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25 Best Free Checking Accounts at U.S. Banks

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It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find truly free checking accounts. At many banks, you’re now required to pay a monthly maintenance fee for the privilege of keeping your checking account open. Such fees can range from a few dollars to $20 or more, depending on the bank and other associated perks. To avoid these fees, you may need to maintain a high minimum daily balance, make regular deposits of a certain size or frequency, or execute a minimum number of transactions in a statement period.

Fortunately, it’s still possible to find free checking accounts. You just have to know where to look. Many online banks offer legitimately free, FDIC-insured (up to $250,000 per account) accounts with few restrictions and plenty of sweeteners. Some even pay noticeable interest.

If you’re looking for a checking account that won’t eat away at your deposits, take a closer look at these options available to customers throughout the United States.

Best Free Checking Accounts

These are the best free checking accounts on the market today.


1. BBVA Online Checking

Cash Back on Select Purchases Through Simple Cash Back; No ATM Fees at 64,000 Locations

Bbva LogoBBVA Online Checking is a truly free checking account available nationwide with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii. With a minimum opening deposit of just $25, no ATM fees at more than 64,000 AllPoint®, participating 7-Eleven® and BBVA USA ATMs around the United States, and a fee-free Visa debit card, BBVA Online Checking is a great choice for folks looking to blend the convenience of online banking with the flexibility of traditional deposit accounts.

Enroll in the free Simple Cash Back program to earn cash back on purchases made with participating BBVA partners. For a $4 monthly fee – money well spent – you can enroll in the BBVA ClearBenefits program and take advantage of potentially valuable services like cell phone protection and identity theft restoration and insurance.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: The minimum opening deposit is $25.
  • Yield: This account does not pay interest.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Enroll in the Simple Cash Back program to earn cash back at select participating merchants. You’ll receive tailored offers based on your spending behaviors; simply choose which offers you want to take advantage of, and when. There’s no cost to enroll in this program.
  • Mobile Features: Mobile check deposit, mobile account alerts, mobile payments and transfers (including P2P transfers), mobile bill pay. The account is Android and iPhone compatible.
  • Overdraft Options: BBVA has multiple overdraft options. The default option is no overdraft protection; when you choose this option, transactions for which you have insufficient funds are simply declined. Option B is inter-account transfer, which sweeps funds from other BBVA accounts (such as savings) to cover checking transactions for which you have insufficient checking funds, subject to a modest daily fee on any day an overdraft is covered from a linked account. Option C is overdraft line of credit, in which an overdraft is covered by a transfer from a linked line of credit at the same modest daily fee, subject to credit approval. Option D is courtesy overdraft coverage, in which BBVA allows transactions that would normally be declined to go through, subject to a much higher NSF fee per occurrence (with a maximum of 6 NSF fees per day). Additional fees may apply when your account is overdrawn for more than 7 consecutive calendar days.
  • Possible Fees: Paper statements ($3 monthly by default, but you can opt for free electronic account statements and eliminate the $3 fee when you turn off paper statements in your online banking account), early account closing ($25 for accounts closed within 180 days of opening).

Learn More

Member FDIC


2. Simple Checking Account

0.60% APY on All Protected Goals Account Balances 

Simple.comSimple is a digital banking platform that centralizes banking, budgeting, and saving under one virtual roof. If there’s a headline here, it’s the very competitive yields on balances held in Simple’s Protected Goals Accounts – Simple’s answer to the traditional savings account. The Protected Goals Account earns 0.60% APY on all balances.

Simple doesn’t charge a monthly maintenance fee, regardless of balance, and you won’t find any miscellaneous nickel-and-dime fees at Simple either. The Safe-to-Spend feature is a head-slappingly straightforward tool that automatically accounts for account inflows and near-term expected outflows (scheduled bills out to 30 days from the present), ensuring you always know how much you can safely spend before the next payday. Meanwhile, trackable spending makes budgeting a breeze, and shared accounts empower couples to manage household finances with ease.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum opening deposit and no minimum daily balance requirement.
  • Rewards and Incentives: With normal use, your account is totally free to use and enjoy, though third-party ATM owners may charge fees beyond Simple’s control.
  • Mobile Features: Mobile check deposit, fee-free instant P2P transfers to other Simple users, fee-free third-party transfers and payments using apps like Square and Venmo, mobile payment app compatibility. The mobile app is Android- and iPhone-compatible.
  • Overdraft Options: Simple does not charge overdraft fees. Use the app’s Safe-to-Spend feature to monitor your spending and ensure you have sufficient funds to complete the transactions you attempt.
  • Possible Fees: Third-party ATM fees (charged by the owner, not Simple).

