Finding the Best Banks in Massachusetts
The Bay State is home to hundreds of banks from major national players in the banking industry to regional and local institutions. Each one of the best stands out for something different. Nonetheless, choosing the right one to work with can be a hassle. But fret not. The banking experts at SmartAsset have your back. You won’t need to dive into the fine prints online or spend a day running around to different branches. We did the hard work for you. So read on to learn more about the best banks in Massachusetts.
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How We Determine the Best Banks in Massachusetts
We started out by gathering in-depth data about the 15 largest banks in the state. Then we dug into what else makes these banks worth mentioning. We dove into details like checking account affordability, best savings accounts, fee structure and customer service. The result? The six best banks in Massachusetts. Read on to learn more about why these banks make the cut and which one may be right for you.
Best National Bank: Citizens Bank
Citizens Bank offers a range of products to people in the communities it serves. Across the board, deposit options are affordable. For instance, you can open a One Deposit Checking account with any amount you’d like. Plus, you can waive the $9.99 monthly service fee by making at least one deposit per statement cycle.
For customers younger than age 25, Citizens Bank offers a Student Checking account. You can open this option with your choice of of a deposit amount, and it carries no monthly service fee. More affluent clients may be interested in opening a Citizens Bank Platinum Checking or Citizens Bank Platinum Plus Checking. Both of these collect interest. However, each account requires a $25 monthly service fee. You can waive it by keeping a minimum $25,000 across all your deposit accounts with the bank.
In fact, Citizens Bank offers a range of different deposit accounts to choose from. Your options include savings accounts, money market accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs) and individual retirement accounts (IRAs). You have more than a dozen options to choose from across the bank’s menu of deposit accounts. Each is geared toward a specific customer. For example, you can open a College Saver account for your child if he or she is 12 years old or younger. And the bank will provide you with a $1,000 bonus plus interest if you meet the following conditions by the time your child turns 18:
- Save the required monthly minimum amount every year: $25 if the child is younger than age 6 at account opening or $50 if the child is between the ages of 6 and 12 at account opening.
This perk is virtually unheard of among the banks we’ve examined in both the national and regional arenas. But what makes Citizens Bank really stand out is its Education Refinance Loan program. And based on a yearly study of its own customers, the bank claims it can help students save an average of $3,252 per year on their student loans. Of course, individual situations would trigger different results. You should consult a financial advisor for help on making the most out of this and other financing options offered through Citizens Bank.
But no matter what type of account you open, you’d have easy access to your funds whether in Massachusetts or outside the state.
Citizens Bank runs more than 1,000 branches and more than 3,000 ATMs. In fact, Massachusetts is home to 245 Citizens Bank offices. Furthermore, Citizen Bank provides its customers with a suite of digital features including online and mobile banking.
Best Regional Bank: Rockland Trust Bank
Based in Massachusetts, Rockland Trust Company manages more than 80 offices in the the Bay State. But despite its local focus, the bank offers a range of products aimed at everyone from individuals to businesses and people interested in investing their wealth or planning for retirement.
One of the bank’s most popular options is its Free Checking account. As the name implies, Rockland Trust Bank charges no monthly service fee on this account. It also requires no minimum balance. Its Student Checking option comes with the same perks. But to give kids a break, the bank also waives the surcharge it would have charged them for making transactions using out-of-network ATMs.
You can also open two different interest-bearing checking accounts. However, both collect a low annual percentage yield (APY) of 0.05%. So they can’t compete with the best checking account options that also generate interest.
However, Rockland Trust Bank still offers a variety of deposit options with reasonable interest rates especially if you’re willing to save for the long term. For example, you can open CDs for terms ranging from six months to five years. But like most banks, Rockland Trust tends to offer the best rates for longer-term CDs. For instance, you can open a five-year CD with a minimum deposit of $1,000 and earn a 1.65% APY. Interest on CDs at Rockland Trust Bank compound interest daily. This means your interest earns interest on a daily basis.
Furthermore, the bank offers variety of insurance and loan options including mortgages and home equity lines of credit. You also get access to online and mobile banking.
Best Customer Service: TD Bank
TD Bank stands a giant in the financial services industry. And with such a reputation to maintain, it’s no surprise that it has been recognized for exceptional customer service. In fact, it was recently garnered accolades from J.D. Power following its recent Retail Banking Satisfaction study. Its service in Florida attracted much attention. However, Massachusetts is home to more than 100 TD Bank branches.
You can walk into any branch and find a wealth of personal banking, wealth management and retirement planning products. The bank also allows you to apply for different loan options. In addition, TD Bank offers its customers access to an online Tax Resource Center. It also devotes a section on its website to Finance 101, which is designed to help people manage their financial life from budgeting to retirement planning.
