The 8 Least Evil Banks In America

Banks that aren’t evil? Really? CNN Money rounded up eight American banks that might not be consumer paradises, but offer free checking, no ATM fees, and comparatively high interest rates for savings accounts.

The article itself is a slideshow, but here are CNN’s suggestions:

  1. Ally Bank
  2. ING Direct
  3. USAA
  4. Capital One
  5. Alliant Credit Union
  6. PNC
  7. The Incredible Bank
  8. Charles Schwab

Most of these are not brick-and-mortar banks in most of the country, so if you like to hand over your deposits to a real live teller, they are not for you. Check out the offerings of your locally-owned banks and credit unions

The 8 least evil banks [CNN Money] (Thanks, Mr. Fix-It!)

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  1. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    “The Incredible Bank”?

  2. crashman2600 says:

    Glad to see PNC made the list.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      I’ll admit, I’d never heard of PNC until I found that article.

      • Armand1880 says:

        They recently bought National City. I was a Nat City customer for years, and the transfer to PNC went without a hitch. Very happy.

        • MuffinSangria says:

          During collage, I worked as a mortgage processor dealing with about 20 major banks. Nat city was our favorite. They were so easy to deal with and their people actually knew what they were doing. FYI, GMAC and BoA were the absolute worst.

          • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

            “FYI, GMAC and BoA were the absolute worst.”

            I am both shocked, and dismayed. 9_9;

        • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

          … Except that they bumped my rates.

        • coren says:

          Oh good ol National shitty.

        • psm321 says:

          I’m also a National City –> PNC customer and while PNC is slightly worse than National City was (amongst other things like the poorer e-mail alerts, I HATE the wording on their deposit slips that makes me acknowledge receiving money before I actually do), I am relatively happy compared with what I see lots of other big banks doing.

          Ally is better overall, but PNC/National City still has lots of residual loyalty from back when they were the only ones that would give me an account with a “check card” at 16, and various other things over the years

    • biggieshorty says:

      Gotta say, that I’ve been really pleased with PNC. I’ve been with them for about 6 years, and have all my personal and business accounts with them. There are a lot of branches around here, which is a a bonus when you go to one regularly and they get to know you. I’ve gotten fees waved, and questions answered, that I may not have so easily otherwise.

      >Does not work for PNC

    • JonStewartMill says:

      I like PNC. They’re the only bank around here that doesn’t charge ATM fees. My bank, USAA, refunds part or all of ATM fees charged by other banks, but it’s even better not to be charged in the first place.

    • Fjord says:

      I bank with PNC and dislike them. A little outdated compared to the other two local banks. They charge more for money orders and cashier’s checks. This is the perfect bank for people with simple finances.

    • Minj says:

      I’ve had accounts with about a dozen different financial institutions and PNC ranks pretty high up there as one of the worst I’ve ever encountered. I’m not someone that has one experience and judges a place. My dealings with PNC have been consistently stupid and absurd. I recommend people stay far away.

    • tsalaroth says:

      I fully expected it to be. PNC is probably the first bank I’ve used in my 20 years of needing a bank that has not “screwed” me. Individual branches DO have issues, but corporate fixes their crap *quick*. We had a branch manager lie to us about our accounts when we first set it up – and they screwed up a couple of our deposits, all fixed in minutes with a call to their main corporate line. After enough complaints, the branch manager changed, and things got better. I suspect we weren’t the only people to complain.

    • YokoOhNo says:

      PNC misread a Writ of Execution and froze my company’s funds for 3 days.

      the did back off the $600 fee they wanted to impose for their legal services executing the writ…they probably stuck the right guy for double.

      when talking about banks we have to speak in terms of “less worse than…” and this article/headline did a great job of that!

  3. Supes says:

    Good list. Most (and possibly all) of these also have full online suites for handling finances and bill pay, and at least a couple of them have apps to deposit checks remotely.

    Really full-service banks that don’t nickel-and-dime you with fees like the biggest ones.

  4. UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

    I’ve been with Schwab for about 4 years now. I have no expectation of leaving them any time soon.

