10 Best Banks in North Carolina for 2024

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With many banks in NC, it's hard if you're looking for a new place to bank. Therefore, we've compiled a selection of the best banks in North Carolina.

Looking for the best banks in North Carolina? We've got you covered.

As of 2024, banks in North Carolina aren't just about checking and savings accounts. They now offer a wide range of digital tools to help customers manage money, pay bills online, and more.

With so many banks competing to provide the best bonuses and services, choosing the right one can be overwhelming. Whether you're looking for a personal or business account, there are many great options in North Carolina.

Each bank offers unique benefits to help you manage your money better. To help you find the best fit, we've put together this guide on the leading banks in the state.

Read on to find the best bank for your needs in North Carolina.

10 Best Banks in North Carolina

The banks below offer checking and savings accounts you can easily open if you live in North Carolina.

1. Chase Bank (Best Overall)

Ready to dive into some unbeatable banking offers? With Chase, one of the top national banks, you're in for a treat! Chase has physical branches across the United States, including 48 branches in North Carolina.

Get a head start with a bonus of up to $300 when you open a new Chase Total Checking® account and meet the straightforward requirements.

Chase Total Checking® offers:
  • Access to over 15,000 ATMs and 4,700 branches
  • The ability to manage money, deposit checks, and pay bills from anywhere using the Chase Mobile® app
  • A $300 bank account bonus
  • Flexible access to funds
  • Great customer service

To get the $300 bonus — you'll just need to set up a direct deposit within 90 days and you’ll receive your bonus within 15 business days. You can apply the $300 coupon through this link.

Not only can you easily open most accounts online, but Chase's expansive network of branches and ATMs ensures you're always covered nationwide.

Chase is a member-FDIC bank that allows you to open most accounts online. You can also access Chase’s services nationwide through several thousand branches and ATMs. 

Chase also offers the High School Checking℠ account for teens aged 13 to 17. Parents or guardians can act as co-owners, but no monthly fees are attached to this account. 

You can also open a Chase College Checking℠ account. This account caters to 17 to 24-year-olds who can show proof of student status. You can easily waive the $6 monthly maintenance fee for up to five years if you’re in college. You can also waive the fee if you have a direct deposit set up or an average daily balance of $5,000 or more.

Here are some popular Chase Bank promotions for residents of North Carolina:

Earn $300 bonus
Earn $100 bonus
Earn $100 bonus
MMG Rating:
5.0
MMG Rating:
4.9
MMG Rating:
4.5
MMG Rating:
4.5
MMG Rating:
4.9
Description:

If you’re new to Chase and open a Chase Total Checking® account, you can earn up to a $300 welcome bonus. To complete the requirements for this consumer checking account, set up a direct deposit within 90 days. You’ll receive your bonus within 15 business days.

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If it’s a business bank account you’re looking for, look no further than the Chase Business Complete Banking℠ account that allows you to earn up to $400 in free money with qualifying activities.

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A $100 bonus is yours if you open a Chase Secure Banking℠ account and complete 10 qualifying transactions within 60 days. Once you complete the requirements, you should receive your Chase Secure Banking bonus within 15 days.

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Open a Chase College Checking℠ account to earn a $100 bonus. To qualify for this promotion, you’ll need to make at least 10 transactions within the first 60 days between debit card transactions. You’ll receive your bonus within 15 business days.

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The Chase Private Client experience unlocks access to lower rates when financing a big purchase and connects you with a private banker and investment advisor whenever you like. Save time and money with better banking benefits and special services, plus a $3,000 welcome bonus.

Earn $300 bonus
MMG Rating:
5.0
Description:

If you’re new to Chase and open a Chase Total Checking® account, you can earn up to a $300 welcome bonus. To complete the requirements for this consumer checking account, set up a direct deposit within 90 days. You’ll receive your bonus within 15 business days.

Earn $400 bonus
MMG Rating:
4.9
Description:

If it’s a business bank account you’re looking for, look no further than the Chase Business Complete Banking℠ account that allows you to earn up to $400 in free money with qualifying activities.

Earn $100 bonus
MMG Rating:
4.5
Description:

A $100 bonus is yours if you open a Chase Secure Banking℠ account and complete 10 qualifying transactions within 60 days. Once you complete the requirements, you should receive your Chase Secure Banking bonus within 15 days.

Earn $100 bonus
MMG Rating:
4.5
Description:

Open a Chase College Checking℠ account to earn a $100 bonus. To qualify for this promotion, you’ll need to make at least 10 transactions within the first 60 days between debit card transactions. You’ll receive your bonus within 15 business days.

