). Its interest rates aren’t the most remarkable, however. So if you’re looking for big savings, this won’t be the bank for you.
Best Savings Account Rate: CIT Bank Savings Builder Account
With just a $100 deposit, you could open a CIT Savings Builder account that features a 0.55% APY. To put this into perspective, a $10,000 deposit would earn close to $278 in interest over a five-year span. CIT offers this rate to customers that either make $100 in deposits a month or maintain at least a $25,000 account balance. Those that do not adhere to these requirements earn a 0.31% APY.
As a savings-centric bank, CIT has a wide range of savings products you can open. Here are a few options to choose from:
- Premier High-Yield Savings account
- Money market account (MMA)
- 6-month to 5-year term CDs
- 2-year to 5-year jumbo CDs
- 1-year to 4-year “RampUp” CDs
- No-Penalty/11-Month CD
CIT money market account holders will automatically gain access to “People Pay,” CIT’s proprietary money transfer service. If you don’t have an MMA, CIT limits your mobile banking features to digital account statements, mobile check deposit, inter-account transfers and up-to-date transaction histories. Despite having a slightly less robust app than some of its competition, Apple and Android users have rated the app at 3.85 stars out of 5.
Runner-up for Best Savings Account Rate: Capital One 360 Performance Savings
When Capital One 360 accounts are an option, both big and regional banks with the best savings accounts around don’t often stand a chance, as you can see here. The Capital One 360 savings account blows all other Baltimore competition out of the water. Not only does it earn at the highest APY at 0.65%, but the account is free, as are ATM transactions.
Best Customer Service: Capital One 360 Performance Savings
The Mid-Atlantic region has its share of local banks, which means not every bank that ranks well for customer service reaches every Mid-Atlantic state. For Baltimore residents, Capital One offers some of the best customer service, according to overall customer satisfaction.
Largely online, Capital One does benefit the Baltimore area a bit more with 17 locations. Outside of Maryland, you can find Capital One branches in New York, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Virginia, Delaware, Connecticut and the District of Columbia. Customers can also access over 40,000 free Capital One® or Allpoint® ATMs. Capital One still won’t charge you for using another bank’s ATM.
To contact a customer service representative, you can easily reach the bank over the phone, via social media, online or at a branch.
Best Free & Best High-Yield Checking Account: Capital One 360 Checking
Baltimore residents don’t have to look too far for the best free and high-yield checking account since they’re one and the same here. The Capital One 360 Checking account is completely free with no hidden fees. There are just the standard fees for transactions like overdrafts, cashier’s checks and the like.
This free account also earns at great interest rates. Balances below $50,000 earn at 0.10% APY, balances between $50,000 and $100,000 earn at 0.10% APY and any balances over that amount earn at 0.10% APY.
Best for Students: BB&T Student Checking
With 78 branches in Baltimore, students in the area will have easy access to their accounts. Plus, the bank has hundreds more branches throughout 15 states and DC for further physical access. This can really benefit students traveling to and from school whether in Baltimore or elsewhere.
This Student Checking account is for students 23 and younger. There is no minimum opening deposit required, nor is there a monthly service fee. BB&T will also waive the fee for two non-BB&T ATM transactions each statement cycle. Along with this account, be sure to consider the best savings accounts for students out there.