Best Banks in Seattle 2020

With over 500 bank locations in the Seattle metro area, finding the right bank for you might be difficult. We examined account fees, interest rates and branch accessibility at ten of Seattle's largest banks to find the most consumer friendly institutions. We found a range of bank options that stand out in different areas so that you can find one that suits your financial needs.

Best Free Checking: Chase Bank

Chase is one of the best banks in Seattle with great branch presence and a wide range of financial products. One of the most convenient banks in Seattle with over 160 branch locations, Chase offers many financial products such as the Chase Total Checking account. Chase Bank currently offers a bonus of $200 to first-time customers for opening this account or $350 if you open a savings account as well. But most importantly, this account has an easy-to-waive monthly fee relative to other national banks.

This account offers standard features such as mobile and online banking, 24/7 customer service, and monthly paper statements. There is a monthly fee of $12.00, which can be easily waived by maintaining a minimum balance of $1,500, or making direct deposits of at least $500.00 each month.

Best Access to Branches: Bank of America

Consider this if you want to bank in person.
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Bank of America tops any other bank in branch coverage within the region, with over 170 branch locations across Seattle, Tacoma and Bellevue. Bank of America also provides two checking account options for consumers and other accounts like savings, money market and business checking accounts. With over 4,500 branch locations across the country, Bank of America also provides a convenient experience wherever you travel.

The two checking accounts Bank of America offers are the Core Checking and Interest Checking accounts. Their monthly fees cost $12.00 and $25.00 respectively, with requirements that allow you to waive the monthly fee. The Core Checking account requires a minimum deposit of $25 and has standard features such as mobile and online banking. The Interest checking account has a minimum deposit requirement of $100.00 and offers the previous features, interest on your checking balance, and the option to open additional checking or savings accounts without a monthly fee, which can be helpful for families looking to open multiple accounts.

Best Student Checking: US Bank

Consider this if you're attending college within Seattle.
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US Bank's is one of the best checking accounts for students for its accessibility, features and simplicity. Student Checking account is designed to be a simple, convenient way for students to store and manage their money. The account only requires $25.00 to open, no balance requirements, and no monthly maintenance fees.

Although these features are relatively standard, US Bank stands out for the resources they provide to students. These resources include videos dedicated to teaching students personal finance, full-access to online and mobile banking, and free checks. Finally, US Bank's physical locations, although not large in number, are located within a 10 minute walk of major campuses such as University of Washington, Seattle University and City University of Seattle.

Best Savings Accounts: Washington Federal

Consider this if you're looking for a savings account with a high interest rate.
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The best for savings, Washington Federal—basically has one savings option, this account earns an APY of 0.10% across all balances above the minimum required to earn interest—much higher than what national banks offer. There are about 60 branch locations spread across the Seattle Metro area, providing convenience across most communities.

For minors, this account has no monthly fee, and only needs a $10 minimum balance to open and earn interest. For adults. this account offers an easy-to-waive monthly fee of $4, and a low minimum balance of $100 to start earning an interest rate. The minimum opening requirement is $25, but you must maintain a balance of $200 to waive the monthly fee.

Best for Small Business: Wells Fargo

Consider this if you need easy-to-access free business checking.
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We found Wells Fargo best for small businesses for the variety of financial products offered for small business owners. This includes three different types of business checking accounts across over 140 branch locations in Seattle. Although Wells Fargo has recently made the news for a long list of questionable practices, the bank is currently going through substantial internal change and regulatory oversight to prevent future abuses.

The Simple Business Checking account is easy to open with a minimum deposit of $25 and a monthly fee of $10 that can be waived with an average balance of $500. This account includes 50 free transactions and $3,000.00 of cash deposits. Each additional transaction is $0.50 per transaction and $0.50 per transaction. If your business has more transactions or cash deposits, Wells Fargo offers two more accounts with higher limits before fees are charged.

Summary of the Best Banks in Seattle

Deciding on the right bank account will depend on your personal needs and preferences. There are a lot of banks and even more bank account options, so we recommend that you do your own research to identify what you want in a bank. This list can provide you a baseline to compare any other competitive accounts you may find as you research. If banking in person is not a high priority for you, then you may wish to check options such as online banks. Also keep in mind there are some great credit unions in the region, which may offer you better products while providing the physical branch presence you may want. Lastly, do read the fee disclosures as one-time fees may incur on any account, causing a potentially "free" account to become costly.

Best For…Bank NameMonthly FeeFeatures
Free CheckingChase Bank$12Opening deposit requirement is only $25
Branch AccessBank of America$12-$25Most branches in Seattle
Checking for StudentsUS Bank$0No monthly fee for students under 25
SavingsWashington Federal$4Earn interest on any balance
Small BusinessWells Fargo$10Low monthly fee and comprehensive small business services

Richard is a research analyst who recently graduated from New York University's Stern School of Business with a B.S. in Finance and Sustainable business. During his time at school, he enjoyed learning how business and society intersects. Since graduating, he has enjoyed traveling, cooking, and learning about retirement accounts.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.