Wisconsin is home to more than 5.8 million Americans and nearly all of those Americans need a bank account.
Hundreds of banks operate in Wisconsin aiming to serve the financial needs of Wisconsinites. That means that consumers in Wisconsin have a huge amount of choice when it comes to opening a new bank account.
Checking accounts might be the most popular type of bank account in the U.S., but savings accounts are not far behind. Savings accounts are so popular that nearly every bank in the country offers one or more types of savings account. That means that banks that want people to open savings accounts have to compete for customers.
There are two reasons that someone might want to open a savings account.
The first reason is that savings accounts are a great place to store extra cash. They keep money safe while leaving it easily accessible. That makes savings accounts a great place to store an emergency fund.
The second reason is that savings accounts pay interest based on the amount of money you’ve deposited. They can help people grow their savings over time.
If you’re from Wisconsin and want to open a new savings account, this article will discuss the options available to you.
Largest Banks in Wisconsin
The largest banks in Wisconsin, by deposits, are:
This list includes a combination of local and national banks.
If you’re in Wisconsin and want to open a savings account, we recommend that you consider one of these local banks:
- TCF National Bank
- First Citizens Bank
- Fortifi Bank
You should also look into local credit unions and online banks.
Why Use a Local Wisconsin Bank
There are a couple of reasons that you might want to work with a local Wisconsin bank.
One is that local banks are good at providing personalized service.
The staff at local banks will get to know you over time as you visit the bank regularly. As they get to know you and your financial situation, they’ll be able to provide more useful advice.
They might also be able to provide specialized deals or cut you a break on fees once in a while. National banks have more rigid rules and won’t be able to provide this personalized help.
Local banks also excel at catering to the needs of local consumers.
National banks have to focus on services that are useful for people across the country. Local banks can provide services that are useful to locals, but that might not be useful to people elsewhere. For example, an area near a large lake might have banks that offer special boat loans with good terms.
National banks do provide some benefits. Their biggest benefit is their national networks of ATMs and branches.
If you travel, you won’t have to worry about not being able to find an ATM that you can use. If you move, you’ll easily find a new branch that can be your main branch. If you use a local bank, you’ll probably have to change banks if you move.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Savings Accounts from Local Banks
TCF National Bank Free Savings Account
The TCF National Bank Free Savings Account is a basic, fee-free savings account.
To open the account, you must make a $25 opening deposit. Once the account is open, you don’t have to maintain a specified minimum balance. You also won’t have to worry about any kind of maintenance fees.
Another benefit of the account is that you can sign up for overdraft transfers by linking your TCF checking account. This can help you avoid expensive overdraft fees.
First Citizens Bank e.Savings Account
The First Citizens Bank e.Savings Account offers the benefits of online savings accounts and local banking.
The only requirement for opening an account is a minimum deposit of $25. One the account is open, there’s no minimum balance to maintain and no monthly fees to pay.
Once the account is open, you can manage the account by logging into online banking or visiting your local branch. If you ever need to make a deposit or withdrawal, you can do so at any First Citizens Bank ATM.
The biggest downside of the account is that there are limits on the number of withdrawals you may make. Each statement, you may make two withdrawals. The next four withdrawals will incur a $3 fee each. Each withdrawal after that incurs a $15 fee.
Fortifi Bank Kasasa Saver Account
The Fortifi Bank Kasasa Saver Account gives you the chance to earn a great rate of interest.
There is no minimum balance to open the account and no monthly fee to keep it open. That makes it a good account for someone who is just starting to save.
If you link a Kasasa Cash checking account, you can earn a huge interest rate bonus by meeting certain requirements.
To earn the highest rate of interest, you must meet the following requirements each statement period:
- Make 12 debit card purchases
- Receive 1 automatic payment or direct deposit
- Receive free eStatements
Online Savings Accounts are Available Nationwide
If you want to open a savings account, but don’t want to work with a national bank, local banks aren’t your only option. Online savings accounts are available nationwide and offer some huge benefits.
One of the biggest benefits of online banks is that they offer great interest rates.
They cost much less to run than brick and mortar banks and pass those savings on to their customers.
You can earn interest rates ten to one hundred times higher than a brick and mortar bank would pay. Online banks also charge much lower fees.
High rates and low fees
The interest rate and fees of a savings account can have a massive effect on the money you deposit to the account. A higher interest rate and lower fees can be worth thousands of dollars if you give your savings a few years to grow.
To see how interest and fees can affect the balance of your savings account, consider this example:
You put $20,000 in a savings account today. Each month, you’ll add $500 to the account. After five years, you’ll use the money in the account to make a down payment.
Brick and mortar banks might offer an interest rate of about 0.05% APY. If you use that account, your balance at the end of five years will be $50,086.97. You’ll have earned less than $100 in interest.
Online savings accounts offer much better interest rates, often as high as 1.50% APR. If you chose an online savings account, your ending balance would be $52,690.14.
You’ll have more than $2,500 more in your savings account just because you chose the account with a higher interest rate.
Don’t forget that the brick and mortar bank might charge monthly fees. That means you might wind up with an even larger difference in the ending balance of the two accounts.
No worries about minimum deposits
Many brick and mortar banks require that you have between $25 and $100 if you want to open a savings account. That can make it hard for someone who is just starting to save to open a savings account.
Online banks rarely have minimum deposit requirements. You can open an account with just a penny, making it easy to get started.
As safe as the big banks
Many people wonder about how secure online banks are. Thanks to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, they are just as safe as brick and mortar banks.
The FDIC offers insurance on up to $250,000 per person, per account type at covered banks. So long as you don’t allow your combined savings account balances at a bank to exceed that limit, you cannot lose money by depositing it at a bank.
If you the bank cannot return your deposit, the FDIC will reimburse you for the full amount lost.