BEST BANKS IN CALIFORNIA: What are the Best Banks in California 2023?

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There are several reasons why California is termed a great place to call home. Choosing a place to bank means finding the best combination of low account fees, convenience, and features, as well as harder-to-measure factors such as customer service. California has no shortage of alternatives. However, whether you prefer a private community banking experience or the anytime, anywhere convenience of a major national bank you need to have the best knowledge to make the right choice. We have compiled a list of options with top interest rates to help you make a better choice. Stay tuned to learn about the best private banks in California for checking suitable for small business owners and students. 


The best banks in California offer an extensive selection of products to meet various needs Like competitive interest on savings accounts, manageable bank fees, and modern conveniences. The state’s best banks are known for their highly rated customer service, and they provide customers with convenient access. They also offer a variety of financial services that set them apart from each other. In addition, not only does California have the largest banks in the world, but also has the most reliable and well-maintained banks in the world.

What Is the #1 Trusted Bank in America?

A bank study found Chase the most trusted bank. America’s Most Trusted® Study is a large-scale survey of consumers in the United States that seeks to identify the brands that people trust the most within their respective industries.

Best Banks in California for Checking

Your checking account is the center of your financial life. When you get a paycheck, you deposit the money in your checking account. This is done because it plays an important role in your economic life. This is also why your checking account must be easy to use and have the features that you need. Typically, your best checking account is the first bank account you open, and most people stick with a bank for a long time once they open a checking account. So, banks will compete to offer the best checking banks to draw in customers in California.

How To Choose the Best Banks in California for Checking

Choosing the best checking banks in California depends on your financial situation, preferences, and needs. So, consider these factors when choosing a financial institution for your banking.

#1. Insurance

Confirm that the bank where you open an account provides insurance from either the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). This insurance protects and compensates you up to your balance and the legal limit in the event your bank or credit union fails.

#2. Accounts and Services

Make sure banks on your list offer the accounts and services you need. Common account types include checking accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), and money market accounts. Full-service banks may provide additional products and services like credit cards, loans, and investment services. Also, you may prefer to use multiple banks, to take advantage of their different strengths. 

#3. Costs

Many banks charge one-time or ongoing fees for various services. That is to say, a bank may charge a service fee for not maintaining a minimum balance each month. Other charges can include overdraft, non-sufficient funds (NSF), excessive withdrawal, ATM, late payment, and wire transfer fees. Costly bank fees can undercut your savings efforts.

#4. Interest Rates

Online banks and credit unions generally offer higher interest rates on deposit accounts than traditional banks. Scoring competitive APYs, or annual percentage yields, can maximize your efforts and build up savings toward various goals.

#5. Comfort

It’s not just about where you put your money but also how easy it is to access your funds. Therefore, look for a bank that offers comfortable ways to manage your accounts. In case you find yourself needing cash, find a bank that offers fee-free ATM access. Also, a highly rated mobile banking app lets you manage your money 24/7 from anywhere in the world and often comes with services like online bill pay and mobile check deposits.

#6. Customer Service

There are times when you need help with your accounts. If talking with a real person is important, a bank that has local branches or offers personal customer support by phone may be the right choice for you. Some checking banks in California provide chat support, virtual assistants, and other digital support services. So, look for a bank with support options that match your communication preferences.

Best Banks in California for Checking: Examples

Choosing the best business checking account provider is necessary for managing your finances effectively. Here are some of the best business checking account banks in California:

#1. Chase

Chase is a bank worth your consideration. This is because they take a two-pronged approach to offering their customers the most convenient access to their money. On the one hand, Chase has nearly 900 branches in California, meaning that there’s always a branch not too far away. Also, Chase’s easy-to-use mobile banking app is one of the best in the industry.

#2. Bank of America

Bank of America is among the national business banks with a large presence in California. They offer a range of business checking accounts to suit small businesses and enterprise-level accounts. Bank of America is also committed to providing digital banking tools that can help you manage your finances on the go. You can access your accounts from your mobile device or computer, making it easy to stay on top of your finances no matter where you are.

