U.S. Bank Review: Accessible but Costly

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U.S. Bank Review: Accessible but Costly

U.S. Bank is the most accessible banking option in a lot of states, but people who aren't students or seniors may find it difficult to avoid its monthly account fees.

Good for

  • Free checking account options for students and seniors
  • Free money market accounts with premium checking accounts

Bad for

  • Below-average interest rates on deposits
  • High overdraft and wire transfer fees
  • High minimum requirements on free checking

Editor's Rating


US Bank is an acceptable choice for customers who can meet its relatively high fee waiver requirements, but most people should probably start their search at a different bank if they have the opportunity. Although it offers some strong options for students and seniors, US Bank's fees for overdrafts and wire transfers run on the high side, while its interest rates don't offer anything higher than savings account rates at less expensive banks.

Review: Should You Open a US Bank Account?

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The majority of customers may have a harder time getting monthly fees waived at US Bank compared to other local banks for standard banking accounts. While larger banks typically require just $500 in direct deposits to waive the monthly fee for standard checking, US Bank requires twice that amount each month. However, this bank does do a good job of providing free checking for seniors and students. Seniors, in particular, receive more features than free senior checking products you'd find elsewhere.

Good For...Bad For...
  • Free student checking accounts
  • Free premium checking for seniors 65 and up
  • Free money market accounts for premium checking customers
  • Below-average interest rates
  • Costly overdraft and wire transfer fees
  • Higher direct deposit requirements for free checking
map of US Bank branches, by county

Combined with the complete lack of US Bank branches on the East Coast, the expensive fee waiver will probably disqualify US Bank Easy Checking for anyone who has banking needs in those states. For those that do live close to a branch, US Bank has a full list of bank products other than deposit accounts. You can apply for business and personal loans, mortgages, credit cards and prepaid debit cards. However, anyone who has another nearby banking option should compare US Bank's fees on these accounts closely before they commit to opening any account.

US Bank Account Features

Even though US Bank offers as many as seven different checking accounts, few of them represent the best deal for consumers. Aside from seniors and college students, who don't need to pay monthly fees, most US Bank customers hoping for no-fee checking will need substantially larger direct deposits than at other banks. Customers who keep at least $1,000 in their regular checking balance won't be affected by the difference, but anyone whose account tends to stay below that level will face a harder time avoiding US Bank's fees.

Account NameOpening MinimumMonthly FeesMonthly Fee Waivers
US Bank Easy Checking$25$8.95$1,000 average daily balance OR $1,000 in direct deposits
US Bank Safe Debit Account$25$6.95-
US Bank Silver Checking$25$8.95Package Money Market Account AND either $1,500 average daily balance OR $1,000 in direct deposits
US Bank Gold Checking$25$12.95$5,000 average daily balance OR $1,000 in direct deposits
US Bank Premium Checking$25$10.95age 65 and up
US Bank Platinum Checking$25$19.95$5,000 average daily balance OR $1,000 in direct deposits
US Bank Student Checking$25$0-

Another downside of US Bank's fee policies has to do with overdrafts. While the average bank imposes a limit of 4 daily overdrafts on each account, US Bank will charge you up to 8 separate times if you happen to overspend on your checking balance. Since each overdraft or nonsufficient funds (NSF) charge is $36, that means you could be charged up to $288 in a single day if your account is more than $5 negative. This makes it important to keep track of your US Bank checking balance.

The many tiers of premium checking accounts are good deals for customers who need a savings option or loan, depending on the specific tier you select. These packages waive the monthly fee on savings accounts, but you're still responsible for the checking maintenance fee. Unfortunately, you won't receive many fee discounts or other extra benefits for opening a premium checking account with US Bank, so unless you're interested in another bank product, these premium accounts aren't the best deal available.

US Bank Savings Account Features

US Bank's interest rates on savings and money market accounts go from 0.01% at the low end up to 0.10% APY, which means they don't offer much advantage to consumers with other bank options. Even earning the maximum rate requires a relatively large minimum balance, from $5,000 in a US Bank Retirement Money Market Savings Account to $50,000 in US Bank Platinum Select Money Market Savings.

