Santander Bank Review

Is Santander a good bank?

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Santander Bank

Santander Bank, founded in Spain in 1857, has more than 575 branches and 2,000 ATMs across the Northeast U.S., including more than 1,000 ATMs in CVS Pharmacy locations.  Santander provides a variety of financial products and services to help consumers manage their finances. This detailed review can help you decide whether Santander Bank is a good fit for you.

  • Pros and Cons
  • Company Overview
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Low minimum opening deposits

  • Fee waivers on most accounts are easy to achieve

Cons
  • Low APY across savings and checking accounts

  • Branches are limited to the Northeast

  • Credit card is available in only 11 states and Washington, D.C.

Company Overview
  • Official Website www.santanderbank.com
  • Bank Product Offerings Savings, checking, money markets, CDs, credit cards
  • Customer Service Phone line available daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (877-768-2265), mobile app, and online support center and contact form.
  • Year Founded 1857

Who Is Santander Bank Best For?

Santander Bank has several options for checking and savings accounts with no minimum deposit requirements, making it suitable for a variety of customers. In particular, the bank is best for those who want to:

  • Open a student checking or savings account with no fees
  • Open a checking account with easy fee waiver requirements
  • Visit a bank with physical branches in the Northeast 

What Does Santander Bank Offer?

Santander Bank offers a menu of accounts and services that includes multiple checking and savings accounts, as well as options to earn interest on deposits in CD’s and money market accounts.

Accounts

Savings Accounts

Account Name Fee Fee Waiver Best For APY
Youth Savings Account $0 N/A Youth under age 18 who want to establish good savings habits None
Savings Account $1 Maintain a $100 average daily balance in your account, or own a Santander personal checking account Those looking for an easy way to get a free savings account and who want to earn interest, too 0.03%

Youth Savings Account 

The Youth Savings account is a nice first bank account option for kids. There’s no monthly fee and only a $10 minimum opening deposit. The account is only available for individuals under age 18 and requires a legal guardian co-owner. You’ll pay a $3 ATM withdrawal fee for domestic non-Santander ATM withdrawals.

You must visit a bank branch to open this account.

Santander Savings Account

The Santander Savings account is relatively well-rounded, in that its monthly fee is only $1 and easy to waive, and it offers a 0.03% APY. It’s a great starter account if you want to learn the basics of waiving monthly fees and earning interest, but there are other savings accounts that offer a much higher APY and don’t charge a monthly fee.

Santander Money Market Savings Accounts

Account Name Fee Fee Waiver Best For APY
Money Market Savings $10 Opening any personal Santander checking account or with $10,000 average daily balance in the Santander Money Market savings account Customers who can maintain $10,000 or more in a savings account 0.10% to 0.52%
Premier Plus Money Market Savings None Not applicable—must own any Premier Plus Checking account to open Customers who can maintain $50,000 or more in a savings account 0.10% to 0.52%
Select Money Market Savings None Not applicable—must own any Santander Select Checking account to open Customers with a Santander checking account 0.63%

Money Market Savings

The Santander Money Market savings account has a $25 minimum opening account. There’s no minimum balance requirement and the monthly fee of $10 is relatively easy to waive. While it’s an easy account to maintain, the APY it offers for accounts with less than $10,000 is far behind some of the leading money market accounts (MMAs).

Balance APY
$1.00 to $9,999.99 0.10%
$10,000.00 to $49,999.99 0.35%
$50,000+ 0.52%

Premier Plus Money Market Savings

The Santander Premier Plus Money Market Savings has a $25 minimum opening deposit and no minimum balance requirement. There’s no monthly fee but you must own a Premier Plus Checking account in order to open this account. The APY for accounts below $10,000 is low compared to the top MMAs.

Balance APY
$1.00 to $9,999.99 0.10%
$10,000.00 to $49,999.99 0.35%
$50,000+ 0.52%

Select Money Market Savings

The Santander Select Money Market Savings has a $25 minimum opening deposit requirement. You don’t have to maintain a minimum balance and there’s no monthly fee, but you must have a Santander Select checking account to open. Otherwise, your Santander Select Money Market Savings will be converted into a different type of money market savings account. This account offers the advantage of the bank’s best MMA APY for accounts under $10,000.

Balance APY
$1.00 to $9,999.99 0.63%
$10,000+ 0.63%

Checking Accounts

Account Name Monthly Fee Opening Deposit Minimum Balance Fee Waiver APY
Student Value Checking None $10 None N/A None
Basic Checking $3 $25 None None None
Simply Right Checking $10 $25 None One transaction per calendar month None
Premier Plus Checking $25 $50 None $25,000 in combined balances & deposits, or $4,000 in direct deposits 0.01%
Santander Select Checking $75 $150 None $150,000 in combined bank deposits and eligible investment balances None

Student Value Checking

Students ages 14 to 25 are eligible to open a Student Value Checking with no monthly fee or minimum balance. However, you have to be at least 18 to open the account online. Having a Student Value Checking account waives the monthly fee on Santander savings and money market savings. In general, this is a solid, low-fee option for students opening their first checking account.

Through Sept. 30, 2020, you can get a $50 welcome bonus if you can make 10 debit card transactions within 60 days of opening your account.

Basic Checking

The Basic checking account doesn’t come with many benefits and the $3 monthly fee can’t be waived. Also, there’s a $3 fee on non-Santander ATM withdrawals and paper statements. The main advantage of this account is that it qualifies you for a fee waiver for Santander savings and money market savings accounts.

