U.S. Bank Review

FT Contributor  | 

Headquartered in Minnesota, U.S. Bank is the fifth largest bank in the country. Primarily serving customers in the Midwest and West Coast, the bank offers a full array of checking and savings accounts, as well as loan products, certificates of deposit (CDs), credit cards, and investing and retirement services.

Like many large banks, U.S. Bank charges comparatively high fees and pays low interest rates, but for customers looking for a bank with plenty of branch locations and a wide range of services, it could be a smart option

Where Are U.S. Banks Located?

With more than 3,000 branch locations in 26 states throughout the Midwest and West Coast regions, U.S. Bank is a convenient option for people living in those areas. For those on the East Coast or in the South, or anyone who travels outside of their service area often, U.S. Bank is not the best choice. The bank does not allow customers living outside of their service area to open new accounts, and if you move or travel frequently, the lack of branch locations could prove problematic if you need to speak to someone in person.

For those who live in the bank’s service area, though, you have access to 4,700 ATM machines, and you can use ATMs that are part of the MoneyPass Network without fees. The bank also offers online banking and the U.S. Bank Mobile App, a full-featured app where you can make deposits, send money using Zelle, schedule bill payments, and view account statements.

U.S. Bank’s Types of Account

U.S. Bank offers several checking and savings account options to meet varying customer needs.

Checking Accounts

U.S. Bank customers can choose from five different checking account options: Easy Checking, Gold Checking, Platinum Checking, Student Checking, and a Safe Debit account. Each of these accounts offers different features and perks.

  • Easy Checking is a basic checking account that includes check-writing privileges and a debit card. The monthly maintenance fee is $6.95, unless you are over 65, maintain an average account balance of $1,500, or make at least $1,000 in direct deposits per month. Paper statements cost an additional $2 per month.
  • Gold Checking provides the same benefits as Easy Checking, in addition to two free non-U.S. Bank ATM transactions per month, fee-free overdraft transfers from a linked account, and up to two free Easy Checking accounts for family members. Gold Checking account customers can also make 100 qualifying free trades in their self-directed brokerage account through U.S. Bancorp Investments. The monthly fee is $14.95, but it is waived if you have a U.S. Bank mortgage, credit card, auto line or personal loan.
  • Platinum Checking is U.S. Bank’s top-tier account offering, an interest bearing checking account that offers the same benefits of the Gold Checking account and then some. With this account you can save on mortgage closing costs and open a money market account as part of a package. The monthly fee is $24.95, with waivers available if you have a combined total balance of $25,000 or more in all of your U.S. Bank accounts, including investments, or have a personal trust relationship with U.S. Bank Wealth Management.
  • Student Checking is a fee-free basic checking account designed for students. Several dozen colleges and universities throughout the Midwest and West participate in U.S. Bank’s campus banking, giving students the option to participate in a campus banking program that includes linking a student ID to the checking account.
  • Finally, the Safe Debit account provides a debit card, but no checks. The account is $4.95 a month, and the fee cannot be waived. However, the card does not allow overdrafts, and therefore there are no overdraft fees.

Savings Accounts

U.S. Bank offers a Standard Savings Account, a basic interest-bearing savings account. The monthly maintenance fee is $4, which is waived if you maintain an average daily balance of $300, make total monthly deposits of $1,000 or more, or if you’re under 18. Your savings account can be accessed using mobile or online banking, as well as via ATMs.

Money Market Account

In addition to Standard Savings, U.S. Bank offers several money market accounts. Interest rates vary by account type and balance.

  • Platinum Select Money Market Savings accounts are limited to customers who have a Platinum Checking account. They require a $25 minimum opening balance and have no monthly fees.
  • Package Money Market Savings accounts are for Gold Checking account customers, and also require a $25 opening deposit. The account has no monthly maintenance fees.
  • Elite Money Market accounts do not have any requirements for additional accounts, but do require a minimum $100 opening deposit. The monthly fee is $10, unless you maintain an average daily balance of $10,000.
  • Retirement Money Market accounts can only be opened at branch offices, and require a retirement account with U.S. Bank. There is no monthly maintenance fee, but the minimum opening deposit is $100 or an agreement to make automatic $25 monthly deposits into the account.

U.S. Bank Financial Services

In addition to checking and savings accounts, U.S. Bank offers an array of other financial services.

ATMs

The bank maintains 4,700 branded ATMs in 26 states, and is part of the MoneyPass network. Using a non-network ATM incurs a $2.50 fee, in addition to fees charged by the ATM owner. These fees are not reimbursable.

Car Loans

If you are in the market for a new car, U.S. Bank offers auto loans for new and used vehicles, as well as vehicle leasing services. You can also refinance an existing car loan through U.S. Bank for a potentially lower rate. Additionally, the bank offers loans for boats and recreational vehicles.

Credit Cards

U.S. Bank offers customers several credit card products, co-branded with either Visa or American Express. Their top-tier card is the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite  Card, which offers points on travel purchases and mobile wallet purchases that can be used for travel. Other options include cashback and points earning cards and a secured credit card.

Fees

U.S. Bank charges monthly maintenance fees on most of its checking and savings accounts, but many of those fees are avoidable. That said, if you do not make direct deposits totalling $1,500 or more or typically maintain a balance above the minimum threshold, these fees could prove costly.

Other fees are in line with similar banks. The overdraft fee is $36, for example, and overdrafts of $5 or less don’t incur the fee.

Mortgage Loans

For customers looking to purchase or refinance a home, U.S. Bank offers mortgage products. You can also apply for a home equity loan or line of credit. Their mortgage products include traditional home loans, adjustable rate mortgages, FHA and VA loans, and jumbo loans. Their rates are competitive with other lenders nationwide.

Personal Loans

U.S. Bank offers both personal loans and lines of credit. Qualified customers can take out a Simple Personal Loan for up to $1,000, with a fee of $12 per $100 borrowed. Because the cost to borrow is so high on these loans, they are best for emergencies only. Personal loans are offered in amounts from $3,000 to $25,000 at interest rates ranging from 6.49% to 17.99%.

You may also opt for a line of credit. Choose from either an open-ended line of credit to access when you need it or a reserve line of credit to protect your account from overdrafts.

Is U.S. Bank a Good Bank?

For customers who live in U.S. Bank’s service area, and can maintain the minimum balances on their accounts necessary to waive monthly maintenance fees, the bank is a good, full-service option. There are plenty of branch offices and ATMs, and with online and mobile banking tools, it’s easy to access your money when you need it. The interest rates aren’t the most competitive, though, and if you are looking to put your money to work for you, another bank that pays higher rates would be better. In terms of longevity, access, and customer service, though, U.S. Bank can be considered a good bank.


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