Best Banks

Discover the Best Banks for the SF Bay Area

Best Banks in San Francisco, CA

It is important to put some thought into choosing a bank, since they can vary significantly in terms of features, requirements, fees, interest rates and special offers. Some banks even offer different levels of checking and savings accounts, each with its own perks and features. Determine which of these facets of banking are most important to you, then choose a bank that offers what you are looking for. In San Francisco there are a number of banks to choose from. The following is a look at some of our favorites with the most pertinent details about what each bank has to offer in terms of checking accounts.


 

First Republic Bank – Best Bank for Mid-to-High Net Worth Individuals

Branch in San Francisco, CA (Source: Yelp)

Branch in San Francisco, CA (Source: Yelp)

Features:

  • ATM withdrawal fees refunded with ATM Rebate Checking account, interest earned on balances above $3,500.
  • Free online banking,
  • Free initial debit card and first order of checks,
  • Overdraft protection optional
  • Fully FDIC insured to the legal maximum.
  • Bank offers Classic Checking as well as ATM Rebate Checking with slightly different requirements. First Republic Bank also offers business banking, private wealth management and other services for consumers.

Fees: $25 monthly fee unless you have a minimum average balance of $3,500 on ATM rebate checking account. Free ATM withdrawals, and most ATM withdrawal fees through other banks are refunded with this account. $25 monthly fee unless you maintain a $2,500 average monthly balance with a classic checking account.

Requirements: $500 minimum opening balance for both ATM rebate checking and classic checking accounts. Other banking accounts may have additional requirements.

Related: First Republic Bank Locations in San Francisco


 

Citibank – Top Freebies

Citibank, Castro San Francisco (Source: Wikipedia)

Citibank, Castro San Francisco (Source: Wikipedia)

 Features:

  • Free debit card.
  • Free debit rewards program. (Thank You Rewards)
  • Free online banking.
  • Online bill pay included with online banking.
  • Mobile banking and the ability to deposit checks via mobile phone.
  • E-mail alerts included when you use online banking.
  • Automated telephone banking.
  • Monthly paper statements or electronic statements with online check images.
  • More than 79 Citibank locations in an around San Francisco.

Fees: Citibank charges a $10.00 monthly service fee, which can be waived under certain circumstances. These involve having a minimum one Direct Deposit and one Bill Payment in every statement period, or by keeping a $1,500 minimum balance in the prior calendar month either in the checking account or combined between checking and savings accounts. Citibank charges $2.50/per use for ATM withdrawals and $2.00/use for International ATM usage.

 Requirements: The minimum opening deposit for a basic checking account is $0.00, meaning that you can open a bank account with Citibank with any opening amount of your choosing. Certain types of banking accounts may require a specific minimum balance, but Citibank’s most basic account does not.

Related: Citibank Locations in San Francisco


 

Chase Bank – Many ATMs around the City

(Source: Yelp)

Chase Branch in SF (Source: Yelp)

 Features:

  • Free debit card.
  • Free online banking with online bill pay.
  • Free mobile banking.
  • Check deposit via mobile.
  • E-mail alerts with online banking.
  • Free automated telephone banking.
  • Free check images with printed statements.
  • Overdraft protection available.
  • More than 111 Chase Bank locations in and around San Francisco.

Fees: There is a monthly service fee of $12.00 for Total Checking accounts at Chase bank. Theses monthly service fees can be waived if you Direct Deposit $500 or more into your checking account monthly, maintain a $1,500 minimum daily balance or maintain a combined average daily balance of $5,000 across all your accounts with Chase Bank. Overdraft fees are $34.00 for each initial overdraft.

Requirements: For a Chase Total Checking account, the minimum deposit required to open an account is $25.00. There are other Chase checking and savings account options available which will have different requirements for opening them.

 Related: Chase Bank Locations in San Francisco


 

Comerica Bank

Features:

  • Free debit card.
  • ATM fee rebates from select ATMs.
  • Free ATM usage.
  • Free online banking.
  • Free online bill pay.
  • Mobile banking with check deposit.
  • E-mail alerts.
  • Automated telephone banking.
  • Free initial checks.
  • Electronic statements with check images.
  • Overdraft protection.
  • There are 15 different Comerica Bank locations in an around San Francisco.

