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|| |
|Aspiration Read More||3.00%||$0|| |
|TD Bank Read More||0.01%||$0|| |
|LendingClub Banking Read More||0.10%||$25|| |
|Chase Bank Read More||0.00%||$0|| |
|One American Bank Read More||1.00%||$50|| |
|Axos Bank Read More||1.25%||$50|| |
|Charles Schwab Bank Read More||0.03%||$0|| |
|Independent Financial Read More||0.50%||$100|| |
|Ally Bank Read More||0.10%||$0|| |
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.
Aspiration is a financial institution that offers a cash management account called the Aspiration Spend and Save Account. Although it's technically a single product, it consists of a spending-focus checking account and a savings account. The account comes in two variations: Aspiration and Aspiration Plus.
With the standard Aspiration package, customers are allowed to choose whatever fee they want to pay for their account. In fact, one of the company's FAQ sections features the question, "Can I really pay you zero?" Aspiration's response is "Yes," and customers can change their account fee as often as they want. Although you can actually pay nothing for the account, Aspiration says the following on its website: "We really hope you won't. And our business is built on trusting that you won't."
Available with the standard Aspiration tier is a 3.00% APY. However, this rate only applies to balances up to $10,000, with all higher balances receiving no interest rate whatsoever. To earn this APY, you'll also need to spend at least $1,000 on your debit card per month. Again, if you don't do this, your rate will disappear.
If you go with Aspiration Plus, you'll be charged a $7.99 monthly fee, though you can lower this rate to $5.99 a month if you pay the fee annually. Upgrading to this package grants you access to an extremely competitive 5.00% APY, though there are some stipulations to earn it just like the standard package. For starters, this APY only applies to monthly balances of up to $10,000. The other requirement is that you must spend at least $1,000 on your Aspiration debit card every month. Balances above $10,000 will earn a 0.10% APY. On the other hand, accounts that fail to meet the above stipulations will receive a 0.25% APY on balances up to $10,000, as well as the same 0.10% APY on balances above $10,000.
You only need to deposit $10 to open this account, and it allows for fee-free ATM withdrawals at more than 55,000 Allpoint ATMs. Aspiration Plus account holders are also eligible to receive one out-of-network ATM fee reimbursement a month. Additionally, Aspiration offers cash back rewards for those who use their debit card at certain businesses, like Warby Parker and Blue Apron.
Aspiration is a branchless bank, but you can still take advantage of mobile/online banking and customer service seven days a week. The bank allows customers to make mobile bill payments, deposit checks online and use Apple Pay or Android Pay.
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 $100 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.
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 $225 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
One American Bank Kasasa Cash Checking
The One American Bank Kasasa Cash checking account offers a 1.00% APY. That's a very high rate for the current interest rate environment - higher, even, than you'll see on some 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 lower, 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 interest and ATM benefits it has to offer:
- Make 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%.
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 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”
- 0.20% - Maintain an average daily balance of $2,500 per month in an Axos Invest Managed Portfolios Account
- 0.20% - Maintain an average daily balance of $2,500 per month in an Axos Invest Self Directed Trading Account
- 0.15% - 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.
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 Bank Free Rewards Checking
Independent Financial, formerly known as Independent Bank, offers a fantastic checking option 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 0.50% 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 need $100 to open an account.
Ally Bank Interest Checking Account
The Ally Interest Checking Account features a modest APY of 0.25% on all account balances. 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.