Finding the Best Banks in Cincinnati
Cincinnati is home to hundreds of banks. But how do you choose the right one to park your hard-earned money in? You have some points to consider. How easy is it to open a checking account? What are the interest rates like on the best savings accounts? What are the fees? Can you get an account without fees? Well, don’t worry about answering these on your own. The banking experts at SmartAsset have done all the hard work for you. Read on to learn more about the best banks in Cincinnati.
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How We Determine the Best Banks in Cincinnati
We began by looking at the biggest banks in Cincinnati. Then, we explored what made each of these stand out. We examined points like products and fees, customer service and technological offerings. The result was a list of the six best banks in Cincinnati along with all the details about why they made the cut.
Best National Bank: U.S. Bank
The Cincinnati area is home to more than 100 full-service U.S. Bank branches. And when you step into any one of them, you can find just about everything you’d expect to encounter at a major national bank.
For starters, you can open an Easy Checking account that offers some basic features. You’d get a free Visa debit card as well as access to online and mobile banking. Through these tools, you can transfer money, pay bills and more.
You can also avoid the $6.95 monthly service fee if you set up direct deposit totalling at least $1,000. The bank will also waive the fee if you keep an average account balance of at least $1,500.
Overall, you can open up to three different checking accounts. However, you can also open packages that link your checking account to a savings account while providing you additional benefits.
For example, you can enroll in the U.S. Bank START Smart Savings Program when you open a Silver Checking package. With this, you’d be eligible to earn up to $100 in rewards for reaching certain savings goals. Silver and Gold Package customers can also open a Package Money Market account with no monthly maintenance fee and a tiered annual percentage yield ranging from 0.01% to 0.05%.
Overall, U.S. Bank gives you plenty of ways to save more money through special programs and incentives. Some of these are action-driven, so they may encourage a change in behavior that could help you stick to a solid savings routine.
In addition, you’d have easy access to your funds even outside Cincinnati. U.S. Bank currently manages more than 3,000 offices nationwide.
Best Regional Bank: Fifth Third Bank
Fifth Third Bank runs more than 120 offices in Cincinnati. You can also find branches scattered throughout nine other states. The bank provides an array of banking options from standard checking and savings accounts to certificate of deposit (CD) and individual retirement accounts (IRA)s.
One of the bank’s most popular options is the Fifth Third Essential Checking account. U.S. Bank gives you several ways to waive the $11 monthly service fee on this account. The bank will waive the fee if you do any of the following:
- Keep a combined monthly average balance of $1,500 across your deposit and investment accounts with U.S. Bank
- Spend at least $500 per month on a Fifth Third credit card
- Have a Fifth Third personal mortgage, auto loan or line of credit with an outstanding balance
In addition, the bank will give you an interest rate boost on your Relationship Savings if you have both of these accounts.
More affluent clients may be interested in the Fifth Third Enhanced checking option. To waive the $20 monthly service charge on this account, you’d have to keep a minimum balance of $20,000 across all your deposit and investment accounts with the bank at least one time per six-month period.
You can also open savings and money market accounts. But what makes Fifth Third Bank stand out is that you can invest in a 529 college savings CD through the bank. You can open this tax-advantaged savings vehicle with $25 to lock in a fixed interest rate. Your earnings then grow tax-free. And your withdrawals are also tax-exempt as long as you use them on qualified higher education expenses.
In addition, Fifth Third Bank also allows you to apply for various loans and open different investment accounts including annuities and mutual funds.
Best Customer Service: PNC Bank
Following J.D. Power’s recent U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study, the firm ranked PNC among the best for overall customer service. The comprehensive analysis gathered responses from hundreds of customers to rank the top banks for customer service. Respondents applauded PNC Bank for many factors such as ease of new account opening, communication and advice, products and fees.
PNC Bank has opened several channels of communication to serve its customers. You can call, email and even tweet customer service representatives. The website also publishes a comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section. So you may find answers to your questions without having to pick up the phone or shoot an email. But of course, you can always visit a local branch. PNC manages more than 1,000 offices throughout the country including more than 70 in the Cincinnati area.
And beyond superb customer service, you can expect a full suite of banking and investment products through this financial services giant.
Best Online Savings Account: Synchrony Bank
Even though you won’t find any physical Synchrony Bank branches, you can easily open and manage a High Yield Savings account online. In fact, this account currently collects an APY that crushes the competition as far as savings account rates go.
You also don’t need to maintain a minimum balance to keep the account active. In addition, Synchrony Bank makes it easy to access your funds. The following options are available:
- Internal transfer from another Synchrony Bank account
- Electronic funds transfer from an external account
- Mobile check deposit
- Deposit through ATM with a Plus or ACCEL logo
- Wire transfers initiated by another bank
- Personal or cashier’s check with a completed deposit slip for your account
However, keep in mind that federal law limits most types of withdrawals and transfers from savings and money market accounts (MMAs) to six per statement cycle. Synchrony won’t charge you an excessive withdrawal fee like many other banks would. But they can close your account if this activity becomes too frequent.
Best for Students: Chase Bank
Being a college student is expensive enough, so Chase wants to give you a break as you build you embark on your journey toward financial wellness. As long as you’re between the ages of 17 and 25, you would pay no monthly service fee for a Chase College Checking account. And you can even keep the account open afterward. However, you’d owe a $6 monthly service fee.
Still, the bank will waive it if you set up direct deposit or if you maintain an average balance of least $5,000.
Overall, Chase offers one of the most affordable and beneficial student-focused checking accounts we’ve examined.
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