Learn More


3. Wealthfront

Solid Yields on All Balances

Wealthfront LogoWealthfront got its start as a low-cost investment management solution, but its Cash Account that offers high-interest checking is not to be overlooked. It boasts a very low minimum opening deposit (just $1), no account maintenance fees, a high (if variable) yield on all balances, and a slew of value-added features.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: The minimum opening deposit is $1. There’s no ongoing maintenance fee.
  • Yield: Currently 0.35% APY on all balances.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Get paid up to two days early with direct deposit; enjoy seamless mobile check deposit; get FDIC insurance on balances up to $1 million (standard coverage tops out at $250,000); free in-network ATM access; pay friends with apps like Cash App, Venmo, PayPal and others.
  • Possible Fees: Wealthfront doesn’t charge any account fees or overdraft fees. See disclosures for a complete accounting of possible fees.

Learn More


4. Varo Bank Account

No Account Fees

Varo Bank LogoThe Varo Bank Account is a user-friendly online checking account with no minimum deposit or balance requirements and no bank account fees. Open a Varo Savings Account and meet Varo’s three easy requirements (see below) to earn 2.80% Annual Percentage Yield* on balances up to $10,000 — one of the best online savings yields in the business.

That’s not all. If your employer or government benefits provider files to the Federal Reserve to start the direct deposit process, you could receive your funds up to 2 days early.^

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum deposit or ongoing balance requirement.
  • Account Opening Bonus: There’s currently no account opening bonus. Check back for the latest offers.
  • Annual Percentage Yield: The Varo Bank Account does not pay interest. However, when you open one and then open a Varo Savings Account, you can earn up to 2.80% APY* on your savings account balance. To earn 2.80% APY, you must meet all of the following requirements each qualifying period** – Make at least five qualifying Varo Bank Visa® Debit Card purchases and receive qualifying total direct deposits of $1,000 or more. Additionally, you will need to meet these daily balance requirements at close of business during the calendar month: Do not exceed a daily savings balance of $10,000 for the entire calendar month and keep your bank and savings account balances greater than or equal to $0.00. Otherwise, you earn 0.81% APY* on your Varo Savings Account balance.
  • Mobile Features: Varo has a fully functional mobile app and a mobile-friendly website.
  • Possible Fees: Varo has no minimum balance, funds transfer, foreign transaction, or monthly maintenance fees.

Learn More

* Varo APY is accurate as of October 1, 2020. This rate is variable and may change. No minimum balance required to open an account. Balance in the savings account must be at least $0.01 to earn interest.

**The qualifying period begins the first calendar day of the month and ends at close of business on the last business day of the month.

^ Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the payer’s submission of deposits. Varo generally posts such deposits on the day they’re received, which may be up to two days earlier than the payer’s scheduled payment date.

Bank Account Services provided by Varo Bank, N.A. Member FDIC. Visa® Debit Card is issued by Varo Bank, N.A. pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc and may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.


5. Chime Deposit Account

Get Paid 2 Days Early With Direct Deposit; Virtually No Fees

Chime Bank AccountChime is a mobile-first banking app that merges the low cost of online checking and savings accounts with the convenience of truly on-the-go banking. The headline here is Chime’s promise – subject to the policies of payers and their banks – that its Deposit Account (checking) customers get paid two days faster with direct deposit. If you’re accustomed to Friday paydays but could really use the money on Wednesday, the Chime Deposit Account may be the free checking account you’ve been waiting for.

Speaking of free: Chime has virtually no fees, save for a $2.50 over-the-counter cash withdrawal charge that’s easily avoided when you use one of the bank’s 38,000 fee-free ATMs. Add in an automatic savings option that rounds up the change on every debit card transaction, and you’ve got a serious contender on your hands.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum opening deposit and no minimum daily balance.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Yield: None, but Chime’s high yield savings account has a nice yield on all balances above $0.01 with no minimum deposit or balance requirements.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Chime charges virtually no fees. Under normal circumstances, you won’t pay a dime to use your account.
  • Mobile Features: Mobile check deposit, fee-free P2P transfers, fee-free electronic bill pay, mobile payment app compatibility (Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay). The mobile app is Android- and iPhone-compatible.
  • Overdraft Options: Chime does not offer overdraft protection. Under normal circumstances, transactions that would result in a negative account balance are automatically declined. Chime deals with special cases that unavoidably result in negative balances, such as pay-at-the-pump gas transactions, on a case-by-case basis.
  • Possible Fees: Over-the-counter cash withdrawal.

Learn More


6. FNBO Direct Online Checking Account

Competitive Yields on All Checking Account Balances

fnbo direct logoThe FNBO Direct Online Checking account is a straightforward product that pays an attractive yield on all balances above $0.01 and boasts a negligible minimum opening deposit ($1). Despite its no-frills appearance, this account has a nice mobile platform that lets you send money directly to friends and family at no charge.

FNBO does have some drawbacks: no reimbursement for out-of-network ATM fees and hefty daily overdraft fees.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s a minimum opening deposit amount of $1 and a minimum balance of $0.01 required to earn APY.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Yield: This account yields 0.40% APY on all balances above $0.01.
  • Rewards and Incentives: FNBO Direct doesn’t charge its own ATM withdrawal fees. However, it never reimburses ATM withdrawal fees charged by other banks.
  • Mobile Features: Bill pay and send money to a friend using the Popmoney app. The account is Android and iPhone compatible.
  • Overdraft Options: You can opt in to an overdraft protection program that charges a relatively high one-time fee per transaction, limit 4 per day. FNBO Direct waives this fee for 1 overdraft per calendar year. If you don’t opt in, you can’t make transactions that would result in an overdraft.
  • Possible Fees: Outgoing wires, cashiers checks.

