Individual bank account bonuses and rewards programs come and go. But it’s basically a given that dozens of online banks (and brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions) offer enticements to new and longtime account holders at any given time.
If you’re in the market for a new bank account or expect to be soon, this is all good news. The most vexing part of your search for yield or rewards (or both) is likely to come when you’re finally ready to narrow down your choices and pick a winner.
Best Rewards Checking Accounts
How does your bank or credit union checking account stack up to the most generous rewards checking accounts on the market?
If you can’t find your account on this list, it might be time to shop around for one that makes it worthwhile to park your walking-around money in.
Each of our top rewards checking accounts does at least one thing really well, and our best overall pick offers the greatest value for the widest number of users.
Best Overall: Go2bank
Go2bank is our top pick here because it does so many things well:
- An impressive yield on savings — 4.50% APY2 on savings up to $5,000
- Up to 7% cash back on eligible electronic gift card purchases in the app (3% cash back on Amazon gift card purchases)1
- Set up eligible direct deposit to avoid the $5 monthly fee
- Get paid up to two days early with ASAP Direct DepositTM3
- Deposit cash at participating retail stores (fees and deposit limits may apply)
- Enjoy up to $200 in overdraft protection with opt-in and eligible direct deposit*
- No minimum deposit or balance requirements
1Active GO2bank account required to receive an eGift Card. eGift Card merchants subject to change.
2GO2bank, Member FDIC. Interest paid quarterly on the average daily balance of savings during the quarter up to a $5,000 balance and if the account is in good standing. 4.50% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) as of January 2021. APY may change before or after you open an account. Fees on your primary deposit account may reduce earnings on your savings account.
3Direct deposit early availability depends on the timing of the payor’s payment instructions and fraud prevention restrictions may apply. As such, the availability or timing of early direct deposit may vary from pay period to pay period. The name and Social Security number on file with your employer or benefits provider must match your GO2bank account exactly or we will decline your deposit.
*Overdrafts are paid at Go2bank’s discretion. Terms and conditions apply.
Best for In-Person Banking: Chase Total Checking®
Chase Total Checking® is a super-convenient checking account with one of the biggest branch and ATM networks around.
So Chase Total Checking one of the best checking accounts for people who prefer in-person banking, period. And its unusually generous account opening bonus makes it the absolute best rewards checking account for the brick-and-mortar set.
To earn the $200 account opening bonus, simply open your account using the links above or below. If you prefer, you can enter your email here and take the coupon to your local Chase branch.
Then, once your account is open, set up direct deposit within 90 days of coupon enrollment. You’ll receive a $200 bonus within 15 business days. You must apply by January 24, 2024, to qualify.
Avoid the $12 monthly maintenance fee in any statement period by doing one of the following during that period:
- Have direct deposits made into this account totaling $500 or more, OR
- Keep a balance at the beginning of each day of $1,500 or more in your checking account, OR
- Keep an average beginning day balance of $5,000 or more in any combination of this account and linked qualifying Chase checking, savings, and other eligible balances, OR
- Pay at least $25 or more in qualifying checking-related services or fees
Best for Everyday Spending: Rewards Checking Plus via Upgrade
Rewards Checking Plus via Upgrade has one of the best cash-back programs of any free checking account. It’s perfect for everyday spending:
- Maximize your rewards with direct deposit¹
- Get 2% cash back2 on eligible debit card purchases at convenience stores, drugstores, restaurants, and bars (including delivery), and on utility bills and certain monthly subscriptions
- Get 1% cash back2 on all other eligible purchases
- Add Performance Savings to earn up to 5.07% APY³
- Get paid up to 2 days early⁴
- No account fees — no annual fees, ATM fees, or overdraft fees, period⁵
- No minimum deposit to open the account
- No ongoing balance requirements
¹ Active Accounts with a monthly direct deposit of $1000 are eligible for additional benefits on Rewards Checking Plus such as additional cash back rewards, ATM fee reimbursement, and more.
