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 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
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'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
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 0.02% 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.
To receive APY rates higher than 0.02%, 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 APY
APY with Rate Bump
|$0.01 - $19,999.99||0.01%||0.01%|
|$20,000 - $49,999.99||0.01%||0.02%|
|$50,000 - $99,999.99||0.01%||0.03%|
|$100,000 - $9,999,999.99||0.01%||0.04%|
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 …
|Checking & Branch Access||Citizens||$9.99|