BBVA Bank Review

Is BBVA Bank a good bank?

Intro

BBVA is a brick-and-mortar bank with 649 branches in seven states. BBVA launched in 1964 in Birmingham, AL. The bank is now among the 25 largest banks based on commercial deposits, and is one of the largest banks in Alabama, Arizona, and Texas. This in-depth review of BBVA Bank can help you decide if the products and services are a good fit for you.

What We Like

  • Free checking available with a $25 deposit

  • More than 64,000 fee-free ATMs available nationwide

  • "Second chance" checking accounts available

  • Clear and easy-to-navigate fee disclosures

What We Don't Like

  • Branches only available in seven states

  • Advertised money market and CD rates not available to everybody

  • Average customer service ratings

Who Is BBVA Best For?

BBVA may appeal to those who want one-stop shopping from a large brick-and-mortar bank. It should be particularly attractive to those who:

  • Live in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, or Texas
  • Like the option of in-person banking
  • Want a free checking account that’s easy to qualify for
  • Have experienced financial troubles and need a “second chance” checking account
  • Value a highly-rated mobile app that’s intuitive and easy to use

What Does BBVA Offer?

BBVA offers a full array of accounts for individuals and small business, ranging from essential services to premium offerings.

Accounts

  • Savings accounts
  • Money market account
  • Checking accounts
  • Certificates of deposit
  • Credit cards

Services

  • Banking experience
  • Customer service

BBVA Savings Account

The BBVA Savings Account is a basic savings account for keeping cash secure. 

  • Requires $25 or more to open
  • Pays 0.05% APY
  • Quarterly maintenance fee of $15, waived with one of the following:
  • Automatic monthly transfer of $25 or more from a BBVA checking account to savings
  • Minimum daily balance of $500 or more
  • Link to your BBVA checking account for overdraft protection
  • Four fee-free withdrawals per statement cycle
  • Free online statements quarterly, or $3 fee for paper statements
  • Minimum $3 fee for using other banks’ ATMs

While federal law limits certain withdrawals to six per month, BBVA has even stricter standards. After four withdrawals per month, you pay $3 per excess withdrawal.

The interest earnings are unimpressive compared to other banks, but you may have your reasons for keeping cash in a brick-and-mortar account. For example, you can link this account to your BBVA checking account for overdraft protection.

Likewise, if you only keep a small amount of cash in savings, the APY does not matter too much. However, it doesn’t make sense to pay $15 per quarter. If you’re facing that fee, consider a local credit union, online bank, or BBVA’s online account below to avoid fees.

BBVA Online Savings Account

The BBVA Online Savings Account is similar to the standard BBVA Savings Account, with the same opening balance, APY, statement fees, and withdrawal limits. The primary difference is that there’s no quarterly fee, making it a better option if you have limited resources. You can still use BBVA branches if needed, so you’re not limited to online-only banking. 

  • Earn 0.05% APY
  • No quarterly fee
  • Must open online or by phone—not in a branch

Although BBVA calls this an online bank account, it doesn’t match the APYs of classic online bank accounts. Those offerings are typically high-yield savings accounts with substantially higher rates.

BBVA Money Market Account

The BBVA Money Market Account offers an APY of 0.19% as of June 18, 2020. 

  • $25 minimum deposit
  • $15 monthly maintenance fee, waived with one of the following:
  • Daily balance of $10,000 or more
  • Automatic monthly transfer of $25 from checking
  • Ownership of a BBVA Premium Checking Account
  • Free statements on paper or online
  • Up to six fee-free withdrawals per month
  • Use for overdraft protection on your BBVA checking accounts
  • No debit card or checks for payments

Free Checking

Free Checking is a basic checking account that can handle your everyday needs and doesn’t charge a monthly fee.

  • Minimum $25 to open
  • No monthly fee
  • Debit card for spending
  • Free transactions at BBVA ATMs
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Online bill pay
  • Free paper and online statements
  • Account activity alerts
  • $3 out-of-network ATM fee
  • Optional $5 monthly fee to avoid out-of-network ATM fees and up to four ATM rebates per statement cycle (for ATM fees charged by other banks)

Overdraft charges and insufficient funds fees can go as high as $38, so keep tabs on your account. Check your balance regularly, and set up alerts to avoid problems.

This account may be a fine choice for free checking with a brick-and-mortar bank. You can handle essential banking tasks at an affordable price, and you can link this account to other banks, if necessary.

You have access to fee-free BBVA-branded ATMs in the seven states where BBVA operates. Those ATMs are at branches as well as locations like grocery stores and convenience stores. However, your free checking account does not give you access to BBVA’s non-bank Allpoint ATMs locations.

Online Checking

BBVA’s Online Checking offers some minor improvements over the Free Checking account. The primary difference is that you must open the account online or by phone, but you’re allowed to use BBVA branches, if you’d like.

  • Basic Free Checking features
  • Fee-free access to more than 64,000 ATMs

If you’re eyeing the Free Checking account and you’re comfortable opening an account online, the Online Checking account is probably a better option if you like to use ATMs to withdraw cash.

Premium Checking

Premium Checking is an interest-bearing checking account geared toward customers who have substantial balances with BBVA.

