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Best Banks In Rhode Island

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by Javier Simon Updated

Finding the Best Banks in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is home to many banks from well-known financial institutions to regional banks. So it can be difficult to find the right bank to work with. But to make the process easier, we did the homework and published a report on the best banks in Rhode Island.

Bank APY Minimum Deposit Highlights
Bank of America Bank of America logo Read More 0.03% $100
  • Best national bank
  • Thousands of branches nationwide
Citizens Bank Citizens Bank logo Read More 0.01% $0
  • Best regional bank
  • Wide range of services including student loan refinancing
Citizens Bank Citizens Bank logo Read More 0.01% $0
  • Best customer service
  • Multiple customer service channels including online chat
Santander Bank Santander Bank logo Read More 0% $25
  • Best free checking account
  • Many opportunities to waive fees on several accounts
Synchrony Synchrony logo Read More 2.05% $0
  • Best online savings account
  • APY that beats the national average
Bank of America Bank of America logo Read More 0.03% $100
  • Best mobile banking app
  • Certified mobile banking experience
Santander Bank Santander Bank logo Read More 0% $25
  • Best for students
  • No monthly service fee on checking account for students between age of 16 and 25
 

How We Determine the Best Banks in Rhode Island

We started out by collecting data on the banks that hold the largest foot prints in Rhode Island. We then dug deeper into these banks. We examined factors like overall fee structure, the best savings accounts and customer service quality. The result was a definitive list of the best banks in Rhode Island. So read on to see who made the cut and why.

Best National Bank: Bank of America

Bank of America

Those looking to work with a well-established financial institution in Rhode Island would do well to consider Bank of America. While Rhode Islanders can visit only about 32 state branches, they can access their money at thousands of Bank of America offices and fee-free ATMs throughout the country. 

And at any one of these, you can find about any financial product you can think of. The bank provides everything from checking accounts to mutual funds through its partnership with Merrill Edge. You can also apply for auto loans and home loans. 

One of its most popular options is the Core Checking account. You can avoid its $12 monthly service fee by setting up a recurring direct deposit of at least $250. In addition, the bank can set you up with a Merrill Edge advisor who can guide you through every aspect of your financial life.

Best Regional Bank: Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank Savings Account

Citizens Bank calls Rhode Island home, and it also operates out of 10 more states. But despite its small geographic footprint, the bank offers everything you’d expect from a national bank and then some. For instance, you can refinance your student loans with Citizens bank. The institution claims it can drop your rate by 2% and help you save an average of $3,252. 

Plus, you can open a variety of banking products. These include checking accounts, money market accounts (MMAs), individual retirement accounts (IRA) and certificate of deposit (CD) options. In fact, its longer term CDs can generate some the best CD rates if you link them to other Citizens Bank products. 

One of its most popular products is the One Deposit Checking account. You can open one with any amount you wish. Citizens Bank will even waive the $9.99 monthly service fee if you make at least one deposit per statement period.

Best for Customer Service: Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank

Rhode Islanders who open an account with Citizens Bank have access to more than 70 branches in the state as well as more than 1,000 locations nationwide. But if you want to reach out to a customer service representative for any reason, you don’t have to visit any branch. 

The bank offers a useful online chat feature where you can ask questions to a customer service professional from the comfort of your own home or wherever you are. And the time of day doesn’t matter. Citizens Bank runs a 24/7 customer contact center. 

In addition, you can contact the bank via Facebook or Twitter.

Best Free Checking Accounts: Santander Bank

Santandar Simply Right Checking

The Simply Right Checking account from Santander Bank offers a great option for personal banking. For starters, you can avoid the $10 monthly service fee by making any financial transaction that posts during the statement period. These include deposits, withdrawals, transfers or payments. Santander Bank will even waive the fee on its savings or money market account if you open a Simply Right Checking account. 

Furthermore, you don’t have to maintain any minimum balance on your checking account. And you get free eStatements. You’d also get fee-free access to more than 1,500 branches in the Northeast as well as ATMs in several CVS pharmacy locations.

Best Online Savings Account: Synchrony

Synchrony Bank
CIT Savings 2.25% APY
Our Rating: 5/5
How we calculated this rating

The best banks in Rhode Island stand out for several reasons. But as with many traditional brick-and-mortar banks these days, they are not offering the best rates on their savings accounts unless you maintain a large minimum balance. On the other hand, online banks are offering high-yield savings options without requiring you to make a large deposit or keep a huge balance in your account. 

One example is Synchrony bank. This online-only entity offers a High Yield Savings account that generates an APY of 1.85%. That rate towers over the national average. Plus, you can open an account with any amount you’d like. You also don’t need to maintain a minimum balance. 

And to give you easier access to your funds, Synchrony Bank will hook you up with an ATM card. You can also withdraw money by transferring cash to another bank account through the web or by phone. You can also request that a check be mailed to you.

Synchrony also gives you several ways to deposit money. Your options include the following:

  • Transfer from another bank account
  • Direct deposit
  • Mobile check deposit
  • ATM deposit through deposit-accepting machine with an ACCEL logo

Best Mobile Banking App: Bank of America

Bank of America

Rhode Islanders looking for a bank with a solid app need look no farther than Bank of America. In fact, J.D. Power in 2018 certified the Bank of America app for providing an outstanding mobile banking customer experience. 

From the app, you can monitor all your finances with Bank of America including your auto loans and mortgages. In addition, you can easily transfer money through Zelle. This service helps you pay someone using only his or her email address or phone number. So you won’t have to exchange sensitive bank information. 

And if you lose your card, you can replace and activate it directly from the app. Plus, the app provides the following features: 

  • Mobile check deposit
  • Mobile bill pay
  • Locate ATMs
  • Schedule appointment with bank representative
  • Redeem cash back from eligible Bank of America cards

Best for Students: Santander

Santander Student Value Checking

Santander Bank offers one of the most beneficial student checking accounts we’ve examined. Several banks limit their student-focused options to college kids. But Santander opens their Student Value Checking account to customers between the ages of 16 to 25. 

In addition, the bank will waive the monthly service fee for these clients. They also don’t need to maintain a minimum balance and they get access to all of Santander’s mobile and online banking features. These include mobile deposit, money transfer and customizable alerts. 

And to help students develop a good savings habit as early as possible, Santander will waive the savings and money market account monthly service fees for Student Value Checking account holders. 

A student can open this account with a $10 minimum deposit.

Tips for Better Banking 

  • These days, brick-and-mortar banks aren’t offering the best interest rates on their savings accounts. But you can still find some good options. To make it easier for you, we’ve developed a tool you can use to compare savings accounts across the banking industry.
  • Banks offer a variety of investing options like HSAs and individual retirement accounts (IRA). And while these can be extremely beneficial, they can also be complex. You’d need to watch out for some rules in order to make the most out of tax benefits and avoid penalties. If you’d like some professional advice, you can use SmartAsset's financial advisor matching tool. It connects you with up to three financial advisors in your area who can help.
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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