Finding the Best Banks in San Antonio
Hailed as “Every Texan’s Favorite City,” San Antonio stands among the top 10 largest cities in the United States of America. And residents there have a range of banks to choose from. Finding the right option could be a hassle. Luckily, SmartAsset has done all the hard work for you and uncovered the best banks in San Antonio for all different types of customers.
|Wells Fargo Read More||0.01%||$25|| |
|Frost Bank Read More||0.01%||$50|| |
|International Bank of Commerce (IBC) Read More||0.20%||$100|| |
|Synchrony Read More||0.40%||$0|| |
|Bank of America Read More||0.01%||$25|| |
How We Determine the Best Banks in San Antonio
The banking experts at SmartAsset dove into the latest data behind San Antonio’s banks and fished out the 15 most popular banks based on their branch count and versatility of offerings. We then narrowed the list down to the best national and regional banks in San Antonio. We also highlighted the most inexpensive checking options as well as the best savings accounts based on crucial factors like minimum balance requirements, annual percentage yields (APY), fee structure and more. We also found the best bank for college students in the area.
Best National Bank: Wells Fargo
With nearly 50 Wells Fargo offices scattered throughout San Antonio, you should have no trouble finding a local branch. And when you walk through the bank’s doors, you can find just about any banking product you might need. Wells Fargo offers checking, savings and certificate of deposit (CD) accounts, as well as individualized products geared toward helping one invest in their retirement or manage wealth. You can also access mortgages, home equity lines of credit, student loans, auto loans and more.
In addition, Wells Fargo’s footprint expands nationwide through more than 6,000 locations. So if you’re traveling, you’re likely to find access to a fee-free ATM or customer service representative to handle any banking needs.
But Wells Fargo also stands out for the ease of its mobile features. For instance, you can use your mobile device to “turn off” your Wells Fargo debit card if you misplace it. This would prevent anyone else from making transactions with your card. If you leave your card at home while out, you can also use your phone as your debit card at major retailers and service providers.
But as you’ve probably heard, Wells Fargo fell into hot water in 2017 after several of its employees were exposed for creating more than 1 million fake accounts and signing up thousands of customers for online bill pay without their knowledge. Since then, Wells Fargo has pledged to put millions back in the pockets of customers affected by this violation.
Runner Up: Chase Bank
Best Regional Bank: Frost Bank
Frost Bank holds a strong presence in its home city of San Antonio. In fact, the bank beats out juggernauts like Chase and Wells Fargo when it comes to local market share. San Antonio residents can access more than 30 local branches, as well as more than 100 offices and 1,000+ fee-free ATMs throughout the state of Texas.
And even though it first opened its doors in the 1800s, Frost Bank has definitely kept up with the times. You can use everything from a mobile phone to a desktop computer to monitor all of your accounts including 401(k)s and mortgages regardless of where they are held. In addition, you can check balances on your Frost Bank accounts via smart watch.
The Frost Bank app features all the basic mobile banking compatibilities you’d expect from a major bank, including mobile deposit and bill pay. It’s also compatible with Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Microsoft Wallet. In fact, the bank’s mobile app. scored a nearly perfect score on the Google Play store with 4.5/5 stars. Furthermore, Frost Bank provides its customers with access to Zelle. Similar to popular services like Venmo, this app allows you to transfer money to others with just their phone numbers or email addresses. No need to exchange sensitive account information.
But beyond technological features, you can find all your basic personal banking products at Frost Bank. The firm offers one basic savings account, a money market account (MMA) and CDs with terms stretching from 14 days to 24 months. Overall, Frost Bank offers savings options with moderately-high interest rates. It’s important to note, however, that annual percentage yields (APY)s for the bank’s savings options can trump rates tied to similar products at major banks like Chase and Wells Fargo. Across the board, Frost Bank also requires less stringent qualifications to avoid monthly service fees. This makes Frost Bank a contender for financial institutions with the best savings accounts in the region.
Overall, Frost Bank is a solid choice for people seeking competitive banking products, user-friendly technology and superb customer service. Frost Bank even scored the highest customer satisfaction ranking in the Texas region, according to a 2018 retail banking study by J.D. Power. Frost Bank has remained on the top of that list for nine consecutive years.
Best Low-Cost Checking Accounts: International Bank of Commerce (IBC)
San Antonio residents looking for an inexpensive, no-strings-attached checking account need look no farther than International Bank of Commerce (IBC). You can open a free checking account with $10. That’s one of the lowest checking account minimum deposits we’ve encountered in our analysis of the best banks in San Antonio. In addition, you don’t have to worry about any monthly service charge. You also get to make unlimited transactions and check writing.
