15 Best Checking Accounts of July 2024

Banking

Having the right checking account comes with several benefits and conveniences, from free ATMs to automatic bill pay. Your checking account can also end up costing you money in the form of monthly maintenance fees and overdraft charges.

Finding the best fit depends on various factors, including how you make deposits, what type of balance you carry, and how you spend.

To help narrow down your choices, we’ve compiled a list of the year’s best checking accounts in different categories. Even if you already have a checking account, it’s smart to review your options to make sure your bank or credit union is working for you.

Best Checking Accounts with Sign-Up Bonuses

A little free cash never hurt anyone, and two banks are currently offering some attractive sign-up bonuses. So, if you follow a few guidelines upon signing up, you’ll get a pre-determined deposit of cash right into your new checking account. Here are today’s best deals for checking accounts with sign-up bonuses.

U.S. Bank

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U.S. Bank is currently welcoming new applicants in 26 U.S. states with a special offering:

  • Earn up to $450 when you open a new U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking account and complete qualifying activities.
  • Subject to certain terms and limitations. Offer valid through September 26, 2024. Member FDIC.
  • Offer may not be available if you live outside of the U.S. Bank footprint or are not an existing client of U.S. Bank or State Farm.

The account includes a free debit card that can be locked or unlocked if ever misplaced or stolen. There are no ATM transaction fees at U.S. Bank ATMs and no surcharge fees at over 40,000 MoneyPass® Network ATMs.

The checking account requires a $25 opening deposit and a $6.95 monthly fee. This fee can be waived for those 24 and under, 65 and over, or military members (must self-disclose).

Additionally, the fee can be waived with monthly deposits of $1,000+, an average balance of $1,500+, or holding an eligible U.S. Bank credit card. Qualifying for any Smart Rewards® tier (Primary, Plus, Premium, or Pinnacle) also waives the fee.

SoFi

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SoFi is offering a cash bonus of up to $300 for new or existing customers who open a new SoFi Checking and Savings account.

To earn a $50 bonus, you must deposit $1,000 to $4,999.99, or deposit $5,000 or more to earn a $300 bonus. The account has no monthly fee.

The bonus will be credited within seven business days after the 25-day evaluation period following the receipt of the first qualifying direct deposit. The offer is available online to new or existing customers who have not previously made direct deposits.

First Tech Federal Credit Union

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The First Tech Rewards Checking account provides a hassle-free banking experience. This account merges high interest rates with diverse financial rewards on a unified platform.

There are no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements. Members have the opportunity to receive a $300 bonus by initiating a qualifying payroll direct deposit of at least $1,000 monthly for three consecutive months.

First Tech also offers competitive interest rates, with up to 5.00% APY available on both checking and savings accounts up to specified limits. These rates surpass those offered by many traditional and online banks.

Another advantage is the accessibility provided through over 30,000 CO-OP network ATMs across the country, allowing members to make withdrawals without incurring fees.

Additionally, First Tech delivers financial convenience and assurance with features such as real-time fraud monitoring and complimentary overdraft transfers.

TD Bank

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TD Bank is currently offering two sign-up bonuses for new customers opening up a checking account. The first is for a $200 bonus when you sign up for the TD Convenience Checking account.

You’ll need to set up direct deposit and receive at least $500 in that kind of deposit within 60 days of opening your account.

The other offer for new customers is a $300 bonus for a new TD Premier Checking account. You’ll need to receive at least $2,500 in direct deposits within the first 60 days to qualify.

You must live in one of the following states to qualify: Connecticut, Washington, DC, Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, or Vermont.

TD Bank does have a $25 monthly maintenance fee for the Premier account, but it will be waived as long as you keep your balance at $2,500 or above.

The $15 monthly maintenance fee for the Convenience account can be waived with a $100 minimum balance. There is also an account closing fee of $15.

Chase

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Chase currently offers a similar promotion for new customers. You can receive a $200 bonus by setting up a direct deposit into your Chase Total Checking account.

The minimum deposit to open a checking account is $25. Then, link an employer or government benefit to deposit directly into your Chase account within 60 days. You’ll receive the bonus within just 10 days of completing these actions.

For this account, Chase does charge a monthly service fee of $12 unless you qualify for one of these exemptions:

  • At least $500 in monthly direct deposits
  • $1,500 minimum daily balance
  • Daily average balance of $5,000 in all linked Chase accounts

For a larger sign-up bonus, consider the Chase Premier Plus Checking account. You can receive $300 if you sign up with direct deposit and open the account with at least $25. You’ll also need to keep the account open for at least six months.

