Finding the Best Rewards Checking Accounts
Earning rewards with your credit card has become standard, but doing so with your bank account is much less common. If you’re interested in this perk, check out these account options. And keep in mind that, unlike a savings account, checking accounts don't have strict limits on withdrawals. That means you can earn returns without having to sacrifice accessibility.
|Discover Bank||0%||$0|| ||Learn more|
|TD Bank||0.01%||$0|| ||Learn more|
|LendingClub Banking||0.10%||$25|| ||Learn more|
|Wealthfront||4.80%||$1|| ||Learn more|
|Axos Bank||3.30%||$50|| ||Learn more|
|Chase Bank||0.00%||$0|| ||Learn more|
|Aspiration||1.00%||$10|| ||Learn more|
|Capital One||0.10%||$0|| ||Learn more|
|Charles Schwab Bank||0.45%||$0|| ||Learn more|
|Ally Bank||0.25%||$0|| ||Learn more|
How We Determine the Best Rewards Checking Accounts
SmartAsset compared the most popular rewards checking accounts for this study. The elements we used to score them include annual percentage yield (APY), monthly rewards bonuses, overall rewards potential, monthly fees, customer service quality and minimum account size.
Discover Cashback Checking
The Discover Cashback checking account received a nearly perfect grade in our study of the best rewards checking accounts. With Discover, you’ll earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases a month. That means you can earn a max of $30 cash back each and every month, for a grand total of $360 a year. You can utilize these rewards at any time, either through your online or mobile account.
There are no monthly fees to remain an account holder. Discover also offers a large fee-free ATM network that features more than 60,000 ATMs throughout the U.S., as well as a free debit card to use at those locations.
This Discover account finishes near the top of our study not only in rewards potential, but also in customer experience/service. Although this is a branchless offering, you’ll have a 24/7 customer hotline, a high quality website and a highly-rated iOS and Android mobile app you can use to manage your funds. Cash-back credit cards are another major focus for Discover, so supplementing your Cashback account should be fairly easy.
TD Bank Beyond Checking
The TD Bank Beyond Checking account offers a great way to get your account balance started off right. In fact, you can earn up to a $500 bonus if you meet certain requirements. Once you sign up for the Beyond Checking account, if you can receive up to $2,500 in direct deposits within 60 days of opening, you'll receive a $300 bonus. Then, you can receive another $200 bonus if you open either a TD Beyond Savings account or a TD Simple Savings account and deposit $20,000 or more in new funds within 20 days and maintain at least that balance for 90 days. The Beyond Checking account also earns a 0.01% APY.
Account holders with higher than a $2,500 daily balance will not have to pay any ATM fees, as TD will reimburse any fees you incur at out-of-network ATMs. You’ll also have access to overdraft protections and free checks. While the account does have a hefty $25 monthly maintenance fee, you can waive it if you get $5,000 monthly in direct deposits, maintain a $2,500 minimum daily balance or have at least $25,000 in combined balances across eligible TD accounts.
TD Bank is well-known for its excellent customer service and long bank hours at its branch locations. Customers can visit any of the bank’s 1,200 branches in 15 states, plus Washington, D.C. You’ll also have access to around-the-clock customer service online or over the phone.
LendingClub Bank Rewards Checking
Similar to Discover, LendingClub Bank offers a 1% cash back rate on online purchases and signature-based credit transactions where the LendingClub Bank debit card is used as a credit card. However, while Discover offers 1% cash back on only up to $3,000 in debit card purchases, LendingClub Bank’s account provides unlimited cash back on top of a 0.10% APY on balances of $2,500 to $99,999.99 and a 0.15% APY on balances above $100,000. You’ll need to maintain an average balance of at least $2,500 or receive monthly direct deposits of at least $2,500 in order to qualify for the 1% cash back. Customers need a minimum deposit of $25 to open the Rewards Checking account, and there are no monthly fees.
If you’re looking for widespread branch access, LendingClub Bank may not be the best choice, as it's a fully online bank. Its ATM offerings may suit your preferences, though. The bank offers access to thousands of surcharge-free ATMs as part of its partnerships with three ATM networks, and it provides unlimited monthly reimbursements for out-of-network ATM fees.
Wealthfront Cash Account
The Wealthfront Cash Account comes in at number four on our list. This account sports a great 4.80% APY, which ranks near the top of the market. To go along with a top-of-the-line APY, the minimum requirement to open the account is just $1. This makes the account accessible for virtually anyone. The account also comes with no monthly fees.
There are additional perks that the Wealthfront Cash Account offers. These include free overdraft protection, free direct deposits, online bill pay and free transfers. The account is an entirely online product. In turn, Wealthfront has no branches for account holders to visit. Users instead have the luxury of accessing free 24/7 customer service assistance over the phone or on their mobile device, including through an online chat function.
If you are interested in a debit card, Wealthfront can oblige. The Cash Account offers debit cards for free, and it can be used for free at over 19,000 ATMs nationwide. That’s a great combination for users who may need some cash while on the go. Wealthfront is also an investment service, which the Cash Account connects to. This makes it a great option for anyone who simultaneously wants a new checking account and the ability to invest.
Axos Bank Rewards Checking
The Axos Bank Rewards Checking account comes with a high 3.30% APY and, unlike One American Bank’s Kasasa Cash Checking account, Axos’ account doesn’t require customers to meet a minimum account balance to receive the full APY. What it does call for is that you meet these requirements to earn the full APY:
- First, you'll need to receive at least $1,500 in direct deposits monthly to unlock both a 0.40% APY and the other tiers.
