The Worst Banks to Give Your Money to in 2018

Big banks already don’t have the best reputation.

Many pour billions into fossil fuel companies and destructive projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline. Some charge outrageous — and often hidden — fees. A number openly face charges of corruption and discrimination.

No for-profit financial institution seems to have clean hands. But here are some of the worst to give your money to this year.

1. Bank of America

Seven percent of Americans don’t have a bank account, and a quarter don’t have access to all the services banks offer. A lot of them are low-income and people of color.

And this means they often turn to even more expensive options, like check cashing businesses.

Bank of America recently fed into the problem by removing their free checking account option. The bank will now charge customers $12 a month to keep their accounts open. In the past, customers access have a free checking account by using online banking.

The United States’ second-biggest bank is not the only one that has failed to watch out for poor people. As Gillian B. White notes in the Atlantic, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo have also stopped offering no-cost checking accounts in the last few years.

White predicts that more banks will follow suit. Activists have been scrutinizing overdraft fees, and banks want to find a way to make up lost profits.

2. Banks Owned by JP Morgan Chase

Passionate about a cause? Put your money in a place that shares your values.

Take clean energy. According to the Financial Times, the world’s biggest banks gave $630 billion over three years to companies building coal plants.

JP Morgan Chase is one of them. Between 2014 and 2016, the behemoth gave more than $3.1 billion to tar sands producers. They increased their funding in 2016. At the same time, higher-ups claimed support for the Paris climate talks.

This hypocrisy isn’t isolated to the company that owns the U.S.’ biggest bank,  JPMorgan Chase & Co. But it is one glaring example.

3. Wells Fargo

For bankers, the pressure to make sales can be toxic. Wells Fargo, for one, had particularly shady practices to deal with unrealistic goals. Starting in 2016, employees created more than 3.5 million fake accounts for their customers.

As Gizmodo’s Jennings Brown notes:

The scandal stems largely from CEO John Stumpf pushing his employees to live by the slogan “Eight is Great,” as in eight is the number of accounts they should push customers to have (such as checking, savings, credit card, personal loan, mortgage, and car loan).

Rather than take responsibility, Wells Fargo scapegoated its workers, firing thousands. However, those who work at other banks told CNN that the over-the-top pressure to get customers to open more accounts is astonishingly common.

These three banks are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to toxic banking practices. Consider making the switch to a local or online bank or credit union instead.

Photo Credit: Mike Mozart/Flickr


Maria R
Maria R24 days ago


Angela J
Angela J28 days ago


Marianne C
Marianne Cabout a month ago

I banked with a local bank until they sold out to a big multi-state corporation. Then I moved my accounts to a local credit union.

Winn A
Winn Aabout a month ago

NO big banks for me. I've been with the same credit union for over 25 years and I plan to stay there too.

Chrissie R
Chrissie Rabout a month ago

Thank you for posting.

Virginia Miller
Virginia Millerabout a month ago

I bank locally, no big banks.

JT Smith
Past Member about a month ago

I don't use large banks for anything beyond examples of where not to go. Thankfully my local bank (which has 11 branches) is there with ACTUALLY free checking (though I always keep a few cents in an account so they don't think I want it closed) and they offer all the usual services except credit card (which are rip-offs anyway as you pay more for a product/service in the long run than if you save your money and pay cash [I'm om Disability so I know just how tight finances can get]), the closest my bank gets is a Visa cheque card.

Hannah K
Hannah Kabout a month ago

Good to know. Thanks.

Camilla Vaga
Camilla Vagaabout a month ago


Margie Fabout a month ago

I can think of a lot of other banks who cater for the wealthy and syphon off funds for their clients.