Earn $3,000 bonus
MMG Rating:
4.9
Description:

The Chase Private Client experience unlocks access to lower rates when financing a big purchase and connects you with a private banker and investment advisor whenever you like. Save time and money with better banking benefits and special services, plus a $3,000 welcome bonus.

2. First Citizens Bank: Best Personalized Local Banking

North Carolina hosts fewer than 10 First Citizens Bank branches and offers a free basic checking with its First Citizens Checking Account. This checking account requires a $50 deposit, but you don’t have to have a minimum balance.

You can also waive the monthly fee if you enroll in paperless billing. First Citizens Bank also offers many other checking and savings accounts. 

First Citizens Bank was founded in 1898 and serves several North Carolinian communities. The mobile app lets you access this bank’s services and your accounts. 

Choose from three checking and two savings accounts with First Citizens Bank. You can also open a money market account or choose from several CDs and credit cards. 

Free checking account
 
Description:

Experience hassle-free banking with a free checking account. No fees, no minimum balance requirement, and the convenience of 24/7 digital banking, bill pay, and mobile deposits. Enroll in paperless statements to avoid the monthly fee. Make your life easier with better banking.

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Open a First Citizens online savings account for easy access and mobility. Enjoy convenience with no minimum balance requirement and no monthly service charges. Earn interest on your daily balance and receive monthly credits with competitive rates.

Free checking account
Description:

Experience hassle-free banking with a free checking account. No fees, no minimum balance requirement, and the convenience of 24/7 digital banking, bill pay, and mobile deposits. Enroll in paperless statements to avoid the monthly fee. Make your life easier with better banking.

Description:

Open a First Citizens online savings account for easy access and mobility. Enjoy convenience with no minimum balance requirement and no monthly service charges. Earn interest on your daily balance and receive monthly credits with competitive rates.

3. Fifth Third Bank: Best for Welcome Bonus

Fifth Third Bank is based in Ohio but has nearly 75 branches in North Carolina. Fifth Third Bank offers a range of banking products, including: Checking and savings accounts, CDs, loans, investment accounts, and insurance.

Fifth Third Bank offers a variety of benefits, including:

  • Checking accounts: Free checking accounts, unlimited check writing, and 24/7 mobile and online banking
  • Savings accounts: Free savings accounts for Momentum Checking Account holders
  • ATMs: Over 40,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide
  • Debit cards: Contactless debit cards with cashback rewards
  • Bill pay: Online bill pay
  • Savings goals: Designate up to four savings goals per savings account

Open a Momentum Checking account, and you can get paid up to two days early and a $200 welcome bonus. You also don’t have to worry about paying a monthly fee or coming up with a minimum balance. 

$325 welcome bonus
Fifth Third Momentum® Banking
4.0

Explore the benefits of Fifth Third Bank's Momentum Checking: no monthly fees, no minimum deposits or balance requirements. Get paychecks and tax refunds faster with Early Pay, and access quick cash advances with MyAdvance, without credit checks. You can also get a $325 bonus when you open an account and make direct deposits totaling $500 or more within 90 days of account opening.

Open Account

The Express Checking shares this lack of fees. You can also cash your checks and set up direct deposit with this account. 

Finally, the Preferred Checking account is geared toward those with $100,000 or more to put into an account. You must visit a physical Fifth Third Bank branch to open this account. 

If it’s savings accounts you prefer, Fifth Third Bank’s Momentum Savings offers up to 0.01% APY. You can waive the $5 monthly fee in several ways. 

4. First National Bank: Best for Personal Banking and Lending Services

First National Bank, headquartered in Pittsburgh, has expanded its reach to seven other states, including North Carolina. Established in 1864, the bank offers a network of nearly 90 branches for customers who prefer in-person banking experiences.

Customers at First National Bank have access to a diverse range of financial products and services.

From various checking account options, savings accounts, IRAs, CDs, HSAs, mortgages, home equity loans, personal loans, lines of credit, investment services, to insurance coverage including home, life, and auto insurance, the bank provides comprehensive solutions to meet customers' needs.

One standout offering from First National Bank is Freestyle Checking, designed specifically to cater to individuals' everyday banking needs. This account grants customers the convenience of unlimited check writing and a debit card.

Additionally, there are no monthly service fees or minimum balance requirements, making Freestyle Checking a reliable and straightforward option for effectively managing day-to-day finances.

5. Mechanics & Farmers Bank: Best for Community Development

You can find some of the best checking accounts when you bank with Mechanics & Farmers Bank. This financial institution is historically African-American-owned and was founded in 1907. 

