Finding the Best Banks in Maryland
It may be called Little America, but Maryland is home to hundreds of banks. Choosing the right one to park your cash in can be a hassle. Luckily for you, the banking experts at SmartAsset did all the hard work for you. We’ve dug up the Best Banks in Maryland. Read on to learn about which banks stood out for having the best savings accounts, excellent customer service, and state-of-the art technology to accompany their products. You may find the right one for you.
|Ally Bank Read More||0.50%||$0|| |
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|CIT Bank Read More||0.40%||$100|| |
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|TD Bank Read More||0.02%||$0|| |
|PNC Bank Read More||0.01%||$25|| |
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How We Determine the Best Banks in Maryland
We began by gathering data from the state’s 15 largest banks. These banks excelled in specific categories, like student-friendliness and top regional bank. We focused on several ranking factors including deposit minimum, annual percentage yields (APY) overall fee structure, bonuses and ease of accessibility.
Ally Bank: The Top Savings Account
Conventional banking is falling out of favor in many parts of the country, and online banks are becoming increasingly popular. Ally is one of these institutions, as it boasts fantastic interest rates headlined by the 0.50% APY of its Online Savings Account. Checking customers aren’t without robust interest rates, though, as Ally’s Interest Checking Account features a 0.25% APY for accounts with a minimum daily balance over $15,000 and a 0.10% APY for accounts under that amount. Ally has eliminated all monthly maintenance fees and minimum opening deposits for each of these accounts.
The branchless style of Ally could worry some prospective customers in regards to ATM access. But on the contrary, Ally account holders will be able to use any ATM within the Allpoint global network for free. To be exact, Allpoint operates more than 55,000 ATMs in the U.S., Canada and other countries. If you’re in a bind, but you cannot find an Allpoint ATM, Ally offers ATM fee reimbursements for up to $10 per statement cycle.
There are more than 20,000 customer reviews of Ally’s mobile app between the Apple and Android app stores, but it continues to receive positive feedback. In fact, it has maintained a 4.35-star rating out of 5. Customers can deposit checks on the go, view their account balances and transaction histories and search for Allpoint ATMs in their area. Zelle®, a peer-to-peer money transfer program like Venmo, is integrated into the Ally mobile app too.
Best National Bank With Branches in Maryland: Bank of America
Bank of America holds the strongest market share out of the largest banks in Maryland. And it’s no surprise. With more than 100 offices in the state alone, Maryland residents should have no trouble finding a local branch. And once inside, you can find just about every banking, lending and investment product you can think of. The bank caters to a wide array of customers. So whether you’re opening your first checking account or looking to park your retirement savings, you can find a suitable option at Bank of America.
So let’s start with the basics: checking accounts. The bank has three separate options when it comes to checking accounts. The Advantage SafeBalance account is as basic as you can get. Advantage Plus is more like a normal checking account, with a waivable $12 monthly service fee if you meet certain balance or direct deposit terms. Advantage Relationship is a high balance checking account. But if your financial life is a bit more complex, you can access investment products through the bank’s partnership with financial services behemoth Merrill Edge.
In addition, the bank allows you to open money market accounts (MMAs), certificates of deposit (CDs), individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and more. You can also apply for credit cards, home loans and auto loans.
And even though you can find thousands of Bank of America branches throughout the country, you can easily manage your accounts online via the bank’s top-rated mobile banking app. It was certified by J.D. Power and recognized for its user friendliness and wealth of actionable information. Bank of America also supports Zelle, a Venmo-like app that allows you to transfer money to others using only their phone number or email address.
Best Regional Bank: BB&T Bank
Branch Banking and Trust (BB&T) Bank operates in 15 states and runs more than 160 offices throughout Maryland. Account holders can also access more than 3,000 fee-free ATMs. But despite its commitment to local communities, it offers many of the same types of products you’d find at national banks.
It offers checking, savings, CD and IRA options as well as various loans and insurance products. However, the bank stands out from several competitors by offering health saving accounts (HSAs), which you can pair with a high-deductible health plan (HDHP).These savings vehicles are designed to help you pay for qualified medical expenses. They provide the following tax advantages:
- Make tax-deductible contributions up to the annual limit
- Earnings grow tax-free
- Withdrawals for qualified medical expenses are tax free
And as far as basic checking options go, you can open a Bright Banking account with $50. The bank will waive the $12 monthly service fee if you set up direct deposit of at least $500 or if you maintain a minimum average checking balance of $1,500. BB&T offers five distinct checking options including one designed for college students and another meant for senior citizens.
Furthermore, the bank offers three different personal savings account options including one designed for children younger than 18 years old. Its standard eSavings account requires no minimum opening deposit, minimum balance requirement or monthly maintenance fees.
The award-winning BB&T mobile app earned a 4.3 out of 5 star rating on Google Play and was ranked among the top 100 apps in finance on the Apple Store. It offers features like mobile check deposit and bill pay. It also allows you to create budgets and track spending via interactive digital tools.