Fees: Comerica Bank’s Platinum Circle Checking account does not have a monthly service fee, but in order to maintain this account you need $50,000 combined between your accounts. Comerica Bank has an insufficient funds fee of $25.00 for the initial overdraft.

Requirements: Access Checking is ideal for members who maintain a minimum daily balance of $1000. Rich Rewards Checking is ideal for members with a minimum daily balance of $5,000. Premier Checking is the account choice for members with a minimum daily balance of $7,500.Comerica Bank has a minimum opening deposit of $50.00.

Related: Comerica Bank Locations in SF


 

Wells Fargo Bank

 

Features:

  • Free debit card.
  • Free online banking.
  • E-mail alerts and online bill pay.
  • Mobile and text banking.
  • Check deposit by mobile phone.
  • Automated phone banking.
  • Free online statements with check images.
  • High yield savings accounts.
  • Overdraft protection available.

 

Fees: There is a $10.00 monthly account maintenance fee, unless you maintain a minimum daily balance of $1,500, have a Direct Deposit of $500.00 monthly, 10 debit card purchases or payments every month or a linked Campus Debit or Wells Fargo Campus ATM Card. Non-affiliated ATM usage runs $2.50 per use, and International ATM usage will cost $5.00 per use. Wells Fargo Bank charges $35.00 for each overdraft, though overdraft protection is available on some account types.

 

Requirements: The minimum opening deposit for a standard Wells Fargo checking account is $50.00. There are other types of checking and savings accounts available through Wells Fargo Bank which will have distinct requirements for opening them.

 


 

Bank of America

 

Features:

  • Free debit card.
  • Free online banking.
  • Free online bill pay with online banking.
  • Members can deposit checks from their mobile phones.
  • Automated telephone banking and e-mail alerts for members.
  • Electronic statements and online check images available.
  • Bank of America has more than 130 locations in and around San Francisco.

 

Fees: There is a $12.00 monthly service fee unless you direct deposit $250.00 or more during each statement period or maintain an average daily balance of $1,500 or more in the account. There is a $2.50/per use ATM surcharge fee, and a $5.00/per use International ATM surcharge fee. Overdraft protection is available, otherwise insufficient funds fees are $35.00 per item.

 

Requirements: Minimum opening deposit for a basic checking account is $25.00. Other banking accounts offered by Bank of America may have additional requirements.

Related: Locations in San Francisco, CA


 

US Bank

 

Features:

  • Free debit card.
  • Free mobile banking.
  • Free online bill pay.
  • Free/Discounted initial checks.
  • Overdraft protection available.
  • Check deposit by mobile phone.
  • Student checking accounts.
  • Different levels of checking and savings accounts.

 

Fees: Non-bank ATM surcharge fees are between $0.00 and $2.50 depending on the bank. U.S. Bank has an insufficient funds fee of $36.00, though overdraft protection is available with a fee ranging from $0.00 to $12.50 depending on the account type. There are monthly account service fees which vary depending on the account type, generally from $0.00 to $19.95, unless you meet certain requirements such as a minimum daily amount in your account.

 

Requirements: For a Silver Checking Account with U.S. Bank, the minimum opening deposit is $25.00. In order to prevent paying a $6.95 monthly service fee, members need to keep a combined daily balance of $1,500 or monthly direct deposits of $1,000 or more.

 


 

BBVA Compass Bank

 

Features:

  • Free or discounted checks are available
  • Free linked savings accounts are available
  • Online bill pay
  • Mobile banking
  • Overdraft protection available
  • Deposit checks from your mobile phone
  • Email alerts are available
  • Debit reward program
  • Non-bank ATM fee rebates

 

Fees: Monthly account service fees range from free to $20.00 depending upon the type of checking account. An overdraft protection transfer fee of $12.00 applies when funds are transferred from an overdraft account. An insufficient funds fee of $38.00 applies when your account is overdrawn due to a charge. A non-bank ATM surcharge fee of free to $2.00 may apply when using an ATM.

 

Requirements: The Easy Checking account has a minimum opening deposit of $25.00 and a monthly maintenance fee of $13.95. The ClearChoice Checking account has a minimum opening deposit of $25.00 and a monthly maintenance fee of $4.00. The ClearConnect Checking account has a minimum opening deposit of $25.00 and no minimum maintenance fee. The ClearChoice Premium Checking account has a minimum opening deposit of $25.00 and a $15.00 monthly maintenance fee. This account can earn up to 0.10% APY on its balance.

