The Best Banks and Financial Products of 2019

by J. Money -

best banks of 2019

Morning, friends!

If you’re on the hunt for a new bank or credit card or financial app right now, this post is for you.

MyBankTracker.com just came out with their annual “Best of Banking Awards,” and while I don’t typically share lists like this, I’m trying to be a better blogger about it as I know y’all are always looking for good recommendations ;)

Peruse at your will, and then let us know in the comments if they missed any good ones! Maybe we’ll add an addendum here or do another roundup of just your picks or something?

Here are a handful of the categories below… Product names are linked to the left (I added them in to make it easier for you), and then notes of theirs are listed to the right along with any of my own thoughts in parentheses as many of these have been around for a while.

[And FYI: I’m not getting compensated for sharing this at all, nor if you sign up to anything here… Just got the press release in my inbox and thought you’d be interested in seeing!]

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best banking awards 2019

Best checking accounts:

Best savings accounts:

Best money market accounts:

Best CDs:

  • Marcus // Market-leading CD rates
  • Synchrony Bank // Market-leading CD rates
  • Ally Bank // Competitive low early withdrawal penalties
  • Capital One 360 // Market-leading CD rates (Love that they call it “Certificates of happily ever after” btw, haha…)
  • CIT Bank // Select CDs allow additional deposit and/or rate increase

Best personal loans:

  • SoFi // Borrow up to $100,000 with no fees
  • Earnest //Analyzes borrower finances for lowest rates possible (I’ve talked with these guys before – I like what they’re doing)
  • PNC Bank // Very low borrowing minimum

Best travel credit cards:

Best cash back credit cards:

  • Citi Double Cash // Effective 2% cash back on all spending
  • American Express Blue Cash Preferred // 6% cash back on grocery purchases (I use their original “Blue Cash” card for my businesses, but don’t put enough on it to ever earn much.)
  • Discover it // 5% cash back on bonus categories that change quarterly (I’ve never met anyone who uses Discover (maybe an age thing?) but every time I see this card come up it looks awesome)

Best rewards credit cards:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred // Points worth 25% more when redeemed for travel booked via Chase
  • Bank of America Premium Rewards // Up to $200 in travel statement credits (I despise Bank of America, but don’t know anything about this card…)
  • Chase Freedom // 5% cash back on bonus categories that change quarterly (Another SUPER popular card among $$$ Bloggers… Especially back in the day before a lot of the newer fancier ones came about)

Best balance transfer cards:

Best brokerages:

  • Vanguard // Extremely low expense ratios (YES!!! THE BEST!!)
  • Fidelity // Select index funds have zero expense ratios (Also pretty decent)
  • Schwab // Superior customer service satisfaction (Ramit from IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com is obsessed with Schwab, or at least their checking account…)

Best robo-advisors:

Best investing apps:

Best everyday money management apps:

  • Mint // Syncs all your financial accounts in one place (The OG of apps!!!)
  • Venmo // Pay people easily and quickly (Did you know PayPal owns them?)
  • Personal Capital // In-depth investment and retirement planning tools (Another one everyone and their mother loves and uses in the blogging community… Our review here)

Best (overall) national banks:

  • Chase // More than 5,300 branches and 15,000 ATMs. Top-notch credit cards.
  • TD Bank // Extended business hours for convenient branch access (Their hours really are dope – they’re even open on Sundays!)
  • PNC Bank // Bank accounts come with great money management features

Best (overall) online banks:

  • Axos Bank // Free rewards checking account with a high interest rate with unlimited domestic ATM fee refunds and no overdraft fees
  • Radius Bank // Unlimited ATM fee refunds and overdraft line of credit
  • Capital One 360 // No fees at all

Best (overall) credit unions:

