Best Free Checking: Security Bank of Kansas City
Having served Kansas City, Missouri, communities for more than 100 years, Security Bank of Kansas City provides two great free checking options to choose from. Both options, The Personal Checking account and High & Free Checking account, require no monthly fee and have no minimum balance requirements but require a minimum opening deposit of $100.00. This opening requirement is standard across Kansas City banks, but much higher than the typical $25 seen across national banks such as U.S. Bank.
The Personal Checking Account is a typical standard account, but has no per-item charges, which can add up and may become costly at other banks. The High & Free Checking is essentially a free premium checking account—it includes features like interest checking and ATM fee refunds. These two features only apply after meeting the monthly requirements of 15 debit card transactions (excluding ATM transactions) and a direct deposit per statement cycle. Either way, both accounts provide great features and are accessible digitally or at any of Security Bank's 30 locations throughout Kansas City.
Best Branch Access: U.S. Bank
We chose U.S. Bank as the best for branch access in Kansas City because it has one of the largest branch presences across the country, with over 3,000 branches in the U.S. This holds true in Kansas City as well, where there are over 40 branches within the metro area. Along with its convenience, U.S. Bank provides many financial products and services for individuals and businesses.
U.S. Bank offers a Silver Checking account, which is the bank’s standard account and has a $6.95 monthly fee. This fee is easier to waive than other major banks and lower than other major banks’ typical fee of $10 or more. Overall, U.S. Bank's offerings are very similar to other major banks, so if you prefer the convenience of banking in person no matter where you are in Kansas City or in the 25 other states that have a U.S. Bank, U.S. Bank is your best bet.
Best for Students: Commerce Bank
Commerce Bank ranked as the top choice for college students in the Kansas City area, with plenty of branches and ATMs covering campuses like UMKC. Besides providing students easy access to bank services, Commerce Bank offers one of the only checking accounts that are specifically made for students, along with student loans and discounts on auto loans.
The CommerceStudent Checking account has no monthly fee as long as it remains active and has no minimum balance requirement, but it does have a minimum opening requirement of $100.00, which is standard for checking accounts in Kansas City. On top of the great features for students, Commerce Bank also gives you $50 for each person you refer to sign up for a Commerce Personal Checking account. However, there are also some drawbacks, like the $3 fee if your account goes inactive or $2 charge for each paper check you write.
Best for Savings: Arvest Bank
In Kansas City, Arvest Bank offers one of the highest savings rates across all balances with an APY of 0.55%. Although other banks offer higher APYs for deposits over $100,000 or special conditions that may be hard to achieve, Arvest Bank's Savings account is easy to open with a $100.00 opening requirement and a monthly fee of $2.00, which is waivable by maintaining a minimum balance of $100. These requirements are similar across Kansas City banks, but other banks offer lower APYs for lower deposits.
However, if you do have higher balances or want to maintain multiple accounts to get the higher preferred interest rates at other banks, Capitol Federal Reserve Bank and First Federal Bank of Kansas City have great savings rates that are higher than Arvest Bank's savings rates.
Best for Small Businesses: U.S. Bank
U.S. Bank stands out from the rest of the banks in Kansas City as the ideal option for small businesses thanks to their wide variety of small-business checking accounts, with three different business checking offerings, a wide range of financial products and services, and many different types of loans. U.S. Bank also has the branch presence Kansas City small-business owners need to conveniently access a bank as they do business.
The Silver Business Package has no monthly fee or a minimum balance but only allows 150 free transactions per month and a maximum cash deposit of $2,500.00. Any additional transactions cost $0.50 per transaction or $100 deposited. This is equivalent to what Arvest Bank offers, but you do not have to maintain any balance requirements to waive the monthly fee that Arvest Bank charges. Other banks don't even come close in the number of free transactions offered.
Finding the Right Bank for You
With dozens of banks and hundreds of account options available, deciding on the right bank account can often feel like a lengthy process. We identified the top banking priorities for a range of different consumers and selected the banks above with those needs in mind. If you're interested in finding other banks, evaluate the options you discover based on the criteria discussed in this article. Depending on what you need most in a banking relationship, a reputation for good service can be as meaningful as low fees or a good interest rate.
If you truly feel that there are no suitable banking options in your local area, try taking your search online. Online-only banks don't give you any access to in-person services, but the best ones do offer free ATM access through third-party networks like Allpoint. Most importantly, online bank accounts usually charge fewer fees than brick-and-mortar accounts and earn higher interest rates.