Simply Right Checking

This account’s strength is that Santander Bank will waive the $10 monthly fee if you make just one transaction per month. The transaction can be a deposit, withdrawal, transfer, or payment. Fee-wise, there’s a $3 fee for non-Santander ATM withdrawals and paper statements. Having the account waives the monthly fee on Santander Savings and Santander Money Market Savings.

Premier Plus Checking

The Premier Plus Checking account’s strength is that it charges no fees for non-Santander ATM withdrawals or paper statements. Also, it is an interest-bearing account but it requires higher account balances or direct deposit to avoid the monthly fee. The account makes you eligible for the Santander Premier Plus Money Market Savings.

Santander Select Checking

The Santander Select Checking Account is the most expensive checking option the bank offers but it entitles you to several advantages the other accounts don’t offer: 

  • Access to a banker who is assigned to you
  • No fee to use Santander ATMs abroad
  • Up to $30 in rebates for ATM surcharges from other banks
  • No foreign transaction fee on debit purchases

This mix of features makes Select Checking an excellent choice if you travel abroad.

Santander charges a $35 overdraft fee each time a transaction overdraws your account. The bank can charge up to six fees per day. You can sign up for overdraft protection, through which the bank charges a $12 daily fee each day it has to transfer money from a designated account to your checking account to fund an overdrawn purchase.

Certificates of Deposit

Santander’s website lists an 18-month CD at 0.65% APY and a 15-month CD at 0.60% APY but doesn’t give any other rates or terms. You’ll have to visit a branch to get more information about available APYs. This is a considerable drawback because the bank’s branches are only located in the Northeast. Online banks offer similar rates and don’t require you to go into a branch to open a CD. 

CDs terms range from three months to six years and require a $500 deposit. You can opt to have your interest earnings go back into the CD or transfer to checking, savings, or money market savings.

You’ll need a minimum deposit of $100,000 and any personal Santander checking account to open a jumbo CD and receive the advertised rate.

Credit Cards

Santander has just one credit card: the Santander Ultimate Cash Back. The credit card provides 3% cash back for the first year on purchases up to $20,000. After the first year, cardholders earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on qualified purchases with no limits. There are no annual fees, transaction fees, returned payment fee, or cash advance fee.

The card is only available to residents of 11 states and the District of Columbia: Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Other Financial Products From Santander Bank

Santander also has a wide range of other offerings:

  • Lines of credit
  • Personal loans
  • Purchase mortgages
  • Refinance mortgages
  • Retirement planning 
  • Portfolio management
  • 529 college savings plan
  • Business loans

Santander Bank Customer Service

Bank customers can get answers to their questions online via Santander’s online Customer Service section. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can call 877-768-2265 to speak with a bank representative or email the bank through its contact form. Customer service is available by phone every day between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Eastern. Santander also offers a mobile app, and there’s always the option to simply visit a branch and speak with a Santander employee in person.

Santander Bank ranked below the regional average for the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Survey, finishing ninth out of 12 New England banks and 22nd out of 27 Mid-Atlantic banks. 

Santander Bank recently reached a $550 million settlement with 34 states to reimburse consumers for alleged deceptive loan practices nationwide. The lawsuit was brought against Santander for allegedly violating consumer protection laws by exposing subprime auto loan consumers to unnecessarily high levels of risk and default. While Santander does not offer auto loans directly from their bank branches and websites, they may be an option when you’re looking for financing at a dealership.

How to Bank With Santander Bank

To open an account, you’ll have to provide your social security number and a credit or debit card you’ll use to fund your new account with a credit or debit card. You can open some accounts online or by phone (877-768-2265), but others will require you to go to a bank branch. 

Take caution: Funding your checking account with a credit card may lead to a cash advance fee from your credit card issuer. We suggest using your debit card to avoid fees.

Final Verdict

BENEFITS

Even if you don’t live near a Santander Bank branch, you can manage accounts with online and mobile banking. While branches are limited to the Northeast, there are ATM locations in many places across the country. Most accounts are fairly easy to open and have easy fee waiver requirements. Customers who can maintain larger account balances will get the most from banking with Santander as high-end premium accounts come with higher interest rates and account benefits.

DRAWBACKS

The bank’s savings account APY is pretty dismal—at 0.03% APY, it’s half that of the national average of 0.06%. Many online banks offer much higher savings rates. Certificates of deposit earn the best rates, though the bank’s website is scant on details, making it difficult for prospective customers to comparison shop.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Santander. "About Us." Accessed Aug. 12, 2020.

  2. Santander. "ATMs - 2,000+ Across the Northeast." Accessed Aug. 12, 2020.

  3. Santander. "Savings Accounts." Accessed Aug. 12, 2020.

  4. Santander. "What Is an Overdraft?" Accessed Aug. 12, 2020.

  5. Santander. "Checking Accounts." Accessed Aug. 12, 2020.

  6. Santander. "What Is a Overdraft Protection Transfer Fee (Sweep Fee)?" Accessed Aug. 12, 2020.

  7. Santander. "Certificates of Deposit." Accessed Aug. 12, 2020.

  8. Santander. "Credit Cards." Accessed Aug. 12, 2020.

  9. Santander. "Welcome! Let's Start Your Santander Ultimate Cash Back Credit Card Application." Accessed Aug. 12, 2020.

  10. Santander. "How Can I Contact You by Telephone?" Accessed Aug. 12, 2020.

  11. J.D. Power. "Retail Banks Face Major Customer Satisfaction Challenge as World Shifts to Digital-Only Engagement, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed Aug. 12, 2020.

  12. Office of Attorney General Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. "Attorney General Shapiro Announces $550 Million Settlement With Santander." Accessed Aug. 12, 2020.