  • Alliant Credit Union // Very easy for anyone to become a member
  • PenFed Credit Union // Unlimited ATM fee refunds and overdraft line of credit (If I weren’t w/ USAA I’d either go with them or Navy Federal – again due to the military connection. I love that they all have .org domains too – BECAUSE CREDIT UNIONS WATCH OUT FOR THEIR MEMBERS!! They’re all non-profits!)
  • Consumers Credit Union // Consistently delivers some of the best deposit rates on the market

And then here’s a list of all the other categories I skipped over so this post didn’t become too much of a thesis ;)

  • Best Northeast Regional Banks of 2019
  • Best South Regional Banks of 2019
  • Best West Regional Banks of 2019
  • Best Midwest Regional Banks of 2019
  • Best Low Interest Credit Cards of 2019
  • Best Secured Credit Cards of 2019
  • Best Student Credit Cards of 2019
  • Best Apps For Filling Taxes of 2019

Details and full list of the rankings can be found here: mybanktracker.com/banking

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What do think? They miss any good ones?

Two of the three main institutions I keep all my accounts under were listed (Vanguard for all my investing, and Capital One for most of my business), but they did leave out my beloved USAA where all of my personal banking/insurances/credit cards are with! So I can only approve of this list 95% ;)

Other companies I was surprised not to find here: Simple Bank, YNAB (You Need a Budget), and then of course my favorite savings app of all – Digit.

Still, lots of great picks on the list and hopefully you found something good to look into!

Let me know if you decide to go with any, and again if they skipped any you love and use yourself… Always preferable to keep your money where it’s most appreciated!

j. money signature

Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Debbie January 14, 2019 at 6:42 am

We’re getting 5% cash back on our Discover Card for all grocery purchases made from 1/1-4/1 and 5% cash back OR rewards on our Chase Freedom Card for gasoline and Pharmacy purchases, as well as tolls 1/1-4/1.
I just took out a 15 month CD with Syncrony Bank 2.85% interest last week and I get over 2% interest in our online savings account with them (no minimum required and no fees).
Our investments remain with Vanguard.
Will have to read more on these recommendations. Thanx for posting this great info.

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2 J. Money January 14, 2019 at 7:00 am

Nice!! Thanks for sharing!

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3 Debbie January 14, 2019 at 7:41 am

Forgot to say, we use Citibank Double card for all other purchases. We pay it in full each month to get 2% cash back. Last month we received $84 cash back from all our credit cards. It adds up fast.
PS I bought 3 books of Forever Stamps at our grocery store last week. We’re avoiding the 10% rate hike later this month plus we’re getting 5% cash back for putting it on our Discover Card. We seldom use stamps so these 3 books will last us for a long time.

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4 J. Money January 14, 2019 at 8:52 am

Good call on those stamps!!

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5 Jon January 14, 2019 at 7:54 am

Why don’t you like Bank of America? I wouldn’t use it for a savings account, but if you have $50k-$100k and can get to the second level of Preferred Rewards which I have with an old 401k that I rolled over it’s tough to beat. The combination of checking, credit cards and practically free investing through Merrill Edge and their 529 is tough to beat but you definitely need the second level of preferred rewards.

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6 J. Money January 14, 2019 at 8:57 am

I’m sure they have some decent products, I just can’t stand their customer service… The few times I’ve been a customer over the years they’ve been horrible :(

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7 Tonya January 14, 2019 at 8:05 am

We LOVE our Synchrony Bank HYS account. We keep one month’s emergency savings in our regular, easily accessible Chase savings account but we keep the other 2-3 months in our Synchrony HYS along with anything else we’re saving for, like when we were saving for a down payment for our condo. When you’re saving for something big, the cash back is huge and adds right to your savings.

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8 J. Money January 14, 2019 at 8:57 am

Awesome!! Glad you found one you love!

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9 Michael January 14, 2019 at 9:42 am

Killer list! I use some of these products like Mint, Vanguard, Wealthfront, CIT Bank, Capital One 360. They are awesome services.

