These Are the 10 Worst Banks in America According to Their Customers

A man looks stressed looking at his debit card at the ATM machine.
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If we asked if you were friends with your bank, what would you say?

If your answer is vigorously shaking your head “no,” then you might want to keep the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on speed dial.

The CFPB is a government organization that started collecting consumer complaints in 2011. Apparently, a lot of people have something not so nice to say about financial institutions. More than 3.52 million complaints about financial services are housed in its Consumer Complaint Database.

Data like this offers a snapshot of which banks are making their customers happy — and which are not. However, what makes a good or bad bank for any customer depends on your needs. A comparison of features alone would be insufficient for calling out the worst banks in America. For that, we need to hear from the customers themselves.

That’s why The Penny Hoarder team took a deep dive into consumer complaints on the CFBP website and beyond to determine which financial institutions top the list of America’s worst banks.

How We Ranked the Worst-Rated Banks in America

To rank banks, we started with the total number of each financial institution’s customer complaints, then sorted to account for complaints per $1 billion deposited. These metrics are public data available from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) and through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFBP) database.

We then assessed a score for each bank based on the percentage of complaints that are unresolved and the bank’s Better Business Bureau grade. These scores were considered alongside total complaints and complaints per $1 billion deposited in determining a final ranking.

The 10 Worst-Rated Banks in America

  • Wells Fargo
  • Citibank
  • Bank of America
  • Capital One
  • Discover Bank
  • Citizens Bank
  • Flagstar Bank
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • PNC Bank
  • Comerica Bank

Runners-up: Some regional banks topped the list in states where they are most popular, including Truist Financial, which was formed after a 2019 merger between BB&T and SunTrust banks (Southern U.S.), TD Bank (East Coast) and First National of Omaha (Midwest).

Note that the banks with the poorest ratings are also some of the largest banks in the country — like Wells Fargo and Citibank. Because our data analysis accounted for complaints per $1 billion deposited, this ranking likely reflects that customers have a better experience with community-based banks and credit unions — which doesn’t surprise us!

America’s Worst Banks at a Glance

America’s Worst Banks at a Glance

Bank Total complaints Complaints per $1 billion deposited Percentage of unresolved complaints Better Business Bureau grade

Wells Fargo










Bank of America





Capital One





Discover Bank





Citizens Bank




NR (not rated)

Flagstar Bank




NR (not rated)

Fifth Third Bank





PNC North America





Comerica Bank





1: Wells Fargo

Worst Bank Overall

Wells Fargo earning the top position on the list of worst banks may not come as much of a surprise. Of concern to consumers are the high percentage of unresolved complaints, several recent high-profile scandals and settlements with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the loss of its Better Business Bureau accreditation in 2016.

2: Citibank

Worst Bank Runner-up

As the banking subsidiary of New York-based Citigroup, Citibank is known for much more than credit cards. Unfortunately, not all of it is positive. In addition to CFPB settlements regarding the servicing of student loans in 2017, Citibank had a string of recent high-profile cases involving operational chaos and regulatory fines.

3: Bank of America

Most Complaints Overall

If you’re looking for the national bank with the most complaints overall, Bank of America tops the list. Like most national banks, Bank of America simply has more customers. But Bank of America is also facing $250 million in fines over alleged double-dipping schemes, withholding credit card rewards and creating unauthorized accounts.

4: Capital One

Most Better Business Bureau Complaints

Another financial institution known primarily for its credit cards, Capital One also offers personal banking services. However, the Capital One Financial Corp. Better Business Bureau profile is a busy spot, with over 15,000 customer complaints tipping the scales in the last three years alone.

5: Discover

Highest Rate of Complaints

Discover is best known for its credit card offerings, but it also provides banking services. Because Discover has only one branch in the U.S., it is considered an online banking site. While Discover does have one of the highest rates of complaints per $1 billion deposited and is facing some regulatory concerns, it receives top marks for resolving consumer concerns quickly.

6: Citizens Bank

Worst Fees Overall

Citizens Bank, a subsidiary of Citizens Financial, offers banking products and services up and down the Eastern Seaboard. In the past few years, the CFPB alleged Citizens failed to manage and respond to credit disputes and to refund finance charges and fees. Customers have also complained about widespread technical issues such as duplicate charges, which may be why Citizens Bank recently had its BBB rating downgraded.

