As far north as Vermont may be, you still need access to a savings account to stash your cash.
While Vermont is clearly not a financial hub when it comes to banking (there are only 23 banks operating in the state), there are plenty of great savings accounts available.
We analyze all the savings options from the local banks in Vermont to identify the best of the bunch.
You should compare them to online savings accounts, which tend to be available nationwide -- along with attractive rates and low fees.
Largest Banks in Vermont
The largest banks in Vermont, by deposits, are:
This list includes larger, national banks as well as local and regional banks.
If you live in Vermont and would prefer to work with a local bank, your best choices are:
- Community Bank
- People’s United Bank
- NBT Bank
You may also want to consider a credit union or an online bank.
Where to Find the Best Savings Accounts in Vermont
Like all decisions, making the decision between a national bank and a local one involves weighing multiple pros and cons.
National banks are great for people who desire the widespread access of branches and ATMs.
The downside of this is that national banks don’t do a great job of tailoring their services to local needs.
If you live in Vermont, working with a local bank that is familiar with the needs of Vermonters can help you get the personalized and customized service that you need.
The Community Bank Free Savings Account is a basic savings account with few bells or whistles.
True to its name, there is no monthly fee to worry about with the Free Savings Account. You can open the account and not pay for the privilege.
Keep in mind:
There is a $50 minimum deposit to open the account and a $1 minimum balance to earn interest, though no minimum balance to keep the account open.
People’s United Bank
The People’s United Bank Plus Savings Account offers current People’s United Bank customers the option to open a savings account. You must have an existing Plus, ePlus, Interest Plus, or Student Plus checking account, as well as a $50 minimum deposit, to open the account.
You must have an existing Plus, ePlus, Interest Plus, or Student Plus checking account, as well as a $50 minimum deposit, to open the account.
Once the account is open, there is no minimum balance or monthly fee.
NBT Bank’s Statement Savings Account has one benefit over its competitors. There is no minimum balance required to open the account.
Once the account is open, there is no minimum balance requirement, though you do have to keep at least $25 in the account to earn interest.
You also get a free ATM card that you can use to make deposits or withdrawals at NBT Bank ATMs.
Pros and Cons of Local Banks
Advantages of Big Banks vs. Local Banks
|Big Banks||Local Banks|
|Widespread ATM and branch access||More intimate, personal service|
|Better and faster technology and adoption||Community-oriented products and services|
|Uniform service standard across branch network||More willing to negotiate and work with customers|
Local banks offer a number of benefits that make them worthy of consideration. One of the most significant benefits is their ability to provide personalized service in a way that larger banks can’t.
When you work with a smaller bank, like most regional and local banks, you have a good chance of being able to walk into your local bank branch and see someone that you know and have worked with before.
Getting in-person help from someone who you are familiar with and who knows your situation is a huge perk. Larger banks often fail to provide this same level of familiarity.
Unfortunately, these benefits are offset by the downsides that local banks have. One is that local banks often have higher minimum balances or fees.
Another is that they don’t have the regional and national reach of larger banks, making it hard to access your accounts if you travel or move.
Online Savings Accounts are Available Nationwide
Local banks might be great for personalized and friendly service, but they aren’t the best type of bank to choose 100 percent of the time.
You should also take the time to consider online banks.
Anyone who lives in the United States can open an online savings account -- even if you live far into the Northeast.
Earn more interest
One of the primary reasons to work with an online bank is that they tend to offer some of the best interest rates in the banking market.
Depending on the account, you can earn 10 to 100 times more interest than a brick and mortar bank would pay.
The reason for this: cost.
Online banks cost less to run than brick and mortar banks.
They save money that they would otherwise spend on ATMs and branches, instead of operating out of just a few centralized office building.
That costs a lot less and online banks pass those savings on to their customers.
Less temptation to spend
Another reason that online banks are great for saving is that they can reduce the temptation to spend the money that you’ve saved.
If you open an online savings account, you won’t have to walk past an ATM or branch of your bank, thinking about how much money you have saved and how nice it would be to spend a bit of it on something fun.
The less that you think about the money you’ve saved, the less tempted you’ll be to spend it, making it easier to grow your savings over time.
Better technology experience
By their nature, online banks have to offer the best technological experiences in the banking industry.
When a website or app is the only way for customers to interact with your bank, you focus on making those sites and apps responsive and easy to use.
If you want a bank with a good tech experience, an online bank is sure to provide.
If you’re worried about safety, you don’t have to be. Online savings accounts are insured by the FDIC, just like traditional savings accounts.
FDIC insured banks have up to $250,000 in protection, per account type, per depositor, making the money you deposit to your online savings account as safe as it can be.
What Kind of Account is Right for You?
If you’re having trouble deciding between a local bank and an online bank, asking yourself these questions might help.
How good are you with technology?
If you like to have the latest gadgets and have no trouble setting up and learning to use new devices, then you probably won’t struggle to adapt to using an online bank.
If you’re more technophobic, or just have trouble with new technology, then you may want to avoid working with a purely online bank.
Are you a regular at your current bank?
If you know everyone who works there and like being able to visit the bank, you might want to continue working with a bank that has a physical presence.
If you do most of your deposits and withdrawals at an ATM, working with an online bank will come naturally to you.
Do you value face-to-face help?
If you’re the kind of person who needs someone there, in-person, to help you deal with complicated issues or problems, then you might want to stick with a traditional bank.
If you don’t mind calling a support line or getting help over the internet, then you should be able to handle an online bank.
Most Important Features of a Savings Account
Once you’ve decided what type of bank to work with, you still have to take the time to compare the different account options.
These are the factors that you should look at first.
With a savings account, always look at the interest rate. The higher the rate, the more money the bank will pay you.
If all else is equal, always choose the account with the higher rate. Settling for a lower rate is just giving up free money.
You never want to pay a bank for giving it the privilege of holding on to your money.
Always choose an account with no fee if you can.
If you can’t, make sure that you know the fee waiver requirements and that you can meet them easily.
Ease of access
Savings accounts are commonly used to hold emergency funds. In the event of an emergency, you want to be able to access your cash quickly.
Look for savings accounts that offer easy ways to get to your money, such as ATM cards that you can use to make withdrawals or quick transfers to accounts that allow cash withdrawals.