We researched account fees, interest rates and branch accessibility across the Volunteer State to find the most consumer-friendly choices. Read our picks to find the bank that best suits your financial needs.
Best Free Checking: SunTrust Bank
As a major bank in the southeastern U.S., SunTrust Bank offers the greatest convenience, while offering an easy-to-waive monthly fee. SunTrust Bank's Essential Checking account offers many standard features, such as online and mobile banking, mobile check deposits and access to a large network of ATMs.
The Essential Checking account stands out with its easy-to-waive monthly fee of $7.00. Compared to Regions Bank and U.S. Bank, which require an average balance of $1,500 or direct deposits of $1,000 or more to waive this monthly fee, this account only requires you to maintain a $500 minimum balance or make 10 or more transactions a statement cycle. One thing to note is the Essential Checking account requires a opening minimum deposit of $100.00, which is higher than the $50 typically seen at other major banks.
Best Branch Access: Regions Bank
With 25 more branches than First Tennessee Bank and 225 branches across Tennessee, Regions Bank is by far the most accessible bank in the state. Regions Bank provides flexibility not only in location but in product offerings as well, featuring accounts, loans and services for both individuals and businesses.
However, the convenient branch access comes at a cost—at Regions, you'll pay slightly higher monthly fees and have higher waive requirements for standard checking. If you value banking in-person and the convenience of Regions Bank in Tennessee and the Southern United States, and don’t mind the monthly fees, you may wish to bank with Regions Bank.
Best Checking for Students: Regions Bank
Regions Bank not only offers convenience to Tennesseans, but it is one of the few banks in Tennessee to offer a checking account specifically for students. Furthermore, it is the most convenient on-campus bank for students studying at major universities such as University of Tennessee, Vanderbilt University and East Tennessee State. Besides the typical features you find on other student accounts, Regions Bank's Checking Account for Students also offers online tools to help with your financial decisions and it offers award-winning customer service.
The Checking Account for Students has no monthly fee for five years if you're 25 or younger and enrolled in school. However, this account does require $25.00 to open, which is higher than other major banks such as U.S. Bank, which only requires $25 to open a student checking account.
Best Savings: CIT Bank
Most banks in Tennessee do not offer great savings rates, and money market accounts that do offer good rates have high maintenance requirements. As a result, we decided to look at online banks, which lack a physical brick-and-mortar presence but offer better interest rates. By choosing an online bank, you sacrifice the ability to bank in person in exchange for fewer fees and higher interest rates. To learn more about online banks, you may wish to read our article on online banks here.
CIT Bank offers one of the highest savings account interest rates of any bank in the nation, online or traditional. The money market account offers an interest rate of 0.45% across all balances, only requires $100.00 to open and has no monthly fees. The drawback to CIT Bank is the lack of a checking account option, which can be inconvenient if you're used to banking on a single platform or like to transfer money quickly. This is similar to other online banks with high-yield savings offers, such as Marcus and Synchrony.
Best for Small Businesses: U.S. Bank
With over 100 branches throughout Tennessee, U.S. Bank has the physical branch presence that small-business owners need. With a greater selection of business checking options, loan types and other financial products than any other bank in the region, U.S. Bank stands out.
The Silver Business Package has no monthly fee or a minimum balance but only allows 150 free transactions per month and a max cash deposit of $2,500.00. Any additional transactions cost $0.50 per transaction or $100 deposited. Although the max cash deposit is lower than the typical $5,000, the 150 free transactions is much more than the standard 50 offered by other banks. Other major banks such as Regions Bank and SunTrust Bank charge a monthly fee for similar offerings.
Summary of the Best Banks in Tennessee
Deciding on the right bank account will depend on your personal needs and preferences. There are quite a few banks to look through, 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.
|Free Checking||SunTrust Bank||$7||Easy-to-waive monthly fee|
|Branch Access||Regions Bank||$3-$18||Most branches in Tennessee|
|Checking for Students||Regions Bank||$0||No monthly fee for students 25 or under|
|Savings||CIT Bank||$0||High interest rate, but online only|
|Small Business||US Bank||$0||No monthly fee and comprehensive small business services|