This is a great option for those opening their first checking account or customers looking to rebuild their finances. It won’t generate any interest. But it can provide peace of mind since it’s very easy and inexpensive to manage.
Moving forward, you can also choose from four more checking options. You can open each with a minimum deposit of $100.
The Rite checking account might be right for someone who makes fewer than 50 withdrawals per month. These would be free, but each additional one would trigger a 15 cent charge. However, the bank will waive the $7.95 monthly service fee if you maintain a minimum average collected balance of $3,000.
If you’re seeking an interest-bearing checking account at IBC, your best bet might be the IBC Connection option. By opening this account, you’d also get an interest rate bump on IBC Bank money market accounts and CDs. In particular, your CDs rate will climb by 10 basis points. The bank will also waive the hefty $15 monthly service fee if you keep a combined average collected balance of $7,500 or a minimum combined daily balance of $5,000.
Regardless of choice, IBC Bank offers the following to all checking account customers free of charge
- IBC debit card
- Online banking with bill pay
- IBC Voice automated telephone banking service
Furthermore, you can use your checking account at more than a dozen ICB Bank locations in the San Antonio area.
Best Online Savings Account: Synchrony Bank
If you’re a San Antonio resident who is willing to sacrifice local branch access in exchange for a high-yield savings option, Synchrony Bank may be the right institution to park your money in. This online bank offers a savings account with a current interest rate that climbs well above the national average for savings accounts. Plus, the bank requires no minimum opening balance and charges no transaction fees. You’re not likely to find these benefits in unison at even the largest brick-and-mortar banks in the country.
Furthermore, you have easy access to your funds. For instance, the Synchrony Bank High Yield Savings Account comes with an ATM card. You can use this to withdraw funds from any ATM displaying a Plus or ACCEL logo. Or, you can use your ATM card to make a purchase as you would with any ordinary debit card. Several banks we’ve examined don’t give you the convenience of having a debit card linked to your savings account.
In addition, you have access to funds through the following channels.
- Internal transfer from another Synchrony account
- Electronic funds transfer from a registered external bank account
- Mobile check deposit
- Wire transfer
- Personal or cashier’s check with a completed deposit slip
Keep in mind, however, that federal law restricts most types of savings account withdrawals and transfers to six per monthly statement cycle. But even if you go overboard, Synchrony Bank won’t charge you a hefty excessive withdrawal fee. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t abuse this privilege. The bank has the right to close your account if this happens frequently.
But all in all, the Synchrony Bank High-Yield Savings option ranks among the best online savings accounts we’ve examined.
Best for Students: Bank of America
If you’re enrolling in one of San Antonio’s 12 accredited colleges or universities, you don’t have to major in economics to find the right bank to manage your finances.
One of the most student-friendly banks we’ve encountered in our research is Bank of America. For starters, you can open a SafeBalance Banking checking account with just a $25 deposit. And you won’t need to face a monthly service fee as long as you’re younger than 24 years old and enrolled in college, high school or a vocational program. Otherwise, the monthly service fee is $4.95, which is one of the lowest we’ve encountered among major banks. You can access your funds at more than two-dozen Bank of America offices in San Antonio and at more than 4,000 branches across the country in addition to 15,000+ fee-free ATMs nationwide.
Furthermore, SafeBalance Banking account holders get the following benefits free of charge.
- Online and mobile banking with photo deposit and temporary debit card “shut off” feature
- Fraud monitoring services
- Option to put your photo on your debit card for additional fraud protection
- Cash back deals through online banking
But this isn’t the only student-focused account offered by Bank of America. You may also find the right credit card here. The firm provides a range of credit card options designed for students. The Cash Rewards for Students credit card offers 2% cash back at grocery stores, 3% on gas, and 1% on all other purchases for the first $2,500 per quarter. In addition, you get a 10% customer bonus for redeeming your rewards into a Bank of America checking or savings account.
Plus, the bank doesn’t charge an annual maintenance fee for this account.
Those of you looking to study abroad may be interested in signing up for a Travel Rewards for Students credit card. This option provides you with unlimited 1.5 points for every dollar spent anywhere. In addition, the bank charges no annual maintenance fee or foreign transaction fee for this card. Finally, the standard BankAmericard for Students also carries no annual maintenance fee.
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