    Not only do I pay nothing in fees, but the customer service is helpful, the features are plenty, and the easy link to my brokerage account is fantastic.

    The having to mail in checks is occasionally a pain, but it’s hardly a deal breaker.

    I highly recommend Schwab to anyone willing to give online banking a shot.

    • seth.gl says:

      I have also been a Schwab customer for a few year and would certainly recommend them. The only problem I have with them is the online bill pay. My old bank had the option to pay either specific amounts, the required minimum due, or the full balance. For some reason, Schwab only offers the option to pay a specific amount or the required minimum amount. It is a hassle if you are someone who tries to pay off their credit card balances in full every month.

      • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

        Yeah, that is kind of annoying.

        What’s kind of cool about Schwab though, is that they’re always adding new features, and I’ve found that the reps will actually listen to you if you suggest something!

        You probably already have, but if not, try telling a rep about that. It might get us all a new feature!

        • seth.gl says:

          I did make the request a while ago but who knows if the feedback ever reached the right people. Hopefully it is something they are working on.

      • areaman says:

        For some reason, Schwab only offers the option to pay a specific amount or the required minimum amount.

        So if the full amount is $99.96, you can’t type in the figure $99.96?

        • seth.gl says:

          Sorry, I was talking about the automatic bill pay. I currently have the automatic bill pay setup to pay the minimum due automatically. When I receive the bill, I need to login and update the individual payment from the minimum to the full balance. If I forget to change the payment, Schwab pays the minimum due automatically, so I avoid any late fees but could end up being charged interest on a balance I was intending to pay. Right now there is no way to automate the system to pay the full balance.

        • mike says:

          I’ve never had this problem. I have my electric and gas bill auto-payed. There’s an option to pay whatever is due, so long as it’s below a certain amount.

  5. Blueskylaw says:

    I have been a customer of People’s Bank since 1987 and for the most part it has been trouble free. Of course, if they got to be the size of Bank of America that all might change.

    • andyg8180 says:

      the one in CT? I left them because they started charging for everything and its mother and their ATM charges got to be obnoxious. Im over at ally now. you get everything paid for, plus their overdraft rules are the best of any bank… $9 total, not $36 per transaction like peoples bank. Nothing but good things to say about ally.

      • Blueskylaw says:

        Yes, the ones in CT.

        I should also add that I try to charge everything I buy so that I don’t need to carry alot of cash with me, (no ATM use) but when I do need to re-load my wallet the bank is in the grocery store. I also have enough in savings so that I’m not charged a monthly fee.

  6. fsnuffer says:

    USAA is great. I also like their deposit@home service. Scan in a check and it is deposited.

    • DogToy says:

      Their android app is sweet too.

    • Slatts says:

      I second the USAA kudos, and love the lack of fees for just about anything. Overdraw your checking, and they transfer from savings, no fee. Not enough in savings? They draw from your credit card, no fee except for the APR on the card, of course, and if you pay that off soon enough, it’s pennies.

      One hitch, though: while USAA banking is open to everyone, even those without prior military service, you do have to be prior military to use the deposit@home feature (as is the case with their auto insurance). This could be an issue for those who don’t live in the handful of military towns where all of their brick-n-mortar locations are.

      • paulthegeek says:

        Eh, not QUITE correct.

        I am not “prior military.” Never myself had the privilege of serving. Nor do you have to be in the military to be a USAA member. As a former dependent of my father (career US State Department, retired), I was allowed membership. Furthermore, my wife, by the simple act of having married me, is now a USAA member despite having no military or federal gov’t experience of any kind.

        I regularly use the Deposit@Home feature (though, bizarrely, it seems to be more reliable on my iPhone than on the scanner attached to my PC). USAA also reimburses ATM fees (up to $15/month), which is great for me because I don’t live anywhere near an official USAA establishment.

        In general, USAA pretty much kicks a$$ and I really wish more people could have the privilege of banking with them. They are my go-to provider for everything from banking to investments to insurance.

