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The Best Banks and Credit Unions in Texas for 2021 – Business Insider

The Best Banks and Credit Unions in Texas for 2021  Business Insider


Savings rates at the largest banks in Texas

Below you’ll see the savings rates from the biggest banks in Texas. To give you a better idea of comparison, the national average APY for savings accounts as of November 2021 is 0.06%, according to the FDIC.

Bank of America and PNC Bank are included in our guide. We went with an online bank for our best bank for opening a savings account because most of the state’s brick-and-mortar institutions weren’t available in certain regions in Texas or paid a low interest rate. 

While some of these institutions aren’t featured, you might still want to consider banking with one of these institutions if you’re familiar with them. 

*BBVA was acquired by PNC Bank in 2021. All BBVA customers will get new PNC accounts and become PNC clients.

We selected Ally, Bank of America, PNC Bank, Navy Army Community Credit Union, and GECU as the best banks and credit unions in Texas.

Why are these are top choices for the state of Texas? 

These financial institutions are federally insured by the NCUA and FDIC, which means that your money is safe regardless of what happens to the institution. These banks are also either widely available across the state or have unique accounts with impressive features. 

Best bank for opening a savings account: Ally

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

0.50% APY

Min Deposit

None

Editor’s Rating

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details
Pros
  • High APY
  • No minimum opening deposit
  • No monthly service fees
  • Savings buckets help you save for different goals
  • Surprise savings transfers help you save extra money from your checking account
Cons
  • No physical branch locations
  • No way to deposit cash
  • Create separate savings buckets in a savings account
  • Link to your Ally checking account and enroll in surprise savings transfers to have extra money transferred to savings three times per week
  • Interest compounded daily, paid monthly
  • FDIC insured

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Why it stands out: Ally is a solid contender if you’re looking for a savings account. It pays 0.50% APY, requires no minimum opening deposit, and doesn’t charge monthly fees. The Ally High Yield Savings Account has online tools that help you separate your money into savings buckets. 

If you previously struggled to reach customer service in the past, you may like Ally’s approach — it offers 24/7 customer support over the phone and through live chat.

What to look out for: As an online-only bank, Ally doesn’t have a direct way to deposit cash. (Although you can use direct deposit and deposit checks.) You’ll have to transfer your money from another account to deposit cash. 

Best bank for opening a checking account: Bank of America

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

None

Min Deposit

$100

Editor’s Rating

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details
Pros
  • Multiple ways to waive monthly service fee
  • Link to savings for overdraft protection
Cons
  • $100 minimum opening deposit
  • $12 monthly service fee
  • $35 overdraft fee
  • $12 fee for using overdraft protection
  • $2.50 out-of-network ATM fee
  • Access to over 4,200 branches and 16,000 ATMs
  • Earn the $100 sign-up bonus by receiving at least two recurring direct deposits of at least $250 within 90 days of opening the account
  • Waive $12 monthly service fee by doing one of the following: receive $250/month in direct deposits, keep $1,500 minimum daily balance, enroll in Preferred Rewards, or be a student under age 24
  • FDIC insured

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Why it stands out: Bank of America nabbed a spot on our best national banks guide as the best national bank in the Southwest. It’s matched with Chase for having the largest ATM network by a brick-and-mortar bank and has one of the largest branch networks among US banks.

Bank of America has a variety of checking account options. With the Bank of America Advantage Plus Checking Account, there are several ways to waive the monthly service fee.

What to look for: Be careful of overdrawing from your account. Bank of America charges a $35 overdraft fee. While it offers overdraft protection, you’ll still pay a $12 fee for using it. 

Another fee to watch out for is out-of-network ATM fees. You’ll have to pay a $2.50 fee each time you use an ATM that’s not from Bank of America.

Best bank for opening a checking and savings account: PNC Bank

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

0.01% to 0.03% APY

Min Deposit

$25

Editor’s Rating

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details
Pros
  • $25 minimum opening deposit
  • Several ways to waive the monthly service fee
Cons
  • Low interest rate
  • $5 monthly service fee
  • Branches in 28 states
  • Access to 8,500 PNC ATMs
  • Minimum account balance of $1 to earn APY
  • To waive the $5 monthly service fee, you must keep at least $300 in your account monthly, connect your savings account to a PNC checking account, set up a $25 Auto Savings transfer each month from a PNC checking account, OR be under 18 years of age
  • Interest compounded daily, deposited monthly
  • FDIC Insured

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Why it stands out: PNC Bank is the fourth-largest financial institution in Texas. Its PNC Bank Standard Savings Account has a low minimum opening deposit. There’s a $5 monthly service that can be waived in several ways. One way, is if you connect your savings account to a PNC checking account. 

