Best Banks for Checking Accounts
Good checking accounts offer convenience in accessing your money, whether in person, online or at an ATM. The best banks also charge no monthly fees or only require a low minimum balance to waive the fees.
Best Free Checking: TD Bank
While TD Bank has fewer branches than some of its competitors, the TD Convenience Checking account provides benefits such as its award-winning customer service and low requirements to waive the monthly fee. To open this account, there is no minimum deposit, but you do need to maintain a minimum balance of $100 in order to waive the $15.00 monthly fee.
Not only is it easy to waive the monthly fee on this account, but it's also supported by one of the state's largest branch networks. As one of New Jersey's five largest banks, TD Bank has almost 250 physical locations throughout New Jersey—most of which are open seven days a week. Other features include mobile and online banking, mobile check deposits and live 24/7 customer service.
Best Checking for Students: Valley National Bank
Valley National Bank's My Choice Checking is a great choice for college students in New Jersey, thanks to the bank's many branch locations around New Jersey colleges and the numerous benefits it provides beyond traditional student accounts. Like most student checking accounts, this account has no fees, but it includes additional features such as waiving up to $20.00 of ATM fees a month from non-Valley ATMs, text banking on top of mobile and online banking, and the potential to earn up to $150 in rewards.
However, Valley National has few physical locations outside of the tri-state area, Florida, and Alabama. If your school is located outside of these states, consider opening a student checking account at a national bank like Chase or Bank of America. Otherwise, Valley National Bank is a solid choice for New Jersey college students.
Best for Branch Access: PNC Bank
With almost 300 locations across New Jersey, PNC Bank is the best banking choice if you prefer doing business in person. Although Wells Fargo has nearly as many branches as PNC, the PNC Standard Checking account offers much better terms. This account only requires a minimum of $2,000 to open and a low monthly fee of $15.00. The monthly fee is also relatively easy to waive.
For those with higher incomes, the PNC Performance Checking account may be the better choice. The account requires an average monthly balance of $2,000 or for you to receive $2,000.00 in direct deposits to waive the $15.00 monthly fee, but it has some benefits over the Standard Checking account. These include earning interest on your account balance, getting better interest rates on your other PNC accounts and free overdraft protection.
Best for Savings: TD Bank
TD Bank offers flexible options with a relatively high interest rate for a major bank through their three savings accounts. TD Bank's savings accounts earn between 0.05% and 1.25% APY for most balances. On some accounts with a balance of over $1,000,000 the APY can rise as high as 1.50%. These interest rates depend on the type of savings account chosen, balance of your account and whether you have other accounts with TD Bank. The simplest savings account still has a great APY and an easy-to-meet fee-waiving requirement.
While TD Bank's APY range isn't as high as those you would find at online banks, the APYs are the highest you'll find at a major national bank and the bank is as convenient as any other major national bank. WIth over 250 branches in New Jersey and over 1,200 branches across the East Coast, TD Bank is one of the best brick-and-mortar banks in New Jersey for savings accounts.
Best for Small Business: Capital One
Capital One is an excellent choice for small-business owners in New Jersey, due to the numerous benefits and services it provides and its relatively high amount of physical locations. Capital One offers two types of business checking accounts: the Spark Business Basic Checking and Spark Business Unlimited Checking. These accounts really stand out for allowing unlimited transactions with no extra fees. The basic account does have a relatively low cash deposit limit at $5,000.00 a month, with a $1 fee for each additional $1,000 deposited, but the unlimited account is truly unlimited, with no fees for any cash deposit amount.
The monthly service fee on both accounts can be waived by having two or more Capital One business products or maintaining an average monthly balance of $2,000.00 for the basic account and $25,000.00 for the unlimited account. Capital One's business products include various types of loans and lines of credit, business credit cards, and merchant services, which are powered by WorldPay. Although Capital One has great business services, most of its branches are located in Northern and Central New Jersey. If going to a physical location is important to you, and you live outside of those areas, you may wish to consider other options that may better fit your business needs.
Summary of the Best Banks in New Jersey
Finding the perfect bank account depends on your specific needs and banking preferences. This list can provide you a baseline to compare any other competitive accounts you may find as you research. Note that many banks included on this list—and most major banks—don't service large parts of Southern New Jersey. If you live south of Trenton, you should consider opening an account with a community bank or credit union in your neighborhood. Alternatively, if access to physical locations is less-important, you can explore online banks.