Best Free Checking: M&T Bank
M&T Bank is a great choice for free checking account, because of its features, lack of fees and accessibility. M&T Bank's EZChoice Checking is aptly named. There is no monthly fee, no minimum balance and an opening deposit requirement of $0.00, making choosing this account an easy choice. This simple account has all the standard features—online and mobile banking, 24-hour telephone banking and FDIC insurance.
To top off this bank account’s great attributes, branch and ATM access is also excellent. There are over 175 branches throughout Maryland, with roughly a third of the branches located in the Baltimore Metro area. M&T Bank is convenient across much of the east coast, with over 690 bank branches and 1,500 ATMs, making M&T Bank a great choice for Marylanders.
Best Access to Branches: PNC Bank
With over 200 branches across Maryland, PNC Bank is the best option for consumers who like to have access to brick-and-mortar locations. Whether you're in Ocean City riding the rides or at an Orioles game in Baltimore, you'll find yourself minutes away from a PNC branch. PNC Bank offers a variety of financial products for consumers in a range of personal finance situations and is one of the top banks west of the Mississippi.
PNC's Standard Checking account is a solid account with features such as online banking and mobile banking, unlimited check writing, and a cash-back debit card. In order to open the account, you need to deposit a minimum of $25.00 and maintain at least an average monthly balance of $500 to waive the monthly fee of $7.00.
Best Checking for Students: BB&T
With BB&T's Student Checking account, college students don't need to worry about any minimum opening deposit, monthly maintenance fee or minimum balance requirement, which makes it easier to budget while taking classes. On top of the lack of fees, BB&T has a customizable online and mobile banking experience, giving students the freedom to bank according to their needs.
One drawback to BB&T is its sparse presence around major Maryland colleges like University of Maryland-University College and University of Maryland-College Park. However, BB&T has the third most branches within Maryland, so if you're leaving campus to explore, chances are you will be near a BB&T branch.
Best for Savings: Bank of America
Not only are there over 150 Bank of America branches across Maryland, but the 0.03% APY across all balances—even low balances—is higher than most major banks within the region. Furthermore, if you enroll in Preferred Rewards, the APY can reach as high as 0.06%. These APYs may be high relative to other major brick-and-mortar banks, but if you prefer higher rates over banking in person, you may wish to check out online banks for even higher savings account APY options.
Bank of America's Rewards Savings account has a variety of benefits and tiers that consumers can enjoy. The account has a relatively easy-to-waive $8 monthly fee. You can do this by maintaining a daily balance of at least $500, linking an Bank of America interest checking account or by being a Bank of America Preferred Rewards Client.
Best for Small Business: BB&T
BB&T offers a great balance of small-business features and branch access relative to other banks across Maryland. The Business Value 200 Checking account provides you a variety of ways to waive the $12.00 monthly fee. This includes maintaining an average monthly balance of $1500.00 and making a qualifying transaction with BB&T Merchant Services, amongst other ways to avoid the fee. This account allows up to 200 free transactions monthly, and it charges a $0.50 fee on any additional transactions. The maximum cash deposit of $10,000.00 with a $0.25 charge for each $100 of additional deposits is standard across most banks.
Although BB&T's offerings are relatively standard, branch access is what makes it stand out. Not only is it one of the top three banks in terms of branches in Maryland, but it ranks as having the sixth most branches across America. BB&T is a good choice if you prioritize banking at brick-and-mortar locations, but if finding the best deal is more important, and you do not mind having limited access outside your community, you may wish to explore credit unions.
Summary of Best Banks in Maryland 2018
When researching the right bank for you, you may have to make trade-offs to suit your banking preferences. You can use this guide as a reference point as you continue researching the right bank for you.If banking in person is not a high priority for you, then you may wish to check options such as online banks.
|Best For…||Bank Name||Monthly Fee||Features|
|Free Checking||M&T Bank||$0||Opening deposit requirement is only $25|
|Branch Access||PNC Bank||$0 - $30||Most branches in MD|
|Checking for Students||BB&T||$0||No monthly fee for students under 23|
|Savings||Bank of America||$7||0.02%-0.06% APY depending on amount of deposits across all your accounts|
|Small Business||BB&T||$12||Easy-to-waive monthly fee and comprehensive small business services|