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Best Banks in Boston

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by Lauren Perez Updated

Finding the Best Banks in Boston

Determining the top bank in your area that meets your specific banking needs can be a challenging undertaking. That’s why SmartAsset has made it easier for you with this list of the best banks in Boston. Boston residents who would prefer a national bank or a regional bank, or those hoping to open a specific account can find the institution that fits their requirements on this list.

Bank APY Minimum Deposit Highlights
Bank of America Open Account Read More 0.03% $100
  • Best National Bank
  • 170 branches in the Boston area 
Citizens Bank Open Account Read More 0.01% $0
  • Best Regional Bank
  • 245 Boston branches
Rockland Trust Bank Open Account Read More 0.02% $1
  • Best Customer Service
  • Intuitive and customer-friendly website
Rockland Trust Bank Open Account Read More 0% $0
  • Best Free Checking Account
  • Over 60 branches available to Boston area
East Boston Savings Bank Open Account Read More 0.10% $50
  • Best High-Yield Checking Account
  • Easily accessible interest rate on Premier Checking account
Webster Bank Open Account Read More 0.15 - 0.55% $5
  • Best Savings Account
  • Competitive interest rates for the area 
Salem Five Bank Open Account Read More 0.05% $10
  • Best for Students
  • Worldwide ATM access

How We Determined the Best Banks in Boston

SmartAsset created our best banks in Boston list from the top 15 banks in the area, according to branch access. From there, we looked at each bank’s account offerings, including its fees, minimums and interest rates. That way, Boston residents can use this list to find a bank that comes with the best offerings and fits with their financial preferences. 

Best National Bank: Bank of America

The only bank with more Boston branches than Bank of America is the best regional bank below, Citizens Bank. Not only does Bank of America offer Bostonians easy access to 170 branches in the area, but thousands more branches and ATMs throughout 36 U.S. states, as well. This makes Bank of America perfect for those who want convenient, physical access to their money both at home and while traveling. 

Bank of America offers a variety of account options that includes a savings account, three checking accounts, four IRAs and multiple CD terms. This way, you can choose the accounts that work best for your needs. You could also keep all your accounts with Bank of America if you wanted to. You will often face monthly service fees on a Bank of America account, although you can usually waive these pretty easily by maintaining a certain balance or setting up direct deposits. The exact terms will depend on the account in question. 

Like most big banks, Bank of America does not offer its customers the best interest rates. Its savings accounts earn at some of the lowest APYs, meaning you can’t substantially grow your savings. To earn the highest rate the bank has, 1.00% APY, you’ll need to open a long-term CD from 60 to 120 months.

Best Regional Bank: Citizens Bank

Almost anywhere you go in Boston, you’ll find a Citizens Bank logo. This is due to the bank’s huge presence in the city with over 200 branches and ATMs. Citizens Bank also has a physical presence in 10 other states in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions. This does make accessing your Citizens accounts more difficult if you’re traveling beyond those areas. 

When it comes to bank accounts, you can have your pick from a variety of options. Citizens Bank offers various savings, checking, money market and CD accounts, plus IRA offerings to help you save for retirement. Most of these accounts do charge a monthly fee, namely the checking accounts. However, you can get these fees waived by meeting certain requirements like making one deposit each statement cycle. Plus, the bank makes it easy for almost anyone to open a checking or savings account without any minimum deposit requirements. 

The cost of maintaining physical branches in various states throughout the country makes it so that big banks like Citizens typically don’t offer the highest interest rates on their bank accounts. The bank’s most basic savings account, the Green Savings® Account, earns a mere 0.01% on all balances. To earn at the highest savings account rate of 0.07% APY, you would need to open a Platinum Plus Savings® account and have at least $250,000 in the account. The highest APY the bank offers comes with its 12-Month Breakable CD and requires you to link the CD to a Platinum Plus Checking account.

Best Customer Service: Rockland Trust Bank

Rockland Trust Bank is “where each relationship matters.” With a motto like that, you can guess that this small community bank aims to put its customers first. Plus, the bank was voted best in overall satisfaction on a 2017 customer satisfaction survey. For starters, the bank offers its customers a number of ways to contact the bank and voice their concerns or questions. You can reach a bank representative seven days of the week, from 7 a.m. - 8 p.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Sundays. 

