Banking

The best banks and credit unions in Florida for 2021

Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies, and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. We may receive a small commission from our partners, like American Express, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

The best banks in Florida for September 2021

Savings rates at the largest banks in Florida

Here are the savings rates you’ll earn with the biggest banks in Florida. Two of these, Chase and Bank of America, made our list of the

best banks
in the state.

We didn’t choose others because they didn’t have branches in as many parts of Florida as some of our top picks, or they lacked distinguishing features, such as high APYs or sign-up bonuses.

However, you may still decide one of these Florida banks is a good fit for you, and you might like banking with a widespread institution you’re familiar with.

As of September 2021, the average savings interest rate is 0.06%, according to the FDIC.

Below you’ll find more about our top picks for the best banks and

credit unions
in Florida. Each of these is federally insured and offers a variety of products, including bank accounts, investment accounts, home loans, credit cards, and more.

Our expert panel for this guide

We consulted 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


We’re focusing on what makes a bank most useful, including low fees, branch access, interest rates, and more.

Best bank for opening a checking account: Bank of America

Why it stands out: Bank of America has over 500 branches around Florida and a $100 sign-up bonus offer.


Checking accounts
aren’t known for paying interest, and if they do, then the rate is often pretty low. Cash sign-up bonuses can be good tools to earn money even if a checking account doesn’t pay a good rate.

You may qualify for the $100 bonus when you open a Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance, Plus, or Relationship Banking Checking Account through the bank’s promotional page. To earn the bonus, you must receive at least two recurring direct deposits of at least $250 within 90 days of opening the account.

What to look out for: Monthly service fees. Depending on which checking account you open, you could pay $4.95, $12, or $25 per month. You might qualify to waive the monthly fee, though.

Best bank for opening a savings account: Ally

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

0.50% APY

  • 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


    Read Our Review
    Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

    Why it stands out: Some of our top picks are offering sign-up bonuses for savings accounts right now. But when it comes to savings accounts, you probably want a bank that is going to pay a high APY so that you can earn more than a couple hundred dollars in the long run. This means an online bank like Ally is probably going to be your best bet.

    Ally pays 0.50% APY, which is one of the highest rates out there right now. The bank also doesn’t charge any monthly maintenance fees.

    The Ally High Yield Savings Account has been a power player in the high-yield savings space for a few years now, and it consistently nabs top awards for online banking. Although it’s an online bank, you can use over 40,000 Allpoint ATMs for free around the US. 

    Ally makes it easy to save for specific goals. You may decide to open a separate account for each goal, but Ally has a bucket feature that allows you save for multiple goals in one account. Assign each one a nickname, like “Emergency Fund” or “Travel Account” to track your progress and stay motivated. 

    What to look out for: While Ally is extremely competitive, other banks offer similar online high-yield savings accounts. Ally is certainly one of the best out there, but depending on your needs and your existing banking, you may find you prefer a different bank, such as Capital One 360, Varo, or Discover.

    Best credit union: Vystar Credit Union

    Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    0.10% APY

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • No monthly service fee
    • $5 minimum opening deposit
    • Link to checking for overdraft protection
    Cons
    • Mediocre APY
    • Interest compounds monthly, not daily
    • Must maintain $50 balance to earn APY
    • Join VyStar by living or working in certain parts of Florida or Georgia, or by having a relative who is already a member
    • Free access to over 20,000 ATMs in the US, Canada, and Mexico
    • Earn interest with a $50 minimum account balance
    • Interest compounded monthly, paid monthly
    • Federally insured by the NCUA

    Why it stands out: Maybe you prefer a credit union over a bank. Each option comes with trade-offs — credit unions often have higher APYs and better customer service, while brick-and-mortar banks may have more locations and adapt to new technology faster.

    If you’re looking for a credit union in Florida, then VyStar is a good choice. It’s available in over 20 cities, and you contact customer service seven days per week. SunCoast Credit Union is another good choice if you live in certain parts of Florida, but VyStar still pays higher rates on checking and savings.

    There are more than 50 branch locations around Florida, and you have free access to over 20,000 ATMs around the US, Mexico, and Canada. 