#3. Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo is another national bank with a large presence in California. They offer a range of business checking accounts, as well as merchant services and other financial products. Wells Fargo also has a strong online and mobile banking platform to help you stay connected to your finances. With their mobile app, you can easily deposit checks, pay bills, and transfer funds between accounts.

#4. California Bank & Trust

California Bank & Trust is a regional bank that serves California. They offer several business checking accounts, as well as other financial products and services. California Bank & Trust is committed to community involvement and customer service. They also understand the importance of building relationships with their clients and are devoted to helping local businesses thrive.

#5. Capital One

Capital One’s flagship 360 checking account offering 24/7 mobile banking and access to 70,000 fee-free ATMs across the United States. In addition to no monthly fees, Capital One automatically declines transactions that overdraw your balance for free and allows you to transfer money over to your savings account for free. They even offer fee-free overdrafts (you need to opt in first though).

Is Bank of America or Chase Better?

If you’re choosing between Chase and Bank of America, the better option for you depends on your personal banking needs and preferences. Both are big banks with thousands of branches and tens of thousands of ATMs. Chase offers a wider variety of accounts, though it is lacking in IRA options.

Best Banks in California for Small Business

The best banks for small business in California provides you with both outstanding business checking along with products and services to help your business grow. So, if you own a small business in California, opening a business bank account is smart.

This is because it will help you manage your finances better, build good customer relationships, and carry out transactions easily. As a small business owner in California, the kind of business bank account you choose depends largely on your business model, size, growth projections, and need for loans and in-person customer service.

Best Banks in California for Small Business Owners: Examples

Here are some of the best banks in California for small businesses, each providing a different kind of support for entrepreneurs.

#1. Novo

Novo is at the top of our list of the best banks for small business owners in California. They have some great app integrations and one of the lowest fee schedules from an online business account yet. You can apply online in as little as ten minutes. Again, you can send and track free and unlimited invoices from the Novo interface online, which is a major draw for small business owners.

#2. BlueVine

Bluevine is very popular among small businesses as a secure online banking system. They have a very flexible financing option that suits the needs of any business. Also, Bluevine offers long-term loans and credits for small businesses. With their zero deposit balance and few fees, Bluevine has got you covered. its high-interest rates, minimal fees, and lack of maintenance requirements make Bluevine the best business bank account for LLCs or other business types.

#3. Axos Bank

Axos Bank puts its customers first by offering the best direct banking services. They also guarantee the safety of financial transactions through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. For small businesses looking to invest, Axos Bank offers just that through their subsidiary Axos Invest. They also provide services like business, digital, and personal banking. 

#4. Bank of the West

Bank of the West is an ideal choice for small businesses across California, given how many locations and ATMs they have across the state. Thye provides two standard-tier checking accounts for small businesses. In addition, offering both provide entrepreneurs with a simple business checking option, making it easy to hit a monthly minimum balance threshold to have monthly fees waived.

#5. Chase Bank

Chase Bank is also one of the best banks for owners of small businesses in California. They offer their customers a wide range of financial products and services. Also, they offer fantastic and user-friendly online and mobile banking systems. This means you can pay your bills, manage your account and transfer funds from anywhere. They also provide excellent security for financial transactions, multi-factor authentication, fraud monitoring, and secure encryption.

Best Banks in California for Students

Many college students are living away from home for the first time and are given the power of managing their money without a lot of extra income. Many banks offer accounts designed to meet the unique needs of college students in California. Furthermore, most of these student checking accounts come with attractive benefits and perks, as banking institutions hope to gain loyal customers during their college years who will continue their business after graduation.

Best Banks in California for Students

Banking with the best banks in California as students can make a big difference to a busy student. To help students find the best fit for their financial situation. Hence, I have compiled a list of the best banks for students in California, based on flexibility, convenience, and affordability.

