The publications evaluated 75 brick-and-mortar banks, 50 credit unions and 15 online banks in search of what Bankrate describes as “the ideal combination of accounts — a free checking account (or one as cheap as possible) and a savings account that pays a high interest rate (or at least keeps the monthly fees at bay).”
The winners in the main categories are:
Best online bank: Bank of Internet USA
Best credit union: Alliant Credit Union
Best big bank: Capital One
Best regional bank: Banner Bank (which has locations in California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington)
Using banks that offer competitive interest rates is especially important as the Federal Reserve continues to hike its federal funds rate. Customers of such banks stand to see their interest rates inch higher with future Fed rate hikes.
To get that rate, however, you must receive direct deposits totaling more than $1,000 each month and make at least 15 debit card transactions totaling at least $3 each month. This caveat illustrates the importance of comparing bank account terms in addition to rates.
RELATED: Here are some common missteps affecting your financial future:
15 Ways to Ruin Your Financial Future
15 Ways to Ruin Your Financial Future
Just as a snowball can start an avalanche and one match can ignite an inferno, these 15 mistakes are easy to make and can lead to financial trouble for the rest of your life.
From your choice of college to your choice of spouse, from job selection to retirement planning, we take a look at 15 common ways you can mess up your money future.
What happens when you buy a home that you really can't afford? When economizing doesn't work, people often liquidate assets and borrow from their 401(k) to keep up with payments. Talk about putting your financial future in jeopardy
By not diversifying your portfolio -- for example, investing in just a couple of
stocks -- you run the risk of tying your future to the fate of a single company. If you bet on the wrong horse, that mistake could put you in the hole for the rest of your life.
The National Safety Council estimated in 2006 that the average cost per auto crash where there were no disabling injuries was $8,200. If someone was hurt badly in the crash, but not killed, the average cost was $55,000. If someone died because of the wreck, the cost was more than $1.2 million. Survivors of such an accident could spend the rest of their lives recovering their financial health.
The financial costs of this nasty habit are far more than the cost of a pack of cigarettes. Smokers pay more for insurance, dry cleaning, and dental care. Their homes and cars have less resale value, they are at higher risk of having a fire, and many companies won't even hire a smoker.
Here's the reality: attending a private school at the expense of taking on a large debt load -- or worse, depleting the parents' nest egg -- will result in increased stress and constrained career choices, without increasing opportunities beyond what a student of the same ability could have done with a less expensive public college education.
When you're young and virile, health insurance can seem unimportant. Choose unwisely, though, and you can spend a lifetime paying for your mistake. Too little, and a neck injury can leave you broke for life. Buying too much saps money that could be invested, compounding for decades.
Our blogger married for love, not money, but wishes she had asked her husband more questions about the latter before they tied the knot. It wasn't until after the wedding that she learned about his six-figure student loans and credit-card balance of $15,000.
Instant gratification, the mantra of the late 20th century, has resulted in a massive amount of credit card debt. The result? Millions of Americans paying the minimum on their credit card debt, compounding at a usurious 20% interest, all for the privilege of buying a meal they can't remember eating, a tune they now loathe, or shoes that Carrie Bradshaw would burn.
D-I-V-O-R-C-E. A well-known song, the follow up for which should have been P-O-V-E-R-T-Y. The process of divorce is costly for both parties, financially and emotionally, and the ongoing expenses of divided households and shared parenting, of alimony and child support, often ruin the financial futures of both of the once-lovebirds.
Given the advances in medicine, today's twenty-somethings may well have a work life of seventy years, and that's way too long to spend in even a good-paying dead-end job. Once you've become accustomed to that income, have a family and a mortgage, you're locked into that job with golden handcuffs.
We are doing a terrible job saving for retirement. The median 401(k) plan balance is a paltry $18, 986! While there is raging debate over how much you need to save in order to retire with dignity, everyone would agree that most Americans are falling woefully short of achieving this goal.
Think you left disputed credit card issues behind when you changed addresses? The company may not have your new address, but it does have access to your credit ratings. When you decide to buy that first home, you'll find a land mine awaiting you in your credit report.
Not surprisingly, few of us are prepared financially for a hurricane. Sadly, many of us are not even prepared for predictable calamities -- a car breakdown, a broken arm, a plane trip to the funeral of a loved one. Whatever happened to the rainy day fund? Because we guarantee it's going to rain.
Sudden wealth thrust upon the young, such as was common before the dot com bubble burst, poses a temptation few can resist. Driving hot cars, visiting hot spots, hobnobbing with the glitterati, seem like such a good idea at the time. Too bad such fun often comes at the cost of a lifetime of financial security.
A man's (or woman's) handshake is his/her word, we would like to believe. However, if the devil is in the details, how can every nuance of an understanding be communicated with the pressing of flesh? There's a lesson to be learned from a house closing; all that paperwork is there because doing business with a handshake can lead to financial calamity.
More on AOL:
Who's Flunking Debt?
MensHealth.com takes a look at foreclosure rates, housing costs, bankruptcy filings, credit scores, levels of credit debt and credit usage in 100 American cities to see where debt is dominating residential households the most -- and the least.
Click through our gallery as we count down from No. 10 to No. 1 in two overall categories: cities where the residents have the most and least personal debt.
One noteworthy term Bank of Internet USA offers is a refund of all domestic ATM surcharges. Bankrate describes the institution, founded in 1999, as a pioneer in online banking that has long been regarded as a deposit rate leader.
However, the honor of having one of the highest interest rates for a savings account goes to another online bank. Ally Bank’s Online Savings account pays 1.2 percent APY — which compares with a current national average of 0.06 percent.
Money magazine also named the best bank in each state. Two banks stood out, with each named No. 1 in four different states:
Washington Federal — named the best bank in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada and New Mexico
First National Bank of Omaha — named the best bank in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota
For more help comparing bank accounts, check out Money Talks News’ bank account search tool. It allows you to search for savings and money market accounts, certificates of deposits (CDs) and checking accounts. Just check the boxes for the account types that interest you.