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Best Banks in Denver

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by Chris Thompson Updated

Finding the Best Banks in Denver

Landing upon a bank in your area that best fits your needs is no easy task. Teasing out the subtle nuances that make one bank better than another is time-consuming and research-heavy, but SmartAsset has done the hard work for you. Below you’ll find details on the banks we’ve determined are the best in Denver, Colorado.

Bank APY Minimum Deposit Highlights
U.S. Bank Compare Offers Read More 0.01% $0
  • Best National Bank
  • 80+ branches in Denver
FirstBank Compare Offers Read More 0.10%% $0
  • Best Regional Bank
  • Low fees
Chase Bank Compare Offers Read More 0.01% $25
  • Best Bank for Customer Service
  • Top-rated mobile experience
FirstBank Compare Offers Read More 0.05% $500
  • Best Free & High Yield Checking Accounts
  • Great APYs
Colorado Federal Savings Bank Compare Offers Read More 1.00% $1
  • Best Savings Account
  • Low minimum balances
Bank of Colorado Compare Offers Read More 0.00% $0
  • Best Bank for Students
  • Personalized account choices

How We Determine the Best Banks in Denver

The banking experts at SmartAsset scrupulously examined the 15 largest banks in Denver based on which top national and regional banks had the most branches and highest market share. We then considered the varying fee structures, annual percentage yields (APYs), account features and minimum balances, in addition to exploring the ease of opening an account at each particular bank. Using this criteria, we boiled down the best options for you in the Mile-High City.

Best National Bank: U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank is a massive American bank with more than 3,000 total branches across the country, including 83 in Denver alone. The bank delivers on that extensive reach with a massive free ATM network, including all national U.S. Bank ATMs and thousands of MoneyPass® ATMs, of which there are about 50 located in Denver. If you use an out-of-network ATM, the bank will charge you $2.50, a standard charge for such an action. However, depending on the type of account you have, you may be eligible for two ATM fee reimbursements each month.

The bank offers three tiers of checking accounts: Silver, Gold and Platinum. Each type of checking account comes with the ability to receive a perk from the bank if you pair it with another financial product, such as a savings account, credit card or personal loan. For example, if you're a Silver Checking account holder, you receive simplified ways to waive the $8.95 monthly fee if you open a money market account (MMA). 

Though the majority of the APYs at U.S. Bank are so-so, Retirement Money Market Savings account holders have an opportunity to earn at rates as high as 0.70%. Otherwise, the rest of the accounts here usually sit at 0.10% or even lower.

Runner-up: Wells Fargo

Best Regional Bank: FirstBank

A lesser known bank because it’s limited to Colorado, California and Arizona, FirstBank has 12 different checking, savings and time deposit (CD) accounts available. The overall most beneficial account to own is a combination Anywhere Account with eSave, which integrates the advantages of both a checking and savings account. You will likely find saving easier with this account, as you can elect to transfer up to $99.99 from your checking account to your savings account every time you utilize online bill pay or swipe your Visa debit card.

As a whole, FirstBank doesn’t ask for high minimum opening balances or charge hefty monthly service fees. In fact, the Anywhere Account with eSave mentioned above requires neither, all while earning an APY of 0.15% to 1.26%, depending on your account balance.

The bank has a sizeable presence in Denver, with 13 of its more than 100 branches located there. Yet aside from the 20 odd ATMs that FirstBank owns and operates in the Mile-High City, there are no other ATMs you can use there without incurring the $2.50 out-of-network ATM fee.

Best Customer Service: Chase Bank

Chase has long been one of the giants of the banking industry nationwide, and the situation is no different in Denver. Because the bank has 70 physical locations in and around the city, you have easy access to in-person customer service if you want that heightened level of attention. But if getting to a branch just isn’t possible or you don’t feel like hopping in the car, Chase has a 24/7 phone line you can call for any help regarding your bank account(s).

The Chase Mobile® app elevates your customer experience. Not only does this app have a nearly perfect rating between the Apple and Android app stores after more than 250,000 reviews, but it also currently stands as the fifth most downloaded financial mobile app on the market. As an account holder, you can use the app to manage your account balances, deposit checks remotely, find a nearby ATM or branch and even make seamless digital payments with Zelle®, a speedy wire transfer program.

Beyond these customer experience features, Chase also provides its clients with an extensive set of financial products. You’ll find free, rewards and student checking accounts; savings accounts; rewards and low-interest credit cards; auto and home loans; financial advising services; and more.

Best Free & High Yield Checking Accounts: FirstBank

FirstBank may be the “Best Local Bank,” but it also has the most appealing free and high-yield checking accounts in Denver. You can open an Anywhere account without eSave, though the addition of eSave will get you a favorable fusion of some savings and checking account benefits.

The Money Market Checking and Premier Checking accounts are really where interest will come into play. In fact, the Money Market Checking account includes a 0.05% APY on balances between $500 and $19,999.99 and a 0.10% APY on any amount over $20,000. If you’re a Premier Checking account holder, you can get anywhere from a 0.10% to 0.25% APY, though you'll nedd a minimum of $50,000 in your account to earn the highest rate.

Best Savings Account: Colorado Federal Savings Bank

Colorado Federal Savings Bank (CFSB) offers an attractive 1.00% APY on all balances starting at just $1. An offer such as this is rare, especially when you also factor in that you aren’t obliged to pay a monthly service fee.

Whereas most banks will compound your interest on a month-to-month basis, CFSB does so daily. This means you’re constantly earning interest on the interest you earned the day before. This helps your savings account grow quickly and allows you to reap the full benefits of the 1.00% APY.

The bank has just a single branch in Denver, so it could be inconvenient for some to get to that location if you require in-person service. Another drawback in terms of accessibility: the bank doesn’t have an app. That’s uncommon in today’s tech-savvy banking world and will require you to do the majority of your banking with CFSB through its website, over the phone or by mail.

Best for Students: Bank of Colorado

As opposed to a traditional student account that is completely its own entity, Bank of Colorado allows students to apply its mainstream banking benefits to three possible options: the Free Checking account, the Select Checking account or the Interest Checking account. You’ll incur monthly fees as high as $5 and minimums up to $1,000 to earn a 0.05% to 0.40% APY with the Interest Checking Account.

Once you’ve opened one of the above accounts, you can then choose the perk you want to apply to it. These offers go as follows:

  • Refund of paper statement and notice fee per statement cycle (Select Checking Account and Interest Checking Account only)
  • Refund of service charge per statement cycle (Interest Checking Account only)
  • Refund up to $10 for foreign ATM transaction and terminal fees or surcharges per statement cycle
  • Refund up to five money order fees and five cashier’s check fees per statement cycle

These are only available if you’re a verified student under 22 years old, so you unfortunately can’t hang on to the benefits forever.

Runner-up: Colorado State Bank and Trust

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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