Advertiser Disclosure
X

Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card and banking offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies and banks from which MoneyCrashers.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they appear on category pages. MoneyCrashers.com does not include all banks, credit card companies or all available credit card offers, although best efforts are made to include a comprehensive list of offers regardless of compensation. Advertiser partners include American Express, Chase, U.S. Bank, and Barclaycard, among others.

  • Date

By

Dig Deeper

24,414FansLike
24,252FollowersFollow
42,101FollowersFollow

Become a Money Crasher!
Join our community.

10 Best High-Yield Checking Accounts That Pay You Interest

Prevailing interest rates — most important, the federal funds rate set by the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States — have been low by historical standards since the global financial crisis of the late 2000s. For a variety of reasons, rates are unlikely to increase dramatically anytime soon.

Borrowers are the natural beneficiaries of low interest rates, so perennially low rates are welcome news for homebuyers and other borrowers eager for cheap financing. They’re not so great for deposit account holders seeking reasonable returns on cash parked with their bank or credit union of choice. Virtually all financial institutions tie deposit account yields to prevailing benchmark rates, so declines in key interest rate benchmarks show up in deposit account yields in short order.

But it’s not quite a race to the bottom. An impressive number of online banks offer relatively high yields on savings, money market, and even checking accounts. And everyone needs a checking account, right?

Many of these high-yield checking accounts are on our roundups of the best free checking accounts and best checking accounts with monthly maintenance fees (most of which you can avoid when you meet minimum balance or monthly transaction requirements).

These are among the best high-yield checking accounts at American banks and credit unions right now. Because actual yields and account terms are subject to change at the institutions’ discretion, often without warning, check this list frequently and use each institution’s account disclosures to confirm specific details.

Best High-Yield Checking Accounts

1. Citi Elevate Checking

Citibank LogoCiti’s Elevate Checking is an online checking account available in many states. Clocking in at 20 times the national checking average, its yield is the star of the show. Other key features include no minimum to open, no monthly fees with a qualifying minimum balance, unlimited waived and reimbursed ATM fees, and a robust suite of online banking tools (including person-to-person, or P2P, payments and mobile check deposits) that empower you to manage your money on the go. Don’t miss the handy Spending Insights tool, which provides granular detail on your spending patterns.

  • Yield: 0.20% APY on balances up to $9,999, 0.40% annual percentage yield  (APY) on balances from $10,000 to $24,999, and 1.01% APY on balances above $25,000.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum opening deposit. To waive the $15 monthly maintenance fee, you need to maintain an average monthly balance of $5,000.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Enjoy unlimited ATM fee waivers and reimbursements worldwide.
  • Mobile Features: Citibank has a mobile-friendly website.
  • Possible Fees: See account disclosures for more details about fees on this account.



2. Varo Bank Account

Varo Bank LogoThe Varo Bank Account has one of the highest savings account yields on the market for customers able to meet the requirements to earn 2.80% APY* on balances up to $10,000 in a Varo Savings Account linked to the Varo Bank Account.

Varo’s nonexistent account minimums are worth celebrating in their own right, but it’s the early direct deposit option that really shines. 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 two days early.^

You can also count on no-fee overdrafts up to $50 when you qualify for and enroll in the no-fee overdraft program. Qualify by completing at least five Varo Visa®Debit Card purchases in each calendar month and receiving at least $1,000 in total direct deposits into your account in the same calendar month.

  • 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 three requirements during a statement cycle: complete at least five Varo debit card purchases in each calendar month, receive at least $1,000 in total direct deposits into your account in the same calendar month; and keep a savings account balance up to $10,000 (the maximum to earn 2.80% APY). Otherwise, you earn 1.21% APY* on your Varo Savings Account balance.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum deposit or ongoing balance requirement.
  • Account Opening Bonus: There’s currently no account opening bonus
  • Rewards and Incentives: With no-fee overdraft, pay no overdraft fees or interest on overdrafts up to $50 when you qualify and enroll. To qualify, complete at least five Varo debit card purchases in each calendar month and receive at least $1,000 in total direct deposits into your account in the same calendar month. Plus, enjoy direct deposited paychecks up to two days early^ when your employer files to the Federal Reserve to start the direct deposit process.
  • 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. Varo charges an out-of-network ATM Withdrawal Fee of $2.50 per withdrawal.

Learn More

* Varo APY is accurate as of May 15, 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.

^ 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 The Bancorp Bank; Member FDIC. The Varo Visa Debit Card is issued by The Bancorp Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.


3. Signature Federal Credit Union High-Yield Checking

Signature Federal LogoSignature Federal Credit Union might not be as well known as banking giants like Citi and Chase, but its high-yield checking account is definitely worth going out on a limb for. Meet the qualifying activity requirements each month, and you can earn 3% APY on balances up to $20,000, many times higher than the national checking account average. Perks like free checks only increase the account’s appeal.