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10 J. Money January 14, 2019 at 12:51 pm

You’re ahead of the game :)

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11 S L January 14, 2019 at 10:34 am

I have the Discover IT card, and definitely enjoy using it. Others I will be looking into this year — I love my bank and have pretty much all my finances running through it.

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12 J. Money January 14, 2019 at 12:53 pm

Oh good! I always hear good things about it but never know anyone who actually has one, haha…

(Actually, I take that back – My mother-in-law has a Discover card but she’s in her 80s)

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13 Millennial Outrage January 14, 2019 at 12:14 pm

Did you say you put your business spend on a personal Blue Cash Everyday card? If so and depending on what your spending profile looks like, look into the Blue Business Cash card which earns 2MR/$1, effectively 2% for $0 AF. These cards, btw, visually look almost identical.

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14 J. Money January 14, 2019 at 12:55 pm

Hey, thanks! I only put like $200-$300 on it every month so prob wouldn’t make a difference, but this is good to know for the future for sure (and anyone else reading this right now) :)

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15 Michael Saves January 14, 2019 at 9:01 pm

A very nice list and it includes many of my favorites. I have a few other recommendations. Sorry this is a little long, but these additions really are the best and help me make the most of my money…

1) Discover Bank: Their checking account has 1% cash back rewards when you use a debit card and free paper checks. Like several of the other banks on this list, you get free ATM access at Allpoint ATMs. Those are usually at places like CVS, Walgreens, etc. I also have a high-interest savings account with them. It’s not 2.45% like the CIT Bank Savings Builder account (awesome BTW), but it’s competitive. I also have a Discover credit card and use it for the 5% cash back when it’s the best deal. Discover will match all of the rewards you earn during the first year, so that’s a really great incentive if the 5% cash back categories work for your life. Unlike Chase Freedom, Discover releases its 5% cash back calendar for the entire year. For 2019, it’s grocery stores for Q1; gas stations, Uber & Lyft for Q2; restaurants for Q3 and Amazon.com for Q4. Who doesn’t spend money in those categories?

2) Barclays Uber Visa: This is a fantastic credit card with no annual fee. Perks include 4% cash back at restaurants, 3% on travel, 2% for online purchases and 1% elsewhere. In addition, you get a $50 annual streaming credit if you spend $5,000 on the card. My favorite perk is free cell phone protection. Pay your cell phone bill with this card and you’re protected up to $600 if your phone is stolen or damaged. Finally, there’s a $100 sign-up bonus. Rewards can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards or Uber credits at the same value. I pair this card with the American Express that you mentioned for 6% cash back at grocery stores.

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16 J. Money January 15, 2019 at 6:39 am

I didn’t know Discover had a bank?? Awesome about Barclays free cell phone protection too! This is great man, thank you!

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17 penny January 16, 2019 at 5:49 pm

Savor capital one card has a special; charge $3000 over a 3 month period and get $500 back.

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18 Penny January 16, 2019 at 5:52 pm

United States senate Credit Union has a 60 mos cd at 3.56% with $1000 minimum. I’m thinking about joining and opening up a cd there. I’m just not sure baout tying up money for 5 years. I think rates on shorter time frames will rise. Any thoughts?

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19 J. Money January 17, 2019 at 6:11 am

Thanks for the info on both of these! I wouldn’t want to tie my money up for that long either – unless it’s a portion of my Emergency Fund which rarely gets touched. I wonder if they’d still pay out a portion of the interest if you did have to withdraw too early? I just learned that WorthyBonds.com does that – a newer player on the scene offering great rates as well…

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20 Rita February 20, 2019 at 7:40 pm

Hi J. Money,

You’re missing a big point here. Banks often tip consumers off. Credit unions are often better choices.

Rita R. Robison, Consumer Journalist
Blogging at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide

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21 J. Money February 21, 2019 at 6:12 am

I agree – credit unions are great!

There’s actually a few of them listed in this list too ;)

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