Account NameAPYMinimum for APYMonthly Fees
US Bank Package Money Market Savings0.05%-0.01%$0-$50K$0
US Bank Standard Savings0.01%$0$4
US Bank Goal Savings0.01%$0$0
US Bank Standard Money Market0.04%-0.05%$0-$10K$10
US Bank Elite Money Market0.04%-0.06%$0-$50K$10
US Bank Platinum Select Money Market Savings0.05%-0.05%$0-$50K$5
US Bank Retirement Money Market Savings0.05% OR 0.05%$0 OR $5K$0
US Bank Star Savers Club0.01%$0$0

If you're hoping to earn an optimal interest rate, US Bank isn't going to perform any better than most other brick-and-mortar banks, despite the many options it provides. People who are interested in better rates on savings should start with online savings accounts, which we've reviewed here. For the most part, US Bank's savings and money market accounts are only acceptable as part of the US Bank account packages, which let you waive the savings account fees in exchange for opening a checking account in addition.

How Does US Bank Compare to Other Banks?

US Bank's largest direct competitors include large national banks as well as regional institutions like PNC. If you're trying to decide between US Bank and one of its nearby rivals, check our head-to-head comparisons below.

US Bank vs. Wells Fargo

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Wells Fargo is one of the few banks that's actually larger than US Bank, but there isn't a significant difference in the fees and rates you'll find at either bank. Of the two, only US Bank carries free student checking accounts, as well as options for people whose banking history prevents them from getting approved at other banks. For everyone else, the biggest factor to consider is the difference in fee waivers: Wells Fargo waives monthly fees for customers who make $500 or $1,000 in monthly direct deposits, while most US Bank checking accounts omit that option.

map of Wells Fargo branches in the US, by county

Wells Fargo has just three different savings accounts as opposed to US Bank's eight separate options, but the maximum rate at each bank is almost the same. Neither bank is the best place to earn interest on a savings account, so unless you prefer putting all your accounts in one bank, you can maximize your interest by looking elsewhere.

US Bank vs. Chase

Chase has a leaner selection of checking and savings accounts compared to US Bank, but most people will find better value at Chase thanks to its strength in other areas. For instance, Chase's credit card offerings and rewards program are much stronger than anything offered by US Bank, and become much easier to manage online when you also get a Chase checking account. Chase's current sign-up bonuses for new checking and savings customers are much higher than any bonuses offered at US Bank, making Chase the clear choice if you live in its service areas.

map of Chase branches in the US, by county

US Bank vs. Bank of America

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This matchup is another close tie. Neither bank offers checking account features you can't find at the other. However, if you want to avoid paying any fees, Bank of America Core Checking requires just $250 in direct deposits to remain a free account, even lower than US Bank's $500 requirement on US Bank Easy Checking. Still, we believe there's little difference: most people receiving direct deposits will be receiving at least $500 in any case, making the standard checking free for both banks.

map of Bank of America branches in the US, by county

US Bank vs. PNC

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Compared to US Bank, PNC Bank may provide a better deal more often than not. Of the four banks we've compared here, PNC is the only one with fewer branches and deposits than US Bank. However, getting free checking at PNC requires $500 in your balance or direct deposits, which is just half the $1,000 requirement at US Bank. Otherwise, you'll have a total monthly cost of $9 at PNC, practically equal to the $8.95 for US Bank Easy Checking.

map of PNC branches in the US, by county

PNC is also the only bank reviewed here that offers better rates than US Bank on savings accounts, with a top rate of 0.80% APY for PNC Premiere Money Market with a $50,000 balance and a PNC Performance Select Checking Account. However, linking a checking account to your PNC savings won't waive your monthly fees for those interest-earning accounts, meaning that US Bank may actually provide a higher yield if you can't meet PNC's balance-based fee waivers.

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.