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Best Banks in Wisconsin

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by Chris Thompson Updated

Finding the Best Banks in Wisconsin

Wisconsin has tons of different banking options for residents to choose from. In an effort to simplify your search for a bank, we’ve selected the top options in the state depending on what you find the most important, such as savings or ATMs.

Bank APY Minimum Deposit Highlights
U.S. Bank U.S. Bank logo Read More 0.01% $25
  • Best National Bank
  • Plenty of free ATMs
Old National Bank Old National Bank logo Read More 0.04% $50
  • Best Regional Bank
  • Decent APYs
Chase Bank Chase Bank logo Read More 0.01% $25
  • Best Online/Mobile Experience
  • Offers full-service banking products
Nicolet National Bank Nicolet National Bank logo Read More 0.10% $100
  • Best Savings Accounts
  • Some of the top APYs in the state
Town Bank Town Bank logo Read More 0.01% $100
  • Best Bank for ATMs
  • Great ATM fee reimbursement program
PNC Bank PNC Bank logo Read More 0.01% $25
  • Best Bank for College Students
  • Free debit card and online/mobile banking

How We Determine the Best Banks in Wisconsin

The 15 largest banks in Wisconsin were researched by SmartAsset’s banking experts in order to come up with this list. They were ranked by the number of branches in the state, but also much more. Other considerations include minimum balance requirements, interest rates, overall ease of accessibility, ATM networks and fees schedules.

Best National Bank: U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank boasts 134 branches in Wisconsin, placing it third in that category of our study of the best banks in the Badger State. However, although it doesn’t feature the most locations, it holds nearly a quarter of the states market share in terms of customer deposits. Customers will find hundreds of fee-free ATMs across the state, as U.S. Bank has machines at each of its branches. What’s even better is that it also belongs to the MoneyPass network, with thousands of ATMs throughout the states and Puerto Rico, including numerous options in Wisconsin.

Customers at U.S. Bank will find a tier-based account structure, specifically when it comes to checking accounts. In fact, depending on the benefits you’re looking for and if you want to earn interest, you’ll choose between a silver, gold, platinum or premium account. These are then paired with various savings accounts that match the above tiers. But for those that are looking for other options, the Elite Money Market account and Standard Saving account are also viable standalone choices. Credit cards, mortgages, personal loans, vehicle loans and retirement/investing services are available here as well.

Over recent years, U.S. Bank has built one of the top mobile apps of any national bank. Consumers apparently agree with this, as Android users have the rated the app a hair over 4-stars and Apple users giving it a nearly 5-star ranking. You can do just about anything through this, including monitor your account balances and transaction histories, set up online bill pay and mobile check deposit, find ATMs and branches and send travel notifications up to 90 days ahead of time. Money transfer service Zelle® is incorporated into the app too, allowing you to send and receive payments from anyone at the touch of a screen.

Runner-up: Chase Bank (see below)

Best Regional Bank: Old National Bank

Old National Bank Basic Savings Account

Nearly a third of Old National Bank’s 149 branches are located in Wisconsin, although it’s headquartered in Indiana. Even at its smaller size, Old National matches its national counterparts when it comes to its more than $17 billion in deposits and large ATM network. Along with its branch ATMs, customers can visit any one of the Allpoint Network’s 55,000 ATMs in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia and the U.K. If you can’t make it to an in-network ATM, though, this bank will waive fees for the first five cash withdrawals per statement cycle from other banks' U.S. ATMs.

The various checking and savings accounts at Old National Bank present a few themes, with perhaps the most important being forgiving monthly service fees. Although virtually all account options have some sort of charge that accompanies them, the bank offers reasonable ways to get out of them as long as you meet certain stipulations. These are most commonly minimum balance requirements, though these numbers are tiered based on whether the account is interest-bearing or not.

Old National is a perfect option for any prospective customers who want to consolidate all of their finances at one bank. Aside from the accounts mentioned above, you can also get the following financial services here: mortgages, home equity lines of credit (HELOC), auto, boat and RV loans, personal and student loans, credit cards, investment and wealth management and business banking.

Best Online/Mobile Experience: Chase Bank

Chase

At almost three million customer reviews between the Apple and Android app stores, Chase Bank’s mobile app has held an almost perfect 5-star rating for some time. There are a number of different features available through the app, allowing customers to just about anything that could be done in-person. If you do need the help of Chase directly, though, you can always use the branch and ATM locator.