Learn More


7. Aspiration Spend & Save Account

Aspiration LogoAspiration offers an innovative cash management account known as the Aspiration Spend & Save Account. Spend & Save Account deposits are always fossil fuel-free, meaning they won’t go to fund oil pipelines or drilling. And they’re FDIC-insured up to $2 million per depositor when swept to FDIC member institutions (for details on FDIC insurance with Aspiration, see Aspiration’s FAQ and visit the FDIC’s website).

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: None.
  • Yield: Earn up to 1.00% APY* on Save account balance after you upgrade to Aspiration Plus ($3.99 per month or $44.99 per year).
  • Rewards and Incentives: Enjoy free ATM withdrawals at over 55,000 ATMs in the Allpoint Network. Earn up to 5% cash back at Conscience Coalition merchants (up to 10% after you upgrade to Aspiration Plus). Plus, when you spend at least $1,000 in cumulative debit card transactions within 60 days of opening your Aspiration Spend & Save Account, you’ll earn a $100 bonus. Terms apply.
  • Possible Fees: You choose your account maintenance fee, even if it’s zero. See Aspiration’s website for a complete list of possible fees and expenses.

Learn More

* The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) associated with the Aspiration Spend & Save Account is available only to customers enrolled in Aspiration Plus. APY is variable and accurate as of May 27, 2020. Rates may be changed from time to time without notice. To earn 1.00% APY interest on Aspiration Save Account balances up to and including $10,000.00 in any calendar month, customer must be enrolled in Aspiration Plus and spend $1,000 or more, monthly, with their Aspiration debit card. Balances over $10,000.00 will earn 0.10% APY. If the requirements are not met each month, the APY will be 0.25% on Save Account balances up to and including $10,000.00. Balances over $10,000.00 will earn 0.10% APY. Minimum deposit required to open an Aspiration Save Account is $10.00. Enrollment fee and Pay What Is Fair fees debited directly from the Aspiration Save Account could reduce earnings. Customers not enrolled in Aspiration Plus will not earn interest.  For more information, click here.


8. BlueVine Business Checking

Bluevine Business CheckingBlueVine Business Checking is one of the best business checking accounts on the market, period. With a category-leading yield for account holders with balances above $1,000, no transaction limits, no in-network ATM fees, and no NSF fees, it’s incredibly cost-effective. Plus, it’s among the very few branchless business bank accounts that offers free checkbooks to new account holders. 

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum balance requirement or monthly maintenance fee.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Yield: Maintain a balance of $1,000 or more to earn 1.00% APY on your entire account balance.
  • Rewards and Incentives: BlueVine does not impose transaction limits or fees at in-network ATMs. Each new account comes with two free checkbooks. 
  • Mobile Features: You can set up one-time or recurring payments, transfer money to external accounts, deposit checks and cash, and much more with BlueVine’s mobile app.
  • Overdraft Options: BlueVine reserves the right to decline overdraft or NSF transactions does not impose overdraft or NSF fees.
  • Possible Fees: BlueVine charges virtually no fees.

Learn More


9. Azlo Business Banking

Fee-Free Business Checking for Sole Proprietors, Freelancers, and Small Businesses

Azlo LogoAzlo Business Banking is a fee-free business checking account for freelancers, solopreneurs, and established small business owners — basically, anyone who earns income from contract work or business activities.

Azlo cuts out the nickel-and-dime fees common in the business banking space and offers a slew of powerful mobile features (including mobile check deposit and free standard transfers) that make it easy to bank from anywhere. An impressive lineup of third-party integrations streamline payments, accounting, and even borrowing. And Azlo never imposes transaction limits or minimum balance requirements.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum opening deposit or ongoing balance requirement.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Yield: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Azlo integrates with a slew of third-party financial and accounting apps, including Kabbage, Stripe, Square, PayPal, QuickBooks Online, Xero, and Wave. Borrow and send funds, accept payments, and track transactions seamlessly through Azlo’s growing partner network.
  • Mobile Features: Transfer money, deposit checks, and more with the Azlo mobile app.
  • Overdraft Options: Azlo never charges overdraft fees.
  • Possible Fees: Instant money transfers may incur a small processing fee. Otherwise, Azlo has no hidden fees.