The tech-savvy may be interested in knowing TD Bank’s mobile app currently holds a 4.7/5 star-rating on the itunes store. Apple also ranked it No. 33 in finance. Overall, TD Bank fosters a friendly atmosphere at its branches and extends a user friendly digital experience to its customers. The customer service section of its website is also very informative. You can find answers to commonly asked questions without needing to visit a branch or pick up the phone. However, TD Bank’s website also offers a solid blueprint of how to contact different departments should the need arise.
Best for Students: Bank of America
Bank of America offers a variety of products designed for students. For starters, customers 24 years old or younger can open a Core Checking account with no monthly service fee. And students on the go also have access to several online and mobile banking features. They can track expenses, pay bills, make transfers and more via the Bank of America app or through the bank’s website. In fact, J.D. Power recognized the Bank of America mobile app for its usability and wealth of actionable information. Furthermore, customers get access to Zelle. Similar to services like Venmo, this app lets you transfer money to another user using only that person’s email address and phone number. This means you won’t need to share sensitive bank account information.
In addition, Bank of America also offers several credit cards aimed at students. Specifically, the Bank of America Cash Rewards for Students card delivers 1% cash back on all purchases. However, you get 2% at grocery stores and select wholesale clubs. You’d also get 3% on gas for the first $2,500 spent on these categories combined. Moreover, the bank charges no annual fee on this account.
Those who are considering studying abroad may be interested in Bank of America® Travel Rewards for Students. This card offers unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent. Plus, your points won't expire. In addition, you get additional 10% customer points if you also have an active checking or savings account through Bank of America. The bank also charges no annual fee for this account.
But if you’re looking for a basic student-focused credit card through Bank of America, you might be interested in opening a BankAmericard for Students®. This option currently carries a 0% APR during the first 15 billing cycles after you open an account.
Best Online Savings Account: Synchrony Bank
As far as our study of the biggest banks in Massachusetts go, we found that savings account rates weren’t the strongest. But if you’re O.K. with sacrificing access to a physical branch, you may be more attracted to online high-yield savings accounts. Among the most favorable options out there is the one offered by Synchrony Bank.
The High Yield Savings Account from Synchrony Bank requires no minimum opening balance. It also generates a current APY of 2.25%. This rate crushes the national average for savings accounts. You can also make withdrawals online, through the phone or with your ATM card. Several of the banks we’ve examined don’t offer debit cards linked to their savings options.
But armed with your Synchrony Bank ATM card, it’s easy to access your funds should you need them. In fact, you’d have fee-free access to any ATM with a Plus or ACCEL logo. Synchrony also makes it easy to deposit funds. You can do so through any of the following channels.
- Internal transfer from a different Synchrony Bank account
- Electronic funds transfer from a registered external account
- Mobile check deposit
- Third-party direct deposit
- Deposit through a Plus or ACCEL ATM
- Wire transfers initiated by another bank
- Personal or cashier’s check with a completed deposit slip for your account
And even though federal law limits most types of withdrawals and transfers to six per statement cycle, Synchrony Bank won’t charge you an excessive withdrawal fee if you go above that limit as several banks would. Still, Synchrony reserves the right to close the account if this happens too often.
Best in Tech: People’s United Bank
People’s United Bank offers a string of high-ranking online and mobile banking features to its customers. Its mobile banking app holds a near-perfect 4.8/5 star-rating on the Apple iTunes store. Users on Google Play also gave it a favorable 3.9/5-star rating.
And it’s no surprise. The app goes a step beyond boasting the basic mobile banking features consistent throughout major banks.
But its security features really make the People’s United Bank app shine. For example, you can use your mobile device to shut off your card in case you lose it. This would prevent anyone from making transactions with it until you turn it back on. If you’re concerned about your account being used outside your area, you can even limit it to certain geographic regions or even specific types of merchants. You can also customize alerts to track spending and manage cash flow.
You also get the basic mobile banking perks like mobile check deposit, bill pay and money transfer. However, you won’t need to exchange bank account information to make or accept a money transfer. Simply use the recipient's phone number or email address. And if you have an iPhone 5S or later model with an operating system IOS 8 or higher, you can access your account via fingerprint. Furthermore, the app also boasts several interactive features such as savings calculators.
Tips on Choosing the Right Bank
- Choosing the right bank to work with can be a major financial decision. You should consult a qualifed financial advisor to help you explore all of your options.
- If you’re opening a CD account, you should consider creating a CD ladder to build an emergency fund.
- If you’re stuck on picking a bank to work with, you can check our study of the best banks in America.