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Bank of America, Ally, and VyStar Credit Union are our top picks for banking if you live in Florida.
Below you’ll find more information about our top picks.
The Best Banks and Credit Unions in Florida of March 2023
Bank of AmericaAllyVyStar Credit Union
These institutions have stayed as our top picks for the last few months because they offer a variety of bank products with notable features.
The Best Financial Institutions in Florida
Experts’ Advice on Choosing the Best Financial Institution
We consulted banking and financial planning experts to inform these picks and provide their advice on finding the best financial institution in Florida for your needs.
We’re focusing on what will make a bank most useful, including customer service, fees, rates, and more. Here’s what they had to say about finding a bank. (Some text may be lightly edited for clarity.)
How can someone determine whether a bank is the right fit for them?
Mykail James, MBA, certified financial education instructor, BoujieBudgets.com:
“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.”
Sophia Acevedo, certified educator in personal finance, banking reporter, Personal Finance Insider:
“I would create a list of what I prioritize most in a bank account. For example, some banks have accounts that charge monthly service fees. I would look to see what the requirements are for waiving the monthly service fee and whether I think I could feasibly meet those requirements each month. If I’m searching for an interest-earning bank account I’ll pay attention to interest rates. I would make sure the account pays a higher interest rate than the average bank account.”
What should someone look for in a brick-and-mortar bank?
Tania Brown, certified financial planner at SaverLife:
“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 bank?
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, certified financial planner with lifelaidout® and author of “Work Your Money, Not Your Life”:
“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.”
Methodology: How Did We Choose the Best Banks in Florida?
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.
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.
Best Banks in Florida: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best bank in the US?
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.
Is money safe in a bank account?
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.
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: Depending on which checking account you open, you could pay $4.95, $12, or $25 per month. There are several ways to waive the monthly fee, though.
Best Bank for Opening a Savings Account
Why it stands out: When it comes to savings accounts, you probably want a bank that is going to pay a high interest 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 1% APY APY, which is one of the highest rates out there right now. The bank also doesn’t charge any monthly maintenance fees or require a minimum opening deposit.
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
Why it stands out: Maybe you prefer a credit union over a bank. Each option comes with trade-offs — credit unions often have higher interest rates 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: 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.
Bank Trustworthiness and BBB Ratings
The Better Business Bureau grades companies based on customer complaints, advertising, and transparency about business practices. Here are the BBB scores for our favorite banks and credit unions in Florida:
InstitutionBBB gradeBank of AmericaA+AllyAVyStar Credit UnionA+
Ally is the only one of our top picks without an A+ from the BBB right now. Ally received an A rating from the BBB because it has three unresolved complaints.
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.
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 (Annual Percentage Yield) 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.
BankSavings APY (Annual Percentage Yield)No. of FL branchesNext stepsWells Fargo0.01% to 0.02% APY568Wells Fargo Wells Fargo Savings AccountBank of America0.01% to 0.05% APY510Bank of America Advantage Plus Checking AccountChase0.01% to 0.05% APY411Chase Chase Savings℠ RegionsRegions Bank307Regions LifeGreen® Savings AccountPNC0.01% to 0.03% APY173PNC Bank PNC Bank Standard Savings AccountTD Bank0.01% to 0.35% APY157TD Bank TD Beyond Savings AccountFifth Third BankFifth Third Bank Momentum Savings Account153Fifth Third Bank Momentum Savings AccountSouthState BankSouthState Bank Personal Savings Account – APY126SouthState Bank Personal Savings Account
As of March 2023, the average savings interest rate is FDIC National Deposit Savings Rates, according to the FDIC.