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Best Banks In Houston

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by Derek Silva Updated

Finding the Best Banks in Houston

Houston is the most populous city in Texas, so it’s no surprise that residents have numerous banking options. Not every bank will offer the best account for your individual situation, though. That’s why SmartAsset created this list of the best banks in the city. Read on to see which banks are most accessible and which offer the top savings and checking accounts.

Bank APY Minimum Deposit Highlights
Chase Bank Chase Bank logo Read More 0.01% $25
  • Best National Bank
  • More than 200 branches
BBVA Compass BBVA Compass logo Read More 0.05% $25
  • Best Regional Bank
Woodforest National Bank Woodforest National Bank logo Read More 0.05% $25
  • Best Customer Service
  • More than 100 branches in Houston
Texas First Bank Texas First Bank logo Read More 0.05% $50
  • Best Free Checking Account
Capital One Capital One logo Read More 1.00% $0
  • Best Savings Account
BB&T Bank BB&T Bank logo Read More 0.00% $0
  • Best Bank for Students

How We Determine the Best Banks in Houston

SmartAsset’s banking experts found the 15 most popular banks in Houston by number of branches in the city. From those banks, we selected the best national and regional banks and chose the best savings and checking accounts based on their minimum balance requirements, annual percentage yields (APYs), fee structures and overall ease of accessibility.

If you're interested in saving money, consider opening up a CIT Savings Account. Earn over 8 times the national average with a 2.25% APY on balances of at least $25,000 OR monthly deposits of $100 or more with an initial $100 minimum deposit.

Best National Bank: Chase Bank

Chase

Chase is one of the largest banks in the U.S. In Houston alone, it has about 220 branch locations. That makes it a good option if you frequently need to bank in person. Chase is a national bank, so you can also find many branches if you’re travelling outside of Houston or Texas.

Beyond the number of locations, Chase also offers a wide range of financial products and services. You can find savings, checking and certificate of deposit (CD) accounts. The bank has a number of credit cards and loan options.

As a part of JPMorgan Chase & Co., you can also use the company’s investment services. Balancing major life goals like buying a home and saving for retirement is a challenge, so it’s nice to have access to expert advice from a financial advisor.

The Chase website and mobile app are also easy to navigate. You can open and manage accounts in addition to learning more about Chase’s various products.

Runner-up: Wells Fargo

Best Regional Bank: BBVA Compass

BBVA Compass

BBVA Compass has its headquarters in Alabama, but half of its branch locations are in Texas. It has nearly 200 branches just in Houston. And even though the bank offers fewer locations across the country than national brands, it does have higher rates. For example, you can get a savings account with an APY of 0.05%, which is five times higher than with a savings account from Chase Bank.

Overall, there are three account options for building savings. The two standard savings accounts don’t offer particularly high APYs (0.05%) but you can get a very high rate if you open a money market account (MMA). The BBVA Compass ClearChoice Money Market Account offers an APY of 1.70% no matter your account balance. (The minimum for opening an account is $25.) There is a $15 monthly fee, but you can waive it by regularly transferring money in from a checking account.

BBVA Compass can also help you with your other financial needs. The bank offers loans, mortgages, retirement accounts, financial advisors and a range of business accounts.

Best Customer Service: Woodforest National Bank

Woodforest Savings Account

With two standard savings accounts and five checking account options, Woodforest National Bank can appeal to multiple customers. While it doesn’t have the highest rates on the market, it does offer APYs above those of the large, national banks. There is also an account designed specifically for minors, so parents can help their children to build strong savings habits from a young age.

In addition to the banking products, you can expect to have a good experience. Woodforest National Bank. According to J.D. Power’s 2017 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study, Woodforest National Bank was third overall in the state of Texas. The study looks at a bank’s ability to handle customer issues in addition to the range and cost of its product offerings.

Best Free Checking Account: Texas First Bank

Texas First Bank

Many banks offer very low rates for their checking accounts. That makes Texas Fist Bank a standout with its 0.05% APY for checking (and savings) accounts. Another thing that makes the bank stand out is the fact that you can get an interest-bearing checking account, the Kasasa Cash Checking account, with no monthly fee. The minimum to open an account is also just $50, so it is an option even if you don’t have a lot in savings. If you meet certain criteria, you can also get a significantly higher APY of up to 2.01%. Again, this is all with a checking account that has no monthly fee.

You can also earn a high rate (currently 0.85%) on a savings account if you open a Kasasa Saver account. Coupled with free access to online banking, a free debit card and up to $42 in refunds on ATM fees, Texas First Bank provides an enticing free checking account.

Best Savings Accounts: Capital One

Capital One 360

Capital One offers some of the highest rates around. This is true for all of its savings options: savings account, MMAs and CDs. For example, the standard savings account, the Capital One 360 Savings® Account, comes with an APY of 1.00% and has no minimum deposit requirements. Capital One CDs also have no minimum deposit with high APYs on all terms (particularly the one-year term and longer-term CDs).

If you want to pair your savings account with a checking account, you’ll also get some high rates there. The standard checking account has an APY of 0.20%, which is significantly higher than other large, national banks. There is also a checking account designed specifically for teenagers.

Another advantage in Houston is that there are actually Capital One branches. Most states only have access to Capital One via its online banking. Texas is one of the handful of states with physical branches. That means Houston customers get the best of both worlds: an online-focused bank with branches nearby just in case you need them.

Best for Students: BB&T Bank

BB&T Bank Student Checking

One of the main things to consider when you’re just starting to save is what fees a bank will charge. Naturally, you want to limit fees and this is especially true for students because they often are just starting their savings journey. The Student Checking account from BB&T Bank allows you to open an account for free. There is no minimum to open and you don’t have to pay any monthly fees. This deal applies to customers up to age 24.

The student checking account does not earn interest, but you can also pair it with a free eSavings account. This account has no minimum or monthly fees. The interest rate is not the highest (currently 0.03%) but it is enough to get you started.

Overall, the student offering from BB&T Bank is a solid option that compares well to some of the great student savings accounts you find elsewhere.

Tips for Finding the Best Bank Accounts

  • The best bank account is the one that best helps you to meet your financial goals. If you aren't sure which bank account (or which bank in general) is right for you, consider talking with a financial advisor. An advisor is an expert who can give you guidance based on your specific financial situation.
  • Sometimes, your bank doesn't have the highest rates. That makes it a good idea to really shop around before opening any accounts. Regardless of where you live, here are some of the best high-interest savings accounts.
Save more with these rates that beat the National Average
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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 2016 5-Year American Community Survey, MIT Living Wage Study