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U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking Review


Us Bank Logo

Our rating

4.6/5

U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking

  • Monthly Fee: $6.95, but multiple ways to waive
  • Minimum Deposit: $25
  • Minimum Ongoing Balance: $0
  • Account Yield: None
  • Deposit Insurance: Yes, up to $250,000

 

As one of the biggest banks in the United States, you’d expect U.S. Bank to have a whole slew of checking accounts, each tailored to a specific group of potential customers. You might shrink at the idea of evaluating all these options and eventually choosing the one that best fits your needs.

Rest assured, there’s no need to worry. U.S. Bank has only two checking account options, and the best choice for most users is U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking. With a modest maintenance fee that’s relatively easy to waive and a potentially generous account opening opportunity, it’s better than most big-bank checking accounts and an excellent fit for a range of users.

That said, U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking isn’t perfect. Before you open an account, understand its limitations and downsides and decide whether it’s truly the best choice for you.

What Is U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking?

U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking is a personal checking account from U.S. Bank. It has a $6.95 monthly maintenance fee that can be waived with a qualifying direct deposit, minimum balance, or U.S. Bank credit card.

Smartly® Checking has many features you’d expect from a full-service checking account, including optional overdraft protection, fast person-to-person funds transfers, a robust ATM network, and a banking rewards program. As a member FDIC bank, U.S. Bank offers deposit insurance on eligible balances up to $250,000.

You can open a U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking online or in-branch and fund it with a check deposit or electronic funds transfer. However, you must reside in AZ, AR, CA, CO, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NM, NC, ND, OH, OR, SD, TN, UT, WA, WI, or WY to be eligible.

What Sets U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking Apart?

Smartly® Checking has several features that set it apart from similar checking accounts elsewhere:

  • Highly rated mobile app. Smartly® Checking has a top-rated mobile app that can do basically everything the web-based online banking portal can. It’s easy to bank on the go with this account.
  • Strong overdraft protection options. Smartly® Checking has two overlapping layers of overdraft protection and doesn’t charge an overdraft fee for negative balances less than $50. 
  • Built-in banking rewards program. U.S. Bank’s complimentary Smart Rewards program features clutch benefits like out-of-network ATM fee reimbursements, boosts to your linked savings account’s interest rate, and a complimentary virtual consultation with a member of U.S. Bank’s wealth management team.
  • Excellent account opening opportunity. This account comes with a new account opening opportunity worth up to $1,000 when you open your account by December 29, 2023 and complete qualifying activities. Terms apply.

Key Features of U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking

U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking has all the features you’d expect from a full-service checking account at one of the country’s biggest banks. It has some less-common (and very welcome) features as well.

Account Opening Opportunity

You can earn up to $1,000 when you open a new U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking account and Standard Savings account online and complete qualifying activities. Offer valid through December 29, 2023.

Complete these steps within 90 days of opening your new Bank Smartly® Checking account online:

  • Complete two or more direct deposits of $5,000 to $9,999 to earn $300 or $10,000+ to earn $500 
  • Enroll in online banking or the U.S. Bank Mobile App

Complete the following steps for a Standard Savings account and earn up to $400:

  • Open a Standard Savings account
  • Make a new money deposit of $25,000 to $49,999 to earn $200 or $50,000+ to earn $400

If you open both a U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking account and a Standard Savings account you can earn an extra $100.

This offer is subject to certain terms and limitations. 

Account Minimums & Geographical Requirements

The minimum opening deposit is $25, but there’s no ongoing minimum balance once your account is opened. 

Account holders must reside in AZ, AR, CA, CO, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NM, NC, ND, OH, OR, SD, TN, UT, WA, WI, or WY to be eligible for a new Bank Smartly® Checking account.

Maintenance Fee & Waiver Options

The monthly maintenance fee is $6.95. It’s waived in any statement cycle where one of the following applies:

  • You receive direct deposits with a combined value of $1,000 or more
  • You have an average account balance of $1,500 or more
  • You have an active, eligible U.S. Bank credit card

ATM Access

As a Smartly® Checking customer, you pay no ATM withdrawal fees at MoneyPass® Network ATMs. Transactions outside these networks may incur surcharges. 

Overdraft Protection Options

You have the option to link an eligible U.S. Bank account to your Smartly® Checking account for overdraft protection. If you attempt a transaction that would result in a negative checking account balance, U.S. Bank automatically transfers funds to cover the overdraft.

