Top Banks and Credit Unions in Florida - April 2023

At our publication, we have a team of professionals who respond to inquiries about banking and provide impartial reviews of financial products (check here for our evaluation criteria). It's worth noting that we may receive commissions from our partners on occasion. Nevertheless, our opinions are solely ours and are not influenced by external entities. Offers mentioned on this page are subject to terms and conditions.

To residents of Florida, Bank of America, Ally, and VyStar Credit Union are our preferred choices for banking services.

Further details about our best picks are provided below.

The Finest Banks and Credit Unions in Florida as of April 2023

  • Bank of America
  • Ally
  • VyStar Credit Union

These institutions have been our top choices for a while now, thanks to their diverse banking products that feature impressive benefits.

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The Optimum Financial Institutions in Florida

Best Bank for opening a checking account 3.75/5 A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star Annual Percentage Yield (APY) 3.75/5 A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star Annual Percentage Yield (APY) Bank of America, FDIC Insured Bank of America Advantage Plus Checking Account Pros & Cons It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options. A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Multiple opportunities to waive the monthly service fee A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Free overdraft protection with a linked savings account A dash. It often indicates an interaction to shrink a section. Minimum opening deposit requirement of $100 A dash. It often indicates an interaction to shrink a section. Monthly service fee of $12 applies A dash. It often indicates an interaction to shrink a section. Overdraft fee of $10 A dash. It often indicates an interaction to shrink a section. Out-of-network ATM fee of $2.50 Highlights It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
  • Access to over 4,200 branches and 16,000 ATMs
  • New Bank of America customers may be eligible for a $100 bonus before December 31, 2022, by opening a Bank of America Advantage Banking account and making direct deposits totaling $1,000 or more within the first 90 days
  • Easily waive the $12 monthly service fee by doing one of the following: receiving monthly direct deposits of $250, maintaining a minimum daily balance of $1,500, enrolling in Preferred Rewards, or being a student below the age of 24
  • Using Balance Connect and linking your checking account to a backup account incurs no overdraft protection transfer fees
  • FDIC insured
Additional Reading It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options. Best bank for opening a savings account 4.75/5 A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star Annual Percentage Yield (APY) 4.75/5 A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star Annual Percentage Yield (APY) On Ally's site. FDIC Insured. Ally High Yield Savings Account Pros & Cons It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options. A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. High APY A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. No required opening deposit A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. No monthly maintenance charge A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Savings buckets facilitate saving towards various goals A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Automatic savings transfers generate additional savings from your checking account A dash. It often indicates an interaction to shrink a section. Zero physical branches A dash. It often indicates an interaction to shrink a section. No option to deposit cash Highlights It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
  • Create separate savings buckets using a savings account
  • Link your Ally checking account and enroll in automatic savings transfers thrice a week to save any leftover cash
  • Interest is compounded daily and paid monthly
  • FDIC insured
Additional Reading It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options. Best credit union 3.75/5 A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star Annual Percentage Yield (APY) 3.75/5 A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star Annual Percentage Yield (APY) On Vystar Credit Union's secure site. Vystar Credit Union, NCUA insured. VyStar Primary Savings Account Pros & Cons It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options. A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. No monthly maintenance fee A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Minimum opening deposit of $5 A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Overdraft protection linked to a checking account A dash. It often indicates an interaction to shrink a section. Suboptimal APY A dash. It often indicates an interaction to shrink a section. Interest is compounded monthly and paid monthly A dash. It often indicates an interaction to shrink a section. Balance of at least $50 necessary to earn APY Highlights It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
  • Membership is open to residents of certain parts of Florida or Georgia, employees of specific organizations, relatives of current members, and active military and veterans
  • Access over 20,000 ATMs at no cost across the US, Canada, and Mexico
  • Earn interest with a $50 minimum account balance
  • Interest is compounded monthly and paid monthly
  • Insured by the NCUA

Additional Reading It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

Expert Advice on Choosing the Optimum Financial Institution

We consulted financial planning and banking experts to curate this list and offer guidance on finding the best financial institution in Florida for your requirements.

