The best checking accounts, June 2020:
Account Editor's Rating (out of 5) Monthly Fee APY Capital One 360 Checking 4.46 $0 0.10% Discover Cashback Debit Account 4.17 $0 None Chase Total Checking 3.50 $12 None Chase College Checking 3.81 $6 None HMBradley Account 3.63 $0 0% - 3% Simple Online Checking Account 4.03 $0 0.01%
At the very least, your personal checking account should be easy to access, whether online or in person, and incredibly cheap to maintain, if not free. With so much competition among financial institutions, legacy banks, and fintechs, it's easier than ever to find a checking account that fits your needs.
Still, sifting through the fine print can be tedious, so we've done the legwork for you. Below you'll find our picks for the best checking accounts right now. Bearing in mind that "best" is often subjective some people may prefer the convenience of a physical bank branch to the absence of fees, for example.
Each of these accounts comes with a debit card, FDIC insurance , and mobile app access. Most are free of monthly maintenance fees, too, or could be after meeting certain deposit or balance requirements.
Table of Contents
Best checking account overall
Capital One 360 Checking
Why it stands out: With no monthly service, overdraft, or foreign transaction fees, Capital One might be the cheapest bank account. It also offers access to over 39,000 Capital One and AllPoint ATMs; mobile check deposit available; connects to Zelle for digital money transfers; multiple overdraft protection options; and all balances earn 0.10% APY. Plus, Capital One ranks No. 4 on J.D. Power's US National Banking Satisfaction Study .
Monthly fee: $0
What to look out for: Minimal branch locations. Though Capital One Cafs are popping up in big cities around the US, the bank only operates about 470 branches in nine states.
Best checking account for rewards
Discover Cashback Debit Account
Why it stands out: Access to over 60,000 ATMs; no monthly service or overdraft fees; mobile check deposit available; and earns 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases every month.
Monthly fee: $0
What to look out for: Location restrictions. You can only use your Discover debit card in the US, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
Best checking account for branch and ATM access
Chase Total Checking
Why it stands out: Access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches; mobile check deposit available; connects to Zelle for digital money transfers; and cash bonus offer for new Chase customers who open an account and set up direct deposit within 90 days. Plus, Chase ranks No. 2 on J.D. Power's US National Banking Satisfaction Study .
Monthly fee: $12 waived if you set up direct deposit of at least $500 a month; or have a $1,500 daily balance; or have $5,000 in combined balances across Chase accounts.
What to look out for: Overdraft/insufficient funds fee and non-Chase ATM fee. You may be charged an insufficient funds fee if you're not signed up for overdraft protection . There is an ATM Surcharge of $5 per withdrawal and $2.50 for any transfers or inquiries at ATMs outside the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Fees from the ATM owner still apply.
Best checking account for students
Chase College Checking
Why it stands out: Access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches; mobile check deposit available; connects to Zelle for digital money transfers; and $100 cash bonus offer for new Chase customers who open an account and make qualifying purchases.Plus, Chase ranks No. 2 on J.D. Power's US National Banking Satisfaction Study .
Monthly fee: $6 waived if you're between the ages of 17 and 24 and enrolled in college; or set up monthly direct deposit in any amount; or have an average daily balance of $5,000 in this account.
What to look out for: Overdraft/insufficient funds fee and non-Chase ATM fee. You may be charged an insufficient funds fee if you're not signed up for overdraft protection . You'll be charged a $2.50 fee for using any non-Chase ATM.
Best checking account/savings account hybrid
Why it stands out: When you deposit money into this high-yield checking account, the platform tracks how much you spend versus how much you save over the course of the quarter. HMBradley has a tiered APY based on the percentage of deposits you save. The tiers are as follows:
- Tier 1: Earn 3.00% APY when you save at least 20% of your deposits
- Tier 2: Earn 2.00% APY when you save 15% to 19.99% of your deposits
- Tier 3: Earn 1.00% APY when you save 10% to 14.99% of your deposits
- Tier 4: Earn 0.50% APY when you save 5% to 9.99% of your deposits
You have to set up direct deposits to earn interest with HMBradley, but there's no required initial deposit or minimum account balance.
Monthly fee: $0
What to look out for: Percentage of deposits saved. You have the potential to earn more than you would with other checking accounts or even high-yield savings accounts, but if you don't save at least 5% of your deposits, you won't earn any interest the following quarter.