 


 

Umpqua Bank

Features:

  • Overdraft protection
  • Deposit checks from your mobile phone
  • Email alerts
  • Non-bank ATM fee rebates available with some accounts
  • Mobile banking
  • Online bill pay
  • Free or discounted checks available with some accounts

 

Fees:

Umpqua Bank charges a $2.00 non-bank ATM surcharge fee when using a non-affiliated ATM. A $35.00 insufficient funds fee applies when your account is overdrawn. A $10.00 overdraft protection transfer fee applies when funds are transferred from your overdraft account to cover a fee. Monthly account service fees range from free to $20.00.

Requirements:

Each account has its own requirements. The Prosper Interest Checking, Thrive Interest Checking, and the Gain Interest Checking account have minimum opening deposits of $200.00. The Growing Checking account has a $100.00 minimum opening deposit. The Emerge Checking account has a $25.00 minimum opening deposit. The Venture Checking account is only for senior citizens and has a minimum opening deposit of $100.00.


 

Sterling Savings Bank

 Features:

  • Several checking account types to choose from.
  • Free debit card.
  • Overdraft protection available.
  • Mobile check deposit.
  • E-mail alerts.
  • Online bill pay.
  • Free initial checks for some checking accounts.

Fees: If you have overdraft protection, the Sterling Savings Bank charges $10.00 to transfer money from your backup account. If you do not have overdraft protection, then the insufficient funds fee charged is $35.00. Sterling Savings Bank has a non-bank ATM surcharge fee that ranges from $0.00 to $2.50 depending on the ATM that members use. There is also an $18.00 monthly maintenance fee for checking accounts that you can avoid incurring if you meet certain minimum daily balance standards, though these vary depending on which checking account you open.

 Requirements: The minimum opening deposit for an Everyday Checking account with Sterling Savings Bank is $100.00. The Everyday Checking account does not have a monthly maintenance fee, but this bank’s other account types do have a monthly maintenance fee.

 


 

Bank of the West

Features:

  • Rewards Program
  • Free debit card.
  • Free online banking.
  • E-mail alerts.
  • Free online bill pay.
  • Free text and mobile banking.
  • Mobile check deposit.
  • Automated phone banking.
  • Online statements with check images.
  • Overdraft protection available.

Fees: The basic checking account through Bank of the West has an $8.00 monthly maintenance fee, but you can avoid the fee by having a monthly Direct Deposit of $250 or maintaining an average monthly balance of $1,000. Non-affiliated ATM and International ATM fees are $2.50 per usage. Overdraft protection is available, otherwise members are charged an insufficient funds fee of $26.00 per overdraft item. Savings accounts do not have a monthly maintenance fee.

Requirements: The minimum balance required in order to open an account with Bank of the West is $100.00. There are other checking and savings accounts available which may have distinct requirements for opening them.

Related: Locations of Bank of the West


 

HSBC Bank

Features:

  • Several different checking account options to choose from.
  • Overdraft protection.
  • Mobile banking.
  • Free debit card.
  • Mobile phone check deposit.
  • Online bill pay.
  • Free initial checks.
  • Rebates for non-bank ATM fees.
  • Free overdraft protection transfer fees.

Fees: Non-bank ATM surcharge fees range from $0.00 to $2.50 depending on if the fee is refunded or not. Insufficient funds fees if you do not have overdraft protection are $35.00 per incident.

Requirements: The minimum opening deposit for a basic banking checking account with HSBC bank is only $1.00. The monthly maintenance fee is $3.00 and it cannot be waived. The minimum opening deposit for choice checking is $1.00 and there is a $15.00 monthly maintenance fee which can be waived if you maintain a combined daily balance of $1500 or more and have a Direct Deposit every month.

The monthly maintenance fee for advance checking is $20.00, which can be waived if you maintain a minimum combined daily balance of $15,000 across your accounts, and this account type has a 0.01% APY. The premier checking account has a $50.00 monthly maintenance fee which can be waived if you maintain a minimum balance of $100,000 across your accounts, and this account also has a 0.01% annual percentage yield (APY).

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