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|| |
|Citibank Read More||0.01%||$0|| |
|TIAA Bank Read More||0.40%||$100|| |
|Chase Bank Read More||0%||$0|| |
|Radius Bank Read More||0.10%||$100|| |
|One American Bank Read More||2.00%||$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: Citibank Account Package
The Citibank Account Package is a robust relationship banking program that offers prospective account holders a sizable $400 bonus just for opening an account. In order to earn this bonus, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:
- Open eligible checking and savings accounts included in the Citibank Account Package
- Deposit at least $15,000 of new funds into your checking/savings accounts within 30 days of opening
- Maintain a minimum balance of $15,000 between your checking and savings accounts for 60 consecutive days
The Citibank Account Package comes with two separate checking account options: Regular Checking and Interest Checking. The Interest Checking account earns a 0.01% APY, which is quite low, but isn’t terrible given that many checking accounts don’t even earn interest.
To avoid the fees with this account, you’ll need to maintain a large account balance. In order to waive the $25 monthly service fee, you must maintain a combined average monthly balance of $10,000 across eligible linked accounts.
With this account, you can even earn Citi ThankYou Points when you link your accounts. Citibank has locations around the U.S., but you can also bank online, through its mobile apps or over the phone.
Best Checking Account for No ATM Fees: TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Checking
TIAA Bank reimburses customers for ATM fees, which is a great perk. For accounts with a balance of at least $5,000, reimbursement is unlimited. Otherwise, reimbursement will be limited to $15 per month. If you’re confident you can meet that threshold, the TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Checking account is a good option for you.
With this account, you get a one-year introductory 0.40% APY on balances up to $250,000 for first time Yield Pledge Checking account holders. This allows you to combine the high interest of a savings account with the freedom of a checking account. After one year, your APY will drop to somewhere between 0.15% and 0.25%. The exact rate will depend on how much is in your account. The APY on the lower end of that scale is still among the highest you can get for a checking account, though.
Best Checking Account for College Students: Chase College Checking
The Chase College Checking account is a great option for college students looking to manage their money. Though it doesn’t earn interest, there are other benefits that make it a worthy option. The account is free to own, as all monthly service fees are waived while the account holder is in college for up to five years. Once this offer is over, there’s a $6 monthly service fee that’s waivable if you make a direct deposit to the account or have an average daily balance of $5,000 or more.
But the most attractive feature of this account is its signup bonus. More specifically, you’ll earn a $100 bonus after you complete 10 qualifying transactions within 60 days of opening your account. This bonus will go directly to your account’s balance.
This account is designed for college students who are 17 to 24 years old. Chase has a very strong physical presence around the country, so most students won’t have any trouble finding a branch to visit. You can also bank online or through Chase’s mobile app for more convenient management.
Best Small Business Checking Account: Radius Bank Tailored Checking Account
The Radius Bank Tailored Checking Account is a small business-centric account that has a number of usable features. For starters, if your account’s balance surpasses $5,000, you’ll earn a 0.10% APY. You’ll also earn 1% cash back by using your debit card and making credit purchases in-store and online.
Perhaps the most underrated perk of this account is that you’ll have free access to any ATM in the world. You can also take advantage of free bill pay, and it only takes $100 to open an account. There is, however, a $10 monthly maintenance fee, but this can easily be waived if you keep your account balance at $5,000 or above.
As an online bank, Radius offers a robust set of online and mobile banking features. These include mobile check deposit, budgeting tools, digital account statements, an ATM locator, online money transfers and more. In the end, you can essentially do everything you would in a branch online.
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 2.00% 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.