The Berkshire Bank Review: Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market and IRA Accounts

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Updated on Sunday, November 1, 2020

The Berkshire Bank’s checking account options

Regular Checking

This entry-level account has a lot of fees and doesn’t earn interest.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $8 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: $1 at non-The Berkshire Bank ATMs; at The Berkshire Bank ATMs, the first 25 withdrawals are free each month ($1 each after that)
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30

The Berkshire Bank’s Regular Checking account has a fairly steep minimum opening deposit considering the account’s very basic features. This checking account does not earn interest, and it charges a monthly service fee unless you maintain an average daily balance of $1,200.

You’ll also have to pay out-of-network ATM fees. Even at The Berkshire Bank ATMs, you’re only allowed 25 free withdrawals a month. If you use its ATMs more than 25 times in a month, you’ll have to pay an ATM fee. Finally, you’re allowed a maximum of 75 debits or withdrawals per month at no charge; after that, you’ll be charged 25 cents per transaction.

While it’s possible to use this account in a way that minimizes fees, it requires you to carefully track your daily balance and monthly transactions — and doesn’t offer much in return.

How to get The Berkshire Bank’s Regular Checking account

There is no option to apply for any of The Berkshire Bank’s accounts online. Instead, you’ll have to visit a branch.

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on The Berkshire Bank’s secure website

NOW Checking

In exchange for a higher monthly service fee, you’ll earn interest on this account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.15%
$1,500
0.15%
$25,000
0.25%
$1,000,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: $1 at non-The Berkshire Bank ATMs; at The Berkshire Bank ATMs, the first 25 withdrawals are free each month ($1 each after that)
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30

If you’re looking for a checking account that earns interest, The Berkshire Bank’s NOW Checking account will at least pay a little. This account earns tiered interest, meaning the interest rate you earn depends on your balance. The minimum balance required to earn interest is quite high, though, and the interest rates are less than impressive.

This account also charges a monthly service fee that’s even higher than that charged by the Regular Checking account. To waive the fee, you’ll have to maintain an average daily balance of at least $1,500. Many may find this difficult to do on a regular basis. This account only allows 50 debits or withdrawals per month at no charge. If you exceed that number, you’ll have to pay 25 cents per transaction.

How to get The Berkshire Bank’s NOW Checking account

You cannot apply for The Berkshire Bank’s checking accounts online. To open an account, you’ll have to visit a branch.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on The Berkshire Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Ultimate College Checking

A free checking account for college students.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $1 at non-The Berkshire Bank ATMs; at The Berkshire Bank ATMs, the first 25 withdrawals are free each month ($1 each after that)
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30

If you’re a college student between the ages of 18 and 24, you can qualify for The Berkshire Bank’s Ultimate College Checking account. This is one of only two checking accounts offered by The Berkshire Bank that doesn’t charge a monthly service fee. You’ll also get unlimited debits and withdrawals at no charge, while almost all this bank’s other accounts have a monthly cap.

You won’t earn interest with this account, and you will still incur ATM fees at all non-The Berkshire Bank ATMs. Like this bank’s other checking accounts, you’re only allowed 25 free ATM withdrawals at The Berkshire Bank ATMs per month. But if you qualify for this checking account, it’s one of the low-fee checking accounts offered.

How to get The Berkshire Bank’s Ultimate College Checking account

You will need to provide proof that you are a student with your application for this account. You can open an account at any The Berkshire Bank branch.

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on The Berkshire Bank’s secure website

Super Security Checking

Earn a competitive interest rate if you get monthly direct deposits from Social Security.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.20%
$500
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: $1 at non-The Berkshire Bank ATMs; at The Berkshire Bank ATMs, the first 25 withdrawals are free each month ($1 each after that)
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30

This checking account comes with a monthly service fee that can only be waived by maintaining an average daily balance of at least $500. While we prefer checking accounts with no monthly service fee, the requirements for waiving the fee on this account are lower than those required by other checking accounts at The Berkshire Bank.

The Super Security Checking account is designed for customers who receive monthly direct deposits from Social Security. If you do, and if you can maintain a minimum daily balance of at least $500, you’ll qualify for this account’s interest rate. For a checking account, this  rate is quite competitive.