    • SecretAgentWoman says:

      I adore USAA, but they won’t let me deposit at home. :( I have to mail it in envelopes. Still, with DD for my paycheck, I’m ok. I’m very very very happy with their online bill pay and customer service.

    • Minj says:

      USAA is phenomenal. They are known for having some of the best customer service of any company.

  7. OldSchool says:

    Good list, I would simply add that USAA would, in addition, be the least likely to start being evil in the future. That said a local Credit Union is also an excellent choice, expecially if you have a need for actual human contact.

  8. travel_nut says:

    I use a local credit union and they’ve never been remotely evil.

    In fact, I like them quite a lot. They’re pretty awesome.

    • kerry says:

      I’m in the process of switching to a small, local credit union. Looking forward to significantly less evil in my life.

  9. TooManyHobbies says:

    I just started with Ally. They’ve been incredibly reachable; I’ve gotten a human on the phone in less than a minute every time I called them, and their website works well.

    No fees, no minimum balances, free checks, free debit card, they reimburse me ATM fees. Free transfer of funds from savings to checking if I overdraw. Unless I overdraw my entire savings account, or submit a deposit that bounces, or something like that, there simply are no fees. And their interest is competitive.

    No local banks or credit unions come close, and their interest is only competitive if you meet a bunch of requirements.

    ING and USAA both get rave reviews also, especially USAA, but there are qualifications to being able to get an account there.

  10. alSeen says:

    My bank is fantastic. But it’s local to South Dakota.

    Their ePlus checking pays 4% if your daily balance is between 0 and 10k, no ATM fees ever (they reimburse you for others fees. You just have one direct deposit a month and 15 debit card transactions (easy for us since that’s pretty much all we use). And their web banking is great too. They also have automatic bill pay for anybody. They print out the check and mail it for you if the company doesn’t have their own epayment system.

    And they have physical locations all over the state. I’m pretty sure anyone could sign up though.

    http://www.bankwest-sd.com

    • alSeen says:

      I should probably clarify. The minimum is 1 dd and 15 debit transaction. You can have as many as you want.

      • Southern says:

        Holy crap.. 6.58% Interest on accounts with $50,000??

        How can they afford to do that?

        • evnmorlo says:

          You’re reading it wrong, the most you can get is 4%, with deposits over 50k earning less. These accounts (if they are sustainable) try to reduce account expenses and generate money from debit card fees–or they used to before government regulation.

          • Southern says:

            I’d have to call them on the phone to make sure, but I’m pretty sure I’m reading it right — otherwise they would be the only bank in America where the MORE money you put in, the LESS interest you earn?

            • NeverLetMeDown says:

              That’s exactly how it works. The accounts work because of the debit card fees. If you put in 2x the money, you’d be earning 2x the interest, but the minimum number of debit transactions (and hence the minimum debit fees) wouldn’t rise. So, there’s a cap on how large a balance can earn the the premium interest rate.

  11. LoadStar says:

    I’ve been very pleased with my decision to switch my banking to Alliant Credit Union. Their website is extremely well designed, and they offer eDeposit at home, which just requires a scanner. (No smartphone app yet – no big deal, really.) Their interest rate remains good for the market we’re in right now (currently 1.35% for both checking and savings). it’s the first online bank/credit union where I haven’t missed having a local branch.

    The only thing they don’t offer is ATM fee refund, but as a credit union, they give access to tons of other credit union run fee-free ATMs across the country.

  12. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    I beg to differ about Ally – just because GMAC changed its name doesn’t suddenly make it amazing. The fact that they DON’T MENTION that fact and only changed their name to avoid the affiliation with GM and their bailout pisses me off to no end.

    • bjslade1 says:

      Part of the agreement when GMAC was spun off was that the new entity could only “lease” the name GMAC for a limited period of time. It was never intended that the financial services company would retain the GMAC name indefinitely since it was no longer a part of GM.

    • Mobius says:

      Do you bank with Ally? I have a savings account with them and have been very pleased with the service I’ve gotten. My checking account is with Wells Fargo and I’m considering moving that to Ally too. I think it’s unfair to say that they suck just because they used to be something else. If I recall, GMAC was the only part of GM that was doing well anyway. I don’t think they needed a bailout.