The PNC Bank Virtual Wallet is the bank’s online checking account. It has a budgeting tool that keeps tabs on when you get money deposited into your account and when you have to pay bills. It will also notify you if you’re likely to overdraw from your account.

What to look out for: Customer support is limited. Other online banks offer 24/7 customer support, but PNC representatives are only available select hours during the week. 

Best credit union: Navy Army Credit Union

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

0.10% to 3.01% APY

Min Deposit

$20

Editor’s Rating

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details
Pros
  • High APY
  • $20 minimum opening deposit
  • Unlimited out-of-network ATM reimbursements if you meet qualifications
  • No monthly service fees
  • Overdraft protection
Cons
  • Must meet qualifications to earn high APY
  • $30 non-sufficient funds fee
  • $1.50 out-of-network ATM fee
  • Hispanic American-owned credit union
  • To become a member, you’ll need to live, work, or go to school in South Texas county and pay $25 to Navy Army to open a savings account OR $45 if you open a savings and checking account
  • 19 branches in Texas (Corpus Christi, Aransas Pass, Beeville, Calallen, Kingsville, Portland, Rockport, Brownsville, Edinburg, McAllen, Mission, Weslaco)
  • Access to 30,000 free ATMs through the Co-Op Shared Network
  • Earn 3.01% APY on balances under $25,000 by making 10 debit card transactions monthly, scheduling one direct deposit or automatic payment monthly, and enrolling in electronic email statements
  • Earn 0.50% APY on balances over $25,000 if qualifications are met
  • Earn 0.10% APY if requirements aren’t met
  • Unlimited reimbursements on out-of-network ATM fees if you meet APY requirements
  • Interest compounded and deposited monthly
  • Federally insured by the NCUA

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Why it stands out: Navy Army Community Credit Union is a Hispanic American-led institution that doesn’t charge monthly service fees. 

Navy Army Community has 19 branches, and it is part of the CO-OP Share Network, which provides access to over 30,000 free ATMs and 5,600 shared branch locations. 

The Navy Army Community Credit Union Liberty Checking Account is the bank’s strongest product. It lets you earn up to 3.01% APY if you meet the following requirements: 

  • Maintain a balance under $25,000
  • Make ten debit card transactions each month
  • Schedule one direct deposit or automatic payment each month
  • Enroll in electronic email statements

What to look out for: To become a member, you need to live, work, or go to school in South Texas. You’ll need to keep at least $25 in your savings account daily to maintain membership. 

Best local bank: GECU

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

0.15% APY

Min Deposit

$20

Editor’s Rating

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details
Pros
  • $20 minimum opening deposit
  • No monthly service fees
Cons
  • Need $100 in your account daily to earn APY
  • Interest compounded quarterly, not daily
  • Low APY compared to online banks
  • Only 4 free transactions per month, then $3 per transaction
  • Credit union that serves a Hispanic American community
  • 12 branches in El Paso, Texas, and part of the CO-OP Shared network
  • To become a member, you or a family member need to work or live in El Paso County, Dona Ana County, or Hudspeth County
  • To earn APY, you need to maintain $100 in your account daily
  • Interest compounded and deposited quarterly
  • Federally insured by the NCUA

Read Our Review Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

Why it stands out: GECU is an excellent choice if you’re exploring local banking options.  

GECU is a certified community development financial institution and Juntos Avanzamos designated credit union. It’s been certified to ensure that it provides products and services that serve everyone in the community, regardless of immigration status or income.

The credit union lets you use a permanent resident card, foreign passport, or Matricula Consular as a photo ID. Instead of a social security number, you may share your ITIN number. 

GECU offers free checking and savings accounts with low minimum opening deposits. Its CDs also pay high interest ratse.

What to look out for: To be eligible for membership at GECU, you or a family member must live in an eligible county or work for a specific employer. If you’re searching for a high savings rate, other institutions may offer a better rate. 

Other online banks and credit unions we considered that didn’t make our list

Are these banks and credit unions trustworthy? 

We use ratings from the Better Business Bureau to help show how financial institutions address customer issues and handle transparency. 

All the financial institutions on our list have an A+ rating from the BBB except Ally. According to the BBB, Ally has a C grade because it received 312 customer complaints and hasn’t responded to two of them.