Best online-only checking account
Simple Online Checking Account
Why it stands out: Access to 40,000 AllPoint ATMs; mobile check deposit available; built-in budgeting feature that automatically portions out fixed expenses after each paycheck is deposited and leaves you with a "safe to spend" amount; and the ability to open and easily transfer excess funds into a high-yield companion account that earns 1.20% APY.
Monthly fee: $0.
What to look out for: Limited overdraft options. If you attempt to make a purchase with your debit card that requires more funds than are available in your account, Simple will decline the transaction. At this time, there are no other options for overdraft protection.
Other checking accounts we considered and why they didn't make the cut
- Charles Schwab High-Yield Investor Checking Account : This no-fee checking account earns just 0.03% on all balances, and you have to open a brokerage account at the same time.
- Ally Interest Checking Account : This no-fee account is comparable to Simple's online checking account, although Simple has a budgeting feature and offers a higher-earning savings account than Ally. However, Ally does have more overdraft options and earns 0.10% APY on balances under $15,000, if that's important to you.
- Chase Premier Plus Checking : The only way to waive the $25 monthly fee on this account is to have a $15,000 daily balance or link it to a mortgage account with automatic payments.
- CitiBank Simple Checking : A fine checking account with options to waive the $12 monthly fee, but customer satisfaction is below average, according to J.D. Power's US National Banking Satisfaction Study .
- US Bank Easy Checking : A standard checking account with options to waive the $6.95 monthly fee, but customer satisfaction is about average, according to J.D. Power's US National Banking Satisfaction Study .
- CIT Bank eChecking : The minimum opening deposit for this account is $100 and it only offers up to $15 of fee-free ATM visits a month, otherwise it's a fine account earning 0.10% APY on balances below $25,000.
- Betterment Checking : This online checking account reimburses ATM and foreign transaction fees, and there are no monthly service charges or overdraft penalties. However, Betterment is still in the process of developing features like mobile check deposits, physical checkbooks, and joint accounts.
- TD Bank Convenience Checking : While TD Bank ranked No. 1 onJ.D. Power's US National Banking Satisfaction Study , its only ATM and branch locations are on the East Coast, and there's a $3 fee each time you use a non-TD ATM.
- TD Bank Beyond Checking : This account is favorable for people with high balances. Non-TD ATM fees are reimbursed, but only with a $2,500 minimum daily balance.
- PNC Performance Select Checking :PNC ranked "better than most" onJ.D. Power's US National Banking Satisfaction Study , but in order to waive the $25 monthly fee, you need $5,000 or more in monthly direct deposits, or a $5,000 average balance, or $25,000 in all PNC accounts (including investments). You also need $25 to open the account and branch access is limited to the Eastern US.
- PNC Performance Checking : PNC ranked "better than most" onJ.D. Power's US National Banking Satisfaction Study , but in order to waive the $15 monthly fee, you need $2,000 or more in monthly direct deposits, or a $2,000 average balance, or $10,000 in all PNC deposit accounts. You also need $25 to open the account and branch access is limited to the Eastern US.
- HSBC : HSBC offers a good variety of checking accounts, although only those with high minimum balance or deposit requirements get ATM fees reimbursed.
- Axos Essential Checking : A solid online-only checking account with unlimited ATM fee reimbursement, but nothing extra special.
- Axos Cash Back Checking : This account offers up to 1% cash back on purchases (up to $2,000 per month), but doesn't count transactions from grocery stores and requires an average daily balance of $1,500 to earn the cash back. If your balance falls below that limit, you get 0.50% cash back.
- Axos Rewards Checking : This account touts Up to 1.25% APY, but to get the full rate you need to have monthly direct deposits totaling $1,000 or more and a total of 15 transactions per month (min $3 per transaction) on your debit card. You also need $50 to open the account.
- Chime : A solid online-only checking account with overdraft protection options, quick direct deposit, and access to over 38,000 ATMs, but additional features are not as good as Simple.
- TIAA Basic Checking :A solid account that waives the already low $5 fee with a daily average balance of $25. To enjoy unlimited ATM reimbursement, however, you need to keep an average daily balance of at least $5,000.
- TIAA Yield Pledge Checking : No monthly service fees and all balances earn 0.50% APY for the first year; after that, the rate drops to between 0.20% to 0.35%. To enjoy unlimited ATM reimbursement you need to keep an average daily balance of at least $5,000. You also need at least $100 to open the account.
