Finding the Best Checking Accounts
The best checking accounts are those that do not cost much to maintain, give you easy access to your money, make it simple to fund your account and also allow you to earn interest on your money.
|Charles Schwab Bank Read More||0.03%||$0|| |
|Axos Bank Read More||1.25%||$50|| |
|Chase Bank Read More||0.00%||$25|| |
|TIAA Bank Read More||0.50%||$100|| |
|Capital One Read More||0.20%||$0|| |
|Chase Bank Read More||0.00%||$25|| |
|One American Bank Read More||3.50%||$50|| |
How We Determine the Best Checking Accounts
SmartAsset analyzed more than 20 checking accounts to determine which is best. We considered how each account stacked up for their fees, deposit minimums, APYs and overall customer service. The best accounts come from banks that score well on all those measures. We then broke down the best checking accounts by category.
Best Overall Checking Account: Schwab High Yield Investor Checking®
The Schwab High Yield Investor Checking® account makes hitting investment goals easier for Schwab brokerage clients. However, despite its investing-centric benefits, it’s also an objectively great checking account for those interested in a solid APY and low fees.
Schwab allows account holders to merge their new checking account with their Schwab One brokerage account. By taking advantage of this perk, you’ll be able to transfer funds quickly and easily between the two accounts, helping you avoid the processing time and potential fees that can typically come along with these types of transfers.
This account also comes with a decent 0.03% APY and a nearly nonexistent fee schedule. This fee arrangement is headlined by an unlimited out-of-network ATM fee reimbursement program, which basically grants you access to use any ATM wherever and whenever you want. There are also no monthly service fees or opening minimums with this account, making it a viable option for just about anyone.
All account holders receive a Schwab Bank Visa Platinum Debit Card and free checks. If you want to speed up your payments, you can also incorporate your Schwab debit card into the virtual wallets of your Apple, Android or Samsung devices.
Best Free Checking Account: Axos Rewards Checking Account
The Axos Bank Rewards Checking Account is one of the top-rated checking options based on our research. Not only does it offer substantially great customer service, it also features one of the highest-earning APYs on this list at 1.25%.
However, Axos has a trio of stipulations that you need to meet in order to receive this rate, with each requirement accounting for 0.4166% of the overall APY. If you reach all three prerequisites, you’ll receive the full 1.25% APY. They go as follows:
- Receive monthly direct deposits totaling at least $1,000
- Swipe your Axos debit card for at least 10 transactions per month (minimum of $3 per transaction)
- Swipe your Axos debit card for another five transactions, totaling 15 times a month (minimum of $3 per transaction)
The account has no minimum balance requirement, nor are there any insufficient funds fees. When it comes to ATM withdrawals and deposits, Axos Bank affords all account holders unlimited reimbursements for all domestic ATM operator fees.
If you’re new to banking with an online-only institution, Axos Bank has a 24/7 personal banking hotline ready to answer any questions you might have about your account, ATM charges or anything else. If you’re unable to call, the bank also provides an online chat service and a robust mobile app for Apple and Android devices.
Best Checking Account Bonus: Chase Total Checking
If you are new to Chase, you can qualify for a $200 bonus by opening a Total Checking account, depositing at least $25 and making a direct deposit from a qualified entity within 60 days. It is the highest bonus available for checking accounts.
If you have less than $33,000 to deposit, the Chase bonus actually means earning more over a three-year period than you would at Capital One. Remember though, Chase checking has no interest, so you won’t earn anything beyond the bonus.
Chase checking is also a great option if you want a traditional banking experience. Chase has 5,100 branches in 28 states and the District of Columbia and a network of more than 16,000 ATMs. Total Checking makes it easy to access your money and move it around without paying hefty fees. There is a $12 monthly fee that you can waive if you keep $1,500 in your account every month or deposit at least $500. This may be harder for college students and young professionals. If you cannot meet those requirements, we wouldn’t recommend going with Chase.
For those who can meet the minimum, Chase customer service is also stellar. Problems are usually resolved quickly and without issue. Chase’s mobile app is also highly regarded. It is currently rated 4.5 stars over thousands of reviews on the Apple app store. Such a great app helps make it easy to manage your funds.
Best Checking Account for No ATM Fees: TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Checking
TIAA Bank reimburses customers for ATM fees, which a great perk. For those of you with at least $5,000 in your account, reimbursement is unlimited; otherwise, its up to $15 per month. If you are confident you can meet that threshold, the TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Checking account is a good option for you.
You get a 0.50% introductory APY (on balances up to $250K for first time Yield Pledge Checking account holders) with TIAA Bank, combining the high interest of a savings account with the freedom of a checking account.
After one year, the APY will drop to somewhere between 0.20% to 0.35%. The exact rate will depend on how much is in your account. The smaller APY is still among the highest you can get for a checking account, however.
Best Checking Account for College Students: Capital One 360 Checking
The Capital One 360 Checking Account is a great option for college students looking for a simple account to manage their money with. The account has no fees, no minimums, cash-friendliness, a suite of banking tools and a high-yield APY.
You can open a Capital One account with any amount of money, and there are no monthly fees. Your first checkbook is even free. Capital One also grants you access to a network of 39,000 free ATMs, as well as 840 branches where you can withdraw and deposit cash for free. Capital One’s highly rated mobile app also makes it easy to check your balances and transfer money wherever you may be.
Where the Capital One 360 account goes above and beyond is that you can also earn interest on the money in your account. For all balances, you get a 0.20% APY. Also, linking your savings account to your checking account can help prevent overdrafts.
Best Small Business Checking Account: Chase Total Business Checking
We determined Chase Total Business checking is the best because of how easy it is to find a Chase branch or ATM. Chase, like most business checking accounts, offers $5,000 worth of free cash deposits, a small account fee that can be waived with a certain balance and 100 free transactions per month. Like other banks, Chase also has premium business checking accounts that can scale with the size of your business.
What distinguishes Chase as the best is that it has more than 5,100 branches across the country. Chase offers the most coverage, which is vital for businesses that manage cash transactions. BBVA, who we consider to be the second best small business checking account only has about 700 branches localized to a handful of states. We recommend Chase as the best for small business, but if you live in an area where BBVA ends up being the most convenient, they will also be a great option.
Whether it's small business checking, lending or services you're in search of, our list of the best banks for small business will surely help you find what you need.
Best High-Yield Checking Account: One American Bank Kasasa Cash Checking
The One American Bank Kasasa Cash Checking Account is a great option for anyone looking to earn interest on their checking balance, as many banks don’t offer any returns on similar accounts. With a Kasasa Cash Checking account, you’ll earn a 0.01% APY on all balances. But if you complete at least 12 debit card purchases of $5 or more in a month, enroll in online banking and agree to receive electronic statements and notices, your APY will receive a bump-up to a 3.50% APY on balances up to $10,000. Anything above that $10,000 mark will earn interest based on an APY of 0.25%.
Although you’ll need no less than $50 to open a Kasasa Cash Checking account, you won’t be on the hook for any monthly maintenance fees. There is no minimum balance to earn rewards and you’ll even get a free Visa debit card.
One American Bank also offers refunds for up to $25 worth of nationwide ATM fees every month, giving you even more access to a fee-free ATM network. While the bank’s Apple and Android mobile apps have limited ratings, One American Bank has both an online and physical presence.