  • Yield: Earn 3% APY on balances up to $20,000 in statement cycles during which you do the following: receive a total of $1,000 in direct deposits, complete at least 10 debit card transactions that post during the statement cycle, enroll in electronic statements. Balances above $20,000 have much lower yields.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no ongoing minimum balance requirement, but you must make a token share deposit to open your first account.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Get one free book of standard checks each year.
  • Mobile Features: Signature Federal Credit Union has a mobile-friendly website.
  • Possible Fees: Outgoing wires, cashiers checks.

Learn More


4. FNBO

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.

  • Yield: This account yields 0.65% APY on all balances above $0.01, up to $1 million.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: The minimum opening deposit is $1 and a minimum balance of $0.01 required to earn APY.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: FNBO Direct doesn’t charge its own ATM withdrawal fees (at more than 55,000 ATMs in North America). However, it never reimburses ATM withdrawal fees charged by other banks.
  • Mobile Features: Pay bills and send money for free using FNBO’s secure app. You can opt in to text alerts for account updates as well.
  • Possible Fees: Outgoing wires, cashiers checks.

Learn More


5. Radius Bank Rewards Checking

Radius Bank Rewards CheckingThe Rewards Checking account from Radius Bank offers an unlimited 1% cash-back reward on online and signature-based debit card transactions — essentially, a yield on every dollar you spend — and offers traditional interest yields up to 0.15% APY for high-balance accounts.

There’s a bit of a catch, though: a minimum account balance of $2,500 or at least $2,500 in qualifying direct deposits each month to qualify for cash back. On the bright side, Rewards Checking has no hidden fees and, like some competitors, offers the opportunity to receive direct deposits up to two days early.

  • Yield: Earn 0.10% APY on balances between $2,500 and $99,999. Earn 0.15% APY on balances above $100,000.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: The minimum opening deposit is $100, but there’s no minimum daily balance requirement.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Earn unlimited 1% cash back on online and signature-based debit card transactions (select “credit” at the point of sale) in statement cycles when you do at least one of the following: receive total monthly direct deposits into your account from a qualifying source of income (generally, an employer or government benefits provider) of $2,500 or more or maintain an average balance of $2,500 or more in your Rewards Checking account.
  • Mobile Features: Radius Bank has a mobile-friendly website.
  • Possible Fees: See Radius Bank’s account agreements for details about possible account fees.

Learn More


6. M1 Spend

M1 SpendM1 Finance Logo is a free cash management account from M1 Finance, a digital banking, investing, and lending platform. With a debit card that’s accepted by millions of merchants worldwide and zero account minimums, it’s a fine substitute for a traditional checking account, especially if you don’t need lots of bells and whistles. M1 Spend is free to use, with no monthly maintenance fees — though a $125 annual payment gets you an upgrade to M1 Plus, which earns 1% APY on all M1 Spend balances, 1% cash back on debit card purchases, and up to four ATM fee reimbursements each month.

  • Yield: Upgrade to M1 Plus to earn 1% APY on all account balances and 1% cash back on all debit card purchases.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum opening deposit and no minimum daily balance requirement.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None at the moment, but check back for the latest offers.
  • Rewards and Incentives: M1 Plus members get four ATM fee reimbursements per month — three more than standard M1 members.
  • Mobile Features: M1 Finance has a fully functional mobile app and a mobile-friendly website.
  • Possible Fees: Third-party ATM fees subject to ATM owner’s discretion.

Learn More


7. Ally Bank Interest Checking

ally bank logoAlly Bank’s Interest Checking account has a two-tiered yield structure that rewards high-dollar depositors with impressive rates and entices leaner applicants with no minimums of any kind. All third-party ATM fees qualify for reimbursement, without exception. And a reasonably priced overdraft protection program further sweetens the deal.

  • Yield: Ally Interest Checking yields 0.10% APY on daily balances less than $15,000 and 0.50% APY on balances greater than $15,000.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum deposit or ongoing daily balance minimum.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • 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: This Android- and iOS-compatible account features mobile check deposit (Ally eCheck Deposit), ATM finder, P2P payments, online bill pay, and internal and external transfers using the Zelle money transfer app.
  • Possible Fees: Stop payment, outgoing wires, and international transactions.

Learn More


8. Axos Bank Rewards Checking

Axos Bank LogoThe Axos Bank Rewards Checking account promises yields up to 1.25% on balances up to $150,000 for customers able to complete certain qualifying activities each statement cycle. Meet all three qualifying activity requirements to maximize your earning potential.