- Wells Fargo Everyday Checking :Wells Fargo's account is comparable to Chase's Total Checking Account, but Wells Fargo ranked below Chase on J.D. Power's US National Banking Satisfaction Study and has about 3,000 fewer ATMs.
- SoFi Money : This hybrid checking account/savings account offers 20% cash back on Lyft rides and unlimited ATM reimbursements worldwide, but its 0.20% APY is less than what you could earn with HMBradley.
- Acorns Spend Account : When you swipe your Acorns Spend debit card, Acorns will round your purchase up to the nearest dollar and immediately transfer the spare change to your Acorns Invest Account.
- USAA Classic Checking : USAA is specifically for military members and family, and new recruits get paid a day early with a checking account.
- Varo : This is a solid checking account with no monthly fees, but Varo will charge you for using an out-of-network ATM.
- Radius Bank Rewards Checking : You need a minimum balance of $2,500 to receive cash back or earn interest with Radius.
- Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking : This account pays a high APY for people who enroll in eStatements and set up direct deposits but beware that unlike many banks, there is no limit for how many times Alliant charges you for overdrafts in one day.
- Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking : Consumers pays a great rate on balances under $10,000, but you're only eligible to earn the best interest rate if you meet activity requirements with your debit and credit card.
- Wealthfront Cash Account : This is a solid hybrid savings/checking account, but it doesn't offer mobile check deposit features yet.
Frequently asked questions
Why trust our recommendations?
At Personal Finance Insider, we strive to help smart people make the best decisions with their money. We spent hours comparing and contrasting the features and fine print of nearly three dozen checking accounts available at over 20 national and online-only banks so you don't have to.
We understand that "best" is often subjective, however, so in addition to highlighting the clear benefits of a checking account no fees, for example we outline the limitations, too.
How did we choose the best checking accounts?
We considered offerings at over 20 financial institutions, as well as reviews at popular comparison sites like Bankrate and Nerdwallet, to determine the strongest options for online banking, college students, branch access, low fees, and rewards. We gave precedence to no-monthly-fee checking accounts or those with the option to waive monthly fees with qualifying activities; overdraft protection options; widespread ATM access and/or reimbursement for ATM fees; and mobile banking capabilities.
We also polled Business Insider employees for their favorite picks and considered J.D. Power's US National Banking Satisfaction Study for 2019, which measures customer satisfaction at America's largest retail banks.
Unlike a savings account, a checking account doesn't need to have a high interest rate to be good. In fact, the annual percentage yield (APY) shouldn't matter much if you're using your checking account to pay your monthly bills and cover expenses in short order. If your money is constantly flowing in and out of your checking account, it won't get a chance to earn much interest anyway.
However, some of our top picks do have the best checking account interest rates out there, especially HMBradley.
Do checking accounts earn interest?
Some checking accounts do earn interest, but not all and those that do typically don't earn as much as savings accounts do. A few of our top picks pay interest, but Capital One is the only one that pays an above-average rate to every customer, regardless of your balance.
What is an interest checking account?
An interest checking account is an account that pays interest on your balance. Again, you likely won't earn as high of a rate as you would with a savings account, because checking accounts are more geared toward accessing your cash than saving.
What banks offer fee-free checking accounts?
You can find no-fee checking accounts at a few big retail banks and nearly every online-only bank, including Ally, Capital One, Charles Schwab, Discover, Axos, SoFi Money, Simple, and HMBradley.
What's the best bank for a checking account?
We believe Capital One offers the best checking account available right now, in large part thanks to $0 in monthly fees, multiple overdraft options, access to 39,000 Capital One ATMs and AllPoint ATMs, and mobile check deposit. As an added bonus, it also earns 0.10% APY on all balances.
Can I open a second checking account at the same bank?
Many banks allow you to open more than one checking account, but it's usually unnecessary unless you need an individual account and a joint account.
Is it bad to have multiple checking accounts?
It's not bad to have multiple checking accounts, but it's usually not necessary. A checking account should hold cash that you are using to cover your expenses each month and no more than that. Any excess cash is best stored in a high-yield savings account , where it can earn up to 200 times more interest than a checking account, or in an investment account.
Which type of bank account is best for everyday transactions?
Typically, a checking account is the best type of account for regular purchases. Checking accounts typically come with a debit card and/or checks, and they don't have a limit on how often you can make transactions like savings and money market accounts do.
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