Best Savings Account Rate: CIT Bank Savings Builder Account
While the 0.40% APY attached to the Savings Builder account might seem too good to be true, it actually isn’t all that difficult to attain. As a matter of fact, CIT customers who keep their account balance at or above $25,000 or deposit $100 every month will hold onto their eligibility. Beware, though, that customers who miss these marks are given an unremarkable 0.28% APY. Additionally, the account calls for a $100 initial deposit.
As you can probably already tell, savings accounts are what CIT offers the most of. And if you’re interested in more savings vehicles and accounts, the bank provides a wide array of jumbo CDs, no-penalty CDs, term CDs, money market accounts and an alternative to the Savings Builder account called the Premier High-Yield Savings account.
An important distinction between CIT and most of the other banks on this list is that you can only access its services via online and mobile devices. Apple and Android users can download the bank’s app, which offers a complete breakdown of your account balances and transaction histories. Mobile check deposit is included too, along with a peer-to-peer money transfer program for money market account holders.
Runner-up for Best Savings Account Rate: M&T Bank
Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company (M&T Bank) offers some of the most affordable and convenient savings accounts we’ve examined in our study. For example, the bank waives the fee on its Relationship Savings account if you make at least one direct deposit per statement cycle. You can also avoid the fee by maintaining a minimum daily balance of $500 or if you also open any personal checking account with M&T Bank.
Furthermore, you can also open an M&T Money Market account with no monthly maintenance fee. In addition, the bank also waives the fee for its My Choice Money Market account as long as you meet any of the following criteria:
- Have a MyChoice Premium Checking, Power Checking or Portfolio Management Account
- Keep a minimum daily balance of $2,500
- Depending on your balance, the APY can range from 0.03% to 0.10%
Even though you won’t generate much return from these rates, these accounts are generally inexpensive to manage. This means you won’t lose any of your savings as long as you meet one of the many fee-waiver requirements. Plus, you’ll have access to more than 170 local branches and a couple hundred more outside the state.
But if you’re aiming for a savings account that pays a high interest rate and you won’t mind sacrificing access to physical branches, your best bet may be an online savings account. To help narrow your search, we’ve developed a study on the best online high yield savings accounts.
Best Customer Service: TD Bank
The financial giant TD Bank manages more than a dozen full-service branches throughout Maryland. And according to our research of online customer feedback, the bank is also a juggernaut in the customer satisfaction arena.
The Customer Service section of its website is quite comprehensive. You’re likely to find answers to common questions like, “What’s my routing number?” with a few mouse clicks instead of walking to a branch or picking up the phone. Nonetheless, trained professionals are available at more than 1,000 branches nationwide. You can also contact live customer service by dialing 1-888-751-9000. The bank is so confident about its customer service reputation, that it even devoted a section of its website to “Fan Mail.”
And if you want to bank with TD, the firm offers nearly everything in the financial services dictionary. You can open checking accounts, savings options, CDs, IRAs and more. The bank even extends access to their own Tax Resource center.
Best in Tech: PNC Bank
PNC Bank offers one of the more comprehensive technological suites we’ve examined among the best banks in Maryland. Its checking and savings accounts are tied to Virtual Wallets. These online and mobile platforms give you a detailed look at your entire financial picture by pooling in your accounts’ crucial data such as balances into one interface.
From there, you have access to several interactive tools meant to help you manage a budget, track spending, save and more. For example, its money feature lets you digitally visualize how you allocate money to three categories: Schedule (set aside for bills), Free (money available to spend), and Growth (money you set aside to save). Its Savings Engine feature allows you to schedule a predetermined amount of money to transfer from Free to Growth. In addition, its interactive Wish List feature lets you set aside money for the items you want. You can then track progress toward your savings goal.
Furthermore, the bank’s online and mobile banking platform allows you to deposit checks, pay bills and check your balance. Plus, you can make transactions by linking your PNC debit or credit card to a supported device, which includes major smart watches. By doing this, you won’t share any card information with the merchant.
In addition, you can choose which alerts and notifications you want to receive. For example, you can preset notifications for when your direct deposit arrives or when an overdraft has occurred.
Overall, those who prefer doing most or all of their banking online should be satisfied with PNC’s digital features. However, the bank manages more than 200 offices in Maryland in case you need to get a hold of a real person.
Best for Students: SunTrust Bank
If you’re heading off to college, SunTrust Bank has you covered with its Essential Checking for Students account. The bank waives the monthly service fee for up to five years from when you open it. All you have to do is prove you’re enrolled or enrolling in a high school, college, university, technical or trade school.
In addition, you also get free access to the banks online and mobile banking features. These include the following:
- Mobile check deposit
- Online and mobile bill pay
- Zelle money transfer app
- Alerts/notification setup
In addition, the bank’s mobile app is compatible with Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. You can also use your debit MasterCard at more than 2,000 ATMs and more than 1,300 ATMs. And if you want to give the tech a break, SunTrust also hooks you up with 25 free checks. From there, you get a 50% discount on additional checks.