You’ll only get 50 fee-free withdrawals and debits per month with a Super Security Checking account. After that, you’ll be charged a 25 cents fee for each transaction.

How to get The Berkshire Bank’s Super Security Checking account

To qualify for this account, you need to receive monthly direct deposits from Social Security. You can apply in a branch.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on The Berkshire Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Premier Checking

This account charges a monthly fee unless you can maintain a very high account balance.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: $1 at non-The Berkshire ATMs; at The Berkshire Bank ATMs, the first 25 withdrawals are free each month ($1 each after that)
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30

The Premier Checking account is a non-interest-bearing account. Like most of The Berkshire Bank’s checking products, this account charges a monthly maintenance fee. You’ll need to maintain at least $25,000 in combined account balances to waive the monthly service fee, and this minimum is also required to qualify for Premier Checking anyway.

But you’re only allowed 25 debits or withdrawals per month at no charge. If you use your debit card more than 25 times per month, you’ll be charged 25 cents for each additional transaction. You also will not earn interest on this account. Ultimately, there are few features that make this account’s monthly maintenance fee and high balance requirements worthwhile.

How to get The Berkshire Bank’s Premier Checking account

You can open a Premier Checking account by visiting a branch and applying in person. There are no online applications.

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on The Berkshire Bank’s secure website

60 & Better Checking

Designed for customers 60 or older, this account has no monthly maintenance fee.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $1 at non-The Berkshire Bank ATMs; at The Berkshire Bank ATMs, the first 25 withdrawals are free each month ($1 each after that)
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30

You won’t earn any interest with this checking account, but it’s one of only two checking accounts at The Berkshire Bank that doesn’t charge a monthly service fee. The minimum opening deposit requirement is higher than most other banks, but it’s still feasible.

You will still have to pay ATM fees at non-The Berkshire Bank ATMs, and this account only allows 50 free debits or withdrawals per month. If you exceed that limit, you’ll be charged 25 cents per transaction.

How to get The Berkshire Bank’s 60 & Better Checking account

You can apply for a 60 & Better Checking account by visiting a The Berkshire Bank branch.

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on The Berkshire Bank’s secure website

Basic Banking

The Berkshire Bank’s most basic checking account has lower fees, but it is open to New York residents only.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $3 (cannot be waived)
  • ATM fee: $1 at non-The Berkshire Bank ATMs; at The Berkshire Bank ATMs, the first 25 withdrawals are free each month ($1 each after that)
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30

The Berkshire Bank’s Basic Banking account has a low monthly maintenance fee, but it cannot be waived. It also has the lowest minimum opening deposit requirement of any checking account offered by this bank. The account does not earn interest, and ATM fees aren’t refunded.

There are some serious limitations that come with the Basic Banking account. First, you’re only allowed eight free debits or withdrawals per month at no charge, and you can’t exceed that number. You must be a New York resident to open this account, and you can’t have any other transactional accounts with The Berkshire Bank or any other financial institution if you hold this account. This account has little practical purpose for most people.

How to get The Berkshire Bank’s Basic Banking account

You can apply for a Basic Banking account at any of The Berkshire Bank’s New York locations.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on The Berkshire Bank’s secure website

New Jersey Consumer Checking

New Jersey residents qualify for this low-fee checking account.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $50
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $3 (cannot be waived)
  • ATM fee: $1 at non-The Berkshire Bank ATMs; at Berkshire ATMs, the first 25 withdrawals are free each month ($1 each after that)
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30

Like the Basic Banking account but for New Jersey residents, this checking account charges a low monthly maintenance fee that cannot be waived. It doesn’t earn interest, and you will have to pay ATM fees on non-The Berkshire Bank ATMs.

You can only use your account for up to eight debits or withdrawals per month, which is pretty limiting. The account is only open to New Jersey residents, and you can’t hold this account if you have any other transactional accounts with The Berkshire Bank or other financial institutions.

