It was a bold initiative, back in 2007. The Spanish bank BBVA, the parent company of what was formerly BBVA Compass, wanted to become a tech giant — a Facebook, a Google, or an Amazon — for the banking world.
Francisco Gonzalez, BBVA’s CEO at the time, said, “BBVA will be a software company in the future.”
He meant the bank’s financial services would be indistinguishable from the technology connecting the bank to its customers.
In banking, as elsewhere, online and off, bold visions need good products behind them.
Let’s look beneath the glass to see what BBVA offers and how well they have achieved their vision of seamlessly integrating their banking and technology.
You can use this information to decide whether BBVA should be your go-to-bank.
BBVA Bank Review
- Products & Services
- Interest Rates
- Fees & Charges
- Website / App
- Customer Service
BBVA Bank offers a full-service banking solution for just about any situation. Services include personal checking, savings, and credit cards, and small business accounts. To top it off, they offer attractive interest rates on both checking and savings accounts.
BBVA Bank Review: A Quick History
BBVA shares its name and its recent history with Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, the second largest bank in Spain and one of the 30 largest banks in the world.
But before it was BBVA (formerly BBVA Compass), it was simply Compass Bank, a Birmingham, Ala.-based institution with a history all its own.
Founded as Central Bank in 1964, the bank eventually changed its name to Compass as it spread across the Sunbelt, from Florida to California, by acquiring other regional banks.
BBVA bought Compass Bank in 2007 and re-branded it BBVA Compass Bank, and then to simply BBVA in 2019.
Now, as BBVA, the bank continues to operate branches in its original geographic areas, specifically Florida, Alabama, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and Colorado. BBVA holds about $38 billion in U.S. assets.
Broader Name Recognition
If you live outside those seven states and are familiar with the name BBVA, it’s likely you’re a sports fan.
The bank sponsors the National Basketball Association and has naming rights on the professional soccer stadium in Houston. The bank also sponsored a college football bowl game in Birmingham, Ala., for several years.
No matter where you live in the Continental United States (or whether you watch sports) you can access some of BBVA’s banking products online, using its Web site or its award winning mobile apps.
BBVA Bank Features
|Banking Account Types||Interest Checking, Savings, Money Market, CDs|
|Other Account Types||Credit Cards, Lending, Mortgages, Investments, Small Business, Commercial Accounts|
|Minimum Required Deposit to Open Account||$25|
|Number of Branches||600+|
|ATM Network Size||Allpoint® ATM Network, featuring 55,000+ surcharge-free ATMs|
|Remote Deposit Availability||Yes|
|App Availability||iOS, Android, mobile optimized website.|
|Person to Person Money Transfers||Popmoney®|
|Money Transfers||ACH, Wire Transfers, Popmoney®, Instant Transfers Between BBVA Accounts, Secure Send? International Money Transfer|
|Customer Service Types||Phone, via Online Banking|
|Customer Service Hours||Mon – Fri: 7am to 10pm CT, Sat: 8am to 4pm CT|
|Member FDIC||FDIC Certificate #19048|
|Routing Number / ABA Number||BBVA Has Different Routing Numbers, Based on Location. See Notes Below for More Information|
|Current Promotions||Click to See Current Interest Rates;|
See more Bank Promotions
What and Where: BBVA’s Services
BBVA offers its full range of banking and financial services only in seven states, which are primarily in the Sunbelt region:
Here are the states in which BBVA Bank operates, and the BBVA Bank Routing Numbers in each state:
- Alabama – 062001186
- Arizona – 122105744
- California – 321170538
- Colorado – 107005319
- Florida – 063013924
- New Mexico – 107000783
- Texas – 113010547
- All other states (Online Banking) – 062001186
Since the bank also offers checking and savings accounts online in every state except Alaska and Hawaii, we’ll focus on those first.
BBVA’s Checking Accounts
You have four checking account options with BBVA. One option is specifically designed for people who have had financial trouble in the past and may not qualify for a regular checking account.
This account is called EasyChecking, and if you’ve had trouble getting approved for a checking account elsewhere, this one may be for you.