#1. Chime

Chime was launched with a mobile-first banking approach, and its mobile banking and zero maintenance fees make it a great option for students, allowing you to enjoy free mobile banking on the go. The bank has no physical branches, operating fully virtually and offering all its banking services online. Their user-friendly mobile banking platform has a range of features that make it easy to manage your money, such as immediate alerts for every transaction. 

#2. Capital One Money 

This is an excellent banking account for students under 18, which can take you into your college years. You can open a Capital One money account from as young as 8 years to help you save for college. For this account, the banks for students don’t charge a maintenance fee or have a minimum balance requirement in California.

#3. Current

It operates virtually and allows customers to make deposits, process transactions, and manage their accounts with the mobile app, with cool features such as a budget and spending tracker. It’s great for college students looking for a solid interest rate for savings, easy access to their money, and a feature-packed mobile banking platform.

#4. Discover

It’s an excellent option for anyone 18 or older who wants all the perks of a student account, plus a debit card. This account has no monthly fee, minimum deposit, overdraft fee, or ATM fee, and benefits that continue even after graduation. Another attraction is the 1% cash back earned on up to $3,000 in monthly debit card purchases, which can generate up to $360 in cash back per year.

#5. US Bank

For students in the West, Midwest, and South, using a U.S. bank student checking account is an optimal choice. account-holders can link their student ID with their checking account and use the ID at ATMs and for PIN purchases. They also have access to financial education for student banks through the campus banking program to help manage their money.

How Do You Open a Student Bank Account?

students banks in California are similar to opening a regular bank account, except that it requires a little more identification like proof of school enrollment. Whether applying online or in person, expect to provide some or all of this information:

  • Valid student ID with a photo
  • School transcript
  • College acceptance letter

Also, as with any account, a government-issued ID (e.g., a driver’s license or passport) and a Social Security number are required.

Best Private Banks in California

High-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) tend to have more composite financial needs than most retail consumers. These are people with assets that can easily be terminated. While there’s no consensus about how much a person needs to qualify in this category, it’s safe to assume that you’d need at least $1 million.  Regardless of how much they hold, HNWIs often turn to private banks to meet their financial needs. Thus, the best private banks in California offer a range of services under one roof, from investment management to trust and estate planning. 

Best Private Banks in California: Examples

The below comprise the leading private banks in California according to global financial data provider Private Banker International.

#1. UBS 

They have consistently ranked among one of the world’s largest private banks in California. The bank’s divisions include global wealth management, corporate and consumer banking, asset management, and investment banking. After UBS moved to purchase its rival Credit Suisse in March 2023, it is estimated that the merged firm has a massive $5 trillion in invested assets.

#2. Morgan Stanley

At Morgan Stanley, a private wealth advisor functions as the gateway to a broad team of experts, including investment bankers, capital market professionals, and private bankers. Those who collectively handle a range of needs including trust and estate planning and insurance products. Also, the bank has operations in 42 countries, which benefit from its banking and investment services, along with its research and trading products.

#3. J.P Morgan Private Bank

J.P. Morgan private bank is the brand name for the private banks in California conducted by J.P. Morgan. Voted the “World’s Best Private Bank” by Global Finance in 2022, J.P. Morgan Private Bank has been working with individuals and their families for more than 200 years. With a team of specialists in planning, investing, lending, and banking, J.P. Morgan Private Bank provides a variety of services and guidance to build, preserve, or transfer wealth.

#4. HSBC

HSBC rounds out the list of the top 10 private banks in California banking operations. Although it was not included in the original rankings created by Private Banker International, the institution provides services that rival those of its peers. HSBC Global Private Banking offers investment management, wealth planning, and bespoke financing lending solutions that align with the client’s specific financial situation and long-term goals.

#5. Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s leading private banks in California. This is because they provide a range of financial services to government, corporate, retail, and investment clients, including:

  • Investment banking and management
  • Securities
  • Retail banking

Also, the firm services high-net-worth clients. Customers are generally required to invest at least $10 million to open an account with its private wealth management division


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