The best banks and credit unions in Florida for 2020

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, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective. Bank Category Savings APY No. of FL branches Next steps Chase Best for […]

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, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

Bank Category Savings APY No. of FL branches Next steps
Chase Best for a checking account 0.01% to 0.05% APY 411 Learn more
Ally Best for a savings account 0.80% APY None, online only Learn more
TD Bank Best for a checking and savings account 0.01% to 0.35% APY 157 Learn more
VyStar Credit Union Best credit union 0.10% APY 51 Learn more

Here are the savings rates you’ll earn with the biggest banks in Florida. Two of these, Chase and TD Bank, 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 2020, the average savings interest rate is 0.05% APY, according to 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

Business Insider

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

Featured Reward

$200 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking® account and set up direct deposit

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Enjoy a $200 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking® account and set up direct deposit
    • Access to 16,000 Chase ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches
    • Chase Mobile® app: Manage your accounts, deposit checks, transfer money and more — all from your device
    • Open your account online now
    • Available online nationwide except in Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. For branch locations, visit
    • FDIC insured
    • No required opening deposit
    • Almost 4,900 branches
    • Cash sign-up bonus
    • $12 monthly fee unless you meet direct deposit or minimum balance requirements
    • $2.50 fee for out-of-network ATMs
    • No out-of-network ATM fee reimbursements
    • 3% foreign transaction fee
    • $34 overdraft and non-sufficient funds fees

    Read Our Review
    Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

    Why it stands out: Chase has over 400 branches around Florida, and it has the best customer satisfaction of any bank in the state, according to the JD Power 2020 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study. You can choose between three checking accounts: Chase Total Checking®, Chase Premier Plus Checking℠, and Chase Sapphire℠ Checking.

    Chase Total Checking® and Chase Premier Plus Checking℠ are good choices if you’re looking for checking accounts that offer sign-up bonuses. If you meet certain qualifications, you can earn a $200 bonus with Chase Total Checking® and $300 with Chase Premier Plus Checking℠. Chase Total Checking® also ranks as one of Business Insider’s top rewards checking accounts.

    Chase Sapphire Checking doesn’t pay a sign-up bonus, but it’s a worthwhile option for travelers. You won’t pay any fees for using out-of-network ATMs with this account. If the ATM provider charges a fee, then Chase reimburses you. Chase also won’t charge any foreign transaction fees when you use your debit card abroad.

    What to look out for: Monthly fees. Chase Total Checking®  charges a $12 monthly service fee, and Chase Premier Plus Checking℠ and Chase Sapphire Checking each charge $25. It is possible to waive the monthly fees, but the requirements are stricter with each checking account tier.

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • 24/7 support
    • No monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements
    • Your money earns money with interest compounded daily
    • Limit of 6 withdrawals per statement cycle
    • Competitive APY
    • 24/7 customer service
    • Easy to save for different goals
    • No required initial deposit or minimum account balance
    • No monthly service fee
    • Easy-to-use mobile app
    • Link to an Ally checking account
    • Reimburses up to $10 in out-of-network ATM fees per month
    • No physical branch locations
    • $10 fee if you exceed 6 transactions per month (paused during COVID-19)
    • You may find a higher APY elsewhere

    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 0.80% 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 bank for opening a checking and savings account: TD Bank

    Featured Reward

    $300 when you receive $2,500 in direct deposits in first 60 days

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Access to 1,301 branch locations and over 2,800 ATMs
    • Waive $25 monthly fee with $5,000 in monthly direct deposits, OR $2,500 minimum balance, OR total of $25,000 in all TD Bank accounts
    • Earn $300 when you receive $2,500 in direct deposits within 60 days of opening the account
    • No opening deposit or minimum account balance
    • Interest compounded daily
    • FDIC insured
    • No opening deposit
    • 2 overdraft fee reimbursements per year
    • Waive other TD Bank account monthly fees when you have a Beyond Checking Account
    • No out-of-network ATM fees
    • Reimburses out-of-network ATM fees charged by providers when your balance is at least $2,500
    • $25 monthly service fee
    • $35 overdraft fee

    Read Our Review
    Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

    Why it stands out: TD Bank branches are open seven days a week, which has helped it land on our list of best national banks overall. 

    You may qualify to earn $150 when you sign up for a TD Bank Convenience Checking Account and $300 with a TD Bank Beyond Checking Account. You can earn $200 when you open either a TD Beyond Savings Account or a TD Simple Savings Account. You can combine a checking and savings bonus to earn up to $500 total.

    Chase is another great choice for opening a checking and savings account at the same time, because it lets you combine its checking and savings bonuses to earn up to $450. But this is slightly less than what you can earn with TD Bank, and you can earn higher rates with TD Bank.

    You could also earn an even higher reward with Citibank if you live near a branch, but there aren’t nearly as many Citibank branches in Florida as TD Bank branches.

    What to look out for: ATM fees. TD Bank’s ATM fees aren’t necessarily higher than other banks’ fees, but its fine print may affect which checking account you choose to open. Just be aware that the TD Bank Beyond Checking Account is the only TD Bank checking account that doesn’t charge a fee when you use non-TD Bank ATMs — and in order for TD Bank to reimburse fees charged by out-of-network ATM operators, your balance must be at least $2,500.

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • 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
    • No monthly service fee
    • $5 minimum opening deposit
    • Link to checking for overdraft protection
    • Mediocre APY
    • Interest compounds monthly, not daily
    • Must maintain $50 balance to earn APY

    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.

    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.

    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.”

    Next Post

    Pagaya Hires Five Finance Industry Veterans, Further Driving Firm’s Transformation of Asset Management

    Pagaya, a global, data-driven asset manager, today announced the hire of five finance industry veterans. Jeff Andrews and Paul Limanni joined Pagaya as Head of Originations and Head of Structured Products, respectively. Brandon McCue joined as Senior Managing Director of Client Advisory, Rob Brady as Senior Managing Director of Institutional […] WordPress Theme: Seek by ThemeInWP