  • Minimum $25 to open
  • Pays 0.05% APY on all account balances
  • Debit card for spending, which you can personalize for free
  • More than 64,000 fee-free ATMs
  • Two ATM fee rebates per month
  • Free standard checks

This account charges $19 per month unless you meet one of the criteria below:

  • Monthly direct deposits of at least $4,000 (restrictions apply)
  • Average daily balance of at least $4,000
  • At least $15,000 in qualifying deposits at BBVA (CDs included)
  • Active BBVA Premier Personal Banking Program status
  • Active membership in BBVA Global Wealth Client

Interest earnings in the Premium Checking account are a nice perk. However, the top high-yield savings accounts have significantly higher APYs. If you have excess cash you want to earn money on, a high-yield savings account may be a better option.

Easy Checking

Easy Checking is BBVA’s “second chance” checking account. This account might be a good option for you if banks and credit unions won’t let you open a checking account because of problems in your financial history. The account is not cheap, but it provides access to a brick-and-mortar checking account, and you can potentially upgrade to a more affordable account after 12 months.

  • Minimum $25 to open
  • Monthly fee of $13.95
  • Debit card for spending
  • Checks
  • Fee-free access to BBVA-branded ATMs
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Online bill pay
  • Option for free online statements
  • Account activity alerts

Before signing up for an account with a hefty fee, apply for a standard checking account with BBVA and shop around at other banks and credit unions.

Certificates of Deposit

BBVA has a limited offering of CDs, with terms ranging from 12 months to 36 months. That may seem like a short list of options, but the terms should be sufficient for basic needs without overcomplicating things. CDs require at least $500 to open.

BBVA CD Rates (as of June 18, 2020)
Term APY
11 months 0.30%
12 months 0.40%
18 months 0.45%
36 months 0.40%

The APY above only applies to new CDs that you open online. To find out how much you can earn in other circumstances, contact BBVA.

Early withdrawal penalties at BBVA are fairly straightforward:

  • For terms of 365 days or less, pay $25 plus 1% of the amount you withdraw
  • For terms longer than 365 days, pay $25 plus 3% of the amount you withdraw

BBVA’s promotional CD rates are average for a brick-and-mortar bank. If you want to earn more and improve your chances of consistently high rates, browse our list of the best CDs (updated weekly).

Credit Cards

BBVA offers four different Visa credit cards including a secured credit card. If you’re looking for a 0% balance transfer or you want to earn rewards for spending, one of these cards might meet your needs:

  • BBVA Rewards Card
  • BBVA ClearPoints Credit Card
  • Select Credit Card
  • Optimizer Credit Card

 Other Financial Products From BBVA

In addition to deposit accounts and credit cards, BBVA has a wide range of offerings:

  • Home mortgage loans
  • Refinance mortgages
  • Home equity loans and lines of credit
  • Personal loans
  • Auto loans
  • IRAs and annuities
  • Self-directed investing
  • Managed investment portfolios
  • Financial consultants
  • Private banking
  • Business bank accounts
  • Business loans and other business services

BBVA Customer Service

BBVA gets mediocre reviews on customer service, with ratings of “about average” in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study. However, BBVA's mobile app earned the 2019 Javelin Mobile Banking Leader ranking for functionality, making it the sixth consecutive year BBVA got high marks.

Customer service is available by phone Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Central time.

If you call BBVA more than 5 times a month, you may have to pay $1 per call. That’s sure to add frustration if you’re trying to fix a problem that requires multiple phone calls.

How to Bank With BBVA

To get started, visit BBVAUSA.com or go to a branch. As with any financial institution, you need to provide personal information when opening a bank account.

The Bottom Line

BENEFITS

BBVA has a broad lineup of services for consumers and businesses. If all you need is a basic checking account, BBVA might be a good option, especially if you’re located in Alabama, Arizona, Texas, California, Colorado, Florida, or New Mexico. Those states have 649 branches to choose from, plus additional fee-free ATMs at grocery stores and other locations. Free checking is accessible to almost anybody at BBVA, and if you can’t get approved for some reason, you can try to get back on your feet with a “second chance.”

DRAWBACKS

Although BBVA is a large bank, the service footprint only covers seven states. As is common with brick-and-mortar banks, BBVA pays low rates on savings accounts, CDs, and money market accounts. The bank may be helpful for free checking at a local branch and business needs, but it’s not the best place to earn interest. If you keep a substantial amount in cash, it’s worth exploring alternatives like online banks for your excess savings.

Article Sources

  1. Javelin Strategy. "Mobile Banking Award Whitepaper." Page 2. Accessed March 24, 2020.

  2. BBVA. "Savings Account." Accessed March 24, 2020.

  3. BBVA. "Online Savings Account." Accessed March 24, 2020.

  4. BBVA. "BBVA Money Market Account." Accessed March 24, 2020.

  5. BBVA. "BBVA Free Checking." Accessed March 24, 2020.

  6. BBVA. "BBVA Online Checking." Accessed March 24, 2020.

  7. BBVA. "Premium Checking Account." Accessed March 24, 2020.

  8. BBVA. "BBVA Easy Checking." Accessed March 24, 2020.

  9. BBVA. "Certificates of Deposit." Accessed March 24, 2020.

  10. J.D. Power. "2019 U.S. Banking Retail Satisfaction Study." Accessed March 24, 2020.