There is a $25 monthly fee associated with this account, but here’s how you can get that waived:

  • Maintain an average daily balance of $15,000 across Chase accounts
  • Sign up for autopay on your Chase mortgage

Best Online Checking Accounts

Many people prefer the convenience of a strong online presence with great customer service over going to a bank’s physical location. Luckily, there are plenty of heavy-hitters with online checking options for anyone who’s constantly on the go.

Check out our best checking accounts that allow you to handle all your banking needs online.

Upgrade

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The Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus account offers numerous benefits, including no monthly or overdraft fees. Customers who establish monthly direct deposits of $1,000 or more can earn up to 2% cash back on everyday debit card purchases.

Upgrade, in partnership with Cross River Bank, ensures that your funds are FDIC-insured up to $250,000.

Also, by holding the Upgrade Rewards Plus checking account, customers can enjoy up to 20% lower rates on Upgrade loans and credit cards.

For those looking to maximize their savings, adding the Upgrade Premier Savings account allows you to earn an impressive 5.21% APY.

Current

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Current is an online bank that features innovative banking solutions with its Current Account.

With this account, customers can build credit simply by using their debit card for everyday purchases, without the need for borrowing or a credit check. Current also enables customers to receive their paycheck up to two days earlier with direct deposit, giving them quicker access to their money.

The Current Account offers fee-free overdraft protection, and you can also earn points for debit card transactions that can be redeemed for cash back.

The account provides access to over 40,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide, as well as mobile check deposit capabilities, which allow for easy banking from anywhere.

Current removes many common banking fees, including those for minimum balances, overdrafts, bank transfers, and in-network ATM withdrawals, making it a cost-effective choice for users.

The “Current Pay” feature allows for instant money transfers between friends and family, facilitating easy payments and reimbursements.

Chime

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Chime® is the best checking account for those seeking a low-cost digital banking option, with no monthly fees, hidden charges, or account balance minimums to worry about.

Although they don’t have physical branch locations, you’ll have access to your money through its network of more than 60,000 fee-free1 ATMs. You can also use its in-built capability to send money to friends and family or pay bills.

Applying for a Chime account is free and has no impact on your credit score. There’s no minimum opening balance to get started.

Plus, if you set up direct deposit with your new account, you’ll get access to your funds up to two days2 earlier than you might at a competing bank.

Capital One 360

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Capital One 360 offers big bank perks with online convenience.

This free online checking account doesn’t have any minimum balance requirement. It also allows you to earn a small amount of interest regardless of your deposit size.

A Capital One 360 checking account gets you access to 70,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide from either Allpoint or Capital One.

Other great features are that Capital One provides mobile deposit, which allows you to deposit your checks into your account right from your smartphone. Furthermore, there are no foreign transaction fees.

This versatile checking account provides two overdraft protection options. The first is a free savings transfer. Just sign up for a 360 savings account and any overdrafted funds will be transferred from your savings to your checking account.

Charles Schwab

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Schwab Bank’s Investor Checking is a fully online checking account. It has no monthly fees, no balance requirements, and no debit card spending requirements.

It offers an APY of 0.40% and works with the Visa and Visa Plus Alliance network, which includes over 1 million ATMs in more than 200 countries and participating retailers such as CVS, Target, Costco, and Walgreens.

Schwab will reimburse all ATM fees and does not charge any foreign transaction fees. This account requires a linked Schwab One brokerage account, which also has no fees or balance requirements.

Schwab’s overdraft policy is to cover such transactions with money from other Schwab accounts. However, if you don’t have sufficient funds, it will reject the transaction and charge a $25 insufficient funds fee. The maximum daily ATM cash withdrawal limit is $1,000.

Best High Interest Rate Checking Accounts

Interest rates on any type of bank account aren’t very high today, but that doesn’t mean they’re unheard of. You usually have to open a savings account to receive any type of yield on your balance. However, there are some high-yield checking accounts that offer interest on your deposits. Here are our top picks.

NBKC

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NBKC provides online checking accounts with competitive interest rates. They have four local branches in Kansas City, and access to about 37,000 ATMs nationwide via MoneyPass.

The Everything checking account currently offers a 1.01% APY. It has no balance or spending requirements, no overdraft or insufficient funds fees, no monthly maintenance fees, no non-network ATM fees, and no foreign transaction fees.

It also offers early paychecks and reimbursed non-network ATM fees up to $12 a month. NBKC also offers CDs and money market accounts, but no standard savings account.

Bank5 Connect

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Our final pick for the best high-interest checking accounts is Bank5 Connect. This is a great choice because you only need a minimum deposit of $100 to start earning interest.