If you don’t quite have time to talk on the phone at the moment, you can submit a general contact form on the bank’s website. This allows you to submit your general concerns or questions and be contacted by the bank in the method that suits you best, whether by email, phone or regular mail. You shouldn’t submit any personal or specific account information on the contact form, though. For that, you should call, use the live chat option, online secure messaging feature or visit a branch. You could easily schedule a branch appointment. This ensures you can be seen by a representative at a time that’s convenient for you. Of course, this perk only applies to customers who live in Massachusetts or Rhode Island. 

Rockland Trust Bank’s top-rated customer service complements its solid suite of bank accounts. You’ll find accounts with low minimums and low monthly fees, if there is a fee at all. Its basic savings and checking account interest rates don’t perform as well as other small banks. However, you can still find high rates on its CDs and money market accounts.

Best Free Checking Account: Rockland Trust Bank Free Checking

Not only does Rockland Trust Bank offer the best customer service in Boston, but it also has the best free checking account in the area. The account in question is called the Free Checking account so you know you won’t have to face fees when you own this account. There is no monthly fee nor a minimum balance requirement. The account includes a Rockland Trust MasterCard® debit card and a free first order of standard Rockland Trust checks. 

To open a Rockland Trust Free Checking account, you can do so on the bank’s website, calling customer service or by visiting a branch.

Best High-Yield Checking Account: East Boston Savings Bank Premier Checking

For the highest-earning checking account in Boston, head to East Boston Savings Bank (EBSB) to open a Premier Checking account. You’ll need at least $50 to open the account initially, but only $10 to start earning interest at a 0.10% APY. While this may not seem like a high rate, especially when compared to online banks, this is the best rate you’ll get from a bank with branches in the Boston area. Plus, this rate outperforms much bigger banks like Chase or Bank of America. 

The EBSB Premier Checking account includes more perks than just earning at a decent rate. You’ll have access to the entire Allpoint® ATM network of over 55,000 ATMs worldwide in addition to the bank’s own ATMs. Plus, the bank will reimburse you for up to $50 per month for ATM surcharge fees you might incur at out-of-network ATMs. If you’re getting ready to buy a home, owning this account can also secure you a $100 discount on your mortgage closing costs. 

The account does charge a $25 monthly maintenance fee. This might seem high, although it is pretty standard for an elite account like this one. You can get the fee waived by maintaining a combined account balance of at least $25,000. This includes any other accounts you have with East Boston Savings Bank. 

Best Savings Account: Webster Bank Premier Savings Extra®

For a small bank with only 22 Boston locations, Webster Bank’s Premier Savings Extra® account offers solid interest rates. The rates do depend on your account balance, with higher balances earning higher rates. The highest APY you can earn currently lands at 0.55% with a balance of at least $250,000. Still, the lowest and more accessible APY comes in at 0.15% which outperforms big banks’ rates by a decent margin. Account balances below $25,000 earn at this rate. 

The Premier Savings Extra® account does charge a monthly service fee, which you can have it waived by maintaining a minimum balance of at least $10,000. 

Luckily, if you don’t want to pay a monthly fee but can’t meet that minimum balance, Webster Bank offers two other interest-earning savings accounts. The rates there are slightly lower, but the WebsterOne® Savings account allows you to more easily waive the $5 fee and the Premier Savings account doesn’t charge one at all.

Best for Students: Salem Five Bank

Whether you’re from Boston or you’re attending school there, Salem Five offers a great student-friendly checking account. The Smart Student Checking account doesn’t charge a monthly fee with eStatements, has no minimum balance requirement, provides unlimited transactions and offers free worldwide ATM use. The bank even reimburses up to $15 for ATM surcharges. 

Of course today’s students will appreciate the bank’s mobile and online features, too. Account holders can use Apple Pay and Popmoney to send and receive money. You can also use your mobile app to deposit checks. 

Salem Five also provides some helpful calculators for its student customers. These include “Save for College,” “Save Towards a Goal” and “Save for a Rainy Day” calculators, helping students better manage and save their money.

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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 2015 5-Year American Community Survey, MIT Living Wage Study