² Rewards Checking Plus customers who set up monthly direct deposits of $1,000 or more earn 2% cash back on common everyday expenses at convenience stores, drugstores, restaurants and bars – including deliveries – and gas stations, as well as recurring payments on utilities and monthly subscriptions including phone, cable, TV and other streaming services, and 1% cash back on all other debit card purchases. 2% cash back is limited to $500 in rewards per calendar year; after $500, customers earn 1% cash back on all eligible debit card purchases for the remainder of the year. Rewards Checking Plus accounts with less than $1,000 in monthly direct deposits 60 days after account opening will earn 1% cash back on common everyday expenses and 0.50% cash back on all other eligible debit card purchases. Some limitations apply. Please refer to the applicable Upgrade VISA® Debit Card Agreement and Disclosures for more
³ The 1.5% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) for the Performance Savings account is effective as of 6/1/2023. The APY for the Performance Savings account is variable and may change at any time. Active Accounts qualify for 5.07% APY with monthly $1000 direct deposit. The APY for Active Accounts is effective as of 6/1/2023, is variable, and may change at any time. Please refer to the applicable Cross River Bank Performance Savings Deposit Account Agreement and Truth in Savings Disclosure. To earn APY, you must open and fund a Performance Savings account. Rewards Checking Plus accounts do not earn APY
⁴ Early direct deposit requires set up of recurring electronic direct deposit from your employer, payroll, or benefits provider and is limited to direct deposits under $5000. Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing in which we receive notice of impending direct deposit, which is generally up to two days before the scheduled deposit date.
⁵ There are no overdraft fees or annual fees associated with Rewards Checking Plus accounts. Rewards Checking Plus charges no ATM fees, but third-party institutions may charge you a fee if you use their ATM/network or if you use your Upgrade VISA® Debit Card internationally. For Active Accounts, Upgrade will rebate ATM fees charged by another institution for debit card withdrawals in the United States, up to five times per calendar month. To be eligible to receive third-party ATM fee rebates in any calendar month for eligible ATM withdrawals made during that month on a Rewards Checking Plus account, the account must be an Active Account in the prior calendar month. See the Active Account page for more information. As a courtesy to new customers, Upgrade will provide third-party ATM fee rebates for 60 days after account opening regardless of account user status. Some limitations apply. Please refer to the applicable Cross River Bank Checking Deposit Account Agreement and Upgrade VISA® Debit Card Agreement and Disclosures for more information.
Best for Minimum Opening Deposit: KeyBank
KeyBank offers two different checking accounts with the opportunity to earn a $200 cash bonus. You can choose from a Key Smart Checking® or a Key Select Checking℠.
To earn the bonus, follow these steps:
- Open a Key Smart Checking® or Key Select Checking℠ account online by December 8, 2023.
- Make the minimum opening deposit of $10 for a Key Smart Checking® or $50 for a Key Select Checking, plus one qualified direct deposit of at least $500 within the first 60 days of account opening. Account must not be closed or restricted during time of promotional period.
With either KeyBank checking account, you’ll receive the following benefits:
- EasyUp®, allows you to make your savings automatic
- Key Coverage Zone℠ helps you avoid overdraft fees if your account has been overdrawn by less than $20
- Visit us at any of our convenient branches and 40,000 KeyBank ATMs and Allpoint ATMs nationwide
- Deposit checks in the mobile app, pay bills, send money, lock/unlock cards, and more
KeyBank is available in these states: AK, CO, CT, ID, IN, ME, MA, MI, NY, OH, OR, PA, UT, VT, WA
KeyBank Member FDIC
Best for Earning Prizes: Yotta
Yotta is the best bank account for people who love to earn prizes, bar none. (And who doesn’t love to earn prizes?!)
Yotta’s superpower is making it easy to win big just by saving. For every $25 you save in your FDIC-insured Yotta account, you receive a recurring weekly ticket into prize sweepstakes with prizes ranging from $0.10 to $10 million each week.
And with the Yotta debit card, you’ll earn 10% of your purchase amount back via tickets in the following week’s sweepstakes. The odds that Yotta covers your purchase range from 1 in 200 to 1 in 100 thanks to Yotta’s Lucky Swipes feature.
- Earn a solid base yield on your savings balances
- Get paid up to 2 days early with qualifying direct deposit into your Yotta account
- Every paycheck earns 5% extra bonus tickets
- Get 1 in 150 Lucky Swipes odds with direct deposit
Best for Freelancers and Solopreneurs: Axos Bank Basic Business Checking
Axos Bank Basic Business Checking is the best rewards checking account for folks in business for themselves.
Whether you’re a freelancer, solopreneur, or side hustler, you’ll appreciate a new account bonus offer worth up to $400, free checks, unlimited free transactions, and a slew of other business-friendly benefits here.
