Roundup of Bank Reviews from 2022 - MrLiambi's blog


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Thursday 17 February 2022

Roundup of Bank Reviews from 2022

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In 2022, there are more banks â€" or financial institutions that act like banks but technically aren't â€" than ever. Brick-and-mortar banks where you can go inside and say howdy to a teller are still plentiful, but the visitors inside are fewer and fewer every year.

The digital sphere is now filled with online-only money management options that include actual banks, neobanks, fintech firms and investment platforms that offer banking services.

The following roundup of bank reviews from The Penny Hoarder will help you decide which institution fits your savings, checking and even loan needs for 2022. We have studied and compared their fees, interest rates, customer service, app efficiency and other offerings that make them stand out.

Brick-and-Mortar Banks

The largest banks in America still have physical locations plus offer a full menu of online services.

Their advantage is that they offer everything from multiple savings and checking accounts to loans, CDs and more. But they are less nimble and charge fees â€" for out-of-network ATM use for example â€" that some of the newer banking options don't.

In late 2021, Capital One announced that it was eliminating all overdraft fees and in January 2022, Bank of America and Wells Fargo said they planned to lessen the bite they take from clients who overdraw their accounts.

Here are The Penny Hoarder's 2022 reviews of brick-and-mortar banking options:

Bank of America 

Bank of America is the nation's second-largest bank (Chase is No. 1) and offers a lot of options, including multiple checking and savings accounts, plus financial advisors, CDs, loans and more. Where it falters is high fees and lack of access to free ATMs. BofA has 4,212 branches across 37 states.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Bank of America review

Capital One

Capital One's suite of banking services includes the fee-free 360 brand checking and savings accounts. There is wide branch access in big cities, and it has special accounts for teenagers, making it a good choice for introducing them to personal finance. Capital One has about 470 branches in nine states, mostly in New York, Louisiana, Texas, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and Washington, D.C.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Capital One review


Chase, the largest bank in the country, pays low APYs and lots of fees. Still, for many customers the convenience of branches and a wide variety of services make up for that. Chase has a highly rated mobile app and offers a new user bonus. Chase has about 5,000 branches in 33 states and Washington, D.C.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Chase Bank review


Citibank's multiple checking account plans, including one that pays interest, plus its high-yield savings account earn high marks. There are a lot of services under one roof which also makes it attractive to consumers. One complaint: high monthly fees. Citibank has 657 branches in 12 states and most of them in California, New York, Florida, Illinois and Washington, D.C.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Citibank review


Huntington Bank has useful automatic savings tools and its early access to paychecks is a bonus. The mobile app is great, but high fees that are difficult to waive are not so great. Savings and checking accounts earn solid interest. Huntington has 1,069 offices in 12 states.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Huntington review


PNC bank has physical locations in about half of the country but it can be used online everywhere. It's a full-suite bank with interesting checking and savings options. But be careful not to overdraft your account or you'll be penalized steeply. Still, PNC offers financial literacy tools. PNC has 2,618 branches in 26 states.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
PNC review

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo gets high marks for convenience but its low APYs and high overdraft fees are notable. An Automatic Refund feature can help rectify some of those penalty fees and the mega-bank has moved to lessen some overdraft charges, but not all. Lots of physical branches and ATMs nationwide. Wells Fargo has 5,216 branches in 31 states.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Wells Fargo review

Online Only Banking

Nearly three-quarters of Americans regularly bank online, according to a 2021 survey by the Insurance company Value Penguin. That doesn't mean they've dumped traditional banks entirely, but that growing interest has opened the door to new online banking platforms.

Our 2022 reviews of online-only banking institutions include official banks and cash-management accounts, and even robo-investing platforms that provide banking services. We considered the ease of use and quality of their apps, plus the variety of offerings and fees charged for their services.

We have rated these institutions generally high because they are in tune with the way people want to bank today â€" 24/7 from their smartphones.

Here are The Penny Hoarder's 2022 reviews of online-only banking options:

Alliant Credit Union

Alliant Credit Union is an NCUA-insured (National Credit Union Administration-insured) banking institution with online access for members nationwide. It offers a network of 80,000 surcharge-free ATMs across the country. Fees are low and interest high for savings and checking accounts.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Alliant Credit Union review

Ally Bank

Ally Bank made headlines in mid-2021 by eliminating all overdraft fees. Transparency about and lack of fees in general sets this online banking giant apart. Interest rates on savings accounts are higher than the national average but low for checking. Customers have access to about 55,000 Allpoint ATMs for free but cash deposits are not accepted.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Ally Bank review

American Express National Bank

American Express National Bank has a high-yield savings account and impressive certificate of deposit options. It does not offer a checking account but that doesn't seem to bother customers looking for generous APYs on their savings. There are no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements, but there is also no mobile app and no ATM access. Account access is limited to web-based and phone support.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
American Express National Bank review


Aspiration is an online-only cash-management account with features similar to classic checking and savings accounts though it is not technically a bank. High-yield savings, cash-back spending and Aspiration's commitment to social issues by donating 10% of profits are more reasons to like this account. Customers have access to about 55,000 fee-feee Allpoint ATMs.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Aspiration review

Axos Bank

Axos Bank offers several savings and checking options, including CDs and money market accounts. It has highly regarded customer service and good options for small businesses. Its app can be a bit buggy and the interest rates aren't the best you can find but overall, it's top notch. Free withdrawals at 91,000 ATMs nationwide.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Axos Bank review


Betterment is technically not a bank but rather a robo-investment platform with banking services. Its automatic saving tool keeps an eye on your checking account and moves money into your Cash Reserve account when warranted. This lets you take advantage of the generally high APY. Especially good for new investors. No ATM networks but Betterment reimburses all ATM fees worldwide.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Betterment review


