In February 2022, Sterling National Bank officially became part of Webster Bank, which operates 130 branches and more than 300 ATMs throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island.
The financial institution now offers a wide range of personal banking products including checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit and credit cards.
What we like
- Branch network for regional bankers
- Includes access to Zelle for person-to-person payments and a mobile app
- Waives some account fees for people ages 21 and under and 65 and older
What we don’t like
- Paradox of choice -- there are too many options to consider
- Confusing set of requirements to avoid monthly service fees
- Charges high overdraft fees
- Little-to-no interest potential for its savings accounts
Who is Webster Bank suited for?
If you prefer access to in-person banking services and live within the bank’s regional network of branch locations, Webster Bank can be a good fit for your financial needs. Also, if you want to keep all of your financial services under one roof, Webster Bank also offers certain of its members discounts on mortgages and home equity products.
Webster Bank products
Webster Bank offers five different checking accounts, but they all share one commonality: No earning potential. Unlike the best checking accounts available, none of the accounts offer any interest potential worth writing about (the Premier Checking, for example, offers an annual percentage yield, or APY, of a measly 0.01%). One notable offering is the bank’s Opportunity Checking account, which is designed for individuals who have struggled to manage their money in the past. However, it still comes with a hefty fee of $16.95 per month (or $11.95 with direct deposit).
Below is a rundown of the bank’s most popular account, Webster Value Checking.
|Minimum balance||Deposit at least $50 to start; avoiding the monthly fee requires an average balance of $1,000 or at least $500 of deposits each month|
|ATMs||More than 300 machines|
Rate discounts on mortgages and home equity products
Low balance requirement to avoid monthly fee
In-person banking services
Relatively small ATM and branch network
No interest potential
High overdraft fees
ATM fee rebates for Premier Checking users
Webster Bank offers four savings accounts, none of which pay much interest -- the highest APY you’ll find here is 0.02%, so you’re better off comparing CNET’s best high-yield savings accounts to put your money to work.
Below is a rundown of the bank’s most popular savings account, Webster Value Savings.
|Minimum balance||$300 to avoid fees (minimum $5 deposit)|
|Monthly maintenance fee||$5|
Low minimum balance requirement to avoid fees
Small minimum deposit requirement
Fee waived for people ages 21 and younger, and 65 and older
Webster’s 11-month CD offers a competitive 4.00% APY, which puts it in the ballpark of some of the highest CD rates you can find right now. Plus, the minimum deposit is just $1,000. However, don’t bother with the bank’s other term lengths due to frustratingly low APYs. The bank’s early withdrawal penalty structure is different from most banks. Instead of being charged a certain amount of interest, you’ll forfeit between 1% and 3% of the amount you withdraw and pay a $25 fee. If, for example, you deposit $10,000 in a three-year CD and need to withdraw $5,000, you’ll pay $175.
CD Account Features
|Early withdrawal penalties||For CD terms of one-year or less, 1% of the amount withdrawn plus $25; for CDs longer than one-year, 3% of the amount withdrawn plus $25.|
Competitive earning potential for the 11-month CD
Minimum deposit of just $1,000
Very low rates on most CDs
No alternative CDs offered
Early withdrawal penalty can exceed the interest you’ve earned
The banking experience at Webster looks fairly similar to those at the biggest banks in the country. You can use in-person branches to do business, and can use some Webster-branded ATMs for free. However, while some of the best big banks offer nice sign-up bonuses for opening a new checking account, Webster doesn’t give away any cash for parking your money. You won’t earn much once it’s deposited, either: The interest potential on savings and checking accounts isn’t good.
Additionally, Webster’s business model relies heavily on relationship banking; people with checking and savings accounts are incentivized to take out Webster-brand mortgages and home equity products. The bank also has a few rewards credit cards that might be good fits, depending on your spending habits.
Webster Bank charges a $37 overdraft fee on three of its accounts -- Webster Value Checking, WebsterOne Relationship Checking and Webster Premier Checking. If you’re enrolled in overdraft protection, the bank can charge that fee up to seven times in one day, which can add up to an absurdly high price tag. There are two options to avoid overdraft charges:
Savings overdraft protection: The bank will automatically transfer funds from your Webster savings account to cover the transaction. A $12 fee applies.
Overdraft line of credit: The bank will advance funds from a linked credit line. Some people will pay a $20 annual fee for the service, but higher-value members with WebsterOne Relationship Checking and Webster Premier Checking accounts can get the fee waived.
To connect with Webster Bank’s customer service department, call 800-325-2424 during the following hours:
Monday through Friday: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT)
Saturday and Sunday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET (5 a.m to 5 p.m. PT)
About Webster Bank
Headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, Webster Bank acquired Sterling National Bank for $10 billion in 2022. The newly expanded financial institution now has a large footprint across the Northeast.