How to get The Berkshire Bank’s New Jersey Consumer Checking account

You can apply for this account at any of The Berkshire Bank’s New Jersey branches.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on The Berkshire Bank’s secure website

Blue Ribbon Checking

This account comes with a monthly maintenance fee that is easier to waive for customers who open a Blue Ribbon Savings account.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $8 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: $1 at non-The Berkshire Bank ATMs; at Berkshire ATMs, the first 25 withdrawals are free each month ($1 each after that)
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30

This account does not bear interest. But it requires that you open a Blue Ribbon Savings account to go with it, which does earn interest. You’ll need to maintain an average daily balance of at least $800 to waive the monthly service fee, which is lower than the requirements for most other checking accounts at The Berkshire Bank.

This account has the same ATM fees as the rest of The Berkshire Bank’s checking accounts. Unlike most of this bank’s checking accounts, though, the Blue Ribbon Checking account allows unlimited fee-free transactions.

While this is one of The Berkshire Bank’s better checking account offerings, it still comes with monthly maintenance and ATM fees, which can be avoided at other banks.

How to get The Berkshire Bank’s Blue Ribbon Checking account

You’ll need to open a Blue Ribbon Savings account to qualify for this checking account. You can open both at a branch.

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on The Berkshire Bank’s secure website

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How The Berkshire Bank’s checking accounts compare

While The Berkshire Bank offers a very wide range of checking account options, none of them can compete with the best online checking accounts. Most of these accounts have higher interest rates and no monthly service fees, and many of them also reimburse ATM fees.

In comparison, almost all the checking accounts at The Berkshire Bank charge monthly service fees, and they aren’t so easy to waive. Most of its accounts also come with some odd limitations, such as limits on holding accounts with other institutions, on the number of debit transactions you can complete per month and on the number of times you can use The Berkshire Bank ATMs for free per month.

Most banks don’t limit customers on any of those fronts. Also, while the interest-earning checking accounts at The Berkshire Bank do earn rates higher than what you might find at bigger traditional banks, they still aren’t as high as what you’ll get from our favorite online checking accounts.

The Berkshire Bank’s savings account options

Blue Ribbon Savings

This is an interest-earning savings account for Blue Ribbon Checking customers.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.15%
$10,000
0.15%
$50,000
0.30%
$250,000
0.30%
$1,000,000
0.10%
$4,000,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $10,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $1 at non-The Berkshire Bank ATMs; at Berkshire ATMs, the first 25 withdrawals are free each month ($1 each after that)
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30

This savings account requires that you also sign up for a Blue Ribbon Checking account. With the two accounts paired together, you’ll get free unlimited check-writing, as well as your first order of checks.

With the Blue Ribbon Savings account, you’ll earn better interest rates than you would at many traditional banks, but it’s still possible to find significantly higher rates at online banks. With The Berkshire Bank’s savings accounts, this account is the best option for balances of $250,000 or more. Customers with balances that fall in the lower tiers may want to consider other savings options with The Berkshire Bank that offer a slightly higher APY.

Per Federal Reserve Regulation D, you’re allowed a maximum of six certain withdrawals a month. After that, a fee is exacted by the bank.

How to get The Berkshire Bank’s Blue Ribbon Savings account

You can apply for Blue Ribbon Savings and Blue Ribbon Checking accounts by visiting one of The Berkshire Bank’s branches.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on The Berkshire Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Platinum Super Savings

This savings account earns interest on balances of $10,000 or more.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.10%
$10,000
0.20%
$50,000
0.20%
$250,000
0.30%
$1,000,000
0.10%
$5,000,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $10,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $1 at non-The Berkshire Bank ATMs; at The Berkshire Bank ATMs, the first 25 withdrawals are free each month ($1 each after that)
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30

The Platinum Super Savings account offers decent rates, but you do have to maintain a sizable minimum balance to earn interest. It’s not the best option The Berkshire Bank offers for customers with balances in the highest and lowest tiers, but if you plan to maintain a balance of $50,000, the Platinum Super Savings account is a good alternative to Blue Ribbon Savings because it doesn’t require you to maintain any specific checking account with The Berkshire Bank.

You’re only allowed to complete up to six certain withdrawals per month. If you complete more, you’ll be charged a fee by the bank. This is the case with all savings accounts due to Federal Reserve Regulation D.

