Review ratings methodology

For consumers looking to find the best bank or credit union for their individual banking needs, the choices are numerous and can seem overwhelming. Finding the right mix of high savings rates, low fees, robust digital tools, easy access to funds and other features may require more time than you’re willing to spend.

That’s where Bankrate can help. Our banking editorial team regularly evaluates data from more than a hundred of the top financial institutions across a range of categories (brick-and-mortar banks, online banks, credit unions and more) to help you find the options that work best for you. We analyze and review each bank or credit union across deposit products such as savings accounts, checking accounts, certificates of deposits (CDs) and money market accounts (MMAs).

To calculate the Bankrate Score, we assign a score to each type of account and its features, weigh them carefully based on importance to account holders and determine an overall score:

Overall Bank Score

  • Savings – 20%
  • CDs – 20%
  • MMA – 20%
  • Checking – 20%
  • Product variety – 20%

Savings Score

  • APY offering – 50%
  • Monthly service fee – 20%
  • Minimum deposit to earn interest – 10%
  • Minimum balance to avoid fee – 10%
  • Access to funds – 10%

CDs Score

  • APY offering – 50%
  • Minimum deposit – 25%
  • Range of term lengths – 15%
  • Early withdrawal penalty – 10%
  • Bonus: Offers no-penalty CDs
  • Bonus: Offers IRA CDs

MMAs Score

  • APY offering – 50%
  • Monthly service fee – 20%
  • Minimum deposit to earn interest – 10%
  • Minimum balance to avoid fee – 10%
  • Check writing – 5%
  • Debit and/or ATM access – 5%

Checking Score

  • Monthly service fee – 25%
  • Minimum balance to avoid fee – 20%
  • Fee to use out of network ATM – 15%
  • Minimum deposits to open account – 10%
  • Access to peer to peer (P2P) payments – 10%
  • Early direct deposits – 10%
  • Overdraft fees – 5%
  • Non-sufficient funds fees – 5%
  • Bonus: APY or reward offering
  • Bonus: ATMs or network


Bankrate typically conducts a comprehensive review of each bank or credit union at least once a year but some institutions may be updated on a quarterly or biannual basis instead to better highlight key feature changes or consumer-friendly moves, such as changes in fees or increasing/decreasing APYs.

  • Bankrate’s editorial team is made up of five banking experts. These experts have researched many banks and at least twice a month review bank websites to ensure that our readers stay up to date on the latest rates and bank products.
  • Bank5 Connect, Barclays, Bask Bank, BECU (Boeing Employees Credit Union), Bethpage Federal Credit Union, BMO Harris Bank, Bread Financial (formerly Comenity Direct), BrioDirect, Capital One Bank, Chase Bank, CIBC USA, CIT Bank, Citibank, Citizens, Citizens Bank (Rhode Island), Credit One Bank, Comerica Bank, Customers Bank, Delta Community Credit Union, Discover Bank, Emigrant Direct, Fifth Third Bank, First Citizens Bank, First Internet Bank, First Technology Federal Credit Union, FNBO Direct, Golden 1 Credit Union, Huntington National Bank, Investors Bank, Investors eAccess, KeyBank, Limelight Bank, Live Oak Bank, M&T Bank, Marcus by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley Private Bank, MySavingsDirect, Navy Federal Credit Union, NBKC Bank, PenFed Credit Union, PNC Bank, Popular Direct, PurePoint Financial, Quontic Bank, Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union, Regions Bank, Salem Five Direct, Sallie Mae Bank, Santander Bank, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, Security Service Federal Credit Union, State Employees’ Credit Union, Suncoast Credit Union, Synchrony Bank, TD Bank, TIAA Bank, U.S. Bank, UFB Direct, Union Bank (California), USAA Bank, Vio Bank, VyStar Credit Union, Wells Fargo and Zions Bank.
  • The “ National Average,” or “national survey of large lenders,” is conducted weekly. The results of this survey are quoted in our weekly articles and national media outlets. To conduct the National Average survey, Bankrate obtains rate information from the 10 largest banks and thrifts in 10 large U.S. markets. In the national survey, our Market Analysis team gathers rates and/or yields on banking deposits, loans and mortgages. We’ve conducted this survey in the same manner for more than 30 years, and because it’s consistently done the way it is, it gives an accurate national apples-to-apples comparison.