Chime is a stripped-down mobile banking service for mostly checking and savings. It has no fees and allows customers to get their paychecks early when they have direct deposit. The drawbacks of this trendsetter is that it doesn't allow joint accounts and has no small business banking options. Access to 60,000 fee-free ATMs, some in major stores like Walgreens and CVS.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Chime review

CIT Bank

CIT Bank is a good option for those ready to go fully online with their banking. It offers both checking and savings accounts with no monthly fees and high interest yields. There is free overdraft protection but CIT still charges penalties on insufficient funds items. No accounts specifically for business owners. CIT does not have an ATM network but does not charge customers for using another bank or network's ATM.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
CIT Bank review


Current attracts customers to its accounts with benefits like no hidden fees, faster direct deposit, fee-free ATMs, automated savings and fee-free overdrafts. It's not technically a bank but a financial technology platform, sometimes called a neobank. Your money is FDIC insured. Access to 55,000 fee-free ATMs in the Allpoint network.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Current review

LendingClub Bank

LendingClub Bank offers an array of competitive online banking accounts and services, including a compelling checking account option. LendingClub is a legit bank that offers personal loans online and plenty of services for free and also ATM charge reimbursement for out-of-network use. Fee-free access to MoneyPass and SUM networks and their more than 20,000 ATMS.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
LendingClub Bank review

SoFi Money

SoFi has gotten a fair amount of publicity in 2022 as its name is plastered on the gleaming new Los Angeles stadium where the Rams and Chargers play. But to us, SoFi Money is an online-only financial service that combines cash management accounts â€" checking and savings â€" into one. It's a fintech company that works with a partner bank network for services. Access to 55,000 fee-free ATMS in the Allpoint network.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
SoFi Money Review

Synchrony Bank

Synchrony Bank offers no checking account but its savings account draws customers for its high interest rates. Checks can be written off the money market account. It offers a large variety of credit cards and charges no monthly fees. Synchrony is a good fit for folks who don't need a traditional checking account. Customers can use any ATM and Synchrony will reimburse fees up to $5 per statement period.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Synchrony Bank review

Varo Bank

Varo Bank is a standout among online banks for its ease of use, sleek design and sky-high savings APY. It doesn't have small business banking, traditional credit cards, loans or investing so isn't a great fit if you need a full-service bank. We like the credit builder credit card and cash advance options. Fee-free access to 55,000 Allpoint ATMs.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Varo Bank review

Specialty Banking Interests

Sometimes it is not just one bank that you need to research, but rather are looking for a comparison of banks that cater to a specific need.

Take, for instance, the banking needs of small-business owners, especially when they are just starting out. They need a bank that operates like a partner in helping with loans and not charging too much for services. Our roundup of the Best Banks for Small Businesses surveys a slew of banks and vets them so you don't have to.

We also gathered the financial institutions that cater to the military community, providing a snapshot of those that understand the specific needs of active duty and retired personnel.

And if you're looking out for which banks to avoid, we've got that list too.

Here are the 2022 Penny Hoarder roundups of specialty banking topics.

Best Bank Promotions

The banking business is highly competitive and many institutions offer cash bonuses to get you to open an account. That can mean up to $500 for new customers who meet certain requirements. The bonus offers change monthly and we keep up with that.

Best Bank Promotions

Best Banks for Freelancers

Freelancers are self-employed workers who pay their own taxes because nothing is withheld for them. That's just one thing that sets them apart as banking customers. They are also running businesses â€" usually in the creative fields â€" that require keeping track of expenses and income. We found four accounts that act like partners, especially in the area of money management and budgeting.

Best Banks for Freelancers

Best Online Banks

Because online banks rarely have physical locations and need fewer employees, they have low overhead and can pass those savings on to customers. That means many of them have higher APYs for both checking and savings accounts. We also expect them to have excellent mobile apps and lots of access to ATMs. We found a dozen banks to recommend.

Best Online Banks

Best Banks for Military

The military community, especially active duty personnel, is looking for financial institutions with excellent customer service. The ability to access customer assistance 24/7 is important when they are in different time zones. Deployed personnel want reliable online bill payment services plus international branches or facilities on base. The banks and credit unions we found cater to the military community, often offering higher APYs to honor their service.

Best Banks for Military

Best Banks for Small Businesses

We found financial institutions both super-big (Chase and Wells Fargo banks) and innovative (fintech BlueVine) that cater to people whose businesses are just getting established. They are attractive for their low fees, competitive APYs on checking, bookkeeping integration, loan offerings and solid mobile apps.

Best Banks for Small Businesses

Best Banks for No ATM Fees

Why should you have to pay a fee to get at your own money just because the bank doesn't have a lot of in-network ATMs? We found 10 financial institutions that would agree with that. They are all part of a network of 60,000 or more ATMs or they have generous reimbursement policies if you use an out-of-network cash machine. Some of them even offer those reimbursements for ATMs used anywhere in the world.

Best Banks for No ATM Fees

Best Banks for Students

The best banks and credit unions for students are those that offer personal finance education tools plus lower fees for all accounts. College and high school students expect to be able to do everything, including depositing birthday checks, from their smartphones so we considered the ease of mobile banking in our assessment. Read the fine print on the accounts because some are only good through age 18.

Best Banks for Students

Worst Banks in America

The banks with the most complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are some of the country's largest and most well-known banks. The Big Four (Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citibank) all made this dubious list, with BofA coming in with the most complaints. Online-only Ally Bank makes the naughty list and is also on The Penny Hoarder's Best Online Banks roundup. How? Ally's loan services tend to get a lot of negative customer reviews which lead to complaints being filed. For customers who use Ally for checking and savings, the satisfaction is significantly higher.

Worst Banks in America

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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