Touch ID and other alternative ways of logging in are supported through the app, and once you’re in, there’s plenty of perks to take advantage of. Feel free to check your account balances and transaction histories at any time or complete an inter-account money transfer. The Zelle® and Chase QuickPay® programs give you the capability to send money to the accounts of friends and family, even if they’re not at Chase. Customer can also utilize online bill pay, mobile check deposit, send wire transfers or talk to a representative over the phone 24/7.

Chase has about 70 branch locations in Wisconsin, and has around 7% of the market share in terms of resident deposits. It offers an extensive selection of low-cost and interest-earning checking accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs) and other financial services, like credit cards and mortgages.

Runner-up: U.S. Bank (see above)

Best Savings Accounts: Nicolet National Bank

Nicolet Savings Account

In a day and age where interest rates at banks are declining and becoming less and less impressive, Nicolet National Bank is breaking the mold. If you can get over the $5,000 balance threshold with standard savings account, a solid 0.25% APY is waiting for you, though the Junior Savings account has 0.50% APY for anyone 20 years old or younger. If you’re interested in saving for retirement, the IRA savings account features a 0.25% APY.

Although they’re sometimes not included with traditional savings options, money market accounts (MMAs) and certificates of deposit (CDs) are also available. The traditional MMA calls for a $1,000 initial deposit and comes with as high as a 0.35% APY. But if you can muster up a $10,000 deposit, a 0.65% to 0.85% is available with the MVP MMA. The various CDs at Nicolet offer equally as desirable interest rates, with relationship rates starting at 0.90% for a 3-month CD all the way up to 3.20% for a 60-month CD. Non-relationship APYs are slightly lower, but are still above average.

Nicolet has about 40 branches in Wisconsin and has been a staple in the state’s banking industry since 2000. Aside from personal banking services, you’ll also find business banking, wealth management, financial planning, credit cards and mortgages at Nicolet.

Best Bank for ATMs: Town Bank

Access Plus Checking Account

Although it’s a small financial institution, Town Bank’s phenomenal ATM-related perks make it the top choice in Wisconsin for checking account customers who use ATMs often. For starters, aside from the about 20 Town Bank brand ATMs in the state, it’s also part of the Allpoint, MoneyPass, Sum and ATM Access ATM networks. This easily affords it the largest set of fee-free machines of any of its nearby peers.

As if the above benefits weren’t enough, Town Bank also employs a forgiving out-of-network ATM fee reimbursement program. More specifically, Total Access Checking and Premier Checking account holders receive unlimited reimbursements for fees charged by unincluded ATM companies. Those who own an Access Plus Checking account are limited to just five refunds per statement cycle, though.

Town Bank doesn’t have a massive presence in Wisconsin, with just 19 locations to its name. However, it is part of the Wintrust Community Bank network, affording you access to around 150 family branches. Savings accounts, mortgages, credit cards, credit repair services, home equity lines of credit (HELOC) and mobile banking are available at Town too. Its Junior Savers Club® can also be a valuable option for families with children who are looking to get their savings off the ground as early as possible.

Runner-up: U.S. Bank (see above)

Best Bank for College Students: PNC Bank

PNC Bank

PNC Bank has a unique approach to banking, as it builds packages with multiple sets of benefits for specific types of customers. In this case, PNC’s Virtual Wallet Student® is the best option for college students in Wisconsin looking to bank. This account most closely resembles a checking account, though it has many more student-centric services that make it what it is.

So long as you can prove that you’re an active student, PNC Bank will waive its monthly service fee. This can last for up to six years, leaving a window of opportunity for both bachelor’s and master’s degree students. The “Spending Zone” is an online tool PNC created to help account holders keep track of both how much money they’re spending and where through purchase category designations. Parents can also choose to receive alerts if the account’s balance is running low.

All account holders receive a free Visa® debit card and access to PNC’s online banking website and Apple/Android mobile apps. You’ll also find 9,000 ATMs around the country that you can use for free if the need for cash arises. There is also a number of financial education resources online, including ones for budgeting, financial planning for college, identity protection, the banking industry and more.

Tips for Finding a Bank

  • Many prospective banking customers overlook how a bank account can help shape their future financial plans. Even worse, some people may not even have a concrete set of ideas for how they'll achieve the future they picture. The SmartAsset financial advisor matching tool can pair you up with as many as three advisors in your are that can help you match a bank to your personal needs.
  • Don't be afraid to extensively research the fees, interest rates and other nuances of the banks you're interested in. You can never be too careful when choosing the keeper of your money.
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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