How to get The Berkshire Bank’s Platinum Super Savings account

You can visit any The Berkshire Bank branch to open a Platinum Super Savings account.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on The Berkshire Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Statement Super Savings

This savings account has a high minimum balance required to earn interest.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.15%
$15,000
0.20%
$1,000,000
0.20%
$5,000,000
0.10%
$10,000,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $15,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $1 at non-The Berkshire Bank ATMs; at The Berkshire Bank ATMs, the first 25 withdrawals are free each month ($1 each after that)
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30

This account requires a slightly higher minimum balance to begin earning interest than the others. But of The Berkshire Bank’s savings accounts, it offers the best interest rate for balances in the lowest tier. More specifically, this account is best if you plan to maintain a balance between $15,000 and $499,999.99.

As with any savings account, you are limited up to six certain withdrawals a month due to Federal Reserve Regulation D. If you exceed this amount, you’ll be charged a fee for each transaction by the bank.

How to get The Berkshire Bank’s Statement Super Savings

If you’re interested in opening one of The Berkshire Bank’s savings accounts, you can do so by visiting a branch or calling their customer service line.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on The Berkshire Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Statement Savings

The Statement Savings account has the lowest minimum balance to earn APY.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.15%
$300
0.15%
$10,000
0.20%
$100,000
0.10%
$3,000,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $300
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: $1 at non-The Berkshire Bank ATMs; at The Berkshire Bank ATMs, the first 25 withdrawals are free each month ($1 each after that)
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30

This account is ideal for customers who don’t plan to deposit a lot of money into their savings account. It’s the only savings account at The Berkshire Bank that earns interest on balances below $10,000, although the rate is low. It actually offers the best rates of any of The Berkshire Bank savings accounts for balances below $250,000. After that, you’ll want to switch to one of its other savings options.

The Statement Savings account is also the only savings account at The Berkshire Bank that charges a monthly maintenance fee. While it can be waived by maintaining an average daily balance of $300 or more, there are plenty of other banks that offer fee-free savings accounts.

As per Federal Reserve Regulation D, you’re allowed a maximum of six certain withdrawals. After that, a fee is exacted by the bank.

How to get The Berkshire Bank’s Statement Savings account

To open a Statement Savings account, you’ll need to visit a branch. Accounts cannot be opened online.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on The Berkshire Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How The Berkshire Bank’s savings accounts compare

The Berkshire Bank offers a range of different savings options, although they’re all very similar. The main difference between each savings account is the rates. While these savings accounts do offer decent interest rates, the best online savings accounts offer rates that are more than double what The Berkshire Bank provides.

Most of these online savings accounts don’t come with any monthly maintenance fees. Only two of The Berkshire Bank’s four savings options compare on fees, as one has a monthly service fee and the other requires you to open a checking account that comes with a monthly service fee.

The Berkshire Bank offers middle-of-the-road options when it comes to savings accounts. They’re better than many savings accounts offered by traditional banks, but they don’t come close to competing with the best online savings accounts.

The Berkshire Bank’s CD rates

Certificates of Deposit

Lots of short-term options, but very low rates.
$1,000 to $9,999$10,000 to 499,999.99
Term APYTermAPY
1 month0.05%
1 month0.10%
2 months0.05%
2 months0.10%
3 months0.15%
3 months0.25%
4 months0.15%
4 months0.25%
6 months0.15%
6 months0.25%
9 months0.15%
9 months0.30%
12 months0.15%
12 months0.30%
14 months0.50%
14 months1.75%
18 months0.15%
18 months0.25%
2.20%0.15%
24 months0.25%
36 months0.20%
36 months0.25%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Half of the interest that would have been earned over the entire term of the CD

The Berkshire Bank offers many short-term CDs that can be hard to find at other financial institutions, allowing you to choose term lengths as short as one month. There are a wide variety of options for people who prefer flexibility, but its offerings fall short when it comes to long-term CDs. The longest term length available is three years, while most banks offer up to five years.

The rates offered by most of these CDs are also less than impressive, especially if you don’t plan to make a large deposit. That being said, if you plan to deposit $10,000 or more, the rates offered for the six month, nine month, 12 month, 14 month, 18 month and 24 month CDs are closer to those offered by the competition. The minimum opening deposit is fairly low.