  • Yield: Rewards Checking accounts come with a base yield of 0%. To earn interest in any given month, do any or all of the following during that month: receive a $1,000 direct deposit or use your card at least 10 times (but fewer than 15 times) in a given month to earn 0.4166% on all balances, use your card at least 15 times to earn 0.8333% on all balances, receive a $1,000 deposit and use your card at least 10 times to earn 0.8333%, receive a $1,000 deposit and use your card at least 15 times to earn 1.25%. Qualifying transactions must be $3 or greater, and balances greater than $150,000 don’t earn interest.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: The minimum account opening deposit is $50. Thereafter, there’s no minimum daily balance requirement.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Axos Bank offers unlimited reimbursements for all U.S. ATM fees and 50 checks free at account opening (upon request).
  • Mobile Features: Axos Bank has a mobile-friendly website.
  • Possible Fees: Debit card replacement, cashiers checks, stop payment.

Learn More


9. Empower

EmpowerEmpower Black Transparent@12x is a user-friendly money management app with no minimums and an above-average yield (currently 0.25% APY*) on all balances.

The impressive yield — several times the national checking average — is reason enough to open an Empower account. Account holders also enjoy a host of additional personal finance features, including automated savings with personalized recommendations to boost your savings rate, one-on-one guidance on financial questions upon request, help negotiating bills, and tools to track your spending and budget.

At $6 per month after the first 30 days, this value-added feature lineup is a steal.

  • Yield: 0.25% APY* on all checking balances. AutoSave balances also earn 0.25% APY.*
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum opening deposit or ongoing balance required.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Get unlimited inbound and outbound transfers and up to three free ATM transactions per month.^
  • Mobile Features: Empower has a fully functional mobile app and a mobile-friendly website.
  • Possible Fees: Empower is free for the first 30 days. After 30 days, Empower charges $6 per month for continued access to its full suite of money management tools.

Learn More

* Banking services for new accounts provided by NBKC Bank, member FDIC. 0.25% APY may change at any time. APY as of May 1, 2020. Empower charges an auto-recurring subscription fee of $6 for access to the full suite of money management features offered on the platform after your first 30 days.

^ Reimbursement for up to three ATM fees per month with a maximum reimbursement of $10 per ATM withdrawal.


10. Bank5 Connect High-Interest Checking Account

Bank5 Connect LogoThe Bank5 Connect high-interest checking account pairs an attractive yield with a reasonable minimum balance requirement, boasts a generous ATM fee reimbursement policy, and has a mobile-friendly website that’s easy to use on Android and iOS phones. Throw in free personal checks, free bank checks, and a rewards-bearing debit card, and you’ve got a potent online banking package.

  • Yield: The yield is 0.25% APY on account balances greater than $100.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: The minimum opening balance is $10, but there’s no ongoing daily minimum balance requirement. You do need to keep a daily balance of at least $100 to earn interest.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Bank5 Connect reimburses third-party ATM surcharges up to a total of $15 per month. Your first five-book order of personal checks, all cashiers checks, and all wire transfers are free.
  • Mobile Features: The account is Android- and iOS-compatible and boasts free mobile check deposit and bill pay.
  • Possible Fees: Returned deposit, stop payment, and paper statements carry fees.

Learn More


Final Word

Like mortgage rates and CD yields, checking account yields rise and fall as benchmark interest rates change. During periods of economic uncertainty, when benchmark rates tend to be more volatile, these changes can occur with disorienting frequency. The yield you expect on that shiny new online checking account might not be the yield you actually receive.

The silver lining is that competition for new checking account customers remains fierce, especially among online banks and smaller brick-and-mortar institutions without household name status. That means checking account yields will continue to entice new account holders, wherever interest rates go.

Does your current checking account qualify as high-yield? If not, which of these accounts looks most interesting to you?

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.

Next Up on
Money Crashers

Couple Holding Sports Tickets

13 Places to Buy Cheap Discount Sports Tickets Online & Off

More than 1 in 10 millennials have fallen victim to ticket counterfeiting, according to a study by anti-counterfeiting outfit Aventus. You probably know someone...
Where To Invest Gold Coins Chalk Notepad

7 Best Stock Screeners of 2020 (Free & Paid Apps or Software)

How do you choose which stocks to buy? While many investors choose to simply buy index funds as an easy way to “invest in the market,” others aim to beat the market by picking individual stocks. That’s where stock screeners come in handy.

Latest on
Money Crashers

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

See why 218,388 people subscribe to our newsletter.

What Do You Want To Do
With Your Money?

Make
Money

Explore

Manage
Money

Explore

Save
Money

Explore

Borrow
Money

Explore

Protect
Money

Explore

Invest
Money

Explore