Based in Durham, Mechanics & Farmers Bank offers several banking products, including: 

  • Money market accounts (MMAs)
  • Individual retirement accounts (IRAs)
  • Certificates of deposit (CDs)
  • Credit cards
  • High-yield savings accounts (HYSAs) 
  • Financial planning tools
  • Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs)
  • Business banking

You can also use any Wells Fargo ATM for free if you bank with Mechanics & Farmers Bank. Rest assured that FDIC insurance protects your funds through this North Carolinian bank. 

You can choose from several accounts when you open a Mechanics & Farmers Bank account. The Dash Checking account is popular because you can earn up to 3% APY on balances below $10,000. 

This bank account also gives you up to $15 in out-of-network ATM reimbursements per statement period. However, you’ll need to use your debit card at least 15 times or have at least $350 in your account to earn this reimbursement. 

You can also open a Prestige or Interest Account with only $100. These accounts let you earn interest on your checking account balance. 

However, Mechanics & Farmers Bank offers several savings accounts targeted to specific groups. You can open a Golden Years savings account, an account geared towards youth, or a Holiday Savings Account. 

Mechanic & Farmers Bank’s basic Statement Savings account comes with a $6 monthly fee. However, you can waive that fee if you have at least $200 in your account daily and make a $100 opening deposit. 

6. Ally Bank: Best Online-Only Bank

Online-only banks are taking the financial world by storm, and Ally Bank is no different. This bank has no physical branches but offers customers higher interest rates and other great perks. 

Open a money market account, certificate of deposit, IRA, checking, or savings account with this online-only bank, and you won’t have to worry about monthly maintenance fees or minimum opening deposits. You can also earn up to 4% APY on top savings accounts. 

Ally Bank offers both a website and a mobile app you can download to access your financial accounts. You can also use Zelle and a network of 55,000 ATMs to manage your finances. 

With Ally Bank, you can get up to $10 per statement period for out-of-network ATM costs. Plus, interest is compounded daily on all balances, which are FDIC-insured. 

Ally Bank lets you earn 0.01% APY on its Interest Checking Account. You can also set up several savings “buckets” to achieve a savings goal. 

7. Wells Fargo: Best for Mortgage Lending

Wells Fargo might be one of the largest banks in the U.S., but it still offers perks that North Carolina inhabitants can use. There are 640 branches and 1,200 ATMs available, and you can use Zelle to send and receive money with your Wells Fargo account. 

Wells Fargo is the third-largest mortgage lender in the United States, having funded $94 billion. It's also the largest mortgage servicer, with a portfolio of $962 billion.

Most Wells Fargo accounts have a monthly maintenance fee you can waive by meeting specific criteria. Minimum deposit requirements vary, but they’re often around $25. 

You can earn up to 0.15% APY with a long-term Wells Fargo CD. Savings accounts earn up to 0.01% APY, which may not be competitive with online-only banks. 

8. Truist Bank: Best for Digital Banking Features

If you’re looking for some of the best money market accounts, Truist Bank offers several to choose from. This bank was formed in 2019 when SunTrust Bank and BB&T merged. 

Headquartered in Charlotte, Truist Bank has almost 300 locations in North Carolina alone. However, you should note that this bank’s customer service is unavailable on Sundays. 

Choose from two checking accounts with Truist Bank. The Truist One Checking Account doesn’t earn interest, but you can waive the $12 monthly fee if you have at least $550 direct deposited. 

Truist also offers a Negative Balance Buffer that loans you up to $100 if you overdraft by that much. You can also open a Truist Bank savings account with a $50 minimum and waive the $5 monthly fee with a $300 daily balance or link it to your Truist checking account. 

Truist Bank offers money market accounts, debit cards, CDs, credit cards, auto loans, investing, mortgages, financial planning, and personal loans. Some accounts may not have overdraft fees

9. Bank of America: Best for Credit Card and Investment Services

Bank of America (sometimes called “BofA”) runs several yearly promotions. You can make a lot of money from taking advantage of these Bank of America promotions, especially considering that most offers are easy to complete.

Opening an account with BofA is easy. Bank of America is one of several banks that don’t require Social Security numbers if you have another form of identification. 

Most of BofA’s checking accounts bear the name “Advantage,” such as the Advantage Plus Banking account. Most accounts require $100 to deposit into the account immediately. 

These checking accounts also offer up to $100 when you deposit $1,000 or more. Visit Bank of America’s website to learn more about these requirements. 

BofA hosts several thousand branches and ATMs nationwide, including in North Carolina. You can also bank with BofA through your smartphone. 

While Bank of America savings accounts don’t offer a competitive APY, the Keep the Change program lets you round up your purchases to increase your savings. You can also waive monthly maintenance fees with a $500 minimum balance. 