The amount advanced is $5 for overdrafts of $5 or less and an amount rounded up to the nearest $50 for larger overdrafts. There’s no overdraft fee for overdrafts smaller than $50. If you’re eligible for U.S. Bank’s Overdraft Fee Forgiven program, you may get the overdraft fee reimbursed on larger overdrafts if you deposit funds to cover the negative balance by 11pm ET the day it occurs.

Budgeting & Planning Tools

This account comes with useful financial tools like:

  • Goal Planner, which can help you estimate how much you’ll need (and how fast you’ll need to save) for a forthcoming expense, like a down payment on a house
  • Automatic spending categories to easily track and manage your expenses and see where you can cut back
  • Personalized market insights tailored to your financial behaviors and preferences

Banking Rewards

As a U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking account holder, you can sign up for the complimentary Smart Rewards® to earn progressively more valuable benefits as your balance grows.

Your benefits depend on your total balance in all linked U.S. Bank accounts. For example, above $20,000, you get your checking account maintenance fee waived with no deposit, credit card, or further balance requirements. Above $250,000, the highest tier, you enjoy unlimited ATM fee surcharge reimbursements and a 15% boost to interest earned on interest-bearing U.S. Bank accounts. 

Mobile Features

U.S. Bank has a top-rated mobile app that can do just about anything the web interface can, including:

  • Fast person-to-person money transfers with Zelle®
  • Mobile check deposit
  • One-time and recurring bill payments
  • Automated budgeting and expense categorization
  • Custom account alerts and account management tasks

Deposit Insurance

This account comes with federal deposit insurance on balances up to $250,000.

Pros & Cons

U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking has a lot of advantages and a smaller but still notable number of downsides.

Pros

  • Strong account opening opportunity
  • Highly rated mobile app
  • Above-average overdraft protection program

Cons

  • Not available in all states
  • Has a monthly maintenance fee that may be difficult for some to waive
  • No yield

Pros

Smartly® Checking is a well-rounded checking account that rewards everyday users and provides valuable peace of mind.

  • Strong account opening opportunity. This account has one of the best new account opening opportunities of any checking account in its class. Terms apply.
  • Broad ATM network. U.S. Bank has a network of tens of thousands of ATMs that don’t charge withdrawal fees. They’re distributed across the United States, so finding one near you shouldn’t be too difficult.
  • Excellent mobile app. U.S. Bank has a top-rated mobile app that effortlessly replicates the web-based online banking experience. It’s easy to bank from anywhere with a Wi-Fi or LTE connection.
  • Comes with budgeting and planning tools. This account comes with some useful and entirely complimentary budgeting and financial planning tools to help you prepare for big upcoming expenses and shore up your budget in the meantime.
  • Potentially valuable banking rewards program. U.S. Bank’s Smart Rewards® program gets more generous as your combined eligible balance increases. It’s definitely worth signing up for, even if you don’t have tons of cash right now.
  • Strong overdraft protection options. U.S. Bank’s overdraft protection program is comprehensive and reasonably priced. You’re not charged for overdrafts smaller than $50, nor for larger overdrafts if you can make a deposit to restore a positive balance by 11pm ET the day they occur.

Cons

Smartly® Checking has a monthly maintenance fee that may be difficult for some users to avoid, and it’s not available everywhere.

  • Not available everywhere. Smartly® Checking is available in most states, but not all. Before you apply, confirm that your location is eligible.
  • Has a monthly maintenance fee. This account comes with a $6.95 monthly maintenance fee. While the waiver requirements are attainable for many would-be users, they could prove difficult for some.
  • No yield. Most checking accounts don’t pay interest, but a growing number do. This account falls short next to them.

Final Word

If you’re dissatisfied with your current checking account or simply curious about what else is out there, take a look at U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking. While not perfect, it has a nice package of features and benefits that make it far better than the typical big-bank spending account. Its monthly maintenance fee is easier to waive than many peer accounts’ too.
While you’re at it, take a look at U.S. Bank’s other banking products. Its CDs are particularly interesting if you’re seeking an above-average return on savings at a major member-FDIC bank.

The Verdict

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Our rating

4.6/5

U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking

U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking is a full-service checking account with a reasonable monthly maintenance fee that’s relatively easy to waive. It has other notable perks as well, including a highly rated mobile app, an attractive account opening opportunity, and strong overdraft protection. However, it’s not available in all states and the monthly maintenance fee could be problematic for users without much financial wiggle room.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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.