Finding the Best Bank Without ATM Fees
No one likes ATM fees. When you open a checking account, you expect to be able to get cash at an ATM without having to pay extra charges to your own bank or credit union. So we pored over the data to find the top financial institutions that have no ATM fees.
|Charles Schwab Bank Open Account Read More||0.20%||$0|| |
|Fidelity Open Account Read More||0.19%||$0|| |
|Radius Bank Open Account Read More||0.85%||$10|| |
|Bank of Internet USA Open Account Read More||1.25%||$0|| |
|Chase Bank Open Account Read More||0.01%||$100|| |
How We Determine the Best No ATM Fee Banks
For this list, we considered only checking accounts at banks that don’t charge ATM fees. In order to rate which were the best, we analyzed the following categories: domestic and international ATM fee reimbursements, annual percentage yield (APY), minimum opening deposits, monthly fees, overdraft fees and overall customer service.
Best Overall Bank: Charles Schwab Bank
Even with a mediocre 0.20% APY, the Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking® account offers a lot to its customers. Those who travel internationally often can get cash at any time from any ATM and have all fees reimbursed automatically. You won’t get the refund back immediately though, as Schwab returns the total to your account in a lump sum at the end of the month.
The major issue with this account is its APY that, while technically better than the 0.04% national checking account APY average, is still not that robust. The bank account compensates for this downside by being almost entirely fee-free. As a matter of fact, there are no monthly maintenance fees, free checks, no overdraft fees, no stop payment fees and no foreign exchange fees.
Along with this account, you’ll receive a free Schwab One® brokerage account for your investments. This not only gives you access to investing education resources, but it also allows you to enter the investment world without much capital. There is no fee to open or maintain this account, and you get a $4.95 rate on all online equity trades.
Runner-up for Best Overall Bank: Fidelity
Fidelity is an investment-first financial institution, making it not your typical “bank.” But its cash management account can hand you all the benefits that a bank does, without the massive fees that usually accompany it.
Any fees you incur while making withdrawals at domestic ATMs are reimbursed within the same day that you complete the transaction. Simply use your new Fidelity® Visa® Gold Check card at any ATM with the Visa®, Plus® or Star® logos, and you’ll remain eligible for refunds. But if you’re using an ATM outside of the U.S., there is an unavoidable 1% foreign transaction fee.
Beyond the generous ATM policy above, Fidelity doesn’t have many other fees or account restrictions. In fact, there is no minimum deposit to open an account, no minimum balance to maintain, no monthly service fees and no fees to use overdraft services. However, Fidelity applies a 0.19% APY to your account balance, which doesn’t leave much room for account growth.
Considering Fidelity is almost totally online, it should come as no surprise that the Fidelity Mobile® app and website are thorough and helpful. Some of their features include online bill pay, mobile check deposit, wire transfers and real-time trading. If your Apple device has the capabilities, you can also utilize Face ID and Touch ID to log on.
Best Online Bank: Radius Bank
When you’re a Radius Bank Radius Hybrid checking account holder, you get refunds on all domestic and international ATM fees. But when you make a withdrawal or deposit outside of the U.S., Radius will charge you a foreign currency exchange fee no matter what. It would be wise to keep track of how much you’ve been charged in these fees, though, as you won’t see them credited to your account right away. Instead, like Schwab, ATM surcharge reimbursements are sent out in full at the conclusion of every month.
The 0.85% APY paired with the Radius Hybrid account is significantly above the U.S. average for a checking account. So although it’s not at the same level as the two accounts above, it holds a much higher yield than most of its peers. You need to deposit at least $10 to open this account, though there are no monthly fees.
To cover yourself for any instances of overdraft, it would be wise to do a lot of your other banking with Radius too. For example, you can utilize a savings account, money market account (MMA) or line of credit to absorb any overdrafts you might make. Account holders are able to transfer money to and from their account for free, even if it’s not with another Radius account. eStatements and mobile check deposit are also included as free features of this account.
Runner-up: Bank of Internet USA (more below)
Best High Yield Bank: Bank of Internet USA
With a 1.25% APY, the Bank of Internet USA Rewards Checking account has the strongest interest-earning potential of any offer on this list. This isn't an automatically given APY, though, as there are strings attached to earn it. It is split into thirds, and you can earn each third by meeting all of these monthly requirements: make a purchase of $3 or more at least 10 times a month, make five more purchases of at least $3 in the same month and collect at least $1,000 in direct deposits.
Bank of Internet USA is an online-only bank, but any time you use an ATM in the U.S., you will receive back a full rebate of any ATM fees you may have payed. Unlike some of the other offers on this list, this doesn’t apply to foreign ATMs. You can only reap the benefits of this ATM fee reimbursement program if you use your Bank of Internet USA Visa® debit card to complete the transaction.
You can also take advantage of the Green Dot® Reload @ the Register program, which allows you to deposit cash at retailers. If someone owes you money or you have to pay a friend back, Bank of Internet USA has Popmoney® to help you with the transfer. Similar to Venmo, Popmoney pairs with your bank account and allows you to send and receive money from other bank accounts.
Certain retail companies have partnerships with Bank of Internet USA’s Purchase Rewards. With this rewards program, you can earn cash back directly to your account just for doing your shopping through the Purchase Rewards online portal.
Best Customer Experience: Chase Bank
No matter what your preferred type of communication is, Chase has a viable customer service option for you. There are more than 5,000 branches you can visit in-person. You can also call a 24/7 customer service phone line to have your questions answered. Chase’s highly rated mobile banking app is one of the most downloaded financial apps on the Apple and Android markets. As far as features go, nearly everything you can do in-person you can do through the app, such as depositing a check and transferring funds between Chase accounts.
A minuscule 0.01% APY is attached to the Chase Premier Platinum CheckingSM account, giving it essentially no interest-bearing capability. Make sure you have at least $100 to deposit, as that is the minimum you need to open an account.
The $35 monthly service fee could be a deal-breaker for a lot of prospective account holders. It is possible to waive this charge, though, if you maintain an average daily opening balance of at least $75,000 between a Platinum checking account and any qualifying deposit or investments accounts that you link to it.
Runner-up: TD Bank Premier Checking
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.
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.