While the 0.76% APY is lower than other options, it is much more accessible with such a low balance minimum. You also don’t have to worry about monthly maintenance fees and can use any ATM in the country for free.

Anytime you’re charged at an ATM, Bank5 will reimburse your account up to $15 per fee on each statement cycle.

Bank5 gives you your first order of checks for free in addition to offering a checking rewards program. UChoose Rewards lets you earn one point for every $2 you spend.

Best Credit Union Checking Accounts

Credit unions typically have certain requirements to qualify for membership, like working in a particular industry or living in a specific community. However, many national credit unions have wide membership requirements, but they offer some great financial products once you’re in.

Establishing a strong relationship with a credit union can set the stage to get approved for future financial needs, including personal loans or car loans.

Alliant Credit Union

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Alliant offers an easy, free checking account that boasts no monthly service fees and no account minimums.

There are over 80,000 ATMs you can use for free, and Alliant will give you up to $20 a month in reimbursements for any ATM fees you accumulate.

Your Visa debit card is free, as is your first box of checks. Alliant also provides both online banking and mobile apps, which makes your account compatible with Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay.

Yes, you can sign up for overdraft protection and courtesy pay — a smart choice because who wants to worry about their card being declined at the register? If you go with Alliant Credit Union, your account will be insured to at least $250,000 by the NCUA.

Consumers Credit Union

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Based in Michigan, Consumers Credit Union is available nationwide and has a high yield checking account that’s worth looking into.

The interest rate structure is based on a tiered system based on your account balance.

Here’s how the tiers play out:

  • $0 to $9,999: 0.15% APY
  • $10,000 to $24,999: 0.20% APY
  • $25,000 to $49,999: 0.25%
  • $50,000 to $99,999: 0.30%
  • $100,000 to 249,999: 0.35%
  • $250,000+: 0.40%

While those higher tiers may be better served in a high interest savings account (unless you have high dollar cash flows throughout the month), the lower tiers are quite competitive for a checking account.

Or you can use online bill pay once a month, access your online banking monthly, and enroll to receive eDocuments rather than paper statements. There are also tiers available earning 3.59% APY on balances up to $15,000 and 4.59% on balances up to $20,000.

Connexus

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Connexus offers checking account members various free services, including free online and mobile banking, bill pay, and eStatements.

You have a few different options and all come with no minimum balance requirement. With Connexus you don’t have to worry about being penalized for not leaving a lot of money in there.

Connexus offers above-average interest rates; in fact, you can earn up to 1.75% APY.

Overdraft protection allows you to avoid overdraft fees or declined transactions by attaching a line of credit to your checking account.

This essentially allows you to borrow the funds you are short on, rather than having your card declined at checkout. The fixed APR for this service is 18%.

Types of Checking Accounts

There are several types of checking accounts, including:

  • Traditional checking accounts: These are the most common types of checking accounts and are offered by most banks and credit unions. Traditional checking accounts typically have low minimum balance requirements, allow unlimited transactions, and may offer online and mobile banking features.
  • Interest-bearing checking accounts: These accounts offer a small amount of interest on the balance in your checking account. However, they may have higher balance requirements or charge higher fees to earn the interest.
  • Premium checking accounts: Premium checking accounts often have a higher minimum balance requirement. They may charge higher fees in exchange for additional perks such as higher interest rates, waived fees for other bank products and services, and priority customer service.
  • Rewards checking accounts: A rewards account may offer rewards or cash back for using the account in certain ways. For example, making a certain number of debit card transactions or signing up for direct deposit. They may also offer higher interest rates and lower fees, but may have other restrictions to earn the rewards.
  • Second chance checking accounts: These accounts are designed for individuals who have had problems with overdrafts or mismanaging a checking account in the past. Second chance checking accounts may have higher fees and more restrictions. However, they can help individuals rebuild their credit and transition to a traditional checking account.
  • Student checking accounts: Student checking accounts may have lower fees or minimum balance requirements since they are designed specifically for students. They may also offer additional perks, such as discounts on textbooks or other products and services.
  • Senior citizen checking accounts: Senior checking accounts are tailored to the needs of senior citizens and may offer additional benefits such as waived fees, higher interest rates, and priority customer service.
  • Business checking accounts: Checking accounts that are designed for businesses. They offer additional features such as the ability to accept electronic payments and issue business checks.
  • Online-only checking accounts: An online-only checking account can be opened and managed entirely online and may offer higher interest rates and lower fees than traditional checking accounts. However, online banks may not offer the same level of in-person customer service or access to physical branches and ATMs.
checking account

Pros and Cons of Checking Accounts

Checking accounts offer several benefits, including easy access to cash and the option for direct deposit of paychecks. Here are some pros and cons of checking accounts:

Pros

  • Convenient: A checking account allows you to easily access your money through various methods such as debit cards, checks, and online banking.
  • Versatile: Checking accounts can be used for a wide range of transactions, such as paying bills, making purchases, and withdrawing cash.
  • Safe: Checking accounts are typically insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) at a bank or the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) at credit unions. This ensures that you are protected in the event of a bank failure, with up to $250,000 in insurance per depositor, per bank or credit union.

