What's the best bank to use? These 5 top choices for 2016-2017 will grow your savings.
When you were little, you learned banks are where your money grows. But as an adult, it feels more like banks are where your money disappears — with no help from B.S. overdraft fees or obscenely expensive out-of-network ATM fees.
You can do better, and switching banks is not that hard.
Consider, for example, an online bank, which is more than twice as likely as a traditional bank to combine low fees with decent interest payments, according to a newly released analysis by Money magazine of the 75 biggest banks and 50 biggest credit unions in the United States.
Mic dug into Money's ranking and found the five best accounts for young people trying to grow their savings, avoid annoying fees and more.
The best bank if you want your money to grow
Money's pick for best savings account was the Goldman Sachs Online Savings account, which pays a "top tier" annual percentage yield of 1.05% with no fees or minimum balance.
But if you want to earn even higher interest on your nest egg, consider joining a credit union, which is more likely to pay higher yields than a traditional bank.
Money's best credit union pick, for instance, is First Tech Federal Credit Union. Their Dividend Rewards Checking account has a few restrictions, but pays 1.57% — 20 times higher than the national average for traditional banks. Even higher is the 3% interest on up to $15,000 you can earn with the Lake Michigan Credit Union Max Checking account, though there are a few caveats.
More good news? Since these are checking accounts, you aren't restricted to only six withdrawals per month, like with a savings account.
Another option for growing your money, especially if you don't need to touch it for a little while, is a certificate of deposit, which is pegged to a term, like 12 months. These accounts generally let you earn higher-than-average interest but levy a withdrawal penalty if you try to spend it before the term is over.
Money picked Synchrony's one-year CD as the best of the year for offering the highest interest rate, 1.25%.
The best bank if you never want to pay ATM fees again
Bank of the Internet was Money's pick for best online bank this year, thanks to its lack of overdraft fees. But that's not all: Three of its five checking accounts also reimburse all surcharges when you use an outside ATM, which means you never need to feel guilty for lazily using the machine at your corner grocery or local dive bar.
TD Bank also offers an account that waives fees on outside ATMs, while others like Ally accounts and Lake Michigan Credit Union Max Checking will reimburse fees from outside ATMs up to a certain amount: $10 and $15 per month, respectively.
The best bank if you're broke
The last thing you need is an unexpected $33 overdraft fee.
Keeping your cash with online banks like Ally Bank or Bank of Internet is generally the best way to avoid fees while still earning a little bit of interest.
Important for broke folks will be Bank of Internet's lack of overdraft fees on three of its accounts: Rewards, Platinum, and Essential. The bank also reimburses all out-of-network ATM fees, whereas Ally limits you to $10 a month — though Ally does allow free access to a network of 43,000 machines.
Want to be able to visit physical branches? Money's overall top pick among big brick-and-mortar banks was KeyBank's Hassle-Free Checking Account, thanks to $0 maintenance fees, regardless of your balance, and no overdraft penalty. That said, you will pay a $2.50 fee for using outside ATMs.
You might also consider First Tech Federal Credit Union First Checking Plus or Lake Michigan Credit Union's Max Checking, which are also low on fees and pay interest.
The best bank if you travel a ton
Capital One 360 was Money's pick for best account for frequent travelers.
It has no maintenance fee, no fees on foreign transactions, and no fees for using a non-U.S. ATM. The bank also rates high for customer service.
Note: Money did not select it as a winner this year, but frequent travelers might also consider Schwab, which offers an account that reimburses all outside ATM fees even when you are overseas, though there are some restrictions.
The best bank if you like being able to talk to a human — in person
In terms of convenience and physical accessibility, it's hard to beat the two best big banks, which have consumer-friendly terms and lots of branches, making it easy to talk to a teller face to face.
Money pick TD Bank is open 59 hours a week on average, far more than the average of 46 hours per week among other big banks. And US Bank ranks high on customer service, with above average rankings in every region it serves.
JP Morgan Chase was Money's pick for best "convenience," with more than 16,000 ATMs and 5,000 branches. JP Morgan Chase banks are also open longer-than-average hours: 50 a week.
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