Banking continues to evolve, no matter which country or state you live in. In the modern age, the industry continues to move beyond digital banking to potentially a new way of thinking about money.
Many Americans are still unbanked, meaning they do not place their money in a traditional bank account like most of us. In fact, 9.7% of the households in Arkansas are unbanked.
Yet going unbanked can be liberating in many ways. Banks often charge for account fees, services, and sending or receiving money.
But the best banks in Arkansas offer native and transplant residents alike superior financial products, from basic checking and savings accounts to money market accounts and CDs. These banks welcome your business and offer perks you can use daily.
Are you ready to learn more about the best banks in Arkansas? Let’s get started!
9 Best Banks in Arkansas
1. Alcoa Community Federal Credit Union
This Arkansas credit union was established in 1957 and continues to serve not only the residents of Benton but also the entire state's population. Alcoa Community Federal Credit Union ranks among Arkansas's top 15 largest credit unions.
You’ll find several perks at this credit union, which offers checking and savings accounts. You can access competitive interest rates for savings accounts, low minimum deposit requirements, and multiple account options.
Alcoa Community Federal Credit Union also participates in co-op shared branching. This means you can access your account from several other banks.
You are limited on withdrawals from your Alcoa Community Federal Credit Union account, and monthly maintenance fees apply. However, your funds are protected by the NCUA.
2. Arvest Bank
Arvest Bank is known for offering Arkansas residents some of the best checking accounts. You can choose from half a dozen checking accounts with waivable monthly fees.
You’ll find nearly 140 physical Arvest Bank locations scattered across the state. Arvest Bank operates in four other states, so you can bank while traveling.
You’ll need at least $100 to open a checking or savings account with Arvest Bank. You can also earn a respectable APY without meeting sky-high minimum balance requirements.
Arvest Bank is also known for its superior customer service. However, it does not have a robust ATM network to help you manage your finances.
3. Bank of America
Among many other banks that don’t require Social Security numbers, Bank of America serves residents of Arkansas and the nation alike. You’ll find over 4,300 branches scattered nationwide, with a network of 17,000 ATMs.
Bank of America promotions can also make opening an account super rewarding. Check BofA’s website to see what the financial institution offers that you can take advantage of.
Most of Bank of America’s accounts come with a monthly fee. However, you can waive most of them if you:
- Have a $5,000 minimum daily balance
- Spend at least $250 on debit card purchases within a single statement period
- Become a Preferred Rewards member
Bank of America also supports local small business owners. Customers can take their banking on the go with a user-friendly mobile app.
You can also open an Advantage Savings account and waive the $8 monthly fee. You’ll need at least $100 to deposit into the account when you open it.
4. Bank OZK
If you’re looking for some of the best CD rates, check out Bank OZK. Formerly known as the Bank of the Ozarks, Bank OZK offers a handful of checking and savings accounts.
For example, the My Choice Checking account has no monthly fees and unlimited check writing. You can also earn interest on your balance if you connect a direct deposit.
Bank OZK has been in business for over 100 years and continues to serve Arkansas residents. You can visit over 300 locations in eight states, but some of the best physical locations can be found in Arkansas.
You must have at least $50 to open a savings account. The $3 monthly fee is waived for the first two months, but you’ll need a minimum daily balance of $100 or more to continue to waive that fee.
Bank OZK also offers IRAs, money market accounts, and more. Check out Bank OZK if you’re a resident of Arkansas to see how this bank can help you achieve your financial goals.
5. Centennial Bank
Small business owners in Arkansas should definitely give Centennial Bank some time. This bank is preferred among businesses that do around or under 375 monthly transactions and want to work with a bank they can trust.
If you go over the free 375 transactions per month, Centennial Bank only charges you $0.40 per transaction after that. While many accounts come with monthly fees, you can easily waive them, just like many other banks on our list.
Centennial Bank requires that you have $100 to open most of the accounts it offers. Beyond that, you can open the accounts online without a minimum daily balance after the initial deposit.
You’ll find seven checking accounts and five savings accounts at Centennial Bank. These accounts may accrue interest, but you must check with a bank representative for updated rates.
6. First Arkansas Bank & Trust
Based out of Jacksonville, First Arkansas Bank & Trust offers four checking accounts and numerous savings accounts. Here’s a quick breakdown of the four checking accounts you can choose from:
- Basic: This account comes with no monthly fees.
- Prime: Earn a competitive APY on your balances with this account.
- Premier: Balances over $1,000 earn interest.
- Legacy: This account is designed for seniors who want to earn interest on balances of $500 or more.
First Arkansas Bank & Trust also offers credit cards, loans, wealth management, and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs).
7. First Western Bank
First Western Bank offers FDIC insurance for up to $250,000 on all its accounts. This bank is headquartered in Boonville, Arkansas.
While First Western Bank can’t compete with online-only banks in offering higher interest rates for savings accounts, this bank does offer several rewards checking accounts. You can also access the widespread MoneyPass ATM network to bank on the go.
First Western Bank doesn’t offer live chat to speak with a customer service agent. In addition, most accounts come with monthly maintenance fees you may or may not be able to waive.
However, First Western Bank does set its minimum deposit requirements low. It also offers loans, credit cards, and many other financial products.