    • psm321 says:

      Who said it wasn’t affiliated with GM, and what does that have to do with its quality? GMAC bank was an amazing bank and they’ve made it slightly better as Ally.

    • ironflange says:

      GMAC, through their own utter stupidity, screwed me around for months last year, and my finances are in tatters as a result of this. However, I suppose that an idiot is not necessarily evil, so I’ll give this the benefit of the doubt. I still won’t ever touch Ally with a ten-foot pole.

  13. longfeltwant says:

    Yep. ING is my savings bank; USAA is my checking bank. Before recently, I did business exclusively with credit unions.

    I don’t forgive companies for making me feel like a chump.

    I no longer do business with Apple, despite their enviable products, because those products come bundled with shenanigans which make me feel like a chump. Thus, after 15 years of being an Apple customer, I quit a couple years ago.

    Likewise, I no longer do business with Bank of America (except that they bought my mortgage, which is out of my hands) because, back when I used them as a checking bank because of local market convenience, they had fees which were absurd, unfriendly, and made me feel like a chump. I sent them a message telling them to change the entire way their fees worked, or I would walk with my money — not only reverse the fees they charged me personally, but completely change their fees for all customers. Obviously they did not do that, so I walked with my money. That was about 8 years ago, and lo and behold recently Congress told them to do exactly what I told them to do, except this time they did it. Too late, BoA!

    Don’t be a chump. Corporations deserve no forgiveness. If a corporation crosses you one time, banish them from your purchases for the rest of your life.

    • jesusofcool says:

      I’ve used ING for savings as well for a long time now. Except for the interest rate plummeting (which isn’t really their fault), I’ve been fairly happy. Everything is very easy and intuitive with them and I actually find their manner of customer communication to be pleasant and occasionally amusing. It’s refreshing actually.

  14. SJPadbury says:

    PNC is evil.
    I stopped having anything to do with them when they started charging fees to cash checks drawn on their accounts.
    As in:
    My friend writes me a check for $50.
    I go to a PNC location and try to cash the check.
    They give me $48.
    Oh, and they fingerprint me for the privilege, too.

    • rambo76098 says:

      Fraud sucks for the average guy, but that’s where the changes came from.

      Any checking account anywhere will allow you to cash checks however.

  15. GMurnane says:

    ING=amazing. I get a live human very quickly and they always seem incredibly knowledgeable and helpful.

  16. Darkneuro says:

    And actually, USAA has some brick and mortar locations, too, if you MUST go in to a branch. But really….
    They refund ATM fees.
    THEY REFUND ATM FEES!!!!

  17. zibby says:

    Sucks, but I’ve found almost no bank is evil if you have enough money/do enough business with them.

    • shthar says:

      Yeah I find quite a bit of difference in rates & service when I had a balance in the tens of thousands as opposed to when it’s in the tens.

    • YokoOhNo says:

      I agree…i have a friend who has millions in the bank, drives a lamborghini, owns more than 3 vacations homes in EXTREMELY upscale zip codes, always pays with his black card and his wife has a rock on her finger that once made Celine Dion blush in embarrassment…he never has a problem either.

  18. Donathius says:

    I use ING as a savings and bill pay bank. I’ve got Wells Fargo for my day-to-day checking and credit card. ING sends paper checks for me and they don’t even charge for the stamp. If I accidentally overdraft that account (usually because a deposit is late) there is no overdraft fee. Just a small amount of interest accrues on the overdraft until you rectify it. The only thing that has bugged me about them was when I had to stop payment on a check that got lost they charged me a $25 fee for the stoppage.

  19. wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

    USAA is the Jesus of all banks to me. They aren’t even a bank to me- they are a service machine, aiming to be humans and keep everyone happy all the time. Seriously, LOVE.THEM.

    That is all.

    • Snaptastic says:

      I walked into their new service center in Colorado Springs (this was awhile ago) and thought the same thing. Everyone was super nice and friendly and the notary I visited there was the sweetest person ever. I have never had the urge to hug people in a bank.