Learn More


10. Betterment Checking

Betterment LogoBacked by one of the most innovative names in digital investing, Betterment Checking delivers a seamless, mobile-first experience with no minimums and virtually no fees. Highlights include unlimited, automatic ATM fee reimbursements at all Visa-accepting machines worldwide; a potentially generous rewards program (Betterment Cash Back Rewards); and a slew of mobile-friendly features and capabilities. Link your Betterment Checking account to an interest-bearing Betterment Cash Reserve cash management account to take advantage of Betterment’s Two Way Sweep feature and maximize your return on excess cash.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum opening deposit and no minimum daily balance.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Yield: None, but the Betterment Cash Reserve cash management account earns 0.40% APY on all balances (subject to the $10 minimum deposit requirement).
  • Rewards and Incentives: Enjoy potentially generous rewards with select partner merchants through Betterment Cash Back Rewards. Plus, get automatic ATM transaction fee reimbursements at nearly 3 million Visa-accepting machines worldwide and unlimited reimbursement of Visa’s 1% foreign transaction fee on all international transactions and purchases.
  • Mobile Features: Seamless transfers between Betterment accounts, automatic two-way cash sweep (Two Way Sweep), tap-to-pay debit card, and mobile check deposit (coming soon). The mobile app is Android- and iPhone-compatible.
  • Overdraft Options: Betterment Checking never charges overdraft fees.
  • Possible Fees: See Betterment’s website for a complete list of possible fees.

Learn More


11. Novo Business Checking Account

Thousands of Dollars in Perks

Novo BNovo offers a free business checking account that’s light-years ahead of any of the big banks’ small checking products. Its fee-free business banking experience is basically unheard of these days, and no minimum or maximum deposits sweeten the deal even more. Note the growing list of app integrations, including Slack (a leading workplace collaboration tool) and Xero (an accounting solution for small businesses).

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no official minimum to open your account, but you’ll need to make a $50 deposit (which remains in your control) to activate Novo’s features.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None
  • Annual Percentage Yield: Novo’s checking account doesn’t pay interest.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Novo integrates with a number of other small business tools, such as Slack and Xero, and boasts exclusive perks worth thousands of dollars in potential value.
  • Mobile Features: Novo has a fully functional mobile app and a mobile-friendly website.
  • Overdraft Options: Novo doesn’t offer a formal overdraft protection plan. However, the bank takes steps to minimize overdrafts and will pay items for which there’s an insufficient balance as necessary. It may charge a fee for these payments.
  • Possible Fees: See terms and conditions for details.

Learn More


12. TD Bank Convenience Checking

Student-Friendly Account With Preferred Loan Rates

td bankTD Bank’s Convenience Checking account isn’t technically free, but the $100 minimum daily balance required to avoid the $15 monthly maintenance fee is low enough to render it functionally so.

Convenience Checking is an even better deal for students, who pay no monthly maintenance fees – regardless of balance – until they turn 24, and get a pass on monthly maintenance fees for any linked TD Bank savings account to boot. All customers enjoy choice perks like discounts on certain TD Bank credit products and lightning-fast money transfers courtesy of Zelle.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: You need to maintain a $100 minimum daily balance to avoid the $15 monthly maintenance fee.
  • Account Opening Bonus: Earn $150 when you receive direct deposits totaling $500 or more within 60 days.
  • Yield: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: TD Convenience Checking customers may qualify for a rate discount of 0.25% on home equity lines of credit and unsecured personal loans originated by TD Bank. Separately, the monthly maintenance fee is always waived for students ages 17 to 23, regardless of account balance. All customers enjoy free access to TD Bank ATMs.
  • Mobile Features: TD Bank has a fully functional mobile app and mobile-responsive website.
  • Overdraft Options: The standard overdraft protection plan charges $35 per overdraft, limit five per day. If you have a TD Bank savings account, you can opt into the savings overdraft program, which charges just $3 per day (as long as your savings balance is sufficient to cover the negative checking balance). Overdraft fees are waived when the negative balance is less than $5.
  • Possible Fees: Check TD Bank’s disclosure agreement for a full, up-to-date list of potential account fees.

Learn More


13. Radius Bank Rewards Checking

1% Cash Back on Signature-Based Transactions; Yields Up to 0.15% APY

Radius Bank Rewards CheckingRadius Bank has a great checking product: Rewards Checking.

The headline here is twofold: an unlimited, category-leading 1% cash back reward on online and signature-based debit card transactions – transactions made when you select “Credit” at the point of sale – and yields up to 0.15% APY for high-balance accounts.

To qualify for cash back, you’ll need to maintain a minimum account balance of $2,500 or receive at least $2,500 in qualifying direct deposits each month.

Rewards Checking has no hidden fees, and direct deposit recipients get paid up to two days early.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: Once you make the $100 minimum opening deposit, there’s no minimum daily balance requirement to worry about.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Yield: Earn 0.10% APY on balances between $2,500 and $99,999, and 0.15% APY on balances above $100,000.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Earn unlimited 1% cash back on online and signature-based debit card transactions (select “Credit” at the point of sale). To qualify for rewards, you’ll need to do one of the following: 1) Receive direct deposit into your account from a qualifying source of income (usually an employer or government benefits provider) totaling $2,500 or more; or 2) Maintain an average balance of $2,500 or more in your Rewards Checking account. Separately, you may receive direct deposits up to two days early.
  • Mobile Features: Mobile check deposits, bill pay, P2P transfers (send money to friends), mobile wallet and account link functionality, and a card management app.
  • Overdraft Options: Check your account’s terms and conditions document for details about Radius Bank’s optional overdraft protection service. Check terms and conditions for the latest information.
  • Possible Fees: See Radius Bank’s terms and conditions for details about possible account fees.