A good BBB rating doesn’t necessarily mean that your relationship with the business will be the same as others’ relationships. Consider talking to family or friends who are members or read online customer reviews. 

Bank of America has been involved in a few recent public scandals. In 2020, the Department of Justice required Bank of America to pay $300,000 to people with disabilities due to claims that people qualified for Bank of America’s loans but were denied. In 2019, the Department of Labor charged Bank of America $4.2 million in a settlement that claimed the bank discriminated against African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and women during the hiring process.

Frequently asked questions

Why trust our recommendations?

At Personal Finance Insider, our goal is to create helpful content to help you make good decisions about your money. Every person is different, so we provide ample options so you can find the most suitable financial product or account for you.

We research extensively to make sure that you know the standout features and limitations of a financial institution.

How did we choose the best banks in Texas? 

We looked at the top 10 biggest banks and credit unions in the state, plus state financial institutions featured in our Black-owned banks and credit unions guide and Hispanic American-owned banks and credit unions guide

When searching for the best accounts, we honed in on those that paid high-interest rates and offered unique features.

For the best credit union and the best local bank, we chose institutions that provided the strongest overall banking experience: great customer service availability, easy membership requirements, and accounts with low minimum opening deposits and zero monthly fees.

What is the No. 1 bank in America? 

The best bank for you will depend on what your preferences are. There are many banking options —  online banks, national banks, local banks — so you can explore a lot of choices before settling with one financial institution.

If you’re searching for a bank with a national presence, Wells Fargo, Chase, and Bank of America have the most branches in the US. 

For high savings rates and low fees, you’ll likely find online banks or credit unions more appealing.

If you prioritize customer experience and close ties to the community, local banks will be your best bet. For instance, FDIC-designated minority depository institutions (MDIs) often address barriers in disadvantaged communities like language or access. 

What’s the safest bank to put money in? 

Financial institutions are safe if they are federally insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

When a bank account is federally insured by one of these institutions, up to $250,000 is protected in individual bank accounts and up to $500,000 is secure in joint bank accounts. If a bank shuts down, you’ll still have your money. 

Meet our experts

We talked to banking and financial planning experts to inform these picks and provide their advice on finding the best banks and credit unions for your needs. You can read their insights at the bottom of this post.

PFI Banking Expert Panel (updated 2021)

Insider

The experts’ advice on choosing the best bank or credit union for you

To learn more about what makes a good bank or credit union and how to choose the best fit, four experts weighed in:

Here’s what they had to say about finding a bank. (Some text may be lightly edited for clarity.)

How can someone determine whether a bank is the right fit for them? 

Mykail James, CFEI:

“The No. 1 thing about a checking account is you should know what provider the debit card is coming from. And a lot of people don’t think about that, because there are places that don’t accept MasterCard or don’t accept an Amex.”

Laura Grace Tarpley, Personal Finance Insider:

“I would look for the bank that charges you the least in fees. This means either no monthly fees or you qualify to waive the monthly fees. If you never overdraw from your account, then a bank’s overdraft fees won’t matter much to you. But if you occasionally overdraw, then I’d look at the fees or overdraft protection options.”

What should someone look for in a brick-and-mortar bank?

Tania Brown, CFP:

“How can that bank grow with you? If you are 25, single or newly married, and all you need is a checking account, that’s going to look very different 15 years from now when you may have had a couple of jobs, you may have an IRA roll over, or you may want a financial advisor.”

Mykail James, CFEI:

“How accessible it is. So where are the branches? And if I am to go out of town or something, how accessible is my money to me?”

What should someone look for in an online bank?

Tania Brown, CFP:

“With an online bank, absolutely online customer service, because you do not have the advantage of walking inside and talking to a human being. How often are you able to get them? What are their hours?”

Roger Ma, CFP:

“How onerous the transfer process is, transferring money in and transferring money out. Is it same day, next day? Is it pretty easy to sync a brick-and-mortar checking account to this particular high-yield savings account?”

Mykail James, CFEI:

“When it comes to online banks, you want to be a little bit more strict about what type of interest rates they’re providing. That’s the biggest thing because online banks are supposed to have the higher interest rate because they don’t have the overhead of the brick-and-mortar. You want to make sure that it’s well above the national average. What type of securities do they provide? Do they have two-factor identification? If it’s an online bank, they should definitely have — at the bare minimum — two-factor authentication in how easy it is to change your passwords and things like that, because you want to be a little more hypersensitive about the cyber security for a strictly online bank.”

Source: businessinsider.com

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