      They also kept giving my brother and I ink pens….we left with 6 really nice metal pens.

  20. comatose says:

    Where’s GNC – Goliath National Bank?

  21. backinpgh says:

    Capital One? I refuse to believe that.

    • yurei avalon says:

      Seconded. I got my first credit card through them. Still have it, barely use it and I will never, ever keep a balance on it, not at an almost 30% interest rate. Eesh. I can’t imagine their “banking” is any better.

    • rambo76098 says:

      For Credit Cards, yes, avoid at all cost. Banking is great however, they only have branches in a few states, but I moved and still use them as my primary bank despite no branches within hundreds of miles.

    • Difdi says:

      If Capital One made the list of least evil banks, how evil is a normal bank?

  22. nocturnal99 says:

    Anybody have suggestions for where to bank for your Small Business? (In my case, my sole proprietorship consulting company)

  23. cytoman says:

    You don’t need to see a teller at USAA. You can take a picture of your check, send it and it will be deposited.

  24. lightaugust says:

    I’ve been an Alliant customer for a while, and couldn’t say enough good about them. Glad to say they made the list.

  25. areaman says:

    Ally Bank?!?! You mean Robosigner Bank?

    http://consumerist.com/2011/01/ally-bank-stops-maryland-robosigner-foreclosures.html

    I guess CNN didn’t weigh fruad into the equation when making the list.

  26. Thyme for an edit button says:

    When my credit union recently refused to let me access more than $200 of my own money when I was out of town and desperately needed more, and had basically no workable solution to the problem, the folks at the nearby PNC branch worked hard to come up with a solution. I felt like a human being with them and my credit union made me feel like I wasn’t worth spit. I am now in the process of switching my money over to PNC. They were there when I needed help, but not my credit union of over 10 years.

  27. evilpete says:

    I love banking at Charles Schwab, they reimburse for atm fees, when ever I’ve called then on the phone they answered immediately and transferred me or put me on hold

  28. Aphex242 says:

    I

  29. Press1forDialTone says:

    Well Charles Schwab just paid a big fine to the gov
    and investors for schenanigans about mortgage-backed
    securities being misrepresented.
    Not evil, I don’t think so.

    Capital One, not evil? Give me a break.
    Swiss-based ING Direct, I don’t think so.
    LOL I think the folks who made this list also represent the banking
    industry and just aren’t disclosing…

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      Swiss-based ING? What, you think all them Euros is the same folk?

      ING is based in the Netherlands. Think wooden shoes, not cuckoo clocks.

  30. 310Drew says:

    PNC should not be on this list. With the hold times they put on checks, closing at 4pm, and same day deposit cut off time of 2pm they should be on the list of the worst banks to bank with.

    Huntington is missing from this list. They are open 7 days a week, till 7pm M-F, and same day transaction cut off time of 6pm. Now that is a consumer friendly bank. I also forgot about the free 24 hour overdraft.

  31. biggieshorty says:

    Does anyone have any opinions on TD bank, for personal and/or small business?

  32. blanddragon says:

    USAA #1. Love them! Capital One sucks after the collapse of the economy their ‘High Yield’ Savings account earns me 1.12%

  33. rambo76098 says:

    I agree with 1, 4, 6, & 8, have all of them currently and pleased with their excellent service, Capital One especially.

    Not surprisingly absent from this list: Chase.

  34. jvanbrecht says:

    Apparently (as I live there), if you live in MD, VA or DC.. Capital should be dropped from that list…

  35. davidsco says:

    Capital One??? Are they on drugs? or just that stupid. Please. Cap one has some of the worst CS you’ll ever experience

  36. deadbirds says:

    USAA is great! I love them so much! But then I was a customer of the dreaded BoA before them so maybe that’s why they seems so great? No, They are really awesome. I’ve had some false charges before and it takes 10 min to clear up, with friendly people on the phone every time I call. I have been having issues with the deposit at home services but it’s not that much of a bother considering how nice it feels to actually be treated like your business is wanted and important!

  37. goldilockz says:

    F*** Yeah USAA!