While BBVA relaxes its usual credit and approval criteria to make EasyChecking more accessible, account holders will pay a $13.95 monthly service charge. So avoid this option unless it’s your last resort.
And, if you do need this kind of account, try to keep a positive balance for 12 months in a row, which will qualify you for one of BBVA’s other checking accounts:
Free Checking: This is BBVA’s basic non-interest bearing checking account specially designed for people who live in the seven states the bank operates within.
There are no regular monthly fees, though the bank does assess overdraft fees, and they’re higher than most. (We’ll get into those a little later.)
You only need $25 to open this account.
ClearConnect Checking: This account works the same way as BBVA’s Free Checking (no regular fees; $25 opening balance) but it’s designed especially for online customers.
You get free access to 55,000 Allpoint ATMs, and you can save $3 a month by getting digital bank statements instead of printed statements in the mail.
This service is available to anyone in the Continental United States, and you can get started online by using this link.
BBVA’s Interest Checking generates up to 0.5 percent interest on your balance. There is a $25 monthly service charge which is waived if you maintain a balance of $5,000 or more in your account.
Paying a monthly fee negates the interest earned, which is even more incentive to keep a healthy account balance.
But, unless you can keep at least $5,000 in the bank at all times, you’ll want to avoid this account.
Checking Account Fees at BBVA
Just about any bank will penalize you for overdrawing the account. BBVA’s overdraft fees are steeper than a lot of other banks, though. Here’s a look at the numbers:
- $38 — fee assessed per transaction when you’re overdrawn ($32 in California).
- 6 — maximum times per day the $38 fee can be assessed.
- $25 — an additional fee the bank charges if you go 10 days with a negative balance.
- $25 — fee for closing a new account within 180 days.
Saving Money with BBVA
If you’re looking to earn a high interest rate on your savings, you’ll do better with an online only bank that specializes in high yield savings. But if you’re looking for one-stop shopping for your banking needs, you’ll want to know how BBVA’s savings options add up.
BBVA (formerly BBVA Compass) has four options for interest-bearing savings:
Traditional Savings Options
The ClearChoice and Money Market accounts charge a $15 quarterly service fee which you can avoid by direct depositing at least $25 a month from another BBVA account or by maintaining a balance of at least $500.
The ClearConnect savings account doesn’t charge the $15 quarterly service fee.
Interest rates are unimpressive on the ClearChoice and ClearConnect options, so if you plan to maintain a large balance and would like to earn a competitive interest rate, check out the high yield options at online only banks, or take a look at BBVA’s Money Market savings account.
The bank’s Money Market rates are closer to what you’d get at an online only bank, though you can find an online only bank that doesn’t charge monthly fees regardless of your balance.
BBVA allows ATM access to savings accounts, though federal law limits monthly transactions on Money Market accounts to six.
Certificates of Deposit
You can also beat BBVA’s CD rates by shopping around, but if you’re already a customer, the bank’s online experience makes it easy to buy a CD.
BBVA requires a $500 minimum for a CD, and it offers terms of 1 month to 48 months with higher interest rates available on longer-term purchases.
Beyond Checking and Savings at BBVA
BBVA provides lending services, including credit cards, mortgages, and other kinds of secured loans in some, but not all states.
If you live in the following states, you could apply for a new mortgage or a mortgage refinance through BBVA:
- New Mexico
The bank offers fixed rate and adjustable rate options, and it has a special program for buying more expensive property. If you’re a looking to finance property for professional reasons (to open a law office or an architectural firm, for example) BBVA can also help.
Mortgage rates at BBVA tend to be competitive with other top banks that offer private home loans. Since the bank excels in giving customers online access to all accounts, the application process is quick and seamless.
For example, before beginning an application, BBVA’s site shows customers a list of the materials they will need during the application process.
This kind of thoughtful interaction with customers can make the intimidating process of securing a home loan or getting a home equity line of credit or a second mortgage to pay for home improvements, less cumbersome.
BBVA offers consumer credit cards only in the seven states where it operates physical branches.