How to get The Berkshire Bank’s CDs

You can open a certificate of deposit with The Berkshire Bank at any of its branches.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on The Berkshire Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How The Berkshire Bank’s CD rates compare

If you’re looking for short-term CDs of less than six months, The Berkshire Bank offers some unique options. The 2 month and 4 month CDs stand out as products that very few banks offer. The 14 month CD is also hard to find.

That being said, The Berkshire Bank’s short-term CDs barely offer better rates than a regular savings account. All its CDs have rates that are notably lower than the best CD rates, and the rates on the 36 month CD drop far below the competition. If you want a CD for longer than three years, The Berkshire Bank doesn’t even offer the option. The penalty is also steep, particularly if you have a longer CD.

The Berkshire Bank’s money market account option

Money Market Checking

This account has pretty steep minimum balances to earn interest.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.10%
$2,500
0.15%
$25,000
0.15%
$50,000
0.20%
$100,000
0.10%
$1,000,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $2,500
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: $1 at non-The Berkshire Bank ATMs; at The Berkshire Bank ATMs, the first 25 withdrawals are free each month ($1 each after that)
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30

The Money Market Checking account requires a minimum balance to earn interest that might not be attainable for some customers. Also, the interest rate on this account is quite low, and any interest accumulated is likely to be unnoticeable.

You’ll also have to pay a monthly maintenance fee on this account unless you can meet the requirements to get it waived. To do that, you have to keep an average daily balance of at least $2,500.

Federal Reserve Regulation D limits savings accounts to six certain withdrawals a month. If you make more than six withdrawals from your money market account in one month, you’ll be charged a fee by the bank for each additional withdrawal.

How to get The Berkshire Bank’s Money Market Checking account

You can apply for a money market account at any The Berkshire Bank branch.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on The Berkshire Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How The Berkshire Bank’s money market accounts compare

The rates offered by The Berkshire Bank’s money market accounts are much lower than those offered by the best money market accounts. That being said, they are more accessible than many of the money market accounts with the highest rates due to their low minimum balance amount.

It’s still possible to find money market accounts with low balance requirements — some as low as $0 — that offer much higher rates than what’s offered by The Berkshire Bank. Also, several of them don’t charge monthly maintenance fees or ATM fees.

The Berkshire Bank’s IRA account options

IRA CD

The Berkshire Bank says it offers “a variety of rates and terms.”
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Half of the interest that would have been earned over the entire term of the CD

To check the most current rates on The Berkshire Bank’s IRAs, you’ll have to give them a call. According to a customer service representative, they match the rates on their regular CDs.

While there are a wide range of short-term IRAs available at The Berkshire Bank, the longest term they offer is 18 months. The early withdrawal penalty can be sizeable if you have a larger balance and a longer term.

How to get The Berkshire Bank’s IRA CDs

You can open an IRA with The Berkshire Bank at any of its branches.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on The Berkshire Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How The Berkshire Bank’s IRA CD rates compare

You’ll have to call The Berkshire Bank to get the latest rates on their IRA CDs. You can then compare those with the best IRA CD rates before making a decision.

The Berkshire Bank does offer a wide range of IRA CD terms, especially if you’re looking for something under 6 months. They also have a low minimum opening deposit requirement. However, many of the best IRA CD rates have minimum opening deposit requirements that are the same or even lower.

Overall review of The Berkshire Bank’s banking products

With nine different checking accounts and a handful of savings accounts, The Berkshire Bank offers a wide range of personal banking options for customers in all stages of life. We like that it offers low-cost options like its Basic Banking account, Ultimate College Checking and 60 & Better Checking, as well as interest-bearing options such as NOW Checking and Super Security Checking.

In the end, though, the majority of its checking accounts charge monthly service fees and ATM fees, and most of them place strict limits on the number of monthly transactions you can complete for free. We always prefer checking accounts without such limitations, and it’s not hard to find fee-free checking accounts online.

When it comes to its savings, CD and money market options, The Berkshire Bank offers better rates than many large traditional banks. But its rates are still significantly lower than those offered by the banks with the best rates.

If you prefer small banks with branches in the New York City area and great customer service, The Berkshire Bank might be a good choice for you. But if you’re looking for the lowest fees and the best rates, there are better options.