    VyStar pays lower rates on some accounts than

    online banks
    , but higher than many brick-and-mortar banks.

    What to look out for:

    Compound interest
    and branches. Like most credit unions, VyStar compounds interest monthly rather than daily, which will affect how much money you earn in the long run. VyStar is one of the largest credit unions in Florida, but branches are lacking from certain regions of the state. If you don’t have a branch nearby, then you may want to go with a local credit union.

    Are these banks and credit unions trustworthy?

    The Better Business Bureau grades companies’ trustworthiness based on customer complaints, advertising, and transparency about business practices. Here are the BBB scores for out favorite banks and credit unions in Florida:

    Ally is the only one of our top picks without an A+ from the BBB right now. The BBB cites the number of customer complaints for Ally’s C grade.

    A strong BBB grade doesn’t guarantee you’ll have a smooth relationship with a bank, though. You may want to read online reviews or ask family and friends about their experiences. You also might want to consider any recent scandals — Bank of America has had some issues in the past few years.

    The Department of Justice charged Bank of America for unfairly denying home loans to adults with disabilities, even though they qualified for loans. Bank of America paid around $300,000 total to people who were refused loans. The Department of Labor required Bank of America to pay $4.2 million to people who claimed the bank discriminated against women, Black, and Hispanic applicants in the hiring process.

    You may prefer to use Ally or Vystar if any of these scandals worry you, or bank with another institution in Florida.

    Frequently asked questions

    Why trust our recommendations?

    Personal Finance Insider’s mission is to help smart people make the best decisions with their money. We understand that “best” is often subjective, so in addition to highlighting the clear benefits of a financial product or account — a high APY, for example — we outline the limitations, too. We spent hours comparing and contrasting the features and fine print of various products so you don’t have to.

    How did we choose the best banks in Florida?

    We looked at the banks and credit unions with the most branches in the state. Then we zeroed in on those that offered appealing features, like sign-up bonuses or high interest rates. None of the biggest banks in Florida paid high rates on savings accounts, so we chose an online bank, Ally, as our top choice for a savings account.

    For the best credit union, we chose one that is easy for Florida residents to join and has branches in multiple parts of the state.

    What is the No. 1 bank in America?

    It depends on what you’re looking for. Wells Fargo has the most branches in the US, followed closely by Chase and Bank of America. If you’re looking for high savings rates and low fees, then you’ll probably want to go with an online bank. (See our picks for the best online banks here.)

    What’s the safest bank to put your money in?

    As long as an institution has federal insurance, then your money should be safe. Banks need to be insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and credit unions need to be insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

    An individual account is insured for up to $250,000, and a joint account is insured for up to $500,000. This means you won’t lose all your money should the bank go under.

    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 an institution 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.”

    How can someone decide between a bank and a credit union?

    Tania Brown, CFP:

    “For most people, it falls into five categories: location, interest rates, services, technology, and relationships. Next, prioritize what’s important and you will have your answer. For instance:

    • If multiple regional and national locations are important: Banks typically have more locations than credit unions.
    • If the most important thing to you is a high interest rate: Credit unions, on average, offer better interest rates than banks.
    • If a lot of services (commercial banking, business banking, investment services, etc.) are valuable to you: Larger banks offers more services than most credit unions. 
    • If feeling like a person, not a number, matters to you: Credit unions are known for great personalized customer service.
    • If you are a tech junkie: Larger banks typically offer more tech bells and whistles for online users than credit unions.”

    Laura Grace Tarpley, Personal Finance Insider:

    “Look at interest rates and how often interest compounds. The more often an institution compounds interest, the more money you’ll earn. Many credit unions pay higher rates than banks. But they only compound interest monthly, whereas banks compound daily. Do the math to figure out where you’ll earn the most.”

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

    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 adviser.”

    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 institution?

    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.”

    Most Related Links :
    Business News Governmental News Finance News

    Need Your Help Today. Your $1 can change life.

    [charitable_donation_form campaign_id=57167]

    Source link

    Back to top button