Best Banks in Massachusetts 2019

Massachusetts has over 150 banks to choose from, but only a handful provide top-tier products and service. To find the best banks in the Bay State, we looked at branch accessibility, checking account fees, and savings interest rates at national, local and community banks. Our recommendations cover a range of banking needs, from checking and savings accounts to small business banking.

Best Banks for Checking Accounts

To find the best checking accounts for Massachusetts residents, we looked at the banks that have low monthly fees, efficient online banking apps and numerous branch locations throughout the state. These banks also provide decent savings and money market account options for those who prefer to focus their banking business at one institution.

Best for Free Checking: Santander Bank

Santander Simply Right Checking
Santander Simply Right Checking

Consider this if you want a basic checking account with an easy-to-waive monthly fee.

Monthly Fee $10.00
Balance to Waive Fee $0
Opening Deposit $25.00

Santander Bank's Simply Right Checking is ideal for consumers looking for a free, no-frills checking account. As long as you make one transaction during each calendar month, you can avoid the $9.99 monthly maintenance fee. Eligible transactions include transfers, deposits, payments and withdrawals. The account also requires no minimum balance, meaning you won't be hit with penalties for having a low balance.

The downside to banking with Santander Bank is that their branches are only located in the Northeast. If you anticipate needing brick-and-mortar access in other regions of the country, you should consider a bank with a larger national footprint, such as Bank of America. Otherwise, Santander is a great option for Massachusetts residents, as it has over 650 branches and 2,000 ATMs throughout the Northeast.

Best Access to Branches: Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank One Deposit Checking
Citizens Bank One Deposit Checking

Consider this if you prefer to do your banking in-person.

Monthly Fee $9.99
Balance to Waive Fee $0.00
Opening Deposit $0.00

With more than 245 branches located across Massachusetts, Citizens Bank is the best option for consumers who like to have access to brick-and-mortar locations. Citizens provides checking account options for consumers in a range of personal finance situations and also offers other solid products like savings accounts, money market accounts and personal loans. Nationwide, Citizens operates 1,200 branches in more than 11 states.

Citizens' One Deposit Checking is a good option for those who want basic checking with an easy-to-waive monthly fee. This account allows you to avoid paying the $9.99 monthly maintenance fee if you make a deposit of any size during each billing cycle. If you're looking for a more advanced checking account, Citizens' Platinum Plus Checking allows you to earn interest of 0.02% on any balance. However, this account comes with a monthly fee that can only be waived if you maintain a $25,000 balance on all of your open Citizens' accounts.

Best Checking for Students: Bank of America

Bank of America Student Checking
Bank of America Student Checking

Consider this if you're a college student under 24 years old.

Monthly Fee $0.00
Balance to Waive Fee $0.00
Opening Deposit $25.00

Bank of America's Core Checking for students is a no-fee account for college students younger than 24 years old. The account can be opened with a $25 deposit, and there are no monthly maintenance fees until you graduate. Bank of America also offers a variety of user-friendly tools for managing money, like mobile banking, check deposit and Zelle—a service like Venmo that enables you to transfer money directly to or from a friend's account.

As a student with limited funds, it's important to know that Bank of America applies substantial penalty fees if you overdraw your account. For specific transactions that overdraw your account—which do not include everyday, nonrecurring debit card purchases—the bank charges you an initial $35 overdraft fee and can levy an additional $35 fine if you don't pay within five business days. However, these fees are charged most banks, so the best way to avoid them is by consistently monitoring your balance.

Best for Savings: TD Bank

Consider this if you're just beginning to build savings, or if you want a high yield for a high balance.

APY 0.05%
Minimum Balance to Earn APY $0
Monthly Fee $5.00

With two different savings account options, TD Bank offers solutions for consumers in any income bracket. The Simple Savings account from TD Bank has a 0.05% APY and has no opening minimum balance. The account's $5 monthly maintenance fee can be waived if you maintain a $300 minimum daily balance. For higher net worth consumers, the Preferred Savings account yields between 0.10% and 1.00% APY, and its $15 monthly fee can be waived if you maintain a $20,000 minimum balance.

To receive APY rates higher than 0.45%, TD Bank has an incentive program called Rate Bump, which raises the APY when you link a mortgage, home equity loan or credit card. While other banks may offer more account options, we recommend TD for its accessibility and its commitment to customer loyalty. As one of the five largest banks in Massachusetts, TD Bank excels in convenient branch access with over 100 locations in the state.

Minimum Daily Balance to Earn APYStandard APYAPY with Rate Bump
$0.01 - $19,999.990.05%0.10%
$20,000 - $49,999.990.20%0.50%
$50,000 - $99,999.990.35%0.75%
$100,000 - $9,999,999.990.50%1.00%
$10,000,000+0.45%0.95%

Best for Small Business: Rockland Trust Bank

Consider this if you need free business checking, or if you make fewer than 500 business transactions per month.

Monthly Fee $0
Balance to Waive Fee $0
Free Monthly Transactions 200
Excess Transaction Fee $0.50
Free Cash Deposit Limit
Excess Cash Deposit Fee $0.50 per excess transaction

Rockland Trust Bank's free small business checking account allows you to make up to 200 monthly transactions without paying a monthly maintenance fee. The account has no minimum balance requirement or other service fee. For businesses that make a higher number of monthly transactions, Rockland also offers a Premier Checking package—500 transactions per month, and a $25 monthly maintenance fee that can be waived with a $10,000 balance. On both accounts, the bank charges $0.50 for transactions made over the prescribed limit.

Rockland Trust is a regional bank that has branches across Eastern Massachusetts, including Cape Cod, North and South Shores, and the MetroWest region. Due to its small size and longstanding ties to its communities, the bank consistently ranks high for customer satisfaction. To open an account, you'll need to find a branch near you and make an in-person appointment.

Summary of the Best Banks in Massachusetts

As you continue to research banks, you can compare the accounts included on this list with other competitive accounts you may find. Note that many of the banks included on this list—and most major banks—don't service Western Massachusetts. If you live west of Route 90, you should consider opening an account with a community bank in your neighborhood. Alternatively, if you're comfortable without having brick-and-mortar access, you can explore online banks.

Best For …Bank NameMonthly Fee
Free CheckingSantander$10.00
Checking & Branch AccessCitizens$9.99
Student CheckingPNC$6.00
SavingsTD Bank$5.00
Small Business CheckingRockland Trust$11.00

Yowana Wamala

Yowana is a product analyst at ValuePenguin, specializing in credit cards, rewards programs and travel. He previously covered mortgages, banking and insurance for the website. Yowana graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in Political Science.

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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.