Learn More


14. Umpqua Bank Embark Checking

Complimentary Savings Account & Generous ATM Reimbursement

Umpqua BankUmpqua Bank’s Embark Checking account is basically a two-for-one account deal: When you make at least one transfer from your Embark Checking account into your Grow Savings account, Umpqua waives the savings account’s maintenance fee – and your money grows faster than it would sitting in your checking account.

With no monthly maintenance fees and low initial deposit requirements, Embark is a great account in its own right. Maintain a balance of at least $2,500 to qualify for $10 in monthly ATM rebates.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: You need $25 to open an Embark Checking account. There’s no minimum daily balance requirement thereafter, but you’ll need to maintain an average daily balance of at least $2,500 to qualify for $10 in ATM reimbursements each month.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Yield: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Umpqua Bank reimburses the first $10 in ATM fees each month when you maintain an average minimum daily balance of $2,500 during the period. The Go-To app provides on-the-go financial advice from your mobile device. and offers unlimited reimbursements for all U.S. ATM fees. And you’ll enjoy a complimentary Grow Savings account (with no monthly maintenance charge) when you complete at least one qualifying monthly transfer from your Embark Checking account.
  • Mobile Features: The account is Android and iPhone compatible and boasts a full range of mobile features.
  • Overdraft Options: You can opt into a paid overdraft program that charges a hefty fee per occurrence (equal to the NSF fee for declined transactions). To reduce this charge, you can opt into Umpqua’s overdraft transfer program, which automatically transfers funds in $100 increments from a linked savings account, money market account, checking account, or line of credit, subject to a lower fee per occurrence.
  • Possible Fees: Stop payment, paper statements, dormant account.

Learn More


15. M1 Spend

1.5% APY and 1% Cash Back on Debit Card Purchases With M1 Plus

m1 FinanceM1 Spend is M1 Finance’s free checking product. Technically, it’s a cash management account tied to M1 Finance’s core product, a low-cost automated investing platform. But, with a debit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide and no account minimums, it can easily replace your current checking account.

M1 Spend is free to use and never charges monthly maintenance fees. Spend $125 to upgrade to M1 Plus and get 1.5% APY on all checking balances, 1% cash back on debit card purchases, and up to 4 ATM fee reimbursements per month.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum opening deposit and no minimum daily balance requirement.
  • Account Opening Bonus: There’s currently no account opening bonus. Check back for the latest offers.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Upgrade to M1 Plus to earn 1.5% APY on all account balances and 1% cash back on all debit card purchases. M1 Plus members get 4 ATM fee reimbursements per month – 3 more than standard M1 members.
  • Mobile Features: M1 Spend is fully mobile compatible.
  • Overdraft Options: Refer to M1 Spend’s terms and conditions for details about overdraft protection.
  • Possible Fees: Third-party ATM fees, subject to ATM owners’ discretion.

Learn More


16. Axos Bank Rewards Checking

Tiered Yields up to 1.25%

The Axos Bank Rewards Checking account is one of several free checking options offered by the bank formerly known as Bank of Internet USA, an online banking pioneer. Rewards Checking doesn’t automatically pay interest, but you can earn a yield of up to 1.25% on your funds by meeting certain qualifications. These include using your debit card 10 times per month and accepting a monthly direct deposit of at least $1,000. Basically, Axos Bank wants to be your primary checking account.

Axos Bank isn’t perfect. For instance, the bank advertises free checks with a new checking account, but you may actually need to request them when you open the account. Checks might not be the first thing on your mind at that time.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: You need $50 to open a Rewards Checking account, but there’s no minimum daily balance requirement once it’s open.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Yield: Rewards Checking accounts come with a base yield of 0%. However, you can earn interest on balances of any amount in several ways. If you only receive a $1,000 direct deposit or use your card at least 10 times (but less than 15 times) in a given month, your annual interest rate for that month is 0.4166%. If you use your card at least 15 times, it’s 0.8333%. If you both receive a $1,000 deposit and use your card at least 10 times, your rate for that month is also 0.8333%. If you receive a $1,000 deposit and use your card at least 15 times, you earn 1.25%. Qualifying transactions must be $3 or greater.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Axos Bank offers unlimited reimbursements for all U.S. ATM fees. You also get your first 50 checks free with a Rewards Checking account if you ask for them at account opening.
  • Mobile Features: Check deposits, bill pay, send money to friends, and FinanceWorks (a budgeting tool from Quicken). The account is Android and iPhone compatible.
  • Overdraft Options: Axos Bank offers free overdraft transfers from a linked internal savings or money market account. If you don’t opt into this service, any transaction that would result in an overdraft fails.
  • Possible Fees: Debit card replacement, cashiers checks, stop payment.

