Best for Checking Accounts
The best banks for a checking account come with plenty of branches and reliable tools for online banking. We found several banks in Michigan that do a good job of providing checking accounts that are both affordable and convenient.
Best for Branch Access: The Huntington National Bank
With over 500 branches in Michigan (including 13 in the Upper Peninsula), Huntington represents the most accessible choice for a checking account. Three different levels of checking accounts make this bank appropriate for a wide range of financial situations. Unlike most other banks, Huntington provides a free checking account with no need for monthly activity requirements, which can be hard to keep track of on a regular basis. In addition, the 24-Hour Grace policy on overdrafts gives you one extra day to correct your balance and avoid paying any penalty.
For people with higher balances, having $5,000 or $25,000 across all Huntington accounts or investments will waive the monthly fees on a Huntington 5 or Huntington 25 interest-bearing checking account. These accounts earn 0.15% and 0.25% APY respectively and come with a variety of additional benefits, such as rebates on ATM fees charged by other banks. Finally, the Huntington mobile app lets you make transfers and deposit checks from anywhere, making this one of the most versatile choices for banking in Michigan.
Best Checking for Students: Chase Bank
Chase College Checking is an affordable and convenient checking option for students enrolled at Michigan's many nationally-recognized colleges. Chase operates branches close by Michigan State and University of Michigan, but it also has locations throughout all the major cities in the US. In addition, the bank's combination of brick-and-mortar service and strong online banking makes it the best option for a college student in Michigan, even if your school isn't necessarily close to a Chase branch.
Chase makes its college checking option available to students between 17 and 24 years old at account opening, with no monthly fees for up to five years of enrollment. Many other banks provide free student checking, but we prefer Chase for its broad range of services and the potential to carry on your banking relationship once you graduate. The bank's strong line of credit cards, for example, can all be managed within the same app as your Chase checking and savings accounts. This makes it less likely that you'll forget to pay your credit card bills, since they pop up every time you check your bank balance.
Best in the UP: Range Bank
It's harder to find many major banks in the Upper Peninsula, but Range Bank combines decent branch coverage with a mobile banking platform that has all the major features you'd find at Chase or Huntington. Range Bank is the best of several local banks in the UP, which emphasize closer ties with their communities as a key advantage over national brands. In terms of strict numbers, Range Bank's checking options are highly affordable. The free eChecking account comes with zero minimum requirements, while the standard RangeReward Checking account costs $8 monthly but offers a variety of simple fee waivers.
RangeReward Checking – Account Discounts
- Use Online Banking
- Enroll in eStatements
- Use Bill Pay
- Receive Direct Deposit
- Transfer to a Savings or Loan Account
- Maintain a $500 Average Balance
- Be Age 55 Plus
Each of these conditions represent a $2 discount, meaning you'll need four (in any combination) to keep your account free. While somewhat complex, this system allows different kinds of customers to access free checking at Range Bank based on their individual banking habits. The RangeReward Checking account also earns 0.05% APY if you maintain an average monthly balance of at least $500. With flexible terms, a reliable app and multiple local offices, Range Bank is a good choice if you prefer banking locally.
Best for Savings: PNC Bank
If you're open to the idea of online banking, PNC Bank's Virtual Wallet account package offers a range of flexible budget management options that give you better control over your accounts. Virtual Wallet encourages you to save towards customized goals and to set up automatic transfers that make it easier to save steadily. For people looking at savings interest rates, Virtual Wallet can earn between 0.05% and 0.80% APY, based on your balance level.
The highest interest rate at PNC requires Virtual Wallet with Performance Select, which comes free with $5,000 in monthly direct deposits or average balance. While you can still earn interest without meeting these minimums, it's essential to avoid paying fees that will cut into your earnings from interest. Still, all of the Virtual Wallet tiers earn more interest than any other brick-and-mortar bank available. Finally, PNC partners with schools like the University of Michigan to provide on-campus ATMs, branches and the ability to use school IDs for cash withdrawals.
PNC Virtual Wallet Tiers
|Savings APY||Monthly Fee||Fee Waivers|
|Virtual Wallet||0.05%-0.10%||$7||$500 average monthly balance OR $500 direct deposits OR student status|
|Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend||0.25%-0.35%||$15||$2,000 average monthly balance OR $2,000 direct deposits|
|Virtual Wallet with Performance Select||0.60%-0.80%||$25||$5,000 average monthly balance OR $5,000 direct deposits|
Best for Small Business: The Huntington National Bank
In addition to its personal checking accounts, the Huntington National Bank is a strong choice for small business owners in both deposit accounts and business loans. Recently, the Small Business Administration recognized Huntington as the Michigan Lender of the Year for the eighth year running. In 2016, Huntington approved over 1,000 SBA 7(a) loans for a total of almost $164 million —more individual loans than the rest of the top ten lenders combined. Huntington also has business term loans, lines of credit and real estate loans for more specialized needs.
Besides providing capital to start or expand your operations, Huntington also makes a good case for being a one-stop shop for your deposit accounts and payment processing. The bank offers subscriptions for an unusually diverse set of payables and receivables services like merchant services, remote deposit capture and tax services. Finally, four different checking account options ensure that small businesses at every stage of growth can take advantage of Huntington's other small business products in a single streamlined financial experience.
The Huntington National Bank – Business Checking Accounts
|Monthly Fee||Fee Waiver||Monthly Transaction Fee||Monthly Cash Deposit Fee|
|Community Business Checking||$0||-||$0.60 per transaction after 150||$0.20 per $100 deposited over $5,000|
|Fast Track Business Checking||$20||$5,000||$0.50 per transaction after 300||$0.20 per $100 deposited over $20,000|
|Accelerated Business Checking||$30||$25,000||$0.50 per transaction after 300||$0.20 per $100 deposited over $50,000|
|Business Analyzed Checking||$15||varies||varies||$0.15 per $100 deposited over $10,000|
Summary of the Best Banks in Michigan
Since there are plenty of other banks in Michigan we haven't discussed here, we've provided the following table as a baseline to evaluate other banks you may come across in your shopping.
|Best For…||Bank Name||Monthly Fee||Features|
|Checking Accounts||The Huntington National Bank||$0||24-Hour Grace policy on overdraft fees|
|Savings||PNC Bank||$7||0.01%-0.80% APY with Virtual Wallet account package|
|Students||Chase Bank||$6||No monthly fee during 5 years of college enrollment|
|Upper Peninsula Residents||Range Bank||$8||Local banking with mobile app and flexible fee waivers|
|Small Businesses||The Huntington National Bank||$0||Top SBA 7(a) lender in Michigan, 2008-2016|
Finding the Best Bank for You
Not all banks operate in all places, and although we considered accessibility as a major factor in choosing the banks we reviewed, you may find that a smaller community bank actually provides much more appropriate services for your individual situation. Local banks often have a better sense of what their communities need and expect financially, so it may be a good idea to supplement the research you do online with some door-to-door shopping of banks in your area.
If banks in general don't seem like a good idea for you, consider expanding your search to include different types of institutions. Credit unions, which are member-owned financial cooperatives, function much like banks but charge lower fees while offering friendlier rates on everything from your savings account to mortgages and auto loans. Online banks, which have no branches and rely completely on web-based and mobile banking, pass on their lowered operating costs in the form of extremely competitive rates.