- No monthly maintenance fee
- No minimum balance requirements
- Free debit card when you open your account
- Easy mobile check deposits and bill payments
Best Account Opening Bonus: TD Bank Beyond Checking
TD Bank Beyond Checking offers a $300 bonus, fee waivers, overdraft grace period, ATM perks, and comprehensive online banking for qualifying new customers with direct deposits of $2,500 or more.New customers who apply online for a TD Beyond Checking account can earn a $300 cash bonus after receiving direct deposits of $2,500 or more within 60 days. To qualify for this offer, you must be a U.S. resident and apply for the offer online. Offer is available in these states: CT, DC, DE, FL, MD, ME, MA, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, SC, VT, VA
Three ways to go monthly maintenance fee-free: Monthly Maintenance fee waived when you set up direct deposits of $5,000 or more within a statement cycle, maintain a $2,500 minimum daily balance, or have a $25,000 combined balance across eligible TD accounts.
ATM perks: TD fees waived at any ATM and non-TD fees reimbursed when you keep at least a $2,500 daily balance
A little extra time. A lot of extra relief: Avoid fees with Grace Period, which gives you until 11 PM ET the next business day to fix an overdraft. Make sure your available balance is at least $0 by depositing enough to cover the overdrawn balance plus any additional transactions and TD will refund the overdraft fee to your checking account.
Fast and secure payments: TD Bank debit cards are backed by the Zero Liability guarantee and 24/7 fraud monitoring
Convenient locations with the longest hours around: We have over 1,100 locations from Maine to Florida that’s open early, late, and weekends.
Get reimbursed for fees including two overdraft fees per year, all Rush Bill Payments, and one outgoing wire per statement cycle (domestic or international).
Additional TD Bank checking account perks worth talking about: Get 24/7 access to all your TD accounts with Online & Mobile Banking, plus Bill Pay, Send Money with Zelle®, Mobile Deposit and Online Statements.
Best for Crypto Rewards: Juno
The Juno Checking account is the best rewards account for people equally comfortable spending (and saving) cash and crypto. It offers multiple ways to earn rewards:
- Earn 5% annualized bonus cash on your first $10,000 in cash deposits
- Earn 3% annualized bonus cash on your next $240,000 in cash deposits (up to $250,000 total)
- Earn 5% cash back when you use your Juno debit card to spend cash or crypto with participating brands like Amazon, Target, DoorDash, Netflix, Airbnb, Uber, and many more
- Set up direct deposit and earn Juno coins every time you get your paycheck
- Auto-invest feature lets you invest part or all of your paycheck in crypto
- No minimum balance requirements
- No monthly fees or overdraft fees
- Cash balances FDIC-insured up to $250,000
- Fee-free access to more than 80,000 ATMs
Best ATM Network: Nationwide Advantage Checking
Nationwide Advantage Checking is a high-yield checking account with the biggest ATM network of any bank on this list. More than 80,000 ATMs count as in-network here, ensuring you’re never far from a fee-free machine.
- Meet all tier requirements to earn up to 0.90% APY (variable with prevailing rates)
- $50 minimum opening deposit
- No minimum daily balance requirement
- No monthly maintenance fees or NSF transaction fees
Best for Helping the Planet: Aspiration Debit
Aspiration offers a rewards checking account that helps you do right by the planet while earning serious rewards on everyday purchases. With Aspiration Plus ($5.99 per month), you can earn up to 10% back on spending with Aspiration’s Conscience Coalition partners, a group of forward-thinking companies that care about more than just the bottom line.
Don’t want to upgrade quite yet? Pay what you think is fair (even if it’s $0) for a standard Aspiration account and earn 3% to 5% on eligible Conscience Coalition purchases.
Conscience Coalition partners include:
- Imperfect Foods
- Blue Apron
- Warby Parker
- And many more
Plus, with either Aspiration plan, you’ll always get these great value-added features:
- Earn up to 5.00% APY on the first $10,000 with Aspiration Plus
- Earn up to 3.00% APY on the first $10,000 with standard Aspiration
- Just $10 to open an account
- Deposits never fund fossil fuels
- Option to plant a tree with every card swipe
- Enjoy fee-free transactions at more than 55,000 ATMs
The Aspiration Save Account’s up to 5.00% Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) s variable, subject to change, and only available to customers enrolled in Aspiration Plus after conditions are met. Customers not enrolled in Aspiration Plus receive 3.00% APY after conditions are met. Terms & FAQ. The Aspiration Spend & Save Accounts are cash management accounts offered through Aspiration Financial, LLC, a registered broker-dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC, and a subsidiary of Aspiration Partners, Inc. (“Aspiration”). Aspiration is not a bank.
Methodology: How We Select the Best Rewards Checking Accounts
We use several important factors to assess rewards checking accounts and build our list of the very best. Each relates in some way to these accounts’ overall cost, value, or quality of user experience.
