KeyBank: 2023 Banking Review – CNET

KeyBank: 2023 Banking Review – CNET

KeyBank is a national bank that provides a wide variety of deposit accounts — many with high fees and low rates. The bank operates more than 1,000 branches across 15 states crisscrossing the US from Washington to Connecticut. This Cleveland-based bank only offers its robust mobile app and online banking tools to residents within its geographic footprint. 

KeyBank logo with blue background

James Martin/CNET

KeyBank has a large network of free ATMs, but don’t expect to be reimbursed for non-network ATM fees. Do, however, expect a $3 charge for non-network ATM transactions domestically and $5 internationally. 

What we like

  • Free ATMs: There are more than 40,000 ATMs with no surcharges for withdrawals made at KeyBank and Allpoint networks.
  • Overdraft protection: There are no fees applied to overdraft checks under $20.
  • Secure online and mobile banking: Robust mobile app allows transactions such as mobile check deposits and external transfers.
  • 24/7 customer service: Available through live phone assistance and extended chat support hours in addition to in-person appointments.

What we don’t like

  • Limited number of bank branches: Residents outside of KeyBank’s 15-state service area aren’t eligible to open accounts.
  • Out-of-network ATM fees: KeyBank doesn’t reimburse non-network ATM fees.
  • Low rates: Deposit account rates aren’t competitive with other banks.
  • Excess withdrawal or transfer fee: A $15 fee will be applied to any transfers or withdrawals beyond seven transactions per month. This includes automatic bill pay and transfers between KeyBank accounts.

Who is KeyBank suited for? 

KeyBank is ideal for residents of the 15 states where it operates branches. Only US residents in the following states can open a KeyBank account: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont and Washington.

Checking account review

KeyBank offers five checking accounts, three of which are interest-bearing accounts. However, the rates are well below the range of 0.10% to 2.50% found in CNET’s list of the top online checking accounts. Two accounts — Key Smart Checking® and Key Hassle-Free Account® — are totally free checking with minimal initial balance requirements to open an account. 

While there’s a large free network of KeyBank and Allpoint ATMs available, KeyBank charges for each non-network ATM — $3 domestically and $5 internationally — and doesn’t rebate any third-party bank fees. 

Checking account features

Checking account APY Minimum balance Monthly fee Overdraft fee Foreign transaction fee
Key Smart Checking® N/A $10 $0 $0 3%
Key Advantage Checking® 0.01% $50 $18 $0 3%
Key Privilege Checking® 0.01% $50 $25 $0 3%
Key Privilege Select Checking® 0.01% $50 $50 $0 3%
Key Hassle-Free Account® N/A $10 $0 $0 3%

What we like

  • Large ATM network: There are 40,000 ATMs with no surcharges for withdrawals made at KeyBank and Allpoint networks.
  • Overdraft protection: There are no fees applied to overdraft checks under $20.
  • Free checking options: Two checking accounts offer a totally free checking option. 

What we don’t like

  • Fees: Monthly fees can be as high as $50, however they can be waived if significant balances across other KeyBank accounts are maintained. There are many alternatives that offer totally free checking that offer interest-bearing checking options.
  • Overdraft fees apply: Overdraft fees apply for checks of more than $20 unless the account holder is enrolled in the overdraft protection program. Many banks offer totally free checking accounts.

Savings account review

KeyBank provides two standard savings accounts: Key Active Saver® and Key4Kids Savings® accounts. The Key4Kids account is for children ages 18 and younger. You must visit a branch to open this type of account. Adults have the option to open a savings account with at least $10. The $4 monthly fee can be waived if you open any KeyBank checking account. The APYs offered are well below the national average rates for savings accounts and pale in comparison to high-yield savings accounts.

Savings account features

APY Minimum balance to open Monthly maintenance fee
Key Active Saver® 0.01% $10 $4
Key4Kids® Savings Account Yes $10 $0

What we like

  • Large ATM network: There are more than 40,000 ATMs with no surcharges for withdrawals made at KeyBank and Allpoint networks.
  • Low initial deposit: A reasonable initial deposit of $10 is required to open a savings account.