8. Regions Bank
With over 85 branches in Arkansas alone, Regions Bank offers customers plenty of above-average financial products and services in Arkansas and the South. You can choose from six checking accounts and several savings accounts to help you keep track of your finances.
Minimum opening deposits are typically $50 for most Regions Bank accounts. You can also waive many of the monthly fees associated with these accounts.
Open a LifeGreen or LifeGreen Preferred Checking account, and you can earn interest on your balance. The Regions Now Savings account doesn’t come with monthly fees, and the minimum deposit is only $10.
Regions Bank also offers CDs, credit cards, investment accounts, loans, and lines of credit. Some accounts require you to visit a physical branch while others are available to open online.
9. Simmons First National Bank
Featured on Forbes’ list of the World’s Best Banks in 2022 and 2023, Simmons First National Bank was founded in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. This regional bank operates over 200 branches in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kansas, and Texas.
Many business credit cards Simmons First National Bank is known for have no annual fees. This bank also lets you open many of the accounts it offers online.
Simmons First National Bank lets you open several personal bank accounts to keep your finances in order. This bank offers six different checking accounts and five savings accounts, most of which require a $100 opening deposit.
Of the six checking accounts, the basic Coin Checking account comes with no monthly fees. You can also open a Simply Youth Savings account with only $10 if you’re under 18.
Digital banking with Simmons First National Bank is easy. You can also obtain credit cards, personal loans, investment accounts, and home loans from this community bank.
In March of 2023, Simmons First National Bank celebrated its 120th birthday. The bank opened in 1903 and opened its first drive-in just 50 years later.
Arkansas Banks That Don’t Use ChexSystems
Some Arkansas banks don’t use ChexSystems. These banks make it easier to get an account if you’ve had issues in the past:
- U.S. Bank: This bank uses ChexSystems but is more lenient than other national banks.
- SoFi: Shop at local businesses and earn up to 15% cashback on your purchases.
- Chime: This online-only bank lets you get paid up to two days early with a direct deposit.
- GO2bank: Use the GO2bank Secured Visa Credit Card to build your credit.
- Chase: Choose from several checking accounts that offer year-round welcome bonuses.
- Current: With this bank, you won’t have to worry about ChexSystems or your credit score.
- BankOZK: A Pathway Checking account gives you a second chance for only $50.
- BOK Financial: Use the Opportunity Banking account to improve your checking history.
- Cadence Bank: This bank won’t check your ChexSystems profile.
- Diamond Bank: Second-chance checking is easy with the Diamond Encore account.
- First Service Bank: New accounts aren’t subject to a credit report or ChexSystems.
- Focus Bank: Rebuild your credit with the Fresh Start Checking account.
- FSNB: Open a new account with $5 and waive the monthly fee with a $75 balance.
- Hope Credit Union: This credit union gives you some leeway.
- Red River Credit Union: Qualifying for membership is as easy as obtaining a second-chance bank account with this credit union.
- River Valley Community Federal Credit Union: This credit union’s requirements are more stringent, but you can still open an account if you meet them.
- Southern Bancorp: Open a Freedom Checking account with $100 to rebuild your checking account reputation.
Several of the best national banks don’t check your ChexSystems record, including U.S. Bank and Chase. You may also qualify for a welcome bonus from several banks and credit unions in Arkansas.
Savings Accounts vs. Money Market Accounts
Banks offer both savings accounts and money market accounts that allow you to save money and earn interest on your balance. While they may seem similar on the surface, the two are distinct in the following ways:
Savings accounts allow you to withdraw and deposit money as you earn interest. Many have fewer restrictions, including lower minimum balance requirements and interest rates such as the ones in the table below:
Money Market Accounts
Money market accounts are hybrid accounts that combine a checking and savings account. Minimum balance requirements are higher for this type of account, but account holders earn a higher interest rate such as the ones in the table below:
Overall, money market accounts let you write checks, make transactions, and are generally more flexible than savings accounts. However, they are limited to those who can deposit more into the account immediately.
Centennial Bank and Alcoa Community Federal Credit Union offer some of the best savings accounts. While some interest rates are competitive, you can find higher ratings from online-only banks.
Yes, several banks in Arkansas don’t use ChexSystems. These include U.S. Bank, Chase, FSNB, Focus Bank, Southern Bancorp, and GO2bank.
Yes, First Arkansas Bank & Trust offers a fee-free checking account called the Basic account. You can also find several other fee-free accounts from other Arkansas banks on this list.
Some of the best credit unions in Arkansas include Alcoa Community Federal Credit Union, Arkansas Federal Credit Union, and Mil-Way Federal Credit Union. These credit unions require membership applications.
You Don’t Have to be Johnny Cash to Bank in Arkansas
Banking in your home state can help you better manage your finances and take advantage of local perks. When you bank with the best banks in Arkansas, you’re getting the most out of your regional financial institutions.
We hope this article helps you find banks close to you that you can trust your money with. Though trusting a bank with your money can be scary, you can often make a few dollars.
The best banks in Arkansas you saw above let you do more with your money. Plus, you can open several bank accounts to take advantage of welcome offers.
Which of the best banks in Arkansas did you like?
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