Cons

  • Fees: Some checking accounts may charge fees for maintenance, overdrafts, or using certain services or ATMs.
  • Limited interest: Checking accounts generally offer lower interest rates than other types of accounts, such as savings accounts or money market accounts.
  • Minimum balance requirements: A minimum balance may be required to waive fees or earn interest on certain checking accounts. If you are unable to maintain the minimum balance, you may be charged a fee.

Key Factors to Consider when Choosing a Checking Account

To find the best fit for your financial needs, there are several key factors to consider when choosing a checking account. These include:

  • Fees: Look for a checking account with low or no monthly maintenance fees and minimal fees for using ATMs.
  • Annual percentage yield (APY): If you intend to keep a large balance in your checking account, consider an account that offers a competitive annual percentage yield.
  • Minimum balance requirements: Some checking accounts may have a minimum balance requirement to waive fees or earn interest. Make sure you are comfortable with any requirements before opening an account.
  • Access to branches and ATMs: If you prefer to do your banking in person or need access to a large network of ATMs, make sure the checking account you choose has convenient branch locations and ATMs.
  • Online and mobile banking features: Consider the digital banking options offered by the checking account, such as mobile check deposit and online bill pay.
  • Customer service: It’s important to choose a checking account with reliable customer service in case you have any questions or issues. Look for accounts with multiple ways to contact customer service, such as by phone, email, or live chat.

How to Open a Checking Account

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to open a checking account:

  1. Research different banks and credit unions: Start by comparing the fees, minimum balance requirements, interest rates, and other features of different financial institutions. Consider factors such as the location of branches and ATMs, online and mobile banking options, and customer service.
  2. Gather the necessary documents: Most financial institutions will require some form of identification, such as a driver’s license or passport, and proof of your current address. You may also need to provide information about your employment and financial history.
  3. Choose a checking account: Decide on the type of checking account that best fits your needs based on the factors you researched in step one.
  4. Open the account: Once you’ve chosen a checking account, you can open it either in person at a branch or online. If you open it online, you may need to provide additional documents, such as a voided check or direct deposit form.
  5. Make a deposit: You will need to make an initial deposit to activate your checking account. This can be done in person at a branch, through an ATM, or online.
  6. Set up online and mobile banking: Many banks and credit unions offer online and mobile banking options, which can make it easier to manage your account and track your spending.
  7. Activate any additional features: If your checking account offers features such as a debit card or overdraft protection, be sure to activate them if you intend to use them.
  8. Review account terms and conditions: Make sure you understand any fees or restrictions associated with your checking account, and consider setting up account alerts to help you manage your balance and avoid overdrafts.

By following these steps and choosing a checking account that meets your needs, you can confidently manage your finances and make the most of your money.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a checking account?

A checking account is a banking product that offers the ability to deposit and withdraw funds, issue checks, pay bills and perform electronic transactions to manage your daily financial needs.

How do I deposit money into my checking account?

There are several methods for depositing money into a checking account, including visiting a bank branch, using an ATM, or utilizing mobile banking to electronically deposit a check.

Are checking accounts free?

While “free” checking accounts generally don’t have a monthly fee, some banks or credit unions may require a minimum balance or charge fees for specific services, such as using out-of-network ATMs.

Consider your financial habits and review the fees associated with a checking account before opening one. A free account with no fees for out-of-network ATMs may be more suitable if you frequently use such ATMs.

How old do you have to be to open a checking account?

In the US, the minimum age for opening a checking account is 18, though some banks or credit unions may allow younger individuals with the permission of a parent or guardian.

How many checking accounts can I have?

There’s no limit to the number of checking accounts you can hold. Some people opt to open multiple accounts for various purposes, such as personal or business expenses. Others want to take advantage of different fees, interest rates, or account features from multiple financial institutions.

Can you open a checking account online?

Yes, most banks and credit unions offer the option of remotely opening a checking account. The process involves submitting an online application and providing required documentation, after which the bank will review the application. Upon approval, you will receive information on accessing and using your new checking account.

Learn More About Checking Accounts

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