What we don’t like

  • Fees: There are several fees associated with these accounts. The $4 monthly fee for the Key Active Saver account is waived with a linked checking account. There’s also a $5 excess transaction fee imposed after seven transactions per month for each savings account.
  • Low-yield accounts: Higher-yielding savings accounts are available at other banks.

CD account review

KeyBank’s certificate of deposit accounts are only available to residents in its 15-state service area. The CDs require a substantial initial investment of $2,500 to open compared with other banks that offer CDs with lower minimums. The terms for a standard KeyBank CD range from seven days to ten years. Although the recent Fed rate hikes are translating to increasing rates on deposit accounts for many small and online banks, the APYs for most CDs at KeyBank don’t stack up with competing banks. You should compare rates for high-yield CDs before making a purchase decision. 

CD account features

CD type CD term APY
Key Short Term CDs Seven to 179 days 0.05%
Key Long Term CDs Six to 12 months 0.05%
Key Long Term CDs 13 months 3.50%
Key Long Term CDs 14 to 19 months 0.05%
Key Long Term CDs 20 months 1.75%
Key Long Term CDs 21 months to 10 years 0.05%
Key Jumbo CDs Seven days to 11 months 0.05%

What we like

  • Wide variety of terms: CD terms range from seven days to 10 years.
  • Online banking access: CDs can be opened through KeyBank’s website or its mobile app for people who live in the states KeyBank services.
  • Promotional rate: KeyBank’s 13-month CD can earn a competitive rate of 3.50% APY, if you open a qualified checking account which is eligible for its Relationship Rewards account.

What we don’t like

  • Limited options: KeyBank doesn’t offer specialty CDs such as no-penalty or step-up CDs. They also don’t offer one-, three- or five-year terms that most banks offer.
  • Low rates: Higher rates can be found at other banks.
  • Limited by location: Residents outside of the 15 states KeyBank services can’t open an account.
  • Large deposit required: The initial deposit of $2,500 can be an obstacle for new savers.

Money market account features

The Key Select Money Market Savings account has a tiered APY structure with the most competitive rates starting at balances of $25,000. These rates rank toward the low end of CNET’s top money market accounts

A $5,000 minimum initial deposit is required to open a KeyBank money market account. The monthly fee of $20 can be waived by maintaining a $25,000 balance or opening a qualified checking account. Currently, there’s no difference in rates between the standard and KeyBank Relationship Rate — the rate your account can earn by opening a qualified checking account.

Money market account features

Account APY Minimum balance Monthly fee Overdraft fee Excessive transaction fee Foreign transaction fee
Key Select Money Market Savings 0.05% to 2.28% $5,000 $20 $10 per item over $100 ($0 otherwise) $15 3%

What we like

  • Large ATM network: There are more than 40,000 ATMs with no surcharges for withdrawals made at KeyBank and Allpoint networks.
  • Competitive APYs: The rates offered are within a competitive range with other banks. However, there are banks offer more competitive rates on money market accounts.

What we don’t like

  • High initial balance: The $5,000 minimum is higher than many other banks.
  • Overdraft fees apply: Overdraft fees apply to checks of more than $20. 
  • Limited bonus rate offer: Requirements to qualify for promotional rates are complicated with a limited timeframe allowed to qualify.

Banking experience

KeyBank offers a full suite of deposit accounts with mobile banking tools that allow mobile check deposits, online bill pay and external money transfers. Round-the-clock customer service is available, too. You can also sign up for a free, 30-minute Financial Wellness Review of your finances and goals with a personal banker. The website reviews are mixed, but a quick chat with a financial professional can be a good place to start on the path to financial wellness.

Overdraft fees

KeyBank charges a $20 non-sufficient funds fee for any overdrafts of checking or money market accounts that exceed $20. Overdraft protection is available for any account that is linked to an eligible savings account or credit product through KeyBank. A recurring overdraft fee of $20 will be charged for accounts that remain in negative balance after five business days.

Early withdrawal penalties range from seven days to 12 months of simple interest, depending on the CD’s term.

Customer Service

KeyBank offers 24/7 live telephone customer support. The phone number is 800-539-2968. You can schedule an appointment for in-person assistance at a bank branch. It also provides extended customer service hours via online chat when you sign into your account Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to midnight ET (4 a.m. to 9 p.m. PT) and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET (5 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT). 

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