Account Opening Bonus
Some of the best rewards checking accounts offer juicy account opening bonuses. Generally, these bonuses require one or more of the following:
- A minimum monthly or total direct deposit during the qualification period, which typically runs two to four months
- A minimum monthly spend or transaction count during the qualification period
- A minimum daily balance held through the qualification period
Then, to formally qualify for the bonus, the new account holder must keep their account open and in good standing until (and sometimes after) they receive the bonus amount.
We’re big fans of rewards checking accounts that offer account opening bonuses, but it’s not a dealbreaker when they don’t.
Rewards on Debit Card Spending
Cash back on debit card purchases is perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when the typical consumer hears the term “rewards checking.”
Which is why it’s one of the most important considerations for us. Most of the accounts on this list offer some type of rewards on spending, whether it’s straight cash back or a more convoluted points-based system.
“Rewards” and “yield” are all but synonymous. All else being equal, we like checking accounts that pay well above the national savings account average yield. Again, no yield is not a dealbreaker where other types of rewards are present, but interest is certainly a “nice to have.”
Other Account Benefits
The foregoing rewards merely scratch the surface. The best rewards checking accounts offer benefits like:
- Early payday for account holders with qualifying payers
- Mobile check deposit and other clutch mobile features
- Expansive fee-free ATM networks
- Overdraft protection, free or otherwise
- Fast funds transfers
- Zero fraud liability on debit card purchases
- Travel and purchase benefits backed by Visa or Mastercard
The more benefits, the more compelling the account.
Other Available Account Types
For some of the rewards checking accounts on this list, the account is basically the institution. That’s great for folks who prize simplicity over comprehensiveness.
And if you prefer comprehensiveness? Look to an institution that pairs rewards checking with other clutch account types:
- High-yield savings
- Money markets
- Investment accounts
- Specialized accounts, like HSAs
All else being equal, we prefer comprehensive institutions. But we recognize that the best rewards checking platforms often come courtesy of companies that focus on one thing and do it really well.
Monthly Maintenance Fees
No one likes paying monthly maintenance fees, and we prefer rewards checking accounts that don’t charge them at all. Failing that, we look to banks that make them as easy as possible to avoid.
Other Possible Fees
Most of the accounts on this list are light on fees. That’s intentional — just as no one likes monthly maintenance fees, no one likes nickel-and-dime bank account fees either.
Rewards Checking FAQs
Still have questions about rewards checking accounts? We have answers.
What Is Rewards Checking?
“Rewards checking” describes any checking account that offers a direct return on investment (your account balance) or spending — or both.
- Accounts offering cash or points bonuses for new account holders
- Accounts that earn interest on held balances
- Accounts that earn rewards on eligible debit card transactions
The best rewards checking accounts offer all three.
How Much Does Rewards Checking Cost?
In a perfect world, nothing. Many rewards checking accounts have no monthly maintenance fees and make it easy to avoid other types of account fees, such as overdraft fees and ATM withdrawal fees.
Before signing up for any bank or investment account, be sure to read the fee disclosure and any associated fine print. You don’t want to find out too late that you’ve signed up for an account that costs more than it rewards you.
How Do You Get Checking Account Rewards?
Usually through some combination of spending and saving. And t earn new account bonuses, you generally have to receive direct deposits or spend a certain amount during the qualification period.
What Are the Best Banks for Rewards Checking Accounts?
The short answer: the banks on this list. We’re constantly on the lookout for high-quality rewards checking accounts, and we’re not shy about cutting loose accounts that no longer make the grade.
How to Choose the Best Rewards Checking Account
These are among the best rewards checking accounts from U.S.-based financial institutions, including banks, credit unions, and online brokerages. As you narrow down your options, consider:
- Whether you’re targeting high yield, spending rewards, or both
- How important an account opening bonus is to you
- Whether the account has an annual fee, and what if anything you can do to avoid it
- The account’s other fees and what if anything you can do to avoid them
- Other perks and benefits, such as fee-free ATM access and high-dollar deposit insurance
When you find an account that ticks as many of these boxes as possible, be prepared to pounce.
Be advised that many of these accounts also appear on our roundups of the best free checking accounts, best checking accounts with monthly service fees, and best new bank account promotions. Check those roundups for more great banking ideas.
One last thing. Because account opening promotions, yields, and rewards programs are all subject to change without notice, check back here often — and those other “best of” roundups too — for the latest information. And always confirm specific details with the relevant banks or credit unions themselves.