2023 Bank Reviews From The Penny Hoarder Experts

This is an illustration that depicts the best banks. It has a phone with money coming out of it and banking establishments.
Ken Lyons/The Penny Hoarder
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In 2023, there are more banks — or financial institutions that act like banks but technically aren’t  — 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 2023. 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 — for out-of-network ATM use for example — 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 2023 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 are in the high fees and lack of free access to non-company branded ATMs. That being said, BofA does have ample in-person locations with approximately 3,900 banking centers and 16,000 ATMs across the country.

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 311 branches in seven 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 has 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. You get access to more than 15,000 Chase ATMs and more than 4,700 branches.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Chase Bank review


Citibank has multiple checking account plans, including one that pays interest, plus its high-yield savings account for earning 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 with 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 the 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. A word to the wise: be careful not to overdraft your account or you’ll be penalized steeply. That being said, PNC also offers lots of financial literacy tools for those who are new to banking. 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 minus points for  low APYs and high overdraft fees. 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. The bank has a lot  of physical locations and ATMs nationwide—with 4594 branches in 37 states.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Wells Fargo review

A woman takes a photo of her check to direct deposit into her bank account.
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Online Only Banking

Nearly 80% of Americans prefer digital banking, according to a 2022 survey conducted by Forbes.  That doesn’t mean they’ve dumped traditional banks entirely, but that growing interest has opened the door to new online banking platforms.

Our 2023 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 — 24/7 from their smartphones.

Here are The Penny Hoarder’s 2023 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 43,000 Allpoint ATMs for free, although 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-free 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. Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. Chime generally makes these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to two days earlier than the scheduled payment date. 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. Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.

Disclosure: Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC.

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 40,000 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 37,000 ATMS.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Lendingclub Bank review

SoFi Money

SoFi got 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 — checking and savings — 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

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Specialty Banking Interests

Sometimes you’re not just looking for the best bank, but rather for one that caters to a specific set of needs.

Take, for example, the banking needs of small-business owners, especially those who are just starting out. SMB owners need a bank that operates like a partner that helps with loans and doesn’t charge 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 too.

Here are the 2023 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 from their paychecks). And that’s just one thing that sets them apart as banking customers. Freelancers are also typically running their own businesses — usually in the creative fields, which  requires keeping track of expenses and income. We found four banks that are ideal for freelancers, especially in the area of money management and budgeting.

Best Banks for Freelancers

Need a banking service that's built for gig workers and freelancers, helping you save for taxes and keep track of your expenses? Check out Found. (It's free!)

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 thirteen banks that come highly recommended in this category.

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 deployed in different time zones. Deployed personnel also typically want reliable online bill payment services, and international branches or facilities on base. The banks and credit unions we found cater to the needs of the military community, and often offer 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 off the ground. These banks are attractive for their low fees, competitive APYs on checking, bookkeeping integration, loan offerings and mobile banking features.

Best Banks for Small Businesses

Best Banks for No ATM Fees

Why should you have to pay a fee to get cash just because your bank doesn’t have nearby in-network ATMs? We found 10 financial institutions that would agree with that, all of which are  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 combine personal finance education tools with lower fees. College and high school students expect to be able to do everything, including depositing  checks from their smartphones, so we considered the ease of mobile banking as part of our assessment. Just be sure to 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 best 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. Check out the full list of America’s worst banks here:

Worst Banks in America