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 Read More||0%||$0|| |
|Radius Bank Read More||0.10%||$100|| |
|TD Bank Read More||0.01%||$0|| |
|HSBC Read More||0.00%||$0|| |
|Chase Bank Read More||0.00%||$25|| |
|One American Bank Read More||1.50%||$50|| |
|Charles Schwab Bank Read More||0.03%||$0|| |
|Independent Financial Read More||1.50%||$0|| |
|Axos Bank Read More||1.25%||$50|| |
|Wealthfront Read More||0.35%||$1|| |
How We Determine the Best Rewards Checking Accounts
SmartAsset compared more than 15 of 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.
Radius Bank Rewards Checking
Similar to Discover, Radius offers up to a 1.5% cash back rate, though this only applies to online purchases and signature-based “credit” transactions where the debit card is used as a credit card. However, while Discover offers 1% cash back on debit card purchases up to $3,000, Radius’ account provides unlimited cash back with a 0.10% - 0.15% APY. You’ll need to maintain an average balance of $2,500 or greater, or set up a monthly direct deposit of at least $2,500, in order to qualify for the 1% cashback. Account owners need a minimum deposit of $100 for the Rewards Checking account, but the bank doesn’t charge any monthly fees.
Account holders can earn the additional 0.50% cash back on certain purchases until June 30, 2021. This extra cash back can only be earned when using your debit card at specific places, like restaurants, sporting goods stores and more.
If you’re looking for widespread branch access, Radius may not be the best choice. Its only office locations are in Boston. But its ATM offerings may suit your preferences. The bank offers access to more than 325,000 surcharge-free ATMs as part of its partnerships with three ATM networks, and it provides unlimited monthly reimbursements for out-of-network ATM fees.
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 a $500 bonus if you receive up to $2,500 in direct deposits within 60 days of opening your account. But the rewards don’t stop there, as the account earns 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 $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 branches in 15 states, plus Washington, D.C. You’ll also have access to around-the-clock customer service online or over the phone.
HSBC Choice Checking Account
The HSBC Choice Checking account includes a student offer that benefits both U.S. students and international students studying in the U.S. As long as the students are at least 18 years of age, HSBC provides six years without any monthly fees along with a welcome deposit of $100. Students can also set up the Choice Checking account without meeting any minimum balance requirements. If you refer a friend to an HSBC account, you can also earn up to $2,000.
The catch is that account holders will have to pay a $15 monthly fee after the six-year period ends. But students can avoid this if they meet either of the following requirements:
- Maintain a minimum account balance of $1,500 in combined U.S. dollar investment balances and deposit accounts OR
- Receive a recurring, qualifying direct deposit from a third party.
Though HSBC has branches in fewer than 10 states, it offers worldwide ATM access. If you’re looking for convenient access to your money, this may be a suitable option. However, the bank’s checking account doesn’t earn interest, and its mobile offerings have limited ratings. In addition, the bank offers at least 12 hours of customer service availability per day, but you won’t have access to 24-hour assistance. Although HSBC’s Choice Checking account provides competitive, low-cost options for students, it’s wise to consider the bank’s products from a holistic perspective before you make your final decision.
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 4,900 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 more quickly.
The Chase Total Checking® account does take at least $25 to open, and there’s a $12 monthly service fee if you don’t meet at least one of the following account 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
One American Bank Kasasa Cash Checking
The One American Bank Kasasa Cash checking account offers a 1.50% APY. That's a very high rate for the current interest rate environment - higher, even, than you'll see on high-yield savings accounts. It doesn’t come without its caveats, though, as that rate will only apply to up to $10,000 of your overall account balance. Any amount past that threshold will receive a 0.25% APY that, while low, is still better than most of its counterparts.
One American Bank is a regional bank based in South Dakota, but that doesn’t have to stop you from opening an account if you don’t live in that area. As a matter of fact, the bank provides fee-free ATM usage at MoneyPass ATMs, a large ATM chain. But if you need to use an ATM that’s out-of-network, the bank offers up to $25 a month in fee reimbursements. All cardholders will receive a free Visa® debit card to use for these transactions.
There are a few other requirements you’ll have to fulfill with this bank to make sure you receive all the benefits it has to offer:
- At least 12 debit card purchases of $5 and up that post to your account within the month
- Enroll in and log on to your online banking account
- Enroll to receive e-statements
If qualifications are not met daily balances of any amount will receive an APY of 0.01%.
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 0.03% 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.
Independent Financial Free Rewards Checking
Independent Financial, formerly known as Independent Bank, offers a fantastic checking account called the Free Rewards Checking account. The account offers the chance to earn quite a bit of interest if you can meet certain requirements:
- Be enrolled in and review eStatements
- Have at least one direct deposit or ACH payment per month
- Make at least 12 debit card purchases per month
Should you meet the requirements above, you’ll receive a 1.50% APY on balances under $10,000, which is one of the best rates currently on the market. On the other hand, balances above $10,000 will earn a 0.15% APY. Those who don’t meet the requirements will earn the base APY of just 0.01%.
The Free Rewards Checking account is, as you might guess, free. There are no monthly service charges and no minimum balances. You’ll also be refunded for up to $20 in monthly ATM withdrawal fees, giving you the freedom to use just about any ATM. Customers also gain access to free online banking and a free debit card, and you only need $100 to open an account.
Axos Bank Rewards Checking
The Axos Bank Rewards Checking account comes with a competitive 1.25% 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 three requirements to earn a third of the rate each:
- Receive monthly direct deposits totaling at least $1,000
- Use your Axos Visa® Debit Card for 10 transactions per month (minimum of $3 per transaction)
- Use your Axos Visa® Debit Card at least five more times to reach a total of 15 transactions per month
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.
Wealthfront Cash Account
Wealthfront, whose robo-advisor services you may have heard of, also offers a robust checking account called the Wealthfront Cash Account. Account holders will earn a strong 0.35% APY on all balances, which is great for a checking account in today’s lowered rate environment. You only need $1 to open an account, and there are very few fees charged by Wealthfront. In fact, there are no monthly minimums, monthly services charges or transfer fees. To create this account, Wealthfront has partnered with Green Dot Bank, through which account holders will have access to a network of nearly 20,000 fee-free ATMs.
Another area in which the Wealthfront Cash Account shines is its enhanced FDIC insurance. While most bank accounts are insured by the FDIC for up to $250,000, this account comes with up to $1 million in coverage. Like a handful of other checking accounts, you can also get your paycheck up to two days early if you enroll in direct deposit.
Wealthfront is an entirely online financial institution, so only open an account if you’re comfortable banking through your phone or computer. With Wealthfront, you’ll also have the option to take advantage of the bank’s other tools to help you with investing and retirement planning.