10. PNC Bank: Best for Financial Tools

PNC Bank ranks sixth largest in North Carolina, behind a few other national banks. It offers low interest rates and Virtual Wallet accounts to help you manage the finances of life. 

Most PNC Bank savings accounts require a $25 minimum deposit. You can waive the monthly fee if you:

  • Are younger than 18 years old
  • Connect your savings and checking accounts
  • Maintain a $300 daily balance 

With a PNC Bank Virtual Wallet account, you can pay your bills, receive notifications about pending overdrafts, and track your deposits. You can also earn several welcome bonuses, many of which are for the Performance Select Checking account. 

For example, if you open an account by June 30, you can earn between $50 and $400. Just deposit $5,000 or more within 60 days of opening your account. 

You can also use PNC Banks’ Growth account to earn up to 0.03% APY on your savings account balance. Use the Reserve checking account to earn interest as well, but only at 0.01% APY. 

FAQs

What are the types of bank accounts available in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, residents can open various types of bank accounts, including checking accounts, savings account, and interest bearing checking accounts. First Citizens Bank offers a fee-free checking account you can open. If you sign up for paperless billing, you can waive monthly maintenance fees. Many financial institutions also offer products and services like certificates of deposit and wealth management services.

Is there a difference between a local bank and a regional bank?

Yes, a local bank typically has a strong presence in a specific area, like Asheville or Durham, whereas a regional bank may serve multiple states, like both North Carolina and South Carolina. Online banks, like Ally, serve customers primarily through the internet.

What do you need to open a bank account in North Carolina?

You need proof of identification and potentially an opening deposit to open a bank account in North Carolina. Guidelines and requirements will vary depending on your chosen bank. 

What are some of the best banks in North Carolina?

Some of the top banks in North Carolina include PNC Bank, Mechanics & Farmers Bank, Fifth Third Bank, and First National Bank. These banks offer several accounts to choose from, including checking, savings, and money market accounts. 

What should I consider when choosing a bank in North Carolina?

It's crucial to consider monthly fees, overdraft fees, and any minimum opening deposit requirements. Look for institutions that provide financial services tailored to your personal finance goals, and ensure they have a good reputation for addressing customer issues.

Are there any local credit unions I should consider?

North Carolina is home to several credit unions, including Woodforest National Bank and Horizon Bank. Credit unions often provide competitive interest rates and have fewer fees than traditional banks.

What is the difference between online banks and physical branch locations?

Online banks operate primarily over the internet and on mobile apps, while physical branch locations offer in-person services. If face-to-face interactions and physical services are important to you, you might prefer banks with many branches in North Carolina.

How can I avoid overdraft fees?

Many banks offer overdraft protection, which can link your checking to savings or a line of credit. Always keep an eye on your balances using online or mobile banking, and consider setting up alerts.

Remember, when choosing a bank, it's essential to align with your financial goals, understand the terms and conditions, and stay informed about any changes. Always keep your information protected and ensure you're working with a reputable financial institution.

Better Banking in the Southeast

Living in North Carolina can be a rewarding and memorable experience. The best banks support your financial dreams and help you accomplish your life goals.

We hope this article on the best banks in North Carolina helps you to find one that best suits your needs. When you have a solid bank behind you so you can better manage your money, there’s no telling what you can achieve. 

Many banks on our list offer valuable accounts you can use daily to work toward a financial goal. You can also speak to several representatives for the advice you need moving forward. 

The door is open wide to set up a new bank account and start fresh. Which of the best banks in North Carolina will you partner with? 

Earn $300 bonus
Axos Bank® Rewards Checking
5.0

A free account with unlimited ATM fee reimbursements. You don't have to worry about keeping a minimum balance with Axos' Rewards Checking. As with the bank's other checking accounts, there are no monthly fees, and all fees charged by domestic ATM operators are reimbursed. Axos doesn't charge any ATM fees itself.

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About the author

Brian Meiggs
Hi, I'm Brian Meiggs! A personal finance expert, entrepreneur, and the founder of My Millennial Guide. My drive is to help others unlock the wealth of freedom and pave the path to financial success. With my bachelor's degree in finance, I help millennials follow the smart money in order to increase their earning potential and start building wealth for the future. I write regularly about side hustles, investing, and general personal finance topics aimed to help anyone earn more, pay off debt, and reach financial freedom. I have been quoted in major publications including Business Insider, Yahoo Finance, NASDAQ, Discover, GoDaddy, BiggerPockets, Fox News, Debt.com, Quick Sprout, Money Geek, MSN Money and many more!