7: Flagstar Bank

Most Complaints Regarding Mortgage Processing

Michigan-based Flagstar Bancorp is one of the largest U.S. residential mortgage servicers, so it makes sense that an outsized number of complaints are related to its mortgage offerings. An unrated status with the Better Business Bureau doesn’t help its score, and Flagstar’s recent effort to take on former Signature Bank assets may be a sign there’s a rocky road ahead.

8: Fifth Third Bank

Worst Regional Bank

As one of the largest consumer banks in the Midwest, Fifth Third Bank serves a wide variety of customers for their personal and business banking needs. Unfortunately, Fifth Third seems to have an outsized complaint footprint with concerns over delays in processing deposits and unresponsive customer service.

9: PNC North America

Worst Overdraft Fees

PNC Financial Services operates banking services across the nation with thousands of branches in 27 different states. Most customer concerns center around excessive fees, specifically overdraft fees, which are allegedly being charged even after overdraft protection has been purchased.

10: Comerica

Worst Mobile App Experience

Comerica is a financial services company headquartered in Texas that offers personal banking services like savings and checking accounts throughout the Western United States and online. At issue for most customers appears to be a frustrating mobile banking app experience.

The graphic shows the top complaints among the 10 Worst Banks. 78% of the top complaints are about credit cards, mortgages or bank accounts. 28% are about Credit or prepaid cards. 26% are about a mortgage. And 24% are about a bank account (checking or savings account)

What Makes These the Worst Banks?

Generally, we follow the rule folks have used for millennia to choose which services to buy: Listen to word-of-mouth.

When you’re shopping for a bank, review the features to make sure it has what you need, but make sure to look into customer reviews, ratings and complaints, too. How a bank handles difficult and unusual issues could make all the difference in your experience long term.

Many of the customer complaints about these banks surrounded these concerns:

  • Fees
  • Overdraft fees
  • Bounced checks
  • Issues with servicing of mortgages and loans
  • Poor customer service
  • Mobile app experience
Maintenance fees. Minimum balance fees. ATM fees. We break down common bank fees — and how to avoid them.

Best Banks for Features and Promotions

Trying to stay away from the banks with the most complaints? We’ve rounded up our favorite banks and credit unions based on features we know consumers look for most, including convenience and perks.

These top our list of the best online banks:

  1. Capital One 360
  2. Axos Bank
  3. Ally Bank
  4. SoFi
  5. LendingClub
  6. Alliant Credit Union
  7. nbkc
  8. Synchrony Bank
  9. Chime
  10. CIT Bank

If you’re thinking about making a switch, check out these best bank promotions for new customers.

Choosing a Bank to Fit Your Needs

Follow these tips when choosing a bank to find the one that’s best for you.

  • Understand the types of banks. Know the difference between banks, credit unions and online banking platforms.
  • Consider what you need. Look at your finances, and make a short list of features you’re looking for, so you know what to ask about.
  • Make sure the money is secure. Only put your money in an account that’s insured by the FDIC (banks) or NCUA (credit unions).
  • Crowdsource reviews. Read online reviews and ratings, and ask family and friends for their personal experiences with institutions you’re considering.
  • Check the ATM network. If you expect to need cash often, check out an account’s ATM fees (or reimbursement policy!), and look at the size and location of the bank’s network to make sure you can find ATMs nearby when you need them.
  • Compare interest rates and fees. Avoid losing your money to nickel-and-diming. Find an account with low fees and high APY interest.
  • Look for usability. How’s the app and online banking? Does the account help with savings and money management?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are our answers to some of the most common questions about bad banks.

Which Bank Has the Most Complaints?

In terms of sheer numbers, Bank of America tops the list with 128,404, which is the most complaints issued overall. However, when it comes to the most complaints per $1 billion deposited, Discover has the highest rate at 247.37 complaints.

What Is the No. 1 Bank in America?

The largest bank in the United States by assets is JPMorgan Chase & Co., the company formed in 2000 with the merger of investment banking institution J.P. Morgan and retail banking and credit card arm Chase Bank. As of 2022, JPMorgan Chase holds nearly $4 trillion in assets and is one of the top issuers of credit cards in the U.S.

What's the Worst Bank in the United States?

Plagued by scandals and hefty fines from federal regulators, Wells Fargo has among the worst reputations with U.S. consumers. Wells Fargo ranks for its large number of complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and it has low ratings with Consumer Affairs. It ranks alongside some of the largest banks in the country, including Citibank and Capital One.

Kaz Weida is a senior staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Multimedia Content Creator Chris Zuppa provided data analysis for this article.