If you happen to live there, and a lot of people do, you can find some solid options to expand your spending power while earning rewards. Features of BBVA credit cards include:
- 0 percent interest introductory offers available
- Cards with no annual fees
- Healthy rewards plans, especially when your card is connected to a BBVA checking account.
- Products based on customer priorities (rewards vs. low interest, etc.)
An attractive feature across all credit card options is the bank’s BBVA Wallet smartphone app that helps customers keep track of credit card promotions, points accruals, penalties, and payments.
Other Types of Lending – Auto, HELOC, Personal Loans
Depending on your location, BBVA offers flexible borrowing options such as personal convenience loans, auto loans, and home equity lines of credit.
An Express Personal Loan from BBVA allows customers to get a lower interest rate than a credit card on planned expenses. The bank offers this program only in its home states of Florida, Alabama, Texas, California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado.
Say you’ve had an unexpected state tax bill or a or you needed dental surgery and don’t have insurance. Or maybe you’d like to consolidate some existing debt?
A personal loan can offer an interest rate that’s often less than half a typical credit card rate. This means you should be able to pay the debt off more quickly.
These kinds of loans are unsecured, which means your interest rate will likely be higher than a mortgage rate or even an auto rate.
BBVA also charges interest surcharges ranging from $60 to $120 depending on the size of your loan.
The bank makes auto loans in the seven states with physical branches. Its rates are competitive, and you can extend some loans up to 72 months.
Here are some important figures if you’re thinking about using BBVA for your next new or used car purchase:
- $5,000: minimum loan amount
- $15,000: minimum amount before more favorable interest rates kick in.
You can save money by making car loan payments through a BBVA checking account.
A home equity line of credit works kind of like a credit card, but it is backed by the equity built up in your mortgage. You’re basically borrowing money from the part of your house you’ve already paid for.
BBVA offers home equity lines of credit only in its seven home states.
The application process is easy to use, and you can get an idea about how much you can borrow and what kind of interest rate you’ll qualify for without the bank having to pull a credit report.
Wealth Management and Financial Advising
BBVA offers financial planning in its seven home states, along with Georgia, Illinois, and New York. You can discuss insurance, investing, estate planning, and asset management with a BBVA advisor.
Financial advising is a personal service, and using a BBVA advisor would probably make the most sense if you’re already a customer of the bank.
Otherwise, it’s likely easier and more productive to find an advisor in your city when you need help planning for your financial future.
Business Banking Accounts
Another benefit BBVA Bank offers is banking solutions for small businesses and commercial operations.
This makes BBVA a good option for the small business owner who wants to prioritize convenience by opening both personal and business accounts at one location.
You would need to contact BBVA Bank regarding what you need to open a business checking or savings account.
Here are some general tips for opening a business account.
BBVA Bank Advantages and Disadvantages
- Interest Rates Among the Best in the Nation
- Full Service Banking – Checking, Savings, CDs, Investing, & More
- Over 600 Branch Locations
- Allpoint® ATM Network, Featuring 55,000+ Surcharge-free ATMs
- Small Business & Commercial Banking
- Branch locations only in 7 states
- Customer Service Not 24/7
Is BBVA Bank Right For You?
BBVA is more than a decade into its technological initiative, a process that has sought to remake the bank’s infrastructure so that it can respond to customers’ immediate needs.
It’s an admirable goal and a bold move.
For customers of BBVA, this focus on global technology may be most evident in the bank’s mobile apps and online banking, which have routinely won Javelin awards for excellence in the marketplace.
BBVA Wallet, for example, can make credit card bills more transparent. If you’ve ever been surprised when deferred credit card interest kicks in or when an introductory interest rate ends, this app may be for you.
If you’re looking for a full-service bank that’s easy to access online, BBVA is worth considering, especially if you live in a state where the bank has branches.
Having local access makes it easier to use the bank for car loans, home improvement loans, and credit cards while managing those accounts in one online log-in.
However, if you have one or two specific banking needs, you can probably find a better solution elsewhere.
For example, for high yield savings, an online bank can offer lower fees and higher rates.
For interest-bearing checking accounts, you can find a bank with lower overdraft fees and lower or no maintenance fees. For CDs you can do a lot better elsewhere.