Determining the best bank for you boils down to a few considerations, including customer service, fees, rates, and more. Here's a breakdown of what experts have to say on the matter.

How do you know if a bank is a good fit?

Mykail James, MBA and Certified Financial Education Instructor at BoujieBudgets.com. shares that the most critical factor to consider is the provider of your debit card. When opening a checking account, make sure the bank's debit card provider is accepted at most places you typically use your card. Amex and MasterCard are not accepted everywhere, and many people don't consider this when choosing a bank.

Sophia Acevedo, a certified educator in personal finance and banking reporter for Personal Finance Insider suggests creating a list of your banking priorities. Some banks charge monthly service fees, so it's wise to look into the requirements for waiving them. Additionally, if you're looking for an interest-earning account, pay attention to interest rates and compare them to the average rate.

How can you choose a brick-and-mortar bank?

Tania Brown, a Certified Financial Planner at SaverLife, recommends considering whether the bank can grow with you over time. A checking account that works for you at 25 may not be suitable 15 years later when you have more financial needs. Also, accessibility is key, so make sure you're comfortable with the bank's branch locations and procedures for accessing your funds in other cities or states.

Mykail James, CFEI, adds that accessibility is also essential in choosing a brick-and-mortar bank because it determines how easy it is to access your money when you need it.

What should you look for in an online bank?

Tania Brown, CFP, says that reliable online customer service is vital when selecting an online bank. Unlike physical banks, you can't walk into a branch, so you need accessible customer service. Check their hours and how many communication channels they offer. Make sure they have a chatbot, phone, email, and other options.

Roger Ma, a Certified Financial Planner with lifelaidout® and author of "Work Your Money, Not Your Life," highlights the need for transparency and ease of use in an online bank. Ensure the bank is upfront about fees and how to avoid them. A mobile app that's intuitive, stable, and user-friendly can make a big difference when managing your finances on the go.

Transferring money can be a real pain, especially when it comes to timing and ease of use. Are same-day or next-day transfers available? Can you easily link a brick-and-mortar checking account to a high-yield online savings account?

If you're considering an online bank, there are certain factors to look out for. The most important one is interest rates, which should be significantly higher than the national average due to the lack of overhead costs associated with brick-and-mortar banks. You'll also want to ensure that the bank provides robust security measures, such as two-factor authentication and easy password changes, to protect your sensitive information from cyber threats.

At Personal Finance Insider, we strive to help you make informed decisions about your finances. To determine the best banks and credit unions in Florida, we conducted thorough research and compared the features and fine print of various products. We focused on institutions with the most branches in the state and those offering high interest rates and sign-up bonuses. Based on our analysis, we selected Ally as the top online bank for savings accounts and a credit union that's easy to join and has multiple branches across the state.

When it comes to choosing a checking account, Bank of America may be the best option. With over 500 branches in Florida and a $100 sign-up bonus offer, it's a convenient and rewarding choice. Keep in mind that checking accounts typically don't offer high interest rates, so focus on finding a bank that offers cash sign-up bonuses or other valuable incentives.

Overall, it's important to ensure that any financial institution you choose is federally insured by either the FDIC or NCUA. This guarantees that your money is safe and that you won't lose all of your funds if the institution goes under. With these considerations in mind, you can make the best decisions for your financial future.

By opening a Bank of America Advantage checking account, such as the SafeBalance, Plus, or Relationship Banking accounts, through the bank's promotion page, you could be eligible for a $100 bonus. The only condition is you must receive at least two recurring direct deposits worth $250 or more within 90 days of opening the account.

Note, however, that depending on which checking account you choose, you may have to pay a monthly maintenance fee of $4.95, $12, or $25. But don't worry: there are several ways you can waive these fees.

If you're in the market for a savings account, you'll want to consider Ally. As an online bank, it offers a high interest rate of 3.75% APY - one of the highest rates on the market. On top of that, there's no monthly maintenance fee or minimum deposit required to open an account.