Learn More


17. Nationwide Advantage Checking

Logo Nationwide HorizontalNationwide Advantage Checking is a high-yield checking account in the mold of Axos Bank Rewards Checking, though its highest yield tier isn’t quite as attractive as its compatriot’s. Still, with low minimums, no monthly maintenance fees, an expansive ATM network, and the opportunity to earn up to 0.90% APY (variable with prevailing rates) in any given month, Nationwide Advantage Checking bears watching.

  • Yield: The default yield on this account is 0%, but there are two higher yield tiers that each pay 0.45% with qualifying activities. Earn 0.45% in any given month when you receive direct deposits (not including intra-bank transfers from another account) totaling $1,000 or more. Earn 0.45% in any given month when you complete at least 10 point-of-sale transactions using your debit card (minimum $3 per transaction). Do both in the same month to earn 0.90% interest.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: The minimum account opening deposit is $50, but there’s no ongoing minimum daily balance requirement.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Enjoy fee-free access to more than 80,000 in-network ATMs.
  • Mobile Features: Enjoy mobile check deposits, bill pay, P2P transfers, and more via iOS and Android-compatible mobile sites and apps.
  • Possible Fees: This account has no monthly maintenance fees or NSF transaction fees.

Learn More


18. Discover Bank Cashback Checking

1% Cash Back on Up to $3,000 in Debit Card Purchases Each Month

Discover Bank is a full-service online bank with an unusually generous, totally free checking account. The headline here is the account’s 1% cash back yield on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month. That adds up to as much as $30 cash back per month, or $360 cash back per year.

Discover Bank has no minimum balance requirements and boasts a pretty forgiving fee schedule with no bill pay, NSF, check reorder, replacement debit card, or bank check fees. Plus, customers have fee-free access to more than 60,000 ATMs around the U.S. – more than most competitors.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There are no monthly balance or activity requirements.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Yield: No yield, but qualifying debit card purchases earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 spent each month. P2P transfers, third-party money market purchases, ATM transactions, and point-of-sale cash back transactions don’t earn cash back or count toward the spending cap.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Discover Bank doesn’t charge ATM fees. Checks, replacement debit cards, and a slew of other services are free.
  • Mobile Features: The account is Android and iPhone compatible, with impressive functionality across the board.
  • Overdraft Options: Discover Bank allows you to link your Discover checking account to another Discover deposit account and automatically transfer funds to cover transactions that would normally result in a negative balance. This service costs nothing.
  • Possible Fees: Discover’s deposit accounts charge very few fees, a major selling point over otherwise comparable competitors.

Learn More


19. Capital One 360 Checking

No Minimum Balances; $50 Account Opening Bonus

capital one 360 logo360 Checking from Capital One 360 comes with an attractive yield, especially for larger balances. Though the once-generous account opening bonus has been discontinued, the relatively low fees make this a low-overhead option for frugal account holders.

360 Checking’s mobile app is among the best in the business, with intuitive mobile check deposit, an interactive ATM finder, seamless person-to-person money transfers, and text alerts for a wide range of account functions. Drawbacks include high fees for replacement debit cards, high minimum balance requirements for the best annual yields, and no out-of-network ATM fee reimbursements.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum deposit or balance required for this account.
  • Account Opening Bonus: Open your account using the link above or below to earn $25 when you deposit $250 or more and make 3 debit card purchases or Zelle transactions.
  • Yield: Capital One 360 Checking yields 0.20% APY on all balances.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Capital One 360 customers enjoy access to about 40,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide – 38,000 in the Allpoint network, and 2,000 Capital One-branded machines. All new accounts come with a free checkbook as well. Out of this network, your ATM fees aren’t reimbursed.
  • Mobile Features: Mobile check deposit, ATM finder,  bill pay, and text alerts for balances and bills due. The account is Android and iPhone compatible.
  • Overdraft Options: You can opt in to an overdraft line of credit that accrues daily interest at variable rates north of 10% APR. You can also opt into an overdraft protection service that charges a relatively high one-time fee per item, or a free savings transfer program that draws from your Capital One 360 savings account.
  • Possible Fees: Statement copies, NSF or non-sufficient funds check, and domestic outgoing wire.

