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What's behind our bank & credit union Ratings?

The Consumer Reports National Research Center comprises highly trained social scientists, including 9 Ph.D.s, using state-of-the-art techniques to survey more than 1 million consumers each year about products, services, health care and consumer issues.
We look for:
  • Reader score
    Overall rating based on 0-100 point scale. A score of 100 means all respondents were completely satisfied; 80 would mean very satisfied, on average; 60, fairly well satisfied; 40, somewhat dissatisfied.
  • Customer service
    Reflects online or phone support for websites and in-store sales help for walk-in stores.
  • Bank communications
    Customer ratings of how well institutions communicated with them about new fees and procedure changes.
  • Customer complaints
    Reflects percentages of complaints by customers about problems they encountered.
  • Fees
    Reflects percentages of customers who claimed fees had increased in the prior three years.


Follow Consumer Reports

If you're looking for reliable information about banks and credit unions, Consumer Reports is your best resource. Consumer Reports’ bank and credit union reviews will give you honest advice that you can trust. Use our bank and credit union buying guide to discover which financial services are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased bank and credit union ratings and reviews to help you choose the best bank or credit union for your needs.

Bank & credit union buying guide

If you're like a lot of Americans, you have a checking account at one of the nation's four largest banks: Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, and Wells Fargo. Together, these four banks hold about 40 percent of all U.S. commercial bank assets, and they provide many benefits such as nationwide convenience (access to a total of 17,000-plus branches and more than 80,000 fee-free ATMs), state of-the-art digital banking platforms, and sophisticated security systems.

But in our survey of some 49,000 subscribers, all four mega banks scored in the bottom fifth of our overall bank rankings, which consisted of more than 70,000 bank and credit union ratings.

It's not because their services were poor --our readers were satisfied with them overall. Rather, survey respondents told us they found better banking alternatives at more than 60 smaller banks--including some that operate mostly online. They were also more satisfied with the services they got at credit unions especially when it came to customer service and fees.

If you're happy with the services and fees at your current bank, you are fortunate. But if you are looking for an alternative, you have plenty of options. Here's how to find the best institution to meet your banking needs.

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