The Ally High Yield Savings Account has set the standard for online banking and frequently receives top awards in the high-yield savings space. You can use more than 40,000 Allpoint ATMs free of charge nationwide despite it being an online bank. One of the standout features of Ally is its bucket feature that allows you to save for multiple goals in one account. You can assign a nickname, such as "Emergency Fund" or "Travel Account," to each goal to track your progress and stay motivated.

Despite its competitive edge, remember that other banks offer similar online high-yield savings accounts, such as Capital One 360, Varo, or Discover. Consider your individual needs and existing banking before committing to Ally or any other bank.

If you prefer credit unions over banks, then consider VyStar Credit Union, especially if you live in Florida. VyStar is available in over 20 cities, where you can contact their customer service seven days a week. They may have fewer physical branch locations than traditional banks, but you'll have free access to more than 20,000 ATMs throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico.

VyStar pays higher rates on checking and savings than many traditional banks but slightly lower rates on some accounts than online banks. Remember, however, that VyStar compounds interest monthly, not daily, which may affect your long-term earnings. It's worth noting that VyStar is one of Florida's largest credit unions, but some regions may lack branch locations, so be sure to check for nearby availability before signing up.

The Reliability of Banks and BBB Ratings

The Better Business Bureau assesses the performance of businesses according to customer complaints, advertising, and transparency about their practices. Below are the BBB evaluations of the best banks and credit unions we recommend in Florida:

Currently, Ally is the only bank among our top picks that does not hold an A rating from the BBB. The BBB gave Ally an A rating, but it has three open complaints that remain unresolved.

Nevertheless, having an A rating from the BBB does not necessarily mean that your banking experience will be trouble-free. You may want to explore online reviews or talk with your friends and family about their experiences before settling for a bank. Furthermore, it may also be practical to consider any recent scandals that some banks experienced, such as Bank of America.

Bank of America encountered legal issues as it was accused by the Department of Justice of unjustly refusing home loans to qualified adults with disabilities. The bank paid a total of around $300,000 to people who were denied loans. The Department of Labor compelled Bank of America to dish out $4.2 million to claimants who claimed that the bank discriminated against women, Black, and Hispanic applicants during the hiring process.

You may opt to select Ally or VyStar if these concerns trouble you, or prefer another financial institution in Florida.

Savings Rates in Florida's Major Banks

Listed below are the interest rates for savings in Florida's largest banks. Our list of the best banks in the state includes two on this roster: Chase and Bank of America.

Other banks failed to make our selection but not because they lagged in their coverage of Florida; some didn't have as many branches as our favored banks, while others were devoid of distinguishing features such as high APYs or sign-up bonuses.

Nonetheless, one of these Florida-based banks may still be a suitable choice for you, especially if you prefer dealing with a widely known institution.

As of April 2023, the FDIC shows that the average savings interest rate stands at 0.37%.

Laura Grace Tarpley, CEPF , Personal Finance Reviews Editor, oversees our coverage of borrower and savings advice, investing, bank accounts, mortgage rates, and refinance rates. Laura Grace was a contributor and editor for Insider's award-winning "The Road to Home" series. She has written and reviewed personal finance for over seven years and was a freelance finance writer for businesses like SoFi and The Penny Hoarder. She also served as an editor at FluentU. Laura Grace is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance with a deep passion for educating and empowering others.

Evelyn He supports the Personal Finance Insider team as a Compliance Associate at Insider. Personal Finance Insider incorporates affiliate and commerce relationships into their coverage of financial topics to provide readers with useful insights and advice. The compliance team's focus is to provide fact-checked and current stories so readers can make informed financial decisions. Furthermore, the team aims to reduce any risk that partners might face to guarantee language clarity, precision, and compliance with regulatory and partner marketing guidelines that adhere to the editorial team. Evelyn has diverse experience in various legal and compliance roles in different sectors such as legal and pharmaceutical before joining Insider. She received her M.S. degree in Marketing at Boston University in 2022. She also finished 1L courses at Suffolk University Law School and completed MBA business law courses while obtaining her Bachelor of Business Administration in Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her 14-year-old Shih Tzu named Money, and her 4-year-old Bichon named Tibber.

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