Finding a free checking account was easy a few years back but it has become very difficult in the world we live in today.
Most banks today require you to pay a monthly maintenance fee for the privilege of keeping your checking account open.
These fees usually range from a few dollars to $25 or more depending on the bank.
Nobody likes paying monthly maintenance fees, so it becomes even more important to choose a free checking account that solves this problem.
Fortunately, it is still possible to find free checking accounts. Many online banks offer free, FDIC insured (up to $250,000 per account) accounts with few restrictions.
An online banking pioneer, formerly known as Bank of Internet USA, AXOS bank offers a free checking account. It has an exceptional rate on its Rewards checking.
This account doesn’t automatically pay interest, but you can earn a yield of up to 1.25% on your funds by meeting certain criteria.
These include using your Axos Visa debit card fifteen times per month by making a transaction of at least $3 each.
Second criteria being that you receive a monthly deposit of at least a $1000 or more.
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.
Apart from the above, the other features include free overdraft transfers from a linked internal savings or money market account, check deposits, bill pay, send money to friends.
Discover Bank checking lets you earn cash back on qualifying debit card purchases each month.
This is a full-service online bank with a totally free checking account.
The main point 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 convenient fee schedule with no bill pay, check to reorder, replacement debit card, bank check, or wire fees.
Additionally, customers have fee-free access to more than 60,000 ATMs in U.S. – more than most competitors.
The account is Android and iPhone compatible.
Chime is one of the fastest-growing bank accounts in America.
The bank account is managed through a mobile-first banking app which comprises of the checking account.
Once you set up direct deposit with Chime, the customers get paid two days faster.
If you are used to paydays on Fridays, chime deposit account will ensure you receive money on Wednesday.
Chime virtually has no fees whatsoever. There is no minimum opening deposit and minimum daily balance requirement.
There is no foreign transaction fee, no transfer fee, and no monthly service fee. Chime does not offer overdraft protection.
Generally, the transactions that would result in a negative account balance are automatically declined. It does, however, have a $2.50 over-the-counter cash withdrawal charge which can be avoided when you use one of the Banks’ 38,000 fee-free ATMs.
Its mobile features include mobile check deposit, fee-free P2P transfers, fee-free electronic bill pay, mobile payment app compatibility (apple pay, Samsung pay, and Google Pay).
The ally bank interest checking account remains very popular with its users.
It is one of the first online banks. The checking account offers at least 0.10% APY on minimum daily balances less than $15,000, and 0.25% on balances greater than that amount.
They never charge ATM fees. They reimburse up to $10 per statement cycle for fees charged at other ATMs at the end of the month.
Ally customers can use more than 43,000 U.S. ATMs for free.
The online-only bank has a mobile app available on Apple, Android & Windows devices.
Ally has a real-time chat service and actively responds to customer inquiries on Twitter and Facebook.
If you prefer to call your bank, their call center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Capital one 360 offers a top of the line banking experience with strong customer support.
The 360 checking account comes with an 0.10% APY. The yield rate earlier varied depending on the balance maintained.
Presently, Capital One 360 Checking offers yield of 0.10% APY for all the balance amounts.
Capital One is part of the Allpoint ATM network, giving its customers access to over 40,000+ free cash machines.
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.
Alliant provides an opportunity for customers to qualify for its high rate checking account on fulfilling the following criteria.
Members need to opt-out of paper statements and have at least one electronic deposit each month. This can be in the form of direct, ATM and mobile deposits.
Transfers from other financial institutions are also included in the above deposit criteria. High rate checking customers qualify for a return of 0.25% APY on balances on any amount.
Alliant members can access more than 80,000+ surcharge-free ATM’s and have up to $20 reimbursed in out-of-network ATM fees a month.
Simple is owned and backed by regional bank BBVA Compass and offers customers a free checking account that is mixed with the apps budgeting tools.
It is an online-only account. Presently, the balances do not earn any interest. Simple offers 0.40% APY only in Protected Goals Account.
Likewise, Simple does not charge its customers any fees.
There is no monthly maintenance, no minimum balance, no account closing fee, stop payment fees, debit card replacement fee, no ATM Fee which is pretty good from a customer’s point of a fee.
The above options are free of any opening deposit. Now, let’s take a look at accounts that are beneficial even with deposits.
Aspiration checking account is an online-only account that stands out as one of the best checking accounts on the market.
The account earns interest, cashback and do not charge ATM or monthly fees. Also, Aspiration does not charge any overdraft fees.
The account requires a $10 minimum opening deposit.
The interest rate on this account is very good. It is up to 1.00% APY for all balances in the save account.
Customers will be reimbursed for any ATM fees they incur, including the ones at foreign ATMs.
Credit unions are local only and primarily focus on people who live or work in a specific region.
But some credit unions are available nationwide and also offer better terms. One such credit union is consumers credit union.
You can apply to join this credit union even if you don’t live near its Illinois headquarters.
To join, you will need to make a $5 payment to a sponsoring association and deposit a minimum of $5 in a savings account. This account has no monthly fees or minimum balances.
Customers can earn up to 4.00%APY on balances up to $15,000. The interest rate is huge but it is not easy to qualify for that.
To get the interest rate, you need to
- Use your debit card at least 12 times per month,
- $1000 average daily balance
- Have a $1000 minimum recurring monthly direct deposit or bill pay, use online banking at least monthly and get electronic statements.
4% APY will apply to balances $15,000 and below. Whereas, any amount in excess of $15,000 will earn 0.01% APY.
If you wish to use this as your primary account and meet the requirements, there is a very good opportunity to avail the high-interest rate on your balance.
High Yield Investor checking account from Charles Schwab Bank carries 0.03% APY. You wouldn’t earn much on the balances maintained but if you run an overseas business then you benefit from –
- World-wide unlimited ATM fee rebates, and
- No foreign transaction fees
You are relieved from daily account monitoring as there are $0 minimum requirements and no monthly fees.
High Yield Investor checking account is FDIC insured and allows using app for bill pay, mobile deposits, fund transfer and lock/ unlock debit card options.
Bank 5 Connect has an initial deposit of $10 when opening the account and you will need a balance of at least $100 to qualify for the 0.20% APY.
The bank provides customers with access to thousands of free ATMs and reimburses up to $15 per month for fees racked up at other banks ATMs. Also, there are no monthly fees with paperless statements.
The FNBO Direct online checking account pays an attractive yield of 0.25 percent APY on all balances.
There is a minimum opening deposit of $1 which is the lowest you will find for an account paying a good interest rate as this. It also does not require a minimum balance to be maintained.
The account also has a nice mobile platform that lets you send money directly to friends and family at no charge.
FNBO Direct does not charge its own ATM withdrawal fees. However, you will not be reimbursed ATM withdrawal fees charged by other banks.
#13. Heritage Bank NA eCentive Checking Account
Heritage Bank NA gives you the opportunity to avail 1.02% high APY in your qualifying balances if you meet the following monthly activity –
- 10 or more debit card transactions posted to your account
- At least one direct deposit or ACH each month
- Receive e-statements
With the above qualifications, you can earn up to 1.02% APY on balances of $0.01 to $25,000. Without qualification, you can earn 0.05% APY for amounts up to $25,000 and 0.19% APY for balances higher than that.
Heritage eCentive checking account requires no minimum balance. But there is $100 minimum to open an account.
However, before you settle on a choice, always do your due diligence checks.
It is always wise to take into account all aspects of a checking account to ensure you are not surprised by fees and charges.
Just because accounts are free or have low opening deposits should not stop you from being educated about the product.