Learn More


20. Bank5 Connect High-Interest Checking Account

Attractive Yields, Even on Low Balances

bank5connect logoIf you’re looking for an attractive yield with a reasonable minimum balance requirement, it’s hard to do better than the Bank5 Connect High-Interest Checking Account. Bank5 Connect also has reasonable overdraft fees and a generous reimbursement policy for third-party ATM fees. A sub-par mobile app counts against it, but the main website works okay on mobile devices.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s a $10 minimum opening balance and no daily minimum balance requirement. However, to earn interest you need to keep a daily balance of at least $100.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Yield: All Bank5 Connect High-Interest Checking Account balances greater than $100 yield 0.25% APY.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Bank5 Connect never charges a fee for withdrawing money at U.S. ATMs. If you withdraw from other banks’ ATMs, Bank5 Connect reimburses those surcharges up to a total of $15 per month. Your first order of personal checks (five books), all wire transfers, and cashiers checks are also free. The UChoose Debit Rewards program earns 1 point per $2 spent on signed and PINless debit card transactions. Redeem your points for travel, gift cards, and merchandise at Bank5 Connect’s rewards portal.
  • Mobile Features:Check deposit and bill pay. The account is Android and iPhone compatible, though the mobile app is not as user-friendly as other options.
  • Overdraft Options: If you have a savings account with Bank5 Connect, you can opt in to an overdraft transfer program that automatically pulls money from it to cover a checking account overdraft at no charge. If you don’t have another account with Bank5 Connect, you can opt in to overdraft protection, which levies a modest one-time fee for each overdraft.
  • Possible Fees: Returned deposit, stop payment, paper statement, and levies and garnishments, which occur when a government entity pulls funds from your bank account to cover back taxes, judgments, or other legal obligations.

Learn More


21. Ally Bank Interest Checking

No Minimums; No ATM Fees, Ever

Ally Bank is one of the original online banks, and its Interest Checking account remains immensely popular. There are no minimums of any kind here. Ally also reimburses all third-party ATM fees, without exclusion. Low overdraft fees (just $9 per transaction) sweeten the deal further.

Drawbacks include low yields on modest balances and a surcharge on all international transactions.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum deposit to open an account, and no minimum daily balance.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Yield: This account yields 0.10% APY on daily balances less than $15,000, and 0.50% APY on balances greater than that amount.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Ally Bank never charges ATM fees and provides unlimited reimbursements for all third-party ATM fees or surcharges at the end of each month.
  • Mobile Features: Mobile check deposit (Ally eCheck Deposit), ATM finder, send money to a friend (Popmoney), bill pay, and internal and external transfers using the Zelle® money transfer app. The account is Android and iPhone compatible.
  • Overdraft Options: Ally lets you opt in to a free overdraft transfer service that pulls funds from your savings or money market account to cover negative balances. You can also opt in to an overdraft protection program that charges a moderate one-time fee per overdraft transaction. If you don’t elect either program, you won’t be able to make transactions that would result in an overdraft.
  • Possible Fees: Stop payment, outgoing wires, and international transactions.

Learn More


22. Independent Bank Free Rewards Checking

Potential for Very High Checking Yields

Independent Bank is a Texas-based institution that offers banking products to customers across the United States. Though its Free Rewards Checking account comes with a relatively low baseline interest rate, it has the potential to yield up to 1.50% annually when used properly. If you satisfy certain conditions, the Free Rewards Checking account pays better than many 24-month CDs. These conditions are:

  • You must make least 12 debit card purchases per month
  • Sign up for electronic statements
  • Have at least 1 monthly direct deposit or debit

Other useful features include the option to link to Independent Bank’s REALSaver savings account for automatic savings transfers.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: You need to make a minimum opening deposit of $100, but there’s no minimum balance requirement thereafter.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Yield: This account has a baseline annual yield of 0.01% on all balances. However, you can dramatically boost your account’s annual yield – to 1.50% on balances up to $10,001 – by meeting 3 qualifications: signing up for electronic statements, initiating at least 1 direct deposit or debit per month, and making at least 12 debit card transactions per month. If you meet the qualifications, only balances below $10,000 are eligible to yield 1.50% APY. Balances above that threshold yield 0.15% APY.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Independent Bank never charges a fee to use ATMs. It also offers reimbursements for all ATM fees levied by other institutions, up to $20 per billing cycle. If you open a REALSaver account, sign up for electronic statements, initiate a monthly direct deposit, and make at least 12 monthly debit card transactions, Independent Bank automatically deposits your ATM reimbursements into that account.
  • Mobile Features: Bill pay, ATM finder, check deposit, and text alerts. The account is Android and iPhone compatible.
  • Overdraft Options: Independent Bank allows you to tie in a checking or money market account and make transfers to cover your checking account’s overdraft transactions. There’s a modest daily fee for this service, or a higher one-time fee when you opt into a traditional overdraft protection program. Independent Bank also offers an opt-in overdraft line of credit, which charges variable interest on overdrafted balances. If you don’t opt in to any of these overdraft protection options, you can’t make transactions that would result in a negative balance.
  • Possible Fees: Stop payment, NSF or non-sufficient funds checks, and outgoing wire transfers.

Learn More


23. TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Checking

Yield Always in Top 5% of U.S. Checking Accounts; Many ATM Fees Waived

TIAA Bank (formerly TIAA Bank) is a full-service online bank with a very attractive checking option: the Yield Pledge Checking Account. The “pledge” is that the account’s yield will always be in the top 5% of all U.S. checking accounts, as measured by the Bankrate BRM Index (released monthly). So far, TIAA Bank has held up this bargain.