- Then, you can add to that rate with the following tiers:
- 0.30% - Use your Debit Card for a total of 10 transactions per month (minimum of $3 per transaction) or sign up for Personal Finance Manager “Account Aggregation”
- 1.00% - Maintain an average daily balance of $2,500 per month in an Axos Invest Managed Portfolios Account
- 1.00% - Maintain an average daily balance of $2,500 per month in an Axos Invest Self Directed Trading Account
- 0.60% - Use your account to make a full monthly Axos Bank consumer loan payment
Another thing to note about this account is that it doesn’t require monthly fees, and it includes unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements. You’ll need a $50 minimum balance to open the account, but you can skip out on overdraft and non-sufficient fund fees once you’ve set it up.
Axos Bank provides online chat features, 24-hour customer service and fairly rated Apple and Android mobile apps. But the bank doesn’t have any branches. If you’re looking for physical locations, this bank may not be the best fit. But if you don’t mind internet-only access, this could be a suitable high-yield checking option.
Chase Total Checking
The Chase Total Checking® account is not a traditional rewards account in that it gives consistent cash or points-based rewards. Instead, new account holders are offered a substantial $200 cash-back sign-up bonus when they open a new account and immediately set up direct deposit thereafter. This is more than half of what you could earn with a Discover Cashback checking account over a full year, and that’s only if you manage to spend the maximum $3,000 a month with your debit card.
Chase Bank is also the only financial institution on this list that has a multitude of branches and in-house ATMs across the U.S. In fact, Chase boasts 4,700 branches and about 16,000 ATMs nationwide that you can use fee-free as often as you’d like. Though the bank does offer mobile check deposit through its app, it does also have Chase DepositFriendly ATMs. Depositing at these ATMs can speed up a check’s processing time so you get your money even faster.
The Chase Total Checking® account requires no minimum to open, though there is a $12 monthly service fee if you don’t meet at least one of the following requirements:
- Having $500 or more in direct deposits sent to your account during the month
- Having an opening daily balance of at least $1,500
- Having an opening average daily balance of at least $5,000 across any combination of this account and linked deposits or investments
Aspiration Spend and Save Account
Aspiration is a very unique bank, as all of its accounts, services and features are completely angled toward people who want to do more to help the environment. The Spend and Save Account is one of Aspiration's offerings and has many useful and beneficial features. The most prominent is a 1.00% APY, which is better than even some savings accounts currently on the market. One thing to note, though, is that receiving this rate is contingent upon your account balance being at least $500 and up to $10,000. There's a 0% APY in any other circumstance under the 1.00% APY.
There are no monthly maintenance fees to go along with the Spend and Save Account, meaning you get to keep more of your money in your pocket. The minimum to open an account is just $10, which is reachable for just about anyone. And if you ever have to go over your balance, there's no overdraft fee for you to worry about. One of the account's extra features is the ability to invest in fossil fuel-free investments. You'll also have all ATM fees reimbursed by Aspiration, meaning you can use any ATM worldwide with the knowledge that you'll get back any fees you pay.
With the Aspiration Spend and Save Account, you get the option of choosing between two versions. There's the Spend and Save Account, as mentioned but you also get to upgrade to an Aspiration Plus Account. An Aspiration Plus plan is a $7.99 monthly subscription where you get access to a 3.00% APY on balances up to $10,000 if you spend at least $500 a month with your debit card. If you have a balance above $10,000, you'll receive a 0.25% APY.
But if you are not able to meet the spending requirement for the 3.00% APY under the Aspiration Plus plan, your APY will be 0.25% on balances up to $10,000 and 0.25% APY for amounts over $10,000.
Capital One 360 Checking
The next account on our list is the 360 Checking Account, which comes from a major banking institution in Capital One. The Capital One 360 Checking Account offers a 0.10% APY and no minimum balance is required to open the account. You can also use multiple transaction styles with no hassle. When it comes to making online transfers, utilizing direct deposit, or setting up online bill pay, they are all available free of charge.
When you open the Capital One 360 Checking Account, you can request a free debit card for ATM access at more than 70,000 fee-free machines. This account also works well for those looking for an early payday. In fact, you can receive your paycheck as early as two days before the official date, though this varies based on the payment processor as well. The Capital One 360 checking account also comes with no overdraft fees, which can really come in handy during difficult times.
If you are on the go near a CVS, Capital One allows you to deposit cash at any CVS location. Additional benefits include a 24/7 customer service hotline for any questions or concerns you may have. There’s also an online chat function for those who prefer a quicker response. Capital One’s branch network, however, is fairly small and only available in certain parts of the U.S.
Schwab High Yield Investor Checking®
The Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account is a solid all-around rewards checking account. This is especially true for existing Schwab brokerage customers, as they can take advantage of perks that make investing quicker and easier. More specifically, if you have both of these accounts, you have the option of merging the two to reduce transfer times and avoiding transfer fees.
While this account certainly focuses on brokerage-related benefits, it also boasts no monthly service fees, unlimited ATM fee reimbursements and a solid APY. All checking account holders earn a 0.45% APY, and the lack of monthly fees means everything you earn stays in your pocket. The aforementioned ATM fee reimbursements apply worldwide, and your Schwab debit card won’t incur any foreign transaction fees. Schwab also provides solid customer service, with phone agents available most hours of the day, as well as 24/7 online chat.
Ally Bank Spending Account
The Ally Bank Spending Account features a modest APY of 0.25% on balances over $15,000. There are also no monthly maintenance fees associated with this account, and you’ll receive free expedited ACH transfers and checks. You’ll also have access to a large network of 43,000 Allpoint ATMs for free. Plus, Ally will reimburse you for up to $10 in out-of-network ATM fees each month.
Ally Bank is an online bank that’s well-known for its robust online presence and strong customer service. Its mobile app has high ratings on both the Apple and Android app stores, and its website is quite easy to use. For example, you can deposit checks and pay bills remotely, all while having access to comprehensive, 24/7 customer service over the phone or online.