Other advantages include a robust mobile app and an overdraft line of credit that may be cheaper than a traditional overdraft fee. The biggest drawback is the high minimum opening deposit requirement – $5,000. Other drawbacks include a minimum balance requirement for reimbursement of out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: TIAA Bank requires a minimum opening deposit of $5,000, but you don’t have to maintain a minimum daily balance once the account is open.
  • Account Opening Bonus: For balances less than $250,000, TIAA Bank pays an annual interest rate of 0.50% APY for your first 12 months. After 12 months, Yield Pledge Checking’s yields vary based on prevailing rates.
  • Yield: TIAA Bank promises that Yield Pledge Checking’s yield is always in the top 5% of U.S. checking accounts. This account pays annual interest on a tiered scale, with different yields for balances less than $9,999, balances between $10,000 and $24,999, balances between $25,000 and $49,999, balances between $50,000 and $99,999, and balances greater than $100,000.
  • Rewards and Incentives: TIAA Bank never charges a fee to withdraw money from an ATM in the U.S. Additionally, if you keep at least $5,000 in your account, you are reimbursed for other banks’ ATM fees.
  • Mobile Features: ATM finder, bill pay, check deposit (with photo), and send money to friends (People Pay). The account is Android and iPhone compatible.
  • Overdraft Options: TIAA Bank doesn’t charge a flat overdraft fee. To avoid fees completely, you can link another TIAA Bank account (savings or money market) to your checking account. If you attempt a transaction without sufficient funds in your checking account, TIAA Bank automatically pulls money from one of those accounts. Each overdraft transfer counts toward your monthly limit of 6 outgoing transfers from your savings or money market account – a limit that’s common to all online banks on this list. If you’d prefer not to open or link another TIAA Bank account, you can opt in to an overdraft line of credit, which essentially charges a variable interest rate on negative balances. This rate is based on the prime rate plus 5.9%.
  • Possible Fees: Cashiers check, domestic wires, and uncollected items.

Learn More


24. First Internet Bank Free Checking

Low Minimum Opening Deposit; No Minimum Balance Requirement

first internet bank logoFormerly known as First Internet Bank of Indiana, First Internet Bank (or First IB) serves U.S. customers nationwide. It doesn’t have a minimum balance requirement and has a negligible minimum opening deposit.

Its biggest drawbacks include no yield and no reimbursement for other banks’ ATM fees. If you can manage a minimum daily balance of $500, spring for First IB’s Interest Checking Account, which yields 0.70% APY and waives its $10 monthly maintenance fee when you keep your balance above that threshold.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: You can open an account with a $25 deposit. There’s no minimum balance requirement after that.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Yield: This account doesn’t pay interest.
  • Rewards and Incentives: First Internet Bank of Indiana doesn’t charge its own ATM fees. Qualifying customers earn ATM rebates up to $10 per month.
  • Mobile Features: The account is Android and iPhone compatible.
  • Overdraft Options: You can opt in to an overdraft protection plan that charges a relatively high one-time fee for each overdraft transaction. Otherwise, transactions that would result in an overdraft fail.
  • Possible Fees: Paper statements, replacement debit card.

Learn More


25. eOne Checking by Salem Five Direct

No Minimum Opening Deposit or Balance Requirements

salem five direct logoThis account from Salem Five Direct offers a decent yield across the board, boasts a straightforward cash back program that rewards virtually all debit card purchases, and has a relatively low minimum opening balance requirement. It also reimburses all third-party ATM fees without limit – a powerful sweetener for a bank that has few branded ATMs of its own.

On the flip side, the annual yield is a bit low – it hasn’t changed since 2012. Plus, the mobile platform isn’t very user-friendly. Perhaps it hasn’t changed since 2012 either. And this account isn’t available through Salem Five’s physical branches, which dot Massachusetts – the only state with supplemental DIF insurance.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s a $100 minimum balance required to open your account.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Yield: All balances held in Salem Five Direct’s eOne Checking account (up to $1 million) yield 0.10% APY.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Salem Five Direct reimburses ATM fees charged by other financial institutions, up to $15 per statement cycle. Your first order of checks (5 books) is also free.
  • Mobile Features: The account is Android and iPhone compatible, though the platform feels outdated.
  • Overdraft Options: You can opt in to an overdraft protection program that charges a one-time fee of $25 per overdraft transaction. Under this program, Salem Five Direct doesn’t charge for overdrafts of less than $5. However, if you don’t opt in, any transaction that would result in an overdraft fails.
  • Possible Fees: Stop payment, paper statements, and returned deposits.

Learn More


Final Word

If you cling to the quaint notion that you shouldn’t have to pay for a basic checking account, any one of these options should suit you. However, before you settle on a choice, do your homework. Be especially vigilant for any signs of systemic problems, such as data security issues or a pattern of customer service complaints, at your chosen bank. After all, you don’t want to stop being an educated consumer just because a product or service is free.

What’s your favorite free checking account?

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

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